Tupperware. Mary Kay. Pampered Chef. Premier Jewelry. Avon. BeautiControl. Lia Sophia. Thirty-one. I’m sure we’ve all been to or hosted our own party-enjoyed an evening with friends, munched on appetizers, gabbed on and on over this and that, maybe even left with less money than we had when we arrived.
Recently I was sitting there and out of no where an idea began to form. Yes, believe me, I do know how dangerous that can be.
Most of the time, I only have fun at these parties because it’s a small chance for the girls to get together and fellowship. Here lately, though, I’ve noticed that many of the women I know have been battling with hurt, discouragement, bitterness, etc. I have even dealt with these issues myself. And that’s when it hit me. A new kind of party. A party where everyone can still get together and fellowship, and not have to worry about spending any money. That’s right. I’ve invented a new fad party and I hope you will all take the time out to host your own one day. It’s called the Encouragement Party. I will be launching my very first party next week for the ladies at my church and I cannot wait. I’ll let you know how it goes. 😉
Below, I have included the plan and purpose I have written out for the Encouragement Party. If you want to host your own, have at it! There are no requirements other than having fun, encouraging others, and being encouraged yourself. Just pray about it, put your own spin on it, and encourage away! I’m praying that this ministry of encouragement hops from my heart to yours and women everywhere can realize their worth.
Oh yeah, my Facebook status from a year ago, “Encouragement is a much better tool to use than judgment.” Chew on that!
What is an Encouragement Party? It’s a chance for women of God to get together and lift each other up, strengthening one another in the Lord.
My plan is that each lady leaves refreshed and knowing that she is worthy of God’s love and favor after an evening of fellowship with her sisters in Christ.
This is one of those cases where if you can’t say anything nice, then pray Psalm 141:3 over yourself before you come: “Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips.” After all, “Whoever guards his mouth and tongue keeps his soul from troubles.”- Proverbs 21:23 🙂
There is already too much division, back-biting, bitterness, hate, and an “I’m better than you are” attitude going around-especially in our churches. Have you ever noticed that most of the time this has more of an affect on the women? Most of us are the emotional, sensitive, I-wear-my-heart-on-my-sleeve kind of gals. It’s time we come together and use these strong emotions to build each other up, rather than destroying and tearing each other down. I’m tired of seeing the battles of our thoughts and minds win over us-ruining relationships, ripping away love, wounding us and leaving us to die. It’s time that we realize where are strength, joy and AUTHORITY come from and declare that we are going to triumph victoriously over every demonic attack that comes against us; for we do not wrestle flesh and blood as many of us think, but against powers, principalities and rulers of darkness. (Ephesians 6:12)
I hope that you will all join me in my desire to see women of God from all over band together in unity, carrying out the will of God peaceably. “If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men (women).”- Romans 12:18
“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!”- Psalm 133:1
Please come prepared to encourage one another and be encouraged yourself.
It NEVER fails. Every time I set my mind to focus on God, whether it be to pray or read my Bible or worship, my mind decides to have a mind of it’s own.
ME: Lord, I thank You for this day. Please guide me and direct–(Remember what happened at church yesterday? Sis. So-n-so gave you a dirty look as you were walking in the door.)–Forgive me, Lord. Please help me to stay focused on You and Your prese–(She’s probably the one that spread those rumors about you a couple of months ago.)–Oh, Jesus, I’m sorry. I’m trying to focus. Why is this so hard? Where did these thoughts even come from? I thought I was over that. Geez. Okay, God. Back to where we were. I was wanting to enter Your presence and hear from You and–(I bet you anything she’s the one who told Sis. Hootentooter that you were doing this and that last week). OKAY, ENOUGH! God, I give You complete control over my thoughts and my mind! Take over, Lord! PLEASE!!
It NEVER fails. Any time I try to have a conversation with God, thoughts creep in. Any time I’m listening to my worship music and try to enter into His presence, thoughts creep in. Any time I sit down to read His word, my mind goes crazy. My two little girls aren’t even as big of a distraction to me as my mind!
I really shouldn’t wait so long to get the point where I’ve had enough. I should start binding every hindrance and distraction the devil tries to hit me with in the name of Jesus as soon as I begin to pray. I should start walking in the authority and power God gave me in His word and telling the enemy that he has no place any where around me because I am a child of the Most High God! I should give my thoughts and mind over to God as soon as my eyelids pop open every morning.
We have to press through the mess and circumstances and refuse to give up on having a relationship with God. We have to be determined to walk in His presence daily, even when our mind wants to have a mind of it’s own. Next time you feel detached and distracted during prayer time, don’t give in to defeat. Take authority and and allow God to take control.
Every few months or so we have what we call a “Young at Heart” night at church where anyone that wants to come can show up to eat, fellowship, and play games. Our last event doubled as a surprise 40th birthday party for my sister-in-law, who got to celebrate with a cake that had black icing. This black icing was extremely messy. So my mother-in-law, also known as my pastor’s wife, decided to have fun with it. She smeared the black icing around her lips and began to let everyone see. As she headed toward our table, Naomi (my 3-year-old) said to her nana, “What the hell is that on your face?!”
We were all in shock. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. I was torn between the two thoughts of “Oh my gosh, I cannot believe my daughter just said that,” and “OH. MY. GOSH. I canNOT believe my daughter just said that!!!!!” Naomi, however, had no idea that what she said was in any way wrong.
I kept thinking, “Where in the world did she hear that??” No one in our family uses that kind of language. No one she is around uses that kind of language. Then I thought to myself, “Surely she hasn’t heard it from tv enough to say it….surely not.”
A week or so later brought along another curse word. I was flabbergasted. I finally realized that she had to have heard it from tv because NO one in our family uses those words. Then I kept thinking, “Are the shows we watch really that bad?” Many of times I watch entire episodes of shows and never hear anything bad. Why? Because I don’t pay attention. After Naomi’s own two “episodes,” I became very aware of every word said on whatever we were watching- especially when she was in the room. I found myself saying, “Naomi, don’t say that,” or “You can’t say that word,” or just turning the channel because it was all just inappropriate.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking tv. But I’ve learned from experience and chatter with other moms that we tend to overlook things of this world and let them in our home without realizing it. It then interferes with the upbringing of our children and we’ll more than likely pay for it in a later situation. I decided I was going to start paying close attention to the things in my everyday life and since then, I’ve noticed a closer relationship with God…..and less tv. Not only has it made a difference in my life, but also in the lives of my kids. And let me just say, I do not miss it as much as I thought I would.
I’m a firm believer that as women (and men) of God, we should live in His word. The Bible is a book full of wonderful scriptures that we can apply to every situation. I just felt led to share with you a few of the scriptures that I apply to my life daily and encourage you to apply them to your own lives, as well.
I begin each morning by thanking God for waking me up and blessing me with another day of life. I declare that
“This is the day the Lord has made; I will rejoice and be glad in it.”- Psalm 118:24 (personalized).
Next, I thank God for Psalm 68:19,
“Blessed be the Lord who daily loads us with benefits, the God of our salvation! Selah” and receive what ever benefits He has chosen for me today.
Then I have to check myself…
“Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips.”-Psalm 141:3,
“Whoever guards his mouth and tongue keeps his soul from troubles.”-Proverbs 21:23.
After that, I have to remind myself that no matter how the situation may seem, I do not wrestle flesh and blood.
“For we do not wrestle flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”-Ephesians 6:12
When I send my daughter to school or my husband off to work, I remember to pray over my family,
“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.”- Numbers 6:24-26
As I lay down to sleep each night, I declare that
“I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; For You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.”- Psalm 4:8
and I know that
“When I lie down, I will not be afraid; Yes, I will lie down and my sleep will be sweet.”- Proverbs 3:24 (personalized).
I also think back on the entire chapter of Psalm 91, because I know that my God will always protect me and my family.
This is just a daily guide that I personally go by and these few scriptures don’t cover the half of it. God’s word is full of promises, wisdom, guidance, etc that will help us and show us that in God, there is always a way. Even when it doesn’t seem like it. I hope you find these helpful in your own everyday walk with the Lord.
For the past few months, I’ve decided that in accepting the will of God, I need for my will to be HIS will, not for His will to be MY will. Make sense? I have desires deep in the depths of my heart and soul, and I know that God knows all about my innermost being. In fact, I believe that most of those desires He placed there Himself. But I’ve come to realize that no matter how bad I want something, everything has to fall in place with what He wants. If it’s not His will, it is in vain.
I believe that along with the will of God comes a time, a season, a purpose. God’s will comes with God’s terms and too many times I find myself trying to work according to my own terms and conditions, attempting to rush God. And too many times I also find that this doesn’t work. Finally I came to a place of realization…a place I believe God brought me to in order for me to understand His will and way. I’m allowed to go anywhere and everywhere He wants to take me, however, there are things/people/thoughts/mindsets from this life and level that I am not allowed to take with me. For a long time, I’ve tried to go from one level to the next, dragging junk along, only to be stuck somewhere God hasn’t intended for me to stay. There’s no way I’ll be allowed to go through the door of a new level carrying something that is unacceptable to the will He has for me. If I would just be willing to let it go and leave it behind, He’ll call me in and continue to take me even higher.
One Sunday morning during worship service, I said to the Lord, “Okay God, take me higher with You. I know there are things I can’t take with me. Please give me the wisdom to know what I cannot take and the strength to leave it behind.”
That was hard enough on it’s own, but then a few weeks later, I had to deal with the issue of pain. Another realization that I had to receive, whether I wanted to or not…when it comes to God’s will, I still have to accept it, even when it hurts. And boy, does it hurt sometimes. Seeing others allowed to do what MY heart desires to do, but I’m not allowed because it’s not my time yet; and not just that, but also with things that occur in my daily life. For the past month or so, I keep having to remind myself, “I must accept God’s will, even when it hurts.”
Today as I was in prayer, God Himself reminded me of this, yet again. “Child, I know it hurts, but even my own son had to accept my will, knowing it would hurt.” Ouch. Jesus prayed twice within the few scriptures of Matthew 26:36-46 that if it would be possible, let the cup pass from Him, but nevertheless, “not as I will, but as YOU will.”
God’s will will not always hurt, and He doesn’t want us to always feel hurt; but we do have to sacrifice and surrender our own timing, terms and conditions to completely walk in all that He has called us to. And let me be the first to say, these words are hard to swallow! Yet in the end, the reward is more than worth it.
Sis. Judye Jackson, a very gifted teacher, spoke at church on “Family Trees” and about the legacy we leave behind. This got me thinking- my life is a direct influence on the lives of my children. Whether I realize it or not, they pay attention to everything I say or do. This sort of worries me.
See, I have a habit of looking at my very attractive husband and telling him that he is sexy. Why? Because he is and I am madly in love with him. The next thing I know, I’m driving down the road when I hear my three-year-old daughter, Naomi, say, “Mommy, Daddy’s sexy, ain’t he?” Extreme heat crept from my neck into my cheeks. Yes, I do believe my husband is sexy, but do I want my three-year-old to share that information? Umm…no!
Then there are the moments I live for- she sets an example and makes me proud. As I’m babysitting for a friend, her little girl says, “Oh my God.” I’m not on my soap box or anything, but I teach my children not to say that. Naomi looks at her friend, and in her best serious voice says, “We’re not supposed to say that.” Her friend says, “I’m trying to stop,” and they continue to play. You would have thought the forbidden phrase contained curse words.
I’ve learned that in the process of raising my kids, they notice everything. This means that they see in me the good, the bad and the ugly. When I’m mad and frustrated and I want to rip my hair out, they see. When I’m praising through the battle and giving God the glory no matter what, they see.
I wonder if my children will start conversations with my future grandchildren with the phrase, “My Mom always said…..” And I wonder– if they use that phrase, what will they say that I said?