Steps to new beginnings

nye_2019Happy 2019! It is a brand new year! This year you can do anything or be anyone you want to be. If you are like me the year crept up on you. Have you made any New Year Resolutions? I have made many. If you haven’t there is still time, I know that it is the middle of January but you can always have dreams and goals that you want succeed in.

If you did, how it is going? Did you make it through the first hour, day, or week? Sometimes our goals are short lived, aren’t they? We have the best intentions. We tell ourselves we can do it. We are committed but when the day comes we fail miserably. Or sometimes we make it a few days, weeks, or months, but somewhere along the way we lose our momentum, and before we know it our progress and fall back into our bad habits. I know it happens to me.

heidi-sandstrom-259886-unsplashI think the problem we all have with having goals and dreams is they require more than positive thoughts and good intentions to complete them. They require action. They require tough choices, faith, determination, and endurance. They won’t come easy we have to work for them. In the end it will be worth it depending on how much we wanted it, and what we wanted for the outcome.

I was reading the Old Testament the other day about how God’s people had a huge goal that they had to accomplish. After they were driven from their homeland because of their friends’, parents’ and grandparents’ disobedience to God, they were free to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the Temple of God that had been destroyed.  They were committed to completing the task and had the resources to accomplish it. They successfully rebuilt the altar and set the foundation for the Temple just as they set out to do. But they weren’t finished. 

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Two things happened between them completing the foundation and reaching their ultimate goal: discouragement and fear. Some of those who remembered what the old temple had been like were disappointed and afraid that it couldn’t be as grand as the one that they once had, so they gave up trying or brought to much negativity to the project that caused others to lose heart. (I have been around people like that, especially at college. Have you?) Many also gave into their fear of their enemies who were threatening them and frustrating their plans, and fear for their own livelihood. They became concerned with meeting their own needs instead of trusting God to provide them the resources to finish their ultimate goal. 

“Take delight in the Lord,
and he will give you your heart’s desires.” – Psalm 37:4 

One of the biggest obstacles I face is discouragement. If I let those people at school discourage me then I wouldn’t be able to finish my ultimate goal of working in the school systems interpreting for deaf children. I want to help them reach their full potential but I won’t be able to complete that if I let people that discourage me have power of me so I don’t let them. I let them motivate me to do better and study harder. When the results aren’t coming fast enough or if I make a mistake signing in class sometimes it can be easy to give up. Sometimes when others don’t understand what I’m doing or why I’m doing it their words can easily derail me if I chose to let it. It has the opposite effect on me, instead of having a negative affect on me it has a positive affect on me. It motivates me to do better and explain my ultimate goal.

templeAfter the progress stopped on the temple, God sent one of his messengers to speak to those who set the work aside. He encouraged them to keep going but he rebuked them from their fear and lack of obedience. They were reminded that they weren’t alone and that their work was important. He would be there with them, help them, and provide for them. There was still a lot to do, and it wasn’t going to be easy but with God’s help they knew they could complete their ultimate goal. They also knew that it wasn’t so much about accomplishing the goal but about what they were called to do. While I was reading I came across a verse that really stuck out to me and went along with this blog post. It is from Zechariah 4.

“Then he said to me, “This is what the Lord says to Zerubbabel: It is not by force nor by strength, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.” – Zechariah 4:6

We are all precious to God no matter what he has called us to do. Start with that belief that you are precious to him and see where it takes you. I know my ultimate BIG goal for 2019 is to let others see his light through my actions whether I am at home with my family or at work with my work family. I want them to Jesus through me. God can help me accomplish my dreams and that is amazing and that changes my perspective on everything. Often times when I try to accomplish things in my own strength, time, willpower, and resources it doesn’t work. I fail and fall short into discouragement and frustration.  When I live in his unfailing love, mercy, grace, and believe that I am precious to him the outcome changes. I succeed in my plans and people who try to distract me a discourage me don’t get to me. His unfailing love, mercy, and grace keeps me going. All those things keeps me on the path to high places with him.

step.jpgThis year I have decided that to complete my new year resolutions I need to focus on the next step. I have to realize that Goals and dreams take time to come together and that they don’t come together overnight, in a week or even in a month. If I expect it to come together in that amount of time then it will lead to frustration and discouragement. If I focus on each step I will be happier and will feel like I am accomplished even if I have a long way to go. For example one of my goals is to sign more everyday when my last semester of college starts so I will be ready for the final project. The first goal I will focus on is reviewing the signs that I am not familiar with and do not know that well. I can also ask God to help me stick with it.

What’s the next step to where God is leading you? Take the leap and let him guide you in this beautiful new year. That leap of faith can take you to places you never imagined to high places even. You just have to trust in God to take you there. Let him guide this new step to new beginnings. 

“Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand.” – Colossians 3:1

 

❤ Elena Grace

There is Always More

 

44435778_2001954873226305_3958156931310288896_n“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” – Ephesians 3:20-21 

Recently my family went through a lot. About three months ago my grandmother lost her voice and she then had a CAT SCAN and it showed a mass in her throat.  From there it went down hill she was in Cabell Huntington and then the University Kentucky Hospital because they thought that they could remove the mass from her throat but they couldn’t so she ended up coming back here to a Hospice House and she was there for 2 days and she ended passing away.

When all of this started I thought ‘oh no it couldn’t get any worse” because I still had hope that she could make it through it and have a story to tell but she didn’t but I have my story of how I have grown in Christ and have realized there is ALWAYS MORE through Jesus Christ.  There is ALWAYS MORE to look forward to,MORE to be thankful for, MORE to give, MORE to learn, MORE blessings to receive, MORE growth in faith, MORE peace to experience, MORE wisdom to gain, and MORE reason to love.  Through God’s Love he helped me realize all this in a little time and I am truly grateful that he did.

When the doctors were sending my grandma to University of Kentucky my mom asked me if I could stay at their house and take care of their Dog Cody and I said ‘yes mom of course it helps me out with my homework and my online class since they have WiFi.” So to me it was a win-win I was helping them out all while being able to do my assignments without having to drive to the library to do them. So I moved into my grandparents house and it was my first time really living on my own and it really gave me of sense of what being an adult is like. During this time I read my Bible, prayed, worshiped 4 to 6 times a day because I knew if I didn’t I would have a breakdown. There was one evening that I was laying in my bed praying and crying during my prayer I got to the point where I couldn’t breathe because I was so worried and scared; my grandma that I lost was my best friend.

I talked to a lady at my church about how I was feeling and what I was going through because there were times that I felt like I HAD to be strong for my grandpa, mom, aunt, and dad, and brother. She said this to me ‘you don’t need to be strong for anyone don’t feel like you need to be. Your feelings are just as valid as your mom’s and grandpa’s.’ When Staci said this to me it really opened my eyes because it is true. I had no reason to feel like that I had to be strong for them. I just did and by feeling like that it put that much more stress on me. When this was going on I was living at their house, going to school, and working. So I was pretty stressed so once I accepted that I didn’t need to be strong for my family I felt a load come off my shoulders. Through all of this I was getting God winks left and right. My friends at school were always encouraging me and telling me that I could talk about anything with them.  So that was God showing me THERE IS ALWAYS MORE KINDNESS.

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I knew during this time that I couldn’t lose my faith and how I trust in God. I went to Church one Sunday and when I walked in my pastor was surprised to see me and he asked me why I was there and I said This is the place I need to be right now.’ I needed to be there because I feel so much love and support at my church and being there really helped me even though I had tears running down my face pretty much the whole time.

When it was it was getting closer to the end of my grandmother’s life I came to understand that as MUCH as I want her to live and be here with us that God wants her to be with him in HEAVEN; that there is not a better place for her to be in. I have an angel watching over me always. As much as I will miss her and her hugs I am so thankful that she is with JESUS!

I came across Ephesians 3:20-21 during one of my many “quiet times” when all of this was going on. It was like God hit me in the head with a 2 by 4.  This is what it says:“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” As I read through this I realized that through Jesus Christ that we can do and have MORE! MORE JOY, MORE PEACE, MORE STRENGTH, MORE COMPASSION, MORE TO BE THANKFUL FOR, MORE TO GIVE, MORE TO LEARN, MORE BLESSINGS, MORE GROWTH IN FAITH, MORE WISDOM TO GAIN, AND MORE REASON TO LOVE THERE IS ALWAYS MORE THROUGH THE LOVE OF JESUS CHRIST.

If we know Jesus and live a life for Jesus he will give you everything you need. He will make ME realize that even though my Grandmother passed away that there was ALWAYS MORE JOY, MORE PEACE, MORE STRENGTH, AND MORE FAITH AND ALWAYS MORE TO LOOK FORWARD TO. The morning that my grandmother passed away I was asleep and I got a phone call from my dad and he told me that she passed away. When I got off the phone with him I layed there frozen unsure what to do. I didn’t cry I was just frozen. It was like God let me accept that she was going to pass away before she did and that helped a lot. It also helped that I was able to read something I wrote for her at her funeral. 

Since then I have been on a youth trip and continuing to meditate in God’s Word, prayer and in worshiping in songs him and I feel closer to him than I ever have been before. He is helping me realize who he wants me to be through him. God has given MORE JOY, MORE PEACE, MORE STRENGTH, MORE COMPASSION, MORE TO BE THANKFUL FOR, MORE TO GIVE, MORE TO LEARN, MORE BLESSINGS, MORE GROWTH IN FAITH, MORE WISDOM TO GAIN, AND MORE REASON TO LOVE THERE IS ALWAYS MORE THROUGH THE LOVE OF JESUS CHRIST.

As I bring this to a close remember that in every situation THERE IS ALWAYS MORE!!!MORE JOY, MORE PEACE, MORE STRENGTH, MORE COMPASSION, MORE TO BE THANKFUL FOR, MORE TO GIVE, MORE TO LEARN, MORE BLESSINGS, MORE GROWTH IN FAITH, MORE WISDOM TO GAIN, AND MORE REASON TO LOVE THERE IS ALWAYS MORE THROUGH THE LOVE OF JESUS CHRIST.

 

always more

 

❤ Elena Grace

 

 

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Pure Gold

noah-silliman-107988“So be content with who you are and don’t put on airs. God’s strong hand is on you, he will promote you at the right time. Live carefree before God, for he is most careful with you.” ~ 1 Peter 5:6-7

When you live your life for God and you want to serve him and bring him all the glory. You need to live carefree and not care about what others think about you because all that matters is what you are doing for the glory of God. You do not need to act a certain way to impress or make God see you. He already sees you! HE LOVES YOU! He wants you to live for him and be a disciple for him. He is walking beside you and has his hand on you and will GUIDE you always all you have to do is follow him and let him lead you and be in the “driver’s seat” of your car.

I chose this verse because it is so true. When you live your life for him and let him guide you he promote you at the right time. He has plans for everyone. We might not always understand or like his plans he has a plan for each and every one of you. He has a plan for me. I am living my life to the fullest because I am living for him and letting him guide me. Sometimes I might like what happens in my life and I might feel like it’s the end of the world but it’s not. He is teaching me through each experience I have whether it is good, bad, or sometimes ugly I learn through all of it. He puts me through a lot of things to make me stronger and to help me build my confidence and bring me out of my shell.

We all need to leave carefree because God is careful with us. When we live a carefree life we are more careful than if we do not live a carefree life. When we are carefree we are more likely to hear God’s voice than if we are focus on ourselves and making us happy. IF we focus on others and live a life for God he will bless us in more ways than we can count.  He will give us our hearts desires.

“Take Delight in the Lord and he will give you your hearts desires.” ~ Psalm 37:4

When we focus on living a life for God and are content with who we are in him he will bless us and listen to our hearts desires and give them to us. When we live like this we are pure Gold. We are radiating God’s light to others and sharing the Gospel with them.

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❤ Elena

YOU ARE PURE GOLD

The Narrow Road

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“Show me the right path, O LORD; point out the road for me to follow. Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you.” (Psalm 25:4-5)

Do you know what road you are on?

There are many paths you can walk on but the Bible talks about two paths. The path of hope, grace, and blessings and the path of loss and destruction. Which road are you currently on? 

There are a series of choices you take when you are on your path. If you take a wrong turn, think a poor thought, or on negative act. Those are all steps you choose to take.  One misstep can not cause much damage but a series of them can cause you a multitude of trouble. Another way to look at it is that one good act, one good choice or thought is a step on the right path. If you continue on the right road God will take you to High Places.

Every day I make choices. Sometimes I make good choices and bad choices. Many go in circles, they make a good choice and then they make a bad choice which makes them go in circles. The choices you make will either take you down the right path or the wrong path. It’s your choice which road you want to go down.

 “You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.” -Matthew 7:13-14

Jesus talks about the “narrow road” and the “Wide road.” The wide road is normally easier to follow but leads to hard times or places you don’t want to be.  For us it is easier to go along with the crowd especially if you are in school. If you ‘friends’ are doing something you will go along with it because you want to ‘impress’ them and not be made fun of or lose your friends. If your friends break the rules. you will follow them.

The narrow road leads to a life of happiness and blessings. It is harder because you make good choices. When your on the narrow road and you are school and have friends then they will normally help you make good choices because they are good friends. They won’t try and make you break the rules. Although it is easier to hold grudges than to forgive. It is easier to be mean than to be nice.

The good news is that the narrow road is the better road to be on. If you are on the narrow road you don’t have to walk it alone. Jesus will walk the road with you and help you make good choices. If you follow him and listen to him, he will lead you on the road to greatness and high places.

In Psalm 25:4-5 it says “Show me the right path, O LORD; point out the road for me to follow. Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you.”

When I put my trust and hope in the Lord he will lead me. When I come across a problem he will help me with it. He will show you the right steps to take so you can have a life full of happiness and blessings. If you have a hard choice he will guide you through it. He will be there through all of the choices you have to make. If you put your hope in him he will be there every step of the way. When you put your trust in him he will carry you when you fall. All you have to do is ask him and follow him.

I would not be the person I am today if I followed the world. I would be heading down the wrong road. When I made the choice to follow Jesus he began to bless me. He helps me through every choice I have to make. He has and still is helping me take the steps toward the high places he has planned for me with him. He helps me make the harder choice. He gives me the strength and endurance to make it through hard choices I make. Will you put your hope in him and let him guide you?

 

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“We put our hope in the Lord. He is our help and our shield.” – Psalm 33:20

 

Elena

Live Abundantly.

blog background 16Recently, God has been teaching me about his love, grace, spirit, patience, trust, and most importantly his friendship.God loves everyone! We don’t have to buy his love. His love is already there. God shows his love for us because when we were all still sinners he sent Christ to die for us. God gives us a commandment to love one another and if we love one another then people will see God’s love through us. God’s love is steadfast and unchanging. His love comforts me and it is revealed to me through Christ Jesus. I believe to truly see and show real love to others that I need God’s love in my heart. I have to love him first before I can show him love. I strive to show people the never-ending love God has for us.  Through my experiences on the mission trip, at Flame On, and working as a camp counselor God has become my solid rock in this crazy life.

I got saved and baptized when I was seven years old but my true transformation began when I went on a mission trip to North Carolina three years ago. We led a Vacation Bible School at a local church and a beach ministry. Through fellowship with these children, God taught me patience and perseverance. During the VBS I met a first grader named Bethany. She had decided on the first day of the VBS that she was not going to have any fun.   I prayed every night that she would see God’s love. I worked with her and showed her God’s love her. By the end of VBS, she was helping us lead the movements in the songs. I learned that there is no limit to what God can do in me, for me, and through me.

New Years, I went to Flame On a youth conference in Arkansas. On the first night, the speaker spoke on living a life for God. While we were singing I asked God to take deeper me in his word and give me a deeper understanding. I expected to gain more head knowledge but I gained greater heart knowledge. He doesn’t just say “Believe in ME” and “Follow ME,” but shows me how in His Word (the Bible) and gives me the strength, reason and faith to do that. He has surrounded me with his unparalleled love. I learned that it is about believing and knowing He loves me. It is about trusting and following him, then letting him guide me. Since I learned that I felt so much closer to him than I ever did.

This summer, I worked as a camp counselor at a local summer camp. God became my solid rock as I was away from home for the first time. I realized that through prayer and Bible study I feel his holy spirit dwell in me. I learned that there is something to be learned in every situation. While I was away at camp my mom had to have emergency surgery and stay in the hospital. When one of the program staff came and told me that I needed to call my dad I was terrified. My first instinct was to think of all the bad things that could have happened. I didn’t stop and pray until the fourth day of camp. I let the news of my mom being in the hospital distract me from my work and my campers. After my head counselor came and talked to me, I realized that I needed to stop and pray. I prayed for my mom and that God would teach me through this situation and he did.  I learned that, when things get crazy, all I have to do is trust in him, pray and lean on Him.

God’s love for me is unstoppable. He has helped me see through all the experiences to find joy and happiness in every moment. I have learned to live more Biblically and cherish all that God has for me. I know that he’s the only one who knows the way to the high places; places I have never imagined. My life has radically been changed through the love of my God. I am living an enjoyable, satisfied life filled with many blessings. I am on the ride of a lifetime even with all the bumps, I will face them with the knowledge that I will walk every step with God right beside me and I know that he will help me face and overcome each challenge.

God loves each and every one of us. He is ready for you to come and seek him out, all you have to do is talk. He is there listening to you and waiting for you to come and ask him.

 

“And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.” – 1 John 4:16

“Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.” – James 4:8

 

❤ Elena

 

 

 

 

I am a Princess of a King

Do you want to feel loved and adored by someone? Do you want to be valued by someone? Do you compare yourself to girls or guys at your school?  Do you feel like you have to be Miss. Popular or Mr. Popular? Do you feel like you must have a perfect GPA in high school? These are all questions that run through my head on a daily basics. As I have been studying God’s word;  I have realized that it doesn’t matter what I look like on the outside or inside because God made me perfect.

We were all created by a wonderful loving God who created us for a reason. He created me to do something spectacular in my life.  I may not know it yet but he does. He has a wonderful plan for me. If  I want to ‘feel’ the love of someone then I need to turn myself to the one person who loves you the most which is Jesus Christ. He loves me more than anyone in this world. No one can love me as much as he does. He made a wonderful world for me to explore. All  I  have to do is believe in his unfailing love for us.

I know some girls may think that they should have to look perfect and have the perfect boyfriend to be happy but that is not the case. I can be happy with just God’s love.I don’t have to have the perfect friends and be apart of the ‘in crowd ‘ or have the perfect clothes.  I do not have to have the perfect jewelry. I Just have to BE ME and not let someone try to change me!!!!!!  I WILL BE SEEN IF I DON’T TRY TO BE SOMEONE I’m NOT!! I have struggled with this many times in the past but as I am growing God’s unfailing love for me I have realized that I don’t have to try to be someone I’m not to be loved. I am loved by the One person that matter and that person is Jesus. He loves me just the way I am because he made me. 

You need to let your inner beauty shine and you will be seen by everyone. You need to let your light shine for God. Believe me its a wonderful life to live if you aren’t trying to impress boys or try to get in the in crowd. I know from experience; when I was in 8th grade and part of 9th grade that is something I did. I thought that that if you weren’t part of the ‘in crowd’ then you are a good person. I also thought that if you didn’t have a boyfriend then you weren’t special. None of that is True, and I learned that. All I need to do is let my  UNFADING BEAUTY SHINE THROUGH YOU THAT GOD GAVE YOU.YOU ALL HAVE GIFTS USE THEM TO PLEASE OUR HEAVENLY FATHER. YOU WILL BE TRULY HAPPY IF YOU DO THAT. 

GOD LOVES ME AND YOU JUST THE WAY WE ARE! ALL WE  HAVE TO DO IS SHINE FOR HIM. If people don’t like you than that’s not your problem that’s their problem because they are missing out on being friends with someone very special!! Don’t listen to the people who try to change you and bring you down. Listen to your heavenly father which is God!

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. ~ Peter 3:3-4

YOU ARE LOVED! YOU ARE PRECIOUS IN GOD’S SIGHT. YOU ARE A PRINCESS OF A KING!! DON’T TRY AND CHANGE THE WAY YOU ARE!!! YOU ARE PERFECT JUST THE WAY YOU ARE!!!!!!!!

❤ ELENA

I AM A PRINCESS TO A LOVING KING!

Living a Life For God

“Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well.” ~Matthew 6:33

What do you this means mean to you? If you have a prayer journal or a journal ,I suggest writing this verse and the other one that I will say here in a few minutes. Take a second and write down the verse and what you think it means. In the book “To High Places” by Melanie Wilber, Seth Amber’s boyfriend challenges her to find the meaning of this verse, but it was really difficult for her. So I decided when I read it I would do the same.

“Seek first my kingdom and his righteousness,” means that when you seek God and his kingdom you will be given hope, joy, and, peace because you trust in God and you let him be in control of your life. Trusting in him is the best thing you can do you for your life because he knows what’s best for you and if you live in that trust nothing else will matter because God will give you everything you need.

When you see “and all these things will be given to you as well.” This is when you believe in God and you read his word and you believe that he will supply your daily needs like food and shelter. I also think in this verse he means emotional and spiritual needs like love, joy and peace and security and continual presence in our lives. We have our parents, and teachers in our lives to help us live a holy RECKLESS life. The key to living that life is to give God everything all your problems and all your joys. Put him at the center of your heart and everything else will fall into place.

❤ Elena

I challenge you to live a Holy Reckless life!