Love in a lust world

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*** This may make you feel awkward or even make you blush – but it’s the Truth.

 Song of Solomon (Chapter 7)

HE:

1 How beautiful are your feet in sandals, O noble daughter! Your rounded thighs are like jewels,
the work of a master hand.
2 Your navel is a rounded bowl that never lacks mixed wine. Your belly is a heap of wheat,
encircled with lilies.
3 Your two breasts are like two fawns, twins of a gazelle.
4 Your neck is like an ivory tower. Your eyes are pools in Heshbon, by the gate of Bath-rabbim.
Your nose is like a tower of Lebanon, which looks toward Damascus.
5 Your head crowns you like Carmel, and your flowing locks are like purple; a king is held captive in the tresses.
6 How beautiful and pleasant you are, O loved one, with all your delights![a]
7 Your stature is like a palm tree, and your breasts are like its clusters.
8 I say I will climb the palm tree and lay hold of its fruit. Oh may your breasts be like clusters of the vine, and the scent of your breath like apples,
9 and your mouth[b] like the best wine.
She:

It goes down smoothly for my beloved, gliding over lips and teeth.
10 I am my beloved’s, and his desire is for me.

The Bride Gives Her Love

11 Come, my beloved, let us go out into the fields and lodge in the villages;
12 let us go out early to the vineyards and see whether the vines have budded, whether the grape blossoms have opened and the pomegranates are in bloom. There I will give you my love.
13 The mandrakes give forth fragrance, and beside our doors are all choice fruits, new as well as old, which I have laid up for you, O my beloved.

Ok, who after reading this wants to go grab your husband/wife and give them a big kiss?? If you’re not married it makes you desire to find someone who cherishes his wife this much. This is straight out of God’s word! These naughty little youngin’s with their metaphors. As I read this scripture I could feel the desire to be with one another so strongly – Encouraging intimacy between a groom and his bride – inspiration.

It’s b e a u t i f u l.                                     It’s h o l y.                                                           It’s p u r e.

The husband isn’t commanding his wife to be a “slave” to him but his heart and mind is full of desire for his bride.

The two became ONE.

It breaks my heart to think that innocent girls/women are being made sex slaves (sex trafficking) but our society would rather entertain a provocative, pornographic book and movie than contribute to HELP these lives (or at least not contribute to the movie/book 50 Shades of Grey – which is indeed making a woman a slave to her master).

My newsfeed has been full of justifications. Some of the comments I’ve read – “This will help my relationship because it will spark a fire in our intimacy” , “It’s not really a sin to watch this movie” or “Christian’s are so uptight about harmless movies” These are LIES – from the enemy.

Philippians 4:8

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.

God created sex. He wants it to be spicy, interesting, fun and PURE. When you invite such filth to come before your eyes, it’s no longer your spouse arousing you but the “thought” of another man or woman’s relations and this is known as ADULTERY. It’s in the Bible…

Matthew 5:27, 28 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

Exodus 20:17 “you shall not covet (lust) your neighbor’s wife,”

So often it’s made to sound as if men are the only ones who struggle with lust. Yes, I feel like the enemy has a stronghold on men with the desires of flesh – literally. BUT women are NOT perfect and usually enjoy fanacizing or reading books or watching movies on other people’s relationship finding themselves -craving “that type of love” Comparing these two incidents – they are identical because they BOTH lead to destruction. They BOTH lead to a wandering mind. They BOTH lead to unfaithfulness because it’s in the mind and heart where things stir up.

Think of it this way – two different scenarios

A. You plant a seed in the ground. You realize that you do not want what it produces, so you choose to not water it. End of story.

B. You plant a seed in the ground. You continue to water it and watch it spread, grow and take over your garden. When you planted the seed you did not realize it was a WEED. This weed now thrives and is able to grow and take over the life of your beautiful garden.

Humans are NOT perfect – we fail each day. You may think – “oh one glance at him won’t hurt me” or “I’ll watch this movie with my girlfriends and nothing bad will come from it” or “Just one more chapter and I’ll quit reading 50 shades of grey” or  “I love the way he makes me laugh – he really gets me” or “This woman encourages and boasts of me – I wish my wife did”

All of these statements are “seeds” from the enemy taking root in your relationship. When you welcome this thought well, it’s downhill from there. No one enjoys pulling out weeds and they will quickly invade your marriage.

Proverbs 4:23 “ABOVE ALL ELSE, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it”

If you need some “spice” in your intimate relationship DO NOT look to the world but search through God’s word with your spouse – trust me, Song of Solomon has it down pat. Perfect model of admiration for one another.

Stand with me and say NO to watching or reading 50 Shades of Grey. Don’t support this filth that is captivating our culture.

I’ll leave you with this thought – “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine; he browses among the lilies.”  (Song of Solomon 6:3)

xoxo,

Jess Fox

Be Curious.

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Is it possible that the modern Christian has put “parameters and limits” to our Creator? I mean we all dress up, get our nice warm cup of joe, put on our happy faces (as we pull into the church parking lot because nothing went right that morning) , attend service, worship, tithe and go home. I am a strong believer of attending and being connected to the body of Christ (definitely not bashing the church) but – why are we so close-minded? Do we have a “surface relationship” or an “intimate relationship?”

When I fully understand something, I tend to get bored with it. It just becomes apart of my routine – becoming thoughtless or second nature. If salvation is the only thing we seek to learn about our Father, we will get bored – not that salvation is boring at ALL but it’s the first step. God has called us yes, to first MEET Him, ACCEPT Him and then KNOW Him. You can a l w a y s learn something new about someone, always.

When I say “be curious” I don’t mean questioning God’s Word because what’s written,stands. Be curious about your Creator, what He likes and what he doesn’t. You wouldn’t buy your husband a Duke jersey if he’s a Tarheel fan (that would be a nightmare in my case) It’s a relationship, not a list of do’s and don’ts. We all know a “that Christian” who preaches all the things you “can’t do” but why not be curious about the things you “can do?” Yes I believe the entire Word of God should be preached and that there are things you shouldn’t participate in but to me it sounds like a shallow relationship, focusing on don’ts.

Let’s play this scenario out into a marriage – it would be like constantly telling your spouse, you can’t look at that woman, you can’t have thoughts about another man, you can’t sleep around, you can’t have a hobby – you don’t have time, you can’t be alone with another woman, you can’t have coffee with another man, you can’t, you can’t…. boundaries should be set (according to God’s word) and reviewed BUT how shallow would this relationship be? It’s merely a list of “don’ts.” There’s no intimacy. There are no ebbs and flow. There’s no room for “love or trust” because you feel as if you’re walking on eggshells waiting to mess up. It’s bound by force, rules and regulations. Our God is a God of FREEDOM and LOVE.

1 Corinthians 13 The Message

If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.

If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing.

3-7 If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.

Love never gives up.

Love cares more for others than for self.

Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.

Love doesn’t strut,

Doesn’t have a swelled head,

Doesn’t force itself on others,

Isn’t always “me first,”

Doesn’t fly off the handle,

Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,

Doesn’t revel when others grovel,

Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,

Puts up with anything,

Trusts God always,

Always looks for the best,

Never looks back,

But keeps going to the end.

8-10 Love never dies. Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit. We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled.

11 When I was an infant at my mother’s breast, I gurgled and cooed like any infant. When I grew up, I left those infant ways for good.

12 We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!

13 But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.

God desires us to love and walk in freedom. 1 Corinthian’s makes it clear that we are to love and to put away “childish thinking” – which to me is do’s and don’ts.

We should strive to be relational and have conversation with our Creator. Think of it this way, toddlers don’t sit still long. Yes, they can engage in conversation but it’s usually pretty direct and predictable. Now fast-forward twenty years and you can sit and focus for a much longer period of time. Not only that but you can enter deep conversation and even tap into emotions (multiple ones) We should never feel as if we aren’t “good enough” to go deeper with our Father. He DESIRES us to be holy as He is holy. (1 Peter 1:16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”)

Ask God questions. Ask Him to show you how to deepen your relationship with Him (moving forward from infancy in Christianity – pursuing holiness – life and what to do after salvation, it doesn’t just stop there. We never reach a “final destination” here on Earth.

Father, thank You for salvation. Thank You for giving the BEST gift ever given. I pray You will help me to open my mind to walk deeper with You. I pray You will help me to not have a “surface” relationship but to have an “intimate” relationship. I want to KNOW you. I desire to live a deeper life of holiness. No one knows the answer to everything You do or have done – God help me to stay curious, desiring to know and learn more and more. Help me not to have a spirit of contentedness but stretch my knowledge and deepen my walk with You. Thank You God for the freedom that comes in my walk with You. Amen.

xoxo,

Jess Fox

Pumpkin Treat without the Guilt

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Something about the Fall season makes us want sweets. Maybe it’s the tempting pumpkin pies, apple crisps and Halloween candy that chase us everywhere we go? I agree, you must have at least one Pumpkin Spice Latte but you can enjoy the taste of the season without the guilt. My family has made a change in the way we eat – Striving to eat c l e a n. More veggies, more protein, more raw, more water – less refined sugar, less “bad fats”, less bread. In a world of fast food it can be tempting to fall into the “trap” but we say no (of course we have the occasional stops).

In search of snacks for clean eaters I came across these amazing Pumpkin Oat Balls loaded with yummy goodness. These are a perfect way to sneak in a healthy snack for your potential little “picky eater”. My son actually calls them “cookies” Which is great because he thinks he’s eating a cookie when in reality he’s getting a lot of good nutrients. They are also amazing for parents on the go. I find it hard to have a “hearty and healthy” snack while chasing around my kids – but these are very practical.

This is such a great way to spend “quality time” with your toddler or young child. My little boy loved helping me gathering and mixing the ingredients.

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Ingredients:

1 cup pumpkin

3 cups oats, not cooked

4 Tbsp maple syrup (I use Coombs Family Farms Organic Maple Syrup)

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 Tbsp flax seeds (I added a bit more flax seeds and use Bob’s Red Mill nature raw Flax Seeds)

1 cup walnuts (I halved mine)

1/2 cup grain sweetened or unsweetened chocolate chips. You can use dark chocolate, regular chocolate chips or skip them altogether. I did half with and half without.

Mix everything together in a large bowl. You want to press and fold to get everything mixed together well – covering the oats.

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Roll into balls about 1″ in diameter. Place on a wax paper and chill for about 30 minutes.

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Enjoy!! (Tip for parents – wonderful with coffee)

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xoxo,

Jess Fox

Eternal

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The Webster’s dictionary describes “Gripe” as – “to complain with grumbling”.

God words are defined to me as; positivity, truth, uplifting, encouraging, non-judgmental, promising.

Gripe=death, God=life. (Proverbs 18:21 The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.) 

The average lifespan for a woman is 81 years and for a man is 76 (give or take a couple of years depending on your source.) Mind-blowing. When you break it down and really look at the time you have here, it’s just a blink compared to Eternity. How are YOUR words describing you? I feel like the  words you speak are direct reflections of your character. Scary huh?  (Luke 6:45  A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.)

Social Media. What a great way to keep in touch with friends and family to share events taking place in your life. Over time I think it’s become “rant media”. How you don’t like so and so, how the government is wrong, how you are right, how you hate rain, how the Sun is too hot, how you wish this and that. WHOA. I feel like God is saying enough is enough. Followers of Christ and even believers in leadership get sucked into this trap. Take a look at your Facebook page. Is your feed full of griping? Is it full of complaint with no answer? Is it full of “non eternal” matters? (I’m speaking to myself as well)  Has your heart become focused on worldly issues instead “Eternal issues”?

Take a look at the conversations you participate in. Are they used to build up or tear down someone. Are they pointing others to Christ or the world? I believe more than ever that God is saying, Wake up sons and daughters. Your words are SO powerful – It’s time you use them to glorify ME and not things of the world.

What if we directed all the energy we put in making a post or conversation that is negative and made it about God or something positive? What if all the time we spend ranting we did what we are supposed to be doing? Instead of hammering an issue we simply can’t control, talk to God about it – He is the Ruler.

What you are doing with the 81 years (average) that God is giving you “Earth time”? Are you using this time to gripe and complain distracting others from “The Source”? The ONLY mission and purpose on the Earth is to lead others to HIM with love. Are your words pointing others to Him? If a lost person was speaking to you would they see the Light?

Do everything without complaining and arguing Philippians 2:14

My challenge to you today is to use “God Words” and not “Gripe Words”. In the end, you will stand face to face with your Creator and He will hold you accountable to what you did on Earth. Do you want Him to say job well done or what were you thinking? We represent our Father here on Earth. What a privilege that is! Let’s make sure we are being the positive reflection of Him in all areas of our lives – especially our words. Live for the “Eternal”.

 

xoxo,

Jess Fox

Contained God

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We dress up and look our best to hurry and get to church each Sunday morning. We may fuss with our family all the way up to the driveway of the church. We yell and get upset with the slow drivers we encounter “making us late”. When we park the car our masks go up and we paint on that huge smile. Yes. We’ve all been there – Maybe multiple times. We. Are. Human. Surely there’s more to it then this. Surely it’s beyond two or three services a week. Surely it can’t be contained.

God is chasing YOU. “We love Him because He first loved us,” explains the apostle John (1 John:4:19)

We have shoved God in a box. We’ve allowed ourselves to become “churchy churchy”. We’ve created a “culture” of bondage. We need to break free.

“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 2 Corinthians 3:7.”

We “wear” Jesus, but do we really have Jesus. I mean we must because we post uplifting bible scriptures on Facebook, beautiful scripture pics on Instagram, have the latest worship album, drink coffee from our cross mug and have our cars decked out with “Jesus”. But do we even know him? Or do we just advertise His name. See, God wants your soul not just outwardly appearances.

I’ve learned at an early age by experiencing it first hand (not at all at the church I currently attend) that church can be about a man and not The Man. It can all be such a fad – contemporary building, coffee lounges with the latest greatest, our perfect pre service music mix, trendy outfits, our big fake smiles, over-exaggerations and so on. All pointed to a man and not the Son. Of. Man. I think it’s wonderful to have nice facilities! Why shouldn’t God’s children have an appealing place to worship?? The issue is when it stays in and never goes out. When it exalts man and not the Father.

   {I’m so thankful I attend a church that believes in getting out into the community. They believe in loving on others and not just     hosting little “Christian group events”.  (I do believe it is very important to be connected with the body of Christ. It helps you grow and mature as a follower. The issue arises when you allow yourself to be consumed with being “inside the walls”) The church I attend believes in sending out of the “storehouse”. The Word is preached and not just the stuff that makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside. I believe conviction is necessary for growth.}

We are this amazing “being” while in the church but when we leave, we rip the masks off. We fuss with our families, we talk trash about the lady who looked her best at church, we fuss about the song selections, we fuss about the sermon, we harp about anything and e v e r y t h i n g we can. We become the “real us” and it’s scary.

James 1:8 “Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.”

I may get some negative feedback on this comment but – I believe people of double mindedness are just as much in trouble as the lost person of the world. Why? Because we have “tasted” His goodness and have chosen to live a different way. We have experienced good and choose evil. Heb 6:4-6 “It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.”

We are all going to make mistakes over and over again. But choosing a lifestyle over a relationship with your Creator is wrong. Choosing to contaminate your mind with money and social status is wrong. Choosing to bash others and constantly fill your social media pages with negative information is wrong. We look at the “people” (who are God’s creation) in the world and judge them when we have no business doing so. Are we praying for them as much as we are talking about them? Why not highlight God’s successes instead of the world’s failures. I agree our government and society is entering and has entered a scary stage but what are we doing to change it? Blasting social media does – n o t h i n g. Speaking harshly – n o t h i n g. Praying and loving? Does e v e r y t h i n g. I’m not saying to sit back and “allow” things to go on. Yes, we need to stand up for what is right BUT in a Christian manner. At the end of the day God is God and He rules over ALL. With that said…

What would happen if we let God “out of our box”. Is it fear that reigns in our society of letting the Holy Spirit be in control? We weren’t created to control, we were created to submit.

“Psalm 37:5 Commit everything you do to the LORD. Trust him, and he will help you.”

We have “limited” God. We allow Him in sections of our lives but other parts??? We want to control and we fail but our God never fails. I don’t think we’ve even scratched the surface of how great our God is. We sing about Him, we make posts about Him but how is it behind closed doors – when nobody is watching. That is what counts.

The Lord has been dealing with me on my personal relationship with Him and how crucial it is. It’s not optional it’s vital. We are DEAD without Him. As I was flossing my teeth last night, I wasn’t even thinking about God or really anything- just simply flossing. I had a thought put in my head that said “When you don’t floss your teeth daily, plaque builds up. It starts out as a small amount but it accumulates until it forms a cavity. You then have a “bad tooth”. You see, your relationship with me is likewise. When you skip a devotion here and skip a prayer there you create a wedge between us. It becomes easier and easier to skip Me. I become disconnected from your routine. I want to lead and guide you – each step, each day” 

Wow. What a flossing session! (HAHA) I began to pray and asked my Father to take control of every area of my life. I prayed that His Spirit would reign in my life. I prayed that He would set me free from living “inside the walls” and that He would help me lead “outside the walls”. I prayed that His Spirit would direct each movement I make and every thought I have. He is no longer “visible” on Earth but His Spirit is alive and dwelling among us.

Romans 8:9 “You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ.”

I believe miracles still happen, I believe the Spirit still leads, I believe His voice can still be heard. Do you? My challenge (for myself as well) is to allow the Holy Spirit to direct your life. Allow Him to flow through your lips and actions outside the church. Speak to the person who is all alone and look in need, give a jacket to the cold child walking the streets and warm a meal for the hungry. Start all of this in your own home, serving your spouse and children, speaking His words and not worldly words. Sing His presence over your home, neighborhood, city, country, nation. Allow His Spirit to move – out of the box.

xoxo,

Jess Fox

Shhhh…Library

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“Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.”(Colossians 4:5-6)

This morning I took Gabriel and Natalie to the local library. We have attended the “Story-time” a handful of times but he has never checked out books. While I was giving my information to obtain a library card, he was busy winning the hearts of the librarians and the older ladies that were meeting for a book club. When we received our new card we made our way to the children’s section. Our library has a wonderful children’s room filled with bright colors, puzzles, toy mazes and computers not to mention the rows and rows of books waiting for exploration.

Gabriel loves everyone he meets, his innocence is so precious. I love seeing him interact with other children and make it a point to have him play with others. We have been learning about sharing and what it means to take turns. He has become pretty awesome at sharing (it was challenging at first but with learning patience, teamwork and shedding tears he has it down).

There was a little girl about 4 years old that was in the room. He instantly makes his way over to her and says “hey friend”. She smiles and they sit down and play quietly having a fun time together-sharing just fine. Her mother and I were chatting away as our kiddos played nicely together.

As they were playing a couple more girls enter the room. The four of us were sitting at the kiddie table that had four chairs. The children’s mother walks in and instantly takes over the room – I know you other moms have been in these kind of situations before. Loudly ordering her daughters to do this and do that (in THAT voice) and then she disappears into the main section of the library (trusting that her girls do no wrong). Meanwhile, her daughter comes over and pushes Gabriel out of his chair onto the floor. He as well as myself and the other mother were taken by surprise because he was sitting there quietly playing. Crocodile tears roll down his face (and I could feel myself getting really flustered inside-of course that’s MY baby boy). Gabriel says “Mommy she not share” “She push me” “Hold me Mommy”. I politely and gently say this to the little girl, “Sweetheart, my son was sitting in this chair before you pushed him and was playing with this toy. He will be glad to share with you but he will need to sit in his chair.” She pushes the toy aggressively and runs to the next one (again taking a puzzle piece out of another child’s hand).

Meanwhile, Gabriel continues playing with the first kiddo he was playing with just fine. The girl’s mother walks back in and asks them to finish making their selections, to find them pulling and tugging a book back and forth. The book they were fussing over was a popular one and Gabriel had his eye on it the whole time. I’ve taught him that when you are done with something you put it back up and it becomes available to others. Gabriel had waited and waited for this book-I even said “wait your turn, when they put it up you may get it”. So the little girls put the book on the shelf and walked away (their library bag was already overflowing with other selections). The second that book hit the shelf he quickly walks up with a huge grin on his face and reaches for it with his adorable chunky little hands. The younger sister darts over and roughly jerks it out of his hands. Gabriel looks at her and tells her “I’m sorry, I’m sorry”. I about lost it (LOL). I quietly said to my son, “Gabriel you didn’t do anything wrong. You patiently waited for your turn to get the book. Lets just pick out another one and you can check it out the next time”. The mother turns and looks at my 2-year-old son as if he understood her and says, “My girls were playing with this book and are checking it out. It was there’s all along. They made a mistake by putting it on the shelf and walking away”. The mama bear inside of me wanted to say something back to this mother SO bad. I wanted to make MY point clear that Gabriel was in the right and her children were in the wrong. (Not saying that he is perfect because he is NOT and we encounter learning experiences DAILY). I wanted to let her know that her behavior as well as her children’s was out of line BUT, I felt a still quiet voice say, “Let it go”. The “ME in me” was tempted to sarcastically begin singing the song “Let if Go” from Frozen but I remained silent.

“Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.” (Proverbs 17:28)

I allowed the Holy Spirit to put a “shhhh” over my lips. Ironically, we were in the library 🙂 I could tell it was bothersome to the mother that I didn’t flinch or retaliate. She proceeded to rub it in that her children had the book by saying “look how colorful this book is and it even has a turning wheel (Gabriel’s favorite part of the book) to change the color” etc…(BLAH BLAH BLAH) I again wanted to say, “your girls are at least 3 or 4 years older than my son AND you have the whole library in your checkout bag-could you not let him have the book that he so patiently waited for?!?! The one that YOUR girls put back on the shelf and turned away???” But I again, remained silent.

“Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.”(Colossians 4:5-6)

This is not a big issue compared to others and may sound silly to you. But to a mother of young children, it breaks your heart to see someone do them wrong. The mother of the child Gabriel had been playing with so well said this aloud “Well I guess he will have to learn that’s how things are in the world. You are such a sweet and gentle boy. I haven’t seen someone as kind and well-behaved as you n a while”. Inside I was like BOO-YAH but realised that God had honored my silence and allowed this mother to brag on Gabriel (to build him up) in the midst of what seemed like a war to a toddler. As we checked our books out, the librarian looked at us as if she had apologetic eyes and said “he is such a sweet boy, he really is”. She gave him a sticker and said “thank you for sharing”.

“The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.” (Exodus 14:14)

My challenge from all of this is to evaluate your words. Evaluate your behavior in the midst of a trial. I am working on this daily as words can fly out of your mouth so easily. God has called HIS children to a higher standard. To let your words speak love and cause peace among others. Even if your point is correct it is not always necessary to blab it out. He has called us to be gracious as He is with us daily. Walk in wisdom and choose wisely the words you say because you never know what someone is going through. This mother could have definitely been going through a hard time and maybe had been holding in her emotions and snapped at my 2 year old. That doesn’t make it right but it doesn’t make it right for me to lower down to her actions and retaliate either. (Had it been a more aggressive situation, of course I would have intervened) I’m not saying let others walk on top of you-but don’t allow petty stuff to steal your joy, composure or witness.

xoxo,

Jess

Made

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What’s life anyways?

Education. Career. Money. Love. Sex. Social Status. Homes. Cars. Boats. Lake houses. Beach houses. Beauty. Fame. on and on and on and on.

Society is constantly flashing their expectations of life in our face – d a i l y. “They” are the ones that have it all together and know all – right? Wrong. All of these things can be “apart” of life but NOT life itself. Why do you think we read articles and turn on the news day after day after day to learn that someone has willingly taken their life (yes I’m aware that depression/mental illness is a real life issue and can alter the mind) or someone is in prison for acting out of hatred or loneliness etc. This “society” is miserable. You know the saying “Miseary loves company” – I often wonder if that’s why they push and push their lifestyles and ways of thinking. 

We were all created with a crave. We all are driven by something. It’s just apart of human nature. We all desire to be loved and accepted. We CRAVE affection and attention. I can visualize this creature aimlesly running around in this circle of desire – never ending, continually running. When we are running aimlessly, I feel like we are d e a d. 

Ephesians 2: 1-3 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.

Life is so empty if we are dry bones walking around seaching to feed our crave, fill our emptiness with fleshy desires. Because how many of you know that once you become famous – someone is more famous than you. Once you become attractive (in the world’s eyes) someone else is more beautiful than you. Once you sale yourself to this LIE you will never be fulfilled – Always searching for bigger, better and more and more. 

GOD breathed LIFE into our dry bones. 

Ezekiel 37:4-6 Again He said to me, “Prophesy to these bones, and say to them, ‘O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! Thus says the Lord God to these bones: “Surely I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live. I will put sinews on you and bring flesh upon you, cover you with skin and put breath in you; and you shall live. Then you shall know that I am the Lord.”

Exodous 34:14 “You must worship no other gods, for the LORD, whose very name is Jealous, is a God who is jealous about his relationship with you.”

God created us with this burning desire within, with this crave we have. God IS jealous. Not the kind of jealousy we have – “aww you have the car I want. You have the house I want. You have the job I want” no. What God is jealous of belongs to HIM. He didn’t create us to put other idols in front of Him. He created us to submit, worship and adore Him. He created us to fill ourselves with Him – not things of this world. 

Ephesians 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

My prayer is that I would allow God to WAKE UP my dry bones and breathe LIFE into me daily. In HIM we have life, joy, peace and happiness. Psalms 119 says it best 35: Make me walk along the parth of Your commands, for that is where my happiness is found. 40:I long to obey your commands. RENEW my life with Your goodness. And the best verse: 56: This is how I spend my life: Obeying Your commandments. 

xoxo,

Jess

Fight with Peace

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Ok so you’ve read the title and it seems bizzare….when we promote peace we usually don’t fight do we??!?!

I’m going to be open and honest in this post…I feel like someone out there needs to hear this.

Before having Gabriel I rarely battled with a yucky 5 letter word…WORRY. I was carefree and didn’t really have a worry in the world. See, I grew up in a wonderful Christian home and I don’t recall having to “fight” many battles at all…I had a pretty awesome childhood and not “sheltered” from reality but not going through any major trials of my own. I saw my dad go through many health trials but I hadn’t faced anything “super mega” challenging in my own life…well except if my tan wasn’t dark enough or my hair wasn’t life enough 🙂 I had not honestly seen the “real world” until moving out, getting married and moving away from my sweet little hometown. When you do those three things…you really grow up…fast. (Especially once having children). When my precious Gabriel was born, it’s like I birthed something else into my life…WORRY! At first, it was just “normal” stuff like checking on him a billion times in the middle of the night to make sure he was breathing (because he was a preemie he didn’t wake up screaming to nurse like Natalie does). I do know now with having two children that your basic “motherhood worries” are normal and ease up some after you enter about month 3 or so of babies life…but continue all throughout their lives with different seasons and new worries. (they don’t have to control you though) But…mine wasn’t easing up in my life. It actually grew and grew and grew into fear. I began to think up scenarios of things that “could happen” but most likely never ever would. I became so full of fear I felt paralyzed. I felt stuck. I felt alone. I have been a Christian for most of my life and had never experienced anything like this. I had NO clue you could worry over someone so tiny and small so much. The responsiblity of being a mother is tremendous because all of a sudden you are responsible for someone else’s precious life. My husband was so sweet and supportive during this trial…always praying and encouraging me.(Even though I was probably driving him crazy…I was driving myself crazy haha) I spoke with my Dad multiple times as well and he told me I’m going to have to overcome this battle with the PEACE of God.  It’s that very statement that got me thinking…you overcome trials and battles by fighting back with the peace of God. I began fighting each thought and scenario.  2 Corinthians 10:5 “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ”

This verse became my constant meditation. I had it written all over the house. I had it pop up as a reminder on my cell phone, I memorized it, I spoke it all throughout the day. See the enemy LOVES to get into your mind and fill it with junk. It becomes a battle…a constant one. A reoccurring one. I also began reading “Battlefield of the Mind” by Joyce Meyers…which is an incredible book for anyone to read. It helps you see that God is on our side and He is fighting for us all along…we just have to SUBMIT our minds and OPEN them to allow him to.

God doesn’t desire us to worry…actually fear=doubt. And this is the lesson that God taught me in all of this. I let the enemy STEAL my joy of a having my sweet Gabriel. I had LET FEAR IN. I had allowed my thoughts to run wild and far away from God’s word. I wasn’t keeping them in order or submitting them to Him. I was taking things into my own hands…and well we see where that got me..on my knees! See I am (with the Holy Spirit) the MASTER of my mind. I can either think on things of this world (doubt, fear, insecurities…) or I can think on things ABOVE (joy, peace, love, kindness, JESUS). Colossians 3:2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. The awesome thing about our Father is that HE is real. He doesn’t beat around the bush…He says it like it is…and I adore that! He desires us to be the same way with Him. He already knows the thoughts we are having…so speak them to Him and say something like this “Father, I don’t have time to think about this mess…I’m so fed up with the constant chain of thoughts…I’m tired of my life being ran by the what-if’s. I’m just honestly fed up with my mind..please Father take these thoughts away.” And you know what??? The thoughts don’t disappear like you’ve taken a “magic pill”. They are STILL there. It’s kind of like a war. Just because a solider is standing there…doesn’t make the enemy disappear….the soilder has to FIGHT him. Speaking your thoughts to God is step one of the battle. You are now allowing and asking God to fight them for you. Step two is consistently renewing your mind! It’s a multiple time a day event for me. It can be as simple as saying “God I give my thoughts to you…help me to honor you with each thought” A simple way that I began “retraining” my mind was speaking little things like this throughout the day… “Father I love you.” “Jesus give me peace” “Father I’m so thankful for You” “Father You are holy” “Jesus I know you are the beginning and the end” “God I know that no weapon formed against me shall prosper”…I would mix different thoughts of thankfulness and praise…and as I began thinking on those things, I didn’t have time to meditate on silly unrealistic worries. As I meditated on Christ…the worries started melting away. See, the battle was being won! (In my illustration of the war….the soilder was getting rid of the enemy one by one by fighting them) The victory was here. I with Christ on my side had WON my mind…my battle. We FOUGHT WITH PEACE..together!

My challenge for you today is to first, open your lives to allow our Father to fight the battle with and for you. Secondly, renew your mind daily! Take every thought captive and if it doesn’t line up with the Word of God…tell it to get OUT. I still every single day (sometimes multiple times) give my mind to Christ…because worry is a dirty little thing that tries to creep in over and over again. But now that I’ve won a big battle with Christ…the little “fusses” are much easier to overcome. I’ll leave you with this verse.

Philippians 4:6-7 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

xoxo,

Jess

Picture Perfect World

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A friend of mine recently told me I had a “picture perfect world”… While I do feel extremely blessed, my “world” is not perfect! One of my hobbies…(as most of you can probably tell) is capturing moments of my little ones. While it may seem like I post and take MANY pictures..they are only 3-4 photo shots out of a possible 7637846287 moments…in a day. The 3-4 photos you see of my “world” are the highlights of my day. You see sweet pictures of Gabriel and Natalie laying on the floor hugging each other. You see a #selfie where I look all put together. You see the picture of my clean kitchen. You see the picture of a creative toddler craft. You see the picture of my toddler with all smiles. You see the picture of my delicious meal. You see the pictures of me gazing into the love of my life’s eyes. You see the pictures of my…highlights. While I was thinking of the pictures I post..yes we do have many highlights but we are REAL and we have REALLY hard days and moments too! What you don’t see me post is the photoshot of Gabriel crying because he wants his sister to take a nap so he can have Mommy all to himself. You don’t see the #selfie of me on the day that it’s 5 pm and I haven’t had a shower yet  and the “gourmet dinner” is burning because my precious newborn is wanting to nurse for the (what seems like) 100th time in 3 hours all while my toddler is screaming “coooookiessss” because he wants them before dinner. You don’t see the pictures where my amazing husband comes home from work an hour late (because he had to deal with a customer complaint) and dumps a big pile of stuff that’s accumulated in his car over the past few days (yes sometimes that includes a sippy cup of milk that Gabriel hid in the car..ew) on my CLEAN floors!

This post is for all the real mama’s out there. When my friend mentioned I had a “picture perfect world” it hit me…I never want anyone to think that of me at all. When people think of me…I want them to think of a mother that lives in the real world….and the real world has issues. I have been through a lot at a young age and I can say I am very thankful for the different seasons I have experienced. From a miscarriage…to the days where I could cry if one more goldfish gets crumbled in the carpet….I am a real mom…..Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

I am a real mom that has to rely on God’s grace. God doesn’t intend for us to walk this journey alone. He never expects us to have a “picture perfect world”. He never asked for each snapshot of our lives to be all giggles and grins. What He does expect of us, is to rest in Him. He knew before we began our journey as mother’s or whatever you are… that there were going to be bumps in the road. He knew that we couldn’t handle every situation alone. He already knew that as mom’s we were going to run to our closet and scream when we walk into the bathroom to find our toilets stuffed with everything it shouldn’t be…and it’s ok! He created us and knew we weren’t perfect. That’s why HE died on the cross for us. That’s why HE gave His life for us…so we don’t have to walk alone. What amazing love He has for us..and His desire is for us to bring that same love to the “world” around us. As a mom, I have learned that patience and grace are key. Thinking back on the past 21 years I’ve had a relationship with Christ…WOW how patient has He been with me??? I fail Him each and every day and He is still there with His gracious arms open wide.

My challenge for you today is to be patient and have grace for not only your children…but yourself. As a mom..it’s easy to be so hard on yourself and think you must “maintain” the 3-4 highlight shots of your day but that’s impossible. Feed on God’s word each morning because you can’t give out what you don’t have. (I’m speaking to myself as well) How can we expect our children to follow what we say when we aren’t following what our Father says? Joshua 1:8 Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. John 10:10 “I have come so that they may have life…and have it to the FULL”. I don’t know about you but I want to have a “FULL” life in Christ…and a “FULL” life to me is filled with ups, downs, ins and outs but is steady when “IN CHRIST”.

xoxo,

Jess

Laundry, Dinner and Dishes…oh My!

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” I am calling you to a life of constant communion with Me.” ~Jesus

I have recently started a devotional titled “Jesus Calling”. Personally…I think everyone should read this! It’s incredible and you get so much out of it in such little time. Anyways….

My adventure on becoming a full-time Mommy has been beautiful and challenging at the same time. I was so used to managing my “work-load” and checking tasks off my continual lists of to-do’s. I’m a very administrative person so I really enjoyed the job that I had…coordinating a therapy clinic. Doing that job included..constant interaction with the public, problem solving, scheduling, match-making therapist with patients and much more. So, I being used to that pace, brought the same determination to homemaking..being sure Gabriel is busy learning age appropriate tasks and activities, not having a single dirty dish, making sure the house is spotless and laundry caught up. Trying out new recipes to wow my husband when he gets home from a busy day at work…and trying to squeeze in a nice shower somewhere in all the chaos. (LOL) Wow…what a job! (Please do not think I’m comparing a stay at home mom/working mom b/c I’ve been both and they are both challenging in their own ways.) Where did I mention Christ in any of that?? Then it dawned on me, things can’t always be “picture perfect” especially when you are 9 months pregnant and you have a 2-year-old “custom designing” your home. The Lord really spoke to me and I think it will help other Mommy’s out there…

The enemy loves to send distractions…even though they are not all bad. I do believe in completing tasks/lists with excellence and in a timely manner…but if the “lists” become your idol we’ve missed the point. God calls us to be in continual communion with Him. “Never stop praying.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17 NLT) That means as we are completing our tasks, we are acknowledging Him…praying to Him and asking for grace because we can’t do everything in our own strength. Usually while Gabe is napping, I will fold and put away laundry. As I am doing this, I turn on worship music and begin to talk to my Father. It’s amazing the conversations you can have with Him while folding underwear! Nothing formal about that…just keeping Him in my day…through it all. Christ desires to be in the successes of our lives, in the daily routines and in the low points. He doesn’t just want us to pray to him before we eat and go to bed. He desires us to meditate on Him. This doesn’t mean we walk around praying out loud all the time…it can simply be a thought “Thank you Jesus for your grace. Thank you for your Peace in my life. Thank you for helping me in this tough situation. Thank you for giving me the words to say”. Just acknowledging Him.

A quote from Jesus Calling spoke to me, “A successful day is one in which you have stayed in touch with Me, even if many things remain undone at the end of the day.” That pretty much sums everything up…and I teared up as I read that because as Mother’s we put so much pressure on ourselves…society puts so much pressure on what all a “Mother” is supposed to do and complete in a 24 hr period. I wrote this down on my picture-frame board so I see it each day. (I think I should move it to my laundry room and kitchen haha).

My challenge to you (and myself) is to make sure our long list of to-do’s and tasks are not becoming our idols but that we continually find our completion in Christ.

xoxo,

Jess