Photo Shoot…

I was looking at pictures from my daughter’s recent senior photo shoot while waiting for my annual mammogram. Quite the contrast, I know. Let me just go on the record that my “photo shoot” was far less glamorous than hers.

The pictures are simply fabulous. I truly can’t decide which one I like the most. A sweet sister in Christ blessed us with her God-given talent in photography. The day of the photo shoot was such fun, which was an added blessing. God gave us a cool, fall day here in south Texas with lots of blue skies and sunshine. My daughter and I had shopped for three perfect outfits, picked out accessories and even discussed her makeup. There was much giggling and silliness during the shoot. I will have that day forever carved in my memory as a blessing. When I look at the pictures, the happiness and ease of the day play back in my mind.

I have experienced many kinds of days as a mom. The days haven’t always been all smiles, blue skies and cool weather. There have been days bathed in frown lines, darkness, and hot tempers to say the least. But, I realized that the hard days are what make the photo shoot days even sweeter.

It is in the contrast that God’s grace shines the brightest. His grace holds us in the heaviest of days and His grace dances with us in the lightest of days. And because of His grace we can be thankful for all of the days.

Let His grace refine and refresh you on this day. For His grace surely changes everything!

Be hopeful!

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 weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV

Alisha Cornett Photography

A tantrum…

I teach a Pound fitness class on Tuesday mornings at my gym. If you aren’t familiar with Pound, you should check it out! You release your inner rock star while playing drums to awesome music. (Your legs will never forgive you.)

I introduced some new songs last week in class and really found my groove today until the very last new song. Being a perfectionist, I went back to this song at the end of class determined to get it right. As you probably guessed, I messed up again right at the end of round two. Now I have already established here that I do have a flair for the dramatic, so I threw my rip styx down in haste and watched as one bounced and hit a participant smack dab in the middle of her forehead. (If my boss is reading this, I am so sorry! And I really love my job!) Before I move on, this sweet gal was not injured, thank God. And we did get a good laugh.

When I was reliving this less than fine moment of my day with my husband, he teased me and said, “see what happens when you throw a tantrum.”

I don’t know about you; but, I have been know to throw a tantrum or two in my life. In fact, when I was little, I would throw myself down face first on the floor, kicking and crying when things didn’t go my way.

If we are honest how many times in life do we throw a tantrum when things don’t go our way? How many times do we kick, cry and whine to God about the unfairness of life? How many times do we question His sovereignty and faithful love for us? And how many times is that tantrum actually a result of our brokeness or bad choices?

Y’all, grace changes everything!

But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness. (Psalm 86:15 NIV)

He is gracious, even in the midst of our tantrums. He is abounding in love, even in the midst of our questioning. And He is faithful even in the midst of our self created drama.

He is a good Father and He is quick to scoop us up, wipe our tears and will even use our messes for His glory!

So, maybe next time, I will consider Him before I throw a tantrum. I sure will save myself a lot of embarrassment.

Be hopeful!

Promises…

I consider myself a woman of integrity and place value on my words, especially when a promise is made. I hope that most people have experienced this to be true when interacting with me. If I say that I will do something, I will do it.

Lately, I have been wondering how many times I have made a promise to myself and promptly broken that promise. Unfortunately, I think this list of broken promises might be longer than I want to admit.

How about you? Do you value a kept promise? How would you score on keeping promises you make to your self?

In Luke 10:27, “Jesus answered,  ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ ”

Love God with everything you have and then from that vertical relationship of love flows a horizontal relationship that extends love to everyone around us. But what I find fascinating here is that we are to love our neighbors as ourselves. Self, now that’s something that gets all the attention in today’s day and age. But what if it doesn’t? What if how we truly love ourselves is lacking?

You see a pattern of broken promises to myself is not a reflection of love. The same kindness, forgiveness, love, and benefit of the doubt that I extend to others should also be extended to me, myself and I.

I was reminded in church this morning the sweet message of grace. Because of Jesus, I will not be judged on my sins, failures and shortcomings; rather, my name appears in the Book of Life and someday I will spend eternity in heaven with my Father. God loved me so much that He sent my Savior Jesus, keeping His promise to Himself and to me. Now that is some new year hope!

Lord, help my love you more. Then, let that love fill me and spill over to everyone around me. Help promises to myself be as valuable as promises to others. But, above all else, let me honor you with every promise! Amen for me. And Amen for you!

Be hopeful!

“This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him. John 3:16‭-‬18 MSG

Miracles Still Happen…

I witnessed a miracle this past weekend. My daughter’s friend was in a car accident. She actually flipped her car five times, over a barbed wire fence and landed halfway out her front window. For all intensive purposes, she should be in heaven with Jesus. No, not the case here. God has things left for her to do. Her part of His story is simply not finished. So, she walked, painfully, away from the accident with five fractured vertebrae and several contusions to her lungs. She will heal in a back brace. Her injuries did not require surgery. And she found herself at home the day after her accident to start the healing process. It was nothing short of a miracle. God’s grace and mercy on display for us to witness.

And what a better time to witness God perform a miracle than the week leading up to Easter, this Holy Week. The same God who turned water into wine; made the blind man see; and raised Lazarus from the dead just moved in this young girl’s life. His power, His glory, His mercy, His grace on full display.

The same God whose Son, Jesus, faced the brutality of the Cross and who gave up His final breath for each of us. Jesus, who three days later, left the tomb empty, completely victorious and alive, so that each one of us can have eternal life with our Father in heaven. Yes, this same God stood in the gap of this accident and spared this young girl’s life.

What is there left to say? Thank you Father. You are truly an awesome God. You are good. You are powerful. You are merciful. To You be all the Praise and all the Glory. Forever. Amen.

Be joyful and in awe!

“For even the Son of man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:28 NLT

The Back Scratcher…

20180306_171414Monday nights have become one of my favorite nights. First, I get to spend time with my Sisters in Christ in Bible Study. Then, a new tradition has formed in our home. My man, daughter and angel dog pile on our bed and we watch the television program, Kids Baking Championship. Now before you all conjure up false impressions of my man; this is not his show of choice. He is a fishing, hunting, rough and tough, Texas man…you make no mistake! I truly believe that the main reason he succumbs to this ritual has everything to do with the back scratcher.

Honestly, my man is obsessed with the back scratcher. He received an upgraded “model” in his stocking at Christmas. It extends to different lengths, is shaped like a metal hand and has a nice cushiony grip. What I have observed about the back scratcher is that it can be used to scratch lovingly or it can be used to annoy. And usually the rule of thumb is that you get exactly what you give, which typically ends poorly for me. For some reason, try as I might, I can’t resist using the back scratcher to annoy more than love when it is my turn. I have also observed that my daughter keeps track of the amount of time that angel dog gets scratched. And, God forbid, that she is given any less time! My man gets the most time with the back scratcher and we are amazed that he doesn’t sustain flesh wounds on his back from the intensity of his scratching.

Aren’t we lucky to have a God who doesn’t give based on what He receives? “For it is by grace that you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is a gift of God.” (Ephesians 2:8 NIV) We continually sin and fall short; yet His grace and forgiveness is extended again and again. His love is more than abundant!

Aren’t we lucky that we are never beyond God’s reach? Psalms 138:7 reminds us, “Though I am surrounded by troubles, you will protect me from the anger of my enemies, You reach out your hand, and the power of your right hand saves me.” His reach is deep and wide and He has the ability to forgive and forget our sins, as far as the east is from the west.

Aren’t we lucky that God loves us all equally? He extends the same love, hope, forgiveness, and grace to each and every one of us. He doesn’t play favorites! “For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16 NLT)

God is the ultimate back scratcher!  I will never look at our Monday night ritual the same again.

Be joyful!

 

The Big Red Bow…

I’ve mentioned that my daughter is 16 years old. Her 16th birthday was just a couple of weeks ago and my husband and I surprised her on the morning of her birthday with a car. It was one of those rare “movie” moments. She walked out to find a cute, Volkswagen beetle parked in our driveway with a big red bow on top. Her exact words to me were, “are you kidding me”, as the reality of what she was seeing in front of her began to sink in. My husband showed her all the features of her new “ride” and we told her that if she passed her driving test that afternoon that she could drive her car to softball practice. She replied, wide-eyed, “BY MYSELF?” Oh, my husband and I just died laughing. What a great morning! What a great memory! I told my daughter to hold onto this fun memory and lock it in her heart. Yes, it is important to stop and take notice when the big red bow appears in life.

It made me ponder my own big red bow moments. I am enormously lucky to have a mom who provided many of these moments, especially during my childhood. My man has locked a few big red bow moments into my heart as well. But, the sweetest big red bow moments have come from my Father in heaven. The best and most important one being the gift of His Son, my Savior, who sacrificed His life to redeem mine. In fact, when you really think about it, big red bow moments in life are a result of Jesus Christ. His goodness. His love. His grace. His moments to give to you.

Yes, it is important to stop and take notice when the big red bow appears in life. These moments are just around the corner, when you least expect them and often appear when you need them most. They can leave you stunned with joy. They can bring you to your knees in thanksgiving. And they can revive you on a dark day by just conjuring the memory back up. You see, that is just how our God works. He is Hope.

I encourage you to enter into each day looking for the big red bow.  I am convinced that He has one to offer, big or small, when we walk with Him and let Him guide our steps.

By the way, my daughter did drive, “all by herself”, later that day. Actually, she wasn’t all by herself. (None of us ever are.) Her heavenly Father was watching, grinning and enjoying that first ride with her!

“What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? Romans 8:31-32 NLT

Be joyful!

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