Mary’s Alabaster Jar

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“Mary wasn’t a wealthy woman. The alabaster box containing such a costly perfume maybe represented her life’s savings. It was worth 300 denarii which was about a yearly salary for a skilled laborer in those days. She gave all she had to Jesus for His glory. She has expressed the depth of her love and devotion to Him by a costly sacrifice.”

Today I am honored to share the Devotion at Blogs by Christian Women where I am a Regular Contributor. Please continue reading the post here: https://blogsbychristianwomen.com/mary-alabaster-jar/

 

But…the story doesn’t end there!

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A few days ago, when I was having playtime with my 5 years old son, he wanted to have a drawing & colouring activity as a part of playtime. I gave him a few sketch pens and chart papers to draw pictures on. As he got engaged in drawing, my mind unknowingly slipped into some thoughts.

I was thinking (maybe worrying) about the future life we are going to have as a family. I was wondering about the daily challenges I face, the family finances, my daughter’s health condition and the future ministry and plans God has for us. Within a second my mind was filled with uncertainties, fears and insecurities.

I felt so many more impossibilities than possibilities in my situation. Fear of the unknown troubled my heart. I found myself completely caught up by my worries and I didn’t even notice my son had finished drawing his pictures and he wanted to show them to me.

He first showed me a drawing of Jesus hanging on the cross.

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I was surprised because he usually likes to draw rainbows, house or shapes in his drawings. He tried telling me the story of Jesus- which he watched on YouTube I guess.

He began saying that Jesus died on the cross, he shed his blood for us….Jesus saves us.

But one thing brought a sparkle into my eyes and a great hope in my heart

When he said  “But wait…..

the story doesn’t end there

He rose again from the dead!”

And with a wide smile on his face he showed me his next drawing of Jesus risen from the dead.

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Even though I know the truth but that very moment when fear and uncertainty entangled my mind what I needed most was someone to remind me that Jesus is a risen God, He is alive, he has conquered the power of death and darkness and that’s the reason I have a future, a hope and His perfect plans for my life. His story didn’t end in defeat; neither will mine. Death couldn’t hold Him in the grave; neither will my adverse circumstances hold me to doubts, fears or uncertainties. The power which resurrected Jesus from death, the same power is imparted in me.

My son’s simple drawing spoke a great message of God’s hope, unconditional love and promises to my anxious heart. As I focus on the little sentence he told me “but wait! The story doesn’t end there” that itself is a great proof of God’s faithfulness in my life. Because two years ago my son couldn’t even speak a single word. His story didn’t end in dumbness but by God’s grace he is improving and amazing us by his words every day.

In the midst of life’s challenges, it’s easy to shift our thoughts into negativity.  It’s easy to get so carried away by our worries, anxieties, and frustrations and believe things will always be the same, I will not make any difference or I will always be going to drag through life.

There are seasons in our lives when the other half of the story is unknown. Fear of the future sometimes overpowers our faith and trusting an invisible God becomes illogical. But here’s the assurance…a firm assurance we have in Christ Jesus “THE STORY DOESN’T END THERE…HE ROSE AGAIN FROM THE DEAD!” And when we focus on His Story which was unfolded for us, we can be sure of our story which will be unfolded in victory too for His glory.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a LIVING HOPE through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”

1 Peter 1:3 NIV

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This post was featured at Alisa Nicaud’s Blog https://flourishingtoday.com/how-god-shows-up/

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http://www.marriedbyhisgrace.com/category/salt-and-light-link-up/

 

Thy Kingdom come!

 I am so excited to welcome my friend Jill Cote to the Blog. I met her through her site http://www.letfaitharise.com three years ago. Since then we have cherished our friendship and it has been flourishing in the love of Christ. Her words have always inspired me in my walk with the Lord. I pray her words will bring an encouragement to you too.

Welcome Jill!


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Recently The Lord’s Prayer, found in Matthew 6:9-13, had been on my heart. I had found myself reading it, and learning about it through different messages and talks with my husband.  Specifically the Lord was speaking to me about forgiveness.  In time I began reading a book called “A Layman looks at The Lord’s Prayer” by W. Phillip Keller.  Though I knew that the Lord wanted to go deeper with me in the area of forgiveness, it became clear that He first needed to reveal something else to me.  As I began reading chapter 4 of this book, the section of the Lord’s Prayer that says “Thy Kingdom Come”, I found myself unexpectedly blessed.  In one short paragraph the Lord made so much crystal clear.  It was as if I had been looking through a veil that distorted so much. The Lord spoke to me about a lie that I have believed, and the root behind it.

As I read, it became clear, there was an error in my basic assumptions that had framed my way of thinking my whole life. The following is the excerpt from the book that I read, which touched me so deeply… “When all is said and done, most of us from our earliest childhood believe we are the king of our own castle.  We determine our own destinies;  we arrange our own affairs; we govern our own lives.  We become supreme specialists in selfish, self-centered living where all of life revolves around the epicenter of me, I, mine.”

As the Lord spoke to me and touched me I picked up my pen, crying to the Lord, and wrote this short story that he gave me in a moment…

… Once upon a time there was a mighty castle, centered in a glorious kingdom. There was laughter, fun, love, warmth, but most importantly, there was security.  This castle was safe. The ruler of this kingdom knew all was well and had no thought or concern that it would ever be anything different.  But, one day, quite unexpectedly, the enemy charged.  He tore down the walls.  The fortress crumbled. Life would never be the same again.  Memories of happy times became distant and now tainted with pain.  Uncertainty settled in the hearts of those who remained.  Safety was stolen.  Fear blanketed their souls.  It was settled, the ruler understood, she had failed.  It was her fault.  She wasn’t enough.  She’ll never be enough…

I was the ruler of this kingdom. And with respect to my family whom I love dearly, the details of my family’s struggle don’t matter as much as the message the Lord was trying to teach me.  I had believed that if I had been enough, I could have prevented heartache.  I had believed that it was my fault.  I believed that I was the King of my castle and that I had fallen short.

This lie, this lense I looked at life through had established basic assumptions that affected my way of thinking for decades.  Many times the Lord had shown me this guilt I had operated in, I had felt it for years, however I didn’t understand the root…  the root being the belief that I was the king of my Kingdom. When we believe that… we surely are solely to blame when things crumble.

As the Lord spoke to me I pictured pots with seeds being planted. This experience as a child caused three seeds to be planted.

  1. Bitterness and resentment towards those who hurt me.
  2. Unforgiveness towards myself and those who hurt me.
  3. Lies that were perceived as truth creating a corrupt way of perceiving life.

Then the Lord showed me what grew out of each plant.

  1. A need to control and protect, always striving to meet outside expectations.
  2. A lack of trust which created untouchable parts of my heart.
  3. An inability to see rightly through this distorted lense.

As a young lady, 11 years old, this was now the foundation I stood on. Surely the enemy knew this, and he sought to use this cracked foundation to dig me deeper and further from God’s truth.  As I grew older, married, had children, I found these insecurities had crept into so many parts of my character and my life.

In this, the Lord didn’t want to leave me here. There was an ending to the story He gave me as I sat and wept that afternoon… This was the end to my story:

… Oh, this young ruler was confused. In her youth and immaturity she placed a robe of ruler ship on herself that she was not meant to wear…  you see… she was a princess! It was her father the King of Kings who ruled the land!  His ways were higher, his ways greater.  He had allowed this battle to rage.  He ordained the walls to come crashing down, so that He alone could be glorified as He built a new castle.  A castle with a foundation of truth, walls of trust, a moat of protection, boarders secured, so that this young princess was truly ready for battle… oh how the Father loved His precious daughter…

God’s Word is our foundation of truth. Psalm 145:9 says “The LORD is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works.”  Surely He is trustworthy!  He who is in us is greater than he who is in the world says 1 John 4:4.  The borders of our castle are secure!  He is sovereign!  Col 1:16-17 says “For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers.  All things were created through Him and for Him.  And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.”

He alone is the king… not us… He alone we trust in… not ourselves or others… He plants completely new seeds in our gardens. Bitterness and resentment are replaced with love.  Unforgiveness births forgiveness in our hearts.  And the lies we once believed are replaced by His Truth!  It was not my fault that the walls came crashing down that day… I hadn’t failed… and neither had God… He had a magnificent plan that He is still working in me. He is doing this same work in you, and you can trust Him!

In all of this… the Lord was seeking forgiveness in my heart for all. My time studying forgiveness was perfect preparation for this revelation the Lord gave me.  How can I hold onto unforgiveness, when all things are a part of His sovereign plan. Thy Kingdom Come! Phil 2:13 calls us to forget about those things behind us and to press on.

Certainly walking these truths is much easier in my head, than in my heart. It can be a daily surrender to continue to forgive and to not hold those we love in contempt.  My prayer for you…  Lord God, help us to see Your Sovereignty in all things.  Help us to remove this crown of control and place it on the rightful KING.  We place ourselves under Your Kingship Lord.  Rule and reign in us oh God!  We no longer want to live a life of bitterness, resentment and unforgiveness.  We want to see rightly Lord… no matter the cost!  Open our eyes to see Your loving hand at work in even the most difficult places.  Help us to forgive and be changed… In Jesus Name, Amen

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Jill lives in the United States with her husband and four children. The Lord has brought her and her family through many trials of health and home.  In this, He has proven Himself faithful and sovereign.  She is blessed to be able to share what the Lord is revealing in her heart in hopes of blessing others.

 

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There is Power in your Pain!

power in the pain

A few months ago, a parenting community named “mycity4kids” hosted a contest for bloggers – “Having A Baby Changes Everything”. This contest was all about sharing motherhood stories, joyful moments with the little ones and the excitement of their first milestones. Since I was one of the members and bloggers of this parenting community I received the notification for the contest too. The notifications kept coming into my inbox throughout the month. I was receiving the articles of other bloggers who wrote their motherhood journeys so beautifully.

I so wanted to be part of the contest but I was hesitant to share about my parenting journey, because my motherhood wasn’t filled with fun, laughter and exciting things like other mums. I was sure, even if I did write, it wouldn’t be good enough to fit into the contest or to bring any cheer to my readers.

There were a few days remaining till the contest closed. I was having continuous prompting in my heart to write about my motherhood experience and what it means for me to be a mother. I would begin to type the words and I would delete them. I didn’t want my story to look different than the other bloggers. I wanted to be part of the crowd. For most of them, their lives were changed by experiencing the joy of motherhood but for me, my life was changed by experiencing the heartaches of motherhood.

My motherhood story was full of pain, tears and fear of the unknown about my little ones. My 3 years old son was diagnosed with Autism and my 2 years old daughter had damage in her brain which later developed into rare epileptic disorder and severe developmental delays. There weren’t any milestones, first words, rolling, babbling, giggling but hospital stays, painful injections, MRIs, blood tests, tantrums, inconsolable crying and chaotic life.

In the midst of my dilemma to write or not to write for the contest, a thought stuck my mind. I decided to write believing that even if my motherhood story doesn’t bring any cheer to the readers or stand out for any prize in the contest, it might encourage a few troubled hearts of those mothers who are going through similar situations like mine.

So I began writing about my motherhood story and how it changed my life and perspective towards the definition of motherhood. And with much courage I posted it. I titled it “A Contrasting Tale of A Motherhood”.

To my surprise, within a couple of days, I had more than 84,000 people viewing my story, many Facebook comments & shares and hundreds of mom across the country writing to me that they are really encouraged by my words. Some of them wrote how it helped them to value their motherhood, some of them just thanked me for helping them see the positive side of their struggles as mothers, some of them wrote prayers for me and some of them found my story inspiring.

The head of the Blogger community personally thanked me saying

“Thank you so much for sharing your parenting story with us. I came across your post and thought to recognise your efforts for this publication. I think it’s great that you are able to put your life in words. There are many of us who would address the trifle issues and not recognise the roller coaster ride parenthood can be. So thank you, once again for this post. Our readers long to hear more about your life and your positive attitude towards life”.

I thought my “different” story wouldn’t fit into the theme of the contest but more than anything else God wanted to use it to bring healing, comfort and encouragement to many hearts.

I know He had given me those words to write to turn my miseries, struggles, and discouraging moments into a beautifully woven article of inspiration.

Have you ever felt God nudging your heart to share something but you felt it wasn’t worth sharing? It could be your abusive past, your failure, a story of your life which is filled with painful moments, or any of your life incidents or experiences that you wouldn’t want to bring into the light?

You probably think that it’s not going to help others, it’s not worth sharing, you are still waiting for a miracle or happy ending for that story, and you aren’t sure what people will think of your inadequacies, short comings and disappointments.

Dear friend! No matter which crisis you are going through, there is a purpose behind your pain; there is a testimony, an inspiring and influential message which people out there are waiting to hear. It may not encourage the multitudes but will surely reassure most of those who need to hear some words of comfort and assurance today.

God has a plan for your pain. Don’t stop yourself. Don’t undermine the power of your pain. Your story can bring encouragement and inspiration to many. Your life experiences can heal the broken-hearted, point them to the hope and love of Christ and help them to thrive amidst their problems.

When God nudges your heart, be ready, you are about to enlighten someone’s life with yours.

 

Here’s the link to my parenting story. If you want to read, please click the below link.

http://www.mycity4kids.com/parenting/words-from-heart/article/a-contrasting-tale-of-a-motherhood-having-baby-changes-everything