On this Thursday afternoon, I was cleaning my kitchen. I was thinking about something the Lord put on my heart earlier this week.
Something that was keeping me from becoming all who He created me to be.
I didn’t even know how to change this characteristic of my personality, but as God showed me this. I was sorrowful and repented. I realized I was oblivious. I wanted help. I was miserable in my own flesh.
Some things seem daunting to try to change on our own. But I do know that all things are possible with God.
But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible. Matthew 19:26
I am grateful for the conviction to change and the grace of God to help me become what He wants me to be.
He never gives up on us. We are in a process. We are on a journey. We will always have something to work on in this life.
I was cleaning my kitchen… everyday I clean my kitchen and every day I still need to clean it.
Anyway, I went to wipe down the dining room table. While I used elbow grease on the messy spots from lunchtime (right where all the kids sit) I noticed a notebook my kids had pulled out to color on.
On the note book page was a prayer request from my sister. Her handwriting revealed she had written this prayer when she was much younger. I turned the page around and smiled at her thoughtfulness of others as she listed family and friends’ names. I decided to flip the page over.
To my surprise, was a note of encouragement, penned in my Mother’s beautiful handwriting.
During one of the most mundane tasks… cleaning my kitchen… It surprised me so!
It’s been nearly 10 years since my Mom’s passing and somehow my kids had come across this notebook. The page may be a little stained, but the message she wrote over a decade ago was just what I needed TODAY.
The words she was inspired to write then, ministered to me now. God knows your future. He is for YOU! He will be there when you call on Him. So make the call!
The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace. Exodus 14:14
My heart is glad. My hope is in the Lord. I can be who God wants me to be.
He will be with me through all the hard times. He is our Hope.
During the war years we knew of a mother who regularly received letters from her son serving his country. Being illiterate she could not read them and depended on her neighbor to read her son’s letters to her. On one occasion the son asked his mother for money. The neighbor read the request in a gruff tone of voice, and when the neighbor finished the mother said, “Why that no good son of mine, I’ll not send him one cent.”
Later in the day I dropped in to visit this mother. Desperate to hear even bad news from her boy, the mother asked me if I would read her son’s letter to her once more. Unknowing that another had read it; I read it in a kind tone. Upon hearing the letter read in such a humble tone, the mother broke down and wept and said, “Bless my baby’s heart, he needs money. Of course I’ll send it to him.”
When talking to people concerning spiritual matters, continually remember this very illustration. Suppose our tone of voice is harsh to the soul we are talking to?
Although our words maybe true, they may be rejected because the tone of our voice is unsympathetic. On the other hand speaking to people with love, and showing genuine concern for them personally will do much and may even determine their eternity. Our manner of speaking may even have an effect on the sick. Be it good or bad; power is in the tongue. Our lips are the doors to our mouth. Our words become our guide.
Suppose we visit the sick and our words convey despondency, depression, pessimism or anxiety. Is that desirable? -Does anybody long to live a life like that? -Does any soul want to go into eternity with negative words fed to them? -Is that a reason to want to live?
If our attitude and our voice is kind and sympathetic, it could just be the encouragement that speeds recovery or encourages one in their walk with Jesus.
Proverbs 25:11-A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver. KJV
Be very careful of the TONE of your voice. Physical wounds are not the only wounds one can feel and carry for life. Words hurt and can determine how a child grows up or the character an adult will have. Jails are full today because of souls who were destroyed with words alone.
-Your kind words today may be cherished by someone forever.
-Your words are the windows to your heart.
If you want your neighbor to see what Christ can do for them, let the soul see what Christ did for you.
When one is blessed with words; be it good or bad; words are burned in the heart and mind. People do not owe it to you to let you heap verbal abuse on them. If you have the sin of; well that is me; I am plain spoken; then you better lose that sin because it’s of the very devil. It’s not a quality it’s a sin and you claim to use it in the name of Jesus? Woe unto you.
Your spouse; children; public and dare I say it; your in-laws are watching you. Rest assure when you are your lowest your words will be visited back on you.
My continued prayer is Psalm 19:14- Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight…
Nona Freeman was born July 25, 1916 – December 26, 2009. She was an American Oneness Pentecostal preacher, evangelist, author and missionary.
In 1948 Freeman and her husband E. L. (Bug) Freeman were the first united Pentecostal church (UPCI) missionaries to South Africa. There they served 41 years!
Permission to use her writings has been granted by Kneemail.
“Rest” this word kept coming up in my days recently.
I was helping my toddler open up to a scribble-free page in his Winnie the Pooh Coloring Book.
Tigger was King of the Forest. Tigger was telling his followers (Piglet and Rabbit) to follow him and he would lead them to a place of “REST” in the Heffalump forest.
Tigger, Rabbit, and Piglet arrived to their destination. Rabbit said to Piglet, “There isn’t enough room for resting here, unless we make room. Let’s make room Piglet!”
Resting in God’s presence doesn’t happen accidentally. It will happen intentionally.
Genesis chapter two tells us even God rested on the seventh day.
Make room for rest or it won’t happen.
Cindee colored a scripture and showed me as she clipped it on the refrigerator.
Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28
The rest we find in Jesus is better than shopping the sales rack (or online.)
The rest we find in Jesus is better than sugar. (Yes, even coffee creamer and chocolate!)
Linger in God’s presence. Stay awhile. Listen. He will speak.
He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. Matthew 11:15
I have 5 children during the day. Ages 5 and under. Oh, how I NEED to be reminded of this daily!
The hustle and bustle of the day seems to have no end in sight.
The dishes, the messes, the laundry, and cooking meals, and making sure to engage with the children, and…. (Oh so much to do. How can I possibly REST???)
I NEED to rest.
Even if it’s just 30 minutes upstairs in my locked bedroom meditating on Scripture while my husband plays hide and seek with the kids.
Which could then turn into a 10 minute cat nap!
Find what works for you. Rest your mind from the things of this world to focus on Jesus. For He is the only thing that can satisfy.
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Matthew 5:6
Does rest mean laziness? No way! It means to break away from ALL the things and spend time with Jesus. Being raw. Being real. Being still. In His presence. Not rushing anything.
Some nights I feel a drawing at 2 am or 3 am to just go sit in my rocking chair and worship God and just sit and listen. While my heart is quiet. While my kids are fast asleep. It allows my spirit be tuned in.
And he said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest. Exodus 33:14
Go ahead. Rest a while. Make it a habit.
Thanks for reading. How do you find rest in your day? I’d love to hear any tips you’ve found.
During my prayer time this morning, my 3-year-old son came to sit out in the room with me and my husband.
When I heard his body wrestle out of bed and then his little footsteps coming my way, I initially thought, “oh no, now my prayer time is going to be cut short, I should’ve stayed in bed.”
To my surprise, he didn’t ask for a snack, he didn’t ask me to get him dressed, he didn’t ask anything!
He was content just being close to me. Listening to us pray.
He melted my heart. He reminded me that God loves a grateful heart.
We melt the heart of God when we choose to wake up early and tell Him how wonderful He is.
I tend to complicate things. I need to set more time aside where I just sit in the room mediatating on Him. In the quiet. In the stillness.
O give thanks unto the Lord , for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever. Psalms 107:1
Come to him with a thankful heart and know that just being in God’s presence brings peace.
Just to be close to Him satisfies our souls.
Jesus told the Samaritan woman at the well:
Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. John 4:13-14
He was talking about spiritual thirst. Not physical. Earthly things do not make us happy, except for a couple of days after we purchase them and the rush we get when we hit the purchase now button online.
He is Joy. He is Peace. He is Love. He is Good. He alone brings TRUE contentment.
Eventually, my son did ask me for a drink of water. And I was more than happy and more than ready to grant his request.
I’m not saying we will always get what we want, because that’s false, but God will be ready to pour out his blessings on his children when we keep a grateful heart.
…Blessing and glory and majesty and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might belong to our God forever and ever. Amen.” Revelation 7:12
This Thanksgiving, I’m thankful for my family, friends, and freedom.
What’s something you’re grateful for? I’d love to hear from you.
May 2019, I went on a Ladies Heartwork trip to the Black Hills in South Dakota. On that trip God birthed a desire in me to start writing. 1 year later, I finally took the plunge and started this blog. Last week I went to another Heartwork trip in the Ozark mountains in Arkansas. It was so valuable to me on so many levels. I was happy my sister Tasha could join me this year.
It was such a refreshing escape away from the duties of motherhood, wife, homemaker, …. and chef, and maid, and teacher… And…. (I’m sure you mommas get it.)
It seems (to me at least) so much easier to get closer to God when you’re in the woods…Maybe not for everyone.
In the Ozarks, we hiked. We laughed. We cried. We sang. We prayed. We ate. We were true.
I felt so connected. I felt like a little girl again. I felt the excitement of meeting a new friends. There were no mean girls nor bullies. Life seemed as it was supposed to be. ALL TOGETHER. Hand in hand.
We spent time gathered around the warm campfire. It was quite chilly. We pondered about the God-inspired teachings we heard. What we took away from the lessons. These conversations naturally lead to deeper things we were all dealing with. “Life” things. “Messy” things. “Real” things.
I tend to desire a deeper relationship than just “surface” friends. Small talk kills me. It feels so shallow to me. I desire true, raw, authentic friendship.
My life isn’t perfect. My life is messy. I feel lonely at times. I feel like a failure some days. I feel like a bad mom on other days. I have lies float into my head that I must lasso and fling out of mind. “God can’t use me anymore.” “My season is over.” “I’m Unworthy”, “Unimportant”, “Unappreciated” ….. I could go on, but you get the point.
The best thing we can do is talk about our shortcomings to Jesus. He is our Savior. He is our Helper.
Also, find a SAFE friend to share your experiences with. (Let me tell you, they will be so relieved, and you will too! Because we are NOT alone!! and then, girl, let go of those lies from the enemy!
You are NOT a failure, He has mercy for you.
You are not a mistake, He has a plan for you.
You ARE good enough, with His grace.
You CAN have joy! Thanks, God.
Being true helps the other person overcome those same lies in their minds.
Be authentic. It’s a breath of fresh air in today’s world.
Friends are angels who lift us to our feet when our wings have trouble remembering how to fly. -Lee Stoneking
I encourage you to find someone you can trust and BE YOU. Don’t be fake, because that’s exhausting and people can tell! We have plenty of fake in this world.
Genuineness is as Gold!
So that the genuineness of your faith, which is much more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested and purified by fire, may be found to result in [your] praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 1:7
I encourage you to find a true friend. It’s hard for me. It takes time. But it’s well worth it. Cherish her. She is valuable. We need each other.
Mercy. I need it. You need it. The world needs it.
Mercy means to extend help to the lowliest or the most undeserving.
It gives compassion instead of punishment, even when justice demands it.
His cup never runs out. His Word says He is rich in mercy.
But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love that He had for us… Ephesians 2:4
Inside every mistake is the doorway of possibility. It can take you to another level that nothing else can.
There’s something hidden in mistakes you can find. You won’t make much progress without making mistakes.
There is no one beyond His saving power.
His mercy knows no limit.
His mercy flows from the highest mountain to the lowest valley.
It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23 KJV
He’s not only the God of 2nd chances, but He is the God of ANOTHER chance. This is good news because most of us mess up on the 2nd chance fairly quickly.
One of the facets of God’s character is His incredible patience with us.
But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth. Psalms 86:15
Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy. Micah 7:18
The Bible is full of people who had 2nd chances, and even 3rd and 4th chances. Peter, Jonah, Samson, David, and other. All trophies of God’s grace.
Just as God is patient and forgiving, he wants his children to be patient with and forgiving of others.
Therefore, God’s chosen ones, holy and loved, put on heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, Colossians 3:12
Jesus gives a stern warning to those who refuse to forgive.
But if you don’t forgive people, your Father will not forgive your wrongdoing. Matthew 6:15
If someone is truly repentant, we are obligated to forgive.
Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how many times could my brother sin against me and I forgive him? As many as seven times? ” “I tell you, not as many as seven,” Jesus said to him, “but 70 times seven. Matthew 18:21-22
Don’t stop at dwelling on your mistakes. Receive the mercy God has for you and give it to others.
*Notes were taken from Jeff Arnold’s message “Your mistake is not Final.”
Thanks for reading. I hope this brings encouragement to you today. It did me. -Tonya
Our Colorado vacation was phenomenal and very achievable, even with all the new restrictions. You need to put in your time planning for a successful visit. It’s more work, but you’ll be glad to did the extra planning.
First of all, Colorado has an all-state mask mandate. Though most of the places we visited were outdoors. We went out to eat one time which required us to wear face masks if we were not sitting at the table eating.
We had 13 people in our group. 6 kids ages 9, 5, 3, 2, 1, and 1!
We drove 2 vans. We decided to drive all night; 16 hours from Milwaukee to Denver. I drove 8 and then, my Dear Husband drove 8. My brothers and sisters joined us. It was so much fun because Tasha ( my sister) would call me when she felt tired and I would call her if I got bored. I was on the phone with her when she hit a flat tire from a semi-truck! It left a tire shaped dent in their front bumper. We were thankful they were fine and their van was driveable.
We drove straight to downtown Denver to see the “Big Blue Bear”. The 40-foot bear is peeking in the window of a museum. (Which was not open because of Covid) but we got a photo with the bear!
Coloradans I met at a park told me they stay clear of Denver because it’s not family-friendly with all the homeless people on the streets. (Although we walked around one block; we didn’t see any homeless or vandalism.)
We walked through the Garden of the gods. (No reservations needed) We saw the mysterious beautiful red rock structures in front of the mountains.
Next, we went to Cheyanne Mountain Zoo. (Reservations required) This zoo is in the top 5 zoos in the nation. The whole zoo is on the side of the mountain. The more animals you want to see the higher you climb the stairs. (They do have elevators and ramps)
We toured The Garden of the Gods, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, and a playground! It was a full day. Everyone was tired and ready to nap for 3 hours in the car. Heading toward Great Sand Dunes National Park for the next day’s adventures.
The Great Sand Dunes National Park: The scenery is epic. We rented sandboards and sleds to go down the dunes. (Snowboards and snow sleds DO NOT work) you need to use the special sand sleds with wax.
Bring lots of water! We spent around 4 hours here. That’s including the time waiting in line for board rentals. (No mask no service.)
Next, we drove to Glenwood Springs, CO. 4 hour drive from Sand Dunes. We stopped at a free fish hatchery. There was a TINY hike in the forest with a beautiful lake. I recommend stopping there to stretch and let the kids out of the car.
We hiked at Saint Mary’s Glacier and boy, are we glad we did! Just make sure you take the trail IN THE WOODS instead of the rocky way all the way up like we did. We just followed everyone else. There were many people. It was almost impossible to park in the parking lots. We walked further to park on the side of the road.
The view was worth the trek. The glacier is always there. Some guys from the group hiked all the way to the tip-top.
I sent 8 from our group rafting. Roaring Upfork is a good rafting trip for kids. My daughter is 5, she enjoyed it. We went with Glenwood Rafting Company because we did the 8 person raft.
Next we went to Glenwood Caverns Amusement Park. You take a Gondola ride up the side of the mountain to get to the park. I definitely recommend the Cliffhanger Ride and the Alpine Coaster, they were worth the long wait in line! It was such a fun. Don’t forget your mask. (They enforce the mandate IF you are standing in line or in the caves.) Online Reservations required
We drove to Estes Park and stayed at an Airbnb with gorgeous views. We rented an entire house it was perfect for all the kids and adults!
We went horseback riding at Cowpoke Corner Corral. We went with them because they allowed the youngest ages to ride. We did the 2-hour ride tour for $80/person.
Let me tell you! These are mountain climbing horses! The horses we rode had 10+ years of experience! The horses were experts. Our guide was fun and down to earth as well. It was quite the adventure as the horses literally had to climb up and down boulders at times!
We tried to get into Rocky Mountain National Park, but you need reservations. They go on sale 2 days prior to the date you want to go. The tickets sell out in 3-4 mins at 8 am. I was unable to get early morning tickets ( what we preferred) but we made it work. Without reservations, you can still get into the park after 5 pm with a $25-day pass at the gate. We waiting in line for 50 mins just to get into the park.
We hiked to Dream Lake (at Bear Lake trailhead) we all agreed the wait and cost were worth the views!
Even though is started to pour rain when we reached the top. It was very windy and chilly by the lake. Bring sweaters and ponchos. Again we did this hike with 4 kids ages 3 and under!
We stopped at Stanley Park 3 times during our visit at Estes Park. It had the most gorgeous views. They had a new zipline swing that my kids loved! They had play grounds for older kids and one for younger toddlers. This park has rock structures too. Micah found a cave he didn’t want to leave. Cindee like climbing high on the rocks.
The best thing about vacations is the time spent with the people you love and care about most. We did some devotionals. Which were some of my favorite times. There’s just nothing like praying together and talking about the Lord. I’d definitely go back to Colorado someday.
I hope this helps you. Below are links to the websites we reserved online.
While I was praying I had a vision of an olive tree. It was beautiful. It had a thick healthy trunk, but it was different. There was a branch on the left and a branch on the right, but the middle was missing. What did this mean? I especially wanted to know because I was praying for unity.
While Rob took the kids on a bike ride a couple of days later (thanks honey!) I had some alone time to really pray and ask God to guide my study.
Without looking up any scripture references I began reading my bible. I came across this scripture:
Now if some of the branches were broken off, and you, though a wild olive branch, were grafted in among them and have come to share in the rich root of the cultivated olive tree, do not brag that you are better than those branches. Romans 11:17-18 HCSB
I am NOTHING without Christ. HE puts breath in my body. I can’t even brush my teeth without HIS help.
I am not better than anyone else. If I think I am, I have a problem. As my Mom would say a “heart problem.”
In studying the Olive trees I found the best time to prune them is after winter and just when the tree is starting to produce the first fruits of the season.
We have gone through the “wilderness.” It was a long “winter”.
During this “winter” you have been seeking God and spending more time with Him. You are able to hear God’s voice clearer. You are walking in the spirit as you are putting your flesh down daily (it’s hard some days) God is bringing you through. You entered a new season. You’re experiencing new and exciting things in God.
Now comes the pruning.
One prayer I’ve tried to pray everyday this year in 2020 is, “God help me see me the way you see me. All the good. All the bad. All the beautiful. And yes… All the ugly.”
Growing closer to God requires the removal of toxic things.
God has done it. He has revealed to me some things He needs to cut out of me (and I’m sure I have a long way to go) Embarrassing things… Like self-doubt, discontentment, jealousy, and comparing myself to others. How toxic!
He has brought things to the surface I didn’t know existed. I could then pray specifically and ask the Lord for His help.
For every ugly thing he revealed in me, He has shown me so much more beautiful things about me!
He showed me I was worth dying for on the cross. I have great faith. I am a peacemaker. I am anointed for such a time as this. I am effective. I am hopeful. I am a “good” mom. I am striving to become a Proverbs 31 woman. I do hear the voice of God. I am led of the spirit. I am joyful. I do trust in Him. Thank you Jesus!
Back to the olive tree, I found there is a special technique to pruning olive trees. It consists of pruning the center of the tree. So the tree gets more light for more healthy growth.
When God prunes us he removes old branches. Old traditions. Old mindsets Old habits. Only then we are able to grow in new areas and new ways. (Not changing the message, of course, Acts 2:38.)
You are producing fruit, but God is not finished yet. He is pruning you so you have the opportunity to grow even more, which means more expansion. More fruits of the spirit. More love. More anointing.
You can’t produce oil without being pressed.
Our attitudes can get us in trouble. His word says to “humble yourself”.
It would be ever so nice to skip the pruning process, but we wouldn’t be all what we are called to be and we wouldn’t be ready for what God has in store and that’s not part of God’s plan either.
We can’t go from point A to point D. We are in a process. We are on God’s time. Not our own.
When we try to figure out the details, we move from the dimension of faith to the dimension of hope. We walk in FAITH.
We have to wait on God when he says to wait. While we wait we put our COMPLETE TRUST in Him. And give him FULL CONTROL in our lives.
Stay busy in His presence. Give God 100%. Stay faithful. Stay consistent in prayer and fasting.
You will make it through! God has a specific call for everyone. When you find it, it’s exciting and it’s the only thing that satisfies.
Stay content in the process. Stay humble. Stay kind. And you will go far!
He is like a tree planted beside streams of water that bears its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers. Psalms 1:3 HCSB
Prayer to pray: Lord help me see myself the way you see me, all the good and all the bad. Help me learn to reflect.
I believe the vision God gave me was the picture of a healthy Olive Tree after it had gone through the pruning process.
What are some beautiful things God is revealing about you? What are some things He has helped you realize He is not finished working with you yet?
Thanks for reading! I’d love to hear from you in the comments.