I Have Been Inspired

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I have been inspired and therefore, I want to live as an inspiration to others.

I don’t want to fear life’s challenges, I want them to build me up and make me stronger.

I’m over trying to be perfect, it means much more for others to see how I deal with my imperfections.

I don’t want to live my life ordinarily, I seek God daily to use me extraordinarily.

I know the things I hold in my hands are temporary and what I hold in my heart is forever.

I’m thankful to be filled with Gods peace and joy, I want others to trust God and have hope as I do.

I embrace my story, because I know it’s been written for me to share with others.

Life is better when I am happy, but it’s the greatest when those around me are even happier.

Some of the smallest steps I’ve taken in the right direction, have been my life’s biggest moments.

The absolute hardest times in my life have strengthened my relationship with the Lord, they did not break me.

My greatest challenges were those out of my comfort zone, where I’ve had to fully rely on Him.

I will forever be grateful for Gods amazing gift of mercy and grace, for I have been saved by them both.

I know today will never come again, so I choose to be of encouragement to others, a friend and a blessing.

I struggle with insecurities, but I’m thankful to personally know who holds me securely.

I want to live my life today to change someone else’s tomorrow.

I have been inspired and therefore, I want to live as an inspiration to others.

Go Ahead, Take a Trip Into Your Past…. but No Parking!

We all have a past. Some of them are much prettier than others. Some peoples pasts may bring feelings of great love and of very few mistakes. They might be loaded with life lessons and good circumstances and you have no problem taking trips and reflecting there often. It may be easy for some people to look back and smile at the life you’ve had.

While other people may look into their past and only see moments wished to be forgotten. Life’s circumstances and or situations have never seemed in your favor or ideal. Decisions that you, or those around you have made, have greatly affected your life and maybe even how you are living now. You may have gone back and “parked in your past” and just can’t seem to move forward…

I myself, have many things in my past that I wish I could go back awrongnd erase, or at least try to do over now that I am much wiser. I have learned to accept the fact that I can’t do them over. I have also since forgiven myself from all of the poor choices I made.  

You see…As a child of God we have to let go of what we have already done or what others have done to us. The day we become His, He chooses to forget all of our past. Every sin and every detour that we have created in our walk with Him…He forgives! He accepts us just as we are. At the very moment we let Him enter our hearts, ALL things are made NEW.

I was deeply flawed, and full of sin. I will always be thankful for My New Beginning. I am also thankful that God doesn’t take trips back into our pasts. He doesn’t see the need to bring our flaws up and remind us of them. He only looks into our wiped clean futures…and He sees our futures full of beautiful promises.

It’s OK to take a trip and remind ourselves of where we were. It allows us as Christians to see the glory of Gods amazing work. As He changes our hearts, transforms or minds and penetrates into our souls.  Seeing the “where we were without God” and “where God has us now” is testimonial to ourselves and an example to others as well.  It motivates us to keep moving forward into “what God has in store for us”.  

no parking So, go ahead….Take a trip into your past…..but No Parking!          

Don’t let your past define you. And whatever you do, please do not create or place a label on yourself, or soak in your own self-pity of wrong doing.  Looking back (trips into our pasts) can be healthy if they remind us that God was there all along (He will never leave us or forsake us! Deuteronomy 31:6 ) Short trips can allow us to see the greatness of His divine plan in our lives as things have unfolded. They allow us to see how far we’ve come. They can help us build our faith in Him too, as we learn to trust Him with every part of our future.

So remember….NO PARKING in your Old Life!  If you do Park…it could very well keep you from Gods ultimate plan.  Let your NEW LIFE show you the Goodness and Mercy of God, teach you of His Amazing Grace and allow you to experience His unconditional Love! trip to pastIf you find yourself struggling with your past…ask the Lord to help you keep from anything in your Old Life that is unpleasing to Him. He will guide and protect you from the things that can hinder your future! Enjoy your New Life in Him, even if it’s one day or one moment at a time. You were created with purpose and your life (every detail about it) matters to Him! Press on. Keep moving forward.     

Acts 13:38 Therefore, my friends, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed for you. 

Ephesians 8-10 ~  For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast.  For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

My faith compelled me to trust The Lord…..

These reflections were written January 28, 2014.   I had been “Mimi” to this princess for an entire year!

M1622035_10202128336841446_162904327_nany of you will recall the FB status I posted about 18 months ago when I thought my world had shattered. We had learned that our daughter Amanda had become pregnant.  Nowhere in our plan for her life was this supposed to happen. It was never a thought I had, or had I penciled it in on any of my agenda’s.  I had so many emotions going on within me; some I didn’t even know existed.  I can honestly say it rocked our world.

Have you been there? Or are you there now?

As parents we hurt when our children hurt and we feel for them in ways they may never understand.  So with her decision came many emotions for me. (I’m sure many for her too) But for me came….doubt, worry, guilt, anger, frustration and even fear. The lack of control I had drove me crazy and I couldn’t get a grasp on reality for a period of time. I was so consumed with trying to fix the situation she was in, and mend all the hurts.  I mean, isn’t that what a parent is supposed to do?

I most certainly asked God a lot of questions. I went through some unexplained feelings of doubt, and I even felt maybe the Lord was “getting back at me” for decisions I had made in my own past, that were not pleasing to Him.  I did what I think any other person would do.  I tried desperately through Him to gain back my sense of direction.  I cried more, had sleepless nights and I stayed on my knees and prayed!  I confided in a few other women that would speak life, encouragement and direction into my life.  I hung on with faith and hope.  A year later, I am more then hanging on each day…..I am clinging forever to the faith and hope I have for my children.

Someway, somehow I thought I had failed her.  I played it over and over again in my mind for months. I gave it to The Lord freely but I quickly took it back over and over.  In my mind I could not wrap my head around it. It just couldn’t be happening to our daughter.  I knew she was facing the beginning of the rest of her life with the consequences of her decisions. I was also full aware that the times ahead of them would be difficult. Hard times continue to unfold in different ways, but a year later my perspective is different!

Kayleigh, our precious gift from God turned one today. Amanda’s choice (without a shadow of a doubt) was always LIFE!  In this alone, I began to rejoice and praise God!  I was excited for such a precious gift that God was giving to her and our family. I tried to consume my thoughts with thanksgiving.  I just praised Him every time I felt overwhelmed with anxiety and fear for her. I hung on… when my world was rocking….I felt peace somehow placed in my heart whenever I praised Him. Even with the entire scary unknown’s I could give Him praise knowing He alone was in control. When my heart was full of praise and thanksgiving is when I then became more profoundly aware that I had to “wait upon Him”.  As hard as that was, I did it too. Not too patiently, but I did.  I chose to praise God not only for the blessing (of the baby) on the way, but for how He would use this situation in Amanda’s life to draw her nearer to Him. When I gave Him praise and had a thankful heart is when the work within me began….

We had been praying over our children since before they were born.  So why did I think the Lord was not listening to me now?  One of many verses came to my mind most often.  It was “Train up a child in the way they should go, and when they are older they shall not depart from it” Prov. 22:6  It seemed to always be dropped into my restless spirit in the middle of the night.  I trusted, I believed, and I hung on!

I then learned my next valuable insight. I simply had NO control. I hadn’t lost control briefly. I didn’t have it to begin with. I gave her to The Lord. She had given herself to the Lord. When it came to Gods plan and agenda for her life He was in control of everything. Very hard thing to swallow for a mother (well this mother anyway) who likes to have the plan on hand to make sure it all goes smoothly. I chose to give her and the entire situation to The Lord……again!!!  This time I would not take it back.  I knew what Jeremiah 29:11 said “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.”  And I clung to it more than ever before.  I needed to remind myself often of his promises.

All of the fears and unknowns I had were real and there were days that I didn’t think I could function through my worry…..but I knew if I (her mother) had this much heaviness in my heart, and such a concern for her, that her Heavenly Father had that much more concern and Love for her, and He had her in His hands which were the safest place for her to be.  Knowing this filled me with peace that only He could give.

I chose to put my trust in Him and my faith into action. I stepped out of my worry and began to literally visualize the outcome in some of the situations she was dealing with.  I knew without a shadow of a doubt that The Lord would protect and provide His direction.  He did just that.  He continues to do so in her life. It is all In His timing and in His perfect plan.  Today I am ok on the sidelines watching it unfold.

I had to accept the lack of control I had.  I chose to give Him ALL the pieces (not just certain pieces of the puzzle) but EVERYONE of them.  Today, in the times ahead and forever, I will freely give Him All.  After all it’s His masterpiece, and if I put the pieces together myself, it would be far from beautiful!

I’ve dealt with hard times and my own bad choices before….but this past year’s “hard” was different for me. Tonight, as I look over that particular time frame, I will forever be grateful for the power He has to work all things out for His glory!  I’m so glad God never leaves us or forsakes us. I prayed, cried out to Him and believed He would provide away…..and He has. I thought about Abraham and His faith after our Pastors sermon Sunday.  I’d like to think that my faith compelled me to trust God in an Abraham kinda way.  The Lord was faithful to answer me in my distress. I know he hears me when I call. His timing has and always will be perfect!  So I chose to always trust Him….

Through the ups and downs and all the rocking of my world, I am still sane.  I can honestly see the hand of God and how it moved so graciously throughout this journey that continues to unfold.  Being a parent never ends. The decisions of our children will forever impact our lives and sometimes rock our world. I am thankful for the gift of life and the wonderful blessing Kayleigh is to all of us. I am thankful for His protection over Amanda and for His direction in the midst of what sometimes looks so foggy to us. His grace is amazing and His plan is perfectly still unfolding!  I will continue to wait upon the Lord.  I have perfect peace with the unknown’s today because I seek Him first and know that He is in control.

So to Kayleigh I say  ~Happy Birthday to my sweet Granddaughter who before you were even born, and at a year of age, have already taught me so many beautiful things about life, and myself.  Lessons needed to be learned as I walked by faith and made my requests known to God.  I will always pray for you, love you and be here for you as you grow. May you love the Lord with all your heart soul and mind and know him just as your mother and I.  Thank you for rocking our world, because you were a perfect Gift in Gods perfect plan.  

To Amanda I say ~Never give up hope, never lose faith and realize now that you will never have all the control you desperately seek to have. Gods control is the best!  So trust Him in the days, months and years ahead, as you parent your beautiful Girl.  Remember the promises that you have been taught and cherish the moments you have with your princess.  You are a beautiful person with a beautiful heart and you will always be able to accomplish ALL things through Him who gives you the strength. He has the perfect Prince out there for you and Kayleigh so remember His timing is perfect.  I will always love you unconditionally to the moon and back!!

~Reflections from the heart of a Mom and Mimi.

Sue Woodward