Most days you will find me in yoga pants and a t-shirt while driving carpool, changing diapers or preparing dinners for my family, but some days I have the privilege to counsel women, write and speak. This past Thursday was such a day where I was able to put on some cute shoes and share with hundreds of moms at Moms with Swords how GOD IS GREATER than fear, GREATER than our emotions, How God’s TRUTH exposes lies and deception, and how God longs for us to RECEIVE from Him each day…I like to say it this way, “God loves it when we take from Him!”
So, for the days when you feel overwhelmed with your to-do lists and the stress of life is coming down on you – take a few minutes with me to listen because GOD IS GREATER!
May Jesus bless you as you listen or watch today:
This past Thursday was week 6 of our Spring 2017 session: ESTABLISHED with special guest speaker Tracy Hurst.
You can also go to our website and click on Week 6 to hear Tracy Hurst: at www.momswithswords.com/podcasts to listen – Remember to click on Week 6 to hear Tracy!
OR you can watch live on Youtube:
“MWS Established, Week 6 with Tracy Hurst-
Traffic. It is a word none of us like, and if you happen to live in a big city, such as, Atlanta, LA or NYC, the very word “traffic” alone can raise your blood pressure and bring frustration to the surface within seconds.
Traffic is noisy, chaotic and out of our control. Yet, we all have “traffic” in our lives, and I am not just talking about cars blocking our way, I am talking about mental and emotional traffic that gridlock us from getting to our desired destination of peace and joy.
For many of us “mental traffic” is worry, fear, anxiety, control, stress, depression or busyness and while these mental horns are blowing….our peace slips away. But, today we can make a U-turn today by soaking in Psalm 46:10 (Message translation) where God tells us to:
“Step out of the traffic! Take a long,
Loving look at me, your High God,
above politics, above everything.”
First David tells us to “step out” of the emotional traffic. We do this by opening God’s Word. The traffic will still be there, but the noise will lessen and eventually leave as we look into God’s Word concerning our life. I am continually amazed at how just a few minutes in God’s Word can supernaturally open a lane of peace to our hearts and minds.
Once we take the time to look up at our ALL-POWERFUL, MOST-HIGH, LOVING, CONSISTENT, FAITHFUL God, we are able to breathe again (go ahead and take a deep breathe now – just breathe in Jesus and breathe out all your cares and worries). For, as we breathe in God’s Word, our mind will begin to rest in His promises. We can rest in the truth that God is above everything, everyone, and that He knows how to get us where we need to go. For He holds all provision, healing, breakthrough, hope, restoration, and promise needed to get us through the traffic of life.
And let us remember that our High God is above POLITICS. He is above the Presidential Election, the media, a doctor’s report, favoritism at our workplace, disagreements within our family, trouble within our marriage or any “political” issue we may be facing. He is above everything. Period.
“Father, help me step out of the traffic and take a long, loving gaze at You today. I lay down every concern and issue on my heart and I thank you that You are above it all. I pray for President Obama, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump today and ask that Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. You are above every person, every position, and You are Ruler of all. I chose to step out of worry and fear and I place my life in your capable hands. Thank you for being above everything in my life and in this world. Amen.”
I have been so blessed with the birth of Audrey Grace and she is a joy! Let me just say that God truly knows what He is doing! I want to encourage you that when God brings something “new or surprising” into your life or if He chooses to “remove something old” – YOU CAN TRUST HIM!
I will be sharing more with you about “Life with Audrey Grace” soon, but for now I wanted you to know that I will be speaking in the Atlanta area in a just a few weeks! I am honored to be ministering at Burnt Hickory Baptist Church! This church is thriving and the women are precious! I will be ministering with Worship Leader, Amy Wallace and I am over the moon to be with her once again! It will be an unforgettable time in the Lord!!
You know those times when you ask for God’s will and your uttermost prayer is, “Lord, Your will be done, not mine.” There is a liberating freedom in surrender such as this. When our plans and agendas fade into the background and God’s will and the unknown is embraced within our deepest parts.
For beloved, the unknown is not for the faint of heart, yet surrender still calls as we long to obey and follow God.
And when our prayer of surrender is answered, if we were honest we would confess that our response is often not with abundant joy of which we thought, but with great questioning and doubt, yet there is an unexplainable sweetness found within surrender which liberates us.
I am one of those; a surrendered soul longing for God’s will. Yet the very place God has taken me and my family was nothing of which we had ever dreamed and we have found ourselves at a place of great surrender.
My family and I have joined an elite 2-percent group as we await to recieve the unexpected bonus of life by the name of Audrey Grace. Audrey Grace will be born within the next few weeks and we are excited about her arrival! Oh just the thought of kissing those sweet baby cheeks brings tears to my eyes (yes, my hormones are flowing overtime)!
And although this pregnancy was a surprise to us, it was no surprise to God. He knew from he foundation of time that it was His will for this precious girl to be born at such a time as this. For Audrey Grace has always been His will, therefore we can freely surrender and rest assured that everything we need rests within the palm of God’s hands.
If we could only grasp that our lives are not our own, but in our human nature, too often we resist and resist and resist until we finally reach the freedom of surrender. To some this type of surrender sounds delightful to others it brings up our greatest fears, in our case it was a little of both.
Yet, the truth is, we can freely surrender to God for He is the kindest, most generous Person you will ever know. He is the essence of goodness and whatever He brings or allows within our lives is for our good in the end. When Moses asked to see God’s glory in Exodus 33:19, God replied, “I will let my goodness pass before you.” God’s glory is His goodness, He cannot help but to be good, faithful, and kind for it is His nature. Therefore beloved, we can rest in His goodness. We can open our hearts to His will for our lives knowing His goodness will always be displayed.
We can trust in the goodness of God.
No matter what you are going through, I encourage you to surrender to God’s goodness in your life. Hold on Dear One, for even in difficult times His goodness will be seen in the end. If He is calling you to let go, let go. If He is calling your to embrace, then embrace. If you are in need of a miracle, God is willing and able to provide it. He is the solution to every problem and the answer to every question. You can trust in the nature of God, for He is good.
“Jesus, I surrender my life to you. I may not always understand why I am going through a situation or what to do about it, but I can rest in Who You Are. For you are good, gracious, kind, generous and lovely. You love me and are for me. Please manifest your goodness within my life as I surrender to your will. May I experience the freedom of surrender and rest in Your goodness all the days of my life. Amen.”
“Friends love through all kinds of weather, and families stick together in all kinds of trouble.” Proverbs 17:17, The Message
Has God ever shown you that you needed to let go of a friendship, but instead of following His lead, you intentionally held onto them too long until it resulted in conflict? As a counselor, I often tell my clients, “When you set a boundary, someone will be hurt.” And although none of us like this truth, what we fail to see is that by NOT setting a boundary – we are the ones who are continually being hurt – over and over again! Boundaries may hurt people’s feelings but it will not harm them. Boundaries allow us to be authentic to ourselves and with others. Boundaries are a good thing and keep us and our friendships healthy.
I have found in my life that there are 3 types of friendships: 1. Friends for a moment. 2. Friends for a season. 3. Friends for a lifetime.
And believe it or not, all three types of friendship are just as important as the other. You may be thinking, “Come on Tracy, surely a lifetime friend is more valuable than a friend for a season or moment!” But, I beg to differ with you – each type of friendship is valuable in its own right.
A friend in the moment can impact you for eternity.
I will never forget sitting in a Chapel service at Mid-America Bible College. A young student presented the gospel. I don’t even remember his name, but through his message and invitation, I accepted Jesus as my Savior – he was a friend for a moment that has impacted my life for eternity. Years later a beautiful blonde intercessor prayed over me and declared “Tracy, you are not a misfit, you may not have fit into your father’s or mother’s plans but you fit into God’s plans.” Her words still ring within my being and although she remains a nameless friend for a moment – I will never forget her or her words.
A friend for a season can also impact you more than you know.
I had a best guy-friend named Wayne during my college years. He greatly prepared me for my husband. His friendship brought needed healing and restoration in my life – he was an amazing friend for a season. And although our season ended due to us establishing healthy boundaries once we both became married, I will forever be grateful for his friendship in the “right” season. You see, when seasons change, friendships can change or may even need to come to an end, but it’s okay – the Lord giveth and taketh away – blessed be the name of the Lord.
The thing about friendships is that we too often try and keep “right” people in a “WRONG” season. Or how about this one – how many of us expect everyone we are friends with to act like our friends for a lifetime? I will never forget when a friend failed to ask me about a recent speaking engagement. She knew about the event, but never inquired about it. After much prayer, God clearly showed me that I was wrong by expecting her to act like my friends for a lifetime – who ALWAYS pray and ask about my speaking engagements.
A friend for a lifetime is a treasured jewel.
These you can count on one hand. They are the individuals who know you, your strengths, your weaknesses, your passions, your deepest secrets and longings. They celebrate the good times and weep with you in the dark times. They do not keep a record of wrongs, always give you the benefit of the doubt, they are there for you 24/7 and no matter how much time has passed you can pick up with them right where you left off. These are the treasured jewels of life.
Today I would like to honor all of my friendships. Whether you have been a friend for a moment, a season or for a lifetime: I honor you and I am a better person because of you – thank you!
As women of God, it is time for us to let go of wrong, out of season, relationships and and grab onto God with all of our might! God is the One person I can declare is your Friend for a lifetime! Selah (pause and think about that for a moment). Jesus is the One who is always on our side. He is cheering you on from heaven and intercedes for you when no one else does. Jesus is the friend that you are all longing for – grab onto Him and trust that He will give you wisdom in all your friendships.
Prayer: “Lord, thank you for being my friend and Savior for a lifetime. You are always with me and I love you. I give you my friendships and ask that You forgive me for placing my hope in them rather than in You. Show me who my friends are for a lifetime, season and moment. I acknowledge today that each level of friendship is important in my life. I let go of childish things – offense, rejection, trying to defend myself, he said – she said conversations, gossip, criticism, and the such and grab onto You – the author and finisher of my faith. Amen.”
“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.” Ephesians 1:7, NKJ
It’s time to let the past be in the past and to become women of Grace. God once shared with me before a family gathering, “Tracy, a woman of Grace never brings up the past sins of another person. Just as I have forgiven and covered your sin under The Blood, you must also cover the sins of others… A woman of Grace always builds up and never tears down.”I will never forget these words because they were like water to my soul. You see, I have a shameful past, but God never reminds me of it. Sure, there are times when I reflect on what God has done in my life, but never with despair or regret, but with thanksgiving of what God’s Grace has done.
So, as you sit with your family and friends this Holiday season, I encourage you to BUILD UP and not tear down, SPEAK LIFE and not death, EXTEND MERCY and not judgment, EXPRESS LOVE and not hate, OFFER FORGIVENESS and not bitterness, SHARE of God’s goodness and no matter what happens at your Holiday gathering – be a woman of Grace.
“Just as we season our meal with salt, let us also be purposeful to “season” our fellowship around our tables this Holiday season with God’s amazing Grace – it will enhance the atmosphere and bring delight to everyone around you” -Tracy Hurst
We need to trust that when evil is spoken of us, God will take care of it. All we need to do is simply walk in God’s grace and no evil plan shall prosper. God will send His angels concerning us as we flow in His love. And it is my prayer that God will grant us all a gathering seasoned with Grace!
Prayer:“Lord, please forgive me of my sins and cover them in Your Precious Blood. I rebuke the devil and his tormenting spirits – I am forgiven and redeemed – I am a new creation in Christ Jesus. Help me Lord to be a person seasoned with Grace. I will no longer bring up the past sins of my brothers and sisters in Christ, but use my mouth to build up and edify. I ask for a Graceful Gathering this year and I realize this desire starts with me. No matter what happens Lord, I invite you to be with me this Holiday season. Guard my lips and heart as I choose to trust that You will vindicate me when needed.” Amen.
“So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: Compassion, Kindness, Humility, Quiet strength, Discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.”
Colossians 3: 12-14, The Message Translation
Ask any woman and she will tell you that a simple black dress will take her just about anywhere in life. For example, throw on a black dress, add a pair of high heel shoes and ‘hi-ho-hi-ho’ off to work you go. You can run errands around town by sliding into your favorite pair of flip-flops. You can enjoy a formal evening out by placing a strand of pearls around your neck. Not to mention that as you dash around town in this all-purpose black garment, you will look simply elegant! Every woman needs a go-to black dress.
However, when we enter our closets each morning, we typically select our outfit based on a mood, habit or inspiration. Psychologies Magazine states, ” Clothing choices are rarely neutral, and our inner secrets can be read in our choices.”
What many of you may not know is that God is interested in what we wear, spiritually speaking that is. He has picked out some articles of clothing that He believes are essential for every believer’s closet. So, let’s do some inventory shall we? Would I find the following items within your spiritual closet: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline, even tempered, content with second place and quick to forgive?
I will admit to having most of these, yet I seem to wear the same things over and over again! For example, I regularly wear a shirt of compassion, slacks of forgiveness and shoes of kindness, but I often pass by the jacket of discipline! If we are all honest, there are probably a few of the mentioned garments listed above that we have a hard time putting on…which one is it for you?
But, there is one all-purpose garment (like that essential black dress), which God states we are NEVER to be without:
LOVE is the one piece of clothing we need to be wearing at all times – no matter the season, predicted weather forecast or agenda of our day. The garment of love is to be extended to others, ourselves and to God. It is the garment that will bring success our way no matter what. So go ahead and wear your black dress, but don’t forget to put on some LOVE to go with it! I promise you that with that combination – you will look fan-tab-ulous!
Prayer: Lord, I want to wear what you have picked out for me today. I choose to place upon myself this day: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline, I desire to be even tempered, content with second place and quick to forgive, but importantly I choose to walk in love. By choosing to wear the articles of clothing listed above – I am dressed for success. Thank you for loving me this day. Amen
“God will show me the path of life; In His Presence is the fullness of joy; At His right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Psalm 16:11 NKJV
*Lately, I have been on a quest to add more fun into my life. I realized that I needed additional fun when my husband and I went to see a romantic comedy at the movie theater and after the movie I could not control the tears that ran down my face. My husband looked at me totally perplexed (ladies, you know the look), he assumed that after viewing a fun, romantic comedy, I would feel encouraged and uplifted, but instead a deep sense of sadness filled my heart. I felt as if I was “missing out,” that everyone else was having fun, except me (do you hear the violin playing? LOL). And so began my quest for FUN!!!
The next day my husband and I sat down and made a list of the things we considered, “fun.” Of course, our lists were completely different! My husband, who is a ex-paratrooper and Golden Knight for the Army, listed various adventures, such as: jumping from planes, mountain biking, getting his pilots license, watching Brave Heart and Blackhawk Down. My list consisted of things such as: more girlfriend time, dinner parties, buying new shoes and travel.
So my husband began watching his war movies, doing his “guy stuff” and I bought some new pair of shoes (sorry honey), met girlfriends for coffee and together we hosted a few dinner parties, but these activities DID NOT SATISFY our desire within.
Finally, one morning during my quiet time with God, I asked Him why we were having such difficultly implementing fun into our lives?
Then God led me to Psalm 16:11:
“God will show me the path of life; In His Presence is the fullness of joy; At His right hand are pleasures forevermore.”
The truth is, nothing on earth will bring us eternal joy. Don’t get me wrong, a mountain bike and new shoes are great, but both will eventually end up in the junk yard!
The truth is, we were looking for fun in all the wrong places! Only the Lord can provide the JOY that can satisfy your soul. Fun is fleeting, but JOY is eternal.
EXTREME JOY is only found in God’s Presence, JOY is seeing God bring breakthrough and healing into people’s lives, JOY is telling people about Jesus and how good HE is!!
As Psalm 16 sank into my spirit, a smile spread across my face. I found what I had been longing for in the Word of God.My quest had been fulfilled! That following weekend, my husband and I hosted a Bible study and I sensed God’s Presence in our home. As I looked around the room I thought to myself, “NOW THIS IS FUN!”
Lord, forgive me for looking to the world to bring joy and satisfaction into my life. Nothing this world offers can bring me eternal peace. It is only in Your Presence that I am filled with supernatural joy. And this joy is not dependent on my circumstances. I choose to no longer look for fun in all the wrong places, for it is only in Your Presence that I am filled to overflowing! Amen.
*A Published Article by Tracy Hurst, “Atlanta Christian Chronicle”, June, 2004
Tracy became a Christian at the age of 16 and her life was changed forever. She went from being a depressed, suicidal, rebellious teenager to a dynamic leader for Christ. Immediately after accepting Jesus as her Savior, Tracy fought the school board in order to begin a Bible study on school grounds at her high school in Illinois. The dramatic transformation in Tracy's life has inspired many, including her own mother, to give their lives to Christ.