Careful of the ‘I- knew-you-when’ caterpillars, these kind like to remind you of your past, feel intimidated by your present and clip your wings lest you dare think you could fly. #beautifulcourageousyou #pastthepassed #newcreation
Final cover design for Beautiful Courageous You, (BCY) due to be released by Westbow Press in June! Watch this space for updates and beautiful giveaways as we start hosting our online community: Beauty and Courage Network, a place to come and share images that inspire beauty or courage within you, share your images on your social media and the BCY Instagram or Facebook and tag with #beautifulcourageousyou for chance to win… also to simply inspire others with what inspires you!
I am so blessed to have the opportunity to speak into women and young girls lives. Now I pray this writing will grow wings and fly into the hearts of every woman and young girl that needs a lift up out of despair and into the heights of joy unspeakable X
It is of great comfort to rest in the thought that pain, trouble, calamity, in whatever form it may come, brings with it great blessings that we might not ever have had were we not willing to walk a mile with Sorrow. L.B Cowman writes;
” Many of the richest blessing’s which have come down to us from the past are the fruit of sorrow or pain”
I walked a mile with Pleasure,
She chattered all the way;
But left me none the wiser
For all she had to say.
I walked a mile with Sorrow,
And ne’er a word said she;
But, oh, the things I learned from her
When sorrow walked with me.(cited from “Streams in the Desert” by L.B. Cowman)
May you be encouraged to stand fast on the promises of God that while there may be pain in the night, joy comes in the morning. x
There’s no escaping this layer of affliction called ‘life’, there comes a point in time however, when you must decide to either allow the darkness to overtake your life and become a victim of your circumstances or you can choose to courageously move against your fears, face every situation and determine to push on knowing that God is with you, His presence within us is our assurance that we can live in peace.
His peace is not just for getting through the tough times, but He has promised us perfect peace and contentment all the days of our lives. Where do we find this peace, this lasting cure for fear? In his book “The Sheperd’s Rod; Volume XV11”, Bobby Conner puts it like this: “This is the pattern we need to learn: As we turn our inner focus, our will, to Christ and place our affections on Him, adjusting our thoughts to the Word, we will discover abiding peace.” The Sheperds Rod: Volume XVII page 60
Although the scriptures admonish us to keep our minds on that which is Truth, this is easier said than done. In light of birthing our stillborn baby boy , my relationship with God became, fractured, to say the least, I knew I was supposed to face up to my fears with faith but instead of facing up to them I was overtaken by fear about ‘everything’!.
As days and weeks passed I slipped into a deep depression and eventually my faith was all but gone. As I write in view of hindsight I can see where the situation that I thought was going to swallow me up has become my greatest victory, the truth has set my anxious heart free, for indeed Jesus stated that we shall know the truth and the truth will set us free (John 8:32) Let me encourage you, whatever you are facing that threatens to overcome you, you will get through this and be an even more magnificent you… a beautiful, strong reflection of His Glory. YOU are an overcomer The Message version puts it like this:
Every God-begotten person conquers the world’s ways. The conquering power that brings the world to its knees is our faith. The person who wins out over the world’s ways is simply the one who believes Jesus is the Son of God. (1 John 5;5)
Now tune into Mandisa’s smash hit ‘Overcomer’ and start doin some ‘overcoming’ 😉 x
It’s a Good Thing to Hope for Help from God
I’ll never forget the trouble, the utter lostness,
the taste of ashes, the poison I’ve swallowed.
I remember it all—oh, how well I remember—
the feeling of hitting the bottom.
But there’s one other thing I remember,
and remembering, I keep a grip on hope:
God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out,
his merciful love couldn’t have dried up.
They’re created new every morning.
How great your faithfulness!
I’m sticking with God (I say it over and over).
He’s all I’ve got left.
Lamentations 3; 21-24 (MSG Version)
In recent times I have come across many people that are busy with performance, busy with measuring up to the worlds plumb line of success, busy people pleasing, wearing ‘busy’ like a badge, like it’s a status to be coveted. In prayer and pondering I asked the Lord to speak to me about this busyness… should I be more busy so as to soak in the success pool? Here’s what I believe He whispered; ‘they keep themselves ‘purposely busy’ while I have created you to be ‘busy about your purpose’, your purpose is to love and be loved, Kingdom success is measured by how well you love’. This brought such a peace to my soul, and reminded me of the words penned by Paul in 1 Corinthians 13;
The Way of Love
If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.
If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing.
If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love. (MSG Version)
Lately it’s been on my heart to share an excerpt from my book, may you be encouraged that no matter how tough life gets there is ALWAYS Hope… always x
Overwhelmed with fear and alone I found myself calling on God, my God the God I had abandoned, the God I didn’t need. All the while I had been trying to do life my way, He was there waiting for me to come running back into His arms, all of my effort and strength was gone all I had left was to surrender to the hope that I once knew. Hope in God was buried deep within my spirit, early years of Sunday school had planted seeds of hope that somehow, someway there was a divine meaning to my life. As I turned my thoughts back to God, I cried out to the unseen, somehow I knew He was in the room with me as a profound peace swept over my being.
My broken heart carried a pain so deep that I could hardly breathe, still in grief from my father’s death, in shock from the promiscuity of *Jake and now I lay waiting, hoping for a miracle… the survival of my twin babies. Somehow that night my hurt collided with the healing power of Jesus, I felt simultaneously weak but strong. The apostle Paul tells of the strength he found in Christ “It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.” 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 (MSG)
Letting Christ take over is hard for most of us, for me there was no other choice I had reached rock bottom with no options but to surrender my will to His. Often in a sorrowful situation we shout accusations at God and then turn and walk away, I have learned by my past to not shout at God but instead it is best that we stop and listen.
Amid the calamity, a monitor strapped around my stomach, intravenous drip and observations by the nurse every hour, I managed to drift into a peaceful sleep a peace which truly surpassed my understanding. I awoke early to the gentle nudge of the obstetrician on duty, before I could clear the sleep from my eyes he began, “good morning, we are making plans for you to be taken to a larger hospital that specialises in pre-term labour, it is the safest place to be should your twins decide to come early”. Within the hour I was in the ambulance and being taken to Rockhampton hospital, alone and uncertain of how the following days would unfold the long drive in the ambulance ushered in the opportunity for my thoughts to begin to race and before long my peace had turned to dread.
Immediately upon arrival I was taken for an ultrasound to check on the twins, a cold stone-faced radiologist performed the ultrasound without a word spoken to me. All I recall is thinking “God where are you in all this, it’s all my fault this is my punishment for turning away from you”, why would He want to answer my prayers? I was convinced that God was angry with me. Finally, the radiologist broke his silence; “we can’t do anything for you, one baby is very sick and will possibly die in the next couple of days and then the other will have a chance of survival, you need to be taken to Brisbane”. His words were like missiles flying off his tongue and straight into my heart, no warmth or empathy just very matter of fact. The hours went by very slowly that day, as I lay and wait for the next report on when and how I would be leaving, the same incomprehensible peace washed over me.
*name changed for privacy 😉
They looked… and behold, the glory of the Lord appeared in the cloud (Exod. 16:10)
For the most part of this year I feel the skies within my soul have been amass with grey clouds, even on the clear bright sunny days my heart would beat anxiously at the thought of another impending storm. April has come and I do believe the winds of change have blown the grey storm clouds afar from me, yes the days ahead are bright. In the natural, nothing much has changed, what has changed is where I am placing my focus, choosing to rejoice in spite of what life’s storms may bring!
Get into the habit of looking for the silver lining of the cloud, and when you have found it, continue to look at it rather than at the leaden gray in the middle.
Do not yield to discouragement no matter how sorely pressed or beset you may be. A discouraged soul is helpless. He can neither resist the wiles of the enemy himself, while in this state, nor can he prevail in prayer for others…. We must keep faith, we must keep hope, we must keep courage, we must keep Christ. We would better creep away from the battlefield at once if we are not going to be brave. There is no time for the soul to stampede. Keep the skyward look, my soul; keep the skyward look!
(excerpt from Streams in the Desert by Charles E. Cowman)