His Eye is on The Sparrow

sparrow

Matthew 10:29-31 Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.

Often I feel like I don’t matter and that my problems don’t matter to God. That is NOT true at all. If it matters to me it matters to God. He cares about me and he cares about my problems and my circumstances. He says in His word that He knows when a sparrow falls and to FEAR NOT! We are of more value than sparrows. If God knows when a small little bird falls, He knows what we need when we need it. It matters to him. We are important to Him!! We can go to Him with our problems, cares and worries!

Matthew 11:28 Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

God says in His word that he is a place of rest! He is also a refuge and a help when we are in trouble (Psalms 46:1). We can go to Him and be safe no matter what is bothering us. A refuge is shelter or protection from danger or trouble; a place that provides shelter or protection. Asking for help can be humbling. It is for me. I’m so independent and have been since birth. It’s a good habit that has it faults. Especially when it comes to asking for help when I need it. I still somehow think I can do it on my own.

1 Peter 5:6 & 7 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

God’s word tells us what to do. We just sometimes do not want bother Him. I feel that way often. I believe that what I feel or what I am going through isn’t worthy of God’s time, but that is wrong. God says so clearly in His word to cast all your cares on Him.

I woke up this morning with the song “Better than a Hallelujah” by Amy Grant on my mind. The words “We pour out our miseries God just hears a melody. Beautiful the mess we are the honest cries of breaking hearts are better than a hallelujah sometimes” just keep going through my mind over and over again this morning. I said God what are you trying to tell me. I started reading and all of the verses above just spoke to me. I don’t have to fear, I don’t have to worry or hurt. God can take that for me. He wants to or He wouldn’t have told us in His word to cast all your cares upon him for he cares for you.

better than a halleluiah

It’s a learning process every day as a Christian. I’m learning something new and understanding something more than I did before. I know now not to worry about taking anything to God, big or small, he will help me.

God Bless!!

Love from above,

Iva Mae

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What a Friend

prayer

The past few days have been so trying on me. Nothing really bad has happened but a lot of little things just building up. My mood has been sour and I’ve been hateful. I went to the grocery this morning and was upset that I went over budget. It may not seem much but the end of the month beginning of the month is tight. A lot of things come out and we don’t have much wiggle room. I was upset and worried. I turned on my Pandora station and started putting away groceries. The song What a Friend we have in Jesus came on and I started listening to the words and the first 2 lines just spoke to me. I started crying and  because how stupid I have been for not taking every little thing to God. Then I started praising God because I can take everything to him in prayer. I was so overwhelmed with love and the presence of God. As I started writing this 10-12 doves were on my garage roof and most ended up looking at me.  I couldn’t get a picture of all of them as when 2 would land 2-4 would fly off. It just made me so happy. I love to hear doves. God gives us signs if we look for them. I know this was my sign from God that everything will be okay.

Acts 6:4 “But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.”

This past week I’ve been lacking in my reading and praying. I’m thankful for the little things God gives us to remind us of His love and that he is here for us.

doves

WHAT A FRIEND

What a friend we have in Jesus, All our sins and griefs to bear! What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer.

O, what peace we often forfeit, O,what needless pain we bear, All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.

Check out the song by clicking the link below

http://youtu.be/8WbCjEBclEY

God bless!

Love from above,

Iva Mae

Death…but wait there’s hope!

Death is something we all have to face. We all have an appointment with it and we all will deal with it taking a loved one.

It is okay to be sad, to cry to grieve. It is natural. Jesus himself cried over the loss of his friend. (John 11:35)

I’ve seen my father cry, my uncles, both of my grandpas and many other men and women cry over the loss of someone they loved.

I never experienced what it was like to lose someone I was close to until 2011. I lost 2 people within 5 months of each other that I loved more than anything.

I got married on November 27, 2010. I was originally going to get married on June 11 of 2011. In 2009 my Grandma Nickels found out she had brain cancer as well as the lung cancer. In August of 2010 my Grandma got a report that her cancer was spreading and she decided not to take chemo or radiation. My Dad told me that with her condition and my Grandpa Wagoner’s failing condition that if I wanted them to be at my wedding I needed to have it before the end of the year. So we did. It was stressful putting a wedding together in a few short months but we did it. Both sets of my Grandparents were there. We got family pictures with them and as far as I know it is the last family picture that we have with them.

In January my Grandma’s health took a turn for the worse. June 8, 2011 she passed away peacefully with most of her family around her. My Grandpa was devastated. However, as soon as she passed away, my Grandpa started praising God! He lifted up his hands and said Thank you Lord for taking her home. He knew he’d get to see her again someday. He still misses her and I know that he cannot wait to see her again in Heaven.

October of 2010 my Grandpa fell in his bathroom and suffered some serious injuries. He was taken by ambulance to the hospital. He didn’t get better. His kidneys and other organs began to shut down. He was taken out of ICU on Monday night. He was supposed to go to Hospice but they didn’t think he would make the ride. They transferred him to another room where all of the family could be. My cousin and I went and got donuts for everyone from his favorite donut shop. We also got milk and OJ. All of us talked about the impact he had made on our lives. We said our goodbyes and I love you’s. He made it through the night, so Hospice came and took him to a nice room where he could be comfortable. All of his kids went home to take showers and get some rest. My Dad, my cousins Jennifer, Emily & Kammy and myself got to Hospice before anyone else arrived. Something told me to tell him it was okay. So I leaned over whispered in his ear, “Hey Papaw. It’s Whickemwhacker. I love you. You’re the best Grandpa a girl could ask for. It’s okay for you to go home. We’ll take good care of Grandma. I promise. Do you see all the angels? They’re here to take you to Jesus.” He took his final breath moments later. It was hard to say goodbye but I knew that Heaven was his home.

I became really depressed after he passed away. I felt alone. I had too much death too quick and I had no idea how to handle it. I hadn’t gotten over my Grandma Nickels passing away and now my Grandpa Wagoner was gone too. I dwelt on my sadness and sorrow. I became distant and unhappy. My Mom was staying with my Grandma Wagoner because she couldn’t be alone. Alzheimer’s has a way of taking independence along with many other things. I tried to help where I could with my Grandma and with my parents’ house. It was hard and it was hard seeing my family hurt.

One day something that my Aunt said after my Grandma passed away hit me. We need to pick up the mantle that she left. My Grandma was a prayer warrior. She prayed about everything! Everything! Big or small! She left it in God’s hands because that was the best place it could be. She loved everyone. She helped whoever she could whenever she could. She fed people, clothed them and loved them unconditionally. My Grandpa Wagoner helped people all the time. He gave people jobs, confidence and hope. He loved unconditionally as well. He stayed alive through the hurt and pain just to take care of my Grandma because he didn’t want to burden any of his kids with that.

Both of my Grandparents didn’t let sadness or problems doom them. They got back up and kept going. They wouldn’t want me to let sadness take over. They were true examples of what Christians should be. Now I try to love everyone unconditionally, even when it is hard and when it hurts. I try to show love instead of anger. I try to see situations through others’ eyes so I can understand. I believe that is what my Grandparents would want me to do. It is also what Jesus would want me to do.

I said all that to say this. Take time to grieve. However, don’t stay in that state. When someone you love passes away, pick up that mantle they left behind. Follow Jesus and love unconditionally. I have hope of seeing my Grandma and my Grandpa again someday. They were born again Christians and so am I. There is so much hope in that statement. Being a follower of Christ, we should try to live like Christ. It is easier to do if you have good, Godly examples to follow.

I pray for those who read this blog. I want you to know if you are hurting, God can help you. He can give you strength and carry your burdens.

Love in Christ!

Iva Mae

nickelsMamaw Nickels, Me, Kyle & Papaw Nickels

Wagoner

Memaw Wagoner, Me & Pepaw Wagoner

On another note I’d forgotten how much weight I’d gained before I got married! I’m down like 30lbs from that pic haha

God where are you?!

We’ve all wondered where God is sometimes. It seems like he isn’t anywhere. We know he is there but he feels so far away. The past several months I’ve felt dead inside. I knew God was there but I couldn’t feel him. I felt so lost, so broken and so afraid. I’ve been going through a spiritual battle. Literally there is a spiritual battle in my home. I have felt the presence of evil in my own home.

The other night my husband was gone and it was just me and my dog, Bandit. We were in the kitchen. I had just washed dishes and was getting ready to put some more things away. All of a sudden I got a horrible feeling and my dog took off running and ran and his on the couch. I went to him to see what was wrong and he was shaking. I sat with him for a moment and the feeling came back but this time it was stronger and I could literally feel a horrible evil in my home. My dog saw something and watched something walk across the living and the something stopped directly in front of us. I immediately got down on my knees and started praying. I asked God for protection of our home. I asked that if there was anything in our home that was not of God, that it be removed and be made known it was not welcome in Jesus name. I prayed and I honestly do not even know what else I prayed. Words flowed from my mouth and peace overcame me and my dog. As I knelt at the couch and prayed he laid down beside me and closed his eyes. After I was done praying a verse came to my mind. Matthew 19:26 “…With God all things are possible.”

 

I wrote it my fridge calendar and underlined ALL. I stood in my kitchen listening to a song and I lifted my hands, sang, praised and worshiped God. I felt his presence and was overwhelmed with joy all I could do was cry. I had peace in my heart for the fist time in a long time.

Believe it or not but it happened. I’ve been pressed down and felt like I was in chains of sadness and doubt. My heart was broken and I felt trampled. Things may not be perfect but they are getting better and I am thankful! The song Find You On My Knees by Kari Jobe came to mind.

 

prayer

Find You On My Knees – Kari Jobe

Troubles chasing me again, breaking down my best defense, I’m looking. God I’m looking for you.

Weary just won’t let me rest, fear is filling up my head, I’m longing. God I’m longing for you. But I will

Find you in this place I’m in, find you when I’m at my end. Find you when there’s nothing left of me to offer you except for brokenness. You lift me up, you never leave me thirsty.When I am weak, when I am lost and searching. I’ll find you on my knees.

So what if sorrow shakes my faith? What if heartache still remains? I’ll trust you. My God I’ll trust you. ‘Cause you are faithful. And I will find you in the place I’m in. Find you when there’s nothing left of me to offer you except for brokenness. You lift me up, you never leave me thirsty. When I am weak when I am lost and searching. Find you on my knees.

When my hope is gone, when the fear is strong, when the pain is real and it’s hard to feel. When my faith is shaken and my heart is broken and my joy is stolen God I know that you lift me up you never leave me searching.

Find you in this place I’m in, find you when I’m at my end. Find you when there’s nothing left of me to offer you except for brokenness. You lift me up, you never leave me thirsty.When I am weak, when I am lost and searching. I’ll find you on my knees. 

This song speaks to me. So what, IF sorrow shakes my faith? So WHAT, IF heartache still remains? I’ll TRUST YOU. MY GOD, I’LL TRUST YOU. I will trust God! He never leaves me thirsty or searching. Other things in life do but not God. He is my healer, my savior, my love, my life, my joy, my hope and my salvation! So even when everything is falling apart God is allowing that so he can pick up the pieces and put them back together better than my attempt. He makes the pieces fit even when think they cannot.

 

 

URGENT CALL TO PRAY

I’ve been reading about Christians being beheaded, buried alive, being threatened to be crucified if they do not convert to Islam. The ones who fled from their homes cannot go back or they will be killed.

prayer

We need to earnestly pray for these people. My heart is breaking for them. There is pure evil being unleashed in this world and I believe that it is only going to get worse.

Let’s band together and pray that God will give these Christians strength through their persecution and that this genocide will stop.

Check out the links below to find out more about what is going on.

http://au.ibtimes.com/articles/562265/20140811/iraq-beheading-children-christian-genocide.htm#.U-oMRmODf1U

http://au.ibtimes.com/articles/562237/20140811/isis-iraq-christians-genocide-pope-francis.htm#.U-p8c2ODf1U

 

 

Mirrors, Relfections and God

We all have days where we feel bad about ourselves and we pick ourselves apart piece by piece when we look in the mirror. That’s why I hate mirrors. If we aren’t careful we can lose all vision of who we truly are and only focus on the outward appearance. I’ve been guilty and getting back is hard!

mirrordistorted reflection

All of my life I’ve struggled with my appearance, my weight, my height and my identity. It all started in middle school/junior high. I was tall and skinny. My nose was too big for my face and I was awkward. I never quite fit in and always felt out of place. It’s funny in a way because at times I still feel like I don’t fit in. I can be in a room full of people and still feel alone and out of place. (That’s another story for another day)

I felt like maybe if I was skinnier that people would like me. I would eat lunch in the cafeteria and then go to the bathroom and throw it up. Sometimes I’d use it as an excuse to go home because I didn’t want to be at school. I hated it that much. I used to be embarrassed by it but it’s a part of my life. Throwing up so much damaged the enamel on my teeth and I still deal with getting cavities easily today as a result of that.

Once I got to High School I just wouldn’t eat. I had gone from a size 3 to a 7 from my Freshman year to my Sophomore year. I felt like I was too fat and that I needed to get the weight off. The worse part of it was that years later when I told someone about it they didn’t believe me. The next year couple years of school I ate. What I ate was not so healthy. I had bagels 2x a day with fatty cream cheese and 4-6 cookies from the cafeteria. I drank tons of soda and didn’t walk or get in any exercise. I started packing on the pounds. I’ve never been athletic and I didn’t play sports in school. I was basically a couch potato.

bulimia

I’ve never really enjoyed eating meat growing up. I never really liked the taste of it (Something I still struggle with today). When I would eat it in high school it would be at fast food restaurants like Taco Bell or it would be deep fried at Wendy’s or KFC. My friends and I would frequently go to Taco Bell after school and hang out. I would then go home and eat dinner again. It was a vicious cycle. I was diagnosed with cancer at the end of my Junior year. I had a couple of surgeries and the last one they removed the tumor along with the small bone above my ankle bone. Thank God, God healed me and I didn’t have to go through the chemo or amputations. This added to me being sedentary. I couldn’t walk anywhere far and if I had to go far someone pushed me in a wheel chair.

I was in size 11’s and 13’s by my senior year. To add to the weight gain from being sedentary and from eating so poorly I was on prednisone for my asthma for an entire year. It added to the weight gain. I had no idea how much weight I had gained until I watched a video of me from a class assignment and I was mortified! I had a gut and a roll hanging over my jean skirt. It was shocking and embarrassing. It was near the end of Senior year. My friend and I had our picture taken in our graduation outfits and it was posted in the year book. My face was so large I was unrecognizable to myself. I saw the picture and thought that the girl in the picture couldn’t possibly be me.

That summer I went into depression and didn’t really leave the house much. I started college in the fall. The campus was spread out really far and all my classes were in different buildings and different floors. I walked everywhere and walked up and down 3-4 flights a stairs several times every day. Before I knew it, I had lost a lot of weight and was healthy again. I started eating in moderation and had a sensible lunch every day. I was so happy and proud of myself! My entire time at school I always took the stairs over the elevator. I was doing great. I met a guy we dated for a couple years and eventually it ended. I was devastated over the circumstances of it and quit eating. I thought I was too fat and that is why he didn’t love me. I lost 30+lbs and at one point weighed 120. I am 5’ 7 ½“ and should weigh around 145 or so. I went from 8’s and 10’s to 6’s and 4’s. I was unhealthy. When I chose to eat, my body rejected it from not eating. Eventually I got better and unfortunately started in this pattern of fast food again. I also got a full time job where I sat down all day long. I was used to walking all over downtown going on errands and such. I started talking to this guy and we hit it off. We started hanging out after my night classes and would go by McDonald’s and grab some food. I started packing on the pounds. We got married less than a year later! I was so happy to marry this guy who was my best friend and the love of my life. (We are still happily married 4 years later!)

meandkylewedding

I looked at myself in my wedding dress and was shocked at how big I had gotten again. My husband and I lived with my parents because he lost his job right before we got married. He was having a hard time finding anything. 7 months after we got married, my Grandma passed away in June. Then in November my Grandpa passed away. I was devastated by both but more so after my Grandpa died. We weren’t expecting it. He fell and 2 weeks later he was gone. He was my best friend. I thought the world of him. I spent every day of my childhood at his house. Almost every dinner was at his house. I didn’t know how to manage that. My Mom had to start taking care of my Grandma. She has Alzheimer’s. She spent the night at her house almost every night. She eventually had to quit her job to take care of her full time. I started helping more around the house. The car my husband and I just bought had the engine blow, and then a few months later the transmission went. Needless to say it was stressful. I turned to desserts and food for comfort.

At my heaviest I was 190lbs. I am not sure my current weight but am guessing it is somewhere in the 160lbs range. I am currently trying to get healthy and get the rest of the weight off that isn’t healthy for me. I need to lose about 15lbs to get to where my doctor wants my BMI to be. I take long walks every day with my dog. I am trying to kick soda and fast food. I would like to get down to 145lbs this year and do it the healthy way. No more not eating and no more throwing my food up. I know I need to eat healthy food and exercise to be healthy. God gave us life and bodies. Our bodies are our temples. We should take care of them and love them. Both of those are hard to do sometimes.

meatheaviest

1 Corinthians 6:19 “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?”

I’ve struggled with loving myself but until I did I couldn’t love my husband the way God intended me to. I still struggle some days with my appearance but at the end of the day what matters is that God loves me for exactly who I am and he sees me for who I am. He sees my soul and knows my heart.

Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.”

Romans 5:8 “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

1 John 4:10 “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”

The above verses tell us God formed us, he loved us so much even when we were sinners that he sent his only son to die for us so we could go to Heaven and live forever if we accept his son and believe that he is God’s son and that he died for us and rose again on the third day. We also must confess that we are sinners and ask for forgiveness.

I invite you to examine your heart and ask God to help you love yourself and see yourself in his eyes. For you ladies, if you are going through any of the same things I have please get help. I was lucky to get through it on my own. I am not going to lie, there are days where I honestly consider not eating to get the weight off or eating whatever I want then throwing it up. No matter how much weight is off sometimes I can’t see myself as looking any different and all I see is me being heavy. Don’t let anyone convince you that it is normal. It is not healthy and can be super damaging to your health. I still have days where I don’t want to eat and days where I want to make myself throw up my lunch. (It feels weird just admitting that because I’ve told no one that) Anorexia and Bulimia are eating disorders and you can get help. See the link below.

http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/find-help-support

It’s hard to see yourself as you truly are when your body image is distorted in your mind. I know. I feel that way a lot of days. It’s getting easier but it is a process. Know if you have an eating disorder you are not alone. There are people who will support you to help you get through it and to get healthy again. I am one of those people! Don’t let anyone make you feel that you aren’t beautiful for being heavy or being too skinny. Be healthy and your body will look the way nature intended it to. We are all beautiful no matter our story or the way we look. God sees us as beautiful and he loves us.

anorexia

One of the best things is to find a hobby. Find something you love doing and do it! Read, bike, walk, run, cook, bake, sing, dance, knit, crochet, craft, write stories, get a journal and write your feelings, paint, take up a musical instrument, take classes at your local community college, draw, collect rocks, collect stamps… you get the point. It helps relieve pain and gives you an outlet for your energy and for your mind to focus.

I love to cook, bake, craft, read and take walks with my dog. Doing all of those things, helps me to feel like me and to feel happy. Finding happiness is so important! Another important key to happiness is having a relationship with God. He can carry your burdens and pick you up when you fall. If you don’t have one, I encourage you to have a relationship with God. It’s the best decision I’ve ever made. My life hasn’t been free of problems but God has made them easier when I let him take them for me.

I invite you to follow me on my journey to health and happiness! I am going to try to start posting recipes and workouts and tips. I hope you will join me on my journey!

Love from above!

Iva Mae

 

 

When My Heart is Overwhelemed

psalm61

Psalm 61:2 “…When my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”

I love when you’re going through something and a verse pops into your head. I’m beyond my breaking point in a certain situation. My husband and Mom have been reassuring me that everything will work out but I cannot see how.

I was thinking about how overwhelmed I’ve been and Psalm 61:2 popped into my head. I was sitting at my desk and started to cry. It was just like a breath of fresh air. I felt like God was reminding me to give my burdens to him because he can handle them. I know that no matter the outcome whether the situation is resolved or not, God will help me through it. If the situation isn’t changed he will give me the strength to get through each and every day.

I have to believe that change is ahead for me and that a new door of opportunity will be opened and the doors that need to be closed will be closed.

doors

Job 36:15 “He delivereth the poor in his affliction, and openeth their ears in oppression.”

While I’m waiting for God to move I need to keep my ears and heart open to listen to what God has to say. Sometimes we busy ourselves so much we don’t take time to listen to what God is saying. We miss Him reaching out to us because we are so caught up in our lives.

Maybe all this time I’ve missed the little reminders that God is with me and that he is working on it because I’ve been too caught up in my situation.

Psalm 62:5 “My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him.”

change your heart

Sometimes God doesn’t change our situations because he’s trying to change our hearts. That sometimes is the hardest words to swallow. They are bitter and hard to chew.

humblepie

I think I’m going to have another serving of humble pie! If you think of me pray for me that God will move and change my situation or change my heart about it.

Wishing you many blessings!

Love from above,

Iva Mae