Tag Archives: encouragement

Created For a Purpose

Making Me In Your Image

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A brand is defined as, “a unique sign, design, symbol, words or a combination of these used to create a certain image.” Every company, product, and even most blogs have a brand.

In order to brand, a person must pick a specific age group, logo, and cause they want to target. If a company or person tries to create a product for everyone, they won’t be able to sell it because not all of their “audience” can use it.

When a company defines their brand it defines their mission. After they create their brand, then they create products to fit their cause.

God has branded us with specific gifts and talents too.

There are so many times I compare myself to others because they have gifts I feel I don’t. It’s so important for us to remember that we were created for a purpose and it won’t look very different than our sister, friend, or co- worker. If we don’t have a certain gift, that’s okay because God has given us gifts that fit the work He has for us.

God defined our mission and cause before we were born. When he thought us into being he picked our gifts based on what audience he wants us to reach.

He understood that hospitality or thinking to give a teacher a gift on the first day of school was last on our priority list. He knows that it’s okay to lack in certain areas, because in the areas He has gifted us in- we will excel.

Here’s my brand (or what I am good at): Hanging out with teenagers, mentoring, helping the broken, encouraging people through tough times, planting seeds deep into a persons soul by encouraging them in order to help them stand strong when trials come.

By defining my brand (or what God has created me to do) I have the ability to combat the adversaries lies. When I feel my friend seems to pray better than I do or that I talk too much (and trust me, i’ve beat myself up for that a lot) I simply remember, it’s okay because, God is using me with the gifts he has given.

Friend, we weren’t created on accident. God put a lot of thought into us. Don’t you think for a second that He left something out…  Have you defined your “Brand” I would love to hear it! Feel free to tell me on the comments below. 🙂

~ Lovelle ❤

What My College Degree Means to Me

Our Circumstances2

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I walked to the stage in amazement. I never thought I would get here but I did. They announced my name and gave me my diploma. I could hardly hold back the tears.

I worked so hard for this.
I almost gave up so many times because it was so hard.
I shed so many tears trying to get to this place right here, right now.

6 years ago I was isolated and alone. I had dropped out of high school for over a year but managed to graduate on time by the grace of our Heavenly Father. College seemed to good for a girl like me.

That’s where the smart people went. You know, the ones with parents that believed in them and actually prepared them for it. I got shoved into a community college and until the first day of class, I didn’t know that college had a different schedule.

I didn’t realize that you didn’t go to school from 8am-3pm. Talk about a wake up call.

I felt so different and stupid compared to the other kids who actually seemed somewhat put together. There were so many nights with little sleep because school and working full time didn’t always mix.

I continued on and pushed myself forward, looking toward the finish line, uncertain of my future. The Lord is so faithful. 

Now I have parents and a huge support system cheering me on. Somehow they knew I could do it even when I didn’t think I could. They never let me give up. They listened to my cries and cheered me on all the way to the finish line.

As I held that bachelors degree as tight as I could with my cap and gown on I was so full of thankfulness. I am thankful that the Lord took a broken girl and did the impossible. He managed to make her a graduate not once, but twice.

He saw something in her that she didn’t know she had. He pursued her with everything He had and He constantly reminded her that His ways are no limit to her circumstances. 

He gave her healing.
He gave her parents.
He gave her an amazing husband.
He proved to her that she wasn’t as stupid as she thought she seemed.
He showed her that she was worthy.

Everything that was taken from her, God in His gracious love redeemed. That my friends is what my college degree means to me.

~ Lovelle ❤

 

 

Life and the Storms: This, Too, Shall Pass

It was a bright and sunny day and the temperature was perfect. Although I felt like winter lasted forever, the amazing weather I saw made me think that things were going to lighten up and boy, was I excited. I was ready for the warmer weather, and all that came with it like trips to the lake, pretty flowers, and walks outside.

I looked at my phone to find a notification from a local news station informing me that the area was under a severe thunderstorm warning. I scoffed at my phone in disbelief because from what I had observed, there was no way a storm was possible. The weather was amazing and there wasn’t even a cloud in the sky. A couple hours later the meteorologist proved me wrong, and the storm came down hard.

As I sat on my couch listening to the rain fall and thunder bellow outside my house I couldn’t help but think that this is what life is all about…

I was reminded that life is full of up’s and downs. The adversary has undesired surprises hidden in every corner. One moment things are fine and then bam, you are hit with an unexpected expense or sickness. Happiness is drowned in the midst of a storm. Through all the hardships that come from life, I am so thankful that my God is in control.

This too shall pass

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Are you going through a storm right now? Were you hit with a situation that seemed to knock you right off of your feet? Take heart, my dear friend, because our troubles won’t last forever. Our loving God is full of comfort and guidance. Even if you can’t see Him, He is present in your situation and there is hope because  this, too, shall pass

Thirteen Miles of Grace

I jumped out of bed as quickly as I could. Normally 6:17am hardly qualifies as late on a Saturday morning but in this case it did because I was supposed to be at the starting line of my half marathon that was thirty minutes away.

Even though the race didn’t start until 7am, it was necessary to get there 30 minutes early because there were 2,600 other runners that needed to line up too. Thanks to my alarm clock I was now running extremely late. I had less than 15 minutes to reach my destination.

I threw on my clothes and grabbed my stuff. My husband and I headed out the door as quickly as we could. God had favor on me and I arrived to the half marathon with 5 minutes to spare. I had a few problems though…

My late schedule caused me to run out the door without eating anything or even going to the bathroom. This meant that I had to run 13.1 miles with an empty stomach and full bladder. Running a half marathon is hard enough. Frankly, I didn’t need anything else to make it worse.

As I stood there in running position, waiting on the race to start Paul’s words from 2nd Corinthians 12:9 began to echo in my head. Over and over again I heard.

Grace

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So when the race began I held on to those words. As my feet hit the pavement I thanked God for my ability to run and begged him to help me get through this race. I finished the race in awesome timing. My goal was to run the half marathon in 2 hours in 15 minutes.

did it in 2 hours and 14 minutes. Yup, I beat my time by one minute even though I was running on no food. God’s power worked in my weakness. He helped me through the whole thing. 

Have you ever had one of those moments when you just thought that you couldn’t do it because you didn’t feel strong enough? Well heres the thing, you aren’t strong enough, but your Creator is.

His power works best in your weakness so sit back because He has got your back.

~Lovelle ❤

A New Meaning to My Half Marathons

As I peeled off the sticker that had remained on my car for what seemed like forever I began to remember the significance of my first half marathon. I remember that race like it was yesterday. I was so overwhelmed with thankfulness that I cried. With the Lord’s help I had ran 13.1 miles and completed a race that I never would have even imagined competing in.

In the process of three years, I had successfully lost 80 pounds and was healthier than I had ever been before. To me, my half marathon symbolized how far God had brought me and how He would continue to push me even farther.

The day after my half marathon I purchased a sticker at a local running store. It said 13.1 and once that sticker was on my car, everyone who drove by would know that the girl in the ruby red Ford Fiesta ran a half marathon.

As far as I was concerned, I had earned my bragging rights. I had literally earned that sticker with my own sweat and tears. 

Here’s the reality; Everyone could see that I ran 13.1 miles, but they couldn’t what God did for me. 

So two half marathons later with a third on the way, I found myself taking off the 13.1 sticker that I had become so proud of. I didn’t take it off because it was old; in fact, those large black numbers could be seen a mile away.

I was taking off the sticker because with every scrape, I was one step closer to completing an even bigger race. My life isn’t about my success and in no way do I ever want to glorify myself, so with one last scrape, the remains of the sticker were gone and a new symbol was made that day.

13.1

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The absence of the sticker was the beginning of my discipline. In that moment, I promised God that I would run as fast as I could towards His presence and that day I made a commitment to give Him the rightful glory He deserves for  EVERYTHING He has done.

~ Lovelle ❤

What I Learned From My Dog: Approaching God Without Expectations

When my husband told me that I could get a dog for my birthday, I was over-the-moon excited! I love dogs but I had never had a stable home environment so it had never been possible. With that decision came expectations.

We wanted to adopt though the Paws for Prison Program. Through this program, the dogs are taken out of a shelter and trained by prisoners. After their training they can be adopted out. I was scared of training a dog because I did not have the attention span or ability and I thought that this program would give me the ability to be a better dog owner since they did the training for me. So with those expectations in place and a determination to adopt the perfect dog, I applied.

I got so excited when they called me about the dog I had applied for. I was almost certain that I would get the dog and we would live happily ever after… And then I got turned down. I was a little disappointed but I tried again.

I filled out the paperwork and got another call back only to find out the dog I had applied for got really hurt and could not be adopted out.

Really???” I told my mom. “How hard can it be to adopt a dog?

Be patient” she said. “God will give you the perfect dog.

Like all moms out there, she was right. We went into PetSmart to get cedar chips for a dog we were watching only to find out they were showing dogs from the local animal shelter. I walked over to the area where all of the dogs were and sat down. To my surprise the most precious dog walked underneath my chair and planted himself right in between my legs.

My husband looked at me and said, “I think that dog chose you.” He had, and we brought our baby home two days later.  His name is Buford.

The funny thing is that our dog did not fit the expectations we had put in place. He didn’t come from the program we wanted to go though and he was bigger than we originally wanted.

I was so scared of training, but our dog was potty trained within two days, and through the program we have him in, he is learning a lot of commands. Our trainer says he is one of the smartest dogs he has ever seen.

Buford

God did give me the perfect dog! I couldn’t ask for a better workout buddy. It turns out Buford was neglected by his previous owners. All he really wanted was love and well, God knew I had more than enough to give him. I had worried for nothing.

I learned through this situation that we shouldn’t approach God with expectations. He has a plan and it will come to pass. The moment we let fear of failure cause us to take matters into our own hands is the moment we will fail. 

What expectations are you approaching God with? What has got you scared today? Know that God has got your life in the palm of his hands and He will neither leave nor forsake you {Deuteronomy 31:6}. When it comes down to it, our life has nothing to do with us. It has everything to do with Him and who He is.

The Waiting Game: What I wish I Was Told When I Was Single

I had this dream that was tucked inside my heart so tightly that hardly anyone knew about it. Everyone in the world saw a completely content and independent woman, but deep down all I wanted was to be married.

I was ashamed of this dream and at times, I felt that I obsessed over it too much. After all, a woman’s heart should be so hidden in God that a man has to seek Him just to find her. I was taught in church that I should be content and my impression of content was to be happy single.

The problem I had, was that I wasn’t happy single. Instead I was stuck with an unwanted desire… 

I would pray to my Creator because I wanted Him to take away my feelings. I was sick of guilt and I thought that my desire for a husband meant that I wasn’t content.

After years of struggling and an extreme amount of guilt, God gave me an answer to my request but it didn’t involve Him taking away my desire. He gave it to me through a simple scripture.

I want you to be free from the concerns of this life. An unmarried man can spend his time doing the Lord’s work and thinking how to please Him.
~1 Corinthians 7:32

I learned through this scripture, that there is nothing wrong with my desire for a husband. God created me that way. I learned that I should embrace this chapter of my life by spending my time doing the Lord’s work and thinking about how to please Him. This verse taught me what it really means to be content.

Being content means that you are making the best of your situation. The fact is, we all have unwanted feelings. Paul says it best in 2nd Corinthians. In two powerful verses he tells us how to be content in the midst of hardships.

I asked the Lord three times to take it away from me. He answered me, “I am all you need. I give you My loving-favor. My power works best in weak people.” I am happy to be weak and have troubles so I can have Christ’s power in me.
~ 2 Corinthians 12:8-9

Despite what I was taught in church, desiring a husband isn’t a bad thing and it does not mean that I am not content.

You see, God designed us with a desire for companionship. Since the beginning of time, man has struggled with loneliness. We see that in the book of Genesis. Adam was lonely and needed a helper so God made Eve {Genesis 2}. When Adam saw her he praised God because he thought that she was a wonderful gift.

“At last!” the man exclaimed “This one is bone from my bone, and flesh from my flesh!”
~Genesis 2:23

The Christian culture tells us to be content with singleness, and yes that is true but often times we think that a desire for a spouse means that we aren’t. It causes us to feel shame because we think that our desire means that we aren’t having faith or trusting in God. How we handle that situation often involves us feeling guilty, stuffing our feelings inside, and hiding them instead of embracing them. 

I am married now and I absolutely love it. Ironically enough, I met my husband a couple months after God changed my perspective but as I look back at the four years I struggled with singleness there are a few things I wish I would have been told because they would have helped me through that season in my life and it probably would have made my time as a single woman more useful.

If you are struggling with singleness I want you to know that your feelings are completely normal, in fact, they are a gift from God. I’ll be the first to admit that being single is REALLY hard. Friends are great but on those cold days, there is something really depressing about not having someone to snuggle with.

Here’s how you get through it: Focus on advancing God’s kingdom. Take advantage of your time, and minister to people.

Hispowerinweakness

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p.s. If you’ve ever struggled with feeling like you need to be perfect, my mom Holley Gerth’s new book will encourage you. You’re Loved No Matter What: Freeing Your Heart from the Need to Be Perfect.