Daily Walking with God

May 2016
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Walking in the Word

Plant City's First Baptist Church

Be free!  Be encouraged!

Be free! Be encouraged!

Could you use a jolt of encouragement?

These verses are BURSTING with refreshing, freeing, and powerful words.

Now you have every spiritual gift you need as you eagerly wait for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ. He will keep you strong to the end so that you will be free from all blame on the day when our Lord Jesus Christ returns. God will do this, for He is faithful to do what He says, and He has invited you into partnership with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.  1 Corinthians 1:7-9

Key points I hope you didn’t miss:

  • You have every spiritual gift you NEED. You may “want” a certain type of talent or gift, but God has given you exactly what you NEED. Celebrate His provision that He designed especially for you. Being envious of someone else’s gift can and will cause unwarranted feelings. The feeling you should have is joy and gratefulness. Embrace your gift.
  • Are you enthusiastically waiting for the day WHEN Christ return? Oh my! It’s not “if” He returns. He is returning! Some of you are like, “I am so ready for Jesus’ return!” ­and others may be thinking, “I need a little more time to see ­or do (you fill in the blank).” Whenever you are hoping for that glorious day, just know that it will happen and we need to be living and waiting for God with passion in our hearts.
  • He will keep you strong! When you are weak and feel like you cannot stand any more, then drop to your knees and you’ll discover God holding you up by His strength and it will uplift and comfort you at just the right time. He is ALL-POWERFUL! I have been there and done that. God sustained me in my weakness and made me strong.
  • FREEDOM! A life with Christ is a life of freedom. If you are in a season of bondage, turn to God and discover a life of privilege and power that can only come from your Heavenly Father. Ahhhh…just breathe Him in.
  • Don’t forget…God IS God. When He says He will do something, He will do it. He is faithful and true. Period.
  • Are you someone who says, “I only will attend if I am invited?” Well, my friend, God is inviting you. He is inviting you to at partnership/a friendship/companionship/brotherhood. Will you RSVP that you will join Him? I sure hope so. Jesus wants to be your friend. Sweet!

So are you encouraged by these verses like me? God is good, y’all!

I pray that you will enjoy soaking up The Son every moment of each day. –Stephanie

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DSCN3819I just returned from my children’s elementary school. Each year Walden Lake Elementary graciously host the high school graduates for a trip down memory lane.

As soon as I walked through the door I heard the song “You’re Gonna Miss This” by Trace Adkins playing over the speakers. Seriously? Tears already? Yes!

The library, that once seemed so small to these now high school seniors (especially Cameron that is now 6’8”), was decorated with memorabilia from their elementary school yearbooks and balloons.

There were teachers ready to give well wishes and hugs to their former students. Unfortunately, my daughter’s kindergarten through fifth grade teachers had all either retired or moved on. Really! All of them. It was sweet to see Mrs. Esienbach, Holly’s fourth grade teacher, return for the festivities.


Holly and her fourth grade teacher.

Those seniors who were able to attend today posed for a group photo. It was impressive to see approximately forty former Walden Lake Eagles return to where, for many, their schooling all began.

After a group photo each student had to say their name (because let’s face it…they have changed over the past few years), where they are graduating from, and where they plan on attending college.

The trip down memory lane continued as we all viewed their fifth grade send-off video that captured the many remembrances of their kindergarten through fifth grade years. Again…this momma cried.

The reunion ended with Tim McGraw’s video being shown to song, “Humble and Kind”. Yes…the event began and ended with tears for me. One day I hope these fine young men and women will understand the emotions I went through as I was reminiscing my child’s school years. It was JUST like yesterday, y’all!

As an educator, I want to encourage you students to never give up and keep focused on your goals. You will be faced with struggles in your classes, new surroundings, and finding where you “fit in”. Don’t give up! Remember…you are not alone! This first year WILL be difficult, and you may even want to goof off this first year. Advice on goofing off…DON’T! Yes, you will have fun, but if you get into the habit of not keeping school a priority, it is hard to get out of the hole you’ve dug. You CAN make it out and rise above, but it will be much easier for you if focus on what you want in the end and where you really desire to be in the future. Be intentional. Study. Take advantage of the tutoring and counseling from your professors. Get the school work out of the way so you can enjoy those fun moments, which you will have tons of. If you keep focused on your goals, making it through those tough times will be worth it in the end.

As a parent, I want you to remember where home is. Your family will always be here for you and cheering you on. It’s okay to call home for trivial things like “What type of clothes detergent do I use?” “Can you please send me some cookies?” “How do I cook ____?” or “Can I put this shirt in the dryer or hang it up to dry?” Then, there are those questions that aren’t so trivial. Whatever your fears, questions, desires, and dreams may be…just call home. Even if it’s just to say “hi”, “I miss you”, or “I love you”. Go! Go learn how to be a grown-up. Make mistakes, but learn from them. If you can learn through other’s mistakes, please do so you won’t have to take that “field trip” yourself. Wherever life takes you, please remember where your home is and that your family loves you.

As a Christian, I pray that you will remember who you are and Whose you are. You are a child of God. If you have asked Jesus into your heart just remember…even if you don’t attend a Christian college, you are A Christian IN college. Be prepared. Start, go through, and end your day in prayer. Be armed. God has given you HIS armor to wear. Put it on daily and walk in His protection. Be kind, compassionate, and forgiving. Jesus did and I think He’s a pretty awesome example as to how to live. Be intentional in your actions and speech. Think before you say or do anything. Ask yourself will what you say and do put a smile on God’s face. If not, TRUST ME…it’s NOT worth it. His plan for you is so much better than what you could ever dream up for yourself. Be gentle on yourself. You will make some ridiculous choices, but forgive yourself, learn, ask God to forgive you, and move on.

Wherever you go, whatever you do…CONGRATULATIONS on your upcoming graduation.

And…being the school teacher that I am, I must include Dr. Seuss’ words from the book Oh, The Places You’ll Go (copyrighted in 1990):

Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You’re on your own. And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.

You’ll look up and down streets. Look ‘em over with care.
About some you will say, “I don’t choose to go there.”
With your head full of brains and your shoes full of feet,
you’re too smart to go down any not-so-good street.

And you may not find any
you’ll want to go down.
In that case, of course,
you’ll head straight out of town.

It’s opener there
in the wide open air.

Out there things can happen
and frequently do
to people as brainy
and footsy as you.

And then things start to happen,
don’t worry. Don’t stew.
Just go right along.
You’ll start happening too.


You’ll be on y our way up!
You’ll be seeing great sights!
You’ll join the high fliers
who soar to high heights.

You won’t lag behind, because you’ll have the speed.
You’ll pass the whole gang and you’ll soon take the lead.
Wherever you fly, you’ll be best of the best.
Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.

Except when you don’t.
Because, sometimes, you won’t.

I’m sorry to say so
but, sadly, it’s true
that Bang-ups
and Hang-ups
can happen to you.

You can get all hung up
in a prickle-ly perch.
And your gang will fly on.
You’ll be left in a Lurch.

You’ll come down from the Lurch
with an unpleasant bump.
And the chances are, then,
that you’ll be in a Slump.

And when you’re in a Slump,
you’re not in for much fun.
Un-slumping yourself
is not easily done.

You will come to a place where the streets are not marked.
Some windows are lighted. But mostly they’re darked.
A place you could sprain both your elbow and chin!
Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in?
How much can you lose? How much can you win?

And IF you go in, should you turn left or right…
or right-and-three-quarters? Or, maybe, not quite?
Or go around back and sneak in from behind?
Simple it’s not, I’m afraid you will find,
for a mind-maker-upper to make up his mind.

You can get so confused
that you’ll start in to race
down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace
and grind on for miles cross weirdish wild space,
headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.
The Waiting Place…

…for people just waiting.
Waiting for a train to go
or a bus to come, or a plane to go
or the mail to come, or the rain to go
or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow
or the waiting around for a Yes or No
or waiting for their hair to grow.
Everyone is just waiting.

Waiting for the fish to bite
or waiting for the wind to fly a kite
or waiting around for Friday night
or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake
or a pot to boil, or a Better Break
or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants
or a wig with curls, or Another Chance.
Everyone is just waiting.

That’s not for you!

Somehow you’ll escape
all that waiting and staying
You’ll find the bright places
where Boom Bands are playing.

With banner flip-flapping,
once more you’ll ride high!
Ready for anything under the sky.
Ready because you’re that kind of a guy!

Oh, the places you’ll go! There is fun to be done!
There are points to be scored. There are games to be won.
And the magical things you can do with that ball
will make you the winning-est winner of all.
Fame! You’ll be as famous as famous can be,
with the whole wide world watching you win on TV.

Except when they don’t
Because, sometimes they won’t.

I’m afraid that some times
you’ll play lonely games too.
Games you can’t win
’cause you’ll play against you.

All Alone!
Whether you like it or not,
Alone will be something
you’ll be quite a lot.

And when you’re alone, there’s a very good chance
you’ll meet things that scare you right out of your pants.
There are some, down the road between hither and yon,
that can scare you so much you won’t want to go on.

But on you will go
though the weather be foul.
On you will go
though your enemies prowl.
On you will go
though the Hakken-Kraks howl.
Onward up many
a frightening creek,
though your arms may get sore
and your sneakers may leak.

On and on you will hike,
And I know you’ll hike far
and face up to your problems
whatever they are.

You’ll get mixed up, of course,
as you already know.
You’ll get mixed up
with many strange birds as you go.
So be sure when you step.
Step with care and great tact
and remember that Life’s
a Great Balancing Act.
Just never foget to be dexterous and deft.
And never mix up your right foot with your left.

And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.)


be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray
or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O’Shea,
You’re off the Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So…get on your way!

Here are two links to share regarding being humble and kind: Be Humble, Kind, and Much More and Be Humble, Kind, and Love the Lord.

I pray that you will enjoy soaking up The Son every moment of each day. –Stephanie

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"God Doodling" for Holly, by my friend Kathy Wall.

“God Doodling” for Holly, by my friend Kathy Wall.

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans 15:4

Learning about history, any type of history, was always fascinating to me. I may not have done very well in my college class, okay…there’s no “maybe” about it…I didn’t…I had to retake American History (seriously!), yet the fascination of how things were made, who did what to change the world, wars, government, etc. was always and still is appealing to me to this day.

Just yesterday I was thinking about how to decorate my daughter’s graduate table at our church’s recognition event. One of the ideas had to do with history. Holly has always done well and been intrigued by the learning of history. She had even thought at one point that she may minor in history in college.

I knew I wanted to use the “God Doodling” that my precious friend created for Holly, so when I searched my photos and found the “History” drawing I smiled when I realized that the same scripture God gave me this morning was the exact verse I had given my friend to incorporate in her “God Doodling”. Well, I’m not sure if God was whispering in my ear, “Yes! Go for it. Tie in Holly’s love of history in the decoration.” Or was He whispering something else to me.

Maybe God wasn’t confirming a decorating idea for me as much as He was reminding me to share with all whose eyes happen to scan this page that we need to be history buffs ourselves.

Why? Take a look at the bible verse again:

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans 15:4

Here are some thoughts:

  • Yes, we are to learn from the past. The bible is THE accurate, not the most accurate, but THE ACCURATE historical book. The bible isn’t for collecting dust on our shelves, simply using as decoration, nor meant to be carried back-and-forth to church on Sundays to only be opened in class or while the pastor is preaching. It is meant to be opened daily, read, and explored so we can learn from it. “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17 NIV
  • The bible is meant to give us strength, perseverance, patience, courage, and so much more! If…we will read it, learn from it, and apply it to our daily lives. “For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13 NLT . “Endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.” Romans 5:4 . “So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.” Deuteronomy 31:6
  • Could you use a little hope? Then allow God to be The Provider of hope that He is. Read the greatest history book ever to seek and be saturated with hope. “I pray that the God who gives hope will fill you with much joy and peace as you trust in him. Then you will have more and more hope, and it will flow out of you by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13 ERV

So what are you waiting for? Go become a history buff and learn from The Book that has so much to learn from it.

I pray that you will enjoy soaking up The Son every moment of each day. –Stephanie

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This is my favorite tree on our property.

This is my favorite tree on our property.

Peace. Are you in need of peace?

Let me tell you…having peace, discovering peace, cultivating peace, displaying peace, offering peace, etc., in the truest sense of PEACE, isn’t something that you fabricate on your own. It comes from knowing God.

Jesus Christ Himself said in John 14:27, “I leave you peace. It is my own peace I give you. I give you peace in a different way than the world does. So don’t be troubled. Don’t be afraid.” Wait! Did you see that? He is not just giving you any type of peace. He is giving you His OWN PEACE.

Sure you can find peace in and through people, places, songs, and a variety of “things” in and of this world, but they are only temporary. If you want true and everlasting peace, seek to know your Heavenly Father.

But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. 18 And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness. James 3:17-18

Yesterday I went on a prayer hike around our property. As soon as I began walking, God reminded me of the first time I saw this piece of land. When Tim and I were first approaching the home site I was not completely onboard with my husband. When we began to walk around the perimeter of the woods I started praying for God’s guidance in whether or not THIS was the land He desired for us. With each step, peace would wash over me. Peace that can only come from God. Peace that calmed my soul and thoughts. Peace that continues to run through me when I am sitting, working, walking, hunting, or whatever while on our land.

Peace continued to be the underlying theme in my prayers. In each situation and person that I was praying for, peace seemed to be what was and is needed for them while they are in their predicament. Direction in life, seeking a job, battling cancer, facing death, relationships, heading out on a new adventure in life, acceptance, bitterness, jealousy, and the process of building a home are just a few examples of needs I was praying for for others and self.

While reading James 3:17-18 this morning, I just had to read the entire chapter. Oh, how I want to encourage you to as well. This chapter mentioned some of the same things that I was praying for regarding bitterness, selfishness, and wisdom. My desire for those individuals is exactly what God desires for them…peace.

If you are struggling with any of these types of emotions or matters mentioned, let me give you some advice that helped me through same struggles I’ve had in the past. FORGIVENESS. You MUST forgive the person that you are having these unhealthy emotions with. You MUST forgive yourself too. When you forgive, it brings about God’s peace like you wouldn’t believe. Also, WISDOM. Seek God’s wisdom and not your own or of others.

I want to encourage you to take a prayer walk, hike, ride, or sit yourself. Pray first of all for forgiveness and wisdom, then thankfulness for the blessings God has given you, and then pray for others. I hope you add me to your list. *smile*wink*

Peace to you, my friend.

I pray that you will enjoy soaking up The Son every moment of each day. –Stephanie

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men and women signRecently I viewed a video recorded interview with my county’s school superintendent. My heart ached as I listened to him convey our school boards’ thoughts about the “transgender bathroom topic in our public school system”.

A few times he mentioned how “we are looking for guidance from our government” in this situation. Each time I heard those sentiments my reflection and prayers went directly to the thought process of “Lord, I pray that our government will seek Your guidance as others are seeking theirs.”

As a parent, I do not want my children subjected to this dilemma. Period. End of statement.

As a public school educator in a middle school, I can only imagine how much more uncomfortable a child who struggles with this condition will feel. They would be singled out even more than they possibly are and me-oh-my how the bullying would be more ubiquitous than it already is in our schools. This is already a difficult and confusing (as we can see) age for the majority of youth. This situation will only add to the awkwardness of this stage in their lives.

I have spoken with some principals and asked them how many students consider themselves transgender. Do you realize that it is less than 0.001% of the school’s population? Those principals all said that they deal with this in a case-by-case manner and make safe arrangements for these students. So if this debate is only for less than 0.001% of our students, why do we have to subject the 99.99% of the youth to this?

As a Christian I am on my knees praying for the eyes of others to be open to God’s will.

My God, the Creator of all, does not make mistakes. Instead of turning to scientific studies and polls that are out there, I turned to the bible. The true source of life.  Here are a few of God’s words to encourage you in your prayer life and defend you in your beliefs

So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:27 NIV

Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mother’s womb. I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking! Body and soul, I am marvelously made!  I worship in adoration—what a creation! You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something. Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you, The days of my life all prepared before I’d even lived one day.Psalm 139:13-16 MSG

A woman must not wear men’s clothing, nor a man wear women’s clothing, for the Lord your God detests anyone who does this.Deuteronomy 22:5 NIV

Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men, 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. 12 “I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but I will not be mastered by anything. 13 You say, “Food for the stomach and the stomach for food, and God will destroy them both.” The body, however, is not meant for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. 14 By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also. 1 Corinthians 6:9-14 NIV

Can I count on you to pray for our government, students, educators, administrators, and individuals who are consumed with the thought of being transgender?

I was comforted this past Sunday when the Sunday school teacher asked for those of us in the public school system to come forward so the class can pray over us. I was honored to be standing next to a God-honoring principal and fellow Christian teachers.

Teachers, it’s easy for us to want to say, “That’s it! I’ve had enough!” I challenge you to be fueled by the Holy Spirit to be even stronger in your faith than ever. Be the light that others need to see. If your school has a moment of silence like mine does, take that opportunity to pray for your students, school, and staff. Your school campus is your mission field. Be bold and strong for God.

I pray that you will enjoy soaking up The Son every moment of each day. –Stephanie

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Pictured: (top) Krista, me, Rebecca, and Cherity (well...half of her...you crazy girl) (bottom) Abby, Carson Leigh, Kendall, Olivia, and Holly Anne.

(top) Krista, me, Rebecca, and Cherity (well…half of her…you crazy girl)
(bottom) Abby, Carson Leigh, Kendall, Olivia, and Holly Anne.

Well, we did it! A few months back God had pressed it upon my heart to lead a bible study with young ladies who will be graduating from high school and ready for the next adventure in their lives. So the journey began…

I had inquired from others which bible study to present, and it was almost unanimously mentioned to study, Priscilla Shirer’s The Armor of God. (Thank you ALL. We LOVED it!) A precious friend and godly woman whom I admire sent me a message stating that she had ordered books for this study months back but hadn’t gathered ladies together yet to participate in the bible study group, along with the books she even offered her beautiful home (with an awesome theater room for watching the videos) for “such a time as this”.

God had a plan already in place. He knew exactly who would share in this study time together and knew the struggles they would face along the way. And boy oh boy how God didn’t disappoint. With each challenge faced, through the words and scriptures that He had placed on Priscilla’s heart to pen in the study book, God began rescuing, refining, and restoring hope, love, and comfort to each individual. Glory!

I believe that God even gave me the perfect scripture this morning in my quiet time to end this journey:

Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand His decisions and His ways!…For everything comes from Him and exists by His power and is intended for His glory. All glory to Him forever! Amen. Romans 11:33 and 36

Oh, girls (and any guys out there reading this now), allow me to give you a little hint…this is NOT the end.

Your journey, in so many ways, is just beginning.

To my precious senior girls: Your journey through high school is coming to an end (and I’m sure I can get a “Hallelujah!” out of you there), yet you are beginning a new phase of education and life as you all adventure off to college. You are armed with God’s armor. Not some knock-off, hand-me-down armor. Nope, He gave you HIS. Now it’s up to you to put it on and USE it. I LOVE YOU! Holly, Carson Leigh, Abby, Olivia, and Kendall, God has great plans for you. Seek Him in ALL that you do. Remember to not only pray for God to reveal the right and wrong choices for you, but the “almost right”.

To anyone who has ever completed a bible or book study: You’ve reached the final pages of your study, yet your thirst and hunger for more of God’s knowledge is there and you are ready for more. That is EXACTLY what God desires for you…to want to know more of His riches and wisdom and knowledge. We will NEVER know all about God and His ways. So we must continue to yearn for Him and strive to understand His ways.

To those who are going through a season of struggle in your life now: Just like I often tell myself in the midst of experiences, “This too shall pass”. Through and with God’s direction and guidance when you call out to Him and grab ahold of His hand, you WILL make it! That season WILL end and you will be able to give God all the GLORY when it’s all done. Hang on.

To anyone whose eyes are scanning this journal entry right now: Today is a new day! Let today be the beginning of a journey for you to desire and discover Jesus in an unimaginable way. Oh the plans He has for you! They are exciting! It’s always an adventure with God. There will be twists and turns along this journey, but stick with God and He will make your path straight.

I want to end this entry with the scripture that started it all:

A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. 12 For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.

13 Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. 14 Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. 15 For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. 16 In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. 17 Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.

19 And pray for me, too. Ask God to give me the right words so I can boldly explain God’s mysterious plan that the Good News is for Jews and Gentiles alike. Ephesians 6:10-19

I pray that you will enjoy soaking up The Son every moment of each day. –Stephanie

Please click here to subscribe so you won’t miss a journal entry. THANK YOU!!!

Don’t forget to share your photos of sunrises and sunsets on social media and use the hashtag #soakinguptheson.

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When mom and I arrived at our hotel, we enjoyed propping our feet up on the window sill, overlooking the beautiful grounds, and studied the bible together.

When mom and I arrived at our hotel, we enjoyed propping our feet up on the window sill, overlooking the beautiful grounds, and studied the bible together.

When you can ride with someone in a car and feel comfortable sitting in silence, you have a good friend.

When you can laugh together over the smallest of circumstances, you have an enjoyable friend.

When you can read and talk about the bible, grow closer to the Lord through singing praises, study God’s word, and pray humbly together, you have a godly friend.

When you can drive each other crazy while still loving unconditionally, and trust one another in sharing life’s sensitive situations with, you have a treasured friend.

When you have someone close to you who you can look at their life and be encouraged, appreciate, and inspired by, you have and admirable friend.

When you have someone who encompasses all of the above and has known you since the first time she held you in your arms, kissed you boo-boos, and so much more, you have a mother as a friend.

This journal entry may be a little late Mother’s Day edition, but who said that we should only celebrate mom’s just one day a year? Every day is a day to celebrate momma. Plus, my gift to my mom occurred over this past weekend.

This was the twelfth annual Ladies Retreat that Kay Morris, my church’s director of women’s ministry, and her team gathered women together to encourage women to grow closer to and live for God. This retreat was my gift to my mother.

All of the aforementioned “friend” scenarios is how I would describe my weekend with my mom.

Grace and beauty can fool you, but a woman who respects the Lord should be praised.

Proverbs 31:30

I respect my mother because she respects, honors, praises, and love the Lord.

I just wanted to say, I love you, mom. Thanks for spending time with me.

I pray that you will enjoy soaking up The Son every moment of each day. –Stephanie

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I enjoyed this past weekend with my momma.   BTW...isn't my shirt by Front Porch Apparel fabulous?!

I enjoyed this past weekend with my momma.
BTW…isn’t my “Forgiven” shirt by Front Porch Apparel fabulous?!

Front Porch Apparel




“How hard it is to find the perfect wife. She is worth far more than jewels.” Proverbs 31:10

First of all, when I read my verse-for-the-day, I prayed for all my single, divorced, widowed, newly married, and veteran married peeps. It’s a tough world. Relationships can be difficult. I just wanted you to know that you were prayed for today. Go be strong in your faith and fall in love with Jesus. He’s your Man!

Dancing barefoot with my man.

Dancing barefoot with my man.

Now…Am I the “perfect” wife? Probably not, but I believe that I am the “perfect” one for Tim, and I think he feels the same way. (You will agree to this statement, Tim. *wink wink*.)

Seriously though, this whole Proverbs 31 woman exhausts me. Read it for yourself; click here. I strive to be the best wife for Tim. I fall short way many times, but I do strive to be the only one he has eyes for. The few things that make a marriage work is:

  • Pray together
  • Keep God first
  • Take short or extended trips together
  • Dance under the stars together
  • Sit together
  • Sit and talk together
  • Cuddle together
  • Laugh together
  • Cook together
  • Dream together
  • Enjoy your children together
  • Respect one another
  • Be honest with one another
  • Smile at each other across a crowded room
  • Hug often
  • Respect time apart, just for a little while, and miss each other like crazy when you are apart
  • Be intimate with one another
  • Text or call just because
  • Say “I love you” and mean it
  • Date one another
  • Watch sunrises and sunsets together

I’m sure you can add a few things to this list, but I know these are a “few of my favorite things” to do with my man.

Marriage is hard work. Stay on your toes, or dance on his. *wink*. Satan would love nothing more than to come between a good and godly thing. Work it!

Girls, like I tell my daughter…be so in love with Jesus that the man has to go through Him to get to you. Men, do the same. A man of God is a sexy thing. Why? Because you know how to treat your woman if you follow God’s book of life.

No matter what your relationship status is…YOU ARE WORTHY! God said it. So…Believe it. Embrace it. Relish in the fact that you are loved. Yes, you are loved by God.

Oh my…there is so much I could say about marriage and relationships. *long sigh* *smile* *reflect* Another time.

I pray that you will enjoy soaking up The Son every moment of each day. –Stephanie

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you are not aloneSomeone needs to hear this today.

Have you been through a struggle in your life that you didn’t think you were going to make it out alive? Maybe you are in the midst of a predicament right now and you are in need of being rescued. Well, you are not alone.

First of all, in lieu of trusting in your own strength, I have an exceptional suggestion…put your trust in God. (Proverbs 3:5) I know, I KNOW, giving control up over a situation can be (is) difficult, but please believe me that when you surrender your authority to The Real Boss of your life you will feel the weight diminish from your shoulders. God can and will handle this. He is waiting on you to simply ask Him to take control.

Next, here’s another tidbit of relief…with God, it’s not a “once-and-done”, “I’ll only rescue you once” type of ticket. Nope. As many times as you need rescuing, God is there. Now…this doesn’t give you an “I’m just going to be ignorant about how I live my life and take advantage of God every time.” Seriously? (Galatians 6:5, 2 Corinthians 5:10, 1 Corinthians 13:11, 2 Timothy 1:7, and so many more verses.) Be responsible. Have self-control. Think before you say and do anything. When you are somehow forced into the unfortunate situation, remember that there is a way out, and that you are not alone…Your Heavenly Daddy will save you.

Finally, an imperative component to any situation is prayer. I’m going to speculate and say that when you are in your “funk”, that you are not the only one being affected by your circumstance. You may get the impression that you are in this alone, but look up. Look around. Your attitude and actions towards others also transform how they act, think, and feel around you. (Galatians 5:2, Philippians 1:27, and Philippians 2:3-5) Others are ready and willing to pray for and with you. Prayer is a powerful thing! I have seen the power of prayer manifest right before my eyes. Sometimes God answers are not so immediate, but be patient by friend, release will come. Enlist your prayer warriors. Count me in.

This is too good not to share!

We don’t want you in the dark, friends, about how hard it was when all this came down on us in Asia province. It was so bad we didn’t think we were going to make it. We felt like we’d been sent to death row; that it was all over for us. As it turned out, it was the best thing that could have happened. Instead of trusting in our own strength or wits to get out of it, we were forced to trust God totally—not a bad idea since He’s the God who raises the dead! And He did it, rescued us from certain doom. And He’ll do it again, rescuing us as many times as we need rescuing. You and your prayers are part of the rescue operation—I don’t want you in the dark about that either. I can see your faces even now, lifted in praise for God’s deliverance of us, a rescue in which your prayers played such a crucial part. 2 Corinthians 1:8-11

I pray that you will enjoy soaking up The Son every moment of each day. –Stephanie

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God's word is

What is the bible?

The bible is:

  • Alive
  • The Moderator of our thoughts and attitudes
  • God’s Breath on Pages
  • The Training Book for Life
  • The Light to Guide my path
  • Endures Forever
  • The Book of Truth and Righteousness
  • God’s word
  • Praiseworthy
  • Planted in you
  • The Beginning and The End
  • Jesus
  • Glory
  • One-of-a-kind
  • Generous
  • And so much more!

16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 NIV

For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. Hebrews 4:12 NLT

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. Psalms 119:105

The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever. Isaiah 40:8 NIV

For the word of the Lord holds true, and we can trust everything he does. Psalms 33:4 NLT

In God, whose word I praise—in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? Psalms 56:4

The Lord is the source of wisdom; knowledge and understanding come from his mouth. Proverbs 2:6 ERV

Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. James 1:21

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:1 NIV

The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood. We saw the glory with our own eyes, the one-of-a-kind glory, like Father, like Son, Generous inside and out, true from start to finish. John 1:14

I want to encourage you, even challenge you, to open up the bible, read it, believe it, and apply it to your life.

It has changed my life immensely! And I am a work in progress that continues to yearn for the discipline, enlightenment, and guidance it provides to my life on a daily basis.

What is the bible to you?

I pray that you will enjoy soaking up The Son every moment of each day. –Stephanie

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