July 21st, 2017

Faith-Filled Friday

Welcome to Faith Filled Friday! Grab your coffee and your strand of faith for some heart-to-heart truths from Jennifer Wyatt!

Repeat after me….Nothing is impossible.

I have always loved the story of Joseph, starts in Genesis 37.  God revealed his purpose to him at a young age.  Unfortunately, those around him didn’t understand what his dreams meant and took matters into their own hands.

Every time I read the story I am in awe on how God uses our “bad situations” to lead us right to where He wants us to be.  I don’t know about you, but if my brother put me in a hole and sold me off as a slave I’d be pretty PO’d.  Maybe he was and that detail isn’t included but Joseph went on to live life with integrity and purpose. He believed he had heard from God… his purpose was to preserve the nations of Israel.  He may not have known that was the end goal but I think he felt it in his heart.

Whether he was in a hole in the ground or being falsely accused, he was living in God’s perfect will. His assignments came with his journey.  It’s the same for all of us.  The journey can be full of uprooting (physical or emotional).  This stirs things up and gets us moving.  Water that has been sitting too long is no good; it’s stagnant. This happens when no water is being drawn out.  None of us have been called to produce stagnant, murky water.

Another truth that has settled in my heart is this: When God wants to change your life He will give us a picture of what could be.  All we have to do is start walking towards it.  Provisions will come and our assignment comes in the journey. Something else that happens in the journey is the equipping! In other words, He doesn’t call the qualified; He qualifies the called! We just need to be willing, full of faith in Him and have the heart of a servant.

Don’t take my word on it…read Hebrews 11.  It’s been called the Hall of Faith.

“The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see. The act of faith is what distinguished our ancestors, set them above the crowd.” Hebrews 11:1-2

Look at the life of Joseph and you will see that nothing is impossible.  Joseph trusted Him to see him through; you can too!  Trust in Him that your life has meaning and purpose.  Trust in Him that nothing in your life is impossible to overcome.
Filled with Faith,

Jennifer

July 20th, 2017

Thursday’s Trench Truth

 

 

I may use Facebook a little too much but I swear I find the most thought-provoking posts and memoirs. The one that stood out to me this week was, “You can’t use an egg unless it’s broken.” The post went on to say how perhaps we are best used by God after we are broken. I posted this on my own wall and some of the comments were thought-provoking.

Someone posted about an experiment that he saw as a kid. Hold an egg in the palm of your hand and try to crack it…apparently this is very hard to do. I Googled this to read more about it, and I guess this has been tried a lot! One of the experimenters concluded that if you hold an egg in an upright position, it is impossible to crack. It’s very difficult, yet possible, to crack one when holding it on its side.

A shell is made for protection. Eggshells protect life growing inside. Seashells protect the animal inside from harm. It’s necessary, right? At some point though, the life inside the shell has to break out to completely fulfill its purpose. If that does not happen, it equals death.

We tend to build shells around our lives and our hearts. Perhaps there are wounds so deep we want to encase them so as not to remember the pain. Maybe routine and rigidity keep us in familiarity. Staying inside the shell, our own little world, feels safe and comfortable. I am here to tell you, you cannot grow that way.

I tend to fear ‘cracking.’ I don’t want to be pushed out of perceived safety. At times, life does this to us just by its nature. Other times, choices we make cause breaks in the shell. I don’t believe God causes harm to come to us…but I do believe when it does, He uses it to help us and those we come in contact with. Yes, we have to allow Him to do that. How better to allow Him than to first admit we’re broken? It’s okay to be shattered. Let’s stop trying to hold the shell in place, or piece it back together.

I challenge you to let the pieces of YOUR shell fall away. Continue to grow in 2017, and let your growth be an encouragement to others. God has a plan!!!

Jenn

July 19th, 2017

Wednesday’s Word Summer of Psalms

Hiding Behind the Mask of your Faith

Thanks for joining me for Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power and Wednesday’s Word @ Trench Classes United. It’s a great day for a Psalm! Grab your coffee, (icedJ ) a pen, journal, your strand of faith and let’s get right into the word at Psalm 19.

So within the first six verses we can see that this is a Psalm of praise for God’s creation and His Word. I don’t know about you, but I often miss the small things about creation that are really quite significant when I press the pause button in my life and just gaze upon, for example, a new flower in bloom, or the splendor of the hills, the mountains, the clouds, a beautiful sunrise, the promise of a new day, and/or a beautiful sunset, a beautiful finish to another day of life, and what about the new life I described in Monday’s Mantra, the brand new humming birds born in our Ficus tree? There are so many pieces of creation that beckon us to stop, pay attention and let it soak into our being for then we can be refreshed with hope because we’ve acknowledged our Creator.

I could sit in this mode for a long time; however, I want us to begin today with verse 7. “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul. The testimony of the Lord is sure; making wise the simple. 8The statues of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart. The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.

Now let’s try a rewrite and again, remember, make it yours, honest, from your heart:

“Abba, your principles and promises are perfect, and they are continuing to convert my soul. Your words are true, giving me depth in my soul.8Your requirements are right and they make my heart glad. The commandment to love You with all my heart, soul and mind keeps the eyes of my heart open to the things of You.”

There is such perspective and power in the scriptures, friend. I could literally keep us here for hours, but I’m going to jump down a few verses because I found a diamond shining brilliantly in the depths of studying.  Let’s jump to verse 12.

12 Who can understand his errors? Cleanse me from secret faults; 13keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins. Let them not have dominion over me. Then I shall be blameless and I shall be innocent of great transgression.” STOP!

There’s a word there that has always caused me to wonder what does that mean, secret faults and presumptuous sins? Sounds like a good book title, huh? J This verse actually validates my understanding of what we do in the church; heck, what I did for years: we hide our secret faults behind the mask of faith which lead us to presumptuous sins for the term presumptuous terms can also be translated to say “neglecting something I should have done”!

Another diamond I found is in the word “cleanse.” In this context, it is referring to an internal cleansing. I just love the truths that are waiting to be discovered so that they can come to life within us and be lived out.

Let’s wrap up this rewriting session with the final verse, which we can make the cry of our hearts daily: 14Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O, Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.”

I don’t know about you, but I say there’s no need to do anything with that but write it, speak it and deposit it in the core of your soul!

Living in the Psalms,

Evinda

July 18th, 2017

Tuesday’s Trench Truth and invitation, too!

Welcome to Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power and to Tuesday’s Trench Truth with Trench Classes United. Grab your break-time beverage and join me for a moment of truth.

Have you ever met someone who brags about their significant relationship, saying they never fight or disagree?  I have, several times and having been in the trenches with others for several years now, I have come to the conclusion that people who never or even rarely disagree or fight have their emotional dashboard in the off position!

See, we all have an emotional dashboard which tries to warn us when we are hungry, tired, angry, hurt, etcetera. And while we may recognize or even acknowledge those emotions, usually we run from them and don’t work through them; after all, we have things to do, places to go, people to see, right? But when we function in this way, we also have a tendency to pay attention to others’ stuff by getting in their car and thereafter causing emotional wrecks…because looking at their stuff is so much easier.

What would life look like if we paid attention to our own emotional dashboard, acknowledged our emotions, worked through them instead of allowing them to drive our car and swerve into others’ lanes and thereafter cause emotional wrecks? Well, I can tell you, it would be easier to walk through conflicts and come out with a better self-esteem and with the relationship involved still intact.

So how are you with conflict? Would you like to get better at walking through it instead of running from it?  Join us for A Night of Purpose and come learn about your relationship strengths and weaknesses with free relational assessments. There will also be snacks, a Radical Raffle and an amazing band to help us celebrate!

 

Looking forward to our Night of Purpose together!

Evinda

July 17th, 2017

Monday’s Mantra

Hungry for New Life

A couple of weeks ago, my husband was outside watering and cleaning up the patio and he found a humming bird nest with two eggs in a place I would never dream of finding a nest: in my Ficus tree. We were both so excited, and for several days, we kept going out to make sure it was still there and both eggs were still there.  But about a week later, we came out, and the eggs were gone! In their place were two brand new baby humming birds, new life, fragile, new life!

In the days that followed, I continued to check on them several times a day, and whenever I’d see mommy flying around towards her babies, I’d gaze at them from afar. It has been so…gosh, it’s hard to describe the beauty I see each time I visit them, and all the analogies that run through my soul as I stare upon their innocence, the total reliance and dependence upon mommy to show up and feed them, protect them, cover them.

Last week, I walked out there for the umpteenth time and what I saw rendered me speechless – yeah, that’s right, I said speechless! J There they both were, mouths wide open, eyes still closed, waiting for mommy’s beak to be inside theirs to give them their food. They were openly, uninhibitedly and passionately open-mouthed, no shame in their game, ready to eat…and they wanted to be fed now, as this picture shows.

Seeing them so ready and waiting to eat was symbolic to me; I just knew there was a spiritual message in what the Author of Life has allowed me to experience in the birth of these little baby humming birds. Actually there were two significant principles: as the baby birds are dependent upon their mommy to do everything for them, so we need to be dependent on Christ, the One who can do ALL things for us, to us and through us. Too often we are dependent upon others, and fall out of our nest, so to speak, because we have put our hope in the wrong things and/or persons.

The other principle has to do with food: How often do we come to His banquet table saying “feed me, Father, for I am really hungry”? Did you know there’s an open invitation to meet Him at His banqueting table any time? Coffee Hour Friend, He invites us to feast upon His principles and promise, to slowly take in, process, and digest at each and every sitting? There’s a beautiful word picture in Solomon 2:4 that says: He brought me to the banqueting house, and His banner over me was love.” 2nd Samuel 9:13 is a reminder of the invitation for all of us to feast at His table anytime. This invitation is not for the “perfect, have-it-all together” person, but for us who admit that we are broken and lame without Him who feeds us, sustains us daily, for those of us dependent upon Him for our daily feedings for it is His food that brings us new life!

Feeding at His table

Evinda

July 14th, 2017

Foster’s Faith Filled Friday

Welcome to my 2nd Foster’s Faith-Filled Friday @ Coffee Hour and Trench Classes United. Come in for some conversation…I’m talking to myself but He answers me!

 

How Do I Remain Open To Love And Also guard my heart?

 

So let me give you a brief rundown on my love life (or lack thereof). I’m not known for having the greatest “picker” in the past, I’ve had my fair shares of “what the heck was I thinking” but also had my moment where I found out what love is. Let’s start with my son’s father: him and I, well we loved each other but I never felt like either of us experienced being “in love,” and that’s okay! We work well together as friends and co-parents; we have an understanding of each other’s boundaries.

After Hunter’s dad, I dated a couple guys and within a couple months, well, they ended. I was always wondering why me? Why can’t I find the right guy, that is until I met my last boyfriend. The all around good guy who loved me and my son more than himself; and I thought wow I finally found love.

We dated for almost two years before we split and I was devastated nonetheless, I was lost to say the least. It took 6 months before I realized I had no real concept of my self-worth. I was always wanting — let’s call him “Josh” — to validate me and it was a task no one should ever have to face. Why? Because he would never be able to do that and it wasn’t his job! So after about 6 months I finally came to peace with the fact that it was over and would never work out. That was a sad day, right?

Wrong! In the midst of that dark breakup I realized I needed to find myself, love myself, in order for any man to satisfy my emotional needs, I needed to be genuinely happy with who I am as a woman. Not that fake, I’ll post a cute Facebook status to convince everyone I’m happy with myself, but be so content with where the Lord has brought me out of and the woman I’m evolving into each day.

So now I’m “considering” becoming emotionally available right…but how do I become open to love and also protect myself and my heart?

Here’s the thing about dating in an emotionally healthy way: It’s important to make sure that your emotional relationship is growing proportionally to your level of commitment.

Just a few things, in my opinion to avoid at the early stages of dating….

 

  1. Praying together- I know I know, Breanna, you are crazy! Hear me out. When you pray, you become emotionally vulnerable, you pour your heart and soul out in front of the Lord. Now I’m not saying not to pray for your relationship or not to seek the Lord’s counsel, just wait to seek it together. There is an emotional intimacy that is shared in moments like this and that can bring you deeper then you were meant to go and potentially leave you broken hearted and spiritually broken.
  2. Don’t talk about the future before commitment is confirmed. Dreaming together is fun and it’s sweet but it’s also can be damaging. Planning so far in advance too early on in a relationship puts an added expectation on either party that doesn’t need to be there so early on! Live in the moment, no need to rush!! Remember, where your conversations go, your heart will follow.  

 

Proverbs 4:23:  Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life

 

What does that even mean? Guard my heart?

 

What I’m trying to say is better said by Paul wherein he lays out in Philippians 4:6-7 : “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

 

Prayer is the pathway guarding our hearts and minds with Gods peace. Trusting God, in other words, the key to guarding your heart is to talk to God about the relationship before you talk to the other person about the relationship.

I read an article once about those type of suggestions and thought no way will they affect a me or my relationship long term…and trust me, they do! For now, I’ll be talking to God about making myself emotionally available and wait for Him to pick him!

Remember guard your heart!

Breanna

July 13th, 2017

Tam’s Trench Truth

Hello and welcome to some Trench Truth I received from July 4th! 🙂

 

This evening I was able to grab the camera, get out the door and grab some great shots of fireworks. I like to challenge myself to get shots in different styles and quality. As I was snapping the pictures, I felt like they were not that great, and I was a little saddened that they were not turning out as good as I wanted them. But just being out in the cool air and seeing the night sky light up sent the sadness scattering and in its place came this feeling of freedom. You see, I isolate a lot. I have social phobias and anxiety and it can really affect me very deeply. So I just wanted to enjoy my time out.

 

I had a busy four- lane road behind me, and just as I settled down and started really enjoying myself, a car laid on the horn and instantly my anxiety took off. I turned around to see these young kids just finish running across the street and a woman leaned out the window and started screaming at them. She was quite rude, but there were people everywhere. I really wanted to tell the woman off, but something in me encouraged me to turn around and just get back behind my camera.

 

At that very moment I squeezed off the shot I am sharing with all of you. A green firework went off just before another one did and I squeezed the trigger at just the right millisecond. It was as if I got that love from above. I relish in the thought that I was blessed to catch this. I could have easily had missed it if I was concerned with confronting some rude person who was mad because they are caught in traffic on a busy road.

 

I cannot help but wonder how many times in life that I might have very well missed something so beautiful because I was consumed by anger or perhaps confrontation. I think at these moments maybe God is trying to work a little harder to show us something to steer us away from an incident, and we as humans let our emotions overtake us.

 

I challenge all of you as I am challenging myself at the next fork in the road where you can either scream at someone or look for something beautiful that maybe God might be showing you in that millisecond. Grab that moment… Squeeze the trigger and capture it. It might be a little love from above.

 

Much love everyone…

~John

July 12th, 2017

Wednesday’s Word-Summer of Psalms

                                                                                                  Tell your Mind

Welcome to Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power and Wednesday’s Word @ Trench Classes United. I just love our Wednesdays together, especially in our Summer of Psalms! Grab your coffee, your journal, a pen, and don’t forget your Bible and your strand of faith! We are going to tie some knots in our faith today!

Instead of going to Psalm 12, for July 12, let’s jump up 100 Psalms and go to Psalm 112!  If you have your Bible, turn with me to Psalm 112, a Psalm that deals with guarding our minds…and our faith. So I’m using the New King James version, but you use whatever you understand and whatever version speaks to you!

I love the first verse; right out of the gate, “Praise the Lord!” There is much to be thankful for, right!?! Oh, to practice an attitude of gratitude, even in the midst of trouble, there’s always something to be thankful for. This principle never fails, ever! Let’s continue:
“Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who delights greatly in His commandments.” Let’s break that down and rewrite it.

“Blessed” is another word for happy! I find that so incredibly comforting that God does desire that we be happy…but as the Psalm reveals, worldly happiness and Godly happiness are two completely different things.  Each of us have a God-sized hole in our hearts, and no amount of money, sex, drugs, worldly love can fill it; only the love of Christ fits!

And then there’s that word “fear” in there, and Coffee Hour friend, please believe me when I say Abba Daddy does not want you to fear, as in be afraid, of Him; no, rather, He desires that you would fear being even a day without Him. Fear of being without Him will lead us to a fearless life!

With that in mind, let’s do the rewrite:

Happy is _____ (put your name in there) for she fears being without God, she is learning to delight greatly in commandments, His purpose and will for her life.

2”His descendants will be mighty on earth; the generation of the upright will be blessed. 3Wealth and riches will be in his house and his righteousness endures forever.”

Rewrite: Her children will be strong in life – oh, I don’t know about you, but I need to hear that and hit repeat, repeat, repeat because what other legacy matters, right? Okay, continuing on: Her generation will be blessed (happy); physical, emotional and spiritual well being make her rich, and because of her heart for God, He will count her as righteous for always.

4Unto the upright there arises light in the darkness; He is gracious, and full of compassion and righteousness. 5A good man deals graciously and lends; he will guide his affairs with discretion.

Rewrite: Even in the darkest of times, He will be her light for He is her God of grace and full of compassion and will sustain her in all her needs. Because He is a giver of good things, she can be wisely generous for generosity can cure the fear of losing money!

6Surely he will never be shaken; the righteous will be in everlasting remembrance. He will not be afraid of evil tidings; 8his heart is steadfast, trusting in the lord. 8His heart is established. He will not be afraid.

There’s a lot of meat in these three verses so I’ll try really hard to sum it up by quoting another verse in the Psalms, 56:11 “In God I have put my trust” – for all things – “I will not be afraid” – for anything – “What can man do to me?”

Rewrite: Faith keeps her from being shaken in the throes of life, leaving a legacy to remember always, from generation to generation. Even those who are evil towards her will not scare her because her heart is entwined (steadfast and established) with the Father, the Judge in Whom she trusts.

Coffee hour friend, I pray that your heart is more encouraged than when we began, that you would fear less and faithe (rymes with bathe) more, and stay plugged into your Source!

Finish your rewrite and remember, don’t try to be so grammatically perfect; have some fun with it and put yourself in these verses; after all, He already did!
Loving the Psalms,

Evinda

July 11th, 2017

Tuesday’s Trench Truth

Welcome to TuesdayTuesday’s Trench Truth’s Trench Truth with Trench Classes United and Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power, and thanks so much for joining us for a moment of reflective truth. Today’s truth comes from a friend whose post on Facebook caught my attention, and it was definitely something I needed at the time. It was so transparent and right on that I thought you would benefit from it so I asked her if I could share it with you and she said yes. It has to do with relationships and endeavors. Come on in.

“Any endeavor or relationship that has or holds the potential for heavenly magnificence will face spiritual combat and definite times of difficulty. These relationships or endeavors will require the fortitude to fight. When we give up, throw in the ‘I’ve had it’ towel; be mindful that you might be throwing out something that could potentially impact hundreds of people for kingdom good and glory. When the going gets tough, the people of God hit their knees” — not the divorce court; nor do they leave the endeavor. “They buckle up and ride out the white-knuckle storm with the One who controls the wind and the waves.

“Endure my coffee hour friend. There is such beauty to behold when the storm ceases. He makes beautiful things; He makes beautiful things out of turbulent and messy times.”

So whatever endeavor or relationship has you wondering if you should just exit, the answer just may be found on your knees!

Diane Huntsman

July 10th, 2017

Monday’s Mantra

 

                                                                          Your Brain Only Knows What You Tell It!

Monday, Monday…another new week, a new beginning; a new adventure! Welcome to Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power and Monday’s Mantra @ Trench Classes United. Oh, I can’t wait to share this true story with you about fear. Come on in.

A couple of weeks ago, my husband and I took our seven-year-old grandson to the water park in our city. We definitely wanted to get wet and cool off but we just didn’t want to drive all that way to the beach. We gave him a description of the water slides, assuring him it would be fun, appeasing his curiosity. I had never been on them, but hey, they have always looked fun! He was so excited. Oh, the joy of a child! I wish I could bottle it and pour it on myself when he goes home.

When we got there, there was a bit of a hike to the ticket window but we made it! The guy in the booth asked if we were swimming and sliding, or just swimming. “Just swimming for me,” little Bryden said. I was dumbfounded. “You don’t want to go on the slides, buddy?” No, I’m good.” We paid for our swim tickets and the young guy gave us a couple of slide chips and said have him try it and if he likes it, then we’ll upgrade your ticket. What a nice guy, I thought.

We walked toward the beach area and set up our stuff while he jumped into the water, and within seconds he made a couple of new friends. Oh, the innocence of a child that thrusts them into others’ spaces. He can be so joyfully bossy and rambunctious at times and some people just don’t get him!J

George pulled out the water guns and within minutes people on the shore were laughing with us as we aimed at each other and within minutes, we went from dry and hot to wet and cool. After little B got bored with that, we decided to try the water slides –or should I say George decided that I should try them with B.  We raced to the first set of stairs and came to a stop. He looked at me with his brown eyes full of a familiar emotion, fear. “Nana, I don’t want to go on it; it’s too high.” I told him Nana was a bit scared too, but I was going to face my fear and have some fun with him.

I managed to keep him engaged in conversation all the way up to when it was time for me to go – they didn’t allow two to go at once. I assured him that Nana wouldn’t let him do something that would hurt him and told him I’d be waiting at the bottom to catch him. Off I went!

I discovered that the more I sat upright, the slower I went. I was like my own sled, in charge of the speed, and as the end of the slide drew near, I leaned back a bit to pick up the speed and…splash! The little girl in me laughed out loud! And then I waited and waited and waited. I knew in my gut he had decided not to slide down.

I got out and got halfway up the path and there he was, looking defeated with big crocodile tears in his eyes. “What happened, B?” “It’s too high,” he exclaimed. I stood with him for moments that stretched to the height of the long and twisty slide and then I pointed to it, assuring him that it wasn’t any higher than the height of the garage door that he hangs on to as it’s going up! J Yes, he really does that! “The top of it is higher,” he pointed. “Yeah, but not by much, buddy,” I countered back.

We stood there in silence until I turned to go back toward our chairs. “No,” he screamed. “Okay, let’s go try it,” and I headed back up and he followed.

So up again we went and this time he actually started to sit down and then freaked out and stood up and declared he was too scared. The walk back to our chairs was one I’ll never forget. His fear was so real, so overwhelming, it had him all worked up, so worked up that when he said these words, I couldn’t help but smile – inside, of course because I’d never want him to think I was smiling at him. He said: “I wanna do it; it’s just I’m soooooo scared,” he whined, tears beginning to stream down his little sweet face.

“It’s okay, Buddy. If you don’t want to do it, that’s okay. You don’t have to.” I kept reassuring him all the way back to our beach chairs, but it just wasn’t sitting right with him. We got back to George and within 30 seconds, he had papa convinced he’d try it again if only he had the tokens because I had already used one. So he and papa went and talked to the guy at the ticket window and they came back with two more tokens. He convinced me he was going to do it this time. We raced toward the slides.

This time, when we got to the hill that began the ascent toward the slide, and he started to give into his fears again, I stopped him and I bent down and looked him right in his beautiful brown eyes and said: “B, your brain only knows what you tell it. If you continue to repeat that you’re scared, guess what? By the time you get up there, you’ll have scared yourself out of the slide. So beginning with the first step on the stairs I want you to repeat: I’m gonna do this; I can do this; I’m gonna do this; I can do this.”

When I felt his voice disappearing, I reminded him to talk a little louder so he could hear himself. As we climbed up the final steps to the platform of the slide, he tried to give in again but this time I cut him off, reminding him of his new message. We were up next and I really thought he was going to go first, but he begged me to go first. As I sat down, I turned around and said, “Pinky promise you’ll come right behind Nana.” “I promise.” And down I went…needing to tell myself a new message, like he will do it; he’s gonna do it! J

I landed with a happy splash and within seconds I turned to begin to get out and who came splashing down…that’s right, my little B!

Coffee Hour friends, fears are frustrating, and when we give in to them they can be incredibly overwhelming. Maybe it’s time to remember that we can take the power out of fear by Facing Everything And Rising…instead of Fleeing Everything And Running!

Fearlessly,

Evinda