“I am a woman with a broken heart”-said Hannah to The Lord. OHHHH how I love this story in the Bible. Hannah is so desperately praying for a child, she is barren and being taunted by her husbands other wife who is able to have children. But I want to talk about her prayer to The Lord, what she said and the state of her well being. Because sometimes I think we forget or think that we have to come to God with everything ALL TOGETHER. When in reality we will never have it ALL TOGETHER!

God meets us right where we are, in our mess, anguish, disappointment and hurt. Can we talk about the word anguish for a sec. the definition is severe mental or physical pain. Sometimes our broken hearts cause us mental and physical pain or suffering. Lots of suffering. I am sure you can relate to one of those described. Friend, I have so been there. God is so okay with us and our feelings, He is a BIG God who can handle them and bring comfort at the same time. God actually wants us to pour out our hearts to Him, to pray in the state that we are in-wether it be anguish or in resentment just as Hannah prayed.

If you are like me and some situations seem to never get “better” or you’ve prayed that prayer over and over and have seen no results. I am here to tell you to keep pressing into God, keep those prayers coming. Plead with The Lord, let your request be know over and over and over again. Some people may even think we are crazy, our faith may look too big for their liking. But this is between YOU and The Lord. He will be faithful, He will remember YOU!

Take out the Trash!

How many women take out the trash and love it??? Hahaha probably none of us, so thankful for my two growing boys who can take on this task. Although, sometimes I swear they are blind. They keep on adding things to an already full can!? I just recently finished reading 1st Kings and 2 Kings in the Bible…it has taken me about 3 months to complete because some of the things that happened had me “shook”.

I was not ready for the drama, I mean lots of DRAMA. I couldn’t help but hurt for King after King, how can a group of people fall so far from the truth that they live a lie? Something happened with Saul- yes the wise King Saul. That for generations to come had them playing a ping pong faith. ALL the Lord wanted was a King after HIS heart and obedience. It was so far fetched, few and in between. King Saul was great and did a lot of great things but at the end of his life he got sloppy. He forgot to take out the trash. Letting it pile up and eventually consuming him to the point of filth and death.

Why are we so heavy burdened? Why do we feel like we hit a brick wall sometimes? Are we ignoring the very thing we need to get rid of? Throughout Kings every now and then you’d have a King who would return to The Lord and His ways. You’ll read how they had to take idols down from the “Temple” and in high places that the previous King allowed. You getting this….take down, take out. I can’t help but think of the things I have allowed and stored up that have NO place in me. That God never intended for me to hang on to. That have blocked, halted or missed opportunity that I could not see because of the trash pile.

No is a hard word. We have become desensitized people with complaining lips, stubbornness & entitlement. I don’t know a lot of things but I do know I do not want to get on down the road and be lost in trash. Trash that I could of gotten rid of, trash that I don’t need to collect, trash that needs to burn. Yes we are human and we will fail, but I want to get back up and keep my heart turned towards Him, deal with the things that He may be trying to remove out of my life so I could continue to grow. It will be smelly, the bag may be heavy-you may need help, but friend I want to tell you it’s time to take out the trash! Don’t allow things that were never meant for you to keep stored up in your heart!

Simple Joys

A few weeks ago I had an amazing opportunity to visit North Dakota with our church choir. Besides singing every night there was one morning activity planned to visit the kids of Turtle Mountain Reservation. No it’s not a literal turtle looking mountain lol, actually the town we visited was Dunseith, which means “city of peace”.

A small town in the middle of flat lands, the scenery was beautiful. We knew we were going to be helping with the Native American children. Once we got there they were all so eager to see who came and what we were going to do. With some activities and crafts planned we played with them and had beautiful interactions. On the basketball court I had seen a dead rodent with a string tied up. I wondered- do they play with them? Kept on playing hopscotch.

After being there a while I seen it all play into action, the children are experts in catching gophers coming out of their holes. I was surprised at the skill, I immediately thought how my two boys and my husband would want to do this. These little gophers are fast and tiny. The patience required to stand still with the string ready to loop the gopher is one that needs to be extremely alert and ready. Each child that did it caught one. I was amazed. It truly brought me joy, some were grossed out at the fact of a dead rodent but I couldn’t help but find it fascinating.

I’m sure it has taken them many trial and errors to learn that skill but they are good at it now. I could see the smile every time one of them caught one and honestly I was proud too! That moment brought me a smile too, in the middle of a field with kids all around, different things happening. It was simple and truly joyful. I have felt simple joy recently and I like it. No big plans or gimmicks-enjoying the small things.

Takes me back to that scripture-God delights in the details. Psalm 37:27 I want to celebrate small things with all my heart, to be grateful and thankful for the small puzzle pieces that make the big picture. Children skillfully catching gophers for fun is certainly one of them.

Deep cries out to Deep

The song Oceans was one of the first I learned to play on the guitar. Love that song still. There’s s one line in the song that still gets me….”take me deeper than my feet could ever wonder” THAT line!! Just think about that statement for a second. You are asking God to take you deeper than your feet could ever wonder, I have to admit that’s a little scary. What does that mean? Our minds can’t comprehend what we are asking for. But I’ll sing it anyways, trusting He knows best.

I know when He calls us to go deeper it requires letting go of something, theres a stripping away that happens in our spiritual lives. Most of the time we don’t even know it or we are totally unaware that it is happening until we are at the low point. We start questioning God, why this-why that?! Suddenly, we think How did I end up here? When all along it was part of His plan for our lives. He’s calling us to a deeper relationship with Him, a better understanding of who He is.

We can’t know Him if we stay on the shore, we have to trust as we walk further and further in the water. Our deepest hidden cries OR treasures cannot surface if we don’t acknowledge them. And that wont happen on the shore, deep cries out to deep. Only when you have submerged deeper then you will start feeling and seeing things that need to change. No it’s not pleasant, when I cry it’s not pretty. But I cry out to a God who does not leave me, who wont forsake me, who walks beside me and wipes my tears. His faithful (hesed) love endures forever and it’s here for me and you.

How deep will you go?

How far can you go?

Ummm no it’s not a Moana song LOL! I though that too when I started to type the title. Really thinking how much we hinder ourselves from our purpose, daily, distractions that add up little by little.

So if you don’t know I’ve been of social media for a week now. I really felt God calling me to get off and log off. To give my family my all my 100% attention this summer. Well I want to share how that’s been going, briefly because I need to figure out breakfast.

The first couple of days I found myself reaching for my phone to touch the instagram app or facebook only to find I had deleted them. Just out of habit. Now I find myself reaching out for a little hand, a hug or a kiss from my littles. I’ve been on a mental journey preparing for this ”disconnection” from social media and I’ve realized what a LIE it is. It’s so funny how the main reason is to connect us with those we know. But really it disconnects us from what is real, in front of us. What is happening in front of us. No lie….I have cleaned out my linen closet that I have been putting off for years. YES years, ashamed. Two big black trash bags of junk, mismatched sheets and old towels that just needed to go.

I feel like my life and that linen closet have very much in common. I’ve filled my life with junk….and it’s not even mine. Really not even important, relevant. How much more can I accomplish with all this free time I have that I am not on social media. How far can I go?

Proverbs 31:25, I am definitely being clothed in strength for this season because it’s not easy. Believe me I’ve been talking myself into it….But if I can do it you can too friend!

God & Evil

Don’t overlook what God has done in your life….there’s proof of the things He has done or maybe you can see how He came through in certain situations. Maybe, some not the way You would of wanted Him too, or maybe you are just plain impatient and are still waiting. Let me tell you something, keep waiting. Hold fast and keep praying. In the mean time DO NOT forget who is your side. The moment you start to waiver, you give room for doubt to set in. Doubt creates fear and anger, isolation and that’s exactly where the enemy wants you.

We look for signs all around us, so blindly we walk in fear & not in faith. When our faith is replaced by fear we let our guard down. Don’t be fooled evil is waiting for your vulnerability, your downfall.

Our precious God will still speak to us in chaos, with a still small voice TOO! Do not give room for evil to rob you of what God has for you…..I believe the evil way will always present itself as an easier escape, a feel good ”feeling” but ultimately only a trap. God’s way may seem harder because we place ourselves in His hands, trusting in His plan- dying to our selfish desires. Be encouraged today, God’s perfect purpose for your life won’t fail-TRUST HIM & only Him.

Safe Haven

I’m so thankful for the Lord’s deliverance. When you cry out HE intervenes, He saves us from distress! He sent His word to Heal us!

Psalm 107:29-30 NIV
29 He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. 30 They were glad when it grew calm, and he guided them to their desired haven.

And once in a while our desired haven is only reached when HE carries us.

Youtube Esther Chapter 1 Study

http://www.youtube.com/c/CristinaAtkinsSheisp31

^^^^Click on this link to see Video^^^^

ESTHER CHAPTER ONE  REVIEW SHEET

WE ARE GIVEN A BACKGROUND OF THE TIME.

THE KING REIGNING IS XERXES WHO RULED FROM 486-465 BC THE PERSIAN EMPIRE WAS POWERFUL AND HAD A HUGE KINGDOM.

VERSE 5 OF CHAPTER ONE (3 YEARS INTO HIS REIGN) WE SEE THE KING HAVING A PARTY FOR A WEEK, HERE HE DISPLAYED HIS GREATNESS AND WEALTH. 

IT SAYS ALL THE PEOPLE FROM THE GREATEST TO THE LEAST WERE PRESENT.

IMAGINE GOLD AND SILVER COUCHES, MOSAIC PAVEMENTS OF RED FELDSPAR (AND IF YOU’RE LIKE ME GOOGLE IT), MOTHER OF PEARL AND PRECIOUS STONES ALL AROUND.

DRINKS IN GOLD GOBLETS, ROYAL WINE FLOWING FREELY AND NO RESTRAINT WAS PLACED ON THE DRINKING.

CAN WE SAY-MESS!!!

VERSE 8 SAYS THE KING ORDERED EVERY WINE STEWARD IN HIS HOUSEHOLD TO SERVE AS MUCH AS EACH PERSON WANTED.

HOW IS THIS GOING TO END UP? BAD? WHY?

VERSE 9 QUEEN VASHTI IS INTRODUCED AND SHE WAS ALSO THROWING A PARTY FOR THE WOMEN IN THE PALACE.

SO AFTER A WEEK OF INDULGING IN WINE, KING XERXES DEMANDED HIS 7 EUNUCHS TO BRING QUEEN VASHTI BEFORE HIM AND HIS FRIENDS.

HE WANTED TO SHOW OFF HER BEAUTY -LETS JUST IMAGINE ALL THE HORRIBLE SCENARIOS?? 

VERSE 12 QUEEN VASHTI REFUSES.

WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE DONE? HOW DO YOU THINK QUEEN VASHTI FELT? 

SHE STANDS UP TO THE KING AND SAYS NO

THE REST OF THE CHAPTER WE SEE A DECREE WRITTEN UP BECAUSE OF VASHTI’S NO.

SHE IS NO LONGER ALLOWED IN THE KINGS PRESENCE AND HE ROYAL POSITION IS TO BE GIVEN TO ANOTHER. 

VERSE 20, THE DECREE IS WRITTEN FOR ALL WOMEN TO HONOR THEIR HUSBANDS FROM THE LEAST TO THE GREATEST. 

SO IN THE KINGS ANGER AND FRUSTRATION HE RETALIATES ALL WOMEN IN THE KINGDOM.

ROLLING MY EYES LOL!

CAN YOU SEE THE PERSONALITY OF KING XERXES? WHAT ABOUT HIS OFFICIALS? 

WHAT DOES HIS ACTIONS SAY ABOUT HIS OUTLOOK ON MARRIAGE?

Through all of this chapter we see God setting up a platform for something “new” to come along……perhaps a new queen? But who? 


Not my Understanding

All God wants from us is to TRUST HIM!

If you read the Old Testament over and over the people have a hard time trusting HIM!

Why?

We lean on our own understanding, we don’t acknowledge the capacity of God’s perfect plan for our lives. We are always in a hurry, what’s the “quick” fix.

Bottom line-we think WE can do it better!

In real life events that’s not the TRUTH-God wants us to trust His plan for our lives. Learn how to be a passenger.

Listen to these words in Proverbs 3:5-6 who were written by King Solomon who is telling us not to forget God’s teachings, to keep His commands, never let loyalty & faithfulness leave us-to tie them around our necks/heart, then we will find favor.

Verse 5- Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding; 6-think about Him in all your ways, and He will guide you on the right paths.

Think about God in ALL your ways…..period.
Are you thinking about HIM in all the decisions we have to make?
It says He will guide us…I want to be guided and I want to fully trust He has got ME!

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