Stop

There's a Better View Ahead

Jesus told him, “Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God,” Luke 9:62.  

Change is never easy, but if we keep our eyes on what the Lord did BEFORE, we may not enjoy what He’s doing NOW, or WILL DO in the future.

You can’t keep looking back and still expect to move forward…safely.

This became clear to me when I took a drive to the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia. The road I was traveling had just two lanes, so going around curves were potentially dangerous.

There were several opportunities for stops along the way with scenic overlooks into the Shenandoah Valley…beautiful. I couldn’t take enough pictures.

But the Lord made it clear. If I stayed at the last scenic overlook, I would never get to the next highest point. If I tried to keep looking back when I drove forward, I could have crashed into oncoming traffic. With the increase in elevation, each overlook would have a better view than the last.

His plans ARE to prosper us. Just because we’re traveling down the road and don’t see a “scenic overlook” yet, we shouldn’t be discouraged or want to back-track for that matter, to the last stop. Press on, dear sisters! A spectacular view awaits you.

 

Heavenly Father,

Help me keep my eyes on you. Remind me, the best of my days lie ahead. Don’t allow me to settle for good, when you’re best is still to come. I love you. Thank you for giving me the courage to follow you.

Shake them Haters off!

"But in that coming day, no weapon turned against you will succeed. You will silence every voice raised up to accuse you. These benefits are enjoyed by the servants of the Lord;their vindication will come from me. I, the Lord, have spoken!"                                                                                           Isaiah 54:17 NLT

"Shake them haters off". Slang for, "Brush off the jealousy, anger and envy that surrounds you."

     At work, there's times you can cut the tension in the room with a knife, and somehow you know, all eyes are on you....and not for the right reasons. But you didn't do anything wrong. In fact, you're confident you're walking out the Lord's plan for your life. Far be it for them to understand, or you to waste your time trying to explain.      But what happens when the murmurs and dirty looks become too much to bear. You begin to think of all the possible ways the "haters" could harm you.      STOP! Remember whose you are. Remember, your dad doesn't like anybody messing with his baby, and for that very reason, he covers you with his protective shield and carries you while he tramples over the snakes. There's no plot, scheme, gossip or ill-will that could ever touch you. In fact, it's not even your place to put up a fight...it's his and trust me, he doesn't lose. Smile as you walk past them, and as you do, "shake them haters off!"

Dear dad, I thank you that I can come to you and admit I'm scared. In exchange, you give me peace and courage to look my enemies in the face and realize they must look awfully small from where you're standing. Help me to remember your truthful word that promises, "no weapon formed against me shall prosper".

"How blessed you are, O Israel! Who else is like you, a people saved by the Lord? He is your protecting shield and your triumphant sword! Your enemies will cringe before you, and you will stomp on their backs!”  Deuteronomy 33:29.

"You hide them in the shelter of your presence,safe from those who conspire against them. You shelter them in your presence, far from accusing tongues. Psalm 31:20

Lord, Bless My Holiday Stress

Most of us love being generous with others and connecting with friends and family at holiday festivities, but there is fact that cannot be denied. Holiday fun is connected to the stress of busy schedules and endless opportunities to help the less fortunate. I love living in a community that is so others oriented. In the last twenty-four hours I’ve been invited to to feed the poor, buy coats and shoes for those without and donate toys to needy children, and Christmas is still four weeks away!!! However, my question is, “How do I show love to others AND manage my time, money and energy responsibly?” Holiday demands can do one of two things: 1) squeeze the life out of you or 2) squeeze life from you. I know I’m not the only woman that has run herself into the ground with busyness and counted down the days until the holidays are all over, but I’m learning some things I’d like to share.

  • The weight of the world in NOT on your shoulders. –Spend a little time analyzing the needs in your community. Decide what and where you’ll give and be at PEACE!! Your gift will go farther and have a long-lasting effect when the motivation behind it is joy and not pressure.
  • The world won’t come to an end if you STOP and take a break.-Do the unexpected and give yourself a moment of refreshment. Put your pjs on at 5 in the afternoon, let the kids have popcorn for dinner or skip washing the sheets, just once. (If you bathe before bedtime, they’re not really dirty anyway.)
  • NO is not a curse word!!-Saying no doesn’t mean, “I don’t love you” or “You’re not important.” In the right context, it means, “I realize I’m only flesh and bones and I’m going to be smart enough to take care of this flesh.”

When holidays, needy loved ones or career goals pressure us to give from an empty tank, life is siphoned from us and we end up empty-handed for the “life assignments” that do belong to us. Recognizing our limitations isn’t weakness. It’s smart, it’s mature and it’s freeing!!

There’s a fruity cliché that says, “When life give you lemons, make lemonade.” I've decided I want my life to be like a plump, juicy orange and therefore am initiating my own fruity expression...

”Freshly Squeezed-Giving Life!”

Cure for the Holiday Dating Blues

It’s only November 17th and I’ve already heard Christmas songs in several stores – surprised? Halloween just passed and Mariah is already singing “All I want for Christmas is You.”  Songs like Mariah’s famous jingle,  “Last Christmas” and one of my all-time favorites, “Blue Christmas” by Elvis Presley have seem to become our constant reminder we’ll be the only one without a date for the office Christmas party.  Wow, how….blue! So what do you do when you’re single and the Holidays are approaching?   Well, you could carry mistletoe with you everywhere but that could really backfire!  When single, I found a few cures to chase away those holiday blues that might just do the trick for you, too.

1. Throw a party – Don’t wait to be invited to a party, be the hostess of a fabulous Christmas bash everyone can’t stop talking about.  Create a dress code so that your guests feel like they've been invited to the party of the year, have great music, food, and a mix of people.  But most of all, be a great hostess!

2. Gift wrapping party – This was one of my favorites and surprisingly most fun!  Wrapping all the gifts you’ve had to buy can be daunting.  So why not make it a party with a few friends?  Have everyone bring their gifts, wrapping paper and a dish or snack and call it a party!  Before you know it, you and your friends have bonded and laughed the night away and all the gifts are ready to stick under the tree.

3. Girls night out – What better excuse to have more GNO’s than the holidays?  But for this time of year, you get to break out the good clothes; the ones you only bust out during the holidays.  Nothing beats dancing in a cocktail dress with the girls!

4. Christmas Shopping with friends – Need I say more….you’re  shopping!

5. Take a trip – Being single enables you to be free as a bird, so fly girl!  Ski trips, weekend bed and breakfast, a trip through the country, where do you want to go?  It’s a great time of year to visit friends you haven’t seen in a while or even grab friends from all across the country and go for a spin somewhere together.  You’ll never regret taking a vacation!

6. Family – Of course, the holidays are all about family, too.  Family can be anyone we’re related to or those special people around us who always seem to take care of us.  Make sure you spend time with all of them.

So this Holiday season, take advantage of the gift called singleness and do some things you may not have done before. Don’t sit around singing the blues with Elvis.  Instead, pick your own tune and you’ll find so many want to dance to it!  Just do it, now while you are single!

Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas!

Walk for Freedom

Did you know that one of the fastest growing crimes in the world is Human Trafficking? Human Trafficking, or modern day slavery, is said to produce a $9 billion profit for those involved.  There are more people in slavery today than at any other time in history and it is reported that 25% of all US trafficking victims are in Texas. Defined, Human Trafficking is the recruitment, smuggling, transporting, harboring, buying or selling of an individual through force, threats, deception, or coercion for the purposes of exploitation, prostitution, pornography, migrant work, domestic servitude, forced labor, bondage, or involuntary servitude.

Around the world, millions of individuals are living in bondage; laboring in fields, homes or factories and threatened with violence if they try to break free.  Some are forced to work in brothels or as prostitutes and beggars on the street fearful of the consequence of missing their daily quota.  Others are taken to foreign countries where they are unfamiliar with the language and culture.  Most exist with the relentless terror that the lives of their families will be susceptible to danger if they try to escape.

Child trafficking is on the rise and involves the business of removing children from the safety net of their homes, families and friends. They are often transported within the country or overseas, to be put to use by others and usually to make money.

Stop Child Trafficking Now is an organization that targets the source of child sex trafficking.  While several organizations address child trafficking by performing rescue operations, SCTNow has chosen to fund a bold, new approach.  They partner with specially trained elite operatives who are familiar with what it takes to infiltrate, investigate and bring to justice those who victimize children.  Their aim is to address the demand side of child trafficking by targeting the buyers and predators who actually drive the sex industry around the world, including in your own local community.

You can get involved in the abolishment of trafficking children by participating in one of the upcoming national SCTNow Walk Campaigns.  Communities all over the US are coming together on the weekend of October 2-3 to raise funds, bring awareness and end the trafficking of children.

For details on partnering in an upcoming SCT Now community walk please go to www.sctnow.com and click on ‘walks’.  If you live in the Austin, TX area, please join us at Triangle Park at 46th and Guadalupe on October 2nd @ 8 a.m., for the 2nd Annual Stop Child Trafficking Now walk.

The Created Woman is informed.  And, in the words of SCT Now's founder, Lynette Lewis, she provides a 'voice for the vulnerable'.  She will rise up and take a stand for those in need and is passionate about making a difference in the world around her.