December 15th, 2017

Faith Filled Friday with Ashley

He’s able to take you out of your mind!

Come grab a warm cup of coffee and sit with me. Last week I shared a struggle I was going through and the how it taunted me. Today, I want to share with you how the dreaded event went.  Thank you in advance for taking time and joining me for Coffee Hour with Chicklit Power and Faith Filled Friday with Trench Classes United.

I prayed the night before for all the strength and courage for the next day. I woke up filled with unexplainable peace. I just knew today wasn’t going to be as bad as I dreamt up, although I was still a bit hesitant of what to expect, I put on the Armor of God and trusted this peace that I know only comes from our Abba Father.

I was greeted with love and kindness. I was a bit baffled to be greeted so lovingly and it showed me that I had really allowed the enemy to fill my head with dreamt-up things that just weren’t true. Every day, I learn to take my thoughts before the Lord. I ask, “Is this true, Lord?” And when He takes these thoughts from me I know they are from the enemy. I realize now that as far as this situation, that as He was telling me they weren’t true, I was taking back the lies and digesting them. The devil is a vicious beast out to turn us against each other, using his lies to make us feel less than, unwanted, or unlovable.

We’ll it worked for a bit, but our God is great! I stepped out in faith trusting and knowing I wasn’t alone; that my Abba was right beside me. That day that I dreaded so much that it kept me up at night, well, it turned out to be a wonderful day.  A day where I met new people and spent time with people I feared. I went in with God’s love and trusted Him. And you know what? He provided all the love I needed.

The Lord is faithful and He will strengthen and protect you from evil one. 2nd Thessalonians 3:3 tells us this.

He always wants the very best for us. He wants us to feel loved and cherished. He sees all the good in you and me. He knew that day was not going to be easy for me. He knew that my going was a huge step of faith for me, and because I was obedient and went, He blessed me more than I could have ever imagined. He gave me a great compassion for someone who has always been so difficult for me. Now I pray each day that I could love her today more than the day before.

Pursue the things which make for peace and the building up one another. Romans 14:19.

Coffee Hour Friend, I learned a big lesson with this past struggle: Don’t consume and digest the lies of the enemy. Don’t allow him to have that power over you. You see, he wants us to be divided, to dislike or hate one another.

Remember, we are broken vessels being restored by a great Father, and every day His grace, mercy and forgiveness are new to us. Why then shouldn’t it be given to those who once have hurt us? Prayer wakes us up with mercies from God that are “new every morning” Lamentations 3:23

We are called to love not just those who love us back, but the unlovable. I encourage you if there is someone who has hurt you and still does today show them God’s love and compassion. Give them that grace and mercy that you think they don’t deserve and watch what God does. It’s an amazing thing, but please know that I know just how difficult a task this is because I have been called to do the same. It is not by my strength or my love that makes this possible but through the Father’s love. All we need to do is ask and He will provide more than you could ever imagine.

Can you take this step of Faith with me today, and don’t forget to look up Ephesians 6:13-24  and apply Gods Armor over you today!

Love,

Ashley

 

December 14th, 2017

Thursday’s Trench Truth

Life’s not perfect; just breathe!

Have you ever been told to just breathe, and then do this: hmmmmmmmm? Ah, the power in relaxed breathing and what we can learn! Welcome to Coffee Hour with Chicklit Power and Thursday’s Trench Truth with Trench Classes United and Jenn Woosley who shares Lessons from Yoga!

Yoga is not about holding a pose perfectly. It’s about focusing on breathing in the moment. The poses are challenging, difficult, yes, but the key is paying attention to your breath coming in and going out. And what is breath? The life that God breathed into us…and graciously allows us to have every new day we’re alive.

Life is not about having things perfect, though we hear a lot about that. Perfect behavior, perfect families, perfect relationships, perfect holidays; the list could go on. Let’s be honest; none of that exists. Living in expectation of perfection or how things “should” be leads to tears and disappointments.

Instead, focusing on the One who gave us our breath in and through the hard times in our lives is what counts. In so doing, we’ll find the strength to hold on to our faith when it’s dark, when we’re challenged and when hope seems far away.

Just like in yoga, one day the pose that seemed so difficult will come more naturally…and so will hope, smiles, and joy if we just focus on and breathe in the moment.

Jenn

December 13th, 2017

Wednesday’s Word

Okay, let’s keep it real…are you enjoying everything you’re doing to celebrate this season? Oh, how I pray you are; otherwise, why do it, right? I wrote this little jingle a few years ago to help us stay in the right frame of mind for this beautiful season. Thanks for joining me for Coffee Hour with Chicklit Power and for Wednesday’s Word with Trench Classes United. I hope you enjoy the jingle!

The Gifts of the Season

It’s not about the presents under the Christmas tree

But the presence of love we feel for friends and family

It’s not about the shopping that we feel we must do

But about the gift that’s already been given freely to me and you

The gift is a gift that your money can’t buy

The birth and death of Christ was and is for you and I

It’s not about making a list and checking it twice

Or buying countless gifts for the naughty or nice

The reason for this season isn’t about all of the debt and stress

It’s the season to offer simple gifts such as patience and forgiveness

Or how about the gift of time with one whose time is running out

A meal for a family in need to encourage hope where there is doubt

Or maybe someone needs a helping hand to accomplish a tedious chore

And don’t forget your lonely neighbor down the street or right next door

Oh, if we would take the materialism out of this special season

And in its place find ways to make redemption as our reason

To offer the gifts that money can’t buy, this requires a sacrifice

Slowing down and paying attention, and practicing just being nice

Yes the gifts of the season come freely to and from those walking in His spirit

For they will always outlive materialism, though the world doesn’t want to hear it

Just remember that love, joy, peace and patience, no these gifts don’t need a season

Nor do the gifts of kindness, gentleness or self-control have to have a reason.

May the gifts of the season carry you to and through the New Year!

Much love,

Evinda

December 12th, 2017

Tuesday’s Trench Truth

Have you ever anticipated something with such excitement only to be let down? Oh, but the let down can be a bit of a bummer…and yet there is always beauty if we look! You’re going to love today’s Trench Truth with a former Transformer so grab your favorite break time beverage and join me for Coffee Hour with Chicklit Power and Tuesday’s Trench Truth with Trench Classes United and Jenn Woosley.

All week V and I looked forward to Thursday evening, because we were going to decorate the house for Christmas. We’d decided to get a white tree…for something different. I knew she had this plan in her head, and I had my fingers crossed and prayers going up that we’d find what she hoped for.

Instead, as is often life’s case, we didn’t find a tree in the right price range. I watched my daughter go through a range of emotions. First anger, then tears, the “oh let’s just forget it all,” then resignation that we’d just get one she’d “settle” for. I told her that I understood her feelings and that I felt bad too. I also encouraged her to think past getting one that was ‘okay’ to perhaps ordering one that was what she really wanted. After minutes of this emotional storm, she calmed down and we decided to order a tree from Amazon — might I add in a very good price range. She told me, “Mom, it’s ok. I can wait to decorate until that tree comes. I was just disappointed.”

I see myself in this: Expectations dashed which bring on a full range of emotions: a sense of having to just settle, anger and tears to God that what I wanted didn’t happen. And yet…I also see Him wrapping His arms around me whispering that He has a different idea in mind. In some circumstances of my life, I am still waiting for that something better. I’ll dry my tears, and make the best of what is, in anticipation of what’s to come.

Jenn

December 11th, 2017

Monday’s Mantra

 

Welcome to Coffee Hour at Chicklit Power and Megan’s Monday Mantra with Trench Classes United.

The following is my friend Mike’s response to my last week’s blog; God is not a cosmic vending machine. Mike is the one who quoted those life-changing words to me.

His response, in my opinion, masterfully illustrates the heart, of each and every one of us, as we wrestle to define God in our own lives as well as how to bring Him into the lives of others. Even though this is a tale of two friends, each one of us will find a piece of ourselves in this story.

Mike writes…

“Wow, Megan, this is one of the best of all your blogs, yet. It resonated with me when you described our conversation that ended with my famous quote about the vending machine. I did listen that day, and I did feel your frustration. I felt your defeat. I knew there was a big disconnect between you and God, because my Bible says, “He loved us even while we’re yet sinners” – failures. I wanted to communicate that divine love to you, but I didn’t even know where to start. Your arguments were very logical, and I kept thinking you needed something logical and profound in return. My answer sounded too simple (“Jesus loves me; this I know, for the Bible tells me so.”)

“All the while you were pouring out your heart to me about your perceived insignificance to God, I prayed that He would give me an answer just for you. I had been looking for opportunities to tell you about the love of Jesus, but each time one came, it would be at a bad time. Many times your questions could not be answered with one or two words; they required a foundation and some background – and you would hit me with them at the most inopportune times. I felt totally inadequate, myself, for not being able to help. Maybe, as He often does, the Lord was dealing with me at the time, too, in situations where my strengths were irrelevant and my weaknesses were glaringly evident, to quote Sarah Young. But, I was convinced that I had completely failed you and Him.

“I’m reminded of another strange quote I read years ago by Donald Grey Barnhouse, “God doesn’t handle all His affairs in October.” Now, I’m privileged to watch you grow spiritually through our many conversations and through your blog, in which He teaches me as well. You have no idea what a thrill it is to see someone you care about come to Jesus, knowing you had a part in it – but you will someday.

“Blessings in Abundance,

Mike”

Thank you Mike for your heartfelt honesty. Your response means more to me than I can find words for. Thank you for allowing me to share this with our readers.

Lovingly in Christ,

Megan

December 8th, 2017

Faith Filled Fridays

 

Beloved, grab a warm cup of coffee and sit with me. I want to share with you a struggle I’ve been faced with this week, so thank you in advance for joining me for Coffee Hour with Chicklit Power and Faith Filled Friday with Trench Classes United.

 

Okay. So there is something coming up that has been making me antsy, uncomfortable, and, to be honest, quiet cranky.

All the things that have been plaguing my mind and causing me so much discord are All Complete Lies from the enemy. Funny thing, I didn’t even recognize that all of this chaos that has been plaguing my mind is the schemes of the enemy.

 

John 10:10 says: “The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.”

 

As I sat this morning with the Lord, I found myself complaining, pleading, begging, and flat-out telling him: “Jesus, I don’t want to!”

Honestly, this complaint went on for a few minutes, I believe the Lord was letting me get it out. I was telling him all the lies that had been fed to me and He listened. He is so gracious to us.

Psalm 116:2: “Because He bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath.”

Don’t you love that picture, Him bending down listening while we complain…or pray?

 

What’s so beautiful is that He didn’t address one single lie I complained to Him about. No, He didn’t address them because they were lies. You know what He did? He reminded me of what I am called to do. I am called to Love! Not by my strength, my might, or my courage. No, that I would seek His strength, might, courage, and His magnificent Love as He reminds us in Leviticus 19:18: “Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against a fellow Israelite, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.”

 

Am I excited for this upcoming event? Honestly, no. But, I will lean deeply into the Father and seek His love for He calls us to the unknown to share His perfect love. We may not understand His ways, but I know he sees and knows far greater than I do, so I will trust and know that I am not alone.

Again, there’s scripture to back this truth up!  Joshua 1:9: “This is my command–be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

 

I am learning to check my emotions and thoughts and line them up with truth. The enemy seeks to steal, kill, and destroy and he will use anyone or any event to cause you to get caught up in the lies he’s feeding your vulnerable heart. I encourage you to gird your heart and mind with word of God and let His truth seep in and remove all the lies.

 

Gripped in His Marvelous Grace,

Ashley

December 7th, 2017

Thursday’s Trench Truth

Whew, it’s that time of the year where we’re checking our list, checking it twice, trying to determine who is naughty; who’s nice and while we’re at it, cooking, cleaning, planning, preparing, shopping…and anything else you can think of to add to the list…but why?

Thanks for joining me today for Coffee Hour with Chicklit Power and Thursday’s Trench Truth.

Why do we do what we do around the holidays? Nowhere in scripture does it say we are to make ourselves crazy and imbalanced with a to-do list that wraps around our house and down our driveways. But what He does say is to “be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain…” (1st Corinthians 15:58)

I made a decision several years ago that if I wasn’t able to see the Lord in the things I was doing as a way to prepare for the holidays in the name of celebrating HIM, then I wasn’t about to do them. He doesn’t want us pushing ourselves to a level of teetering on the ledge of craziness, and tottering on the verge of a financial crisis…all in the name of celebrating His birth!

The only way we can abound in the work of the Lord is to stay plugged in to the Lord; it is then we will be able to determine why we do what we do…especially around this time of the year.

Truthfully,

Evinda

December 6th, 2017

Wednesday’s Word

 

Bath time was such a fun time when we were parenting our little Bryden…a time when we played, splashed, giggled and in between all of that we snuck in some rub-a-dub scrubbing in the tub time!

Welcome to Coffee Hour with Chicklit Power and Wednesday’s Word with Trench Classes United.

“Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the Lord, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”

It had only been a week since their last bath, but they were beginning to stink and every time I pet them, I could feel the dirt on their fur. So in the midst of my already planned-out day, I determined to wash both Sparky and Alvin. I always begin by taking off their collar so I started with Sparky. By the time I picked him up he was shaking pathetically but still very compliant.

I began to rinse him with the spray nozzle and I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. The water was literally brown, like solid brown! I shook my head in disbelief, and a little disgust when I realized I had let him sleep on my bed last night! Ugh, now I need to change my sheets. This cleaning was revealing the need for more cleaning.

As I lathered him up, and the soap turned a light brown, it struck me that bitterness and un-forgiveness is much like this: it’s hard to see at first but the more settled it gets and the more is seeps into our heart, soul and mind, the less we notice it…until one day it just begins to stink and the dirt oozes out and into a lot of our relationships.

We’ve got to get to that point of desiring to let it go and let Him wash us white as snow. Oh, what a feeling when we do let it go. There is a sense of freedom, an ability to move about our world so much easier, just like my little Sparky after a bath who dances around and truly smiles from the feeling of being cleansed.

And the beautiful thing about the One who cleanses us…He’ll do it over and over and over again!
Love,

Evinda

P.S. Join me today at 6:00 PST on our F.B. Live to talk about the reasons we have a hard time connecting with family over the holidays because of disconnection.

 

December 5th, 2017

Tuesday’s Trench Truth

I was in the gym the other day and couldn’t help but hear a conversation two guys were having…about their wives! And I thought we as women were the only ones who vented!

Thanks for joining me for Coffee Hour with Chicklit Power and a moment of truth with Trench Classes United.

The first thing I heard one of them say is: “My wife is so f-ing selfish, man!”

I think I must have looked like a deer caught in a pair of glaring headlights, because as soon as he said it, he caught my expression and immediately bent down to avoid my staring. I didn’t mean to look so dumbfounded. It just kind of caught me off guard.  For the rest of my workout, I tried desperately to not listen to their conversation as they both began to “vent” about their wives.

This was a double-edged sword for me, because I’ve been known to “vent” about many things, including my husband, but seeing this with my own eyes, hearing these things with my own ears, well, it was like putting the shoe on the other foot, knowing this could easily be my husband saying this. I mean my husband most certainly could call me selfish.

The truth is everyone needs someone to vent to, but there’s a difference between venting and vomiting!

If we can’t say what we’re venting to the one we’re venting about, perhaps we shouldn’t say it.

Have a terrific Tuesday!

Truthfully,

Evinda

P.S. Join me this Wednesday @ 6:00 pm PST for our F.B. Live to discover a taste of what you’re missing in the trenches.

December 4th, 2017

Monday Mantra

 

I was so frustrated! I was doing everything I was supposed to be doing, but no matter how hard I tried, I always fell short. “Why doesn’t God ever let me win?” I whined to my friend Mike, who composedly observed my outburst. “Megan, God is not a cosmic vending machine,” Mike stringently responded.

 

Welcome to Coffee Hour at Chicklit Power and Megan’s Monday Mantra with Trench Classes United.

 

God is not a cosmic vending machine … at the time those words pierced my heart.  It took me many years and many encounters, in the trenches with the Lord, to fully grasp the significance of Mike’s response.

 

As new Christians, we are filled with enthusiasm until reality sets in and we realize life is hard. It is at this point new Christians become vulnerable and turn away from God due to unrealistic expectations. This is why it is imperative, when one accepts Christ as their savior, to accept Christ as defined by the Bible and not by a personal definition of who one thinks He is.

 

In Jesus Calling, Sarah Young writes, “I have taken you along a path that has highlighted your need for Me: placing you in situations where your strengths are irrelevant and your weaknesses are glaringly evident…you have realized that needing Me is the key to knowing Me intimately, which is the gift above all gifts.”

 

Everything does not have to perfect for us to find God in it. We can find God’s goodness in the broken as well as in the pristine. Brokenness brings increased fruitfulness, for God uses those who are broken.

 

For a brief moment I am going to pretend God is a cosmic vending machine, and with a prayer on my heart for us all, I’m going to push buttons H1 for …

 

Happy Endings!

 

Lovingly in Christ,

Megan

P.S. Join us this Wednesday at 6:00 pm PST for our F.B. Live with Evinda to talk about how to connect…despite disconnection at family get-togethers for the holidays!