Seasons

the_four_seasons___vivaldi_by_irvinggfm-d4tj3vc

There are four seasons in a year. Depending on where you live it may seem like there are only 1 or 2. I live in Ohio and there are 4 distinct seasons, usually.

I find good in all of them but Winter is my least favorite. It is cold, you can’t do anything outside and it can be rough to drive in. To me it seems like Winter lasts forever. I’m so busy focusing on when Spring is coming that I don’t stop and take in the season I am in.

We do this often in our lives as well. We are so focused on getting out of our current life season that we can miss God in our current season. He is there with us even in the ugly. He is with us even if it seems like our season will never end. Right now I am in an ugly season. A season of pain, heartache and no understanding. I’ve been in this season for nearly a year. I don’t speak of it to anyone not even my husband. I just keep it to myself, because that is what I do. I so desperately want to move on to the next season of my life but it hasn’t happened yet.

I’ve spent so much time being upset about not being able to have a child, that I’ve missed so much. This is a time for just my husband and I. Once we have kids, there will never be a time like this again. We won’t be able to just pick up, hop in the car or on the motorcycle and go. There will be no more snuggles on the couch with just us and the dog. No more sleeping in together on Saturdays. It will be harder for us to focus on just us. It will be harder on our marriage.

I’ve been realizing this more and more here lately. The pain is still there, there’s an ache for something I very well may never have. This is a season in my life that may never pass or it may pass in a few years. I have missed God in this season too. I’ve been so focused on getting out of this, that I haven’t had my focus on God. I’ve missed God in so many things that He has done for me.

This season in my life is for a purpose! It will draw me closer to God and change me. I can use this season to help someone else. God has a plan for my life. Sometimes it doesn’t feel like it. It feels like God doesn’t understand or care about the pain we are going through.

Does Jesus even know what it feels like to have this pain or sorrow?

The answer is yes. John 11:35 “Jesus wept.” Jesus felt pain and sorrow over the death of his friend.

Does He know what is like? Does He care?

Yes! Hebrews 4:15-16 “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”

We can come boldly before the throne so we can obtain MERCY and GRACE in the time of need. It says in verse 15 Jesus knows what it is like he was tempted, yet he sinned not!

Satan will do everything he can to destroy us to keep us from having a purposeful life in Christ. He doesn’t want us to succeed. He wants us to be distracted by what may seem like failures, faults, pains, sorrows, hurts, problems, trying to get out of our current season and feelings of hopelessness. He will whisper how that God doesn’t care about your stupid problems. He will whisper lies of how no one can help you and that God doesn’t know what you’re going through. He wants to isolate you, distract you. Tranquilize you if you will so he can reek havoc.

We can miss God in every season because we are so worried about getting to that next season and next point in our lives.

My church’s Vacation Bible School was on Joseph this year. Genesis 38-48

Joseph went through many negative seasons in his life. He was loved by his father and was given a special gift, a coat of many colors. His brothers wanted to destroy him. They took his coat, threw him in a pit and sold him as a slave. They made their father believe that he was dead. They covered his coat with animal blood.

I couldn’t help but think about how that Satan tries to destroy your gift and you. He will do anything to destroy you. He will make you feel isolated from THE Father. He will attack your passion, your hope, your family, your prayer life, your health and many other things to prevent you from doing what God has called you to do. What God has created you to do.

After Joseph was sold into slavery, his master’s wife accused him of rape. She tried to get him to sleep with her and he said no, so as punishment for not getting what she wanted, she accused him of rape. When he said no, he turned to run away and she grabbed his coat off of him. She used that as evidence that he was there. Poor Joseph couldn’t keep his coats on. Someone was always trying to take them off of him!

Joseph ended up in prison. He spent several years there. God used him even in this season of his life. Even in the ugly, God showed up! Joseph ended up being in prison who two of Pharaoh’s men. He interpreted a dream for them. The one promised Joseph he would remember him but he forgot about Joseph until the Pharaoh had a dream. The man remembered that Joseph could interpret dreams. They pulled Joseph out of prison and he interpreted the dream for Pharaoh. Pharaoh made Joseph second in command and put him in charge of the food storehouse.

Joseph went from being sold into slavery, put into prison for several years and finally made second in command to Pharaoh. This all allowed him to take care of his family during a horrible drought. Joseph didn’t focus on trying to get out of the season he was in to get to the next even though he was imprisoned. Satan tried to destroy Joseph. He used his family and his “owner’s” wife to try to put an end to what Joseph’s calling was.

No matter how long  the season you are in may seem. It may seem like it is never ending, know that it will be over and look for God while you wait for the next season. Know your season will serve a purpose. Use it to grow closer to God! Become a stronger Christian. Fight on your knees! Prayer is the best weapon we have.

Love from above,

Iva Mae

 

 

 

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God’s Will?

giving thanks

I recently read a verse in my bible that reached out of the page and slapped me. It cut me. It made me angry because I knew it was true.

The verse was 1 Thessalonians 5:18 “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

I read that and thought oh yah?!? Really?!?! I should be thankful for all the crap we have been going through recently?! This is stupid! I am not thankful for this pain, the burdens, the worrying or anything else! I was angry. I was not happy. I was full of rage. My husband was upset and feeling down and when he hurts I feel the pain. I hate to seem him upset. It kills me. I just wanted to hold him and take all the pain away and make it better but I couldn’t.

I couldn’t understand why God would allow us to have our “bottom” fall out. One thing after another kept happening. I got pregnant then lost the baby. Kyle left his job of 2 years for another job that was supposed to give great benefits and supposed to be great, and it wasn’t. My car decided that it no longer wanted to be alive and started falling apart and we didn’t have the money to fix it. My husband was struggling with not feeling like he was a provider and feeling upset about his job situation. The devil had launched a full blown attack on our home and I was angry at God for it. Even writing this makes me feel embarrassed that I was mad at the wrong person. It’s like DUH IVA!! Hello McFly!!

That is what Satan does. He uses smoke and mirrors to distract us. He is really good at his job. We have to be ready for him. We’re constantly in war. He will do whatever he can to destroy us from doing what we are called to do for God. He doesn’t want us to succeed. He wants to use our failures, past sins, downfalls and mistakes as ways to keep us from moving forward. He will bring up the past and make you feel like God can’t forgive you of your sins. John 10:10 “The thief (Satan) cometh not, but to steal, and to kill and to destroy…”

The bible clearly states that Satan has come to steal. He will steal things like your joy, your peace of mind, your happiness, your health, your finances and whatever else he can get his grimy nasty claws on. He will kill your ministry, your relationships, and try to take your life.He ultimately wants to destroy you.

The second part of John 10:10 says …I (Christ) have come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

Jesus died for us so that we could live. He was tortured and beaten for you and me. He performed miracles, including calming the raging sea.

I’ve seen little pictures and blurbs around the internet that say Jesus either calms the storm or he calms his child. I think that sometimes he does both.

I’ve always loved the stories in the bible where Jesus calmed the storms. They are some of my favorite ones. Matthew 8:23-27 talks about such an instance. Verse 24 says “And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep.”

I love that last part, but he was asleep. The storms were raging, the boat was filling with water, fears were high, there was chaos all around and Jesus was asleep. The next verse talks about how the disciples awoke him and said Jesus save us!!! He immediately said (vs 26)”Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.”

Sometimes it seems like God doesn’t see what we are going through. It feels like he doesn’t care and that he is a million miles away. That isn’t true. He does care and he will help you through these storms and give you the strength you need to get through. Sometimes he is quiet. I’ve always heard that a teacher is quiet during a test.

When I was about 5 years old, I was outside swinging on my swing set like most 5 year old girls like to do. I probably had a stuffed animal and had been picking dandelions. A drunk man came from the back of our property and came up close to the house where I was swinging. He didn’t say anything. He just looked at me and my danger alarms started going off. I started screaming to the top of my lungs for my Daddy. My mom came out and the guy kept walking and walked down the road. My Dad wasn’t there, he was at church that evening. Even though my Daddy wasn’t there, I wanted him because I knew he would keep me safe. He went through the park minutes later when he got back home and kicked ever beer can he could find looking for that man.

When I was about 6 we went Easter egg hunting in the park. My Daddy took me and they lined all of the kids up on the spray painted line. They blew the whistle signaling the start of the hunt. All the kids took off. I did too because I was so excited to get some candy and stickers. That didn’t happen though. Most of the kids started pushing and shoving other kids. Every egg I reached for someone took. Someone even took an egg right out of my hand. My Daddy came over to me and grabbed my hand and walked me back to the truck and we went home. He had enough of that and he could see me getting upset.

God is that way too. He sees what we’ve gone through. Just because he doesn’t come when you first call for him to save you doesn’t mean that he doesn’t hear you or that he doesn’t care. Daddys are good for holding our hands and holding us making us feel safe. Even to this day I still feel that love and that his arms are a safe place to be when he hold me.

God answered mine and Kyle’s prayers and our bottom isn’t falling out anymore. All the hardships and all the tears shed and the worry and fear and anger is mostly gone. We always worry a little too much about some things, but for the most part God has given us that peace that passeth all understanding. There isn’t understanding sometimes.

My husband Kyle got an opportunity to work for a Christian man. This man and his wife are wonderful people. He gets to work with two other guys who are also Christians. They pray before going to work and get devotions to read. God laid this job in our laps. I love divine plans. His timing is truly perfect. I also got a new car thanks to my parents. They are amazing and bless me. God has blessed us so much! The other prayer that we have been praying about, a baby, hasn’t happened yet but if it is God’s will it will. It will be perfect as well.

May God bless you all!

Iva Mae

 

 

 

 

Don’t Give Up

baby

I thought for sure by now that God would have answered my prayers. I don’t even know where to begin with where life has taken me these past few months. I’ve been desperately wanting something. Praying for something and it hasn’t happened.

I was reading my daily devotion today and it was like my eyes were opened it and I felt a peace. I’m reading Elisha: A Tale of Ridiculous Faith in my Bible Ap. I love it! I get something out of every day’s devotion. Today’s was on a miracle of Elisha. 2 miracles happened in this section of scripture I was reading (2 Kings 4:3-37). 1. Elisha told the Shunammite woman she would have a baby 2. Elisha brought the child back to life when he had died.

I’ve read this story many times. I failed to notice that it took Elisha 2x to bring the child back to life. I’ve never noticed that before. The devotional content talked about the fact that it didn’t happen the first time Elisha tried to bring the child back to life. It asked, how many times have we been in Elisha’s position? We’ve prayed and asked God for something knowing that he would do it, but it hasn’t happened yet. It may not happen for months or years. Don’t give up or lose heart! Just because you aren’t successful the first time doesn’t mean that God will not answer your prayer! God knows best and he knows what the best timing would be for what you have asked for.

I have wanted a baby for a long time. When people would ask me when my husband and I were going to have kids, I’d just give the answer that my dog was my baby and he was the only baby I needed. In my heart I was angry that someone would ask. I felt like they were saying I wasn’t whole without a baby but truth was that, that was how I felt. I felt like I wasn’t whole. It has taken me some time to realize that even if I never have  a baby, God makes me whole. It is God who completes me.

A few weeks ago I went to the alter because God was dealing with me about me being angry. I was angry for several reasons. 1. I wanted a baby. 2. I was pregnant but not long after I knew I was I lost it. I didn’t understand why God would take something from me that I wanted so badly. All of my cousins had babies. Most of my friends had them as well and I couldn’t understand why they could but I couldn’t.

I told my Daddy at the alter why I wanted to pray. He said baby, remember Hannah. He anointed me and asked God to give me the desires of my heart. It still has happened yet, but I am not giving up! I haven’t shared this with anyone but my close friends and my immediate family. I hate sharing my feelings because I hate when people feel sorry for you. I hate that! Don’t judge me, it is just the way that I am. I felt compelled to share this because I have read 3 different things about waiting for something that you have asked God for. I think a lot people are in similar situations. They may not be in the exact same situation but are in a waiting period in their lives.

If you are in a waiting period, do not give up. Don’t be angry at God. Realize that He knows what is best for us and in Hid timing our prayers will be answered. For now cling onto that hope from Psalms 37:4. Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.

This is the verse I am praying and clinging to.

May God Bless you!

Love from above,

Iva Mae

Battle Plan

theif

Satan is a thief and a liar. He steals things from us. He lies to us. He wants to destroy us.

He is here to steal, kill & destroy. His ultimate goal is to destroy you and keep you from your purpose. He loves when he trips us up. He knows exactly where to hit us, how to hit us and what weapon to use that will cause the most damage. That is why it is important to have a battle plan. We are at war. We are in a spiritual war.

ephesians6We are at war with principalities, powers, rulers of the darkness of this world and spiritual wickedness in high places.

Anyone going into battle, has a plan. A battle plan, a strategy to defeat the enemy. Ephesians 6:11-18

Do not stress or worry! There is good news! The enemy will lose the war! Jesus wins in the end! He died for us. He bore the weight of our sins. He has the keys to death, hell and the grave. (Revelation 1:18)

Ephesians 6:11-18 describes the type of battle we are in and how to protect yourself.

Verse 11 says to put on the whole armour of God that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day and having done all, to stand .

What is the whole armour of God?

  1. loins girt about with truth
  2. Breastplate of righteousness
  3. feet shod with the gospel of peace
  4. shield of faith to quench the fiery darts of the wicked
  5. helmet of salvation
  6. Sword of the spirit -word of God

Verse 18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

 All of the above help us in our battles. Lately my focus has been on prayer. I used to dread praying because I never knew what to say. I felt like I wasn’t giving it my all when praying. I started writing my prayers and saying them like I meant it and things have been changing. I don’t have a space that I can go in and shut the door but my laundry room is my space where I can be alone with God even if it is for a few minutes.

Prayer changes things and it is a good weapon against Satan. I’ve been  reading a book called Fervent: A Woman’s Battle Plan to Serious, Specific and Strategic Prayer by Priscilla Shirer. It has changed my perspective on prayer. I needed this book to help me see where I was lacking in prayer and to realize that my passion for prayer was gone. Each chapter has a strategy that Satan uses and how you should pray to overcome each obstacle, temptation and problem he throws at you.

I challenge any woman reading this to get a copy of this book. Being specific and having a plan of action in prayer are important!

I come from a family of pray-ers. I don’t think that is a word but it is now. My Mamaw Nickels could pray for anything or anyone. I knew God heard that woman’s prayers. I used to love being at hers and Papaw’s house when they prayed. I loved listening to their prayers. They always were so thankful and they prayed with passion and all their might. They prayed at their couch. My Dad is another praying man. I used to sneak up on the stairs when he would go upstairs to get away and pray so I could sneak a listen to him praying. I didn’t know until recently that he did the same thing to his Dad (Papaw Nickels) when he was younger. My Grandpa Wagoner would always get so choked up when praying over a meal. He was so thankful for all of the family and you could tell that he was thankful. It always made me cry. I used to sit with my Grandma Wagoner sometimes in church. She was a silent pray-er but she always cried and knelt in the pew and I felt that she was praying with all her heart. My Mom used to help me prayer as a kid. She taught me to say the prayer for food and to pray for my family. I am so grateful that she did.

I believe it is important to have good Godly examples in your life that you can look up to. People that have it and make you want to have it too. I am thankful for my family.

I am grateful for the book that I am reading (Fervent) and how it  has changed my prayer life. Reading has made a little light bulb go off in my head. It has finally clicked!

I challenge each and every one of you to make a battle plan in prayer and make sure that you wear the full armour of God.

Love from above!

Iva Mae

It Is Well

it-is-well-with-my-soul

So let go my soul and trust in Him. The waves and wind still know His name.

2 Kings 4:26 Run now, I pray thee, to meet her, and say unto her, Is it well with thee? is it well with thy husband? is it well with the child? And she answered, It is well.

I love the story in 2 Kings 4. My summary of the story in 2 Kings 4 is this:

Elisha the prophet went through the town of Shunam quite a bit. A Shunammite woman always offered bread to Elisha when he would pass by. He came that way so much that her and her husband made him a bed at their house for him to stay when he came by that way. The man and woman found favor in Elisha’s eyes. Elisha told them she would have a son within the year and she did just like he said. When he was older, he fell ill and died. The Shunammite woman laid him on Elisha’s bed in their house and got on a donkey to go to Elisha. Her husband asked why she was going to see Elisha and she answered IT IS WELL. When she got close, Elisha saw her and sent his servant to get her. Elisha’s servant asked if everything was okay she replied IT IS WELL. Even thought her little son had died, she said it is well. She fell before Elisha’s feet. He knew something was wrong and she was “vexed in her soul”. She asked him did she not desire a son and to not deceive her. Elisha knew something was wrong with her son so he and the woman traveled back to her house, where he saw the boy was dead. He prayed to God & the child came back to life.

What gets me about this story, is that the Shunammite woman continually said IT IS WELL. Her circumstances were horrible. She lost the son that God had given her, but she refused to let that bring her down. I’ve said it before but attitude can make such a HUGE difference in your life.

I think sometimes in life we focus so much on the circumstances. We become blinded by all the bad things, unhappiness and the negativity that we forget that God can help us. We take on a poor attitude and outlook (I’m so guilty of this). The Shunammite woman was heartbroken! Her son that she never expected to have had died. Loosing a child would be devastating. She knew the only way she would get through and the only way to get help was to go to the man of God.

My soul has been weary and unsettled. I just feel burnt out and exhausted. I have had a bad attitude and have been in a bad overall mood for a long time. I was praying this morning, God please help me in my time of unhappiness and heartache I can’t take this anymore! The song It Is Well With My Soul came to mind. I LOVE when God speaks to me like that. I started singing it to myself. Then I looked it up on YouTube because I couldn’t remember the words. I am horrible with remembering words to songs! I listened to the Hymn version and saw a video It Is Well by Kristene DiMarco & Bethel Music. I listened to it and was just overwhelmed with peace. I loved the line “So let go my soul and trust in Him. The waves and wind still know His name.” It just spoke to me. No matter how the storms may rage in my life God still has power over them! The winds and oceans have to obey God. He is in control and I can say IT IS WELL!

I have a hard time of letting go sometimes. I try to take things on myself. I am strong-willed and independent. I hate for anyone to do something for me, I’d rather just do it myself. I struggle a lot with letting go and letting God handle my circumstances. In the past few years I’ve learned more and more how to do this. I just feel like I’m burdening God with things that are silly or don’t matter. God cares about me and he cares about what I am going through. He loves us. He loves us so much, he gave his ONLY son to die on a cross for OUR sins. We just have to get over ourselves and surrender to him. Even though circumstances haven’t changed, I know God can change them. If he doesn’t, he will get me through! I know God hears my prayers! There is peace in that alone. Through it all I am going to say IT IS WELL!!

Below is a link to the YouTube version of It Is Well by Kristene DiMarco & Bethel Music as well as a link to It Is Well (Elisha’s Song) by the Isaacs

God bless!

Iva Mae

It Is Well by Kristene DiMarco & Bethel Music

https://youtu.be/YNqo4Un2uZI

It Is Well (Elisha’s Song) by The Isaacs

https://youtu.be/w87KlbHCZJw

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

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