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
Going over some manuscript changes in my book and this snippet stood out as something to be shared, someone needs to hear this x …
“God already knows what you need, He has a divine purpose for every situation you face, so instead of crying out “save me” or “bless me,” may I encourage you to move beyond fear-based praying, disarm your self-interests and enter into a prayer life based on love, for His love will never fail you. Love-based prayers assert trust in a Heavenly Father that is Sovereign and always has your best interest at the centre of His heart.”
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 😉
This is by far my favourite song at the moment; “Blessing’s” by Laura Story , I believe the trials of this life are His mercies in disguise, I have doubted His goodness, I have doubted His love and many times after I have shared my journey with others, they are perplexed that I choose to glorify God. They have questioned how can I still believe in God let alone trust in His goodness? They perceive that when I was trusting in Him, He let me down?!
I have grappled in my mind with these arguments for the past 5 years, ‘is God good? Does He love me? Why do bad things happen to good people?, in fact why do bad things happen at all? Finally I grew tired of trying to figure it all out and made the choice to trust in His Word and trust that He is a God of Mercy and deep, deep Love for us. My healing has come through tears and a thousand sleepless nights were what it took to know He is near, my faith has been renewed and I have entered His rest.
I still have painful memories and even present day sorrowful situations, but I am learning to transcend them by pursuing the heart of God in prayer and reading the Word. Proverbs 3:5-6 implores us to, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding;6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths”. Day and night I have meditated on this truth. Trusting in the Lord means, rather than blaming Him for what happens, rather than doubting His love for us, we relax and rest assured believe that our Heavenly Father has our life in the palm of His hand and never shall He loosen His grip, no never. x
Jesus says, ‘… In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (NKJV)
Jesus knew well in advance that this life would be full of trouble, He has not promised when you believe in Him your life will be trouble-free, He has promised though that no matter what you face He will never leave you nor forsake you.
Trust me, when I gave my heart to Jesus there were no bolts of lightning tracking through the sky, the devil didn’t send me a congratulations card and wipe me off his list, what did happen though was a deep peace moved into my spirit.
Peace like no other, to this day has been my anchor in the storms. I am almost certain, had I not been anchored in Him throughout the past few years, I quite possibly would have ended my life. In His Grace, Mercy and immeasurable love I have been made whole, complete in Him.
Whatever storms you may be going through stand fast, let the winds blow and when things settle you will look back and see His Sovereign hand has drawn a line of purpose through that which you thought you would never survive.
God wants to heal you from depression, anxiety, shame, addiction and whatever else holds you captive, He wants you to dream again, dream big! You were created for purpose, to have a vision for your life that captures your heart and imagination, something so big that you become purpose-driven.
For this to happen you must first confront your captors, those past hurts, habits, unforgiveness and all else holding you captive, must be dealt with before you can launch out into a new life of complete freedom and joy, ready to dream again, to truly live again!. Doing this requires courage, plenty of it!
Author Bob Gass writes: “On the heels of every dream there’s a demon of doubt. No sooner is your dream conceived than your mind is suddenly filled with all the reasons why it may not work…” Your inner dialogue may go something like this:, receiving prayer ‘doesn’t really work’, going to a counselor ‘may be a waste of time’, I have been this way for so long now I doubt anything will ever change… this is ‘just the way I am’… “ and there will be folks around you who’ll be quick to confirm those fears. In spite of that, you must forge ahead and dream; otherwise you’ll spend the rest of your life fulfilling the dreams of others”.
It is time to stand firm and declare you will not stay this way, break free from the shackles of fear, God has more for you than you have been settling for. ‘Rise up; this matter is in your hands… take courage and do it.” Ezra 10:4