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He Is Strong

He Is Strong

[vc_row type=”in_container” full_screen_row_position=”middle” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” overlay_strength=”0.3″ shape_divider_position=”bottom”][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”1/1″ tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default” column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][vc_column_text]I am weak but He is strong.

 

From a young age, believers are taught that ‘He is our strength’ from the famous children’s hymn, “Jesus Loves Me”. The comforting lyrics of this song remind us that our Creator is almighty and all-loving! When we feel weak, defeated or overwhelmed, we can rest in knowing that we are loved by Him and that His strength is enough.

 

Jesus loves me, this I know.

For the Bible tells me so.

Little ones to Him belong,

they are weak, but He is strong.

 

The song also reminds us that feelings of weakness and defeat are okay, and that God can be glorified in them.

 

2 Corinthians 12:9 MSG

 

And then he told me, My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness. Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness…”

 

I consistently see God at work in my own weakness. He shows up when I’m running on empty, at the end of my rope, and He reveals himself as a redeemer when I fall short.

 

After I lost all hearing in my right ear from a TMJ surgery in 2015, I needed the Lord’s strength more than ever. My social anxiety was at an all-time high, and I felt debilitated and closed off from the world. But in the long run, God used my disability to fuel the fire even more for my life’s work with Beneath the Skin—to ensure that no one feels alone in their struggles, and to gain a deeper understanding of the fact that the Strength of the Lord is enough in our trials. What a blessing it is to look back on our weakest moments and see them as glory for the Creator!

 

Where do you see struggle in your life? Maybe you are experiencing depression, anxiety or isolation from others. Maybe you have a physical ailment or are experiencing brokenness in your family or home. I want to encourage you in this moment…God is being glorified! He is waiting with arms wide open for you to cast your cares on him. Connect with your community, reach out and utilize resources and stay prayerful and hopeful, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

 

Resources:

Beneath The Skin has 25 free eBooks to support you through anything you may be struggling with. Click here to view the list of eBooks for yourself or anyone you know/love that is in a season of trial![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Trusting God’s Plan

Trusting God’s Plan

I’m so thankful for the good memories I have from my childhood. Waking up on Sunday morning to the aroma of Mom making “Big Breakfast” (pancakes and bacon), my sister and I playing outside with our friends after school until the street lights came on, and braiding my Barbie’s hair next to my Mom, while she styled her clients hair in her at-home salon.

Unfortunately, the broken memories are just as vivid. I grew up with an alcoholic Father, and all of the family dysfunction that spawned from his behavior. I was forced to learn forgiveness at a very young age, but the daily, “I’m sorry” was nothing more than a verbal Band-Aid with no authenticity.

As I grew older, I developed a failure complex from the constant criticism that crippled me any time I “missed the mark”. For 27 years, I would draw boundaries and then regress. After all, he was the only father I had. It was a vicious cycle with no light at the end of the tunnel.

A child trauma expert at Vanderbilt University said that it’s not unusual for children to crave attention and love from abusive parents. This explains my endless pursuit for reconciliation and redemption in my relationship with my father. I truly believed it would happen, so I would put up with almost anything, tricking myself into thinking we were building a relationship.

The plans I had for my father and my relationship came to a sudden halt when he unexpectedly passed away from a heart attack the morning of February 2, 2015. I carried unbearable weight in the months that followed, thinking about all of the things we never got to say to each other. I believed whole-heartedly that redemption was on the horizon. I thought he would turn his life around and bring healing for all the pain he caused my family.

Negative experiences, opinions, and influences can blur our vision and change the way we see the world. These blinders become the enemy’s greatest tool against us, because they keep us from seeking God’s perfect plan for our lives. Instead, we pursue anything that can numb the pain from the past.

It took a long time to come to terms with the fact that God had a different plan. As hard as it was to believe, I realized that believing equals trust, and this was the ultimate test of my faith in trusting God.

 

Do we truly believe that God can use our brokenness for His glory? Whether we believe it or not, the answer is YES, and it’s spelled out for us all throughout scripture. 

Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

No matter what life throws our way, we must believe that Our God is sovereign—that he knows the desires of our hearts, and that His plan for our lives is perfect beyond our understanding.

 

Trusting God’s Plan

Less Of Me

As children of God, we all have an endless list of heart and soul maintenance to be done. It’s so beautiful how God reveals different things to us in different seasons, in HIS perfect timing. As I exit my 20’s and enter into a new decade of life, I’ve been examining my heart and praying that the Lord will magnify the areas that need improvement. Among all the areas of my heart that need work, I keep getting one bold reminder, “LESS OF ME”. These words have been on repeat in my head throughout the day.

When I think “less of me”, I naturally follow it up with “more of you, Lord.” But what does that actually mean? We hear it all the time in worship songs, sermons and testimonies, but just saying the words or singing them aloud on Sunday won’t actively change our day to day actions. What does scripture tell us, and how can we implement this life changing posture into our everyday lives?

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. Philippians 2:3-4

A great word to describe “less of me”, would be humility, and humility boils down to freedom from our pride and arrogance. The conceit, egotism and vanity associated with our pride will consume our appearance and make us look less and less like Jesus. When we possess the qualities that oppose humility, such as pride, we become isolated and unable to love others above ourselves.

We have to choose humility daily. It’s so easy to become focused on our own achievements, image and status, when we’re constantly being force-fed worldly self-improvement schemes. Every commercial, billboard and marketing strategy is directed towards YOU. How to be healthier, wealthier, happier, more desirable…etc. Here’s the thing— none of this bad, but none of it will fill the void in our hearts like the love of Jesus will.

Choosing humility daily requires intentional action. Limit the amount of time invested in a screen, and increase the amount of time diving into scripture and learning more about who you are in GOD’s eyes. Don’t just read and move on. Truly listen. When giving, give sacrificially. When speaking, lift others up. Continue this posture in every day to day activity.

With the Holy Spirit as our accountability partner, may we keep our eyes on the path that God has set before us. May we live and love like Jesus!

 “He must become greater, I must become less.” John 3:30

Trusting God’s Plan

Comparison

Theodore Roosevelt was spot on when he said, “Comparison is the thief of joy”. Unfortunately, social media has the world in a comparison frenzy with highlight reels of all the good, and none of the bad—making us feel like everyone ELSE has it all together.

“She’s in Paris… they just got engaged… he bought a new car.”

We evaluate our lives based on these illusions, and become ungrateful for what WE have been blessed with. If we don’t change the way we think, it will only continue to get worse. There’s no end in sight, because the habit can’t be overcome by attaining success—there will always be something or someone else to focus on.

Whether or not we want to admit it, comparison is sin. Proverbs 14:30 says “A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot.” If our hearts and minds are being consumed by envious thoughts, we aren’t putting Jesus on the throne. If we are trying to make others envious of our lives, we aren’t giving Jesus the spotlight. Wouldn’t it be nice to just scroll through our feeds an praise God for what He is doing in everyone else’s lives?

***New Years Resolution***

While focusing on the negatives is rarely as helpful as focusing on the positives, there is important space to be found remembering that nobody is perfect, and nobody is living a painless life. Triumph requires an obstacle to be overcome, and everybody is suffering through their own—whether you are close enough to know it or not.

The song “Different”, by Micah Tyler, has a line in it that says, “when they see me, let them see you”. The first time I heard it, I immediately started to re-evaluate where my heart and mind were at. I want to let God control my life, and give the Enemy no opportunity to discourage me from the plan he has in store. God’s plan for my life is the BEST plan for my life.

Jesus speaks about comparison in Galatians 6:4-5 “Each of you must examine your own actions. Then you can be proud of your own accomplishments without comparing yourself to others.  Assume your own responsibility.”

We should strive to be the best possible versions of ourselves—not only for ourselves, but for the benefit and contribution we can offer to others. Work hard to take care of yourself physically, emotionally and spiritually. Commit to growing a little bit each day, and learn to celebrate the little advancements you are making without comparing them to others. We each get 86,400 seconds each day, and using even one to compare yourself or your accomplishments to another is one second too many.

Trusting God’s Plan

Thy Will Be Done

On my drive to work this morning, I spent some much-needed time with Jesus, watching rays of the rising sun burst through fall colored trees in the rolling hills of Franklin, TN. I was thankful for such a beautiful sight as I prayed through some tough things.

“Lord, bring miraculous healing to my Uncle so his family won’t have to go through life without him”

“God, rid my dear friend of her anxiety and depression. Show her that you are greater than what she’s facing.”

As I went on, I started to feel convicted, wondering if the desires of my prayers were rooted in God’s will or my own. Questioning my own conviction, I asked, should I only being praying, “Your will be done” or should I intentionally pray for what I hope the outcome will be?

Maybe this is my Uncles time to start his eternal life in Heaven. Maybe, through my friends struggling, God is teaching her valuable lessons that she will use to bless other people who struggle the same way. Scripture tells us to ask in faith, believing that God can and will answer our prayers in the way He knows is best.

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.

1 John 5:14

In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning, I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation. Psalm 5:3

We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy.

 Daniel 9:18

God knows we will pray for what we desire, and he longs for the moments we spend with him – but he asks that we rejoice in ALL things whether or not the outcome is what we hoped for. As believers, we can rest in knowing that we serve a loving God that has plans to prosper us and not to harm us. I believe in miracles, and I’ll never stop praying for them to happen…but with a humble heart, I will close each prayer with “Thy will be done”!

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Sadie Robertson Huff is well known for her engaging smile and energetic personality, but there is a lot more to the 25-year-old star of A&E’s Duck Dynasty and runner up on ABC’s Dancing With the Stars season 19

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