Choose Joy

Last week a friend and I got together and I had worship music playing in the background. She was talking and sharing with me all that God had been doing in her life recently. She was in such awe of God and how he had been providing for her and showing up in unexpected ways.

As she was sharing with me I felt God say, “Praise me. Thank me. Worship me.” I stopped her and said, “God wants us to praise him and thank him for his goodness.” I turned the worship music up and little did I know what would happen next.

We were sitting on my couch worshipping God and I felt so at peace. I prayed aloud praising and thanking God for all he has done for us and she did as well. After praying I got hit with laughter. I began laughing uncontrollably. I was laughing so hard I was crying. Shortly after I began laughing, my friend sitting next to me began laughing as well, so hard she was crying. Every time I would touch her, I laughed even harder. The Holy Spirit was in the room and present in both of us!

As I was sitting and laughing God was telling me things. He told me

“I have big plans for both of you.

“Trust me.

“Keep your focus on me and I will show you where to go next.

“I know the desires of your heart.

“Trust me.”

It was beautiful! Although I was laughing I felt such peace and comfort.

Last night this same friend and I were talking and she was sharing with me that she has been experiencing so much joy and she doesn’t want it to ever leave her.

I asked her this question, “What are you doing now that is causing you to experience that joy?”

She answered with, “I am praising God no matter what and thanking him and keeping my focus on him.”

I responded, “Well, joy is a choice, and when you feel like you have to choose joy more than ever at a certain point, do the things you are doing now. Praise God, thank God, and keep your focus on him.”

I say this to you as well. Joy is a choice. You must choose joy every day. No one can do that for you. It is your responsibility. If you are struggling with choosing joy, praise God in the midst of the storm, worship him, put on worship music and sit in his presence. Allow the Holy Spirit to touch you. It’s not scary, it’s comforting, and renewing!

“The joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10

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If there is a God, why is there struggle and pain in this world?

If there is a God, why is there struggle and pain in this world?

This is a question that is asked frequently. People have a hard time wrapping their minds around the fact that if there is a so called “God” who is loving and caring why would he allow people to go through such horror and pain?

Consider this…

God gave us free will. He is not demanding us and calling out orders from heaven. Of course, yes, He does have a plan for us and wants us to live a life of love, but he does not force us to do so.

It started in the Garden of Eden. God said to Adam and Eve they could eat from any tree in the garden, except for the Tree of Knowledge. They were given choices. They were given the free will to decide which tree to eat from. When they decided to eat from the tree of knowledge, God was there but he did not force them away. He allowed them to make that decision.

In Genesis 2:16-17 it tells us, “And the Lord God commanded the man, ‘You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.’”

The opportunity was given to them to make a decision but he also told them what would happen if they chose a certain tree.

“Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”

“The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”

You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (The devil’s temptation to make the wrong decision)

“When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it (her decision). She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it (his decision).”

Genesis 3:1-6

There is evil in this world, and the evil was in the garden. The devil came as a serpent and tempted Adam and Eve. They gave into that temptation and in their own free will chose to eat from the tree of knowledge. They were given a chose. God wasn’t forcing them to choose what he wanted them to do. He stood back and allowed them to decide.

There is evil that we face now. Things happen to people that are not deserving of it. People are robbed, raped, murdered and they didn’t do anything wrong. How can God sit back and watch that happen?

It breaks God’s heart to see his children struggle, in pain, hurt. During those times of pain, what do you do? Do you search for anything to help you? Are you desperate for an answer, comfort, someone to take away the pain?

God is waiting with open arms for you to run to him. To cling to him. To cry out to him. To ask him for help. I don’t believe it’s a matter of God allowing bad things to happen because there is evil in this world, but he does wait for us to make a decision to draw near to him during those times. Following God does not mean life will be easy and nothing bad will ever happen to you, but it does bring you comfort and peace knowing the ALL POWERFUL GOD is on your side and fighting for you. He will bring the enemy down. He already has, but we as humans are tempted and create a way for the devil to get in and torment us. God never wanted that to happen, but he gives us a chose——to follow him, or to follow the ways of the evil one, the ways of the world.

What do you choose?

807a28c94045772dc0c9119335067ee6 Psalm 23:4

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What is your purpose?

These are not my own words. They were given to me to share with you…

“I created this world for you to enjoy and explore and not many people take advantage of it. They get stuck in their ways and get stuck in their job but that’s not what I created life for. You were created for much more. You were created to enjoy the life you are in, not to suffer from it. You are not living out your true calling and purpose if you feel like you are drowning. That’s when you need to turn to me and give me your burdens and your worries. They are not for you to carry. I will take them from you because I want you to enjoy life and not be miserable. Something must change if you are miserable, and hurting. I have the answer for you. I am the everlasting Father who loves you with an unconditional love. DO you know what that means? There is nothing you can do to win or lose my love. I love and will love you forever. You are my child. I created you and knit you together in your mother’s womb. You were made with a purpose. Now you need to live out that purpose and don’t waste it away. I made you for a reason. Do you know what that is?

GOD

And then I opened up my Jesus Calling…

“In order to hear My voice, you must release all your worries into My care. Entrust to Me everything that concerns you. This clears the way for you to seek My Face unhindered. Let Me free you from fear that is hiding deep inside you. Sit quietly in My presence, allowing My light to soak into you and drive out any darkness lodged within you.

“Accept each day just as it comes to you, remembering that I am sovereign over your life. Rejoice in this day that I have made, trusting that I am abundantly present in it. Instead of regretting or resenting the ways things are, thank Me in all circumstances. Trust Me and don’t be fearful; thank Me and rest in My sovereignty.”

God is good and He knows exactly what you need when you need it. He wants to give us the desires of our hearts and make us happy. He takes delight in us. He created you with purpose. Are you living out your purpose? Are you trying to find your purpose? Seek God and he will tell you and show you. You must be willing to take action.

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Just Keep Swimming

I think most of us have seen the movie “Finding Nemo” when the character Dori sings “just keep swimming, just keep swimming.” In the movie “Finding Dori” we learn why she sings that song. She is a small young fish and sings the song with her parents when she is learning how to swim and she continues to sing the song when she is facing her fears.

We all have fears that we must face. Whether we are a small fish, a child, or an adult, we all have fears. “If you don’t look at fear as your enemy it will one day defeat you” (Havilah Cunningham). You are either driven by fear, or overtaken by fear. What will it be for you? If you let fear defeat you, you will not grow or become the person God made you to be. You can either step forward into growth or step back into safety. What will it be for you?

There is a spirit of fear that wants to dominate everything in you. It is Satan’s way of stopping you from doing the powerful things God created you to do. Will you let him stop you? Will you let him win? What happens when you face fear? What if? What would you become? You will not know unless you do it, unless you take action. It will not be easy. Facing what you are afraid of is NOT easy, but you will never know who you could be or what life has for you if you don’t.

I was asked why I go on so many trips, and do so many activities and adventures. And my answer is this, there is so much on this earth to experience and so many places to go, why not try to do as much as possible?! I said yes to an 11 month Christian mission trip to 11 different countries. I was scared. I was afraid. I had no idea what I was getting myself into, but I did it anyway and I am here to tell you I do not regret going one bit! I am so happy I was obedient to God. I grew in ways I would have never if I didn’t step out of my comfort zone and face my fears.

Our job is to be obedient and say yes to the opportunity in front of us even if it scares us. There is anointing that comes when you obey God. And when we obey the supernatural will happen. And I experienced just that. God gave me an anointing over my life and I experienced miracles, and went on many adventures.

I have run and finished a half marathon, completed a triathlon, hiked Half Dome in Yosemite, training now to hike Mount Whitney (the tallest peak in the continental America), went shark cage diving, laid with tigers, rode an elephant, went on a safari. I’m not saying this to brag of all the things I’ve done. This is a result of saying yes to an opportunity, facing fears and going for it. I accepted the challenge of training, of leaving the country for a year and in return I was able to do all this and more! 

Are you going to “just keep swimming” or are you going to let fear defeat you? It’s up to you.

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LET GO!

What are some of the things you are holding onto? What is one thing you are holding on so tightly that it has to be pried out of your fingers? What is something you do not want to give up control over?

There are many areas in our life that we want to hold onto whether it’s children, a job, house, any material possessions or loved ones. We want to be able to control it. But I have news for you…

YOU CAN’T.

You cannot control life. You can control, however, how you respond to the circumstances that happen in your life.

There is one person who can control life and it’s not you….it’s GOD.

He wants you to give over control. He wants you to let go of the things you are holding on so tightly. And I have good news for you, He is the BEST person to take control because he will make whatever situation, whatever circumstance better than you could have ever made it.

God wants to bless you. He wants to bless you abundantly. But he won’t do that if you do not trust him. Trust him with the small things and he will trust you with the big things. Whatever size your problem or plan is, give it to God. He will blow you out of the water with what he does with it!

You have to TRUST HIM.

Right now I am trying to start my own business. I am starting to notice a pattern. When I try to do things my way, nothing happens, no one is reached, I haven’t been able to make any connections in the field I am working in. But when I pray over what God wants to share to others through me, or ask him what he wants to do in my business, I am blown away with the amount of people who watch and listen to my content, the connections and meetings I make. And it’s all because I come to God first. I come to God with my plans and ask him for his. I give him each situation and allow him to use me in it.

Let go of your plan. You will not regret it, I promise. God has a much better plan for you than you have for yourself!

Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.”

Psalm 37:4 “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.”

When you let go and let God take control it will feel something like this…  : )

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Your Tribe

Back in February I joined the John Maxwell Team (JMT) to learn and grow in leadership and to become a certified coach and speaker. I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I signed up let alone have to funds to do it. However I knew I was taking a leap of faith and I deep down I knew God would catch me and provide.

 

Fast-forward 6 months and here I am a certified life coach and have met some incredible people along the way. I just got home from the JMT live event and I am blown away by the ways God showed up.

 

We were “randomly” placed at a table for the entire 3 days. I was placed at a table with 6 complete strangers from every walk of life and from all over the country and world! We represented California, New Jersey, Colorado, Oklahoma, Maryland, and the United Kingdom.

 

The first day with these strangers we had to give a 5 minute presentation. It could be on whatever topic we wanted but each of us told a piece of our stories, which gave us a better understanding of each other from the start. The main component for each of our stories was God. We connected on a spiritual level, which I know is now why we are like FAMILY!

 

By the end of the event we were praying together and created accountability for one another. Four of us took a leap of faith to bring ourselves and our businesses to the next level. We were in complete fear and very unsure about what to do, but we brought our concerns to the Lord together and had an encounter with God that brought us to tears and I believe closer as a group. We walked up to the counter together as a tribe and signed up for a mentorship program.

 

We are a tribe. We are committed to each other’s success.

 

This is not the only tribe I am apart of. I established another tribe when I went to a marketing conference in July. Each one of them loves the Lord and we hold each other accountable and support one another. The neat thing about each of these groups is that I could combine the two and everyone would get along and be on the same page. We are all after success, living a life for God, living out our calling, and helping others live out theirs. I love each of these groups dearly and they are not the only people I consider being my tribe.

 

Do you have a group of people who support you, drive you towards your potential and not your pain? Who will keep you accountable to do what you say you are going to do? Who will pray with you and for you?

 

Find your TRIBE. It takes setting out in faith, stepping out of your comfort zone and meeting people in places you would have never expected. It takes talking to strangers and being vulnerable. Step out in faith. God will catch you and bless you in ways you would have never imagined!

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I love you and I am so thankful for you Tribe 306!

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Friends are like Seashells

“Friends are like seashells, you pick them up along the way.”

 

I saw this quote in the house of a family friend and I completely agree! In life we go through different seasons, and in each season we meet different people. If you a parent to young children you will most likely make friends with parents who have young children as well. If you are single you will meet other friends who are single. If you are dating or married, you will meet other couples. I’m not saying none of these groups can intermix, but you tend to gravitate toward people who are most like you or are in a similar stage of life as you.

 

Going on trips, playing on a recreation sports league team, joining a small group at church, any of these situations is a prime location to meet new friends. I have countless stories of people I have met along my journey of life, some I still keep in touch with, others who will always be a memory, and each person has added value to me as the person I am today.

 

The most recent friend I have met is a wonderful girl named Jessica. She and I first met at a mutual friend’s birthday party. We sat next to each other on a blanket in the grass and began talking and immediately hit it off. It wasn’t until a couple months later that we saw each other again, but it took us a bit to figure out why we looked familiar to the other. We randomly sat next to each other in church one Sunday. After we figured out we had first met at the birthday party we exchanged numbers and have been friends ever since. When I think of meeting friends coming in different seasons this is one of the friends I think of. She and I were going through very similar life events and could relate to one another and we still do! I for sure know this was a divine appointment set up by God!

 

Even though we meet new friends along the way, I have a handful of friends I have known the majority of my life and even after all these years, if we go months without seeing or talking to each other when we do get together we pick up right where we left off. This happened this weekend! We had a bachelorette party for a friend I have known since kindergarten and a mix of girls I grew up with in elementary and high school and even college all came together to celebrate her and it was wonderful! We all picked up right where we left off just as though no time had passed. That’s when I know it’s a genuine friendship when if feels as though no time has past when you see each other again. Cherish those friends in your life.

Jesus is our friend. He says, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead I have called you friends for everything that I learned from the Father I have made known to you.” John 15:13-15

Are you making friends along your journey of life? Are you cherishing the ones you have made years ago and even recently? Do you see Jesus as a friend? It’s important to surround yourself with good people. They help shape you into the person you are today!

Collect those seashells!

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11 Mile Hike

Last week I went on an 11 mile hike with a friend. We are training to hike Mount Whitney (which is 22 miles and about 14,250 in elevation) and for our training we are doing a bigger, more challenging hike each month to prepare.

This hike did not have much in elevation, but the elevation it did have was gained quickly within 5.37 miles. Heading toward the top of the mountain you would think the trail would be uphill…nope! It was up AND downhill, which heading to the top was nice because it gave us a break from the uphill. However, this meant that heading back we would have to go uphill as well. Not fun.

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We made it to the top. It felt like such an accomplishment. We took pictures, enjoyed the view for a bit while we ate our snack, and then started the trek back down to our car. Making it to the top of the mountain is only half way, I reminded myself.

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One thing about this trail is there is no shade. NONE! No trees to sit under to take a break from the heat, and by 10am it was already 99 degrees and we had started at 6am! Not good.

Making our way back down it felt as though we were placed in an oven without an escape. At about 2.5 miles out from the trail head we ran out of water. Not good when it’s 100 degrees and no shade. We were thirsty and hot walking up hills, however we didn’t pay as much attention to the hills because of being distracted by how hot our bodies were. Funny how God works sometimes.

There was a lot of self-motivation talk. I was telling myself how strong I was, that I was healthy, that I would make it back, that God would give me strength. I did a lot of praying asking God for help and to fill up my Camelbak. Around the mile 4 sign there were a couple cases of water. I saw them on my way up and it wasn’t until I was heading back down that I REALLY appreciated the water being there. I grabbed a couple bottles to fill my pack but I ended up going through that water fairly quickly. Nevertheless, this was an answer to prayer I just wish the water didn’t run out so fast ; )

It is only by the grace of God we made it back. I know for a fact we would have been much worse if it wasn’t for God being with us, reciting scripture, and digging into the truth of who God is and the truth of his word.

 

“…but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

Isaiah 40:31

No matter what situation you are in, God is with you and is there to help you. He will give you what you need when you need it.

This hike was a good lesson on life, and how to continue to prepare to hike Mount Whitney in a few months ; ) Seriously Satan was trying to beat us up and bring us down, but we know someone who is greater.

I am glad I did this hike. Although I wish it was 20 degrees cooler, I am glad I did it and I am glad it is over. This hike showed me how powerful God is. It taught me to enjoy the journey, to have a good attitude during trials, and that trials do come to an end.

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One Year Older

I just recently celebrated my birthday. Some dread this day because it means they are another year older. Others get excited and look forward to being another year older. I look at it as another year of opportunities and adventures!

 

With each new year there are new expectations. For me it seems those are to be married, have children, be in a career working full time, but what if that’s not what the plan is for my life? What if God has other plans?

 

I am newly 28 years old and I have many friends who are married, have children and I have none of those. I have been in 2 weddings this year and will have attended and been invited to about 8 just in this year alone! I am at “that age” people tell me. And you know what??? I am very happy with where I am in life. I do desire to be married and have children one day and I know it will happen for me, but not yet.

 

I can tell you that with each year it gets better and better. This year I have discovered who I am and what God wants me to do and I am launching my own business! I don’t have my own family, but I do have parents who love and support me, family and friends who stand beside me, and a God who will never leave my side or let me down. I would have to say I am pretty blessed and happy where my life is now and where it is going.

 

I know from the outside looking in I am not where society says I should be and that is more than ok. I am NOT OF THIS WORLD and I am following the one who made me the way I am. I am trusting in his plans for my life and I know with each year, because I am trusting in Jesus, my life gets better and better.

 

How are you viewing each of your years? Are you going into your next year of life with goals? Are you excited for all you can accomplish? Are looking forward to your next adventure? Are you happy where you are? Whether you just had a birthday or it is months away, it is never too late to make this your best year yet!

 

I am 28 and feeling great! : )

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(Today is my brother’s birthday! Shout out to Chris! May this be your best year ever!)

 

Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.

Proverbs 16:3

Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.

Proverbs 19:21

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Jeremiah 29:11

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Stuck Inside a Maze

Six months ago I had a dream that I was stuck inside a maze and I was running for my life. The maze was dark and I didn’t know where I was going. Running into dead ends and feeling as though something was going to jump out and get me. I told this dream to a friend of mine and he directed me to pray and ask God to shine light onto the maze and guide me through it.

Looking back, I see that is where I was at that point in time of my life. I was trying to figure out what I was doing with my life and felt like I was hitting dead ends and not knowing what God had for me next.

I had this dream in December and in February was introduced to the program that would lead me to where I am today! I feel like I am out of the maze! Once I got myself out of the way and let God lead me, he really did lead me out of the maze and onto a path that is lit, open with fresh air and a flower field all around me.FullSizeRender (5)

This is how I feel now. I feel like I am walking on this path with Jesus. I cannot see far in front of me, but I have a peace and a comfort knowing I am exactly where God wants me to be.

I am breathing in the fresh air and feel at peace as to where I am going.

God has a path for you too. Are you getting yourself out of the way and allowing God to take you on the beautiful path he has uniquely made for you?

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