You Are Loved- Week 5: You Can Trust Him

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Little did I know what God was up to 20 plus years ago when I felt like my world was falling apart. From my limited perspective, all I saw was destruction. All I felt was pain and fear. “What now…” filled my mind as my parent’s divorce was finalized at the end of my 3rd grade year. That summer, my mom, brother and I moved to a rural farming community in Indiana near my grandparents, away from the airbase where we had called home for the past few years. It seemed as though my world was falling apart and I couldn’t find God anywhere. I couldn’t feel Him. I couldn’t see Him. My prayers kept going unanswered and I was sure He had stopped listening because now we were broken…and no one wants something that is broken…not even God.

Though I didn’t know it at the time, God was actually VERY active in my life building something in the MIDST of pain, heartache, fear and broken dreams.Why is it that we feel God moves away from us during those times in our lives? When we are at our lowest? When marriages fall apart? When test results comeback for the worst? When hopes and dreams are shattered?

We may feel unlovable but God doesn’t see us that way. We must remember Christ died for us when we were still sinners, (Romans 5:8) when we didn’t have our act together…and on that point, never will. He choose to love us in spite of our sins, our short comings…our messed-up brokenness.

That’s want I hope you see through this week’s story. When my life felt like it was at it’s worst, God was actually working at His best. Don’t forget for a second who your Savior is……He’s a carpenter and He knows how to fix lives to make them even more beautiful than before.

And that’s exactly what He did.

What God allowed years ago when I was a little girl, through pain and heartache, He is now redeeming and bringing purpose and beauty out of it. God allowed the hurt, because He saw a greater good emerging from the ashes of broken homes and broken dreams. I have learned to trust God because I have seen Him work in my life in amazing ways.- Angela Perritt, You Are Loved

Many times though, we don’t always feel His presence in the midst of the brokenness. It’s not until we have traveled through the storm that we realize Jesus was actually with us each step of the way. That’s where our trust comes into play.

Now that I’m on the other side, I have to tell you I am forever grateful God did not rescue me immediately from the pain, disappointment and heartache I had to travel. Why? Because that experience grew my faith and my relationship with Jesus emerged stronger because of it.

Sweet friends, God loves us but He doesn’t want us to stay weak in our faith. It’s through hard days, trials and tribulations that we grow our spiritual muscles.

Can I encourage you in this today? There is a purpose for what you are walking through. You may not see it just now. You may feel God has left you. But He hasn’t……He has promised He never will (Deut. 31:8) and God NEVER breaks His promises.Continue to cling to Jesus. Dig into God’s Word and seek Him before anyone else. Remember you have a limited perspective and can’t see how God is using your current situation to one day…maybe even 20 some years from now, bring beauty out of the ashes!!!

Join me over at GoodMorningGirls.org to listen to this week’s video and hear the amazing story of how God worked in my life so many years ago and how this story even touches your life today!!!

Thank you so very much for joining Sally and me this summer as we discover God’s amazing love!!

Previous Posts:
My Year Long Surprise
#YouAreLoved Book Release Day & {Giveaway}
Making of Disciples of ALL Nations
The Launching of a Dream
Because Sometimes You Need Reminded that You are Loved…

Special Video From Angela & Sally
#You Are Loved- Available for FREE in 7 translations!

Week 1- He Calls Us Belovedyou-are-loved-spine copy
Monday- Let’s Get Started
Wednesday- You Are Not Alone
Friday-We Are Loved!

Week 2- Knowing God
Monday- Chapter 2: Knowing God
Wednesday- He Gives Us a Heart to Know Him
Friday-Knowing God: When Doubt Comes…

Week 3-The Rival
Monday- Chapter 3: The Rival
Tuesday- A Personal Message From the You Are Loved Contributors
Wednesday-No Condemnation…
Friday- The Great Deceiver

Week 4- God Loves You
Monday- Chapter 4: God Loves You
Wednesday- Modeling God’s Love for Ourselves Changes Lives…
Friday- The Good About Not Having It All Together…

Want to join our study? You still can! Purchase a book and jump on in! You can go at your own pace! You can purchase You Are Loved on Amazon here.

Let’s Talk:
What stood out to you the most in chapter five? What are some ways that you have learned to trust God more in your life?

Love God Greatly!

-Angela

 

You Are Loved- Week 4: God Loves You

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I bought into that lie for way to many years, you know the one about God only using “perfect” people…you may have too. I thought in order to really serve God, I had to be perfect, I had to really have my act together… sweet friends, nothing could be further from the truth.

I’ll admit to you that chapter four was my hardest chapter to write and caused me so much fear I almost didn’t turn You Are Loved in to be published. I struggled with the thought of sharing with so many women my deepest, darkest pain….a personal “thorn” I had hidden for most of my life…..from almost everyone in my life. But this past year God has been doing a mighty work in my heart and I came to realize that I was being disobedient to Him by keeping silent. And so there you go, as an act of obedience and out of love for our Lord and for you, I share with you in chapter four one of my deepest, darkest struggles. I do so because I want YOU to know, that no matter what your “thorn” may be, God can use you. God uses imperfect people to do His perfect will.

I’ve learned through my life that it is in our weaknesses where we can find the opportunity to give God the most glory.

Join Sally and me today over at GoodMorningGirls.org where you will find our Monday video, weekly reading plan, memory verse and this week’s challenge! Thank you so very much for joining us this summer as we discover God’s amazing love!!! you-are-loved-spine

You can find our book: You Are Loved on Amazon here. 

Love God Greatly!

Angela

Previous post in our summer book club/Bible study

Week 1- He Calls Us Beloved
Monday- Let’s Get Started
Wednesday- You Are Not Alone
Friday-We Are Loved!

Week 2- Knowing God
Monday- Chapter 2: Knowing God
Wednesday- He Gives Us a Heart to Know Him
Friday-Knowing God: When Doubt Comes…

Week 3-The Rival
Monday- Chapter 3: The Rival
Tuesday- A Personal Message From the You Are Loved Contributors
Wednesday-No Condemnation…
Friday- The Great Deceiver

Want to join our study? You still can! Purchase a book and jump on in! You can go at your own pace! You can purchase You Are Loved on Amazon here.

Let’s Talk:
What stood out to you the most in chapter four?

 

 

Hide ‘Em in Your Heart

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Today’s post is written by Heather Ashe

Most of us who pop in here at I Take Joy agree that the Bible is important.  It is the Word of God to His people!  Most of us also know the challenge of getting in regular Bible study amid the routine and relentless demands of life.  One of my favorite things to do is study a passage with commentaries, thought and prayer, and have an opportunity to share what I learn with others.  The lack of time I have to spend in study is frustrating, but life has other delights for me right now – three to be exact, ages 9, 5, and 2.

Having those three little treasures around has revealed how “all or nothing” I am; if I can’t do a task or activity the way I want, I’m quick to despair and quit. Knowing that about myself, I have had to accept two things.   One, I won’t usually have the blocks of time I desire, so I must stop being annoyed by it.  Two, I should take advantage of (or create) spaces when I can inch toward what I desire, rather than wasting that time despairingly checking my Facebook feed!

In Latin we can summarize the second point in two words: carpe diem, and we can apply this approach to time we spend in the Word as moms.  In particular, we can seize moments to memorize Scripture passages!

Our best offence and defense, in the wild, unpredictable, worrisome and confusing rhythms of life, is God’s Word.

He has spoken that we might listen.

Aren’t there times when you are reading your Bible, sitting in worship, or discussing Scripture at small group when a verse or passage really catches your attention?  You’d like to spend more time thinking about it, but children interrupt, the worship service or small group ends, and you never do.  Let me suggest that when that happens, you make a note – at the top of your journal page, on the back of your hand, in your phone.  Later, read the passage again. Let it start to sink in.  Ask God to open your ears to hear.  And, begin memorizing the words; or as musician, Steve Green, says, Hide ‘em in your heart!  Start with the first verse, practice it until you know it well, then add the next verse, and so on.

Toward the end of last year, I started doing this and have enjoyed sitting for a spell in one passage.  There have even been (brief and blissful!) moments when I have time to let my mind wander and I think, Hey, I wonder if I can remember the verse I was memorizing this morning?  Sometimes, I do!

When we memorize Scripture, we let God’s Word infiltrate our brain and transform the way we think.  Romans 12:1-2

I love when the Spirit uses the Word to make our hearts tingle.  Don’t look longing back at those tingle moments, wishing you could recall what it was that so touched your heart.  Instead, make a note to get back to those Words and hide ‘em in your heart.  In this practice there’s no schedule, deadline, rush or final exam, just the freedom to carpe as many diems as you need to let God’s Word to you sink in.

I have hidden Your word in my heart, that I may not sin against you.

Psalm 119:11

Peace,

Heather

Life in the Valley

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Ways to Make Time for His Word

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“I have come to believe that the success or failure of any woman who hopes to build her children into a godly legacy depends to a great degree on whether or not she is spending time in the presence of the Lord and filling her mind with His word.”
-Sally Clarkson, The Mom Walk

Desiring to secure the hearts of our children with a love for God, often we try to teach them what is right, correct their attitudes, and often become frustrated with their immaturity, and so in our exhaustion, point out faults to our immature children.

We strive to be women of godly ideals, but tend to fall short and overwhelm ourselves with the mundane, ordinary day “have-tos.”

Yet, we cannot show our children the excellencies of God’s character if we have not invested time in His presence. We become like the ones we spend time with! –And so if we can never make time to cultivate a deep love, a fresh worship, a spontaneous conversation with our dear Father, then we will not be living from His spirit’s truth, wisdom and grace.

Spending time in God’s word is essential to our restoration as mothers. Without God’s word, what voices are filling our minds, hearts, and souls?

In the midst of busy, hectic schedules, it can be extremely difficult to make time for His word. We must be intentional and prioritize this necessary peace. Today, I am going to share some ideas with you on how we can not only pencil in and squeeze in our time with God, but full benefit from His amazing word.

1: Get an accountability partner.

Some of us need that extra push and reminder so that we don’t forget to spend time in His word. Talk to your best girl friend about holding each other accountable for your time in scripture. Call each other, or email, weekly to check in and remind each other of the importance of God’s word. Commit to a 6 month period of time to be prayer partners or to study a book of the Bible or a devotional together.

2. Bible reading plans.

With so many things going on in various directions, sometimes we don’t even know where to start once we open our bibles. Bible reading plans provide schedule, routine, order, and continuity to our time in scripture. Read through one Psalm a day and circle or note each verse that speaks of His character. Or underline wisdom or truth or a promise of principle. Or Read John and do the same thing. Keep a journal close by and each day write one thing you have learned. If you have time, pray through what you have learned. These books are good places to start.

3. I Take Joy scripture challenge. 

If His lovingkindness is before you every day, then you will walk in His ways and find His blessing.

Choose one of the scriptures below and personalize it for yourself:

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”119:105

“For Your loving kindness is before my eyes, and I have walked in Your truth.” -Psalm 26:3

If you’re up for the challenge, write that verse on multiple sticky notes. Commit in your heart to seek His truth so that you may walk in it. Place one on your mirror, one in your car, and one on your coffee maker. Really meditate on that scripture, memorize it, and feel free to leave a comment on this blog post to share what that verse means to you in your current season of motherhood. Share this post with your friends so that we may learn from each other and grow in His wisdom, love, and truth.

Write the verse, tape it on your bathroom mirror and repeat it each time you are in the room. Or put it on your kitchen wall and say it with your children when you wash dishes. Add one verse each week and you will have a heart full of encouragement and truth when your year is up!

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The Discipleship & Discipline Webinar

Over 1,000 moms joined us on the Discipleship & Discipline Webinar! If you weren’t able to attend the live course, now you can get it on-demand. If you would like to get access to the Webinar, simply click here. It was so much fun, and we are so excited to share this with you.

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Moms: God’s source of grace in young girl’s lives!

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In a culture where women are confronted every day with photographs in media that show perfect bodies, messages suggesting sexual innuendos and the need for young women to be attractive to the opposite sex, there is a perfect emotional storm for all young girls seeking to be liked and wanting to eventually be loved by the opposite sex.  The passage from childhood to adulthood is fraught with kids wanting to still be loved and approved by their parents, but also longing to strain toward adulthood and wanting to be affirmed by their peers. This is a normal passage for all young women.

However, the way this passage into adulthood is handled will greatly determine the relative health and confidence with which a girl merges into adulthood. And as a mom, you can truly be a voice of affirmation, encouragement and guidance for your girls if you can understand the pressure they feel to conform and to please their peers.

Now in my 20′s,  I have experienced my fair share of growing up, stretching, hurting, and learning how to enjoy being a young woman. Even now, I remember my first day of high school , and the confusion and anxiety I felt, like it was yesterday. The majority of my peers were nervous, maybe even terrified, wondering how well they would be received by the population of teenagers.

I couldn’t fall asleep the night before because I couldn’t stop thinking about what I should wear. My mom had taken me to my favorite outlet mall over summer break to pick out some new clothes. The entire night, I tossed and turned wondering which t-shirt/blue jean combo I should choose. Finally, I decided on some faded blue jeans with the “totally not already made that way” holes in the knees. Being from Florida, I also went with a Kenny Chesney t-shirt and some flip flops to complete my perfect high school look.

I walked down the halls my first day trying not to smile too much, because I didn’t want to draw attention to my metal mouth. After each class that day, I rushed to the bathroom to fix my Florida humidified hair. Why was I so concerned about what people thought of me? They were just teenagers. The point is, we all want so badly to be accepted. We want to be liked.

These are the feelings all young women feel during their teenage years.

Now, as 22 year old young woman living in Hollywood, I have come to realize that these insecurities with which we struggle, don’t really fade away with age. Women were created to be clothed in strength, dignity, confidence and grace, but looking around at our culture today, I see so much brokenness. So much hurt. So much insecurity. So many emotional scars.

We are in a generation with a serious identity crisis. We desperately want to be able to define who we are. This is why tween & teen girls will spend hours getting ready to go anywhere.  They long for affirmation in a culture that is passive and disconnected from real love. Constantly seeking answers and trying to figure out our ideals, beliefs, and dreams creates emotional vulnerability. Girls compare themselves to photo-shopped magazines. We are told that our value is in our bodies. We sometimes let our own insecurities discourage us deep within.  But what if I told you that you, as a mom,  held power and God given authority, to positively determine the outcome of your daughter’s life? What if I told you that God has entrusted you to steward and raise a woman of influence?

This is a time and a generation filled with young women who desperately need to know they are worthy, valuable, and strong. All we need to do is change our definitions of ourselves. As a mother, you are in charge of a very important job.

Instead of getting frustrated with your daughter, her hormonal ups and downs, times of irrational responses, try to remember how you felt at her age. Relate to her and remember that it is not easy trying to figure out a strong identity.

Remember, “A gentle answer turns away wrath.” Proverbs 15:1 (or anger, frustration, insecurity!)

I challenge you this week to make intentional time with your daughter. Have a cup of tea or coffee, laugh, chat, and ask her what is on her heart. When moms make time to be casual and personal with their daughters, to value the things their children admire, then it opens up a girl’s heart to share with her inner most feelings with her mom. Perhaps your daughter is feeling confident and joyful. That is absolutely amazing, and it is my wish for every young woman. However, most girls struggle with feelings of doubt, insecurity, and confusion, but they do not want to reveal it unless they feel they can trust someone with their insecurities. Take the time to allow your daughter know how important her concerns are to you.

If you are seeking a Bible study, devotional resource to assist you as you spend quality time with your daughter, you can click on the following link to get your very own copy of my book, “God’s Girl.”

Relate to your daughter this week, and remind her that she is marvelously made.

***For more on Rachael Lee, check out her blog for young women.

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Rachael Lee, Ministry Leader for Tween Girls; author, actress, Bible study Leader