Tag Archives: redemption

Do you believe in God?

Colette Fabry, Co-Author of awriteheart.comI walked down the streets of NYC in awe.  In awe of the variety of people, of sin, of poverty & materialism, of smells…some good and some horrendous. I saw homeless teens taking shelter in cardboard boxes and people digging through garbage for scraps to eat.  No one else seemed to be alarmed by these sights. I was taking it all in for what seemed like hours as a heaviness eventually settled on my spirit.

Then I heard someone preaching from what I thought was the Bible. There were groups of men monopolizing corner after corner on street after street. They were dressed in robes and stood on ascending, throne-like platforms. As I got closer I heard clearly their confusing message.  They screamed into microphones… words of racial hatred and Bible mixed with blasphemy. They shouted loudly in Hebrew, and made hissing sounds, at several Jewish men who ran past me.

The man on the top of the platform yelled into his hand held mic “YOU, lady with blonde hair, DO YOU BELIEVE IN GOD?” Out of hundreds of people walking by, he was looking and speaking directly at me. I yelled back to him “Yes, I do believe in God.”

Later I thought about this experience and wondered how I would have felt if an evil man had held a gun to my head while asking me the question, “Do you believe in God?” The same question that the young college students in Oregon were asked this past week. They stood up and and declared their faith in God. And then were shot and killed.

[blockquote cite=”Hilary Mantel, author” type=”center”]I cannot unbelieve what I believe.  [/blockquote]

Where does such faith, such belief, come from?  A convicting, amazing faith that sees beyond this life and chooses Jesus over all else?  Unless a person knows Jesus, God incarnate, they cannot possibly understand.

Those who lack faith will not understand how Christians can stand in the face of death with sadness, yet boldness; those with faith know that to be absent from the body is to be present with the LORD. (2 Corinthians 5:8)

Those who lack faith will not understand a belief in something you cannot see; those with faith see Almighty God and His glory in everything. We see with spiritual eyes the purpose and meaning of this temporal life. Temporal… short, fleeting and passing quickly like a vapor. (2 Corinthians 5:20)

[pullquote cite=”Isaiah 26:3″ type=”right”]Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.[/pullquote]Those who lack faith may not understand why, in the face of death one would not save himself, if even out of fear alone; those with faith understand grace and peace. How it pours over one who needs it every single day and in perfect timing. We also know that Christ gave His life for us so that we can have life eternal.  I’m not sure every person who says they are a Christian would stand strong for Jesus in the presence of their murderer.  But I do know that genuine Christians would; there is no other choice.

Those who lack faith will not understand why God would allow such things like the tragic death of innocent students; those with faith understand that God is Sovereign. That nothing passes through His hand without his permission and that even the most horrible things are exchanged for a greater purpose. No heartache is wasted.  (Psalm 139)

[pullquote cite=”Revelation 21:4″ type=”left”]And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.[/pullquote]Those who lack faith may not understand why parents and families and a nation must suffer at the hands of such awful tragedy; those with faith feel deep sorrow and weep for the hurting.  We know that God miraculously heals broken hearts and comforts those who are suffering.  We know that one day all things we despise… sickness, sorrow, heartache, physical death and evil will come to an end. We know that we must walk through life so that we can understand good and evil. So that we learn to hate unrighteousness with all that is in us. We are living among the consequences of sin in a fallen world. One day there will be no more tears. It is then that we will understand the meaning of love and righteousness in all its fullness.

Those without faith can’t understand how Christians can believe in eternity; those with faith know that the dash between our birth and physical death is a tiny dot on a long line of never ending life. “For God so loved the World that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

It is open to everyone….this invitation to receive faith in Jesus; this hope beyond understanding and peace that is not explainable.  This faith that gives one the ability to grasp the incredible love story of God-incarnate humbling himself to walk with us and become the payment for our salvation.  So that mankind might be saved from eternal separation from Himself.  So much is not fair in this upside down world.  Like homeless teens living in cardboard boxes. Or people eating out of garbage cans.  And, students being murdered for their faith.  But Jesus promises to make all wrong, right.  To settle every score and bring peace and righteous judgment.  He will do away with evil and we will forever praise Him.  He is the ONLY HOPE for all men.  It is for these reasons that we can never deny Jesus or that we belong to Him.  Not ever. As Hilary Mantel stated so simply, “I cannot unbelieve what I believe.”

My heart aches for the families of the murdered students in Oregon. Their loved ones proclaimed their faith in God through Jesus with their very lives.  Then their faith was made sight and they heard ‘Well done good and faithful servant, enter into the JOY OF THE LORD.” (Matthew 25)

[custom_headline type=”right” level=”h4″ looks_like=”h4″ accent=”true”]Singing hallelujah, Colette[/custom_headline]

Feature photo attribution: flickr photo by Fey Ilyas http://flickr.com/photos/renneville/3161518829 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license

transparent

Melissa Yeager, Co-Author of awriteheart.comWhen I was a kid, maybe 5 or 6 years old, I had the keen idea of writing on my bedroom wall with a ballpoint pen. I didn’t write a lot…just a little dime-sized scribble right at the head of my bed. So the night after I did that, my mom came up to read a book to me before I went to sleep. The whole time I “casually” covered this pen scribble with my hand so she wouldn’t see it, and I was SURE she didn’t because of the oh-so-subtle way I hid it. She didn’t say anything about it that night – score! But what was I going to do the next night? And what if she came into my room during the day when I wasn’t there? I would have to strategically place the pillows, and continue hiding the mark with my hand. I knew I couldn’t hide it forever, and I felt awful for doing it at all…So I called my mom into my room and told her what I had done. And once she knew, it was over. No more worries, and no more hiding.

At the time that seemed so big – and for a five year old I guess it kind of was. But what was in my heart is the same as the guilt I feel, or at least should feel, over sins I commit now. Only now, I’m a big girl and I don’t have to tell anyone if I don’t want to. There are flaws and sins about me that literally no one will know if I don’t confess them. And why should I?

The Bible gives us some guidelines for prayer: adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and supplication (a churchy word for asking for what we need or want)…But honestly I think the confession part goes right out the window a lot of the time, and it makes me wonder if we even think we’re really that bad. Why don’t we worry when we sin, like I worried when I wrote on the wall as a kid? Why don’t we tremble at the thought of God’s disappointment? Why don’t we run to Him for the reassurance just that He knows what we’ve done and forgives us? Why don’t we WANT Him to know every fiber of who we are? We hide, like Adam and Eve…or perhaps even worse, we don’t even acknowledge the trespass we have committed against Him and we go on with our lives ignoring our injured relationship with God. Depth and satisfaction in any relationship comes from transparency – and it’s no different with God. Confession to Him is a gift…It gives us the freedom to be known completely, to be restored in our relationship with Him, and to hide nothing.

God tells us not only to confess sin to Him, but also to each other…I think He knows that there are things we just can’t overcome on our own, and that He made us to depend on more than just ourselves. He tells us to share the darkest parts of our hearts with each other…but we usually share the best of us instead, for the sake of our image or reputation, or for our perceived protection. We tend to think that hiding what is in us somehow makes us less vulnerable, when in reality the opposite is true. Granted we can’t go telling everyone everything – that wouldn’t be wise. But our inner circle, the ones we call our very closest friends, should know who we really are so that they can come beside us when we are too weak to stand alone.

Confession and transparency lead to freedom because through them we know that we are truly known…that there is nothing to hide…that there is nothing that anyone could find out about us that we didn’t already admit out loud. And honestly, in my own life I’ve found that living a transparent life is just about the best way to show other people why I need Jesus so desperately, and why they need Him too. I need saving with every single breath, and the last thing I want to do is hide that. We live in a time and culture where people want proof of things…and one thing I can prove and reproduce an infinite number of times is the fact that I cannot possibly live up to the standard that my faith demands. My need for Christ is absolute and irrefutable.

So be known…Be known by the God you serve and by the friends you keep. Be real, and show others why salvation is so necessary. Be transparent and live in the freedom that comes with it.

[blockquote type=”center”]This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1:5-9 [/blockquote]

the amazing things that happen when we are thankful in ALL things

Colette @ awriteheart.com

[blockquote type=”center”]In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. I Thessalonians 5:18[/blockquote]

I went for a long walk on a beautiful day. Thinking on thankfulness, I wasn’t too sure about the verse above and being thankful in everything. I rephrased it into a question. It’s the will of God to give thanks in all of the circumstances that have to do with me? I had lived a long time believing that God didn’t want me to be thankful for certain things. Things I considered bad, wrong or unfair in my life. I took a deep breath, began walking faster and first thanked God, out loud, for all that was good. Easy!

[pullquote type=”right”]”How could you possibly want me to be thankful in something that brought pain…something so ugly!?”[/pullquote]Then I thanked God for what I considered bad in my life. For every heartache I’d felt, for what I didn’t think was fair, for what brought me pain and tears, for any thing…past and present…that had gone wrong. Some situations popped into my head that I didn’t even realize that I was gripping onto with anger and bitterness. Let me tell you how hard that was. It was agonizing. It brought actual physical pain to surrender everything, in thanks, as something that was passed through God’s sovereign hand. I would think of a difficult time and before the words of thanks came out I stopped. I wrestled internally with God and asked Him if I was really suppose to thank Him in that? I continued, “How could you possibly want me to be thankful in something that brought pain…something so ugly!?” I couldn’t stand to even think of it let alone be thankful in it.

I wondered if this is what the Bible meant in Hebrews 13:15 and Psalm 116:17 by a sacrifice of thanksgiving and praise – the kind that costs something. Then in my struggling I was reminded of Job. The awful trials that good man endured were terrible. Satan was behind all of them and God allowed it: the destruction, the deaths, the sickness, the heartache, the hurt. He allowed it for so many reasons: to test Jobs faith, to show Himself strong, to show Job that God is all he needed, to give us all a living example throughout history about God, His sovereignty and His love for this man who, again in the end, was blessed abundantly.

The same holds true for Joseph. In the end he was thankful in all that had transpired in his life. The abandonment, the mistreatment, the separation from his father…all of it God used for good. The very thing that hurt Joseph became the avenue that God used to bless him. God was the faithful One in his life and He elevated Joseph to places of leadership. Then one day Joseph had a decision to make: would he curse his brothers and repay evil for evil? He didn’t. Instead he wept and embraced his brothers with sincere forgiveness. GOD was the hero of Job’s story. And GOD was the hero of Joseph’s story.

That day as I walked I told God that I want him to be the hero of my story as well. I thanked Him IN it all and because of that I was then able to be sincerely thankful FOR it all. I released all thanksgiving to Him. I thanked a sovereign God for allowing even the most difficult things in my life. I realized that he allows them for my good and for his deserved glory.   Had I never experienced difficulty, how would I understand in the sufferings of others?  Of Christ?  How would I be able to teach and understand forgiveness had I not been faced with situations that needed both my forgiveness and my need for forgiveness?

[pullquote type=”left”]Nothing compares to the cross. [/pullquote]Towards the end of my walk, I thought of the cross. For many years I have said and sang songs of thanks for the cross. The place where the most atrocious thing happened. Where God, who came in the form of Jesus, was hung and beaten and paid the price for all sin. Giving thanks in that? Had it not been for the cross and Christ’s crucifixion, that awful and precious act, we would be lost forever. God has a plan and a purpose for all things. All things. Nothing compares to the cross. Not any hurt or sorrow that I have or ever will have compares to the heartache of the cross. How thankful I am for the horrible, beautiful cross!

Amazing things happen when we are thankful in ALL things!

  • Our perspective changes and we can safely trust a sovereign God whose greatest characteristic is love. We no longer need to harbor bitterness, blame or anger because we know that God has a bigger and better plan…..for pure good and His glory.
  • There is a miraculous shift in the deepest part of our heart.
  • We are set free from burdens that we are not suppose to bear.
  • The cross becomes more and more our center.

I encourage everyone to spend time in thanksgiving to God for ALL things, the good and the bad…because nothing is wasted in His hands. I have watched many brokenhearted people do this. It’s one of the most difficult, emotionally draining commands given. But also one of the greatest and deepest healing things a person can do.

“Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him and bless his name. For the Lord is good…” Psalm 100:4 That we can enter in at all is unfathomable – THIS is the amazing grace of God. For this grace and for all things I am truly thankful!

[custom_headline type=”right” level=”h4″ looks_like=”h4″ accent=”true”]Give thanks with a grateful heart, Colette[/custom_headline]

[content_band style=”color: #fff;” bg_image=”http://www.awriteheart.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/48352229_caf6c84ceb_z.jpg” parallax=”true” border=”all” inner_container=”true”] [custom_headline style=”margin-top: 0; color: #fff;” level=”h4″ looks_like=”h3″]Our July Giveaway Just Got Better![/custom_headline]With each post we publish in July, Colette will add ONE MORE ITEM to this month’s giveaway! As of this post, the giveaway includes Godiva Chocolates, and a SURPRISE gift from Anthropologie – Colette’s favorite store!

There are THREE WAYS TO ENTER!!!
1. Subscribe to our email newsletter during the month of July – click HERE!
2. Follow us Instagram – click HERE!
3. Tag a friend on our Facebook wall and encourage them to follow, like, or subscribe – click HERE!

You CAN be entered more than once! SUBSCRIBE, FOLLOW, and TAG NOW!!!

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Feature photo attribution: flickr photo by eschipul http://flickr.com/photos/eschipul/6792993194 shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

how to beat the odds, one win at a time

Colette @ awriteheart.comI wish I knew how long the baby had been crying. I’ve been told that after a day or two the neighbors in the apartment building called the police because of the non-stop crying. When help arrived they found him and eventually put the pieces together:  A ten month old baby boy had been abandoned. After his troubled, teen parents fought, they left each other, left him and separately left the state. After five years the boy was reunited with his mother who had remarried an alcoholic man who was mean and abusive. Screaming, yelling, name calling and fighting became the norm in their home. This boy (my dad) grew up, married, had three children and began the cycle of horrible dysfunction all over again. Until, in his 20’s, he knew he must change. For the sake of everyone that he loved and for himself, he knew that he had no other choice but to change. And that’s exactly what he did.

a secret to successMy dad is now 74 and has lived a successful life in every way. He became a strong marine, a wise leader, a compassionate preacher, a black belt in karate, an amazing long distance runner and a terrific golfer. Most importantly, he became a wonderful husband and the best dad a girl could ask for. How does someone change dysfunctional behavior? How does someone with raging anger and a violent temper stop acting the only way they have ever known? How does someone succeed in life when so many odds are stacked against them?

When I asked my dad how he achieved success in life, this is what he said:

“Success isn’t measured by failures and disappointments.  Success is measured by achievement in spite of, and even because of, failures and disappointments. I never stopped learning from difficulty but instead, used them to motivate me. When I understood that I was made for more and that God had a purpose for my life, it changed everything. I never stopped working to be what God had planned for me to be. Instead of focusing on what I didn’t have and what was unfair, I focused on what I was thankful for and how good God is. I saw the hand and grace of God in every step and through every season of my life. There were many times when I thought about giving up but I didn’t”.

With a twinkle in his eye he continued, “I just never gave up!”

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Melissa @ awriteheart.comSuccess never comes easy. We have reached the 3 month anniversary of awriteheart blog – which happens to be right about when statistics say that we should be signing off for good. 99% of blogs fail in three months, and Colette and I knew the failure rate when we started. When the idea was conceived, we had GREAT plans for this AMAZING blog, and we were SURE it would succeed because we believed that God was in it. What we didn’t know was that lasting 90 days, being committed for even that seemingly short time, would take more perseverance, prayer, encouragement, and positive thinking than we realized.

Our struggles have been different…I struggle with understanding the website and its language, and I struggle a LOT with time management . I struggle with my ego and my competitiveness when I watch the stats. I struggle with writer’s block, and with finding my voice…Wow, have I struggled with that. There was a week or two when I just couldn’t finish a post and Colette had to fill in for me, which was really humbling for me.  Colette talked me through plenty of days when I felt like the fifth wheel. She encouraged me by reminding me of texts and comments we had received from readers, and of personal accounts they had shared. She showed me that there is purpose in what we are doing, and picked me up when I couldn’t see that vision.

Colette struggles to write with excellence – she struggles with expecting perfection in each sentence and each word.  She struggles with feeling let down when she doesn’t see tangible results. She struggles with putting herself out there and making herself vulnerable by sharing personal stories. There were times when I reminded her that this isn’t about perfection and that God uses even the posts that aren’t the most popular. I dug through emails, texts and comments to show her what God had done with things we had written. I encouraged her to share MORE of her personal stories, because they resonate with people.

Along the way we’ve learned to keep going despite the bumps in the road, and to celebrate the wins. We encourage each other to see the good that HAS happened instead of the good that hasn’t. We see progress not in large numbers or great statistics, but in one life story at a time – one right heart at a time.

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20141109-DSC_9603-Edit2In life and in our endeavor of blogging, success never comes easy. In any circumstance, part of success depends on deciding to celebrate the wins instead of focusing on the losses. Any story can seem unsalvageable – but the decision to see purpose in it and the desire to use every part of our lives to glorify our great God makes all the difference. So we are thankful for the difficulties…the crashed computers, the time constraints, the Facebook glitches, the writer’s block, the insecurities, and all of the other struggles that come with writing. Those difficulties have taught us more about ourselves and about the God we serve.

We are so thankful to have reached this three month milestone. We have seen the hand and grace of God in each step of our blogging journey, and because of that we continue with smiles on our faces and joy in our hearts. We are encouraged by YOU – our readers – because of the successes and insights that you’ve shared with us.  It is because of those wins that we are even more determined never to give up.

[custom_headline type=”right” level=”h4″ looks_like=”h4″ accent=”true”]To God Be The Glory, Colette & Melissa[/custom_headline]

[content_band style=”color: #fff;” bg_image=”http://www.awriteheart.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/7974659789_debca388a4_z.jpg” parallax=”true” border=”all” inner_container=”true”] [custom_headline style=”margin-top: 0; color: #fff;” level=”h4″ looks_like=”h3″]Time is running out to enter our June giveaway![/custom_headline]

Subscribe to our email newsletter during the month of June and be entered to win a basket full of gifts from Kate Foster! On mobile scroll to the end of any post to subscribe…On a desktop, subscribe on the right sidebar or in the footer below. OR just click HERE and we’ll do the work for you!

If you’ve already subscribed, enter by tagging a friend under any post on our Facebook wall and encourage them to subscribe – the more the merrier!

giftbasketkateKate’s gift basket includes a Foster Happiness designed coffee mug, gift tags and a framed Bible verse. There is also 1 set of Jamberry nail wraps, manicure set, a Zambian wall hanging, and coffee and candle donated from Cafe Macchiato in Spencerport, NY!

Sign up today!

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what the prodigal’s father did right

Colette @ awriteheart.comI got on my knees in front of her.  I had never in my life seen such grief.  I prayed outloud what she could not.  She couldn’t form the words because her heart was broken.  I entered in to another woman’s sorrow that day and we prayed in unison of heart for her son.

The Bible says (3 John 1:4) that there is no greater joy than to hear that your children walk in truth.  Which means, there is no greater heartache when they do not.  I have cried, prayed and counseled with many Christian parents whose older children have become prodigals; who wastefully or extravagantly live in sin.  Heartbroken and confused parents who begged God for years to keep their precious children from sin; parents who dedicated their little ones to God and His service.  In Luke 15:11-32 we see where the father of the prodigal son did many things right and parents can learn so much from him.

He didn’t withhold anything from his son.

Luke 15:12 He didn’t say things like “if you live like this you are out of the will!” Instead, he treated him as his child whether or not his son was in sin or whether he was living right. When his son decided to leave, his father did not demand that he return the inherited money.  The father gave him his inheritance, he gave him his time, and he gave him his love.

He didn’t disown him.

He never said “if you choose to live like this you are not my son!” Instead, the door to his home and to relationship stayed open.

He welcomed him with open arms.

Luke 15:20 He never said “You are only welcome back when you clean yourself up”. Instead, he welcomed him before he knew that his son was out of sin and home to stay. He saw him from afar and he rejoiced that his son was coming home.  The Bible says that when he saw his son coming home, he ran to him!  This shows such love on this fathers part. He was just happy to be with his son and that his son was home.  The Bible says that the father rejoiced and killed the fatted calf and had a party for his sons return “because he hath received him safe and sound”.  I can almost feel his relief through the pages of the story.

He waited.

He didn’t plan and figure out how and when he was going to preach truth to his son. Instead, he waited for God to work in his sons’ life. Many parents want to instruct their wayward children at every turn and remind them of all that they are doing wrong. This wise man was still and waited for God to work in his sons’ life. It says in Scripture that the Prodigal Son came to himself, came to his senses, when he was eating with the pigs. Not when his father was preaching to him about his sin. This wise father let God do a work in his sons’ heart. And God did it in the pigpen among the dirt and the slop.

He didn’t let his emotions rule his actions.

He didn’t yell at his son when he chose to leave and live in sin.  He didn’t chase after him and remind him over and over of his sin. Instead, he controlled his emotions and his actions. I believe this is one of the hardest things to do.  Good parents strive to keep their young ones from sin.  It is heartbreaking to watch a child, the one that you love, go down a destructive path. But I see where this wise father did not allow his sons actions to rule his emotions. He didn’t go after his son with strong emotion.  In fact, he didn’t go after him at all.   It is evident that he felt strong emotion by the way that he rejoiced when his son came home. But, he used his emotions for rejoicing instead of negative, out of control, or manipulative behavior.

He rested in the fact that he had trained him in the ways of the Lord.

He didn’t keep instructing, instead he rested in the fact that he had already done that. When a child is wayward the only thing he may accept from a parent at this time is unconditional love. He won’t hear reprimands, warnings, Bible verses or instruction. Those things are all good but a backslidden son or daughter is not open to them when they have chosen sin. Love covers a multitude of sins and unconditional love must cover a child who is in sin.

I spoke with a young man who had been raised in church, who had accepted Christ as his Savior, he knew the Bible stories and was raised by Godly parents.  Even so, he became a prodigal.  After living for a long season in sin he came back to the Lord.  He told me that he was at a Lady Gaga concert, of all places, when the Holy Spirit began to work in his heart.  Lady Gaga said something about there not being a God.  That statement stuck in his heart.  He kept thinking “who is she to say that?  Am I going to take her word for whether there is a God or not???”  Eventually those thoughts turned to “There is a God and what in the world am I doing?”  Just like the prodigal son, he came to the end of himself.  He is now a changed man living his life for Jehovah God.  But in the pig trough is where God got ahold of this young man’s heart.

Many times God allows a prodigal to go down their destrictive path so that God becomes real to him.  So that God becomes their God and not just the God of thier parents.  God creates a testimony in all of his children.  In the story of the prodigal son, this son had so much blessing and didn’t realize what he had until he had nothing but God.

Don’t give up in despair, parents!  God loves your child even more than you do.  His children, Adam and Eve, had everything they ever needed.  God had given them perfection and they ended up choosing sin. God the Father loved them unconditionally!  He also loves your child unconditionally.  Keep praying and believing!  I know that as long as there is breath, there is hope. Prayer achieves the miraculous…I have seen it over and over again!

[custom_headline type=”right” level=”h4″ looks_like=”h4″ accent=”true”]You never let go, Colette[/custom_headline]
[content_band style=”color: #fff;” bg_image=”http://www.awriteheart.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/6465169545_619c9099d5_z.jpg” parallax=”true” border=”all” inner_container=”true”] [custom_headline style=”margin-top: 0; color: #fff;” level=”h4″ looks_like=”h3″]A June giveaway from our guest blogger, Kate![/custom_headline]

Subscribe to our email newsletter during the month of June and be entered to win a basket full of gifts from our guest blogger, Kate! On mobile scroll to the end of any post to subscribe…On a desktop, subscribe on the right sidebar or in the footer below. OR just use the “Contact Us” tab in the main menu and we’ll do the work for you!

If you’ve already subscribed, tag a friend under a post on our Facebook wall @ https://www.facebook.com/awriteheart and encourage them to subscribe – the more the merrier!

giftbasketkateKate’s gift basket includes Foster Happiness designed coffee mug, gift tags and a framed Bible verse. There is also 1 set of Jamberry nail wraps, manicure set, a Zambian wall hanging, and coffee and candle donated from Cafe Macchiato in Spencerport, NY!

Sign up today!

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how could anyone do this?

How could anyone do this, especially a parent?  My brain tried to wrap around the facts:  An adorable, 4 week old baby boy with creamy, ivory,  bruised skin….and a broken arm.  I instantly felt angry seeing the damage to his body and I cringed thinking about the invisible wounds to his soul. What kind of person intentionally breaks the arm of a newborn? With a heavy heart I looked at this child and wondered why God allows awful things to happen?  Pain, abuse, sorrow, death.  And baby boys with broken bodies and souls.[blockquote type=”left”]My mind silently screamed, “It was never supposed to be this way”.[/blockquote]Infants are meant to be cuddled and cared for and protected by parents who love them.  Tears were created to express happiness and hearts were meant to only feel joy.   Then in the Garden of Eden so much changed.  It was laid out clearly: choose God and life or choose sin and death.   There had to be a choice because true love doesn’t deny choice.   The people before us chose sin.  The people at present choose sin.  And the people in the future will choose sin. Because of those choices, awful things happened, and are happening, and will happen.  There are consequences.  Temporary and eternal consequenses; the death of so many things. I saw the consequences that day.  An infant boy with a broken arm.

But wait…. I also saw something absolutely beautiful.  I saw living grace: I watched a young foster mom as she tenderly and protectively cradled that tiny baby boy close to her heart.  No one would ever have guessed that this child wasn’t her own.   It brought tears to my eyes as I observed genuine love being poured onto such a precious child.  He was swaddled tightly, his belly was filled with warm milk, and finally  after 4 weeks of torture and insecurity, he was sleeping safe and sound.  I watched ashes turn beautiful; Psalm 61 being played out before my eyes.   I saw a living, breathing picture of salvation.  Of Jesus.  Of Gods promise in Psalms “When my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take me up”.

[pullquote type=”right”]The Promise-keeper always keeps his promises. He promises that there will be a day when all wrong will be made right. [/pullquote]The Promise-keeper always keeps his promises. He promises that there will be a day when all wrong will be made right.  Until then we get the unbelievable privilege of imaging our Savior and living out the Gospel.  Yes, we may be immersed in a world of sin.  But we are also immersed in grace.   We would never be able to understand sin or grace fully without being directly in the midst of it and really seeing it up close and feeling the effects deeply.

Oh how I thank God for beautiful foster moms who live, breathe and walk such a vibrant and vivid picture of such amazing grace!

Sleep well, baby boy.  Now I can sleep too.

Luke 4:18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor, he hath sent me to heal the broken hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised.

Psalm 147:3 He healeth the broken hearted and binds up their wounds.

Isaiah 61:1-3 The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the broken hearted, tp proclaim liberty to the captives and the opening of the prison  to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD and the day of vengeance of our God to comfort those that mourn; To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD , that he might be glorified.

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face to the sun

Melissa @ awriteheart.comSometimes those around us let us down. Sometimes we don’t live up to what others want or need from us. And sometimes we’re just failing ourselves.

Around 11am some mornings I look at the clock and panic because of what I haven’t accomplished. I literally become anxious because I know my time is limited, and Jude has watched too much TV, and I have no dinner plan. I get angry at myself because of the waste I’ve made of the morning. And then I look back on the last few days and weeks and years and get all the more angry at what I have failed at. I haven’t changed the way I wanted to, haven’t improved the way I wanted to, haven’t excelled the way I wanted to. In the past I see failed relationships, failed attempts at reconciliation, failed attempts at success, missed opportunities, and a ton of wasted time. Things look the same as they did six months ago so I get discouraged. I look at Facebook and Twitter and Instagram and Pinterest, and I see just how deficient I am compared to all of the other crafty, spiritual, published, master-chef wives and moms out there. The ones who squeeze every drop of life out of every single minute have me beat.

Epic. Fail.

Or at least sometimes that’s what I feel like.

I’m not the only one – I know it. The expectations I have of myself aren’t what I produce, and that probably applies to all of us on some level. But get this…please get this. God loves to tell His story through the things that I am the least proud of. He loves to take the expectations I had and replace them with what He wants for me – something better than what I so thoughtfully planned.

We have plenty of examples of how Jesus uses the least of men to tell His story in the grandest ways. Peter in particular comes to mind…Peter was a friend of Jesus’, who sat with Him and ate with Him and walked on water with Him, but then abandoned Him. He hid like a coward. But when Christ rose from the dead and Peter saw Him, he became a different man – bold, faithful, unashamed, and unstoppable. We think of him as an author and an apostle, a leader, and a martyr. But who was he in that horrible moment when he denied knowing his Lord and his friend? He was three times a failure. Who knows what Peter thought of himself after he denied Christ…I can imagine he was reliving that moment, wishing he were a stronger man and a better man – just like we look back and wish things out of our own pasts.

This changes everything.

Doesn’t it change everything to know that God uses the worst of our lives for His glory? It changes the way we view ourselves to know that even at our lowest, He can turn it around. It changes the way we see the future to know that even if we blow it, He can use it. Even if circumstances don’t allow us to get to the place we wanted to go, He can take us to places we never imagined.

[pullquote type=”right”]If I give Him every failure, for each one He will give me back another story to tell of His amazing grace.[/pullquote]My first marriage ended – a big, unexpected, ugly fail. But the day it was officially over, I remember walking outside into the June breeze, face to the sun. I breathed deep and thanked God for a new day. My life wasn’t over, and I knew that the story of how Christ saved me – not only from sin and death but from despair and hopelessness – would be all the richer because of it. Sure enough, this piece of my life story has been one of my biggest footholds into the lives of broken people, and it has allowed me to tell God’s story in my life more times than I can remember. If I give Him every failure, for each one He will give me back another story to tell of His amazing grace. In some circles, I might be considered somewhat of an outcast…but thankfully God sees my position as a door through which His message can be delivered.

Be encouraged…

…and breathe a deep breath with the assurance that God can use whatever life you’re living. If change is what you need, then ask Him for strength. If you’re going in the wrong direction, then turn around . If you’re stuck by no fault of your own, know that He sees it. Lay your broken life at His feet and get ready for the story God’s preparing you to tell.

~Standing on the Promises, Melissa~