{Letters to my daughter} {No. 3}

Sweet Girl,

When you leaned over and whispered, “I don’t think she believes in me” I was a tiny bit caught off guard. I know that feeling. It’s a terrible feeling! I am sorry that something happened to make you believe that. I get it. Truth be told, I would probably feel exactly the same way if that thing happened to me.

But, I have to tell you something. Lean in and listen carefully. It’s important.

I believe in you.

Always. No matter what. I believe in you when you have a good day. I believe in you when you have a bad day. I believe in you when you are at your best. I even believe in you when you aren’t your best. You are incredibly kind, smart, talented, and beautiful. You are a good, loyal friend. You’re honest. You’re a good big sister. You love Jesus. You’re an awesome volleyball player. And, you’re even a little funny! (Ok, you’re a lot funny!) Should I go on? I could fill an entire page!

Here’s the thing: Those things don’t change based on other people’s opinion.

I know how hard you work. I know how far you have come. I see how much you’ve grown up.

Don’t you dare let what seems like one person’s lack of confidence in you define you. Don’t let that squash out your dreams. Don’t let it disappoint you. Don’t let one person saying no keep you from hearing all the people cheering for you and saying yes!

When you are doing everything that you are supposed to do, let that be enough. Work on the things you have some control over and let the other things become secondary. Take responsibility when you mess up and learn from those mess-ups. Find the people God has placed in your life who want to help you grow and help you reach your dreams. Keep those people close.

I will keep reminding you, in the meantime, that I believe in you. I’m proud of you. I’m here when you need me. And don’t forget — believe in yourself. You have great things in you. No kidding. Great. Things.

Keep going.

Love you, sweet girl.

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Guest Blogger :: Maddie Grace

My sweet Madeleine asked if she could share a portion of her story here. I was happy to oblige. I am so thankful and grateful for all that God is doing in her life.


Hi everyone!! I’m Maddie, and in 8th grade Bible this year, we were given the assignment to write milestone moment speeches. Basically what these are is you think of a time in your life where you felt God working in you. I shared my speech with the class and many people were inspired. I hope that my story can help inspire you as well. Hopefully it’s good 🙂

I’m just an average girl, I live with my mom and my stepdad and honestly, I’m extremely grateful that God has blessed me with such a great Christian family now, but life hasn’t always been easy.

Earlier in my life, I really struggled with the fact that my parents were getting divorced. I was really young at the time, about 3 years old, with a younger brother only a few months old. I don’t remember much, but in the midst of all the arguing and confusion, I do remember feeling really alone.

Things got even more complicated in 2008 when my dad remarried to a woman was abusive to my younger brother and me. I remember her telling me, you’re not beautiful, you’re not worth anything, and she told me I didn’t deserve anything special. Being only 8 years old, it really affected my self-confidence and I remember being in tears most of the nights I spent with my dad and stepmom. To make things more confusing, my dad NEVER took up for me, the man in my life who is supposed to tell me how beautiful and treasured I am, just stood there and let a woman ruin my confidence. But, one night I remember my mom sharing a verse with me that really encouraged me to not care about what the world says about me, but to know that I am God’s masterpiece, created in Christ to do good works. (Ephesians 2:10)

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My relationship with my dad is very damaged because of my stepmom’s influence. I honestly couldn’t trust him anymore, and I still have trouble trusting other people, even if they seem completely innocent. Somewhere in the middle of my broken relationship, I realized that what I needed was a strong relationship with God. I knew that in the book of Psalms it says to call on God and He will rescue me.

So in 2011, I really began to pray and read my Bible and figured out what it means to have a meaningful relationship with God. I especially began to pray that God would work things out with my dad.

In 2012, my dad and stepmom announced that they were getting a divorce. It took them 7 years to realize that their marriage wasn’t healthy. I saw them getting a divorced as an answer to prayer. I thought that maybe, a new, restored relationship with my dad would be made possible. But I was wrong. My dad has continued to make some very bad choices and he recently made a huge mistake that has again, affected my brother and me in a very negative way; but I will definitely keep praying that God will continue to teach me through these tough spots.

God is truly amazing. I’m so grateful that He is always there and I know now that even in the darkest points in life, I can fully trust him no matter what. I’m also very thankful that he gives me opportunities to share my story and show his unconditional love to others.

~Maddie Lewis

Five Minute Friday: Mighty

Five Minute Friday

It’s Friday. Five minutes. Just writing whatever comes out. No edits necessary. If you have five minutes, join the party! Find out how here.


Ready? Go. 

My mind wanders back to small church sitting on the side of a country road. Song service (that’s what we called worship back then) was in full swing. The congregation was singing out the old chorus: “What a mighty God we serve. What a mighty God we serve. The angels bow before Him. Heaven and earth adore Him. What a mighty God we serve.” Of course, we sang it in a medley with Sing Hosanna. If y’all don’t know the song I’m singing in my head right now, well…let’s move on.

He is, isn’t He? Mighty.

I love what Scripture says in Zephaniah.

The Lord your God is with you, He is MIGHTY to save. He will take great delight in you. He will quiet you with his love. He will rejoice over you with singing. -Zeph. 3:17

I love the picture this verse paints. A mighty warrior juxtaposed with a loving God who delights in us and rejoices over us with singing. He is both. Always both. He fights for us and defends us with the same intensity and might with which He loves us and delights in us.

Let that sink in. And, take heart!

Stop.

Fix Your Eyes

20140327-223140.jpgHello, sweet friends.

Today was one of those days. That may be an understatement. The past few weeks have been rough. Really hard. Challenge upon challenge seemed to slam down on my head in unrelenting and unapologetic fashion day after day after day.

Then I remembered.

I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Psalms 16:8.

In trouble: I will keep my eyes on the Lord.

In heartache: I will keep my eyes on the Lord.

In plenty or in need: I will keep my eyes on the Lord.

When I feel pressed: I will keep my eyes always on the Lord.

When I feel tired: I will keep my eyes always on the Lord.

See, He is the only sure thing. He’s unchanging, unfailing, and good. He’s my help, my strength, my joy, and my provision. He is HOPE.

I am so thankful that I belong to Him. 


 

On another note:

On my ride home today, I was listening to my new Kari Jobe CD and feeling a little blue because I would not be able to see her on either of her upcoming tour stops. She is in Lexington tonight and will be in Louisville next week, but there was no way we could buy tickets to either event. (Winter has been really long.) These were sure to be powerful nights of worship and I really, really wanted to be there.

Then, I opened my mail.

Some kind and generous soul sent me tickets. The flood of tears burned my cheeks. I could not find my words. My sweet husband had no idea what had just happened.

I have no idea who sent those tickets. I have no idea why they sent them. But, I am so grateful that they did. Whoever you are, thank you from the bottom of my heart. God used you to encourage me today in a great big way. I am overwhelmed by your kindness, by his kindness shown through you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Five Minute Friday: Joy

Five Minute Friday

It’s Friday. Five minutes. Just writing whatever comes out. No edits necessary. If you have five minutes, join the party!  Find out how here.

Go.

Always be joyful. 

What’s that now? Always? Yes, always.

That is one of those bits of Scripture that can be hard to swallow. I was taught that there are few instances where the word “always” or “never” really applies. But, there it is jumping off the pages of holy scripture. Always. Be. Joyful.

What about those days when circumstances threaten to overwhelm you? Yes, even then.

What about those days when you are exhausted physically, mentally, and emotionally?  Yes, even then.

What about that moment when you’ve just received devastating news? Yes, even then.

What about that week when you aren’t sure how you are going to make ends meet? Yes, even then.

What about those times when your heart is broken and hurting? Yes, even then.

That’s hard. But, I’ve learned that we can choose joy because we have hope. We have hope because we belong to Jesus. The one and only Hope of all the World.

The heavenly hosts declared it from the very beginning: “Do not be afraid, I bring you glad tidings of great joy…the Savior is born.” Great joy. His name is Jesus.

Stop.

Truth Behind Tradition

Happy Monday! And, Happy St. Patrick’s Day! (And, happy birthday Mamaw!)

Throughout the weekend, loads of Americans donned their best (and sometimes not quite) green attire and celebrated St. Patrick’s Day by attending various parades, visiting Irish pubs, and drinking lots of Irish beer. Confession: I wore green today, accidentally. 

St. Patrick was the patron saint of Ireland who actually hailed from Britain. He was kidnapped at the age of 16 by Irish marauders and held captive for years. During his time there, he converted to Christianity and after escaping vowed to return to Ireland to rid the land of its pagans. He did return to Ireland as a missionary. March 17th marks the day of the religious feast in his honor and also marks the date of his death in the 5th century. And, so we celebrate? I assume this holiday is like others that have been consumer-ized  (I think I may have just invented a word) almost beyond recognition. We wear green and pinch people who do not. Some drink beer and many enjoy parades. We talk of leprechauns, shamrocks,  and the luck of the Irish. But, I wonder how many people know the real story. I am sure many people do, but I could not be counted among them! Blue was actually the color associated with Saint Patrick.  The Shamrock (which does not exist but resembles clover) was used by Saint Patrick to explain the Holy Trinity and was worn later as a symbol of Irish Christianity not luck. Am I the only one who didn’t know?! No matter.  

I never knew the history behind the observance of St. Patrick’s Day, nor did I know the story of the man Saint Patrick until a few years ago when something piqued my curiosity. I heard, for the first time, a portion of Saint Patrick’s Breastplate prayer. And, wow. It’s beautiful. And, powerful. This beautiful prayer reminds me of one of my favorite psalms, Psalm 139.

A portion of the prayer is to follow. I pray the words are like balm to your soul and remind you that He hems us in and has laid His hand upon us. (Ps. 139, NIV) That is good news. Happy news. It’s one of the greatest reasons I can think of to celebrate.

So, celebrate big sweet friends. Jesus knows you. Jesus loves you.

From Saint Patrick's Prayer

*Note: The historical info I included came from History.com. 

#ModelStatus – Guest Blogger, Maddie Grace

My sweet girl, Maddie Grace, wanted to write a little post for my blog. She is only twelve, but what’s she’s talking about here is important; and, I am glad that she wants to use her voice to encourage others to reflect Christ. She’s growing into quite a beauty, inside and out. God’s masterpiece. It makes my heart smile to watch how He’s working in her life. Thanks for reading!
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The teacher was late. 10 minutes late. It was 7th period spiritual life class. Me,Daisy, Malcolm and Dalton took action, we ran to the wall and struck awkward model poses. They were very, um…disturbing or model-ish as we might say. We stood frozen, and then the teacher came in.
“Hey guys sorry I’m, oh…” He said with just one glimpse of us. We all burst out laughing. Then I started thinking about what a model’s purpose is: to “advertise” clothing and make people want to buy it.
In the same way, we are God’s models. He uses us to go and to advertise his word, his truth and make people want and need Him more.
We are called to be a model for God. We are made in his image, specifically for His purpose. You don’t have to have the greatest hair or the prettiest face! So just remember, the next time you get an opportunity, model God’s truth the best you can. #modelstatus

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