Trust the Process

Last week, I wrote about both being present and knowing when to move forward. Along with some real life stuff happening in my world right now, this has brought me to another mindset to just trust the process. Trusting the process sometimes involves moments of being still, letting the dust settle, taking a deep breath, and clearing our minds before we make our next move. And of course when the time is right, we then move forward. Though, sometimes the process doesn’t always look how we want it to look.

A few months ago my husband and I were on our way back to Charlotte from Georgia. Somehow I put in the wrong directions and we went about 30 minutes out of the way. As we re-routed, we ended up on this long, gravel road, only marked with a number. It went through the country next to a fenced, green pasture of cows.

I love my iPhone, but my GPS is not always correct. A car pulled up driving behind us and we thought maybe that we were on someone’s private property. It made me a little nervous but we kept going anyways. After about a mile or so on this gravel road we came to the end. We hit a perpendicular paved road next to a church which then led us to a stoplight and then a major road.

My husband and I were actually on the right path all along on the gravel road although it certainly didn’t feel like it. We had turned the music way down, because for some reason when people are uncertain about where they’re driving, they turn the music down. We had to drive slow through the gravel, we felt like we were in the middle of nowhere, and for a while, there was no end in sight. Until there was. And what a relieving, victorious feeling it was.

I would have loved taking the quick and easy route. I would love to take the quick and easy route in every situation. But one of my favorite verses says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9 ESV)

trust the process, catchonfire.com

I can think of so many things I have prayed about and God never gave me exactly what I wanted. I think we often believe that we come up with the best solutions to our issues and pray asking God to make those things happen. But God’s bigger picture has a better solution or a better route to getting us where we need to be.

A pastor I was listening to recently was talking about how it isn’t about the “how, when, where, etc” but it’s about “Who,”  meaning God. I have this real life stuff going on that involves lots of decisions. Each decision impacts the next and they all impact our lives. And my husband and I keep going through the numbers and the details. I had started feeling so foggy and brain dead from trying to figure out if and how this is all going to work out. But then I saw this pastor’s clip on social media that refocused my mind to “Who” instead of all the details and the “how, when, and where.”

It’s similar to when I wrote this about when God freed the Israelites from Pharaoh. Their journey wasn’t easy. They didn’t take a straight and easy path in the wilderness on the way to the sea. And then when they got to the Red Sea, they didn’t see any way around it. But Moses trusted God and he trusted the process and God made a way. Both through the wilderness and then right through the middle of the sea.

Yes we have to work through some of the details in life, but we can’t get lost in them. Because we know the Who and we can reflect on the fact that He has carried us through numerous battles, both big and small.

We can and must trust Him, Who He is, what His Word says, and what He has already done. We must trust His thoughts and His ways. And we must trust the process.

I pray that whatever you’re facing in your life today, whether defeats, doubts, or decisions you’re making, that you completely hand it over to God and trust His ways and His process.

Be Present, But Know When to Move

Lately, I keep having a thought circling around in my mind. That thought is to  “ be present, be still, be content, you are right where you are supposed to be. ”  And at the very same time there is another thought that keeps circling around in my mind – “put one foot in front of the other, keep going, take a chance.”

Opposite thoughts, aren’t they? I find though that they really intermingle nicely if you know how to balance the two.

A good friend and previous co-worker of mine left a printed quote on my work locker that says, “You are right where you need to be.” That thought, that idea, and that mentality brings so much peace. I can take a deep breath. I can slow down. I can appreciate the exact place that I am in, in any given moment, and feel no pressure to be anywhere else. It gives me permission to just be still.

But if we hold to that idea too tightly, we will never move. We will never progress. We will never take risks or jump in with both feet. We will never take that leap of faith that is sometimes needed to get us unstuck from a place we desperately need to get out of.

I’ve always been a firm believer that we should “make life happen.” I serve the God who speaks to the sea and we live in a world where sometimes things just happen without any persuasion of our own – both good and bad. But sometimes, it is up to us to create opportunities and find solutions for ourselves. It is up to us to make things happen. To make life happen. I say “life” but what I really mean is “living.” We all have life on earth, but are we really living?

be all there, catchonfire.com

My son just turned two a week ago and we had his birthday party at a local park with all of our family. He loves going down big slides, but he is still a little timid at first and needs a little encouragement and also wants to be sure that someone is there at the bottom waiting to catch him. Whether that is mom or dad, or even his 4 year old big sister. She can at least break his fall.

He had a blast going down the fast and twisting big kid slides! I had fun just watching him, his sister, and all of their cousins playing together. As we rested that evening on the couch, I realized I hadn’t taken a single photo of him ALL day! On his birthday!!

So I got out my phone and re-dressed him completely in his birthday outfit and tried my best to get a photo of him standing still. Two year olds just don’t really stand still.

Somewhere along the line, while I want to preserve and remember all the good, fun memories that we’re making, taking photos has become less important. I’m embracing the live in action moments more. I am living in the present, making the most of every minute I have to play with my children and watch them laugh and run and explore and learn new things. I realize how quickly these moments pass.

Because it feels like I just had my kids yesterday, blinked, and they are all of the sudden 2 and 4 years old.

God places us perfectly and we often learn from these places. We are meant to sit there and idle a bit. This is where we gain experience and endurance, both of which offer wisdom to pass on to others who come to these same places after us.

But there are some areas in our lives where we need to move. We need to go down the big, twisting slide. Live a little. Be adventurous. Be brave and daring and trust that which you cannot see. Be hopeful and courageous. And LIVE! This life is so very short and I learn this more and more as every day passes.

So I choose to be grateful for where I am, trusting that God has placed me here for very good reason. And without rushing through these seasons of life, I keep my eyes opened wide, ready for opportunities that come my way and ready to create opportunities when the time arises.

Friday Favorites – Birthday Edition!

May 5, 2017

My son turns 2 this weekend so I’m in the birthday spirit! I’m sure I’ll do more birthday editions throughout the year because there are just so many great ideas and inspirations out there depending on the season and style. Enjoy!

 

Favorite Kid Party Theme – I love this lemonade theme and actually used it for my daughter’s 1st birthday party a few years ago, including a miniature lemonade stand made by my dad for her! It was summertime, the theme fit perfectly, and it was fun and adorable!

birthday theme

 

Favorite Cake – How fun is this donut cake?? You can learn how to make it here! I donut think it would last 5 minutes in my house! LOL!  ; )

birthday

Favorite DIY Decoration – I have a love for glitter anyway so these balloons really caught my eye! The original post was for a Disney princess slumber party, but I can see these made with different colors and with a little more grown up look. Maybe even for a baby or bridal shower! See the tutorial here!

birthday

 

Favorite Party Snack – Check out this spin on a classic holiday favorite! Cake batter puppy chow!! It looks fun and delicious! My son turns 2 this weekend and I’m planning to make this for his Paw Patrol themed birthday party!

birthday, catchonfire.com

 

Favorite Man Theme – Ok, I know it’s barely May but the Carolinas are warming up and summer will be here before we know it. Men don’t seem to care much about the details but they need to be celebrated! What better party to throw for the men in your life than a “Grill & Chill”?! See the collage below for some great inspiration!

birthday, catchonfire.com

 

I hope you loved this week’s roundup of Friday Favorites! What stuff do you love or what would you like to see? Leave a comment!

 

 

Have Company, Don’t Clean, Make Friends!

I’m all too familiar with the difficulty of making new and genuine friends as an adult. I don’t live in the same town, or even the same state, that I grew up in and the paths of college friends have gone in many different directions. I have a few close girlfriends, but it honestly took several years to develop those relationships.

Making friends is not for the faint of heart.

It’s like dating all over again (from a married woman’s perspective) and who wants to do that? Sorry single ladies, dating isn’t for the faint of heart either.

And for the introvert (hello!), it is even more difficult. The introductions, the small talk of trying to find some common ground, and then the dreaded phone number exchange. Who asks who? There isn’t a man involved to take charge of the situation. It’s awkward, it’s uncomfortable, and frankly, I have mostly chosen to be “single” without close friends rather than go through all that weirdness.

As I mentioned, I do have a few close girlfriends, but the reality is that they aren’t the friendships that help deepen and grow my faith and relationship with God. And I’m OK with that. I love those friends and the sweet friendships that we have. But as a Jesus follower desperately seeking to grow closer to my Savior every day, I need genuine friendships that encourage exactly that. I need people in my life who are looking for the same thing; ladies that can both support me and want to be supported by me in that all encompassing life aspect.

So I have decided to actively attempt making friends with women that I can share my faith with.

My husband is very outgoing and makes conversation easily so he agreed to an after-church lunch with some of his friends one Sunday. I sat next to his friend’s wife and made casual conversation. When she invited us over for our children to play and have lunch later that week I thought, “now or never.”

So later that week as I was nervously preparing to go to her house I received a text from her asking if I had any bread because she didn’t have enough. I instantly relaxed a bit. “She’s out of bread and rather than running to the store, she’s asking me for help. She isn’t perfect. Whew!” I thought.

I arrived to her beautiful home in a newly built and gorgeous neighborhood. But what I walked into was what I least expected. A lived in home. Breakfast was still on the table, dishes were still in the sink, and I’ll stop there before I unfairly paint my friend out to be something inaccurate. No judgement here. I am a mother of a 4 year old and 1 year old. I get it! And so did she.

She asked me to pitch in and help clean if I wanted. This gave me a job I could focus on and something to accomplish while chatting and getting to know one another better without staring at the walls during awkward silences. She served me tea, we sat outside as our kids played, and then we ate lunch. We actually did “life” together that day.

I could relax because I knew she didn’t have it all together. Nor did she act like it. And that spoke volumes.

I’m not saying to purposely never clean your house if that isn’t who you are. But if you are willing to be real, authentic, transparent, and vulnerable with others, they will more feel comfortable doing the same.

The following week she came to my home and I can’t say I was totally relaxed about it. But I did a lot less prep cleaning than I normally would have.

friends, catchonfire.com

Adult friendships that are genuine and run deep are hard to come by and develop. They often don’t form within a few times of grabbing coffee together. They take time, dedication, and usually small sacrifices.

Spending that time with my new friend and seeing things that I would have naturally tried to hide gave me the courage I needed to be that kind of friend to someone else.

I pray that if you are seeking genuine friendships with other women which you can share your life and faith with, that God will place these ladies before you. At a recent Bible study solely on the topic of friendship, our speaker suggested that we should first be a friend to someone who needs a friend more than we do. So pray for boldness and the courage to be authentic and transparent so that they may be able to do the same.

Friday Favorites – Flowers and Friendship

April 28, 2017

This week’s Friday Favorites are all about flowers! I think it’s the springtime newness and freshness that I love so much..oh, and they’re pretty and smell nice!

Favorite Kind Act – Bringing or sending flowers. To a teacher, a friend, a loved one, or a new neighbor. I know flowers don’t last forever, but in my opinion, they speak thoughtfulness, lift a mood, and brighten any room!

flowers, friday favorites, catchonfire.com

 

Favorite Spring Flower DIY – I am loving everything floral right now! Preserve your spring flowers with this beautiful DIY project from Craftberry Bush and find a roundup of 10 additional (and gorgeous!) pressed flower projects at She Tried What! What great gift ideas!

flowers, friday favorites, catchonfire.com

 

Favorite Centerpiece – This centerpiece is beautiful for a wedding, bridal, or baby shower and fitting enough for my kitchen table! You can find blue, wide mouth jars here. [affiliate link]

flowers, friday favorites, catchonfire.com

 

Favorite Floral-Infused Refreshment – Most restaurants leave the tasty, creative concoctions for spirit-filled cocktails, however, this Coconut Lavender Lemonade is alcohol-free and looks delicious AND beautiful! Perfect for an afternoon with friends!

flowers, friday favorites, catchonfire.com

 

Favorite Floral Print – Remember how I told you I was obsessing over everything floral right now? And it isn’t even May yet! This top looks perfectly pretty for an evening with girlfriends!

flowers, friday favorites, catchonfire.com

 

Faith is a Verb

faith is a verb, catchonfire.com

I was talking with my husband the other day about my personal thoughts and questions about the Bible, God, and the faith kinds of things I wrestle with. Because I think while people don’t always like to admit, it’s normal to have questions. The more you learn about something, the more in depth your questions become. You learn to ask the right questions; the sometimes difficult to answer questions.

I’m no different. I always raise a question. Because I want to really understand why something is the way it is. I want everything to make sense and for every detail to be perfectly wrapped up, sitting in it’s perfect space inside this faith box.

I remember taking math classes in high school, geometry in particular with all the theories, except the theories didn’t make any sense to me. I often worked my problems backwards because I could usually figure out the answer, just not quite how to get there from the beginning.

I tend to do my problem solving backwards. Because if I can vision the end result, then one by one, I can reason each step prior to the next. I can figure out the best and most efficient steps that bring the result in the best and quickest way.

But life doesn’t work like that. I can’t see the end results and the results that I envision are not always guaranteed. There really isn’t much in life that is certain.

I don’t know for certain that my husband and I will be able to have more children, especially after experiencing multiple losses recently. I don’t know for certain if my blog will ever reach and encourage millions of women despite my prayers and the long hours I put in, in addition to working my “real” job on the weekends and taking care of my children during the week. I don’t know how I will handle or if I will be able to handle all of life’s demands that are going to show up later this year when I also begin homeschooling our daughter when it really starts to count.

And that’s just the beginning – the surface level type of stuff.

There are spiritual things that I am not certain of. I wrestle with God’s Word. Of course, I pray first asking for wisdom and understanding of my reading each day. And then I still sometimes finish reading my Bible and ask my husband questions about things I don’t understand. Or I take to the internet and learn from people who have gone to seminary and have a better understanding and knowledge of the context.

I struggle with the fact that I’ve had a specific situation I have been praying about for three years now, THREE YEARS, and the answer is still either “no” or “not yet.”  I have specific people for which I’ve been praying for a really long time. Jesus tells us in Luke 11:5-10 to ask, seek, and knock. I have done this. I have been POUNDING on that door. I have begged, pleaded, and cried out. But I haven’t seen the results I’ve been praying for.

So now what do I do with all these things I don’t understand or don’t have clear answers to?

I choose faith.

Faith is trusting in what we cannot see. Faith is trusting that even though I don’t understand all the details and even though I may never have all the answers, I choose to completely trust God.

I know that people question Christianity, Jesus, and God, and when they don’t get all their questions answered, they are left unsatisfied and they continue walking their own path.

But there is an element of faith involved. Not the noun, but the verb. It is the part that takes courage. Believing and trusting that God is Who He says He is, even without seeing or fully comprehending all the details.

I believe that if you ask God to reveal Himself to you, He will. But it is up to you to choose faith. You have to choose to believe in something you cannot see and do not fully understand.

There are both biblical details and in-our-world-today heartbreaking situations that I don’t always understand. But I know that God is mighty, omnipotent, merciful, forgiving, loving, triumphant, and sovereign over all.

So I choose faith. Simple, childlike faith. I choose to trust my Father.

Friday Favorites

April 21, 2017

(This page contains affiliate links which means I may make a small commission for purchases made through the link at no additional cost to you.)

I love doing these Friday Favorites posts! It is a fun element (for me atleast!) to add to the blog which tends to be on a slightly more serious side simply because of the reasoning behind it all. Hope you enjoy this week’s roundup!

1.Favorite Kid Conversation StartersThe Key Jar is a conversation jar of questions to get your kids and teens talking. They may even unlock parts of your children that neither you or they knew about themselves. The 48 questions are ready to simply print, cut, and place in a jar for your table to use at meal time or on a long drive. Some of the questions may be too complex for my littles to consider just yet, but most are fantastic and we can replace a few questions to improvise.

key jar, catchonfire.com

 

2. Favorite Snack – Homemade flavored popcorn. 100 Days of Real Food offers this Cinnamon Glazed Popcorn Mix recipe on their website and you guys, it is sooo good!! I also found these other popcorn recipes that include savory flavors like garlic parmesan and chili lime! Is your mouth watering yet?

cinnamon popcorn, catchonfire.com

 

3. Favorite Quote

quote, catchonfire.com

 

4. Favorite Spring Dessert – Strawberry Cake! Pictured is the one I made for Easter and it was a huge hit – of course, because I used the recipe my Grandma Nancy gave me several years ago when I was getting married. It is semi-homemade, but our family recipe isn’t out yet. So here is a similar recipe that looks fantastic!

strawberry cake, catchonfire.com

 

5. Favorite Kids ShoeKeen Sandals! I discovered these last summer for my then 3 year old. It was one of the best purchases I’ve ever made! Fast and easy for kids to put on themselves, they are extremely durable, and they protect tiny toes. They come in toddler, little kid, and big kid sizes in a wide variety of colors. Plus, if you have Amazon Prime you can get free 2 day shipping!

Today is the Day

today is the day,catchonfire.com

This page contains affiliate links which means I may make a small commission for purchases made through the links at no additional cost to you.

I didn’t sleep very well the other night. I fell asleep feeling anxious and I kept waking up every couple of hours thinking about what the following morning would bring. I’d lie awake for several minutes each time imagining different scenarios and eventually my circling thoughts would lull me back to sleep. I woke up the next morning, my feet hit the floor, and I thought, “Today is the day.” I proceeded to get ready for my doctor’s appointment and off I went.

Our emotions, feelings, and thoughts are often based on past experiences. For me, I kind of feel like worry just runs in my blood. It comes all too natural for me. I think about what has happened in the past and worry that it will happen again. I also fear the unknown, a place, a season of life, or a situation I’ve never known before. What if I don’t see the outcome I hope for? What if something goes wrong? How will I handle it? What if I can’t handle it?

I’ve mentioned before the phrase that often comes up from others in conversation, “God won’t give you more than you can handle.” However, my personal thought is that He most certainly will. Not to tear us down or to break us apart, but to show us how desperately we still need Him. To show us that we can’t do this on our own.

I have two young children, ages 4 and almost 2. Anytime we are in the car they ask for their songs. We have a few different cd’s they listen to, one of them my daughter calls her “God songs.” It is the Fisher-Price Sunday School Sing-Along. The voices are appealing to children, the songs are catchy, and it is helping in building the foundation of their faith.

I love the simply written songs for children and the easy to understand stories in my daughter’s Bible that we read from together. Sometimes it is the most simple concepts that if we would apply them to our lives, they can change our perspective, our attitude, and our entire day. A song my daughter has loved and we have sang together from very early on is “This is the Day.” You’re probably familiar with this popular song, but if not, let me share the words:

This is the day (This is the day)

That the Lord has made (That the Lord has made)

We will rejoice (We will rejoice)

And be glad in it! (And be glad in it!)

It is the recitation of Psalm 118:24 (NKJV), a verse and song I have known since I was a young girl myself. This verse came to mind after my doctor’s appointment (of course after being anxious and worrying all throughout the night before) and I was reminded of this:

I am not to be concerned with the past (Isaiah 43:18) and I am not to worry about the future (Matthew 6:34). Every day that I am given is a day made by God. In trusting Him, without expending my time worrying, I can rejoice in the present moment. Because He is God and He is a good God.

Believe me, when disappointment comes, I know rejoicing is not what we often feel like doing. But can we at least agree that even in our disappointments, we know Who holds us in the palm of His hands? That we know Who holds and grants our tomorrows? And that we know Who sees the big picture? Our God is sovereign.

Let’s choose to live in today. Let’s rejoice today for the gift that it is even if you’re in the middle of disappointment, a letdown, or fighting a battle. Maybe you’ve got a messy house to pick up, several loads of laundry that still need to be folded (can I get an amen?!),  a deadline at work to meet, many children to bathe, or an important doctor’s appointment.

Whatever it is that you are facing today that may be causing you to feel anxious, worried, or simply not excited – repeat this verse (Psalm 118:24 NKJV), give thanks to the Lord, rejoice that He has made today and that you are living in His plan.

 

Friday Favorites

April 14, 2017

  1. Favorite Image: The ultimate sacrifice was made. Jesus went all in for every single one of us. We recognize today as Good Friday.

It is finished, catchonfire.com

 

2. Okanother Favorite Image: Only because we’re approaching Easter! After Jesus was crucified, He rose again the third day. Death was defeated. The Lamb has overcome! Hallelujah!

He has risen, catchonfire.com

 

3. Favorite Song: One of my favorites everrr – especially as we prepare to celebrate the risen King! Forever – Kari Jobe

 

4. Favorite Spring Photo: Hello Spring!! This photo just screams it for me! My kids and I are loving being able to get outside and play most days – the sunshine does so much to lift a spirit!

Hello Spring! catchonfire.com

 

5. Favorite Recipe: Smothered Green Beans! Perfect for an Easter side dish! My mama always cooks hers with a ham hock and I still haven’t quite been able to get mine to taste as good as hers. But I made these last week and they might just give her a run for her money! (Sorry, Mom!)

Smothered Green Beans

 

6. Favorite Kids’ Activity: Shaving cream rain clouds from One Little Project! How fun does this look? My kids are going to love this one!

shaving cream rain clouds

The Ultimate Sacrifice: Going All In

ultimate sacrifice, catchonfire.com

Mark 12:28-30 And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with ALL your heart and with ALL your soul and with ALL your mind and with ALL your strength.’                             *caps added for emphasis

If you read my testimony then you know that I grew up going to church regularly and came to know Jesus at a young age. However, as I got older I went through a phase of pouring everything I had into my relationship with Jesus and then a phase where I didn’t want to sacrifice anything and wanted complete control of my life. I was attempting to fulfill my heart’s deepest longings with empty solutions that left me unsatisfied and still searching.

I lived that life for many years, like many people do, where I would only sometimes pray and only sometimes go to church. While going to church makes no man a Christian, it is definitely a great opportunity for worship, Bible teachings, prayer, and fellowship with other believers. But I was living life my way and while I simply professed the name of Jesus, I thought that was enough. Only it wasn’t. Not nearly enough.

While I look back and realize the lack of depth in my faith during those weak phases, I think about spiritual maturity, which means the more we put into our relationship with God, the more mature we will become in our Christian walk, and essentially, the more like Jesus we will actually become. When we invest in our faith we will grow.

But just because someone else may be more mature in their faith does not mean that they are ahead of you in the Jesus line. He loves us all the same – with unconditional, unwavering, gracious love.

Investing in my faith is like exercise in a way. I know what I need to do to get healthy and strong, but it’s challenging. If I only do it sometimes, the results may eventually come, but surely not efficiently or quickly and others may not even notice. But if I make the sacrifice, give it everything I have, and stay fully committed, I will start seeing the results I hope for much more quickly and in many different ways. Not only will I look healthier, but I will feel healthier, I will feel happier and more confident, and that will radiate into other areas of my life such as my relationships or job performance.

And then other people will start noticing and wondering what my secret is. They’ll want to know what I’ve been doing that has brought on such a change in my attitude and behaviors. That’s when we can say, “It is God. God is doing great things in my life – let me tell you all about it!”

Nobody said it would be easy though. As with a healthy lifestyle, the stakes of following Jesus are high, we will be tempted to veer off course and we will be criticized for our choices and our results by those who don’t follow the same standards.

Like they say, you reap what you sow. Whatever you put in is what you’re going to get back, except with God, I believe the blessings are infinite. You can do life your way or His way. You can believe that Jesus is the Son of God and profess your faith to the world, but if you’re not giving God your all, then you’re not allowing yourself to have the full blessings of God.

The greatest commandment is to “…love the Lord your God with ALL your heart and with ALL your soul and with ALL your mind and with ALL your strength.” (Mark 12:28-30) Not just some of yourself, not just when it’s convenient, not just when the good times roll, and not just when things get tough and you need a lifeline.

The Ultimate Sacrifice

We are approaching Good Friday, which we as Christians recognize as the day of Christ’s crucifixion. I want to ask each of you to examine your life of faith, or lack thereof, and consider Jesus and everything He gave.

I’m asking you today to take a moment, push aside your other thoughts and distractions, and think about, dwell on, and consider the details of the sacrifice that was made.

If we look at the sacrifice, it was multifaceted. God sacrificed His own Son, Jesus. At the very same time, God is Jesus, thus, sacrificing Himself. Jesus could have stopped the arrest, the suffering, and the crucifixion at any given time, but He didn’t. He knew He couldn’t, only because He knew that He was the ultimate offering, taking the ultimate punishment for our sins, and otherwise we would be separated from God.

The Bible tells us that before the arrest, Jesus was deeply grieved and He prayed asking God if it was possible to “let this cup pass from Me.” (Matthew 26:38-39)  In His anguish, He began praying more earnestly and His sweat became like drops of blood. (Luke 22.44) This is a sign of tremendous stress.

The human part of Jesus knew what was to come and it was much to bear. He didn’t want to suffer and die, except to pay the price for every single one of us, including Barabbas (a robber and murderer who was freed for the cause of Christ’s conviction).

After His arrest, Jesus was blindfolded and beaten, spat on, mocked and ridiculed, scourged (whipped with a flagrum – a whip with at least 3 strands as much as 3 feet long, weighted with lead balls and pieces of bone), had a crown of twisted thorns pressed into His scalp, and was nailed to a cross. He didn’t just die a quick painless death, albeit, He could have if He wanted, but He suffered major trauma leading up to the crucifixion.

As Jesus was hanging on the cross He cried out “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34) The Father gave up His Son and the Son, His spirit.

Three days later, death was defeated when Jesus rose and walked away from the empty tomb. We celebrate His resurrection on Easter.

In all actuality, while Jesus came to live so that people would see for themselves and believe that He was the Son of God by fulfilling prophesy, teaching, and performing miracles among other things, He came to die. He came to take our punishment and to raise us to eternal life with Him. (John 6:40)

Jesus is not a storybook character. He died for YOU. He loves YOU. What is greater than that? (John 15:13)

Everyone just wants to live in their comfortable bubble, walking through life uninterrupted and without a care.

But Jesus gave us His ALL. Are you willing to give Him your all?

You cannot walk with Jesus without making sacrifices and allowing the Holy Spirit to change you. Genuine faith will produce fruit.

I am still a sinner and I do not live up to every single thing that God calls us to do. I strive to be more like Jesus every day, but I am not Jesus. We should strive to live life according to God’s Word and constantly allow the Holy Spirit to do His work within us.

Following Jesus isn’t about a list of rules or do’s and don’ts. But He does command us to give Him our all. All of our hearts, all of our thoughts, all of our priorities, our attitudes, and our behaviors. Give Him everything you have. Allow yourself to experience the fullness of God and His promises!

What’s holding you back?

Go ALL IN!!!