Finding Joy in the Storm

Key verse: John 16:20, “I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices.  You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy.” 

Having peace and having joy are very different.  I know all too well the discomfort and pain of walking through a giant storm.  A storm nearly always starts small and then builds and builds until it becomes a hurricane.  The lights go out, windows break, and basement floods.  Do you see what I’m saying here?

Let’s take a small glance at Ruth, daughter-in-law to Naomi.  When we first open this book we see that Naomi was married to Elimelech, who died after moving his family to Moab.  They had two sons who married Orpah and Ruth.  Now, with no explanation, those two sons also died leaving all three of these women widows.  Naomi missed her homeland of Judah and decided that since the Lord was providing for her people there she would return.  So she gathers up her things, cleans out her house, says good-bye to friends she has made, and, with her two daughter-in-laws, she heads down the road.  It wasn’t long into the journey that Naomi turns to the two women and tells them to return to their mother’s house so they may be able to marry again and have children (Ruth 1:8-9).  Both Orpah and Ruth refuse at first, but Naomi tried harder to convince them that a life with her was no life at all and Orpah then said her good-byes as she wept.  Ruth, however, was as headstrong as Naomi and in verses sixteen and seventeen it says that Ruth pleaded for Naomi not to send her away.  Ruth says, “Where you will go I will go…Your people will be my people and your God my God.”  Girlfriend was stubborn and she was not leaving Naomi.

It is safe to say that these women went through a storm.  They lost their husbands, had no money, nothing to support themselves on, and no hope of a future.  Do you feel this way?  No hope in your storm?

Ruth, having lost all dear to her, was not going to let any obstacle separate her from Naomi.  She knew that she could still learn a great deal from Naomi and found comfort in her mother-in-law.  These women found joy in each other.  Listen here, we later find out that Ruth does remarry to Boaz, handsome guy, and they have children together to which Naomi becomes grandma to them.  Naomi is not left aside when Ruth makes a new family, but she is brought into the family with whole hearts.

Your storm may look different today.  You may have lost a child, lost a job, finances are not enough.  You may have a broken marriage, a hard relationship or even been diagnosed with a disease.  Whatever your storm there is hope and there is joy to be found.  1 Chronicles 16:27 says, “Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and joy in his dwelling place.”

Father, we come to You, storm in hand, and ask that You lead us to Your dwelling place where we will find joy and strength to persevere. Amen.

Action: Keep reading the story of Ruth.  Isaiah 35:10, John 15:9-11, James 1:2-3 possess great encouragement for your journey.  While you are walking through a storm take some time off from your worry and brokenness and focus on the needs of others.  Ask, “How can I help you?”

 Tara DeMaris

Tara, graduate of Crown College, is the mother to four beautiful children.  Together, Tara and her husband, David, and their family make their home in Northwest Missouri.  Tara is passionate about reaching the hearts of women and young ladies.  She loves to write and teach God's Word.  God put a desire in Tara's heart over six years ago to start a ministry that reached women.  Today Tara has founded Titus II Woman Ministries and God is showing her miracles and his hand at work every day.

Tara, graduate of Crown College, is the mother to four beautiful children. Together, Tara and her husband, David, and their family make their home in Northwest Missouri. Tara is passionate about reaching the hearts of women and young ladies. She loves to write and teach God’s Word. God put a desire in Tara’s heart over six years ago to start a ministry that reached women. Today Tara has founded Titus II Woman Ministries and God is showing her miracles and his hand at work every day.

Love You More Than

Key Scripture: “A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” John 13:34 (KJV)

My family and I recently began playing a sweet game called “I love you more than…” The goal of the game is to say that you love someone so much more than the other. It is a very sweet game that our 3 year old seems to love the most.  Our games usually go something like this; me: Cordelia, I love you more than I love macaroni and cheese. Cordelia: Wow momma, that’s a lot. I love you more than I love cheese. Me: That is a lot of love, you really love cheese.   And the game goes on until someone declares the other the winner. Well, the other night my 3 year old walked up to me and said Momma, I love you more than all the laundry in the whole… wide… world. Just so you know that’s a lot, Momma.”  Her tender little words got me thinking about the immeasurable amount of laundry in the world and love at the same time, which led me to think about the scripture verse John 13:34 “Love one another as I have loved you”. Like all the laundry in the world, Christ’s love for us is insurmountable. This verse is about more than just the love that Christ has for us. It is more than the instruction that he gives us. It begins with us knowing that our Heavenly Father loved us so much he sent his Son not only to teach us and lead by example, but he sent him to die for us. He sent his son to be resurrected so that we may one day return to live with our Father in Heaven. That sort of love is hard to wrap your mind around.  In this scripture Christ is instructing us to remember that we are loved. We are loved more than we can ever imagine. The further instruction is that we are to go out into the world and attempt to love everyone. We are to love everyone without prejudice. Heavenly Father and Christ want us to walk out beyond our comfort zones, battle our demons, and reach out with our hearts to those outside our little walls. When we reach out with love to all those we encounter, we change not only our hearts, but the hearts of those we encounter and in the end, our love is what our pathway to eternity will be paved with.

Love is something that I struggle with. I love to love. I am addicted to it. I love sharing a smile and kind words with everyone I meet, however, it is tiring. In this world we are assaulted on all fronts, and usually our love and how we share it is usually the first to be attacked.  Every day my smiles are met with frowns, or “what are you so happy about?” grumbles. My kind acts are met with “Whys” or “What do I owe you?” Sometimes my character is attacked because in my attacker’s minds, there is not a single person out there who would want to help, or love, or share, or care, for no other reason than the simple pure innocent sake of loving all of God’s children. For those people I always pray. Don’t get me wrong. There are days that I would rather not smile, or hold a door open, or give up my place in line, carry groceries or give of my time. But because of my love for Christ, and my love for my Heavenly Father, and their love for me, I smile when I would rather cry. I hold a door, when I would rather walk through it. I share my place in line, when I would rather get on my way. I give of my heart, my time, and my life, because it is what Christ wants for me. It is what Christ wants for you.

I urge you all to pray individually for the strength to open your hearts and let your walls down. Pray for the confidence to step out in to the world with a heart filled with love. Your lives will be blessed.

Continue reading in your scriptures seeking out verse about love. Look for instruction on how to love, and how to be loved.  As you read about the love that Christ has for us and the love that our Father in Heaven has for us, journal about ways that you can reach out with love into the world. Look for the love in your own life and share it.

Alethea Gaukel

Alethea, Ally for short, has three wonderful children, whom she homeschools, and a fine husband, Chuck.  Ally grew up in northern California before making here home in rural northwest Missouri.  She loves helping others by being a friend, inspiring them to take action in their own lives financially, spiritually and in health.  She loves the Lord and wants to share His message.  Her family supports Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri as well as ReStart, an interfaith shelter system to help families  and grown foster children find places to live.  James 1:8, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him as of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” (KJV)

Alethea, Ally for short, has three wonderful children, whom she homeschools, and a fine husband, Chuck. Ally grew up in northern California before making here home in rural northwest Missouri. She loves helping others by being a friend, inspiring them to take action in their own lives financially, spiritually and in health. She loves the Lord and wants to share His message. Her family supports Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri as well as ReStart, an interfaith shelter system to help families and grown foster children find places to live. James 1:8, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him as of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” (KJV)

Jesus Calls Us

When studying recently I came across this tid bit of information that encouraged me.  I wanted to share it with all of you.  This came from my Women of Faith Study Bible.

Cecil Frances Alexander wrote over 400 hymns in her lifetime.  She also founded, with her sister, a school for the deaf.

Jesus Calls Us

Jesus calls us over the tummult

Of our life’s wild, restless, sea;

Day by day His sweet voice soundeth,

Saying, “Christian, follow Me!”

As of old Saint Andrew heard it

By the Galilean lake,

Turned from home and toil and kindred,

Leaving all for Jesus’ sake.

Jesus calls us from the worship

Of the vain world’s golden store,

From each idol that would keep us,

Saying, “Christian, love Me more!”

in our joys and in our sorrows,

Days of toil and hours of ease,

Still He calls, in cares and pleasures,

“Christian, love Me more than these!”-

Jesus calls us! By the mercies, Savior,may we hear Thy call, Give our hearts to Thine obedience, Serve and love Thee best of all.

-Cecil Frances Humphreys Alexander (1818-1895)

Tara, graduate of Crown College, is the mother to four beautiful children.  Together, Tara and her husband, David, and their family make their home in Northwest Missouri.  Tara is passionate about reaching the hearts of women and young ladies.  She loves to write and teach God's Word.  God put a desire in Tara's heart over six years ago to start a ministry that reached women.  Today Tara has founded Titus II Woman Ministries and God is showing her miracles and his hand at work every day.

Tara, graduate of Crown College, is the mother to four beautiful children. Together, Tara and her husband, David, and their family make their home in Northwest Missouri. Tara is passionate about reaching the hearts of women and young ladies. She loves to write and teach God’s Word. God put a desire in Tara’s heart over six years ago to start a ministry that reached women. Today Tara has founded Titus II Woman Ministries and God is showing her miracles and his hand at work every day.

Who Cares for Us?

Hello ladies! It is a privilege to share what has been on my heart for the past few weeks for this article. I hope that it encourages and edifies your faith, and if you don’t have faith in Jesus, that you will be summoned to the best experience of your life in a relationship with Him.

What has been on my heart comes from a scripture found in Romans 8:26, which reads, “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.”  I don’t know about you, but my 34 years on this earth has been littered with some pretty painful seasons. Times when it hurts so bad inside that I cannot even fathom what to pray. Or I feel so overwhelmed, that anything I utter doesn’t seem to touch the pain or confusion I seem to feel inside. That’s why I love this scripture! It reassures me that God himself, through the Holy Spirit, will help us in that weak, vulnerable place and intercede through us, using those wordless cries for help and direction. What an incredible feeling, to know how deeply our Father takes care of us.  You know, it reminds me of a mother who knows the certain cries of her baby. They don’t have to be capable of uttering a single word, but just by their cry, mommy knows if it’s hunger, pain, or just loneliness. How much greater is the Father’s love for us!  I encourage you today, to cry out to the Father. He knows what you need, and His Spirit will intercede on your behalf… because He loves you! Be encouraged, and press on!

God, thank you that you have made a way and opened the door of communication and relationship with me. I pray that you would help me to open up myself to you, even when all I have is wordless tears and pain. I receive the intercession of the Holy Spirit on my behalf. In Your name, amen.

Karissa has one of the most beautiful voices you will ever hear, but on top of that talent and gift God has given her, she is a mother to three beautiful children and a helpmate to her husband, Shane.  Together they raise their family and minister in Milton-Freewater, Oregon where Karissa grew up.  Her passion for worship and family surround her daily.  Isaiah 30:15, "This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: 'Is repentance and rest in your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength'" (NIV).

Karissa has one of the most beautiful voices you will ever hear, but on top of that talent and gift God has given her, she is a mother to three beautiful children and a helpmate to her husband, Shane. Together they raise their family and minister in Milton-Freewater, Oregon where Karissa grew up. Her passion for worship and family surround her daily. Isaiah 30:15, “This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: ‘Is repentance and rest in your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength'” (NIV).

Peace in Our Chaos

Key Verse: Philippians 4:7 “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Are you like me and lose track of time when you get to working on a project?  Oh boy did I do so today!  It all started with simply wanting to cut the corn from the cob to bag and freeze it.  In case you were wondering, we ended up with eight quart size bags full of corn 😉 .  After cutting and bagging I then noticed how badly my floors needed to be cleaned.  We proceeded with this and then I realized how I could reorganize a little space in the kitchen corner to make room for that cute little writing area I have been wanting and needing.

Are you still following me?  Hours passed before I looked at the clock and realized it was well past lunch and I had not even finished my homemade iced coffee (got your attention with the iced coffee) I made for breakfast.  As I looked around at the progress I saw my formerly clean kitchen in worse shape than when I started.  It is safe to say that I did not get my ultimate reorganizing project completed in one day.

Do you feel like your life is like my kitchen and in utter chaos?  You are not alone, love.  There are many of us walking with you in this, but there is peace.  Philippians 4:7 says, “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Is this not amazing, friends?  Our God promises to us that we can have peace and not just any old peace, but a peace that rises above all other understanding.  He doesn’t stop there.  He says that this kind of peace will also protect your heart, a very precious organ, and your mind, the comprehension station.  Seriously! Amazing!

Girlfriend, not only do you have other friends walking this very same chaotic life, but God truly understands.  His Son walked in a time of chaos as well and needed a little time alone with the Father as we read in Mark 1:35, “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.”

Lord, I pray the peace of God in my life amid my chaos.  Lord, guard my heart and mind today with Your peace which will transcend all my understanding.  Thank You, Lord. Amen.

Is there anything in your life that you can let go of to free up some of your precious time?  If so, take the steps needed to gain that time back for you.  If not, make sure you are spending some time with God so He can pour his peace over you each day until you can free up that time.  Encourage someone who you clearly see is walking in chaos today as well.

Further Study:  Philippians 4:8-9

Tara DeMaris

Tara, graduate of Crown College, is the mother to four beautiful children.  Together, Tara and her husband, David, and their family make their home in Northwest Missouri.  Tara is passionate about reaching the hearts of women and young ladies.  She loves to write and teach God's Word.  God put a desire in Tara's heart over six years ago to start a ministry that reached women.  Today Tara has founded Titus II Woman Ministries and God is showing her miracles and his hand at work every day.

Tara, graduate of Crown College, is the mother to four beautiful children. Together, Tara and her husband, David, and their family make their home in Northwest Missouri. Tara is passionate about reaching the hearts of women and young ladies. She loves to write and teach God’s Word. God put a desire in Tara’s heart over six years ago to start a ministry that reached women. Today Tara has founded Titus II Woman Ministries and God is showing her miracles and his hand at work every day.

He Still Knows

Key Verse: Psalm 56:8 “You have seen me tossing and turning through the night. You have collected all my tears and preserved them in your bottle! You have recorded every one in your book.” (TLB)

This was one of my favorite verses growing up, but one I often forget to remember the truth of. Growing through my teenage years is when I first discovered it and began to really understand how much God actually cares about me and what’s going on with me. There are many times that I’ve come to truly understand and take comfort in this truth. Some of those times include losing some very good friends in junior high, times that I was crying, heartbroken trying to understand and come to grips with the absence of my biological father from an early age, making huge mistakes in my life, and having my life turned upside down and moving with my husband and two young kids into the basement of another family’s home while we restarted. In these times (and many others!), He hadn’t left me or forgotten. In fact, He cared about each detail and all the small ones in between. I love and adore my children and comfort them when they cry. In a much exemplified manner, He does the same. He knows, He cares, He remembers, and He collects my tears and walks with me through each trial, even when I don’t see it. One of my favorite songs is “Praise You in the Storm” by Casting Crowns. It starts with these words:

I was sure by now God; you would have reached down and wiped our tears away stepped in and saved the day. But once again, I say amen and it’s still raining.

So many times I’ve felt this way, waiting for this super hero moment and almost angry that everything didn’t happen the way I thought it should. Through those times, I’ve learned to trust. Trust that in these times He still knows, cares, and has me in His hand. We sometimes think there’s a secret answer or piece we’re missing to get this magical outcome. In those times, trust that He knows the number of hairs on your head and has collected your tears, seemingly unimportant, yet significant to Him. If He does that, how much more will He take care of you during your time of need? It may not come out as you dream or in the time frame you want, but it will come through and He will be with you the entire time.

We Pray Together: God, thank You that You are trustworthy. I choose to trust You and pray that You remind and teach me to trust constantly. Thank You that You will bear the weight of my worries and give me Your peace instead. I choose to praise You in the storm, no matter how long, short, or intense it is. Thank You for keeping me safe in Your arms and care!

Read the entire chapter of Psalm 56. Identify what you are worrying or stressing about. Remember that your worry and stress won’t fix anything. Choose to trust Him and say it out loud, multiple times a day, if necessary. Allow the weight of the worry to be on Him and take His peace instead. Share with someone the exchange of worry for peace that you just made. Write yourself a note and place it where you will see, remember, and choose to trust Him with your situations daily, hourly, constantly.

Nikki Rasmussen

 

Nikki is the mother to four and she loves spending as much time as she can get with her greatest blessings.  Together, Tim and Nikki make their home in Tacoma, Washington, a long leap from her home state of North Dakota.  Nikki is a graduate of Trinity Bible College and about to start her Master’s program through the University of Texas at Arlington. “On the day you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced.  Live your life in such a way that on the day you die, the world cries and you rejoice.” ~Author Unknown

Nikki is the mother to four and she loves spending as much time as she can get with her greatest blessings. Together, Tim and Nikki make their home in Tacoma, Washington, a long leap from her home state of North Dakota. Nikki is a graduate of Trinity Bible College and about to start her Master’s program through the University of Texas at Arlington. “On the day you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced. Live your life in such a way that on the day you die, the world cries and you rejoice.” ~Author Unknown

You Are Not Alone

2 Corinthians 5:7, “For we live by faith not by sight.”

Everything was so calm and still. You couldn’t even hear the sound of the birds chirping or see them fly through the air. I stood on my front porch taking it all in. Pure silence.  I happened to be the only person outside but that feeling of alone didn’t last long. My eyes shifted a little to the left and my heart started beating fast with pure excitement! I mouthed the name but it barely came out. Jesus? My eyes squinted trying to make sure I wasn’t seeing someone else. As He walked closer I knew, I just knew it was Him. The robe. The hair. His smile. I saw as He walked by a tree or bush, they would sway back and forth as if they too knew who was in their presence; bowing down to our Savior. I slowly stepped off my porch hearing my footsteps through the leaves, and I noticed as He walked closer there was not even a sound with His steps, He was so graceful.  As He approached I felt my smile become bigger than my face. Jesus! I exclaimed. He didn’t have to say a word. His presence was more than enough. I ran to Him, latching on, asking myself do I ever have to let go? I looked up again in shock that Jesus was right here. In front of me.  Then my little street started to flood with people from all over. Everyone wanted to see Him, be with Him. I was amazed how the people just came pouring in so quickly. He didn’t have to send invitations or call to say, “hey, meet me here.” His mere presence drew in the crowd. Everyone was so excited! I could hear much weeping.  They were just so joyful to be in the presence of Jesus!!  He talked with everyone. Touched and healed many. I remember thinking how so surreal this moment was! I stood back watching and observing and soaking in what I was witnessing. People who had mocked Him for years were there, tears streaming down there cheeks. People who said there is no such person as Jesus were at His feet graveling. The believers; thrilled to have Him here before us as we worshiped our King. After time He came walking over to the area where I was standing. I noticed something was different about Him, He looked…sad. I asked, “Is everything okay?” And His words literally took my breath away. He said, “I am so blessed by everyone showing up today, but I must go.” Everyone began weeping again but for different reasons. The sadness of not wanting Him to go. People shouting and crying, “please don’t leave us!” He was so calm, loving, nurturing when He made His next statement, “I have never left. Its easier to believe in me right now because You see me with your own eyes. I have always been here for you like I promised. I’m never out of reach.”
And at that moment my eyes opened.

This was a dream I had two years ago, the night before Halloween, but I think on it all the time. It truly changed me.

Ladies, whatever you are going through, whatever battles you may be fighting, I need you to remember and know you are NOT alone! Satan comes to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10).  The devil reminds us every day of our problems, our insecurities, our struggles.  He knows that his days are numbered and he will do whatever it takes to win us over.  One of the biggest things he asks us is,”where is your God? If your God can move mountains where is He?” I can’t express enough how He IS there and oh, how He loves you. Just because we can’t see Him does not mean He’s gone. Jesus is with you, you are never alone. Please never forget that.

Heavenly Father,  thank You for loving us so much. Thank You for being there even though we cannot see You. I know we fall short every day but You  hold that against us. You are the God of new beginnings. And, Lord, we praise You for You! Thank You for dying on that cross thousands of years ago with each of us on Your heart. Bless us as we travel through earth and help us with all trials we are faced with until we can be with You always. We love You, Lord.  Amen.

Dina Kiser

Dina  loves her family with all her heart. So much so that she documents every waking moment through taking pictures.  Along with this picture taking is a pumpkin spice latte in hand.  She is the mother of two beautiful children and the helpmate to her husband, Pat, who serves in the United States Army.  Dina and her family currently make their home in Fayetteville, North Carolina, but she grew up in Billings, Montana.  Dina loves Jesus with everything she has and knows there is nothing He can’t do.  Philippians 4:13, “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” (NIV)

Dina loves her family with all her heart. So much so that she documents every waking moment through taking pictures. Along with this picture taking is a pumpkin spice latte in hand. She is the mother of two beautiful children and the helpmate to her husband, Pat, who serves in the United States Army. Dina and her family currently make their home in Fayetteville, North Carolina, but she grew up in Billings, Montana. Dina loves Jesus with everything she has and knows there is nothing He can’t do. Philippians 4:13, “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” (NIV)

When I Am Weak, Then I Am Strong

2 Corinthians 12:9-10, “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

At the end of Summer; after being home every day, after spending every hour and every waking moment with my 5, let us call them “strong willed children”, a husband who is a Police Officer and is away more than he is home; let me just be straight up, I am tired! For the love of God, why does summer seem like prison at times? I am over the countless demands of my precious offspring and just holding my breath until that moment comes at the end of a very exhausting day when I can close my bedroom door (because all us Mommies know that a bathroom is not a sacred breathing place during the day) and take a very large inhale and exhale, releasing that tightening of our chest that has been crushing us all day long, many times opening up the floodgates of tears along with it.

Tears of exhaustion, tears of frustration, tears of guilt, thinking back on those numerous times throughout the day when something within our spirit broke and we’re not our oh-so loving self to our children or those around us. Tears of shame because we think as a Christian should know better, but yet we tend to fall into the weakness and chaos of the day, into a downward spiral of fury and frustration taking our children with us along the journey of darkness and negativity.

We lay our heads to rest on our pillows at night feeling like a failure; as a parent, as a Christian.

Too exhausted and emotionally numb from our day or many days in a row of events that just wear us down causing us to feel too weak to even read our Bible or do a simple devotion. Children’s activities and schedules, fighting amongst one another, the continual battle of resistance when asking someone to do something, non-stop redirection of “don’t do this or don’t do that” on top of any marital, financial, family, or health struggle we may be facing…..they all bring weariness to our spirit.

This is when we must remember what the apostle Paul wrote: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers (and sisters), whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4

Whoa!!! I don’t know about you, but when I read those verses my spirit jumps for JOY! Paul is telling me that I am not a failure as a parent or as a Christian when I cry at the end of the day because I am so tired of the everyday stressors of life. He is telling me, be glad for these trials, Praise God for these troubles for they are refining me and maturing me to be complete, not lacking anything. I can lift my head and hands to the sky, wipe the tears from my eyes and allow those very words to permeate every fiber of my being. Rejuvenating my spirit, reminding me that I am not weak during these times as my mind wants to think, but I am strong. Strong in spite of my weaknesses, because each day my spirit was praying for help, praising God through song, waiting upon Him while standing on His Word to uphold me in my times of trouble, and although during many of these days I felt abandoned, as if He was not listening, clearly, He was there. Carrying me through every moment of every day, giving me the strength to persevere. For that, I will sing Glory to the God on High; I will welcome these trials for they are the fires of life that are refining me into the woman that He has intended me to be.

I like the quote, “A diamond doesn’t start out polished and shining. It once was nothing special, but with enough pressure and time, becomes spectacular. I’m that diamond.” -Solange Nicole

Friends, Mommies, we are that diamond.

Thank you Lord Jesus, for carrying us through our times of trouble. For strengthening us when we are weak and for loving us unconditionally when we feel so unworthy. We praise You through the trials of life and hold tight to Your promise that when You are through refining us we will be complete and not lacking anything. Thank You Lord, Amen.

Melissa Donnelly

Melissa has a growing passion for encouraging others through the wisdom and words that Christ gives her.  She is the mother to five awesome children, the youngest two being twins, and the helpmate to her husband, Travis.  Melissa grew up in Upstate New York near Lake Ontario and, after many moves with the army, now makes her home with her family in Stromsburg, Nebraska.  She is a volunteering mom at her children's schools and the founder of Community Toy Drive and also has started a library ministry in her home church.  Next to loving her family, Melissa's Italian core kicks in and she loves to feed people until they could burst.  Jeremiah 29:11. "'For I know the plan I have for you', declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'" (NIV)

Melissa has a growing passion for encouraging others through the wisdom and words that Christ gives her. She is the mother to five awesome children, the youngest two being twins, and the helpmate to her husband, Travis. Melissa grew up in Upstate New York near Lake Ontario and, after many moves with the army, now makes her home with her family in Stromsburg, Nebraska. She is a volunteering mom at her children’s schools and the founder of Community Toy Drive and also has started a library ministry in her home church. Next to loving her family, Melissa’s Italian core kicks in and she loves to feed people until they could burst. Jeremiah 29:11. “‘For I know the plan I have for you’, declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'” (NIV)

I Am Beautiful

1 Peter 3:3-4 “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes.  Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” (NIV)

I am beautiful! I don’t mean that in a conceited way.  I have struggled for many years with insecurity of my outward appearance.  My self-doubt started during my freshman year of high school.  Just one silly little comment from some boy, I don’t even remember who it was, made me question everything about myself.  It sounds ridiculous to me now, but at fourteen it rocked my world.  I struggled with body image and feeling beautiful into adulthood.  Honestly, ladies, I still struggle most days.
Recently God started to ask me why I still didn’t see what He saw.  He had created me and I was not honoring God with his creation.  First Peter is a reminder that the beauty God created me with is not the outward expressions of hairstyles and accessories or even the clothing I choose, but of my inner self; a “gentle and quiet spirit”.
Looking beyond my outward appearance is a daily decision that I have to make.  What helps me find beauty within myself is keeping my heart and head on what Jesus desires of me and also looking for it in other women.  Not only looking to see it for myself, but telling them how very beautiful they are.  As the saying goes: it takes ten uplifting comments to counter a single downcast comment towards another.  In my personal experience, sometimes it takes more than ten.

Lord, help me to see that I am beautiful.  You created me beautiful in Your sight.  With every day that I wake, help me to see beauty in the women around me.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

Continue reading 1 Peter 3:5-6 and remember that you are worth more than what you wear or how you look on the outside.  Look in the mirror and tell yourself that you are beautiful because this is what God sees; beauty.  Finally, tell someone how beautiful she is.  Provide that one uplifting comment to counter another that you may never have known existed.

Further Study: Proverbs 11:22, 24:4; Ecclesiastes 3:11

Tara DeMaris

Tara, graduate of Crown College, is the mother to four beautiful children.  Together, Tara and her husband, David, and their family make their home in Northwest Missouri.  Tara is passionate about reaching the hearts of women and young ladies.  She loves to write and teach God's Word.  God put a desire in Tara's heart over six years ago to start a ministry that reached women.  Today Tara has founded Titus II Woman Ministries and God is showing her miracles and his hand at work every day.

Tara, graduate of Crown College, is the mother to four beautiful children. Together, Tara and her husband, David, and their family make their home in Northwest Missouri. Tara is passionate about reaching the hearts of women and young ladies. She loves to write and teach God’s Word. God put a desire in Tara’s heart over six years ago to start a ministry that reached women. Today Tara has founded Titus II Woman Ministries and God is showing her miracles and his hand at work every day.