Chapter 42: A New Word To Hold Onto

Well hello friends! As previously promised, I am going to share my new “word” for the year. My word just kept popping up around me, everywhere that I went, so I took the hint and wrote it down (on my hand of course) so I could remember it and think about what it meant for me. Some call it a “push word”, but for me, choosing a word is more about embracing the season I’m in and selecting word to complement it. I’d like to push through this season just like everyone else, but I don’t want to force my way through it. I want to soak in every moment and reflect as I go along the way.

Before I get to my word, I want to share a little bit about the last few weeks. As we finished up January, I celebrated my 42nd birthday (yay me!), and was able to share in some special celebrations for some near and dear friends. It was a great way to start of this new year of life. It’s so important to celebrate the goodness that we see in the lives of others. This world has a way of trying to make us so self-focued that we can often lose sight of the beauty and blessings in the lives of those around us. Not every story comes with just beauty, but every story is worth celebrating. It’s wonderful to celebrate the days when there is something beautiful because it causes us to reflect on the obstacles overcome, the challenges faced, and the joy that follows.

That’s life. Overcoming and celebrating, so we can overcome and celebrate again, and again.

That’s how we can live contented lives – by remebering and celebrating God’s goodness and kindness, even in the seasons that are tough. That’s how we can demonstrate love and joy to those around us as we cheer them on in their hard seasons, and celebrate with them in the blessings they experience. We can live with contented hearts; satisfied with what we already possess and hopeful for what is yet to be satisfied in us.

Each new year, we get the chance to be satisfied by The One Who holds all things together…The One Who is already good, kind, merciful and holy.

We can be satisfied by The One Who knows exactly how to care for us in every season and year of life.

You might have guessed it, but my word for 2022 is SATISFY.

I want to live contentedly in this 42nd chapter of my life. I want to remember that Christ alone is able to satisfy me, because that is the truth dear friends. He is more than enough on the days when we feel weak and He is more than willing to offer us His strength. He is able to see the needs we have and the ones we don’t yet recognize. He is able to walk with us through our darkest vallies and on the highest summits. In the dry seasons that feel fallow and even when we are bearing visible fruit – He is The One Who satisfies.

I want to live knowing and demonstrating that He satisfies.

I want that for me. I want that for you – and for all of us, everywhere that we are.

He can satisfy us dear friends. In the depths of our soul He can satisfy. In the darkest of nights when we don’t have all the answers figured out, He can satisfy. On the days where we feel we have something special to celebrate and on the days were it’s hard to see anything worth celebrating, He can satisfy.

I’ve known this was my word since early January, but now was the right time to share it.

If you haven’t chosen a word yet to reflect on, maybe this can be your word too. And in the spirit of sharing, here is a verse that I’m keeping close to my heart to remind me of God’s ability to satisfy my own heart:

I’m so grateful for God’s Word and how it can be an anchor for our soul as we walk out this new year. Whether we are starting a brand new year of life or starting a brand new life because of what this year has brought us so far, I hope you’ll keep this verse close too.

Let’s Pray: Heavenly Father, today we recognize that nothing else on this earth can satisfy us like You. Nothing can even come close. Lord, we want to remember that You are good and You are more than able to satisfy us right where we find ourselves today. We ask that You help this promise from Your Word sink deep down into our souls for the days we need it most. We ask that you keep this reminder at the front of our mind so that when times of blesssing come, we can be quick to position ourselves to praise You. Thank you for knowing we would have needs to be met and for being The Only One who can meet them. Thank you in advance God, for the ways that you are already satifying our hearts and for all the ways we will get to experience complete peace and satifaction in relationship with You. Amen.

peace – liz

Go The Extra Mile: Friends, I have such a special song to share with you today! Right around my birthday, I heard this song and it wrecked me in the best ways. Check out “Just As Good” by Chris Renzema and Ellie Holcomb, and remember that God is still just as good and just as kind as when you met Him.

BONUS CHALLENGE: If you have chosen a word for this new year, share with us YOUR word for 2022 in the comments below! AND please share where you are reading this post from! Are you on the West Coast or from the deep South? Are you a friends from the UK or from India? We want to know where you’re reading from and what your word is! Ready, Set, SHARE BELOW!

What’s So Wonderful About Christmas?

It’s a cold and frosty morning here on the Western Slope of Colorado and right outside of my dining room window, I can see the twinkling lights we set up last night on our bushes. I know- it’s a little late, but there are just some things that I wanted to be sure we still accomplished this season. Setting up Christmas lights outside of the house always brings a smile to my face. It brings light and joy to my neighborhood that is usually pretty dark at night. I love to see strands of lights all over the houses. At Christmastime, seeing those small glimmers of light in the neighborhood helps us to keep going down the street to discover more, and it also helps us keep going on our journey as we keep trusting that there is more light ahead.

The holidays can often feel dark and dreary for some. And when I say some, I include myself in that lot. Maybe the loss is still a little too fresh to your heart. Maybe the last interaction you had with an estranged loved one didn’t go the way you planned. You might even feel disconnected from the season because it holds more difficult memories and burdens from years past. Whether it’s an absence due to the loss of a loved one or the empty seat because a loved one hasn’t come home for many years – it can make us question what is so wonderful about Christmas. On this cold morning, I wanted to bring some hope to our hearts. This season is still wonderful – Not because of what we currently feel, what’s under the tree, or even what we have checked off from a holiday list. No, Christmas is wonderful because of Who is with us through it all. 

If this holiday season feels dark because of the shadow of grief or maybe even because of what life has thrown your way, I encourage you to look for the little bits of light around you today. Let’s look for the trail of hope that God Himself has set out before us in big and small ways – the hope for the hurting heart is real and available for us today. Like the string of lights beneath my windowpane, God has placed light and hope right in front of us at the exact right moments to lift our spirit. We don’t have to walk through grief alone this holiday season. We can reach out to friends for encouragement and prayer but even more importantly, we can call out to The Lord.  I’m so thankful to God for the invitation He gives us to bring our burdens to Him.  

This Christmas, we get to celebrate the birth of Jesus because He came down and lived, shared in our sufferings and understands our sorrows, and He experienced death so that we could have salvation from sin and have a new life in Him. God’s greatest gift to us was and still is Jesus – Emmanuel, God With Us.

He is with us right in the middle of the ache and in the middle of the tears that still fall.

He is with us in the middle of the celebrations that come with both joy and sadness because of who is around us and who is no longer here.

He is with us when the season doesn’t feel all that wonderful and even when it does.

He is the One that is Wonderful this Christmas season.

He is the One Who walks with us in the middle of the beautiful and the broken.

He is the One who sees the condition of our heart and comes to apply compassionate love and restores our joy. 

He is with us friend.

He is the Light in our darkness the hope of the world. 

He is still Wonderful this Christmas.

He is all that we were promised He would be:

“For a child will be born for us,

a son will be given to us,

and the government will be on his shoulders.

He will be named

Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,

Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.

The dominion will be vast,

and its prosperity will never end.

He will reign on the throne of David

and over his kingdom,

to establish and sustain it

with justice and righteousness from now on and forever.

The zeal of the Lord of Armies will accomplish this.” (Isaiah 9:6-7 CSB)

So when the season doesn’t feel so wonderful, let’s remember that He is still wonderful. Not only is He wonderful, He’s able to make our spirits bright with His love and light. 

peace-liz

Let’s Pray: Heavenly Father, we come before you today in the name of Your Son Jesus, and we bring you all of our hearts. All of the ache and all of the heaviness we place in your loving and compassionate hands. We want to cast our cares upon You because we know that You care for us. Lord, we ask You to shine Your Light on our hearts when the darkness and heaviness sets in. Thank You for the promise that You are a shelter for the weak and a strong tower that we can run to when we need security and peace of mind. God, remind us today that You are still wonderful and powerful and able to bring peace to our souls in the midst of the season. You are so kind to walk with us through all that we experience in this life, and Lord, we thank You for your presence right here with us. Thank You Lord. Amen.


Go The Extra Mile: Friends, I had to share this song with you today. It has been a comfort to me this season, so please take time today to listen to this song from one of my favorite bands, CAIN, and I pray your heart would be reminded of how wonderful God is.

Just Do The Thing.

Hi Everyone!

I’ve been thinking about all of you for months now, and I can’t say that I’ve had any really good excuses for not writing posts for this blog more consistently. The truth is, I just haven’t written. I’ve jotted down thoughts, organized some ideas, but I haven’t fleshed out a real post in a while.

I think it’s partly because grief still ebbs and flows into much of what I do each day. It may also be that I am, like many of us, still processing the last 19 months of life on this planet during pandemic. While at other times, I feel like I’ve put this content aside so I can focus on other content for my books that I’ve been working on.

Yes, you read that right.

Books plural.

If you’re new to the blog, you may know that I have some projects I’ve been working on. Some of them are years in the making. Some of them birthed out of difficult seasons, and some of them crafted out of noticing felt needs that popped up right in front of me. All of which have been stirring in my heart for some time. All of which have taken me through deep dives into the world of preparing for and submitting book proposals.

I’d like to tell you that I’m well on my way to being represented by a literary agent, but I’m not quite to that stage yet:). I am in the process of submitting proposals, adding content to the books, and continuing to create content for publications I love to glean from. 

In other words, if you are in need of a contributor…I’m your gal!

While I was at work on Monday, I was listening to an encouraging author (Trillia Newbell) share briefly about how we should go and do what we are supposed to do. Easier said than done, right?!

She shared A LOT of encouraging content in the interview and as I was washing dishes, I kept coming back to the feeling that many of us need to hear what was dropped into my heart as I listened.

We need to go and do what we are supposed to do.

What we have been designed to do.

What we have been created to do.

I’m preaching to myself here first.

I, as a 41 year-old woman, feel called to write… 

I have pages of my writing dating back to my early elementary years when I wrote poems and short stories, and just little thoughts.

I feel called to sing…

I’ve been singing since I was a little girl in church, back when we used to wear mustard-colored choir robes (not the best look on anyone), and singing in places that, for all intents and purposes, I shouldn’t have had the opportunity to sing at but for the grace of God.

I feel called to share life with others…

I feel this one so much that I look for ways to have people over to my house, and ways to connect over coffee, and reasons to celebrate life with others.

As I was washing those dishes, and putting them away, I was preaching to myself, “Just go and do what you are supposed to do.”

Friend, I don’t know what you feel called to do. Only you do.

What I do know is that you can do it.

Even when we feel weakened by the world around us.

Even when we feel most unqualified for the task at hand.

Even when we feel overwhelmed with all the steps involved.

Even when others might not understand why we feel we need to do it.

Through prayer and with God’s guidance, and through the power of His Holy Spirit, we can do what He has called us to do.

Today, I just wanted to remind you that as I am stepping into what He has placed in my own heart to accomplish, I am praying for you to do the same; to step out in faith, discover what you have been uniquely designed to do, and how you can creatively do it.

While you are discovering those purposes, I’ll be cheering you on every step of the way. And as you figure it all out, share with me (and all of our friends here) how you are doing what you’ve been called to do.

Just do the thing. 

Just write the book you’ve been dreaming of in your heart.

Just sing the songs that keep encouraging others.

Just start the dance class that is needed in your community.

Just share life in the community.

Just go talk to that neighbor and offer a listening ear.

Just show up to the park with food to feed the homeless.

Just pick a date to meet your friend for coffee.

Just make a call and pray for those who have been heavy on your heart.

Just sign up to volunteer at your local church.

Just send in the application to that job.

Just start the business that keeps calling to you.

Just paint the painting that has been longing to be on canvas.

Just go on the mission trip.

Just visit the elderly friends and family members who often are forgotten.

Let’s all just do the thing.

Let’s Pray: Lord God, thank you for the reminder that we have gifts placed within us that still need to be shared with this world. You constantly send us nudges to step out in faith and the truth is, we often shy away from actually moving into action. Forgive us Lord for delaying in this area. God we humbly ask you to remind us of the ways in which you want us to do these things and how we can share our gifts that you have lovingly entrusted to us. May we have eyes to see them, ears to hear your voice calling us, and hands and feet ready to step out as you lead us. Amen.

Go The Extra Mile: My heart is always encouraged and inspired by music and this song from For King & Country hit the spot today. I hope you’re encouraged and inspired as well as you check it out today! https://youtu.be/9HErRFLapu4

Merry Christmas!

It’s Christmas morning here on the Western Slope is Colorado, and though I wish I could say we are experiencing a snowy white Christmas, we aren’t :). It’s still beautiful; sunny outside with a chill in the air, and warm and cozy here in the house.

There are a several things this season that aren’t quite how we wish they would be due to the year we are all experiencing together. I don’t even have to go through the list of things that aren’t like Christmas last year because we all know what the list is and feel the ache of longing to be with loved ones and celebrating in big gatherings, etc.

But this year, my hope is that we will take time amidst this different kind of Christmas- time to reflect on the good things we have right in front of us, and, time to be great Gil for the family and friends who are still with us (whether in our homes or a phone call or Zoom away). I also hope we’ll take time to remember the loved ones who ran their race and walked into eternity during 2020 as well as their loved ones who still remain here.

It’s a time for celebrating and remembering Our Savior’s birth. He came into the world that was very much dark and longing for things to be made right. In fact, that’s the whole story of creation- knowing that things aren’t as they should be, and aching for the time when they’ll be made new again.

Today, I’m so grateful that Our Jesus came to this earth- right into the middle of our mess and our struggle and He became Immanuel- God WITH us.

He’s with us friend.

In the messy, the momentous, and the mundane- He is with us. In the broken, the beautiful and the blessed- He is with us. In the longing…through it all He is with us.

Friend, I pray that wherever you find yourself today, that you’d be reminded of His presence so very near to us all today. Right where you are, that’s where He is.

He is Jesus, Immanuel, dwelling with us and hearing every prayer and seeing every need this Christmas Day.

May your day be filled with the reminder of His love for you, His care of you and His peace over you.

Let’s Pray: Dear Lord Jesus, thank you for the gift of your presence today. Thank you for the ache that tells us things aren’t the way they should be, because it’s the reminder that you will make all things right again one day soon. Thank you for stepping into this broken world so that you could bring redemption and hope. Thank you that you are right here with us in and through every bit of this life. Help our hearts to cling to the promise that you are with us, even to the end of the age. Amen.

peace -liz:)

https://youtu.be/5PBEMfbWq_Y

From our family to yours, we pray you’ll enjoy a wonderful and hope filled Christmas!

The Trujillo Fam:)

Easter Experience 2020

Our family enjoyed some quality time by creating an Easter message on our sidewalk through our #JCCChalkTheWalk project!

This Easter was definitely a different experience altogether. Being a family in ministry, we are so accustomed to getting ready early and worshipping with our church family in person. This year, while getting ready in the early morn, a friend messaged us saying there were eggs in our front year for a surprise-egg hunt for our kids. That’s when my heart was overwhelmed with joy.

We have some amazing friends in our lives that blessed our kids and made their day bright because of the lavish love and thoughtfulness of friends who know that for kiddos, these ever-changing times can be overwhelming. It was a beautiful reminder to them, and to us, that we are not forgotten and that goodness is still happening in our community.

What an egg-cellent surprise!

The entire fam was up and ready before our first online service began, so our kiddos went out to find the candy-filled eggs (hooray for chocolate!), and then we began our online worship experience. We are very used to hugging our church fam as they walk through the doors and in this time of experiencing Easter from home, it was beautiful to see friends and family near and far stream in and hop on to our worship experience with us. We were able to say hello to friends and family in different time zones, and hear from God’s Word together. We hosted our own watch party for each service and every time a new friend or family member joined online, my heart began to swell with joy. I’m so thankful that our services are live-streamed and our pastoral team made the online experience feel like we were home at Junction Community Church.

This pandemic isn’t stopping us from getting together. No, in fact, this time where we are all sequestered is proving to serve as a time where we are digging in our heels and learning new rhythms of community. Especially as the church; we are learning new ways to express and demonstrate our faith and embracing new ways to engage and develop our community.

For this, I am so grateful.

Another exciting experience we got to be a part of yesterday was a “Virtual Choir”. You have to know- a huge piece of our heart is for the city of Sumter, South Carolina. God allowed us to serve as youth pastors there a number of years ago (I know that’s vague- but if I tell you the number of years I will feel really old, lol). So, when our dear friend and brother asked for friends to help join his church’s virtual choir for Easter, we couldn’t resist. My husband, my oldest daughter, and I were all able to participate, and when we saw the finished product…again, my heart was filled with incredible joy. There were familiar faces of friends in the choir that we haven’t been able to physically worship with in years because of distance. But yesterday, we were able to worship together. It was a powerful experience and I am honored that we got to partner with such an amazing group of worshippers.

I wanted to share it with you – first, because number one: you are part of my community. And two: because I am blown away by how beautiful it is to see the church being the church and bringing the hope of Christ to everyone, virtually everywhere. This experience made us feel so deeply connected to the body of Christ near and far, so I hope it also brings joy to you wherever you get to watch it from.


Easter may be finished, but let me assure you – the story continues dear friend.

How beautiful to know that we were all loved so much by God that He did in fact send His Son Jesus to die for our sins. And not only did He do that hard and painful work of suffering and dying on the cross for our sins, but He conquered death and gives us new life in Him. He resurrected to give us that new life and ascended to The Father so that He could send the Comforter, The Holy Spirit, to fill us with His power.

Friend, we might all be staying home, but we do not have to let our story end at home. Our story in Christ continues. And because He lives, we too can live, being moved to action by the Holy Spirit’s power in our lives. This verse was a part of my reading today and I found it fitting for us:

My prayer is that during this time, we would wait on God and seek to be empowered by His Spirit, to move into action using your unique gifts and abilities. Just like the disciples of old, let’s wait and pray; seek God and continue to love others well.

Easter may have been different this year, but sometimes different is good. It definitely made us appreciate the rich and vibrant community of faith and family we have both near and far. It also brought to mind the unique opportunity we have been given during this time of staying home: time to slow down and embrace a new way of experiencing God’s presence and a new perspective on how we can still connect with our family and friends during holidays.

From my family to yours, I hope you know you are remembered and loved and created on purpose for a purpose. Our story continues friend, so let’s keep doing what we can with the time we’ve been given.

We were going for that peep-yellow duck color palette:)

Go The Extra Mile: In case you are searching for an online worship experience, please know that I am personally inviting you to join me at Junction Community Church online Wednesday nights at 6:30 p.m. (MST), and Sundays at 9:00 a.m. & 10:30 a.m.. You can also check out previous messages and services on our YouTube channel. I’d love for you to join me online!

peace- liz:)

Queen of Hearts: Where The Sun Doesn’t Shine

These past few weeks in Colorado have dropped snow in our high country and even rain down here where I live. Just outside my dining room window, I can see in the distance frosty white blankets of snow on top of the beautiful Grand Mesa. Add a warm cup of coffee, and you are set for a picturesque morning. Add coffee to any morning and you are set for just about anything:). Anyhow, coffee is great and my state of Colorado looks lovely with snow. This wintery week made me think back to a memory I had just a couple months ago:

While traveling over the mountains and through the plains of Colorado, my family and I saw piles of snow plowed off to the side of the highway, and fields covered in thick bright – white flakes of snow. The sight was so bright that it had me reaching for my sunglasses. Which, I conveniently forgot at home (yay me). One sight that I couldn’t get out of my mind while driving: the areas around the mountains that never seem to experience direct sunlight. The snow always seems to stick longer there; the ice underneath doesn’t melt when everything else around it does. Those drifts of snow and ice seem to be covered in shadow most of the time- not exposed to the brilliance of full-light, but they do feel the effects of the light a little later in the season. As I stared out the window while driving, I had my husband jot down a note for me so I wouldn’t lose my train of thought (thank you hubs!): 

There are places in our hearts that feel much like those cold and dark areas with snow and ice. Places that are in need of the warmth of God’s love and renewal; places that never quite feel sunny or bright. They often come tethered to choices and situations that feel more like a dangerous slope than a beautiful winter wonderland. These places within us may not directly feel the sunlight instantly melting away the bitter and frozen-over parts in our hearts, but we must not forget- they are indirectly affected by the light and movement around them.

Friends, I don’t know what nook you may find yourself in today- be it cold and keeping you numb or stuck in dangerous patterns of behavior. We may not know when that area will have a melt from the warmth around us, but we can know this: God’s love IS all around and His light CAN pierce through the dark shadows to bring warmth and hope for new seasons of life ahead.

Even when we can’t see it.

Even when it feels like there isn’t any change.

Even when it feels like everyone and everywhere else is experiencing His brilliance and His presence.

He is right there where we are.

He is bringing change in and around us.

His presence is very near, even in the places where the sun doesn’t always shine.

This is my prayer for you today, and if I’m being honest, it’s for me too.

Let’s Pray: Heavenly Father, You alone are the only One that can search the depths of our hearts. You can see the areas that You are working in so much better than we can. We are thankful that You continue to work in us and all around us. Today Lord, help us to know that You are still near in the seasons of life that don’t always feel bright and brilliant. There are areas of our hearts that desperately need Your light to flood them, and cold corners in us that still need the warmth of your love. In all of those spaces, in whatever season we find ourselves today, help our hearts know that You are near. We want to live lives that display the warmth of Your love and the hope and peace that comes from experiencing Your process of healing. Help us to focus on the light and love we do see happening in and around us so that we can remind ourselves of Your promise to make all things new – even the spots that look lifeless and scary- You are still able to breathe hope and security into them. God, we choose to trust that You are working within us- in the places where the sun hasn’t quite shown its face, and in the places all around it. You are Good, Faithful, Loving, and Kind, and we will believe that Your timing is perfect – illuminating our hearts to the realization of Your nearness. Thank you Lord for the reminder that You aren’t afraid of our cold and closed off areas. I pray that in this season, You would make our hearts ready for the bright seasons ahead- so we can allow You to continue to work in us with the light of Your Truth. Thank you for being the King of our hearts Lord; help us to never take your presence for granted. In Your Holy Name Jesus, Amen.”

Peace – liz

Go The Extra Mile:  This is one of my favorite songs from Hillsong United, for the simple phrase, “Come, now, as you are or as you want to be…”. That’s the invitation we have from Jesus – to come to Him with all that we are and allow Him to do what only He can do with our hearts and lives. I hope it encourages you the way it does me every time I listen to it!

I’m Back! And I’m 40!

#40

Hey friend:), first things first: It has been a loooooooooong minute since I have taken the time to put together a post, and for that, I am truly sorry. Finding my new rhythm in my new location, with a few new seasons had me really digging deep to find the words. Words which are usually easy for me to pour out into a note or onto a rough draft on my phone suddenly became hard for me to publish.

However, there was always hope:).

Hope never left my heart, I just let it sink down further than normal. But after some months trying to wrap my brain around life and new seasons up ahead, hope gently floated to the surface reminding me that there is still a voice within me with stories to tell and messages to shared right here, with you. So thank you! Thank you for sticking with me in this writing journey and most of all, for sticking with me just to share life no matter how near or far we are in miles!

Last year, some big milestones happened:

– I was published 2 times in an awesome online magazine! (Yay Dearly!)

-I embraced being brave and auditioned to sing for the local GJ Rockies and was asked to sing the National Anthem at a game! (Yay to being brave! Go GJ Rockies!)

-I was invited to speak at a local women’s conference (Yay Flourish!)

-I was able to visit with family & friends under the best of circumstances and under the toughest of times (Seriously, let’s give it up for life-giving community!!!)

This year, something super awesome happened:

-I turned 40 …TODAY! (Yay Life! L’Chaim! Insert confetti here!)

Yes…I am now able to check the box that says “40 and Over” on all kinds of paperwork (Yay Getting Older! Haha!)

Birthday tradition of coffee with the fam:), plus an honorary daughter:)

In the lives of many people, this is usually the time where one questions their life and purpose and wonders what they have accomplished thus far. If I’m honest, I’ve been doing that for a few years now; looking back at all that God has entrusted me with, all the dreams and goals He’s placed in my heart and mind, all the messages He’s planted in my heart, and all the people He’s entrusted me to love and serve. I’ve also been thinking about how faithful I’ve been with the life He’s invited me to pursue; writing, speaking, listening, and encouraging, leading, remembering…all of it. And I come back to this one phrase:

Be Faithful.

In this new year of life, how can I be a more faithful steward of all that’s been given to me? Where can I be more faithful in the assignments I have been entrusted with? In what ways can I demonstrate more faithfulness to those under my roof & under my care? Where is God asking for a renewed commitment of faithfulness in my diligence in seeking Him and His ways?

Faithful is actually my word for 2020:)

Not just because of the questions I am processing though, but it’s the word that most reminds me of Him. Over and over I read and I know God to be more than faithful. He’s faithful to show up, faithful to come onto the seen, faithful to visit with me, faithful to recognize my cry and need. He’s faithful to provide for every need. He’s faithful to complete the good work that He started in me. He’s faithful to help me when I am weak, and He’s faithful to provide the community I need and crave every single day. He’s faithful to bring alongside friends and warriors who have gone before me that have wisdom to share. He’s faithful to provide mentors near and far from whom I can glean wisdom. He’s faithful to help me pause and soak in the moments that are passing faster than I would like. He’s faithful to remind me of the joy it is to cheer on friends making big strides in their own lives. He’s faithful to me, and I know He’s been faithful to you too.

He is faithful! Because of His Faithfulness, my first response will be praise to Him.

Friend, my bit of advice from my 40 years of life: Look for His faithfulness.

I invite you to pause and reflect on your life (just like I’m doing today), and look all around for examples of His faithful and strong love in this life. Let’s take a moment to soak it in; the enormity of His great love, and the beauty of His sacrifice for us. I’m not going to take this new year of life for granted, because it has been gifted to me by Him, the Creator and Sustainer of Life.

Will you do me the honor of leading us in prayer today? Let’s pray:

Dear Heavenly Father, we take time today to just thank You for Your faithfulness… You display Your commitment to relationship with us in so many beautiful ways- through faithful sunrises and sunsets and rainbows; through the strength and mercy that is new each morning, through family bonds and friendships that endure and grow…Lord, we thank You for all of it. Today, we choose not just to look for Your faithfulness, but to praise You for being faithful. We choose to look at the life within us and around us and say, “Thank You”, with grateful hearts. We choose to look at the dreams and goals and assignments that You’ve entrusted to us and embrace them fully – knowing that You provide the inspiration and hope and strength to accomplish each step because they have been given to us by You. God, as we hold onto Your faithfulness, help us to become living examples of Your faithful love to everyone we come in contact with. Everyone is our neighbor, everyone is deserving of love, and because Your love is enduring, ours should reflect the same intensity and longevity. Lord, embolden us to share of Your amazing faithfulness in all we say and in all we do. Amen.

Go The Extra Mile: It wouldn’t be a blog post without a song, so enjoy this current favorite of mine with a slice of chocolate cake in honor of my big day! This song by Sarah Reeves & The Belonging Co is on repeat in my personal playlist and it’s my prayer in this new season of life- ” to pour out my affection” as sweet incense to my faithful God. Enjoy and celebrate friends! #40yearsofLiz

peace-liz

Count Me In

Grandma Sara Praying

FYI: I’m blown away and thankful for the obedience of Mary- the Mother of Jesus. Young, engaged, highly favored by God, and she was still given an opportunity to choose to obey the Lord by doing what He asked of her: to carry, give birth to, and raise The Son of God.

Check out this part of her story: 26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, 27 to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David. 28 Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings favored woman! The Lord is with you!” 29 Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean. 30 “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God! 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32 He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. 33 And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!” 34 Mary asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin.” 35 The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God. 36 What’s more, your relative Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age! People used to say she was barren, but she has conceived a son and is now in her sixth month. 37 For the word of God will never fail.” 38 Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.”And then the angel left her.(Luke 1:26-38 NLT)

Mary began the scene feeling unsure and disturbed by the angel Gabriel’s appearance to her but she didn’t stay in that mindset. She thoughtfully considered all that the angel had told her, and willingly accepted the role, and said yes to Lord with no delay.

That’s a challenging phrase to say aloud: “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.”(v.38)

In essence, Mary said, “Ok, whatever this adventure entails – count me in.” By doing so, she became the vessel through which Jesus The Messiah was brought into this world. And He came to seek and save that which was lost, including you and me.

I think many times in our lives we might be presented with an opportunity to serve others or give of ourselves and we end up staying in the initial shock that Mary herself experienced. We might even feel shaken to our core or scared to death of going on the adventures God gives us on our journey of faith. The idea of adventure is appealing but the work, the labor, the pain of it, frightens us away. I was catching up with some friends recently and shared this idea with them too.

When did we loose our sense of adventure?

I think a better question is: When did we stop trusting God?

Now, Mary had no clue the entirety of what God was asking of her. But her heart was so yielded to Him and His plans that her response was “yes” to what had been said to her and about her.

Friend, I don’t know what kind of adventures or season you find yourself in today. I can’t see all the questions about your future that are racing around in your head and possibly overwhelming your heart. But I do know this: we can trust God.

We can place every question and obstacle in His very capable hands and allow Him to give us wisdom and strength for the journey ahead. We can carefully consider all that God may be speaking to our hearts as we run to Him in prayer. We can demonstrate faith in action to those around us (especially to our kids!) by choosing His plans and not our own today, knowing He will be our source and hope as we move toward whatever He is asking of us. Be it a very simple task or an overwhelmingly large request, we can choose to trust Him. We can walk firmly in obedience because of Him.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV)

I love how this Proverb commands us to trust. It doesn’t say “Try to trust God”, it begins by saying, “Trust”. God knew our human nature would feel like its impossible or daunting, but this verse speaks to our Spirit, encouraging us to trust God. He is God- he can see right now and 10 years from now. He knows what the journey will require of us and He promised to be with us the whole way. That’s the best company we could ever ask for! He will make our paths straight friend- even if they seem crooked or invisible right now. When we seek Him and place all of our trust in Him, He will make the way clear and straight. The path marked out ahead will not be filled with easy days, but it will be filled with the presence of The Lord and His peace to rest on us as we yield ourselves to Him and say, “Ok Lord, count me in.”

Let’s pray friend: Dear Heavenly Father, I choose today to trust you. I choose to say “Yes” to Your plans for my life. Whatever the task or opportunity that comes my way today, help my heart to be yielded to You. I trust that You will be my strength and You will be with me. I don’t have to be scared or overwhelmed by the adventures You want to take me on. Lord, help my thoughts to line up with the truth of Your Word and help my mind not to be derailed by fear of the unknown. You know and see all things Lord. Help me to make Your love and hope known as I follow Your leading. Thank you for the examples of obedience and faith in action throughout Your Word that inspire and challenge me. God, I place all my gifts and resources in Your mighty hands and remind myself that I am Your servant. Count me in Lord,on whatever Your plans for me. Amen.

Go the extra mile: Check out the new song from Plumb entitled, “God Help Me”! Seriously folks, it sums up the post today!