Happy Thanksgiving

From all of us here at Light Love Hope, we wish you and your family a very Happy Thanksgiving!

As you gather around your table for the big feast today, think of those that may be struggling at this time of year.  Pray for them and lift them up before our Father in Heaven.

Be sure to thank God for all of your many blessings in life.  God has been so good to us and has blessed us all much more than we deserve.  Yes, there will be trials and struggles in this life.  But, God will never leave you nor forsake you.  Rest in that comfort and reassurance.

If you haven’t already done so, think of all of the things that you are thankful for – write them down if you would like to have something to reflect back on later after Thanksgiving Day has passed.  Take time to thank God and show your gratitude for the multitude of blessings that He pours out into our lives.  Then, keep on doing this long after the holiday has come and gone.  Better yet, keep that attitude of gratitude all year through!

Blessings to you and your family from all of us at Light Love Hope!

LightLoveHopePic

 

Open and Honest

Finding Freedom In Our Stories

Yesterday my husband shared his heart in a post that literally took us two hours to write together (he talked, and I typed away).  It was a very emotional two hours, and he needed breaks here and there, which is understandable considering the subject matter that he wrote on and the sensitivity of the issue.

There were years of repressed emotions and issues that have surfaced this year, more specifically in the past eight months, that we’ve had to deal with.  Dusty was open and honest with me, as well as our community here at Light, Love, Hope, on the issues he struggled with.  It took a lot for him to write that post and put it out there publically for all to see.

Some may wonder why we’re being so open at this point about our struggles and issues within our marriage.  The reason for this is that issues that remain in the darkness leave you full of remorse, regret, and such overwhelming guilt and shame.  When you bring the issue out into the open like this, from the darkness into the light, they slowly start to lose the grip that they have had on you for so long.  It is as if you were almost sworn to secrecy by this issue because of how embarrassing it was to admit it, and yet, the only way to heal is to be as open and honest as possible.  I applaud Dusty for his confession and for disclosing all that he has to me, to our family, and to our community here.

He also confessed his sins that he was committing with almost a secret life that he was living in darkness with thoughts put into his head and temptations all around him by the king of darkness himself.  But, Dusty took his issues before The Light of The World, Jesus Christ, and He has forgiven Dusty of his sins.

Colossians 3:5 ESV

Put to death therefore what is earthly in you:

sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness,

which is idolatry.

Now Dusty has to be more determined than ever to turn from his sin, because I realize that all of this has angered the evil one so much that he will do everything within his power to put the temptation back into Dusty’s face now more than ever.  Our God is greater than ANY attempt the devil can throw at us, and God can and will equip Dusty with the ability not to give into temptation but to keep his eyes, heart, mind, and soul on things that are pure.

Philippians 4:8 ESV

Finally, brothers, whatever is true,

whatever is honorable,

whatever is just,

whatever is pure,

whatever is lovely,

whatever is commendable,

if there is any excellence,

if there is anything worthy of praise,

think about these things.

We believe that, while Dusty still struggles to forgive himself, God has already forgiven Dusty of the sins of the past.  When he went to the Lord with a heart of true repentance, after he had hit rock bottom and knew that the only way to get out of this pit of darkness and despair was to turn his life around, God forgave him.

Acts 3:19 ESV

Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out,

As he attempts to put his ghosts of the past and skeletons in his closet to rest, we know that while man may judge him and condemn him, there is NO condemnation now from Jesus.

Romans 8:1 ESV

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Dusty will be popping in periodically to share more on his journey as he’s on the road to recovery from his pornography addiction.  We know that he is not the only one out there that is struggling with this.  Few will come forward as he has done and be completely honest, but when you are ready to turn from your ways, know that help is available for you.

For wives that are struggling with the hurt and betrayal after finding out about your husband’s secret, I am here to encourage you and let you know that while it hurts terribly at this point, you can be whole again.  Your marriage can be restored.  God can help you through this, if you just ask.

We reached out for help to different people and different groups over the past eight months, and now we are sharing our story in hopes of helping others that are going through this.  That is what we are to do, rally around each other and help each other through it.

We are here, you need only to reach out.  The same applies even more so with Jesus.  He’s here.  All you have to do is call on the name of the Lord.

 

All Things New

Real Men, Real Issues

Dear Readers of Light, Love, Hope:

I come before you today in raw truth speaking straight from my heart and soul regarding real issues that men have.  I will be speaking openly about my struggles in hopes to help someone else out of the pit of darkness that I once was living in.  It is my hope to help encourage others who wish to leave that pit and join me on my journey to becoming a Godly Man.

A few months ago, back in May to be exact, I admitted to my wife something that held me in bondage for years, and that is an addiction to pornography.  This is something that I am not proud of and carry a tremendous amount of guilt and shame over as it was a sin and dishonored my wife.  Shirley could have turned her back on me at that time when the truth came out,  yet she made a decision to walk with me, to take my hand and help lead me out of the darkness into the light.  With her help, support, love, and encouragement, along with God’s grace, mercy, and forgiveness, I sit here today willing to share my real life struggle in hopes of helping someone else who may also be struggling and living a secret life of sin.

Mark 4:22

“For there is nothing hidden but it must be disclosed,

nothing kept secret except to be brought to light.”

This secret life has caused so much hurt, pain, and suffering to my wife and to my entire family.  I can hardly face myself in the mirror when I realize how my wife has suffered over what I’ve done.

Oh my God!  What have I done to my precious wife and kids?!  

They do NOT deserve this!

It stirred up a tremendous amount of emotions in them, in me, and in my entire family when this all came out.

I know first hand that sin grows in the dark where no one can see, or so you tell yourself.   If you have thought that you can hide something by being deceitful, it will come out in other ways.  It’s wrong to think this way and to hide anything from your spouse, but even though I tried so hard to keep my secrets hidden, she knew something was going on.  She couldn’t quite put her finger on it, but she feared the worst.  Although I did not have a physical affair, viewing the pornography was most definitely wrong and hurt her thinking of me lusting after other women when I should have only had eyes for her.

I have learned of and felt over the years how this sin slowly eats away at your self esteem, self worth, you have no integrity, and it most certainly separates you from God while destroying any trust that your wife may have with you.  It causes you to be handicapped emotionally and an intimacy disorder develops without you even realizing it until it has already happened.  You have an aversion to the very thing that you desire most, and that is the closeness with your wife.

You want to be loved, respected, honored, validated, and most certainly a man of integrity, but it robs you of all of those things.

It objectifies and degrades women, and it has the potential of destroying your marriage.  It steals your joy, your ability to communicate, and you are always on guard because you don’t want your secret sin to be found out.

For me, I have hidden this for well over 30 years, but when all of this started to boil over in May, I had no choice but to seek professional help to deal with all of this and try to save my marriage.  It has been excruciating pealing back all of the layers to get to the sin and be honest that you weren’t who everyone thought that you were all of this time, including yourself.  I have beat myself up, and I ran from the anguish that it caused in myself, in my wife, and my entire family as in I left the home twice when I was battling with myself.  This was unfair to my whole family because then not only did they feel hurt from the sin being disclosed and revealed, but now they were forced to deal with all the emotions that were brought forth by my abandoning them after dumping all of this in their lap.  By the grace of God, Shirley allowed me to come back home both times – oh thank you God – but I had to continue with counseling and stop the sin!

John 10:10

“The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy:

I am come that they might have life,

and that they might have it more abundantly.”

The enemy is slick, and there are men that sit in your very churches that have this hidden sin also.  Few would admit that they have an issue with lust and pornography, but the enemy will tempt and try everyone – men, women, saints, deacons, preachers, youth ministers, as well as executives in the work force in powerful positions that you’d think were men of integrity, yet they have been plagued with this.  If you are struggling with this issue and have this stronghold in your life, the enemy – which is the devil – has made you a slave to this sin.

This is what is happening to you:

*You will have control issues.

*You will be covering up lies – not only deceiving yourself but others all around you.

*You have a false form of intimacy by viewing the pornography without the risk of rejection.

*You may feel or have even told yourself that you are unworthy of love.

*You are a slave to this sin.

If you are viewing pornography for any of the following reasons, please seek help:

*If you are viewing it while you are upset, and using it as a coping mechanism;

*If you are viewing it out of boredom;

*If you are viewing it when stressed;

*If you are viewing it because you’re angry;

*Or if you are viewing it because you’re incredibly shy and are fearful of trying to have any type of a relationship with a person for fear of rejection …

Then you are self medicating in a way – you are using this as your coping mechanism to soothe yourself.  

Please know that help is available!  

Some people don’t see what the big deal is – but it is a HUGE deal because lusting after other women hurts your wife deeply and chips away at her self esteem and self worth.  My wife has endured too much pain all because of this stupid addiction to pornography.  She is a true angel that continues to take my hand and lead me to the foot of the cross where I can fall on my face begging for forgiveness and asking God to take this burden from me and from my family.  Although I beat myself up, there is no condemnation from God.  He has forgiven me from my sins, and He is helping me to turn from my sin, turn from the lustful ways, and turn from the pornography addiction.

If you are struggling with this – no matter who you are – I want to encourage you to come clean with God, yourself, your wife and family or your future family if you are currently in a relationship.

Society today uses sex to sell everything … so it becomes more common to view this type of thing, but pretty soon, it has a hold on you that you can’t get out from under.  You may start viewing this by stumbling upon magazines or videos as a teenage boy, just as I did, and then wind up 30 years later with your marriage in ruins and picking up the pieces of your wife’s broken heart after she has discovered your addiction.  

Please … get help, whether you seek out a counselor that deals specifically with this issue, or whether you attend support group sessions, or even reading books on the topic to try to break free from this bondage – help is available, and you don’t have to continue this any more.

You owe it to yourself, to your wife, and to your family to STOP this!

To be a man, you have to own it – admit that you have a problem!  Turn the flood lights on this deadly sin in your life that is threatening your marriage and let the cockroaches run!

You CAN be a man of integrity.  You can break free from this sin.  God will help you!

This is me being real with the world regarding real men, real issues as more men than you realize are struggling with this issue.  I am in recovery – I sought help.  I encourage you to do the same.

Sincerely,

Dusty, Shirley’s husband

Ephesians 5:13

For it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret.

But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light,

for everything that becomes visible is light.

For this reason it says, “Awake, Sleeper, and arise from the dead

and Christ will shine on you.”

 Temptations

Becoming Myself

The world is so quick to tell us that something is wrong with us and that we are deeply flawed.  But, you know what?  They are wrong.  God formed us with His own hands, and we are exactly as God intended for us to be.  Each and every one of us have unique gifts that God has given to us, and it is up to us how we use them and if we do so to glorify and honor Him.   When we do so, I believe that God smiles a very wide smile indicating that He is well pleased.

When we stop fighting all that the world tells us that we are not and focus on all that God says we are, we will truly be content with ourselves in this life.

With that thought in mind, I have begun to explore all the wonderful things that God says about me in His word.  In doing so, I thought what better way than to document this journey as all writers would do. I’m sure you can imagine my excitement when I received the Becoming Myself journal, and already I can tell that this little jewel will be a constant companion.

In this day and age where we have every gadget and piece of technology you could possibly imagine, it is refreshing still to me to pick up that pen and a crisp, clean piece of paper to write until my little heart is content.  Writing is a passion of mine, and truth be told, it is a form of therapy as well.  I enjoy writing so much, and it is wonderful to be able to type your thoughts out on the computer.  However, there is just something about putting my thoughts down on paper that seem to give them more meaning at times.  There is just something about jotting your thoughts down as they come to you.  It seems to mean so much more when you take time and are intentional with every journal entry that you make. With every stroke of your pen, your thoughts have a way of flowing freely through you and helping you to reason and analyze along the way.

What is so special about this little journal is that it has passages of scriptures as well as quotes from Stasi Eldredge’s book.  These offer plenty of opportunity to reflect on what she has offered within the pages of this journal alone, or it can go hand in hand with her book.  That is what I like so much about this little journal is that just because she has written a book doesn’t necessarily mean you have to use it together as it’s perfectly fine as a standalone journal with scriptures and quotes to get you thinking.  And in doing so, before you know it, you begin again by pouring your heart out on the pages of this journal.

Stasi certainly has provided thought provoking quotes all on becoming the person God intended for you to be.  Just be open to what she is offering to you and allow them to speak to your heart as well. She writes beautifully as evident by the quotes within the pages of this journal, and her words are full of reassurance of God’s unconditional love, mercy, and grace that He extends and has for us ALL. The truths that she shares reaches into your heart and speaks to your soul.

Truly embrace God’s dream of you … become the woman God created you to be!

Becoming Myself can be found at your local Family Christian Store, and it is also available online.

Notice

I see you there.  Sitting in the corner of the restaurant hoping that no one will notice you as you pretend to look through your phone while you avoid eye contact.  A true introvert, no doubt.  You’re not anti-social, you just choose to quietly observe the goings-on around you.  Soaking it all in, yet often times getting overwhelmed by the increased noise level as children become restless or coworkers laugh loudly at the next table.

Then there’s the ones that long to be the center of attention, often cracking jokes to make those around laugh wildly.  Not necessarily full of yourself, rather, you’re just an outgoing individual hoping this facade will hide the pain inside.

And like Kate’s post on writing and pouring your hearts out, all of my fellow bloggers sit wondering if they’re making a difference or reaching anyone out there.  There is a famous saying, “Build it and they will come,” but I say, “Write it and they will come …”  They will.  Rest assured.  They may not come in masses, but that is okay, too!  I feel down deep within my soul that if I reach one person – if only one person stumbles upon my site and finds the information that it contains beneficial – if it helps to turn one life, one heart, and one soul to God above – it is completely and totally worth it!  If I ever feel like no one cares what I have to say, I turn my focus on God and know that HE cares.  He’s watching, He’s reading, and He’s often times giving me the words that I write.  If I ever get down about the lack of comments on posts on my blog or on my Facebook page, I am comforted in the fact that I pour myself out to my readers in hopes that they will come, that they will take something that I’ve said with them to ponder throughout their day and that maybe, just maybe I’ve made a difference in their lives in some small way.  To me, it’s not about hundreds of comments, although I appreciate every single person that takes the time to post a comment, it’s important for me to get the words out in hopes to help someone out there that may need exactly what God has spoken to my heart to write on that particular day.  If I help one person, it will all be worth it!

Notice

This post was inspired by the prompt word of Notice for this edition of Five Minute Friday.

The Week Ahead

The countdown is on.  The week ahead will consist of everyone finalizing their Thanksgiving menus as well as their travel plans.  They will gather with family and friends for the big Thanksgiving feast with plenty of leftovers!

And then … it will happen.

Black Friday Shopping.

Immediately following the day in which we all give thanks for all of our blessings, we hit the stores to snatch up those bargains.

But, is it truly worth it?

Sure, you may get through the massive crowds of people to get a few dollars off of this or that, or maybe there will be really huge discounts.  However, do we all really need to do this?

I’ll be honest and say that my family and I decided to see what all the hype was about last year.  With several stores opening at midnight, we decided to venture out in the middle of the night in the crisp, cold air only to find an extremely long line wrapped completely around our mall.  It didn’t take us long to realize that this just was not for us!  So, we turned our car around and headed back to our house!  I did check out a few items online, and the store with the long lines waiting outside actually had the same deals online!  To me, it was worth just ordering with a few clicks of my mouse and having it delivered to my home instead of fighting that crowd!

I guess the real problem I have with all of this is the fact that the holidays are supposed to be about spending time with the ones that you love, NOT the deals you can snatch up or from each other in the stores.  People actually get angry with each other, and we’ve all heard horror stories of fights breaking out in the store over the last hot item as everyone wanted it but only one lucky person was able to get to it first.

I realize that you don’t want your children to wake up on Christmas Day without any presents, so it is important to shop.  I do understand that.  I just don’t want the true meaning of this holiday season to be lost, and sadly, it gets to be more about material things than family, friends, loved ones, and all of God’s blessings in our lives.

As I walked through a medical building yesterday, I noticed that they already had it decked out with a huge Christmas tree, garland and bows on the railings going up the stairs, and wreaths hanging on doors.  Then, upon entering a store, they seemed to bypass Thanksgiving altogether and focused solely on Christmas with deals marked every where and even Christmas tunes playing!

And speaking of Black Friday again, one of my Facebook friends asked if she was the only one that hasn’t already started decorating for Christmas.  No, she’s not.  My family and I haven’t, and we won’t … until the day after Thanksgiving.  We want to give this holiday all we have – making sure to give thanks for all of our many blessings.  We intend on savoring this holiday.  Then, when everyone else is trampling over each other on Black Friday, my family and I will get our Christmas decorations down to begin decorating.  We like to put on Christmas music and everyone picks their favorite decoration to add to the Christmas tree.  With hot chocolate in hand, we step back to look at our beautiful tree with all of the bright lights and sparkling ornaments, and then we put in a movie and snuggle together.

This is what it’s all about – quality time spent together!  Let’s have more of that and less focus on material things this holiday season.

Greatest Blessings

Truth

As we enter into the holiday season with snow beginning to fall and temperatures dropping even in the South, we prepare for our Thanksgiving feast and then Christmas festivities shortly thereafter.  When we’re supposed to be filled with holiday cheer, the truth is that a lot of people are dreading the holidays.  Either they are fighting depression, are in the mist of a crisis, or they do not have any family to gather with during the holiday season.  There are a whole list of reasons why people are not in the holiday spirit and actually end up dreading this time of year!

Will you take time to remember them?  The ones that feel like they have lost hope?  The ones with no cheer left within their hearts and souls right now?  The ones that are struggling to put their feet on the floor in the mornings and pull themselves out of bed to greet the day?

Some hide it so well that you’d never truly know that they dislike the holiday season.  They will force a smile, hum a Christmas song, all the while they feel like they are dying inside.

Maybe they are like so many that have lost loved ones this year.  Maybe they will have one vacant seat at the dinner table this year, or maybe, like in our case, there will be several vacant seats when our family gathers around after having lost my sister, granddaddy, and grandma in years past.  Along with the empty chairs are hearts that feel as if they have holes in them as they miss their loved ones so much that memories of holidays past leave trails of tears streaming down their cheeks.

The truth is that not everyone feels like celebrating.  Some would even like to hibernate, if that were even an option, until after the first of the year.

Will you take time to remember those individuals in prayer?  Will you silently speak to God on their behalf asking Him to wrap His loving arms around them?

God, provide them comfort as only You can, Father.  They need you …

 

Prayer

This post was inspired by the prompt word of Truth for this edition of Tuesday at Ten.

And Now Christmas Tunes Surround Us

Okay, so maybe not just yet, but pretty soon we all will be surrounded by Christmas tunes … in the car, in the stores, in the restaurants … Christmas tunes every where!!!

That is not a problem for me, though, as I love Christmas music!  I have actually already started playing mine in the comfort of my own home.

I was so excited to receive the Celtic Ladies Christmas CD in the mail from Family Christian! I immediately put it in the CD player and turned it up to enjoy! They have been a long time favorite of mine, and I could think of none better to get me in the Christmas spirit than these ladies!

There were some familiar songs as well as some that I hadn’t heard before, but each and every song was sung so eloquently and was simply beautiful. My ten year old daughter joined in on the tunes that were familiar to her, and we had a great time singing together. My 17 year old daughter came dancing into the room doing moves that she learned in ballet a few years ago. I’ll take that as a sign that she enjoyed it as well. :) I can see us playing this CD a lot throughout the upcoming Christmas Season!

If you’re looking for a special CD to play as you’re gathered around the Christmas tree this year or as you’re wrapping all of the presents prior to Christmas day, I highly recommend this one!  You and your family will be blessed by these ladies and the message that they bring forth through song, especially the old familiar Christmas hymns. I especially love What Child Is This, Silent Night, and O Holy Night.

Can you tell I’m excited about the upcoming holiday season?

Heavy Hearts

We visited with our dear friend, Debbie, this weekend.  We have returned home with heavy hearts now more than ever after seeing her in the condition that she is in.  It is truly heart breaking.

Debbie was so full of life in September as she showed us around her town.  And now, she lays in that hospital bed with her head drooping somewhat to her right side as the cancer has taken away her ability to walk and to control her neck now.  Her right arm is paralyzed according to her husband, while she tries with all of her might to use her left arm and hand.

An adjustable hospital bed was delivered to Debbie’s home Friday, and she tried Friday night to get it into a comfortable position.  There’s no such thing, according to her, now, though.  Nevertheless, she would send that bed all the way up as high as the setting would allow toward the ceiling just to move it back down again.  She would press those buttons with all of her might, and she would find temporary relief for her legs.  She’d move it to another position within minutes.  At other times, she would adjust the head of the bed to provide some support for her neck.  We bought a travel pillow to place around her neck to help offer some support.  She didn’t like it at first, but she accepted it back after a few minutes.  Later, she had it removed again and used rolled up towels to steady her neck.  Then she’d go back to adjusting the bed – the only thing she probably feels like she can control at this point.

My heart hurts for this lady.  She is only 60 years old.  While that may sound old to some, it is so young in my eyes.  She is supposed to have so many more years here on this earth, and yet, she is slowly slipping away.

Her husband, Ray, has been caring for her, and his love and devotion shines through.  They married just after Debbie turned 18, according to Ray, and they have been married now for 42 years.  That is just amazing!  But to see him in action, how he dotes on Debbie and would do anything in the world to take her pain away … it grabs you right there in the heart.  That is love!  Ray took his marriage vows very seriously as he’s doing all he can with the strength that he has to care for his wife.  The roles were reversed a few short years ago as Ray was having health issues, and Debbie was right there by his side throughout the entire ordeal.  She took care of her man, and now he is taking care of her.  It warmed my soul to see him in action this weekend and to see the love in his eyes as he spoke of being married to her.  He began to tear up as she told us that she had declined rapidly in the 12 hours before we arrived on Friday.

There truly are no words to describe what is happening to our dear friend, and yet here I sit as I want others to know about this precious lady and to uplift her in their prayers.  She needs it now more than ever.

Just a few short months ago, we were laughing and having the absolute best time with our friends.  Now we fight back tears as we update each other or receive updates from the family.   We did get Debbie to smile this weekend, and her husband said that she hasn’t done that in a very long time.  We started cracking jokes about how Debbie tried to keep us all straight, and that was a job in itself!  She smiled, and it warmed our hearts.  I tried harder then to find something else to crack a joke about to help lift her spirits, and there it was again.  That sweet smile that formed across Debbie’s lips.  Although she’s weak, she is still very “with it” and keeps up on the conversation.  It may take her a bit to respond now as she forms her thoughts and concentrates to get them out, but she is still very much aware even so much as to offer a phone number when her daughter needed to contact her aunt!  We were very impressed with that one!

Oh Debbie.  Sweet Debbie.

I took the opportunity every chance that I could this weekend to tell her that I love her.  I repeated myself, but THAT, my friends, NEEDS to be repeated!  I don’t know if I’ll get the chance again to hold her hand, look into her eyes, and say, “I love you, lady!”  I hope.  I pray.  But it is all in God’s hands.

Debbie was surrounded by her daughter and granddaughters, as well as her husband and her aunt, as we went to leave to travel back to our house.  That house was packed to the rim with love, pure love!

Please, if you can right where you are, stop reading for a moment and offer up prayers for our dear friend, Debbie.  Please also pray for all of the cancer patients that are struggling right now.  We don’t have to call them all by name, as it would be impossible as there are people all over the world inflicted with this.  God knows their names and their situations as we cover them all with prayer.

Cancer has touched my family in the last seven years – in my mom and in my dad.  We pray over them all the time that they will continue to be cancer free after their surgeries.  We are so thankful for the treatment that they sought and want to encourage you – all of the readers – please don’t neglect your health.  IF you notice anything out of the ordinary, get in to see a doctor as soon as you can.  I only wish Debbie had done so sooner.

Prayer warriors … unite!

We know that God could perform a miracle for Debbie right now if that was His will and His plan.  In the event that it is not, though, we pray that Debbie will not have to struggle and be in pain.  We don’t want to lose Debbie, but we know that she is suffering at this time.  They were giving her morphine, and even that was not touching the nerve pain, according to her husband.

She needs us to go before the throne of Jesus offering our prayers, and I thank you from the very bottom of my heart for praying for our precious friend, Debbie.

 

Update:  We were just advised that our dear friend, Debbie, has passed away.  Please keep her family in your thoughts and prayers as this most difficult time.  Debbie will forever be in our hearts, and I am thankful for 17 years of the most beautiful and precious friendship.  I love you, Debbie.  Always & Forever!

For previous posts regarding Debbie, please see the below:

Where Two Or Three Are Gathered In His Name

The Weekend of A Lifetime

Friends For A Lifetime

 

One God, One Plan, One Life

My daughter received this 365 day devotional book by Max Lucado from me in the summer of 2014 entitled One God, One Plan, One Life.  She was not too terribly thrilled to be the recipient of this book at the time.  She had little desire to read any book over the summer but certainly not one of a religious nature.  I explained to her that this wasn’t a book where you read chapter upon chapter in one sitting.  It was a daily devotional to help her get her day started off in the right direction.  Still, there was little interest.

Until …

She began cleaning her room over this past weekend, and out from under a pile of things came this book!  Much to our surprise, she came out of her room with this book in hand and actually began reading the devotional for that day.  Of course my eyes lit up and my heart swelled with pride with the sight and sound of my darling daughter taking the time to read what this book had to offer.  Finally.

Max Lucado Teen Devo

When she was little, we had a children’s daily devotional that I would read with her at night.  It had a short story along with bible verses and a prayer at the end.  While she has certainly grown up a lot since that time, she is still in her teen years and therefore needs a teen version of a devotional.  This book fits just perfectly as it is intended specifically for teens.  As we all know, teens deal with a lot of things that adults don’t have to think about now that they’re older.  It is still very much an issue for teens, though, from bullying to alcohol and drug usage among their peers to even issues like purity and self control.  This book covers it all in a way that sheds God’s light on these hard to talk about subjects.

My daughter left the book laying around last night, and I picked it up to see what it had to offer.  It spoke to my heart right there where I was, yes, even as an adult.  We all struggle from time to time with our self worth and being able to love and forgive ourselves.  Well, right there at the bottom of the page were these words:

You’ve made mistakes.  You keep falling short.  No one seems to value you.  I get all that.  But God forgives you, loves you, believes in you, has a wonderful plan for you.  Who are you to reject the one opinion that counts?  Love him.  Love others.  Because he commands it.

Wow.

 

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What a perfect message right when we needed it the most.  God’s plan … not mine.  He knew what I needed to speak to me, and His message was clear.

Whether you read this daily devotional or another, we encourage you to start or end your day with a daily devotional of your choice.  You will find inspiration and things that make you think.  You will start your day or end your day (depending on when you read your devotional) on a positive note, and you will feel peace within your heart as you meditate on the words allowing them to soak into your being.

Five minutes is pretty much all it takes.  Surely you have five minutes to spare to improve your outlook on life and spend a little time with Jesus.  If not, then you’re just too busy!   Slow down and take time to enjoy this journey that you’re on and the life that God has given to you!  We are so blessed … so truly blessed!

Max Lucado Teen Devo1