Category Archives for Perseverance

Today, I Want Cheese In My Eggs

scrambled-cheesy-eggsToday, I want cheese in my eggs.  Cheese gives me a sense of comfort.

Because I’m tired.  I’m tired of everything.  I’m tired of turning on my TV or logging in to Facebook and seeing the plight of my people.  I’m tired of being black.  (Not that I want to be anything else though)  I’m tired of my people suffering with seemingly no one who cares.  No one who is willing to tell the Truth.  I’m tired of the ignorance and the ostrich syndrome of my white friends.  My white CHRISTIAN friends.  (Not that I think they can do anything, I would just like an acknowledgement of compassion)  But there has been nothing but silence.

DEAFENING SILENCE.

I’m tired of fighting.  I’m tired of P.R.E.S.S.ing.

I sense it all pointing to something.  Perhaps destiny?

God knew there would be days like this or else He wouldn’t have put in the Bible “Don’t be weary in well doing because in ‘due season’ we will reap, if we don’t GIVE UP”!!!!

I’m not giving up.  Just today, I’m TIRED!!!

 

5 Things I Did To Push My Husband Away

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I lived in denial about my part in my husbands’ infidelity.  I was in denial about my part in pushing him away.  I was in denial about my need to take responsibility for my choices for my life so that I could move forward with the big destiny that God was calling me to walk in.

I remember the first time my husband stayed out all night.  I was frantic with worry.  I called the police department.  The hospitals.  I called every number I could think of and each time I was relieved to not hear them verify his name.  And with each passing moment, my anxiety of his whereabouts grew and grew.  When he finally showed up, he was so calm and casual.   To my horror, this type of  activity became a major existence of my life with him.  I turned into a miserable, angry, bitter woman.

Adultery doesn’t just ‘happen’.  Adultery occurs because a series of progressively enticing thoughts (and possibly actions) occur over time.  Scripture clearly tells us that our sin is a result of what we have entertained in our minds.  Temptation comes from what we already desire.

Things did not change though.  The more hurt, anger, bitterness and rage that I displayed towards him, the more distant, uncaring and unfeeling he displayed towards me.  It was a nightmare that I was fully awake to and lived through. What I am about to share with you are 5 unhelpful things that I did to ‘tear down my own house with my own hands’.  What I am hoping that you will do is take advantage of this tuition-free knowledge.

Mistake #1: I did not support his goals for the family.

He had a goal of saving a certain amount of money and then I would stop working.  I trivialized his goal.  I minimized it.  I mocked it.  In fact, I fought him because I wanted control.  This all communicated to him disrespect and a lack of support.

Mistake #2: I did not respect or trust his judgement as a leader of our home.

I had at my disposal a large sum of money.  We were evaluating a real estate deal during the time shortly before the real estate boom in Florida.  In short, we could have acquired a really nice home on a corner lot for little to nothing in comparison to the worth.  But because I did not understand real estate, I did not trust the person bringing the deal and I did not trust my husband’s judgement I disagreed with the deal.  After all, it was ‘MY MONEY’ so we did not do the deal.

Mistake #3: I turned him down for sex on a regular basis.

I did not understand my role as his wife and the super importance of sex in a man’s life.  The only legitimate way (before God) for sex is within the covenant of marriage.  I did not grasp the fact that my body is the only ‘store open’ for him for sex.  There is no other legitimate place for him to go.  So, when I turned him down or wasn’t ‘into it’ or made excuses not to, it left him starving – literally.

Mistake #4: I disrespected him in front of his family and the kids.

I pretty regularly would say things that undermined his manhood in front of his family and our children.  I am now aware that I learned this bad habit from the home I grew up in.  I am not excusing my behavior, but I am explaining it to you.  In short, I emasculated him on a regular basis.

Mistake #5:I did not do anything to make him feel loved.

I was led to read the story of Hosea and Gomer.  I had always had misgivings about reading the story because I heard it was about a prophet who was married to a prostitute and God required the prophet to stay with the prostitute.  It was through this study that I realized that although my husband did many things (albeit things not in my love language) to make me feel loved, I didn’t do anything to make him feel loved.  My bitterness produced this negativity.

What I learned about me….

‣ It wasn’t until I took responsibility for my part in the destruction of my marriage that I could even have an open pathway to forgiveness and eventually healing.

‣I had trust issues long before I married my husband.

‣I had no idea what a healthy marriage looked like or how to build one.

If you see yourself in any of these negative behaviors, for the love of God –STOP.  Get help.  Heal.  I understand you may be hurting, but please know that you are not the only one hurting.  There is collateral damage around you.

This is an excerpt from my e-book.  if you would like the full version, you can find it here —> bit.ly/turnhubby

Trusting God Even When You Don’t Understand What He is Doing

Today is a bittersweet day for me.  Today is the day that I move out of my beautifully decorated office space.  For well over a year this space has been my refuge.  My prayer room.  My sanctuary.  My hiding place.  My healing place.  My peace.  My creative space.  My thinking space. My woman cave.  And, today, I’m moving out.

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Although

Some may think that I am taking a step back.  Sometimes you have to take those ‘steps back’ and create a dance.  A sort of life ‘tango’.  The one where you take one step backward, one step forward.  Two steps backward; two steps forward.  And so on.  Yes, I could think negatively about that, but then what would I be saying about all that I believe in?  What would I be saying about my destiny?  What would I be showing the world?  My clients?  Myself?  For that matter, what would I be saying about God?  Do I truly believe that all things work together for good?

This is where the rubber meets the road

This is where Faith comes in.  When I start thinking about that mustard seed that I’ve been handing out.  The substance of things hoped for.  The evidence of things not seen.  This is where Jehovah Jireh comes in.  El Shaddai – the God who is more than enough.  As a person who is persistently optimistic, I start to ‘look at the benefits’ of working from home.  I think of the money I will save.  The home office tax deduction.  The fact that I will now have more access to my children when they get home from school.  Looking at this bright side is a conscience choice that I have made.  It is how I choose to live my life.

And so it is with you.

You may be going through a difficult season in your life.  Whether your challenge has been going on for one week, several months, one year or many, many years – one thing is absolutely true.  God loves you and whether or not you have been perceptive of His presence, He is and always will be there.  He is the type of God who will wait for you.  He is really real.  No matter how or what you may think about Him – tell Him about it.  He knows.  He understands.  His grace is there for you to receive.  Just simply ask him.  Just pray.  If you are unsure about how to pray.  I wrote about that very subject here.  Check it out.  It is very practical.

I ask you.  Where are you today?  Are you living in fear, doubt, despair, depression – the life draining state of being?  Or are you living in belief, hope and faith?  At the end of the day.  It is your choice.  I invite you to choose faith – it is life giving.

Thank you for making it all the way to the end.  If this resonated with you and you’d like to receive more in the future, Click here to subscribe to my Grow Girl Tips.

Peace & Blessings,

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Jesus is a Four Letter Word?

When I got serious about my walk with The Lord.  When I first was filled with The Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues, I was on fire!  The first thing that I learned was spiritual warfare.  In fact, the prayer that I prayed when I was filled with the Spirit was a warfare prayer.  I had an unquenchable hunger and thirst for Him and His Word.  I searched, searched and searched for bible studies, classes, books and whatever I could get my hands on to learn more about Him.  His Way.  His blessings.  His answers.

I was tired of what the world had to offer.  I was not getting the answers or a solution to my problems doing it my way,  what I had learned from home, the worlds way or my friends way.  So out of the PAIN in my life, I reached out to God and He saved me.  Saved me from my past.  Saved me from my present situation and gave me HOPE for my future.

NOW…

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There are some misconceptions about what it means to be saved.  There are some lies and deception out there about what it means.  It does NOT mean you are now perfect.  Your life is perfect.  Your marriage is perfect. Your children are perfect.  Your/work – life is perfect.  What it means is NOW you have direct access to The One who IS perfect.  It means that you are now forgiven and you have the freedom to live your life as such.  You are no longer bound to the ‘sins’  or demons of your past.  You are now FREE to live and walk in your NEW life.  Without judgement.  Without condemnation.

FREEDOM!

You are no longer bound by what others say or think about you.  The ONLY opinion (truly) that matters is God’s opinion of you.  I spoke about this more here.

Back to my story – I was very comfortable with my relationship with God and The Holy Spirit.  My relationship with the two was (serving me) well.  WoW!  I was ‘using them’ because they were ‘serving’ me!  How prideful of me!  Hey, I’m telling the truth!  I was falling more and more in love with them both.  I was growing despite all the dark, painful, dreadful days, weeks and years I walked with them.  I was growing more and more dependent on them both.

BUT…

Jesus…I kept Him at a distance.  Was he my Savior?  Yes!  Did I believe that He was born, lived, died and resurrected?  A resounding YES!  But…I kept Him at a distance.  It wasn’t until God showed me my PRIDE, rebelliousness and flat out disobedience that I began to realize my distance from Jesus.  You see, as I saw it, Jesus was not ‘serving’ me in the way God and The Holy Spirit was.  I felt like if I got to know Jesus as intimately as I did God and The Holy Spirit that somehow I would now become ‘responsible’ for that knowledge.  That I would then have to live as He did -which was SELFLESSLY!!!

I would have to give up my four letter word – S.E.L.F.

I felt that if I did that, my life would be a big OUCH!  I felt that I had suffered enough throughout my walk.  I wanted some RELIEF not more PAIN.  Then I reasoned to myself (in a good way).  “Stephanie, you are suffering anyway – why not suffer and get something GOOD out of it?  The way you are doing it, the only thing you’re getting out of it is to suffer pain and the outcome of that is NOTHING or worse”. So, I did what Joyce Meyer says – I did it afraid!

I discovered a secret when I made that decision and actually did it.  I gained spiritual power!  I gained more strength to overcome things that defeated me for years in my past.  And.  It.  Felt.  Good!

I am VICTORIOUS instead of victim!  I am JOYFUL instead of depressed and defeated!  I am living in my sweet spot and excited about the adventure of life.

MY Life!

Imagine that?  Assess yourself.  Have you made Jesus  your SAVIOR + your LORD?  Are you living that way?  Do you need to reconnect?  Is something holding you back?  If so, what is it?  What baby steps can you take towards connection or reconnection?  Do you have questions?  If so, do you have anyone to talk about it with?  If you don’t, you can talk to me.  You can message me here.

Does what I’ve said resonate with you?  Do you have any experience with or like this?  Tell me below in the comments.  I’d love to hear your opinion.

Peace & Blessings,

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Grow Goal

theme – [theem]  

noun

  1. an idea or topic expanded in a discourse, discussion, etc
A monthly self improvement exercise

A monthly self improvement exercise

 

Something that I’ve been reading leading up to the New Year is the idea of theme.  Apparently, people have been declaring themes for a while.  I thought it is a great idea so I declared my theme on my Facebook page.  You can see mine HERE.  While you are there, why don’t you give the LIKE button a little click?

I like the idea of declaring a theme because it seems so strategic – and I like strategy!  I like planning and being intentional.  It goes with the principle in Habbakkuk 2:2-3 ~ And the LORD answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that breadth it.  For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.

The principle illustrates one that you can emulate.

When you write visions and plans down you are expressing what is in your heart to do and deliver.  You have focused direction.  Like a compass.  A map.  This principle holds true in science too.  Studies show that when you write your New Year’s plans down -even if you do not revisit them during the year- you have a 44% greater chance of achieving them!  This illustrates the power of your subconscious mind.   in the goal setting process. The brain has a filter called the Reticular Activating System (RAS) which is responsible for altered arousal.  It is the part of your brain that makes you aware of what’s happening in the world relevant to you.  The RAS is at work when you are pregnant and suddenly it seems that everyone is pregnant.  Or, you buy a car and now you see that car everywhere.  In the same way, if you’ve heightened your awareness and you’ve set a theme for the year, the RAS will alert you to relevance and opportunities.  Your subconscious mind is working for you.

To be sure, be ready and prepared for opposition.  More often than not, when you are trying to move in a positive direction, there will be challenges to test your declaration.

Be aware.  It WILL happen.

In the spirit of declaring your theme.  In setting your course for the year.  In putting to work the RAS of your subconsciousness –

What is your theme?

Share with us below. Or on our Facebook page.

Peace and Blessings,

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New Year. New YOU.

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Happy New You!  Yes, thank God you made it another year.  Another year to start again or continue what you’ve started.  It reminds me of a familiar passage from the ancient prophet Isaiah.  “For I am about to do something new.  See, I have already begun!  Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness.  I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.”  Knowing that can give you hope.  Perhaps 2013 was a year full of hardships, obstacles, challenges –wilderness.  A place of discomfort.  Alas, a New Year is an opportunity for a New You.

Maybe that new you begins with a new mindset.  We all face wilderness periods in life.  Most of the time, we have to go through them rather than be rescued out of them.  What to do?

I believe that everything begins with a decision.  Unless and until you decide, the only thing that happens is excuses, rationalizations, wishful hoping and dreaming, roadblocks and the like.

Simply decide.

That.  Is.  The.  First.  Step!

Now.  After you decide, next comes the work and likely more hurdles than you can imagine.  More stumbling blocks than you expected.  This is likely an indication of forward direction.  You’re developing change muscles.

Let’s compare changing habits to a baby learning to walk.  It takes a baby 1000 hours of practice from the time they learn to pull up until the time they can walk alone.  That is 1000 hours to get strong enough to do something most of us takes for granted.  From sitting, to standing to walking.  Just think of the times that baby has likely stumbled.  Tripped.  Fallen.  But what does that baby do?  She gets back up and tries again!

That is what I am encouraging you to do.  It doesn’t matter if you stumble, trip or fall.  What matters is if you get up, dust yourself off, learn from what caused you fall and try again.  Such is my challenge to you.  Regardless of where you are.  Today is a new day.  The FIRST day of the New Year.

Studies have shown that out of the people who write their New Years plans down, they have a 44% greater chance of achieving them.  This is true even if you never look at them thereafter.  The mere action of writing your goals down triggers your subconscious mind to achieve them!  I have literally had this happen in my own life!

To assist you with this, I have developed this handy tool to get you started.  Click HERE to get your easy + totally free worksheet guide to help you get moving and prosper in 2014!

I look forward to seeing a healthy, happy, prosperous NEW YOU!

Peace & Blessings,

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An Alternative Holiday Tradition

An Alternative Holiday Tradition

by guest blogger Elyse Lewis

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I recently noticed an interesting shift in the way we as a society approach Christmas and the holiday season as we age. When we’re young, we’re encouraged to make merry, spread love and enjoy the season with peace and gratitude in our hearts. We’re reminded to think less of receiving material gifts and more of giving our precious time to close friends and family. Teachers show children how to make adorably original, if sloppy little ornaments as gifts for parents and relatives; good friends gather to play as much as possible together throughout the winter break; family members reveal the secrets of baking delicious cookies, making a perfect snow angel and how to find supreme delight in simple moments with loved ones.

 

As we mature and take on the responsibilities of studies/careers, family life and the stress of planning and executing traditional holiday plans we adopt an irrational amount of stress into our lives. Needless, unhealthy stress. Further, many of us begin to focus less on the reason for the season and more on when and where we’ll find the time, money and/or energy to recreate the routines and traditions we believe our loved ones and communities will expect us to uphold.

 

So, I’d like to suggest a new tradition for those who may have fallen into this less than merry Christmas routine:

 

1. Tell your friends and loved ones that you’re going to try something different this year in an effort to bring the happy back into happy holidays.

 

2. Give friends and family members only what you know you can reasonably afford. For future holidays during which you know you’ll be spending more on certain individuals (i.e. children, partners), plan at least a month or two ahead to save yourself from that last minute financial burden and to avoid becoming crunched by time.

 

3. Commit to finding delight in the season, as you once did in your youth. Spread compassion, love and thanks around in abundance. Do not neglect your own needs. Eat three square meals a day, exercise weekly, say NO to tasks you can’t fit into your schedule without exhausting yourself and take time to unwind regularly, so that you can fully experience the joy that comes along with this time of year.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa and Happy Holidays to all,

Elyse Lewis

Director of Social Research at Grow Women

elyse@growwomen.com

www.growwomen.com

Grow Goal of the Month – Learning to Encourage Yourself

You’re at that place once again. The place where you sit back and analyze and take inventory of your life.  You think about what you didn’t do, what you could’ve done, what you should’ve done. It’s not a happy place. It’s a place of mourning. Mourning  what could’ve been. What should’ve been. What might have been. But wasn’t.

I would like to introduce you to a new series we’re calling “Grow Goal of the Month.” This is a tool that I hope will help you get beyond that place of regret by doing some inner work.

Here’s how it will work, each month we will introduce a new “Grow Goal” and for an entire month you will REALLY work on that trait. But you won’t have to go at it alone. Grow Women will provide weekly tips on how to achieve victory and we’ll be checking in to see just how well (or not so well) you’ve been doing.

This month’s Grow Goal is “Learning to Encourage Yourself.” We want to help you encourage yourself instead of remaining in discouragement or depending on others for encouragement.

One thing is true.  Where ever you go – you are always there.  That said, it is helpful to instead of always going to other people for encouragement, that you learn to encourage yourself.  Not saying you should never go to others, but start with yourself.

What do you do? Do you continue down that road?

Let’s talk a bit about discouragement. If you continue down that road you risk deepening the state of distress, dismay and soon you’ll be depressed!  It’s totally normal when you experience loss or perceived loss to go through a period of mourning. In spite of that, it’s important not to stay in that place.

It’s not helpful. It’s not productive. It’s draining.  It sucks life out of you and prohibits you from moving forward. It keeps you in victim mode.

To look at discouragement spiritually, it’s the opposite of faith.  You’re walking by sight and not by faith. What’s normally happening, is you’re listening to the enemy of your soul instead of listening to God’s point of view.  You’re viewing your situation from your vantage point instead of God’s vantage point.  The good news is you have total control over that. I am not saying that it is easy.  It is not!  Even so, you can choose to encourage yourself. However, be sure to encourage yourself in the Lord.

Why do I say encourage yourself in the Lord? You encourage yourself in the Lord because you are depending on Him to help you. What is needed is a Power greater than yourself. Because the enemy of your soul is real.  Plus, emotions can be very strong and deceiving.  It’s helpful to bring in the Lover of your Soul’s perspective.

As you work on this month’s Grow Goal keep here are some things to keep in mind:

  1. Recognize that you do have a choice and CHOOSE to encourage yourself.  It is not easy, but it is doable.  One of the best ways to encourage yourself is to read a scripture such as Psalm 59:16 which says But me? I will sing of your strength!  In the morning I will shout out loud about your faithful love because you have been my stronghold, my shelter when I was distraught.  There are other scriptures similar to this.  Google “scriptures to encourage you” and you should find a bevy of them.
  2. STOP feeding discouragement.  Whatever you feed – grows.  If you have a friend that always “goes there” and feeds your negativity – avoid that person until you feel encouraged.  If you have friends on Facebook or any other social media site, avoid reading them or “hide” them.
  3. Pray and cultivate your relationship with God.  If you don’t have a relationship with Him, think about starting one or starting over.  Bask in His love for you and receive his unconditional forgiveness and acceptance.  If you don’t feel His presence or love reach out to someone who may help.  If you don’t know anyone, you can click HERE to schedule a 20 minute test drive and we can discuss further.
  4. Practice being aware of times, people or situations that discourage you.  The first step towards conquering discouragement is recognizing and catching yourself before you start the cycle.  Be aware of your self talk and start telling yourself a different story.

Stay tuned to the Grow Women Facebook Page where we will be checking in each week to see how you’re progressing on this month’s Grow Goal and offering tips on how to successfully encourage yourself. At the end of the month we look forward to hearing from you about what you learned during this process.

Photo Credit: ClaraDon via Compfight cc

I’m Not Where I Want To Be -but- Thank God I’m Not Where I Used To Be

Photo Credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/7267297@N05/5443748257/">ClaraDon</a> via <a href="http://compfight.com">Compfight</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/">cc</a>

Photo Credit: ClaraDon via Compfight cc

I walked in the house with excited anticipation.  After all, it had been TWO YEARS since I set foot in my Mama’s house.  The house that shaped me, made me, LOVED me!  I was met with ALL my favorite foods.  I squealed with delight.  The look on my Mamas face was one of pure joy as she loved to love on me.  And her way of doing so is food!!

As I made my way through the country themed kitchen into the den, I stopped to see the shrine that my Mama had made of her grands and me!  It’s almost embarrassing – the number of pictures of me.  But I have to understand – I’m my Mama’s only child.

I journeyed down the tan wall paneled hallway into the bedroom that held most of my stuff from high school.  My Mama had long since turned my bedroom into her bedroom.  But, there I was with all my old stuff!

And.

I.

Cried like a baby!!

I didn’t realize HOW MUCH I missed home!  Home was where I birthed my dreams of how my life was supposed to turn out.  I had realized much of those dreams, but a huge part was missing!

I never planned on the hard parts.  The marathon of suffering that I was enduring.  The pain and suffering of life.

But.

To my surprise, I experienced a new birth of such.  First, I vowed that I would never stay away from home that long again.  Next, I remembered those dreams.  Dreams that I would do great things in my life.  That moment propelled me to this moment.  It wasn’t instantaneous, but I was a a fork in the road.  I took a slight turn.  Dusted off my dreams and recommitted to them.

That slight turn eventually led me to where I am today!

As we just celebrated Memorial Day, which is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces.  It’s possible you heard things like:

  • We will never forget
  • I belong to America
  • I won’t forget the men who died
  • Who kept the faith and fought the fight; The glory theirs, the duty ours.

You have a duty to yourself to remember your own dreams.  Your own purpose.  You belong to God who created you for a purpose.  You have a responsibility to find that purpose, develop what you need to live it, and finally fulfill it!

Fight the good fight of Faith.  Don’t give up.  Keep going.  Keep searching.  Chances are when you seek it – you will find it when you search with all of your heart!

Peace & Joy!

 

Discarded But Revived

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I was led to turn my plant in my office around. You see this plant had been neglected and sat on the side of my house for many years. It had been there so long that it had fallen over and the roots were growing in the ground!  This plant remained alive despite the conditions of weather.  In season and out of season this plant continued to grow! It grew by any means necessary.  Bent over.  Surviving only on the sun and rain that God provided.  It grew where it was planted.

When I moved into my new office I needed some plants and since the budget was tight, I decided to use the neglected plant on the side of my house. I had already made the choice that every plant in my office would be alive.  No dead things allowed!

My son and I set the plant upright, trimmed the roots and trimmed all of the wild branches.  When I thought it was safe to move to my office no sooner than I got it there an office neighbor noticed that it had an infestation of bugs!  Needless to say, I had to treat my tree for a few months and it finally started to grow. I had it shaped and placed it prominently in the corner and it became a focal piece in my office.

After a while, I noticed that while the plant looked pretty from the front, the backside was not growing. Next, I purchased a tree light with the hopes that if the plant got light from the behind – it will grow.

Still no growth.

180-Degree Turn

It wasn’t until I did a 180-degree turn with the plant that I observed that there were some dead branches just living there amongst all the living branches. After clipping the dead branches, within less than 24-hours, to my surprise “my plant” started looking healthier.

Sometimes we are much like my plant.  Discarded and left on the side of the house, diseased and only living on natural elements.

Until…

Someone notices the potential of beauty.  Cleans you up.  Shapes you.  Repurposes you.

The work doesn’t stop there.   You may need to some treatment from His Word.  You may need to turn around.  Allow your branches to be pruned so that you can grow.  This is when God can continue his beauty work in you!  In season.  Out of season.  Bent over.  Allow God to shine his love on you and continue to grow where he’s planted you!

Peace & Joy!