(Above: My mom, Alyssa & me)

“A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy habitation. God sets the solitary in families; He brings out those who are bound into prosperity; but the rebellious dwell in a dry land.” – Psalm 68:5-6

I grew up feeling as if I never fit in. Probably because my parents divorced before I was one year old. I had a stepbrother here and a stepsister there. A stepmother in one home and a stepfather in the other home. I moved from this state to that state. Attended four different elementary schools and three high schools. With that kind of a track record, I think it would be hard for anyone to feel as if they had a “place to call home”. During my college years I remember a woman praying over me and stating, “You have felt like a misfit all your life – with your mom you didn’t fit in, with your father you didn’t fit in, but you fit into God’s plans.” She went on to declare an awesome future for me in Christ. I left her presence with my head a little higher. I began meditating on what she said, “I fit in to God’s Plans” and that thought revolutionized my life!

So I declare over you today – You fit into God’s plans! Do not worry about your past, present, or future. God has good plans for your life. What the enemy used in your past to destroy you, God will turn it around and use it to propel you forward into your destiny! No weapon formed against you shall prosper. Every idle word spoken against you, the Lord will condemn! You are His precious child and He is your Father and Defender!

God even shows us in the above scripture that He sets the solitude in families for His purpose. While it was hard growing up feeling like the “misfit,” I am now thankful because Jesus became my ALL THAT! Does anyone know what I’m talking about? When people fail you, when you don’t have enough money to pay your bills, when sickness affects your body, when your husband leaves you, when your best friend betrays you, when your own family rejects you – JESUS BECOMES YOUR ALL THAT! If you haven’t been through difficult times, then you won’t understand, but if you have, then I trust Jesus has become your ALL THAT!

“Lord, I am grateful to have an awesome future in You. You have great plans for my life. Thank you for allowing me to be the one who didn’t fit in to everyone else’s plans, because through it You became my ALL THAT! Lord, restore double what the enemy has stolen in my life. I come out of agreement that I am a misfit and declare that I fit into God’s plans and I will fulfill my destiny in Christ.” Amen.

Friend Check

“Whoever wants to embrace life and see the day fill up with good, here’s what you do –
Say nothing evil or hurtful; snub evil and cultivate good; run after peace for all you’re worth. God looks on all this with approval, listening and responding well to do what he’s asked; but he turns his back on those who do evil things.” 1 Peter 3:10, Message Translation

Whenever I am around people who gossip, I always leave their presence feeling dirty and in need of a spiritual shower. Yet, as much as I hate gossip, occasionally I find myself listening with interest and even participating. Whenever gossip first begins in conversation, my spirit feels uncomfortable and I always try to change the subject. Nevertheless, at times I get pulled in and fall prey to this evil sin. This is why we must be careful with whom we spend time and allow in our inner circle. Our inner circle consists of individuals we socialize with on a regular basis. *The truth is: If these “friends” are talking about others with you, then they are talking about you with others! Are you hanging out with people who gossip and say evil things about others? Are you that person? Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal if this is true about you or the friends you associate with.

Once a year I do what I call a “friend check.” This ritual allows the Holy Spirit to show me if someone, for various reasons, needs to move from my inner circle. Although this is hard for me, I have learned to trust the hand of God. God will often remove someone who is a wrong influence in my life and bring new friendships, which will encourage me to fulfill my destiny in Christ. Don’t be afraid to ask God to do a “friend check” in your life – I’ve had the same best friends for ten plus years. But they are people who run after peace and speak well of others. God simply longs to fill our days up with good and look upon us with his approval as the scripture states. He is a forgiving God and is always looking out for our very best.

Lord, help me to be a woman who runs after peace and cultivates good wherever I go. I give you permission to show me if I have fallen prey to gossip and speaking evil of others. Please forgive me Jesus and cleanse me of this sin. Help me to speak only good of others and hold things in confidence. Give me wisdom about who is in my inner circle. I give you permission to remove anyone out of my inner circle and to bring in new friends for your purposes in my life. Thank you for looking upon me today with approval from heaven. Thank you for loving me. Amen.

Point to ponder: The people you hang out with today will determine who you become in five years!

Stamped with God’s Approval

He (God) will validate your life in the clear light of day and stamp you with approval at high noon.” Psalm 37:6, Message Translation

Rejection is an issue that touches all of humanity. No matter our age, culture, race, or social economic status, we have all encountered rejection at one time or another. I have come to define rejection as not receiving love or acceptance from someone we deem as “important.” The problem is that when we have experienced tramatic circumstances of any kind, we often deem everyone as “important” from whom to receive love and approval. I am all too familiar with rejection and how it affects our identity, self-esteem and relationships. While many things have helped me overcome rejection in my life, the remedy that continually soothes my soul is the Word of God. One Word from God can transform my entire day. Jesus can take me to a higher place than my thoughts and emotions and comfort me like no one else can. Recently I was battling feelings of rejection and I turned to my trusted medicine of God’s Word. I found Psalm 37:6 which states that God will validate my life in the light of day and stamp me with approval at high noon. As I read this verse, tears filled my eyes, my feelings of rejection were quickly pushed away and faith in God’s Word arose within my heart. This verse was just what the doctor ordered to calm my roaring emotions and bring tranquility to my wounded soul.

What’s even better is that God not only shows His approval of us, but He shows it at the brightest part of the day for everyone to see! He doesn’t stamp His approval on us in the dark of the night, but at the noon hour – which is the brightest point of the day! We can walk in confidence knowing that we are loved and approved by God in the clear light of day for even our enemies to see! We are the favored one of the Most High God and His approval is better than any humans being!

“Lord, I forgive those who have wounded me. I bless those who have cursed me. I extend mercy to them, because I need mercy extended to me in my own life. I thank You for Your love and approval this day. I hold my head high knowing that the King of Kings is my Father and that You validate me today! I thank You that rejection will not be apart of my life anymore because I deem You the most important person to receive approval from in my life.” Amen.

God sees you!

God Sees you!

“God has had it with the proud, but takes delight in just plain people. So be content with who you are and don’t put on airs. God’s strong hand is on you; He’ll promote you at the right time. Live a carefree life before God, He is most careful with you.” 1 Peter 5:6-7, Message Translation

I was always the kid in gym class that was overlooked by my peers when selecting a team for softball. I will admit that if they were looking to win, it was in their best interest to not choose me. Thankfully whenever a friend was team captain she would save me the embarrassment of being last and select me simply because she liked me. Have you ever noticed in the Bible that God also chose the least likely to do great things for Him because He loved them? Peter the stinky fisherman, Paul the Jew who persecuted and killed Christians, Zacchaeus the tax collector and Mary the simple virgin girl. While man may be quick to overlook you, God sees you! He sees your potential when no one else can. He looks down from heaven and declares, “That’s my girl and I am going to use her to bring people to Me.” Once God makes His mind up – it’s settled. God loves using the foolish to confound the wise. He hates the proud, but takes delight in the simple (that’s me alright). This scripture tells us to just be ourselves and to live carefree before God. You mean I can be free to just be me? That’s right! We don’t have to put on the airs of this world, but be who God calls us to be! You don’t have to look a certain way, have a particular degree, or come from a prestigious background. While God may use these things, you can trust that God will promote you and provide all the gifting you need to fulfill your destiny in Him. He has chosen you, knowing your past, present and future. You don’t have to do a thing, except live a carefree life before God. He will do all the rest.

“Lord, thank you for seeing my potential when no one else does. I now realize that You have chosen me because You love me! Help me to be content with who I am. You created me and You only create good things. I choose to accept and love myself even with all my faults. I trust you to promote me at the right time and protect me from potential harm. Thank you for loving me just as I am. Take me to the next level in You. I want to fulfill my destiny.” Amen.

One of “those days”

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28, New International Version

Yesterday was one of “those days” – you know the kind of day when you feel discouraged, overwhelmed and alone all at the same time. The most amazing thing was that I did all the “right things” – I spent time in God’s Word, worked out, went to the grocery store, picked up the house, checked my email, took care of Alyssa, made dinner, yet at the end of the day I felt depleted and empty. Anyone else been there? To my dismay all of these “right things” did not fill my soul with peace. I needed to hear from God, I needed His tranquility. So, I found a quiet spot and poured out my heart to God. I simply sat in His Presence. Then suddenly I heard Jesus say, “Let’s exchange – you give me your day that has been burdensome and full of stress and in exchange I will give you my life that is full of peace.” He continued, “Tracy, there is a place of rest I have provided for you. Just come to me every day and we will exchange: My peace for your stress, My joy for your sorrow, My forgiveness for your sin, My healing for your sickness, My wisdom for your confusion, My love for your fear, My grace for your wrong choices, My strength for your tiredness. Just come to me and I will give you rest.”

Needless to say my day changed within an instant! My question for you is what do you need to exchange? What is heavy on your heart? Take these concerns and run to God with them. Sit in the lap of your heavenly Father and exchange your needs for His provision this day. Trust me, you’ll be glad you did!

Lord, I take a moment to exchange my pain, my past, and every issue that is heavy on my heart this day. As I hand these things over to you I receive your strength, hope, power, truth, healing, wisdom and every spiritual blessing you have for me this day. I place my eyes on You Lord Jesus and not my circumstances. Keep me close to you Jesus and open my ears to hear your voice each and every day.” Amen.

I know that I usually just publish on Tuesday’s, but after hearing from several of you, I decided that we all needed a little encouragment to conquer the “post-holiday blues.” I pray this word has encouraged you today. I love you!

P.S. Is anyone else cleaning your house from top to bottom? I am noticing that every woman I speak with (including myself) is cleaning out closets, cabinets, painting, getting rid of things. I believe this is symbolic of what God is doing in our lives to prepare us for the new year. So clean on!!