My Daly Outreach Ministries

My Daly Outreach Ministries

Sunday, December 28, 2014

But This Is How We've Always Done It

Come to me and I will give you rest—all of you who work so hard beneath a heavy yoke. Wear my yoke—for it fits perfectly—and let me teach you; for I am gentle and humble, and you shall find rest for your souls; for I give you only light burdens.”

I am currently reading a fascinating book by Dr. Ed Catmull, the president of Pixar Animation as well as Disney Animation.  What I love is that he continued to discover along his career that just because it had "always been done a certain way" didn't necessarily mean it was the most effective or best way of doing something.  

A great example was as simple as a table.  You see, in his early years he worked in a building with an elegant board room adorned with a long executive board room table that seated his entire creative team.  While it looked official it was not made for teams of creative people doing collaborative projects.  This seating arrangement was not designed for group discussions, eye contact, or a sense of inclusion for all members present.  One day Ed Catmull and his team were forced to use a smaller room with a square table and it was the BEST meeting they had ever had.  He immediately called for a large square table to replace the long table in the board room and as they say, the rest is history.

Why do I share this story?  Because it can apply to every aspect of our lives as caregivers and as people in general.  If we continue to do things the very same way with the same results, we may need to do something different.  But different scares us to death! What if our way is the long executive table which works okay but God's way that He tells us about in Matthew 11:28 is the more productive square table that we didn't even know existed?  God has some pretty amazing ideas and ways of doing things if we only allow Him in.  What I also LOVE about this scripture is that He also offers us REST.  Hello?  I long for that wonderful thing and I am certain you do too.  So in the year to come be open to new ways of doing things and just watch for the awesome things that can happen.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Preparation Makes All the Difference

"Get ready; be prepared! Keep all the armies around you mobilized, and take command of them." Ezekiel 38:7

Today before leaving my office for the Christmas holiday break i made sure that everything was prepared for when I returned at the first of the year.  I did things like take down my office decorations, file the huge pile that had been sitting on my desk for over a week, and even made sure documents were copied and ready for an important meeting that will take place one of the first days I get back.  

When I walked out today I felt a sense of relief knowing I could relax over the holidays for I had prepared for the new year at work.  I then realized that is what God tells us to do in His Word.  In Ezekiel 38:7 He clearly states, "Get ready, be prepared!"  There is even an exclamation point which gives more emphasis and excitement.  We should be living prepared.

During Christmas we prepare for the first coming of Jesus knowing we now live in a time of preparation for His second coming!  We should live each day as if Jesus may be returning at any given moment. We should also be prepared when given the opportunity to share our testimony and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Important conversations such as salvation merits our preparation.  

Are we prepared?  Do you feel a comfort and a peace each day knowing you are prepared for the Savior's second coming and for the sharing of the gospel?  My prayer is that we ALL spend time preparing so we are all ready.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Burdened or Favored?

Luke 1:28(TLB)  

Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Congratulations, favored lady! The Lord is with you!”

I believe most caregivers view the role they have been called to do as a burden when in reality it may be the way in which God is showing His unimaginable favor.  Mary, the mother of Jesus, was called by the Lord's messenger angel, Gabriel, to become one of the most famous caregivers of all time. What a blessing to us all that she willingly accepted this as favor instead of a burden.  

A few weeks ago, my daughter with great compassion, shared with me that she felt very sorry for Mary.  I asked her why.  The response was, "Mama, she had baby Jesus in a really bad situation and then had to watch Him die on the cross." You know, my daughter was right. Mary agreed to be the mother of Jesus knowing He would one day be sacrificed for the world's sin.  She not only held her son but held her Savior.  

When God calls us to do something big for Him, we MUST see it for what it really is.  We are being favored and not burdened.  At first it may seem overwhelming but if we trust in God completely HE will be able to do all things through us.  Whether it be caregiving, a new job, or even a new ministry God will never leave you and will guide you through each step along the way.  

I do not know about you, but I believe Gabriel is saying to all of us, "Congratulations, favored child! The Lord is with you!"  Just like Mary, we can move ahead for we stand in the assurance of God himself.

Monday, December 8, 2014

My Water Into Wine

“This is wonderful stuff!” he said. “You’re different from most. Usually a host uses the best wine first, and afterwards, when everyone is full and doesn’t care, then he brings out the less expensive brands. But you have kept the best for the last!” John 2:10

I had never really examined Jesus' first documented miracle from the book of John until this weekend in a Bible study.  What struck me the most was that the miracle was not a physical healing, a life transformed, or someone being raised from the dead.  Instead it was about a family saving face when they ran out of wine at a wedding.  It was about the details in life that happen day to day but are very important to us personally.  It showed the personal touch of Jesus.

During those days a wedding celebration gone wrong could have ruined a family's reputation and even their social standing within the community forever. Jesus' mother knew this and for that reason she called on her son for help.  I love this particular miracle for for many reasons.  

First, Mary never hesitated to call upon Jesus for her immediate need which was a friend in need.  Are we praying for our friends? Are we taking the time to stop and call on Jesus for them?  Second, I love it that Jesus took care of the need but when He did it was much better than what was needed or expected!  Don't allow people to tell you that Jesus doesn't care about what makes you happy or your daily needs because when they do you can direct them straight to His first miracle within the Word.  

Jesus is waiting today to turn your watered down life into wine!  Ask Him and watch it happen!  Soon you will be the one saying, "This is wonderful stuff!" and you will be talking about your own life in Christ!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

I Hate This...

"If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand." Philipians 2:1-4

I speak to and receive messages from caregivers on a daily basis who are frustrated, tired, hurting, and even hate being a caregiver.  Do you know the first thing I say to them? I tell them it is perfectly normal and okay for them to feel this way!  After they get over the shock of me saying this, I continue by telling them that caregiving is hard and that it is important for them to vent and be real about what they are experiencing and feeling.  The danger comes when we pretend that all is well when in reality we are dying on the inside hiding our true pain and sorrow. 

In Philippians 2, God tells us that we are to put others ahead of ourselves and if you are a caregiver you are indeed living out this scripture daily!  It also goes on to say in forgetting about ourselves we should lend a helping hand which is exactly what we are doing as we care for others.  I tell you this in order to remind you that even when this journey becomes too much to bear take comfort in knowing that you are doing God's work and living out what He instructed us to do in His Word.

Also, know that He understands it is not easy. God is not ignorant to your struggle, your pain, your frustration, nor your loneliness.  When no one else on this globe gets how you feel HE DOES!  When you feel that no one else on earth cares what is happening to you HE DOES!  Give your cares to Him and I promise He will comfort and love you while you go through your valley experience and then He will strengthen you before the next valley comes!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Pray To Be Blessed

1 Chronicles 4:10 

Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request.

Many Christians do not approve or "believe in" the prayer of Jabez but I am definitely NOT one of those people.  If it is in the Bible then I believe it is true.  So when the Word says that Jabez was highly favored in the eyes of God and this was his prayer, how could it be wrong or selfish? 

What we miss is that Jabez looked to God to bless him and help him instead of the world or mere man like most do today.  People, Christians included, have convinced themselves that it is  up to them to do all they can to make it and become successful.  But what I notice is that a lot of wealthy or highly successful people seem really unhappy and unsatisfied with life, which tells me that something is missing. That something is the realization that God is the Giver of all blessings and the reason we exist.

In all reality, Jabez has it all figured out.  He prayed for God to bless him, which the Bible tells us God loves to do, and then to enlarge his territory.  Territory is the same as what we own.  This can be actual land or property, money, influence, and more.  If we desire these things and use them for God it is NOT selfish.  Jabez then asked God to guide him and protect him from harm.  Well, even Jesus taught us to pray that daily, so why would that not be okay?  And the part I love is when Jabez asks God to keep him from hurting others.  I can't say that I have prayed that too many times but after 40 years I know I need to daily!  

The real kicker is at the end when it clearly says, "GOD GRANTED HIS REQUEST"!!!  Read that over and over until it sinks into your head!  When God is first in your heart and life and you pray this prayer only good can come and many will be blessed in the NAME OF JESUS!  

I say, "Way, to pray, Jabez!"  Thanks for the awesome example!  Maybe we aren't being blessed more because we aren't praying and believing this prayer!

Friday, November 21, 2014

She Must Be Crazy

 "As she kept on praying to the Lord, Eli observed her mouth.  Hannah was praying in her heart, and her lips were moving but her voice was not heard. Eli thought she was drunk." 1 Samuel 1:12,13

Many times I believe those around me may look at me and think, "Jessica is kind of strange," or either, "Jessica, is a little overboard."  But you see, I don't mind for it just means that I am passionate and actually believe that my God can do the impossible.  The longer I serve God the more I witness, experience the blessings, and physically feel His presence.  Just this week alone I have witnessed Him working and doing amazing things in not only my own life but those around me.  

I was reminded today of Hannah and her story from the Bible.  She longed with all her heart to have a child even though she knew it seemed impossible.  She believed in God and knew that He alone could give her a child if He so desired.  We see her in the book of 1 Samuel going to the temple with absolutely no shame by not only praising the Lord but also petitioning Him to grant her a child.  She cried out to God with no shame or worry of what others may think. We even read that when she did so the priest, Eli, actually rebuked her for he assumed she was drunk, even though we know she was not.  

After Hannah has praised and petitioned the Lord I absolutely LOVE what she does next.  She goes home and goes to bed!  She actually rests in the fact that God is in control and the He will take care of her.  What a profound and convicting testimony for all of us.  I learn from Hannah that I should praise without fear, petition with confidence, and then REST in knowing the God always has my best interest in mind. God never fails!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

All Things

I love scripture and read it daily, yet until I see it become reality within my life it is not truly LIVING!  That's what it means when the Bible is referred to as the "living Word" of God.  It is the only book that is written in a fashion where it applies to the past, the present, and the future even after centuries.  

Just this week our family witnessed this scripture live for us in a new and amazing way!  We saw first hand that God used very trying and frustrating circumstances over the past few months in order to do something fantastic for not only our daughter but for us as a family. We watched how God had placed us in situations and with people over a year ago just so they could help us this past week!  God really is working all the time to put things into place even in the midst of our pain and turmoil. 

I sit this morning in complete awe and praise to the Lord Almighty for He actually does work all things together for my good and for all those who love Him.  He really does want the best for us. So, my advice today for you, from experience, is that when it seems God is distant and not interested in the horrible situation you are going through, know that He is beside you and He really is working all things together for your good.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Who Cares?

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” —Matthew. 11:28–30
Visit this link to read the IPHC 
Discipleship Ministries Blog 
Written my Jessica Daly

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Missing Mema

Matthew 5:4  “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”

Isn't it funny how I sit tonight missing my Mema, my paternal grandmother, terribly?  The last time I talked to her or she was able to tell me she loved me I was 16 years old. I lost her that year to a horrible disease called lung cancer. She was the first person I ever "cared" for as a caregiver.  I still remember the pain and fear of watching her take each breath near the end.  Clearly I remember the physical pain I felt in my heart when she left me but the relief for her to be out of pain.  One of the first tough lessons of caregiving I learned.

As a 40 year old wife and mother, I continue to miss her talks and her presence in my life.  I long to share with her and gain her wisdom.  I like to picture her sitting with me at my kitchen table with a glass of unsweetened ice tea in one hand and a cigarette dangling from the other.  Her smile is comforting and she refers to me as her pumpkin.  I often call my own daughter that same loving name without even realizing it.  Funny how embedded things are in your forever memories. 

What I miss most is the way in which she always made me feel.  She not only loved me but took care of me.  Many days as a caregiver I long for that feeling and realize that today this same comfort and care comes only through the Holy Spirit.  I see now how God loved me through my Mema and taught me what protective love felt like just so I would recognize it once it came from the Lord. 

I know my Mema waits for me in heaven and I often feel she is my guardian angel.  

Friday, October 31, 2014

Showing Gratitude

Psalms 136:1 O give thanks to the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endures for ever.

During a recent Bible study with my life group at church, we discussed the emotion that is most desired and needed by the soul.  The man leading the study surprised us all by stating that it wasn't love but actually gratitude.  After he said it we all began to shake our heads because it made sense.  As humans, we all long to feel appreciated and needed which in turn translates for many of us to being loved.  

Just this past week I decided to stop and pick up donuts for one of my classes that I teach at Liberty University.  I told them it was their Halloween treat.  I could have never have imagined the response that ensued upon opening the boxes of simple donuts.  First came surprise, then smiles as big as Texas, and then genuine heart-felt thanks from each and every single one of them.  They acted as if it were Christmas and I had given each of them their most desired gift.  To be honest, I was overwhelmed.  

I knew in that instant that the man leading the Bible study was right.  The gratitude I felt from my sweet students made me feel so special and so loved.  Then I thought about my Savior.  He has given me much more than a donut.  How many times during my day do I stop to sincerely thank Him for all the big and small things He does for me just because He loves me?  My answer is definitely,
"not enough"!  May we all show God more gratitude as an act of love, for His mercies really do endure forever!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Taylor Has Tourette Syndrome

For several years now we have noticed our daughter, Taylor, exhibiting involuntary facial and neck motions.  Many refer to these movements as "tics".  Most people who were around her never even noticed but with the onset of middle school this fall they began to increase in intensity.  Finally we knew we had to seek help when the tics became auditory or the correct term, which is phonetic.  Taylor did not say words but instead would make sounds.  

These motions and sounds could not be stopped and asking her to do so only increased her anxiety which in turn increased her tics.  Recently we sought the council of a child neurologist at UVA.  Dr. Bailey was not only wonderful with Taylor but us as well.  After much time and evaluation I heard the words that I knew in my heart but still broke it all at the same time.  "Mr. and Mrs. Daly, Taylor has Tourette Syndrome."  

My child had officially been labeled was my first thought as a protective mother.  But as the doctor continued to speak I heard words of encouragement and instruction on how to make Taylor's life better, which I wanted to hear.  I am now embarking on a new caregiving journey but I know, like always, He will never leave nor forsake me.  I do ask for your prayers as we navigate these new and sometimes rough waters.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Are You Serious?

Don’t be impatient. Wait for the Lord, and he will come and save you! Be brave, stouthearted, and courageous. Yes, wait and he will help you.

I don't know about you, but I love the part of this scripture that says "he will come and save you!" but all the other parts are my issue.  God is actually serious when He says, "Don't be impatient." And then on top of that He says to "be brave, stouthearted, and courageous."  We know that God never says something He doesn't mean so this means He actually expects us to do these very things.

At the same time if we do these things take a closer look at what God promises to do!  He says "he will come and save you!"  How can we argue with that?  I know I can't especially since He has saved me time and time again and I have the faith to know He will continue.

So the question remains can I be patient on God?  I try very hard.  I find that staying in the Word and in prayer is my key.  As I wait on Him daily, weekly, monthly and even yearly I will try my very hardest to not be impatient for I TRULY need saving!


Saturday, October 11, 2014

"I'm Fine!"

James 5:16 
Admit your faults to one another and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous man has great power and wonderful results.

Caregivers are the best at saying they are "fine" when in reality they are about to break into a million little pieces.  When I saw this graphic it touched me to my innermost soul for it defines a caregiver in so many ways.  All the things that are faint and hard to see are what we are really feeling and going through while on the outside we appear and say we are "fine".  

I think it is sad that we have been convinced by the devil that our feelings are wrong, not important, and something we should hide.  God gave us a community of believers for a reason.  He tells us that we are to admit to one another we have faults and then pray for one another.  What an amazing concept that our world and culture tells us is a sign of weakness.  Do you not see that the enemy has tricked us?  No wonder we feel so alone and misunderstood.  "

I want you to know today that I am not always "fine" and I feel all of the things in this graphic from time to time.  I am a child of God, a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister, and a friend.  I am a professional, too, but that doesn't change the life I lead or the challenges I face.  When we begin to be real with one another and begin to pray for one another we can stop lying and telling others that we are FINE!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

I Meant What I Promised

  Now to the married I command, yet not I but the Lord: A wife is not to depart from her husband.

October 9, 1999 was one of the absolute best days of my entire 40 years of life.  I was blessed to marry my best friend and true love before all my family, friends, and most importantly, God.  The young woman in this photograph could never have imagined what the following 15 years of marriage would look like for her.  She couldn't know at the time that after only a few short years of marriage all the vows she promised on her wedding day would be put to the ultimate test.

I love this picture for it was taken on a day filled with love and hope for a future together.  We dreamed of a beautiful life and that is exactly what we received.  Some may stop me and say, "Jessica, your life has been hard and trying so how can you honestly say that?"  But to that I would reply that we have seen the master and creator of the universe save us, provide for us, protect us, defend us, and bless us in ways which can only be described as miraculous.  We have learned to love a God that is real and true to His Word.  Without the tragedies, challenges, and frustrations we have endured and come through, we would never have known an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ.

I look back today and realize how truly blessed I am to have my husband, Brian, in my life.  I love him more today than I did in that picture for now our love has been put in the fire and tested.  I meant what I promised Brian.  I don't know what the next 15 years will look like but I'm so thankful I serve a God who does.    

Thursday, September 25, 2014

My Butt Alarm

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
I really do believe everything that is written in God's Word, but at the same time I also realize that much of it is difficult to do or accomplish.  While we strive to follow God's instruction, the devil, our enemy, works just as hard to confuse us and place doubt in our minds toward the Word.
Most caregivers and people in general for that matter love this scripture that Jesus spoke for all of us.  He understands our burdens and he knows that we are weary.  That alone comforts me but then comes the really seemingly unrealistic part.  Jesus says, "I will give you rest."  I am certain that when He spoke those works He did not realize how much is on my plate and running over the sides.  How in the world does Jesus think I can rest?  
I have a running joke about having a butt alarm.  Yes, you heard me right. You see, each time I try and sit down someone calls my name!  There has to be a silent alarm somewhere that alerts those in my family that mom has indeed placed her butt in a chair and thinks she is going to rest for a few moments.  I hear, "Mommy!" or "Jessica!" from another room usually seconds after I have settled into my favorite chair to rest.  I really don't know how it got there but I assure you it is there and working great. I talk to caregivers daily that experience this very same phenomena. 
What I have realized is that the rest Jesus offers to me if I chose to accept it is a supernatural rest.  It is rest that comes when physically I should be exhausted or unable to function but I am sharp and able to accomplish the tasks placed before me.  His rest is also spiritual.  It gives me peace and comfort while the circumstances around me should have me in a mess.  His rest also gives me protection from the evil one and his vicious attacks throughout my day. That alone is something I am so thankful for and could not do without.
My prayer is that you will call upon Jesus today and ask for this rest that comes only from Him.  It's the only thing that will sustain you and refresh you in the journey you are on.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Is It Too Late?

 "But you men of Judah, keep up the good work and don’t get discouraged, for you will be rewarded.” 2 Chronicles 15:7

Just this past week I began to wonder why I was doing what I was doing when I had such grand dreams I longed to accomplish just waiting for me.  I began to long for more but at the same time I began to look at where I presently was in a negative light.  I started to see all I had not yet accomplished instead of all that I had done with the Lord or what He was doing presently.  That's what the enemy does. His goal is to take our eyes off of Jesus and His blessings so that our focus can become misdirected.  

I began to think about my age, which is 40, and wondered if I still had enough time to do all the things I had planned.  My sweet husband reminded me that I wasn't "that old" and that I had plenty of time to do all the things I had dreamt of.  I felt a little better but still couldn't shake the worry and doubt.  

Then this afternoon I told my daughter I would read with her while she read. She had gotten me a book entitled Walt before Mickey by Timothy S. Susanin for she knows of my love for all things Disney, especially Walt himself.  As I read the biography, I saw when he first arrived in Hollywood, he felt he was too old at the age of 26 to make it as a cartoonist in the business of animation. It definitely made me realize that we all feel that way sometimes but God doesn't see our lives the way we do.

Don't give up on your dreams because God says you will be rewarded for your good works!  I'm going to continue dreaming and keep believing that one day I will see the desires of my heart become realities right before my eyes.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Morning Off... Really?

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28

Caregivers long for just a few short moments, minutes, or to even dare a few hours of rest from the constant demands of their every day lives.  Just when they believe they will have a time of rest, that is sometimes the very moment things fall apart and that possible respite is taken away.

Each Monday my schedule calls for me to work from 1:30 pm until 10:00 pm.  I don't particularly enjoy this but I love my job so I do it with grace.  Due to this schedule it would seem that I would have Monday mornings to rest, enjoy my coffee, and have some "ME" time.  Really?  Are you serious? 

No, there is always something that seems to happen on Monday mornings.  There is an issue with my daughter, my husband, or sometimes even the dog.  It never fails that I am up and going at the very same time I would have started had I arrived at work at 8:00.  So, I pray for the extra coffee to do it's magic and for God to give me supernatural energy that can only come from Him so that I am able to make it through the day and night.  

Caregiver, don't loose hope.  There are some days I still find a quiet moment for myself.  It is actually possible.  God is our source of rest.  We must stay in Him for relief and rest.

Monday, September 1, 2014

What If I'm Angry?

Ephesians 4:26The Message (MSG)

26-27 Go ahead and be angry. You do well to be angry—but don’t use your anger as fuel for revenge. And don’t stay angry. Don’t go to bed angry. Don’t give the Devil that kind of foothold in your life.
This past weekend my husband and I had the privilege of speaking to a group about staying faithful to God and to one another in the midst of trials and adversity.  At the close of our time with them we opened the floor for questions from the congregation.  I have to say all the questions were good  but one really pierced my heart.
"How do you deal with the anger?"  I could tell from her eyes she knew much of what we were talking about that night due to her sincerity and need for an answer.  I smiled and said, "I get angry a lot.  I used to get angry because Brian was sick and I may loose him.  I also got angry because others didn't have a clue as to what I was facing or feeling.  I also got angry at my husband, too."  I went on to tell her that it was natural and okay and that she needed to vent to a trusted friend and especially to God.
Well, that's when it happened.  With tear filled eyes she said, "But what if the one I am angry with is God?  Then Brian spoke up and said, "Then tell Him and vent to Him.  He already knows what you're feeling and that you are upset with Him."  She smiled and then Brian said, "We get angry with the people we love.  If you are upset with your earthy father you would tell him so why wouldn't you tell your heavenly Father?"  
Once you express your feelings you can then walk past the anger and look to God for support, protection, provision, and comfort. I love it when God's people can be real with one another but especially with Him.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Try Again???

"Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart." 
2 Corinthians 4:1

Well, four years ago I found out about this cool thing called the "Disney Mom's Panel" sponsored by the Walt Disney World Corporation.  People who not only love Disney but also assist others in planning their special trips to Disney World are encouraged to apply for this online panel that gives others advice.  They are always looking for unique perspectives and since I adore Disney and have had to plan very special trips as a caregiver, I thought it was a no brainer.  Except for the fact that for the past three years I have researched, read, researched, read and prepared knowing I would no doubt make it  AND they would LOOOOVE to have me on their team.  Sounded right to me.

Well... that hasn't been the case.  I have never made it and my family wasn't very happy when I commented that I was applying again next week.  When I asked why, already knowing, they said it was because I was sad for several days when I didn't make it.  They hate seeing me disappointed.  I totally love that about them BUT, in life we can't stop trying.  At least I can't!  

So, next week I will apply again knowing that not only would I love to be a part of something "Disney" but would also love to share my God given passion and calling to help caregivers.  And why not combine two of my loves together?  Again for the fourth year in a row, if I don't make it I will know that is isn't part of God's plan for me right now.  No matter how awesome something appears I have learned that if God doesn't want it for me, there is a reason and I have to accept that.  At the same time, I will continue to try things knowing that when they do work it is His plan and His timing!  Who knows?

Thursday, August 28, 2014

He's a Lie, But He's Good At What He Does

The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.”

We all know that the devil is a liar, but he's also the best that ever lived.  Because he is so smart and so cunning we fall victim to his traps and snares on a daily basis.  Our enemy knows us very well and because of this he devises a manipulated plan created for each of us individually.  We all have different weaknesses and the devil is very aware of each one.  Remember the scriptures tell us clearly that he watches and waits for us like a prowling lion ready to devour us.  

This week especially I have watched those around me that I love be entangled in this wicked web of deception called doubt and fear.  I see believers who love the Lord and know of His infinite power become enveloped within anxiety and panic so strong that it physically and mentally overcomes them.  I am angered for I know the enemy is happy and even laughing as children of God live this way void of His joy and peace.  

I want you to know today that you are not alone.  Even Jesus Christ our Savior was attacked over and over by the devil.  What I do see though is that each time Jesus rebuked him with the Word of God.  Are we doing that?  When we come under attack are we quoting scriptures aloud and speaking the name of Jesus aloud?  If not, we are not using the only weapons we have.  Use them today and watch the enemy retreat.  Reclaim God's peace and joy TODAY!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

My Thoughts... My Choice

He will keep in perfect peace all those who trust in him, whose thoughts turn often to the Lord!
Peace sounds really great and I find myself constantly asking God for it.  I read scriptures like Isaiah 26:3 and wonder why I still don't feel it all the time.  It says He will keep "perfect peace" in those who trust Him and I trust the Lord.  Or do I?
I want to trust Him fully but if I am real with you it is something I struggle with on a daily basis.  I know God is real and that He sent Jesus to die for my sins.  I know that the Holy Spirit speaks to me and guides me for I sense His presence and see His hand working in my life, BUT, then come the uncertain moments in my life when all hell breaks loose and there's nothing I can do to make it better.  What happens to that peace then?  
If my peace leaves it is simply because my my thoughts are not turned toward the Lord.  The scripture clearly explains that we keep our peace when we keep our mind on God.  Plain and simple yet so very difficult to actually do.  Try it.  When you read the Word of God, pray to Him, and focus on all the things you are thankful for because of God's love and blessing on your life, it becomes nearly impossible to not sense His peace.  Remember, His peace passes all understanding.  That means that it doesn't need to make sense in order to be real. We need it in order to survive this crazy ride called life.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Not Always Smiles

The living, the living—they praise you, as I am doing today; parents tell their children about your faithfulness

When you look at this picture of me and my daughter all you see are smiles.  For the most part, this is how we look most of the time but parenting is never without bumps in the road.  Even when you have awesome kids like I do, they mess up and believe at times that they know best. (Especially when they start middle school!)

I am learning day by day that without God as my guide being a parent in the world today is close to impossible.  It is imperative for me to not only share my love for the Lord but also live out what I preach. My daughter has to see God working in my life in order to believe He will and can do the same in her life.

My job is to not only love, protect, and care for my daughter but to "tell my children about God's faithfulness!"

Monday, August 11, 2014

What's Your Evidence?

Now then, stand here, because I am going to confront you with evidence before the Lord as to all the righteous acts performed by the Lord for you and your ancestors. 
1 Samuel 12:7

If someone were to ask you how you knew God was real and alive today what would be your evidence?  If they asked you what God had done for you what examples would you share with them? When I actually began to list all my "evidence" my heart became so full that I began to cry.  

To name only a few would be how God has never left me nor forsaken me during the past eight years as a caregiver.  God saved my husband's life as well as my daughter's.  God has provided for our family over and over again in miraculous ways.  It would take me hours to share all the evidence I was able to gather.

I challenge you to begin a list of all the evidence you could share with a non-believer if they were to ask you to show them proof that God really existed.  I guarantee that as you complete this list you will be filled with such gratitude that you will break out in praise to the Lord like never before!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Don't Put On Airs

1 Peter 5:7 
So be content with who you are, and don’t put on airs. God’s strong hand is on you; he’ll promote you at the right time. Live carefree before God; he is most careful with you.

I'm gonna be completely honest with you. You would think that at the age of 40 I would no longer be concerned with being anything but myself.  Well, that is partially true.  I can say that at this stage in the journey I am very comfortable with who I am in Christ as a woman, a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister, and a friend.  What you see is what you get when it comes to my personality and the way I love others.

At the same time the enemy knows where our insecurities lie and that is exactly where he relentlessly attacks us.  I presently serve Liberty University as a faculty research librarian as well as an associate professor.  I know that God brought me to Liberty but you can bet the devil followed me there, too!  I'll never forget soon after arriving and being told by a co-worker that I may want to "tone down the southern charm and be careful of how I talked," which totally devastated me.  For two weeks I was afraid to talk to anyone but then I woke up and realized that they hired me and that I was southern and that I needed to be myself.  And you know what?  People love my southern charm and accent!  

What the devil intended to discourage me has been something that makes me unique and special.  People don't forget meeting me or talking with me!  Too funny!  This scripture is true, just like the rest of the Bible.  Know today you don't have to act like something or someone that you aren't.  Be your best YOU and allow God to do the rest.  He says that He will promote us and be careful with us. What more could we ask for?

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Where My Help Comes From

Psalm 121:1-8  Shall I look to the mountain gods for help?  No! My help is from Jehovah who made the mountains! And the heavens too!  He will never let me stumble, slip, or fall. For he is always watching, never sleeping. Jehovah himself is caring for you! He is your defender. He protects you day and night. He keeps you from all evil and preserves your life. He keeps his eye upon you as you come and go and always guards you.

One of the hardest challenges I have faced since I became a caregiver has to be asking others for help. After 8 years as my husband's caregiver I have learned through much disappointment and hurt feelings there is only a handful of people who sincerely have a desire to assist me in my journey as a caregiver.  I also discovered there is an even larger number who have great intentions but would rather not be involved because my life is somewhat "messy".  

When my husband, Brian, was first diagnosed with heart failure, I had to learn how to be a receiver.  People offered to help us and I would constantly reject them with a smile explaining how we were were fine.  In reality we were not fine, and even today have moments when we need others.  God created all of us to be relational beings and I believe He helps us through others.  I had no problem helping others but found it almost painful to accept help.  After learning to accept help, I faced a new challenge.

Over the years, I would ask certain individuals for support in some way only to find myself very disappointed in the end. This is a reality that you need to face as a caregiver.  There will be times when you ask people who you trust and you believe understand your situation, only to have them let you down.  When this happens, you must remember who your REAL and TRUE help will always be. That Helper is our Lord Jesus Christ!

When you ask Jesus for help He will NEVER leave you nor forsake you. What an amazing promise that caregivers have. He has His eye on us.  I love that mental picture.  As a parent, I like to have my eyes on my daughter in order to help and protect her.  That is how God feels about us! Don't forget that your and my help comes from the creator of the mountains and the heavens.  God is our ULTIMATE helper and caregiver!

Wait for the Lord

Don’t be impatient. Wait for the Lord, and he will come and save you! Be brave, stouthearted, and courageous. Yes, wait and he will help you.

I love this scripture!  I read it today over and over for it gives me the encouragement that I long for.  Waiting on the Lord is NOT something that comes natural to me but it is something that God tells me to do.  He also tells me to be "brave, stouthearted, and courageous" while I am patient on Him helping me!  That is a tall order.

But, what I love is that the Word tells me that if I wait the creator of the universe and Savior will actually come to my personal rescue.  Jesus will save me from whatever circumstances avail me.  If God promises to do something I know there is no doubt it will happen.  Now how and WHEN is another story.  

I must trust that God knows best when it comes to my life and what's best for me.  As I wait in anticipation of my next chapter, I know in my heart that my true and real hope is in the Lord Jesus Christ.