ABC’s Of A Grateful Heart

Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things He does for me.(Psalm 103:2)

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Happy Thanksgiving my loves!

I know- I know. You’re probably wondering where I’ve been! I’m sorry ya’ll! But work, travel, and just plain ole’ exhaustion can really wear a sister down. Nevertheless, I am getting back into the swing of things.  🙂

Anywho here’s a random question for you: What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of your “ABC’s”?

For me it takes me back to the beginning of my childhood. Often the alphabet is one of the first things a child learns.  Before they can recognize words, write or form sentences, it is essential for them to grasp the basics of the alphabet. It is the foundation of everything that follows.  As I reflect on that thought this Thanksgiving season, I recognize this same principle is true in our journey through life.

The lesson of cultivating a grateful heart is essential as we move from season to season.  If we aren’t learning how to be grateful for where we are now, it’s likely we will have a hard time being grateful in other stages of life. Gratitude you see isn’t situational. It’s a heart issue.

So as I enjoy this day I’m examining my own heart. Reminding myself that it’s more than a time of eating and connecting with my family and friends-which are all wonderful things! Rather thanksgiving is a lifestyle. A perspective shift.  It’s a concerted effort to take my eyes off of what I don’t have and choose to thank God for what I do.  I know that this is not always easy. But when things don’t seem clear and it hurts to go from one moment to the next, I find comfort meditating on all the things I have to be grateful for-tangible and intangible.  It’s in that place that I discover a true sense of peace that makes everything else around me seem to shrink.

Below is a list of promises (A-Z) I found in God’s word that I hope will help jumpstart your attitude of gratitude.  May our hearts burst with joy as we see just how much we have to be thankful for!  Feel free to share with me what you’re thankful for this season. ❤

  • He is ACQUAINTED with all our ways (You scrutinize my path and my lying down, and are intimately acquainted with all my ways Ps. 139:3.)
  • He fights our BATTLES (Do not fear them, for the Lord your God is the one fighting for you. Deut. 3:22.)
  • We are CREATED in His image (God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created them. Gen 1:27)
  • His DEITY ( For in Him the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form.Col 2:9)
  • He has done EXCELLENT things- (Praise the Lord in song, for He has done excellent things; Let this be known throughout the earth. Is. 12:5)
  • His FAITHFULNESS (For the Lord is upright, and all His work is done in faithfulness. Ps 33:4 )
  • His GOODNESS ( You are good and you do good. Ps. 119:68a)
  • He makes us HOLY ( You shall be holy, For I am Holy. 1 Peter 1:16.)
  • He INCLINES our hearts to His ( … that He may incline our hearts to Himself, to walk in all His ways and to keep His commandments and His statues and His ordinances.1 Kings 8:58)
  • He is JUST (The Rock! His work is perfect, For all His ways are just. Deut 32:4a )
  • He is our KING (And on His robe and His thigh He has a name written, King of Kings, and Lord of Lords. Rev 19:16)
  • His LOVINGKINDNESS endures forever (The Lord’s lovingkindness indeed never cease. Lam 3:22 )
  • He is MIGHTY and MERCIFUL ( Behold, God is mighty but does not despise any; He is mighty in strength of understanding. Job 36:5) (For I will be merciful to their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more. Heb 8:12)
  • He will NEVER leave us or forsake us (Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the Lord your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Deut 31:6 )
  • He is OMNIPOTENT and OMNIPRESENT (That they may know that You alone, whose name is the Lord, are the most High over all the earth. Ps. 83:18 )
  • All POWER is in His hand (The Father Loves the Son and has given all things into His hand. John 3:35)
  • He QUIETS our soul (He will quiet you by His love. Zep 3:17(ESV))
  • He RESTORES our soul (He restores my soul. Ps 23:3)
  • He SATISFIES us with good things (Who satisfies your years with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle. Ps. 103:5)
  • He is TRUSTWORTHY (The works of His hands are faithful and just; all His precepts are trustworthy. Ps. 111:7 )
  • He gives us UNDERSTANDING (For the Lord gives wisdom, From His mouth come knowledge and understanding. Pro 2:6 )
  • He give us VICTORY (But thanks be to God, who gives us victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Cor 15:57)
  • He holds all WISDOM in His hands (With Him are wisdom and might; To Him belong counsel and understanding. Job 12:13 )
  • Like an X-RAY, He sees our inner most parts. (The spirit of man is the lamp of Lord, searching all the innermost parts of his being. Pro. 20:27 )
  • He is YWH  (God said to Moses I am who I am. Ex. 3:14)
  • No one can harm us, when we prove ZEALOUS for Him (Who is there to harm you if you prove zealous for what is good? 1 Pet 3:13)
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The Exchange

“…casting all your cares [all your anxieties, all your worries, and all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares about you.” 1 Peter 5:7 AMP

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I’ll be the first to admit I have often worried about things more than I probably should. I’m not sure if it is just my analytical mind working overtime, or the fact that I have a lot of quiet moments to rehearse scenarios in my head. Either way I realized that it was something that I needed to process through.

I know that God hasn’t given me a spirit of fear, but if I can just be totally transparent for a minute, there are things that I see and have experienced that at times cause anxiety and worry in my life.

One morning while lying in bed I was reminded of something I hadn’t done in a while and needed to do:

Cast. My. Cares. On. The. Lord.

I was worried because I was holding onto the cares instead of giving them to One who can really handle it.

The biblical word for cast literally means to throw, hurl, or fling.

When I read that, I notice that it’s something that requires effort.  It’s not a casual handing over, but taking whatever it is and with force launching it as far away from you as possible. In my mind I picture myself taking my concerns about a relationship, my job or my family and saying “Here you go Lord, that’s for you!”

Our Father invites us to cast our cares on Him. But we have to be honest with ourselves about what the “cares” are. Some past. Some present. Some future. Whatever it may be, give yourself permission to experience those feelings and emotions. Why they’re there, and where they come from.

We do ourselves a disservice when we tell ourselves we’re not concerned or anxious -when we really are.

Consider the woman with the issue of blood who desired restored health. Mary and Martha and their broken hearts over their brother’s death. Hannah and her desire for a child. Or Bartemaus who was blind but wanted sight. The one thing I see they all had in common was they didn’t hold onto their cares but turned it over to the Lord who was able to work miracles!

Scriptures reminds us to pour out our hearts (Psalm 62) not hide them. Deep healing often comes when we are honest with ourselves about the things that burden us. Sometimes it’s not always a ”verse a day” that keeps the worry away, it’s the gut wrenching work of bringing our bare hearts before the Lord, knowing He is strong enough to take everything we throw at Him.  It’s not always my first response, but moment by moment the Lord is helping me to cast my cares on Him, exchanging it for the peace of knowing I will be ok because He cares so much for me.

And I hope you know He will do the same for you!

With love always!

Keisha

 

Exit Signs

No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)

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A few months ago, an old friend from the past emerged and sent me a message on Facebook. The conversation was light in the beginning, the usual “hope all is well”, “long time no see” stuff. However, the more messages he sent, I sensed the conversation subtly turning in a direction I knew I had to shut down immediately.

My main concern..he was now married. I let him know that it was NOT appropriate and blocked him from being able to send me any other messages or see my page.

Now I could have entertained his conversation a bit or not been as extreme in my reaction, but I was quickly reminded:

 What we may see as harmless is often the gateway to the enemy’s trap.

Unfortunately none of us are immune to the lure of temptation. Yet, as our key verse reminds us, with that temptation God has also provided the way of escape.

The exit signs are there, the question is, will we look for and use them?

-Will you respond to or delete the text?
-Are you going to keep engaging in that conversation or cut it short?
-Will you give them a piece of your mind or let it go?
-Will you stay over for a few more minutes even though you feel that nudge that it’s probably time go?

Whatever the temptation is, there is always another option.

The problem with Satan and his tempting schemes is that it rarely comes in the form that we think it will. Remember he disguises himself as an angel of light (2 Cor 11:14).

We’re not always as strong as we sometimes think we are, which is why Scripture reminds us that we have to  be cautious and alert at all times, because he (Satan) “prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8). I’ve been on both sides of the fence and the thrill of giving into the temptation is never worth the consequences that we will later have to face my loves. It’s not worth it.

God is full of grace and I am so thankful He gives us the opportunity when we fall to confess, repent and start again! My prayer is that as we continue to grow and mature that we look for more of those exit signs. Let’s help keep our circles accountable and experience God’s victory in overcoming temptation.

With Love Always!
Keisha

Shattered

Break up your fallow ground, for it is time to seek the Lord
until He comes to rain righteousness on you. (Hosea 10:12)

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Last week after coming home from a full but productive day, I was starving. I cooked up some nice turkey burgers and was ready to kick back and unwind. I sat the plate I intended to use for my food on top of the pan to keep it warm and stepped away for a minute to put on my pj’s.  No big deal right? Wrong.  I’m still trying to figure out if it was from the heat from the pan or the size of the plate, but somehow the plate slid down and got stuck! I thought I would be able to just prop it out, but realized quickly that it wasn’t going to be that easy. I giggled to myself, and thought this would happen at the exact moment your stomach is screaming at you.  And then the fun began. I pried, pulled, and turned it over but nothing worked.  As a last resort, I eventually had to bang on the plate until it shattered.

Now I know I could have just let it go and called it a loss but I knew there was something good underneath that I needed to get to.

As I was cleaning up the broken pieces of the plate, I thought about how there too are areas of our lives that need to be shattered. Not to crush us, but in order to expose the goodness that lies underneath the surface. Just as I was determined to not give up on getting to those burgers, I am so grateful for a Father who doesn’t give up on us.  He’s breaking us up to make room for something new.  He knows that beneath those layers of our pride, insecurity, doubts, and fear, there is something special.

A piece of Him that the world needs to see.

A joyful heart that needs to spread love to the hurting.

A light to shine in a dark world that so desperately needs to see the Savior.

And because we serve a God who wastes no part of our lives, could it be that even those shattered pieces can be used to provide more opportunities to dispel His light to those around us?

Philippians 2:13 reminds us that it is God “who is at work in you both to will and to work for His good pleasure.”  So when you feel the Lord working-chipping away at areas of your life, ask Him to help you embrace it, keeping in mind that just as a miner drills deep into the core for diamonds, the Spirit is getting closer to the jewels inside of you. As a friend reminded me it may not feel good, and you may question why it’s happening, but we have to trust the God who sees beyond what we can.

I can’t wait to see what treasures are hidden within!

From My Heart To Yours
xoxo
Keisha

P.S. Feel free to let me know what areas you feel God may be breaking up in your life and how I can pray for you.

Sisters Unite!

So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another. (Romans 14:19)

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One of the things that brings my heart much joy is seeing women come together to support, encourage and uplift one another. In a time where the battle of the selfies, the fight to the top of the corporate ladder, gossip, and sometimes even just our plain old selfishness is running rampart, I think it’s time we press the reset button and start to focus not so much on ourselves and what we want but how we can help our fellow sister.

I was excited when a dear friend from The Sister Circle Tribe decided to let me share a recent post she wrote on this exact topic. I pray her words inspire you to be a woman who”pursues the things which make for peace and the building up of one another”!  Make sure you check out their site and follow them @thesistercircletribe ❤ !

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“Are You A Woman’s Woman?”

A few days ago one of our fave Instagram ladies, the lovely Tabitha Holbert, posed the question How can we actively, daily, empower our sisters? And it really got us thinking. So much of the time, our language doesn’t aid in the uplifting of women.  How can we change the tone in which we speak to one another? How can competition become community? How can jealousy turn to inspiration? How can debates be turned into open minded conversation instead of arguments? How can we celebrate differences as opposed to letting them tear us apart? Where do we start?

Have you ever found yourself on the opposite side of Female Empowerment? Of course you have, we all do at one point or another. It doesn’t have to be anything vicious or even intentional….

Maybe it was withholding that compliment, maybe it was slight shade being thrown into a conversation, perhaps it was rolling your eyes at the mention of another woman’s name, or maybe it was more calculated – whatever the case may be..  this post isn’t to make you feel bad about past actions – it’s to challenge ourselves to be better.

The reality of the situation is that we aren’t going to like, agree with or even “approve” of every woman’s thoughts/actions/personality/etc. But there has to be a commitment made deep within us to respect every woman regardless. Just as we expect and deserve to be treated fairly and spoken to with kindness and looked at without judgement. We are better than pettiness and much higher than hate. We are women. It’s time to truly come together.

Like it or not, we are in this thing together! All of us. And not a single one of us is better than the other. If we can get past our insecurities, fears, prejudices, and egos we will realize that we need each other. And when we’re able to work together, support one another, and lift each other up we’ll see just how powerful God intended sisterhood to be.

There is so much space here for us all. We can all win. We can all be beautiful. We can all be successful. We can all be great sisters, friends, wives, mothers. We can all be exactly who we are without fear. We can all share our stories. We can..

So this week as you’re going about your beautiful life.. do so with mindfulness..

How can you be a better woman to your fellow women?

It’s in our daily actions that change comes about..

What can you do?

Much love to you all

xoxo

Tiffany