You Are Not Alone

Growing up, I moved around many times. By 4th grade, I was entering my 5th elementary school. I had moved three times in five months my junior year, went to three different high schools, had said goodbye to step-dads numbers 5 and 6, and had been married and divorced, with a baby, by the time I graduated.

Not long after I divorced, my son and I ended up homeless. I felt I had no other choice than to let my son go live with his dad, never imagining that I would lose all rights to him. I had experienced a great deal of loss by this time in my life, but nothing compared to this. I had wanted a baby, someone permanent to love, who would love me back. When I lost him, I felt completely alone. It was the greatest sadness I had ever felt – a sadness I was not equipped for, not just the pain of a broken heart, but the great emptiness. It was the kind of sadness that took control of my whole body. I was over a thousand miles away from my family and felt completely alone.

love-godAnd then God spoke,  “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” (John 14:18)  I’ve heard people say Christians just need a crutch, and that’s why they believe in God. I had several crutches: heroine, meth, cigarettes, shopping… We all have crutches. But crutches don’t have the power to save, only God does.

I was on my way home from St. Louis, headed back to Louisville, KY, when I totaled my car. I was so high, I barely remember climbing out of the passenger side window. I spent the next several weeks in jail, somewhere in Illinois. But God knew exactly what He was doing, because in that moment of desperation, with nowhere else to look, I turned to God. I just wanted God to get me out of jail, but he had other plans.

Sitting in a recreation room, inside that jail, somewhere in Illinois, some man, whose name I can’t remember, told me that Jesus loves me. The power of that truth was like water to my soul. To know that I wasn’t alone, that there was One who still loved me, especially after all I had done, pierced my heart.

. . . I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. Ezekiel 36:26

I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. . . . He who has seen Me has seen the Father. . . . I am in the Father and the Father is in Me. . . . John 14:6, 9b, 11a

Only God Can give you peace, heal your hurts, and give you a new heart. The only ones who will be with Him for all eternity to adore and worship Him will be those who accept Him as their Savior while they are still alive in this world. Accepting Jesus as Savior comes when we BELIEVE in Him. This means that we put our total faith and trust in Him to forgive our sins and to give us eternal life.  You will never be the same once you welcome the beautiful, loving, perfect, holy Son of God into your life.

 About the Writer:
Brandi likes to show God’s love by helping those in need. Since becoming a believer at 22, she has enjoyed working with troubled children, teens, and their families. She loves her grown son, enjoys working with those in recovery, and likes spending as much time as possible outdoors.

If you would like to put your faith in Jesus and want to know more, please contact the Women’s Ministry at First Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas, at firstdallas.women@gmail.com

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Constancy of God

Women aren’t the only ones to desire security. Coming home from work, when I look into the eyes of my young daughter as she welcomes me, I see it in her eyes too. She also desires her world to be filled with people that won’t leave, that always come back to her, that will always love her even when she is sick, fussy or misbehaving. It is a God-given need.

 Thirsty? Drink. Hungry? Eat. Exhausted? Rest. Feel insecure? We come to a need that cannot be met apart fromLoneliness God. Of course, I am very aware that physical needs are not always met so simply; but even more so the deep emotional needs of knowing we are loved, accepted, taken care of, watched out for, and being led to a vision greater than ourselves reveal a void that cannot be filled by any thing or person besides God Himself.

In my own life, loneliness has been an ongoing burden. Having just turned 16, I left my family to serve the Lord as a missionary in a foreign country. I have been stranded, detained, sick, lost, and fearful for my life many times with no physical presence beside me. Not all of my loneliness has come from honorable choices to follow the Lord. Some loneliness has come from my own foolishness and poor choices. I gave birth to my daughter with one of the more encouraging portions from Lamentations 3 in my pocket. But amidst the sadness that we all suffer when we feel alone, the greatest comfort to me has been the promises of God found in Psalm 23.

 The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows. Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Psalm 23

 I wish I could say that I never feel lonely, for I still do. However, at times of greatest need I know the greatest blessing of the constancy of God. He is the same Shepherd yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Such constancy could not be replaced or replicated even in the most “perfect” circumstances; the blessing I have been given in the security of my God is more solid than even the most loving friend, parent or spouse.

About the Writer:
Lyndsay has been many things in her past, but no career, experience, or calling define her more than the desire to follow after Christ in response to His gracious work in her life. At present, she teaches movement classes and works as a wellness consultant in addition to loving her amazing husband and raising her daughter to know and love the Lord.

Storms

When I am desperate in life, I’m discovering that I am exactly where God wants me. For when I am desperate, I am completely dependent on Christ.

God is taking me to the deepest parts of myself and literally tearing down strongholds that I didn’t even know were there. It is as though He is tearing me down to my foundation in order to rebuild me and make me stronger. But, I must be honest in saying that the process is hard. I hold on to hope, knowing that all of this is temporary, and I am DESPERATELY clinging to my Savior. The only reason I am this transparent about what God is taking me through is Waves of the North shorebecause I feel it is an act of obedience towards Him. Transparency is actually how He has called me to worship Him during this time.

Have you ever been on a boat as a sudden storm came upon you? This past summer I had the privilege of being on such a boat… And believe me, land NEVER seems near enough when the frantic wind comes sweeping through your body and the waves are suddenly crashing around you as the constant beating of the water on the hull makes everyone hope and pray that boat is not going to break to pieces from the excessive pounding.

The storms that suddenly sweep over us in life are no different. We wonder if we are going to be able to take one more beating – if we can handle one more thing to go wrong. We are desperate. And we have a choice to make… We can try with our own human efforts to stop the waves of life from crashing and crushing us or we can hold fast to Christ and TRUST the God who controls the winds and the waves to get us through the storm. It reminds me of the passage below.

When He got into the boat, His disciples followed Him. And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being covered with the waves; but Jesus Himself was asleep. And they came to Him and woke Him, saying, ‘Save us, Lord; we are perishing!’ He said to them, ‘Why are you afraid, you men of little faith?’ Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and it became perfectly calm. The men were amazed, and said, ‘What kind of a man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?’  Matthew 8:23-27

I don’t know what today has in store. And I am so thankful that I can’t control today’s outcome. All I can do is choose “Trust” (Proverbs 3:5) and “Obey” (John 14:15) my Father in Heaven. I am thankful for this difficult season of life because I know that once I have gone through this, I will have learned all the amazing truths God wants me to understand at a deeper level. So through the pain and through the storms of today, I will praise and cling to my Savior who holds me fast through the storm.

About the Writer:
Catherine has been married for 16 years and has two incredible preteens. She is the caretaker of her father-in-law who battles dementia and works full time with her husband at their financial planning company.  Having been broken and stripped from the pride she used to clothe in daily; her prayer is that it will never be back as God saves solely by His grace. She is a recovering people pleaser who is constantly going to the Throne of Grace to refocus her life, pursuits, goals, dreams, and time. She is most passionate about worshipping Jesus in every thing and being transparent while giving God credit for every aspect of life.

God is constant

The world in which we live in is in a constant state of flux. Advances in technology are rapid and force us to change our lives in ways that we never imagined. Our waving grasscircumstances can change in an instant, and our moods change as our circumstances change. At times we find ourselves wondering if there is anything in this life that is constant and certain. The first definition of constant is “the quality of being unchanging or unwavering”.

Is there anything in your life that is unchanging or unwavering? We live in a society where almost everything is disposable. We no longer fix things – we throw them away and get new ones. When I ponder the word constant, the only thing that comes to my mind is God. He is the one who existed before there was anything, the one who created everything seen and unseen. He is the one who knew each of us before He formed us in our mother’s wombs. As a matter of fact, not only did He know us, He planned all the days of our lives before we were born. (Psalm 139:16).

Recently tornados destroyed many homes in Garland and Rowlett, Texas, and took the lives of twelve people. These were a reminder of just how quickly our life circumstances can change. If our hope is in the temporal, then, when these things happen, our lives are in complete chaos. On the other hand, if our hope is in the eternal, then we are well aware that God is both unchanging and in control of all of life’s circumstances.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Hebrews 13:8

Do you need some constancy in your life? Then rest in the arms of the One who created it all and who is unchanging. Rest in the fact that He loved you enough to provide a way for you to spend eternity with Him.

16 God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. John 3:16-17

God’s love for each of us is constant and His gift to us is eternity in heaven by grace through faith in His Son Jesus Christ, if we will only receive it.

About the writer:
Anna S. leads the W.E. C.A.R.E. team for the Women’s Ministry of First Baptist Dallas.  She is a widow, a mom, a grandmother and grateful to the Lord for giving her opportunities to share with other women in several ministries through First Baptist Dallas.

Constancy of God in My Life

When I think about God’s constancy in my life, not going to lie, I get a little queasy. I say “queasy” because I think about all the changes I have had to go through in my life up to this point. You see, I hate, loathe, and despise change. If you’ve got a good thing going for you, why on earth would you want to change it? I can just imlove of Godagine the Lord thinking to Himself something like this whenever I start throwing a temper tantrum because things are starting to change again: “Sweet Anna, bless her HEART. Has she not learned that change is a part of life yet and that I never leave her to cope on her own?!”
I’m the girl who as a small child would ask my mom what we had planned for the next day because I needed to prepare myself beforehand (or make a better suggestion if I didn’t like that plan, duh). So you can see that God has had His work cut out for Himself from the beginning when it comes to my stubborn ways. Growing up as a pastor’s kid, I moved often with my family, as in 4 major moves in 8 years. You can imagine that the Lord and I have had some words over these slight changes of what I think would be the best plan over the years. It wasn’t really until this last move to Dallas from Atlanta that I allowed God to pry apart the tight grasp I was trying to maintain on my life. Through a Christian non-fiction book called Let’s All Be Brave by Annie F. Downs (I highly recommend it because it’s hilarious and will make you “ugly cry” in a good way), God showed me that, no matter where I go or what path He leads me down, HE is the constancy that I crave, not the absence of all change. Change is inevitable, y’all. We live in a fallen world that we do not control.  But GOD-He is able to do immeasurably more! (Ephesians 3:20) He promises us this amazing truth to hold tightly,

And lo, I am with you ALWAYS, even to the end of the age.  Matthew 28:20b.

I don’t always have to like the changes God allows in my life, but I know that I can always lean into the presence of the God who never ever changes and who will never ever leave me. I’ll leave you with this amazing quote from Annie’s book that really resonated and has stuck with me: “When God tells you to be brave, he will make it work. It won’t be perfect. It won’t be easy. But it will be your story and your best story.”

About the Writer:
Anna is a coffee-holic and is always on the hunt for a new coffee shop to try in Big D. When not working at First Dallas as the Administrative Assistant to Young Marrieds, College, and Singles Ministries, you can find her snort-laughing with friends, watching Gilmore Girls for the umpteenth time (Team Luke!) or studying to finish up her undergraduate degree at Liberty University Online. She has a passion for Orphan Advocacy and Youth Ministry, hoping one day to unite those two passions for the glory of God’s Kingdom.