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  • Bringing Your Soul Into Focus

    This devotion was inspired by the Soul H2O Radio & Podcast Episode with Melanie Stevenson, Bringing Your Soul Into Focus.  Hope you get refreshed from both Soul H2O media offerings. 🙂

    Bringing Your Soul Into Focus

    Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers. ~ 3 John 1:2 NKJV

    Eye Examinations

    Bringing Your Soul Into Focus

    I was first prescribed to wear glasses in Grade 10. Since then, I’ve started going yearly, for an eye exam; you know, that enjoyable experience when an optician or ophthalmologist shines the brightest flashlight known to mankind in your eyes… ya, that one. Then, there’s a part when the doctor swings the phoropter in front of you, a big lens machine and through a series of examples, shows you two different lens prescriptions and you’re supposed to decipher which helps you better read the Snellen Eye Chart.  Everywhere, doctors ask their patients, “#1 or #2?”

    You Need To Focus

    Your answer is the process by which the eye doctor determines your prescription.  Doctors keep asking you this question until finally you can see clearly, when everything is brought into focus. It’s interesting with all their years of schooling and expensive instrumentation, the doctors cannot prescribe you the proper lenses if you don’t properly discern which lenses bring your eyesight into focus.

    You have to focus, to decipher what brings you focus.

    Soul Examinations

    You’d be wise to begin regular examinations on your soul, like you do with our eyes.  You need to start bringing your soul: your mind, will & emotions into focus, in order to live healthy. If you’re going to live out today’s verse and prosper as your soul prospers… then, you’re going to have to direct your focus on your soul in order to experience soul health that leads to health in all areas of your life.

    Bring your soul into focus, as clear as an eye-exam and make it healthy!

    Prayer

    Father… I ask that you would help guide me in the process of bringing my soul into focus. It doesn’t come naturally but I know Your Word is telling me I can and even prosper in it! I thank you for giving me the ability to prosper in health of my body, soul and spirit! In Jesus Name…Amen

    Do you struggle to bring your soul into health?

    Yesterday’s Soul H2O Splash Online Event with Melanie Stevenson and I took the message of BRINGING YOUR SOUL INTO FOCUS one step farther with 10 TIPS TO HELP BRING YOUR SOUL INTO FOCUS… You can watch if you are a member of the Soul H2O Splash Private Facebook Group.

    Become a Ministry Partner & help Sherry continue to share Refreshing from God’s Word to thirsty souls!

    Drawing from the well
    1. 3 John 1:2
    2. 1 Samuel 16:7
    3. Luke 16:15
    4. 2 Peter 1:3
    Soul H2O book

    If you liked the refreshing in this #SoulH2O devotion, you’ll love my latest Soul H2O Devotional book: 40 Thirst Quenching Devotions for Women from our Legacy Works Online Store.

    WHERE YOU CAN OFTEN FIND ME LINKING UP MY BLOG WITH OR PLACES WHERE MY WRITING HAS BEEN FEATURED

    Praying You’re Blessed & Refreshed!

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  • Mover of Mountains—Breaker of Chains

    Get ready to find out how you’re called to be a mover of mountains–breaker of chains…

    Now I say to you that
    you are Peter (which means ‘rock’),
    and upon this rock
    I will build my church,
    and all the powers of hell
    will not conquer it.

    ~Matthew 16:18 NLT

    Last night I woke up to yet another allergic reaction to a medication I was put on last week to combat a reaction to a dental procedure. My tongue felt swollen and I feared the constricting sensation in my throat.  I know what it’s like to have severe allergic reactions that have landed me in the hospital, twice.

    Staying up to see if it would pass, I took a shower, googled and prayed. At one point I felt the sensations decreasing and ok to lay down.  I fell back asleep. 

    So, let’s just say… I didn’t go to bed thinking of gum drops and lullabies 🙂  BUT… God woke me up in the morning with the words of a song playing in my head that gave me hope to all the situations in my life that had probably helped to trigger allergic reactions in my body (stress has a way of doing that). 

    “Mover of Mountains, Breaker of Chains”
    was sounding off like a record player skipping on repeat.

    Mover of Mountains

    I don’t know if you’re like me, but I have a few mountains that need moving. Mountains in the realm of the Rockies… looming large over the valley below. Struggles that can overwhelm, steal my sleep and rob my joy… without God’s voice in my life. 

    With God’s voice in my life, problems are dwarfed in the magnitude of His greatness, His goodness, His presence. Through reading Laura Harris Smith’s book, Seeing The Voice of God, I know that waking dreams, songs or thoughts in your mind are very important and you shouldn’t discount them.

    Breaker of Chains

    Thankfully, Google helped me find the right song that I was hearing. The lyrics of You Cannot be Stopped were like a healing balm to my heart and emotions. As the song kept repeating “There’s nothing that can stop our God”. I was reminded of today’s verse. NOTHING can stop God, not His plans, purposes or His church.

    Nothing Can Stop Our God

    I’m comforted to know that the church isn’t a building as our brains like to think.  The church in the original Greek used in this verse is “ekklesia” or in literal terms, “to call out from or to.”1 “The church” refers to the people God has called out, to live for Him… that’s YOU!  God is building His church on the rock of your life… well, He wants to!

    Mover of Mountains—Breaker of Chains

    It should comfort you to know that God doesn’t just tell you that you can do something, He promises to show you the way. In the next verse, right after today’s verse, Jesus assures you of the authority you hold over your life; when He says, “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 16:19) In Mark 11:23, Jesus also emphasized a believer’s authority when He said,I tell you the truth, you can say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. But you must really believe it will happen and have no doubt in your heart.”

    Because God’s given you the keys to unlock the doors that keep you bound and the authority to move mountains, you can be like Zerubbabel who helped lead the re-building of the temple after the Israelites came out of captivity. If you press on, your legacy will be talked about like his.

    “Nothing, not even a mighty mountain, will stand in Zerubbabel’s way; it will become a level plain before him! And when Zerubbabel sets the final stone of the Temple in place, the people will shout: ‘May God bless it! May God bless it!’” (Zechariah 4:7)

    You have what it takes.  Now, use your key and open the door that is holding you bound because God wants to show Himself as the, “Mover of Mountains—Breaker of Chains” in and through you!

    Prayer

    Father… Help me to believe in the truth of Your Word and the authority you’ve given me to govern my life. Help me not to fall into self-pity and low-level-living when you’ve promised a mountain-moving, chain-breaking ability for me to access. May I discern… and use the keys You’ve placed in Your Word for me to live an overcoming life. In Jesus Name…Amen


    DRAWING FROM THE WELL

    1. Matthew 16:18
    2. Matthew 16:19 connected to: Isaiah 22:22 and Revelations 3:7
    3. Mark 11:23 (similar in Matthew 21:21)
    4. Zechariah 4:7

    #musicpic SONG: You Cannot Be Stopped by Phil Wickham, Chris Quilala
    Youtube Video: https://youtu.be/T2a0QW4V0aM
    Soul H2O 2020 Spotify Playlist: Online | On App


    Soul H2O

    If you liked the refreshing in this #SoulH2O devotion, you’ll love my latest Soul H2O Devotional book: 40 Thirst Quenching Devotions for Women from our Legacy Works Online Store.


    ENDNOTES

    1. https://biblehub.com/greek/1577.htm     Biblehub Website Accessed:  2020-09-22

    WHERE YOU CAN OFTEN FIND ME LINKING UP MY BLOG WITH OR PLACES WHERE MY WRITING HAS BEEN FEATURED

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  • Do You Notice The Season Beginning To Change?

    Praying this devotion helps you see the season beginning to change in your life!

    Isaiah 43:19 season change

    Early this August, we followed our normal family tradition and celebrated Shelby’s birthday at the trailer. While my immediate family was there, my cousin was driving by, stopped and honked. So, we all went out by the fence to say hello.

    As we were talking, I noticed leaves under our feet, then I looked at the two trees on either side of us. I was shocked to see yellowing leaves and mentioned it to my niece. I told Todd and thought it strange for trees to be turning when it was a blistering hot summer day. I’d never seen trees begin to turn during the beginning half of August. 

    NEVER.

    It felt like a holy noticing. Everyone else was focussed on my cousin but God turned my eyes to the trees.

    Was God trying to speak to me through the colour of the leaves?

    Was the season beginning to change for me?

    Back At Home

    sunny august
    My Instagram Story that day

    I love to walk in the morning and spend some time with God as I’m getting some exercise. About ten days after Shelby’s birthday party, on another one of those blistery hot August walks, I stopped to take a picture of the deep blue sky contrasting the dark green trees, when I noticed leaves on the top of three trees slightly turning yellow.

    I thought maybe I was going crazy, but by the time I was done my walk, I had seen three trees with a little bit of yellowing leaves… on August 20th… in Leamington, Ontario; the southernmost point of Canada. We live in the “southernmost point of mainland Canada”, marketed under the motto, “Sun Parlour of Canada”. We’re actually on the same latitude line as northern California and Rome.1

    Needless to say, fall leaves in summer are NOT NORMAL here.

    Pictures from my walks Aug.20-26, 2020

    By the week following, on August 26th, I saw my first tree with red leaves (the last picture here). Season’s Changing.

    CRAZY.

    Normal Season Changes

    I’ve never seen leaves turn this early. The website ToDoOntario.com site and others confirm how, “Ontario fall colour reports begin mid-September and continue through October.”2

    Leaves don’t change in August… but they did, and I took notice. 

    Each walk I felt the Lord directing my attention to these pre-mature colour-changing trees amidst the green ones. I felt the Lord directing my eyes and whispering to my soul, the season is changing… and change it is. 

    Today is September 15th and more trees have changed colour and lost leaves. We could have raked leaves around our fence at our trailer on Labour Day Weekend even though most trees in the park were dark green.

    As I read Esther 4:14, it had new meaning, given all God’s been speaking to me lately. Mordecai’s words to Esther when she almost missed noticing the changing season, struck me this morning, “For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”

    While I read this verse, the Lord kept reminding me about Isaiah 43:19, “Look, I am about to do something new; even now it is coming. Do you not see it? Indeed, I will make a way in the wilderness, rivers in the desert.”

    Nudging You…

    I feel the Lord pressing me to not stay silent but write and nudge your level of holy noticing. Pay attention to His “Godwinks” to you, like the turning trees to me, and ready your heart for the sudden opportunities this new season change will provide.

    Rub Your Eyes

    Plainly, keep your eyes peeled because God has something up His sleeve for you to do and I don’t want you missing the destiny He has for your life. Esther almost missed hers, don’t miss yours.

    And… don’t get distracted looking for something BIG. Most of God’s opportunities don’t start with something ground-breaking or earth-shatteringly obvious… but small, unimportant to us but life-changing, nonetheless.  So, rub the sleepy out of your eyes and see what God is about to do… through you!

    PRAYER

    Father… I ask you to open my eyes and help me see what you’re doing.  Remove the distractions that seek to steal my attention from what you’re about to do. May I live out every detail of the destiny your have for my life.
    In Jesus Name…Amen

    DRAWING FROM THE WELL
    1. Isaiah 43:19
    2. Esther 4:14
    3. Isaiah 42:9
    4. Isaiah 48:3,6

    #musicpic Song

    Seasons Change by United Pursuit
    (ft. Michael Ketterer)
    Youtube Video: https://youtu.be/F7k5pqBVinA
    Soul H2O 2020 Spotify Playlist:
    Online | On App

    ENDNOTES

    1. https://todoontario.com/ontario-fall-colours-progression-report/#:~:text=Ontario%20fall%20colour%20reports%20begin,next%20few%20weeks%20for%20sure. ToDoOntario Website Accessed:  2020-09-15
    2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leamington,_Ontario  Wikipedia Website Accessed:  2020-09-15

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  • I Love Food

    I have treasured the words from his mouth more than my daily food.

    ~Job 23:12 CSB
    I love food
    I Love Food!

    My love for food is embarrassing for my family sometimes. If I like something I’m eating, depending on how much I like it, I sometimes without realizing, make a moaning “Mmmmmmmmm!” sound.

    I do see their point, but I just can’t stop it! I love food! Family mocks how expressive I am when a meal or dessert, heck even a salad is delish. They don’t get how I say “This is the best ever!” many times, it’s because I keep trying new things and the tastes keep getting better and better.   

    A Greater Treasure

    When I read this verse in my devotions with Todd, the verse kind of popped off the page, like a question from God. Having just come back from a long walk where I stopped at Starbucks to grab an iced coffee and their blueberry scone. I love me some Starbucks bakery goods and this morning’s pastry was perfect… I treasured that scone with every bite.

    In that moment, I felt God asking me, “Do you love me like that?” It wasn’t a demanding, accusing voice in my spirit, but a longing from my Father to be the ultimate treasure of my heart. To hear the words from His mouth, those rhema words are what I treasure and need most. His Word recorded in Scripture is so valuable, but nothing can fill me more than a little whisper from God’s heart to mine.

    Do You Love Me Like That?

    I feel the call today to write about my experience and encourage you to make sure that God knows how you feel about Him. Let your love for Him flow freely off your lips today… even more than your love for food!

    Prayer

    Father… I thank You for loving me so much that you desire a relationship with me. I’m overwhelmed with love and acceptance when I understand in new ways your love for me. Forgive me for not expressing my love for you enough that you had to question and ask. My love for you is the most treasured love and Your private messages are what puts a smile on my face.  Thank you for wanting me to love You!  In Jesus Name…Amen

    Drawing from the well
    1. Job 23:12
    2. Job 15:11
    3. Jeremiah 15:16

    #musicpic SONG: Your Word by Hillsong Worship
    Youtube Video: https://youtu.be/G9NEYy71lcU

    #musicpic SONG: Your Word by Hillsong Worship
    Youtube Video: https://youtu.be/G9NEYy71lcU

    Soul H2O

    If you liked the refreshing in this #SoulH2O devotion, you’ll love my latest Soul H2O Devotional book: 40 Thirst Quenching Devotions for Women from our Legacy Works Online Store.

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  • I Need a Sign!


    DOWNLOAD THESE REFRESHING RESOURCES TO HELP QUENCH YOUR SPIRITUAL THIRST!

    Soul H2O Devotion

    I Need A Sign

    “What sign, then, are you going to do
    so we may see and believe you?”
    they asked.
    “What are you going to perform?”

    John 6:30 CSB

    Long before Covid-19 entered this earth, God put in my heart to share some miraculous stories on Soul H2O Radio to build up your faith in a series of what I called “Miraculous March”.  Three powerful teachings coupled with three miraculous interviews featuring Kimberlee Moran, Lena Cebula, and on Saturday the most mind-blowing of supernatural miracles shared by Alley Dunn.

    I had no clue how timely these interviews would be… no way to know that the world would be experiencing a crisis of epic proportions in health, finances and faith.  It’s no mistake the episode releasing on Saturday is about God’s supernatural intervention to bring about His divine purposes, healing and goodness into your life… no coincidence at all. 

    The Book of John

    As I researched for these shows my church started a timely series on the book of John which is sometimes called, The Book of Signs1 because it includes so many of Jesus miraculous works. John made it abundantly clear in his gospel that Jesus performed all these supernatural acts as signs “so that you would believe” (John 20:31). 

    I hope the miraculous sharing in these radio/podcast episodes and this devotion help you to believe in Christ.  I pray you have the gift of faith to believe God for miracles.  I also pray you don’t become like some of the people in John’s day who witnessed these signs and miracles. John and the other gospels record how Jesus pulled back from the crowds when he recognized they didn’t just want Him… they wanted what they could get from Him (John 6:14-15). Seeing signs became more about experiencing the ‘goose-bump effect” and getting their needs met more than signs to draw people to God. 

    You don’t want to be like the people in Jesus day who needed a sign to believe.

    The Bible records how Pharaoh, the Pharisees, Thomas and others all needed a sign, and sadly only a few stayed believing after God performed the sign.

    Let’s be like the people Jesus talked about in John 20:29 when he said, “blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” Look for, ask for and seek out God’s miracle working power but don’t let it be a requirement for your faith.

    Prayer

    Father…

    In this time of uncertainty, I ask for a spirit of faith to rise up in me.  May I have the child-like faith needed to ask for and believe for… global healing… global believing.  Father I need Your gift of faith to trust that in the midst of global crisis… that if we, humble ourselves, seek your face, turn from evil ways, and call on you… you will hear from heaven, forgive our sins and restore our land. 

    God, I ask that you stop the spread of the Corona Virus and heal those suffering from its effects.  May nations turn to faith in Jesus and see your hand turn the tide of sickness, disease, financial ruin and emotional trauma.  May this miraculous turn-around be seen in our world like the drying up of the Jordan for Your people to cross-through into the Promised Land. May the world see your miraculous hand at work, and may we all believe.

    In Jesus Name, Amen!

    Drawing From The Well

    1. John 6:30
    2. John 20:31
    3. John 20:29
    4. Matthew 17:20

    #musicpic SONG:
    Official Youtube Video With Lyrics:
    Miracles In This House by Michael Delgado of Grace City Florida

    Soul H2OIf you liked the refreshing in this #SoulH2O devotion, you’ll love my latest Soul H2O Devotional book: 40 Thirst Quenching Devotions for Women.

    Episode # 24 Releasing Saturday is the last in the “Miraculous March” Series talking about God’s miraculous at work in our world today and features an interview with Alley Dunn. You can find the  Show Notes at http://www.soulh2o.com/24

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  • My Flawless Razor

    My Flawless Razor

    You are altogether beautiful, my darling;
    there is no flaw in you.
    ~Song of Songs 4:7 NIV

    Flawless Razor

    A couple of years ago I was shopping at the “As seen on TV” store and saw this facial razor called “Flawless”.  I hadn’t seen the commercials, but the display and packaging enticed me enough to purchase. As I age, I’ve been collecting quite the 

    extensive collection of products and tools to help stay looking my best.  The razor does work really well and makes my face feel amazingly smooth, but it doesn’t make my face flawless as the name implies.  It’s still me, just without the peach fuzz. 🙂 

    You Are Flawless

    Flawless just seems like something that can only be achieved by a magazine graphic designer skilled with an airbrush and a picture of a model, so when I read today’s verse while doing my personal devotions, I was kind of shocked. 

    I’ve read through Songs of Songs before but never noticed what this verse said, and what that implies for you and me.  Since the book is partly an allegory of the relationship with Christ and the church this holds a lot of weight in your relationship with Him.  To think that God sees us as flawless is almost incomprehensible… but true.  Girl, you are fearfully and wonderfully made! When God looks at you, He sees ‘no flaw in you’! 

    Today, look in the mirror with new eyes.  Ask God to help you see what He sees… like the face, not the fuzz!

    Prayer

    Father…Your Word blows me away. There’s so much in it that I just can’t wrap my brain around. How You love me seems undeserved, but when I try to understand that you see me as your daughter, your ‘son’ I’m overwhelmed by the way You include me in Your family and how You see me as flawless. In Jesus Name…Amen

    IF YOU’RE STILL STRUGGLING TO BELIEVE THAT GOD SEES YOU AS FLAWLESS…

    Make sure to listen to the #musicpic below and check back on the blog next Monday to read the Devotion, Who Are You Wearing? I think it will help you believe it a little more. This is what God’s using to help me believe this truth. I am flawless in His eyes. YOU are flawless in His eyes!

    Much Love

    DRAWING FROM THE WELL

    1. Song of Songs 4:7 (Loses meaning in the NLT Translation, just sayin’) If you only have an NLT Bible, check here for the verse in many translations: Bible Hub
    2. Song of Songs 1:15
    3. Psalm 139:14
    4. Genesis 1:26-27
    (This one I love in the NLT Translation!) If you don’t have an NLT Bible, check here: Bible Hub – just click the arrow forward for verse 27.

    #musicpic SONG: Flawless by MercyMe

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  • Have You Ever Blown It?

    For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
    John 3:17 ESV

    Have you ever blown it? Ever seriously, made a really bad mistake? Said the wrong thing at the wrong time that brought hurt to someone you love? Dropped the ball and ruined things? Messed up on your morals and feel the sting of your mistake?

    There are so many ways you can blow it and I know it, because I’m completely talking from experience here. My tendency after blowing it by doing something stupid is to beat myself up, passing the gloves over for condemnation to land some destructive blows.

    I can be the worst trash talker to myself but one day God showed me how He was in the business of using people who blow it by showing me biblical examples of people who went from making mistakes to pursuing their purpose.

    THE GOOD NEWS IS—
    GOD GIVES SECOND CHANCES

    Moses
    God positioned him in the palace to fulfill his destiny as the deliverer, but he blew it.
    Moses killed a man and ran away into the desert for 40 years.
    God gave him a second chance, and then…
    Moses got to lead the same people out of slavery.
    Jonah
    God called Jonah to reach the people of Nineveh, but he blew it.
    Jonah ran away from God’s calling on his life and ended up in a BIG fish.
    God gave him a second chance, and then…
    Jonah preached to the people of Nineveh and they came to faith.
    Samson
    God appointed him to stand guard for the nation of Israel, but he blew it.
    Samson broke his Nazarite vow, living rebelliously, violently and immorally.
    God gave him a second chance, and then…
    Samson defeated more of God’s enemies after his mistakes.
    Peter
    God called Peter as a disciple to follow him, but he blew it.
    Peter denied Christ.
    God gave him a second chance, and then…
    Peter preached with boldness and thousands came to faith in Christ.
    You
    God has appointed you for good works to bring him glory, but you blow it.
    You don’t have faith to believe God can do it through you, fall into sin, let fear immobilize you…you do what you do.

    THE GOOD NEWS FOR YOU IS—
    GOD GIVES YOU SECOND CHANCES

    It still amazes me that God can take my mess and use it to share His message. I’m awed at how He doesn’t condemn when we ask for His forgiveness.

    The devil on the other hand loves to heap on condemnation. The enemy wants you to sit and wallow in your wandering, he strives to keep you in the shame of your past mistakes; that way, he can keep you feeling low and stop you from moving forward in the plans and purposes God has for your life.

    I love the words in Rend Collective’s song that echoes how, “A second chance is Heaven’s heart”.1  Jesus didn’t come to make you feel horrible about yourself… He came to set you free not bind you up. 

    So, the next time you blow it, why not show some grace; ask for forgiveness, let God work in you and speak His purposes over your life. Then, move forward and watch God doing something great through you!

    Father… I thank you for Your abundant grace and willingness to give me chance after chance to get things right. Help me to forgive myself in the same way You forgive me and please… let me learn from my mistakes, so I don’t keep repeating them. In Jesus Name…Amen

    DRAWING FROM THE WELL

    1. John 3:17
    2. Romans 8:1
    3. Lamentations 3:21-23
    4. Ephesians 2:10

    musicpic SONG: Second Chance

    Makes Me Feel: Hopeful, Thankful
    Sung By: Rend Collective
    Website: https://rendcollective.com/
    Album: Homemade Worship by Handmade People © 2012
    Youtube Video https://youtu.be/W6RNJ6HDTpU
    Spotify Link https://open.spotify.com/track/2OtppI9PZe4h77OZGmecvm?si=pSAd58mnQcShK1P09Mu_vw
    AZ Lyrics of Song
    https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/rendcollective/secondchance.html
    Fave Lines
    A second chance is Heaven’s heart

    musicpic SONG: Second Chance

    Makes Me Feel: Hopeful, Thankful
    Sung By: Hillsong United
    YouTube Video https://youtu.be/yKIT4KPS-VQ
    AZ Lyrics of Song https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/hillsongunited/secondchance.html
    Album: In A Valley By The Sea © 2007

    ENDNOTES
    1 https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/rendcollective/secondchance.html Website Accessed: 2019-12-30

    WHERE YOU CAN OFTEN FIND ME LINKING UP MY BLOG WITH OR PLACES WHERE MY WRITING HAS BEEN FEATURED

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  • How To Face An Imperfect, Change-Charged Christmas

    For those of you who might be facing an imperfect, change-charged Christmas this year like our family and feeling a little anxious about the season of cheer; here’s a post to encourage you how God can turn things around and bring peace on earth… or more importantly, in your heart!

    IMPERFECT CHANGE-CHARGED CHRISTMAS BLOG IMAGE

    AN IMPERFECT CHRISTMAS

    It was the second Christmas after the divorce but the first out of our family home. 

    The kids and I were living in a rented cottage at our church camp and due to struggles in their relationship, I knew the kids wouldn’t be seeing their father or family on his side again.  Nothing was the same, but for the first time in a long time—I knew it would be peaceful.

    I worried how I could make this Christmas special. There was no room for our 9-foot Christmas tree decked out in holiday splendor… it was packed away in the storage unit with all our other familiar things.

    On top of this, I had started dating Todd and we knew we wanted to get married soon, so we felt it would it was time to begin celebrating the holidays together. I knew it would be hard for all the kids. Mine, who had everything turned upside down for years, living way out of their familiar surroundings and Todd’s kids who had to open up their family traditions to three more they probably weren’t sure they wanted there.

    NOT FOR COWARDS

    Not a situation for the cowardly.  I knew it wouldn’t be an easy year for all the kids, so I was bent and determined to do my best to make it a Christmas they would want to remember.

    Celebrations started off with joining Todd’s family at their annual Sudds/Stahl Christmas party put on by his mom. I was worried how the family would treat us.  Would they accept us and make us welcome or would we get the cold shoulder and end up sitting in a corner alone? 

     In true Bevie (Todd’s mom) fashion, there was lots of good food and games galore. The Sudds and Stahls all made us feel so welcomed and a part of the family. We felt like we came home. My kids and Todd’s kids laughed all night long.  Back at Todd’s house we had our first Christmas as our amalgamation of a family. I’ll never forget how my stepson-to-be responded to his gift from us, reportedly his best Christmas gift ever; thanks to Shelby knowing him so well!

    We left Todd’s and went back to the little cottage.  My kids were in special form being silly and having fun, even acting out the Christmas story for me.  We laughed as we wrapped more gifts.  Then we went to my parents and slept over with my sister’s family. There were a few emotional times, but we worked our way through them. 

    What started with the potential for a disastrous, depressing Christmas
    turned out to be one of the best ever!

     Contrary to all my fears and concerns, that Christmas turned out to be amazing! If I would have given in to the A great new beginning. 

    There’s no manual on how to join two families. I’m sure we didn’t do everything the right way… because I don’t think there is a right way to blend a family.  I know it’s never God’s original intent but I’m thankful that God works all things for our good and allows second chances at love—real love… and gives us more family to embrace!  

    The kids are older now, some starting to make traditions of their own. But we still get together. Celebrating as this new family hybrid has become our norm and one of the most wonderful times of the year! Right now, the house is full of the kids, a boyfriend, a fiancé, a cat with one more “kid” coming tonight. We’ve having meals together, playing games and watching movies.  It really is a wonderful time.

    It’s taken us years and many bumps in the road to get here, but I feel we’ve transitioned from an awkward, not knowing how to mix group, into a loving, accepting, warm family unit. Not perfect, because let’s face it… whose family is perfect.  Not perfect, but perfectly ours!

    BRAVE AN IMPERFECT CHANGE-CHARGED CHRISTMAS

    My advice to those wanting to experience peace and joy this Christmas while facing an imperfect, change-charged Christmas is to be brave! The reason why you can be brave is solidly based in the reason you celebrate Christmas. Bravery is possible this Christmas and always because God is with you.

    Matthew 1:22-23
    Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: “BEHOLD, THE VIRGIN SHALL BE WITH CHILD AND SHALL BEAR A SON, AND THEY SHALL CALL HIS NAME IMMANUEL,” which translated means, “GOD WITH US.

    Jesus is Immanuel… God with us.
    There is nothing you face without His presence, power and love.

    In practical ways: change or if needed, lower your expectations, try to follow as many traditions as you can but make some new ones… think positively, reject fear and doomsday thinking… lighten up, plan some fun… expect some issues, be ready to show grace… love lots… and enjoy every blessing on your way to the good times!

    MERRY CHRISTMAS!

    Much love,

    ~Sherry
       xoxo

    Drawing From The Well

    Scriptures to Fill Up Your Bucket

    IMMANUEL—PRESENCE VERSES
    Isaiah 7:4
    Matthew 1:22-23
    Genesis 28:15
    Exodus 33:14
    JESUS—PRINCE OF PEACE VERSES
    Isaiah 9:6
    Isaiah 26:3
    Ephesians 2:14
    John 14:27

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