• YOU were chosen.

    ✨ NEW TEES ALERT! ✨

    It's FINALLY here! Ah!!! We've waited so long to share this with you all! I was so excited that I squeezed myself into children's size 16 😂

    This print is VERY important to us. It was designed as if it was stamped because if possible, our hearts are stamped onto this simple design. Before taking over HPS, my family and I felt called to not only share Jesus, but to share the love of adoption. We do not personally have an adoption story, but we have had the honor of being a part of/experiencing the love and pure joy of it, through, and with, dear friends. We prayed long and hard over how, when and what to do when we received a phone call from a kind heart with the exact word we were lingering on: CHOSEN.

    Oh dear friends! WE ARE CHOSEN. How easily we forget this simple statement! Everything you find beautiful in this world was made by the same God that made you. The guy that painted the stars wanted to share YOU with the world. He loves every inch of your beautiful mess. Your DNA is labeled with the words worthy, valued, important, and loved. He looked at all of His creation and decided that it was not complete without you. My heart soars. What a truly amazing God we serve. 
     
    YOU were chosen.
     
    "He chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will."
    Ephesians 1:4-5
  • Soap. Soup. + Salvation.

    They desired only that we should remember the poor, the very thing which I also was eager to do. (Galatians 2:10)
    G O O D works have a legitimate place in evangelism. When the Salvation Army first began, their message was 


    …so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. This is a trustworthy statement; and concerning these things I want you to speak confidently, so that those who have believed God will be careful to engage in good deeds. These things are good and profitable for men. (Titus 3:87-8)
    I challenge you today, are you living out your faith and love to the “poor"? There are so many ministries out there that need help to reach the homeless, addicts, orphaned & foster children, elderly, wounded vets, prisoners, mentally challenged… If you are thinking, “I don’t have time…” Well you have time to scroll through social media right now… that time could be used for praying. Maybe your heart is called to serve, but you don’t know where to begin, call your church or e-mail me and I will do the research for you. Financial donations to these ministries can help bigger than you know. God is the God of the Universe, He can take 5 cents and multiply it into 5 million dollars. Is your heart willing?
    "The King will reply, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” Matthew 25:40

  • Her Story of Faith. Meet Michelle...

    Seems like it was just yesterday that the word FAITH became so real.  I was loading up in the car with my family to find out who's bet was right. I saw a tiny little body on the screen and a heart that was racing. I remember asking the sonographer if everything was ok. She replied that my doctor would go over the sono with me. We continued laughing and talking about how my husband was already planning his hunting wardrobe. We named him Piercen. His Sissy loved that name. The sonographer wiped the gel off my belly and told us to go to the waiting room and my doctor would follow up with me. The waiting room was full of big beautiful bellies. Sissy stared at her little brother and asked me a million and one questions about what makes him a boy and her a girl...(deep breaths on those questions). 

    .....and then the nurse opened the door and said Mrs. Hudgeons, the doctor needs to talk to you. My heart hit the floor. I asked if my family could come and she said not now....she needs to talk to you. She walked me to the sono room. Pictures of my Piercen were scattered all over the table. Too many pictures to even fathom. My doctor wrapped her arms around me and said, "things are not good." I couldn't stand. I couldn't breathe. I was broken. Shattered. As if someone dropped a glass vase on tile floor. That glass vase was me. 

    She started telling me things like "lemon sign", and "hydrocephalus", and "split spine", "wheelchair", "clubbed feet", "trach", "chari malformation" and "no kidneys", "no bladder".... and that I was the first patient they had seen that had ever received this diagnosis. All these things she was telling me were coming at me like cars on a freeway. I understood nothing. I was blank. I was alone. I told her I needed my family. 

    My family came in. I looked at my husband, momma, mother-in-law, and daughter. Their face showed fear. They knew something wasn't okay. The doctor asked if our daughter needed to stay and I said yes. She needed to know why her mommy was broken. The doctor told them everything......everything after that is a blur. 

    My husband picked me up and helped me walk out the door. I didn't sleep... for days...when I would dose off, everything replayed in my head. I woke up thinking maybe it was all a dream. It wasn't. It was real. 

    We needed prayer. We needed an army of prayer. We needed to know that things were going to be okay. That our family was going to be okay. We needed strength to keep going. We needed wisdom to make decisions. We needed patience as we waited for the next report. We needed peace and understanding to know that God had everything already laid out for us. 

    Over the next 5 months, that day replayed over and over in my head. At each and every doctor's visit, news just seemed to get worse. Several doctors encouraged abortion. We chose life for Piercen. 

    Here we are 2 years later. He is here. He has kidneys (that work perfect), a bladder (that is working like a champ), no clubbed feet (his feet are formed perfect and wiggle from time to time), with hydrocephalus (that is managed with a shunt), a chari malformation (that is so slight that the doctors said it is barely malformed), no trach, thriving, talking, rolling in his wheelchair, eating, laughing, smiling,....and inspiring lives all across this world through his Facebook prayer page, Prayers for Piercen. 

    As I look back to January 28, 2014, I am so grateful for the blessing that took place in that dark, cold room. Could I have told you that 2 years or so ago. Probably not. But something I have learned on this Journey, is that if we choose to turn our trials into joy, our God will bless us more than our hearts can fathom. I do not know what each day will hold for us. But what I do know, is that it isn't for me to control. I can't. It's for God's hands. I have learned to give each day, each doctor's visit, and every ounce of fear to him. I have learned to choose faith over fear. He graciously shows us blessing upon blessing. Two years ago I was scared at what life would be like for our daughter. Her life is better because of it. She asked Jesus into her heart on a swing in her Mamaw's backyard; she has witnessed to several children at her school, and she loves in a way that inspires me every day.  

    I can't imagine our lives without Piercen. He is our angel baby. The blessing we never knew we needed.  “Do not be afraid, only believe.”Mark 5:36

    +

    Join Michelle's journey, be encouraged by her faith and heart! 

    (Personal) IG: MichelleHudgeons
    (Prayers for Piercen) IG: Prayersforpiercen
    BLOG: Smitten with First

     

  • Her Story of Grace. Meet Angie...

    Meet Angie! 
    Hi Friends! I am Angie, wife and mama, who adores her family. I have been married for 10 years and we have three beautiful children together. We live outside of Dallas and I am blessed to work at school and be with my kiddos. Here is my story of Grace and how God changed my heart and soul. 
    A lot of times I don’t share my story because I feel like where do I begin and sometimes Satan just likes to remind me of who I once was or where I came from. I also feel like I have a two part story that really shaped my faith in God and has carried me to where God needed me to be to truly see his beauty from ashes. He was good when there was nothing good in me.
     
    By the age of fifteen I had been through some heavy trials and burdens that I look back on and honestly can’t imagine how I overcame. I was deeply hurt emotionally and physically and at that age and living an environment surrounded by drugs and mental illness, I chose a hard life not even imagining the life I could have. A life of feeling unloved, deeply broken, and worthless. I turned to smoking, drinking, and eventually led to using drugs. I was heavily burdened with anger and hurt that I continued to hurt myself running from the problems and doing anything to escape the pain and to fulfill the emptiness and love I was desperately craving.
    Without going into heavy details I will fast forward to highs school, I wanted more. I had this fire in my soul that I didn’t even know how to handle. I had many friends, I became active in school but the pain didn’t go away. I was extremely relied on at home to help with everything and I was challenged trying to be a child and expected to act like an adult. I was hurting more than I realized and Satan had a plan to destroy me.
    At that time I didn’t know Christ and I had no desire too. I wanted more than anything to be loved and I able to get that fulfillment with friends and the partying began again. I quickly found myself sinking and getting high to just feel good and not hurt anymore. I began drinking so much I was getting terribly sick. I wanted it all to end and I struggled with living and continued to rely on substances to cover the pain and heartache. I was completely lost and could not handle the lies in my head any longer. I wanted to be free of all the pain and heartache but I had no idea how except to continue to hurt myself.
    I was now sixteen and my life consisted on putting on a front to everyone that I was fine when I was secretly just losing myself all together. I had decided to get so high one night that I was so sick and I remember hearing the words over and over why are you doing this to yourself, I love you. I purposely made myself sick to get out as much as I could that I had put in my body. The weeks ahead I began to realize how incredibly scary that moment was and it could have gone very bad.
    I got my life together the best I knew how living in the circumstances that were around me. My family had to move and I was in a new school with people who didn’t know my past. I stayed to myself and removed myself completely from the drinking and drugs. I moved out and lived with a boyfriend at the time and later down the road that was a broken relationship that left me hurt all over again. I desperately wanted to turn to my past but I didn’t. I finished high school and moved in with a friend. Years went by and I met someone and we got married young. Everything seemed so great and I was feeling loved like I always craved. I felt worth and I felt like I could live. Our marriage was not easy and we were young trying to find who we were. We were drinking with friends and I finding myself not happy and not sure who I was again.
    I remember a time came and I was confused, depressed, and never fulfilled. In our young marriage faced trials and my past was haunting me. I kept feeling this desire within to be more. I was in a broken marriage that ended in divorce. Eventually I found myself driving to churches alone and sitting in the back listening to words I had heard before in my past but not from anyone close to me. It hit me and although it seemed scary to me at the time I found Jesus was always there whispering to me I love you. I accepted Christ at twenty one and never looked back. He made it clear that he had a purpose for me and I just needed to follow. 
    I promised to follow Jesus and live a life that he promised and along the road it was heavy but oh so worth it. I met my husband two years after accepting Christ and we walked our journey together making a life for us. This was the beginning of my choosing joy. Choosing to trust God and follow him even through the storms. Little did  I know with life going so well the storms would come again.
    We started a family and were so excited to be expecting our first child. We were having a girl and were thrilled to be growing our family of two. My heart was full of joy those nine months and we were ready to welcome our sweet baby to the world. We were at the hospital ready to deliver and in that very moment we lost of our sweet baby and she went home to be with Jesus. I was devastated, heartbroken, and completely lost. The days and months ahead were a blur and everything reminded me of my bay and how my life as a mom was supposed to be. Never did I imagine I would not bring my baby home with me from the hospital. Never did I imagine I would have to plan a funeral for my baby. A part of me died with my baby but I grew closer to God and he strengthened my faith more than I ever could have imagined. I grew in my faith, I didn’t walk alone, and I had a new outlook on what this life meant to me and my trust in HIS Plan.
    We were blessed to have two more healthy children and I am forever grateful for the baby I lost and the babies I here with me. There is a day that goes by that I don’t think about Payton but I am comforted that she is home. It brings tears to my eyes to know she is waiting for me in Heaven.  God has showed me through this heartache the beauty that does truly come from ashes. He has shown me what choosing joy is truly about. To wake up each day with a smile and choose to be more and more like HIM. I am not perfect and I am flawed but I am worthy and I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
    Looking back on my life the grace upon grace that has he given me and continues to frees me from my past and heartache. It frees me from feeling unworthy, unloved, and a victim. Grow in grace, have faith in HIS perfect love and goodness for you, and be thankful for every moment for such a time is this. I am overcomer. I am a child of God. I have worth. I choose Joy.
     Sometimes we are faced with things that doesn't seem possible to conquer. In the past I would cling to fear and hide from what seemed impossible covered in lies. Through these really hard times and many years later my faith has grown and I learned to trust God more. My faith became my rock and I was able to face storms and keep my focus on God and what he wants for me. While my faith is challenged my trust in him that only he can move that mountains that seem impossible. I must keep my focus on God and what he wants for me.
    Cling to him beautiful soul. He is the mountain mover that washes away my fear. Through these seasons of my faith growing, storms raging, and mountains moving I have met some of the most beautiful souls. They have encouraged me and challenged me to be bold in my faith, to walk humbly, and to plant seeds. It is within those moments that a fire in my soul was set to share my story and encourage others as well. When the storms come, and they will, and you can adjust your sails. I read a book a few years ago by John Ortberg If you want to walk on water, you have to get out of the boat. I read this with a fearful heart and was challenged to be more like Peter. Peter could have stayed in his boat but then he would have never walked on water. You can stay in your boat and you might never know the amazing things God can do in your life if you just trust him. God is calling you to walk on water. No matter how big or small it may seem to you, it is his purpose of you for his glory. I will praise him through the storms. My sail will be adjusted. Beauty will rise from ashes and all the glory and praise will honor him.
    Through this journey of hardships, finding Christ, choosing joy, living through grace I am becoming more of what Jesus planned for me to be. It's not always an easy road and God will mold us exactly how he needs us through the gentle love of his gracious heart. We are never finished growing or becoming what He needs us to be but through obedience, faith, trust, and hope we can do amazing things here for his glory. As I release my grip on the things that once broke me I am free from addiction, I am free from heartache of feeling unloved,  I am free of the guilt of losing my child, I am free from believing the lies I once believed and I am free to rise above what others and Satan meant for harm. It is my mission to share with others about HIS goodness, his faithfulness, his love, his grace, and eternity with him through pain and joy that sets my soul on fire to chase Him.
    Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish! We don’t play the major role. If we did, we’d probably go around bragging that we’d done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing.
    Ephesians 2:7-10 The Message
    Grow with Angie, be blessed by her honesty, heart for the Lord, and desire to live a life that full of G R A C E. 
  • ...but I'm a mess!

    Peter was essentially Jesus’ best friend. One of three to always be with the Lord. When Jesus met Peter, He renamed him. Jesus knew what a brute, stubborn, hard headed man Peter was. That did not stop Jesus. Nor did Jesus try to change Peter. He knew that Peter would mature in his timing, which lined up perfectly with God’s timing. We may look at Peter and be like “Seriously, dude?!” He had the faith to walk on water. But I can’t help and wonder if part of him stepping out was to be a show off. We know that he had a tendency to compare himself to the others. The story of Peter walking on water has delivered me through many storms:
    FIX YOUR EYES ON JESUS OR YOU WILL DROWN.
    Regardless of Peters motives, we know that Jesus already knew how it would play out. Jesus also knew that 2k+ years later, there would be a Jena who would hear this story in Jr. High and it would be something that molded her into the Godly woman she would one day become. (Yep, I just spoke in the 3rd person, need coffee!) Peter argued with Jesus that there was no way he would deny Him...Peter fell asleep when Jesus asked him more than once to be watching and praying over Jesus. 

    Peter cut off the soldiers ear after Jesus had already told him what was to come...Peter must have though that he single handedly would intervene and deliver Jesus. Not realizing that Jesus was there to deliver him! (And you. And me.) And then Peter denied Christ THREE times. 
    BUT THERE’S MORE!!
    Mark 16:15, just before Jesus’ ascension into Heaven, He commanded His disciples to go into all the world and share the gospel. And that is EXACTLY what Peter did.

    We all share the same calling, we just wear it differently. And so I am extremely excited to see what the Lord does with our willing and eager hearts. I can tell you I am sure my Pastor had no idea that sharing the 5% poll two weeks ago would plant a seed in my heart to go and call us all out, in the name of Jesus. We don’t know how the Lord can be reaching others through our words, our hearts to serve, or boldness to proclaim that JESUS saves.

    But what I know is that when we submit ourselves to His calling, immerse ourselves in His promises, and truly understand that on our own we are all a bunch of HOT MESSES…it is then that He takes and does mighty things through us for Him. Whether we see/know it or not. PLANT THEM SEEDS!! INCREASE THE 5!! Understand that you are never going to be perfect here on earth, so -
    LIVE OUT YOUR STORY OF GRACE. 

    TODAY.

     

    If you have been encouraged by this post, have a praise report to share, or a prayer request, we would love to hear from you. You can comment below or e-mail us at sales@ttandtwins123.com

  • Live Out Your Story of GRACE.

    If I wanted to boast, I would be no fool in doing so, because I would be telling the truth. But I won’t do it, because I don’t want anyone to give me credit beyond what they can see in my life or hear in my message, even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a message from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud.
    Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away form me. But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weakness, so that Christ’s power may rest in me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:6-10

    I am a drug addict. The slightest look at a pill bottle will cause me to instantly want to crawl back down that dark, ugly rabbit hole, which would ultimately kill me spiritually and physically. I often struggle with epic panic attacks to the point of not breathing, thoughts of suicide, and other crazy negative things that come from the pit of Hell.

    I have a choice, dwell on those thoughts, become consumed, and ultimately give in. Or pray, speak up, and work through the temptation with the Lord, until it is gone. Option two has worked so amazingly for me for 11 plus years now.

    These are my thorns.

    More then once I have been asked how I can believe I am saved if I still struggle with these things at the magnitude in which I do. I have no doubts in my mind that I am saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. My story of grace is a reminder that God can and will use anyone willing and eager to serve.

    My thorns kept me from serving Him for many years. I doubted who I was in Him because I asked the same questions others ask, how is Jesus living inside of me when I am still battling these things?

    The Lord answered,

    My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (v9)

    Like Paul in verse 6, “I don’t want anyone to give me credit beyond what they can see in my life or hear in my message.”

    My message is that through Jesus Christ your life can be CHANGED. Through Jesus Christ you will have the power to overcome your greatest trials and temptations. ONLY through Jesus Christ.

    This world is ready to devour you. Satan would like nothing more then to blanket you in shame because of the trials you face day in and day out. But those trials are apart of your story of grace. Each one shares that God is constantly doing a mighty work in and through you. There is no shame in that.

    John 16:33 says, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

    Each trial, tear, attack, it is overcome already. Do not be ashamed of your story of grace, LIVE IT OUT!!

     

    In His grace,

    Jena

     

    We would love to read your story of grace. What does grace mean to you? What has the Lord revealed through your trials and weaknesses? You never know the hearts you can inspire and encourage. Comment below and bless us and other readers in doing so.  

  • Mirror Mirror on the wall. Proverbs 31:30.

    Truth bombs, beautifully written by Kristi Menashe, a Godly woman, adoption advocate, wife, mom of 4, mentor, friend, and newest addition to the TTandTWINS123, crew.

    Proverbs 31verse30

    Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” (Proverbs 31:30) this verse was gifted to me by a high school leader who I loved and looked up to. I was about sixteen when she gave me a little frame with a picture and this verse inside. The frame hung in the doorway of my room for years and yet, here I am….over twenty years later and still trying to transfer these words from my head to my heart. I grew up in a Christian home, I was always told I was “pretty,” and I don’t remember any specific point in my life where I became crippled by insecurity. But it happened. I don’t know when I started caring SO much (TOO much) about “man’s opinion” of me, but over the course of my life…. my insecurities have robbed me of many joys and countless experiences. I have always been one to sit at the back of the class. I like to be “behind-the-scenes” and I do not like to be the center of attention. I would get stomach aches on days I knew I had to give an oral report in front of the class and I skipped classes for an entire semester of college, because the professor would make us read our short stories in front of the class. My father-in-love has the habit of reading his cards aloud, and I get red cheeks before he even begins to read mine. I go to wedding receptions and watch all of the guests dancing and having fun- and I sit at the table. Watching. Wishing that I could pick myself up and let loose. I have never forgotten Proverbs 31:30 and I try to cling to it when my insecurity becomes debilitating. I have often shared the verse with other girls/women who struggle with the same thing. We live in a world that is cruel to us. If we don’t have big, perky boobs or flawless skin…..if we aren’t a size six or smaller…..if we don’t look quite like the model on cover of the magazine, then the world says “we aren’t good enough.” The thing is that in God’s eyes- that couldn’t be further from the truth! He doesn’t measure us by our outward appearance. The Bible says: “For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7, ESV) He made me and I have often gotten sick and tired of hearing it, but He doesn’t make mistakes. He gave me my personality, my characteristics and traits, and my looks, yet He cares about my heart….my innermost being and NOT about what’s on my outside. The same is true of you! I have these internal battles constantly….I say to myself….’Why do I care what so and so thinks of me?! God loves me! He made me! Why does it matter if they think I’m pretty?!’ Galatians 1:10 comes to mind SO often, and I consider it to be one of my life verses. “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Well, ladies….it doesn’t get much more blatant than that. I wish this verse wasn’t in the Bible….but it is….and that must mean He means it! It is time to STOP allowing the enemy in….it’s time to be victorious in Christ. We will never please everyone, and I think it’s high time we stop trying. If my sole purpose is growing closer to the Lord, immersing myself in His Word and in His truths- I will not care about what others think. I won’t be worried about what “they” say. When I am walking in His will, I will seek ONLY His approval. I can look back on my life thus far…and I can pinpoint times where the insecurities weren’t quite as bad. Always, always, always…those times have been when I am in the Word daily….when I am calling out to Him….when I am surrendering all….when I am asking Him to work in me. I often picture myself holding my heart out to God, but then as He goes to take it from me, I keep one hand on it and I start to pull back from Him. I often do not fully surrender and I don’t always “let” the Lord do the works that He wants to in my life. Do you do that too? Ladies, let’s just stop it. Let us post verses everywhere we go that remind us of who we are in Christ! Let’s dig deep into His love letter to us. Let’s start encouraging one another. Let’s try to find one other woman to compliment each day! Let’s send a note or a text to a friend, to let her know we think she’s beautiful on the inside. Let’s pick up the phone and pray over our friend who’s going through a rough time. Let’s remind one another of our purpose here! Let’s wear shirts with scripture (wink wink) and wait for people to ask us, “What does your shirt say?” Let’s start conversations and then share the love of Christ everywhere we go. Let’s be authentic and more than just skin deep. Let’s be women who care MORE about what our heavenly Father says about us than what the world thinks of us! Let’s be about kingdom living. Most importantly, let’s teach our children what God says about them. Let’s make sure they are secure in Christ!! I challenge you today….to pick even just ONE verse that speaks to your heart…one verse that is a reminder for you of who you are in Christ. Write it down and post it. Read it aloud every time you see it. Memorize it. Share it with a friend who could use some encouragement. God thinks YOU are beautiful….He made you just the way He wanted you to be…..so delight in that truth! Be blessed, ladies!

  • Growing Pains

    I am not a gardener. I have an absolute black thumb. Maybe I over water. Maybe I forget to water. And I know nothing about pruning. I watch the garden I have tried so hard to grow wither away. And then I drive past the wild flowers next to the freeway and get kinda mad and super sad. How on earth are they growing, right there, right now, under the scorching sun?! Home Depot specifically says 6 hours of sun, they are getting wayyyyyyyy more then that! And then I feel sorry for myself for a moment. 

    Before there was instructions and miracle grow and Home Depot, there was the Lord. And He created the Heavens and the Earth, He spoke life, He created us from dirt. Those are His flowers growing on the side of the freeway, the way He intended. He provides everything they need to flourish. And if He will do that for them, what more will He do for us? I'm not speaking in terms of this world, material things, or possessions. I am speaking about growing in Him, being transformed and BLOOMING where we are, in Him, in this world but not of it. 

    John 15:1-4 "I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me."

    I never fully comprehended the above verses or understood the pruning process until this past year. Growing up in a Christian home, I thought I knew Jesus. I carried on a mediocre relationship with Him. Which, as Revelation 3:16 shares, "So, because you are lukewarm--neither hot nor cold--I am about to spit you out of my mouth." That's no good! I knew I needed more but I wasn't up for the commitment. 

    God surely works in mysterious ways, that I have no doubt. I can't even tell you how I am where I am except that for the second time in my life, (the first, asking Him to come into my heart) I prayed the most sincere prayer ever, "LORD HAVE YOUR WAY IN ME. NOT MY WILL, BUT THY WILL, BE DONE". And I have prayed it over and over and over since. Because let me tell you, obedience is NOT my thing. No! No! As I shared previously in Friday Introduction I am a quitter. 

    Back to the point! So this year there has been an EPIC amount of pruning in so many areas of my life. And honestly, there were times when I was like SERIOUSLY GOD!?!?! What's the deal? In those moments fear would sweep in and the lies would rain over me like El Nino.

    "You are a failure. You are alone. You are messing up your kids. No one likes you. You don't deserve anything. You are worthless"

    Try raising three kids when you are feel like and thinking that! At first those thoughts were paralyzing and I would find myself on the ground grasping for air, shaking, crying, and pleading the Lord to take me home. But not pleading Him to take this, to hold me, to open my eyes and strengthen me. 

    That is where the pruning comes in. 

    I still get hit hard, daily. But over the course of this past year, He has revealed to me what a beautiful process it is to be refined and pruned. James 1:1-4 tells us to "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."

    We are all growing. We are all an imperfect progress. We are all going to sin daily, stumble, and hit the ground with a full on temper tantrum, maybe not literally, but in my case, yes, literally. But when we get back up and dust ourselves off, we will see that this time wasn't as bad as the last. This time, my faith is stronger. This time, there was no room for fear to remain. This time I got to put my hand out to him or her and say, "You are in the palm of His hand! He will never let you go!! Take mine, let's pray!!" 

    He is the vine, we are the branches. We will bloom where He has planted us. Eat of His daily bread and drink of His living water. One day your jaw will hit the floor when you see the beautiful transformation He has done in you and me. 

     

    In His joy, 

    Jena

  • When my walk becomes a crawl.

    I was completely broken recently. I had taken on too much and lost my focus. In the middle of it all I read a passage from "Keep it Shut: what to say, how to say it, and when to say nothing at all" by Karen Ehman. She shared the importance of saying no. See, I have this issue of thinking I am obligated to say yes to everything. She broke it down for me. She shared that when we, by obligation, say "yes", we are taking the blessing away from another person. It still didn't click to me and I kept saying "yes" until I had nothing left and the guilt and turmoil building inside of me boiled over and onto everyone around me.

    I. BROKE. DOWN. And I fell to my knees. 

    Praise God, I have so many amazing, God fearing friends around me who wouldn't let me fall into the lies of the enemy and pout and distance myself from everyone, while I blamed myself for not being everything to everyone. And God reminded me that we are fighting a spiritual battle. It is so easy to get caught up in the here and now, to be distracted from living for Jesus, being the wives and moms God has called us to be, and TRUSTING Him, no matter what. So as the arrows continued to fly, He gave me this, "The Lord will fight for you; you need only be still" Exodus 14:14

    This morning, while vacuuming, I remembered a song I loved as a younger person.

    DC Talk - What if I stumble

    What if I stumble?
    What if I fall? 

    Is this one for the people?
    Is this one for the Lord?
    Or do I simply serenade
    For things I must afford?

    You can jumble them together
    My conflict still remains
    Holiness is calling
    In the midst of courting fame 

    'Cause I see the trust in their eyes
    Though the sky is falling
    They need Your love in their lives
    Compromise is calling 

    What if I stumble
    What if I fall?
    What if I lose my step
    And I make fools of us all?

    Will the love continue
    When my walk becomes a crawl?
    What if I stumble
    And what if I fall? 

    What if I stumble
    What if I fall?
    You never turn in
    The heat of it all
    What if I stumble
    What if I fall? 

    Father please forgive me
    For I cannot compose
    The fear that lives within me
    Or the rate at which it grows

    If struggle has a purpose
    On the narrow road you've carved
    Why do I dread my trespasses
    Will leave a deadly scar 

    Do they see the fear in my eyes?
    Are they so revealing?
    This time I cannot disguise
    All the doubt I'm feeling 


    What if I stumble?
    Everyone's got to crawl
    When you know that
    You're up against a wall
    It's about to fall
    Everyone's got to crawl
    When you know that 


    I hear You whispering my name
    (You say)
    My love for You will never change
    (Never change)


    ....

    If you are stumbling, if you are crawling and can't seem to get up, please let me pray for you. You can leave a comment below anonymously that just says PRAY. He knows. And if that's not for you, know that God knows what you are going through and He is not leaving you and He is grieving with you. Cling to those around you who love Him and can remind you of His love for you. As believers we share a common cord. Jesus Christ died for our sins. He loves us that much. 

    Not too many days ago I did not think I would get past what I was in. Not only am I passed it, for now, but I have a completely new concept of what Gods grace is. 

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