Nicki Koziarz is a speaker, writer & leader in today’s generation. She is on staff at Proverbs 31 Ministries, where she gets to help lead thousands of women through their...
“Nicki is an amazing woman of God and dear friend. Her passion for reaching women with the redemptive grace of Jesus is a beautiful thing to watch. Her words captivate,...
And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. - John 8:32
Congratulations to Jennifer Gearheart, you are the winner of the giveaway from last week!Read More
Hi friends. Happy Friday! I hope you have had an amazing week.
I’m excited about today’s blog post because it comes from a friend who is so full of the love of God.
Heather Butler is an amazing writer but she is also an amazing woman. Her story runs deep into the rich roots of God’s grace and I know her post today is going to bless you so much.
PLUS, she’s got a sweet giveaway at the end.
When you were young, did you envision what your life would look like years down the road? Yeah, me too.
I would graduate college. I would fall madly in love. I would get married. I would have lots of babies. And I would write, all the time. Probably in some adorable breakfast nook with big windows. The sunlight would leak in & fall perfectly on my face while sheer brilliance flowed out of me.
I was young. I had a clean slate, fresh start at life. And all those things were going to happen the way I expected them too. I just knew it.
Along with my list of what would happen, I knew what wouldn’t.
I would never quit college. I would never be “that” insecure girl or allow a boy to measure my self worth. And I would never have a broken family.
I had a plan. And those things weren’t a part of it.
At the end of my sophomore year in college, the perfect storm hit. Each of those things did happen & they happened within months of each other. My life was turned upside down, inside out & shaken like a snow globe.
My first real boyfriend broke up with me after a year of dating. I was devastated. I put way too much of my self-worth in him. He was my world & it all began to fall apart. I was “that” insecure girl.
Living on-campus was no longer an option because my grandparents were unable to continue helping with my tuition. I had to quit college or at least put it on hold.
My parents were divorcing. I did not want to stay with my father, but I also didn’t want to move away with my mom & leave everything I knew behind. Although already emotionally broken, my family was now physically broken.
My sister was getting married to one of my best guy friends. I was thrilled for them, but they would be moving away & I would be losing my best friend & the remainder of my family.
The only things left felt like fragmented pieces of my heart, my dreams & my should-have-been life. I was alone.
And it was there, in that quiet, dark, isolated place that I heard the tender voice of my God.
“I hold your future very carefully in My hand. There is hope, restoration & joy in Me.”
I dove into His word; not as a list of dos & don’ts, but as a source to fall into to soak up all His beauty & truth. I knew that I would never again be “alone”.
He began encircling me with people that spoke life & truth into my life. One of these amazing people would one day become my best friend & husband. My God orchestrated situations down to the tiniest of details to express His love for me. In both my tears & my rejoicing, He was ever so present.
The Lord showed me that He was rebuilding the foundation of my life – one that would last. It would not have been possible unless everything from before was torn down & removed. The places of my heart that once held unhealthy, counterfeit, wavering life was now overflowing with joy, restoration & faith. True faith.
It is on that foundation that I have continued to chase God & rest in the assurance that despite my always-changing emotions & situations my God remains faithful & cannot be moved.
I am not perfect, nor will I ever be. And I in no way have life figured out or all put together. But I’m learning that perfection is overrated & that I am still beautiful to my Savior, even in my messiness. This is a journey & I’m thankful for every step.
It is God Almighty, not our actions or past, that destines us to greatness. He intertwines all things together in a miraculous way. Even the areas that are painful are a part of a large masterpiece.
So stand, dear sister & look up. Know that your imperfections & mistakes have not ruined you. You are not alone. It is those deep wounds that absorb God’s goodness & grace the most. It is in those times of emptiness & uncertainty that His presence is most tangible. They are not ugly marks in which to hide or be ashamed of. They are beautiful, deep ravines into which God’s abundant life freely flows.
I declare my God as faithful!
Thank you SO MUCH Heather for this powerful word from God.
Here’s how you can connect with Heather:
And today Heather is giving away a copy of the book
The 30 Day Praise Challenge by Becky Harling and a $5 Starbucks gift card!
To enter to win leave a comment sharing something you want to declare God is faithful about. Let’s make some praise noise for God today on this little blog!
We’ll announce the winner on Tuesday.Read More
Click here if you cannot view the video from your email subscription.Read More
“Daddy, do you want to go and jump in the ocean?”
“Hope its the middle of February, that water is freezing!”
“Ok…” [in a dad's-not-convinced-she's-really-going-to-do-it-tone.]
And so they walk towards the water that shimmers so well this time of day.
“Hope, its so cold.”
“Daddy! I’m out here, come ON.”
“Agh, Hope. It’s COLD.”
I stood on the shore line snapping my camera, capturing what I thought was just a hysterical moment. But it ended up being incredibly inspiring…
The look on her face when she jumped in the water.
The way he hesitated to go in.
The gasps for air after diving in.
The rush of excitement & pride as they ran out of the bone-chilling water.
It made me pause, right there on that shore line. And I thought of how I wished I had the guts to jump into so many things like freezing, cold oceans.
I’ve wrestled with these types of feelings before. And I love them. Because they mean there’s an upward call I need to hear. A call to jump to a level that’s not attainable in my own strength.
When we jump, His spirit take us deeper; the places the air feels thin and the water so cold.
When we jump, we live and we know we really lived.
When we jump, we understand all that is really in us; the Power of the One who makes this whole gig possible.
When was the last time a jump took your breath away? Maybe its time to jump…
Congratulations to Susan Gruener, you are the winner of the two, A Confident Heart Devotional books! I’ll be in touch soon.Read More
I am SO excited about today’s post.
Renee Swope is not only someone I get to serve along side with at Proverbs 31 Ministries, but she’s also someone I really look up to. She’s been with me through thick and thin in ministry, always has an ear to listen and she makes me feel like I can do anything.
And today she’s HERE [squeal!] on this little corner of the world, to share an inspiring message with us and host a special Valentine’s Day giveaway!
The Things We Do For Love by Renee Swope
I had everything I wanted yet felt empty and confused. Although my life was full of relationships and accomplishments I’d worked hard to gain, none could fill or fulfill me.
Frustrated by my aching emptiness, tears streamed down my face as I thought about the guy I dated through high school and college. Our future plans had crumbled under the pressure of me expecting him to be all I needed. I had been crazy about him — a little too crazy.
I’ll never forget the time a friend mentioned my ex-boyfriend was heading to our hometown for the weekend. We worked near each other, so Friday afternoon I parked by his office and waited for him to leave.
We both “happened” to be at the same fast food restaurant, at the same time and bumped into each other. After getting my order, I got in my car and followed behind him, hoping he’d see me, realize he couldn’t live without me and signal to pull over so we could talk.
Seriously, what was I thinking? As you can guess, he never stopped. I was hopeless and humiliated.
A few weeks later, I was taking a walk around my college campus. My eyes drifted to the buildings, dorms and other landmarks of memories. Suddenly my mind filled with a collage of faces, reminding me of my efforts to win the approval of advisors, friends and professors — hoping their affirmation could fill my emptiness.
Although I was graduating soon, had a few great job offers and achieved success in many ways, my heart still felt restless. And I couldn’t help but wonder: Why was all that I had never enough?
A thought rushed through my soul, stringing together two words I had never put next to each other, and I sensed God answering me.
Renee, all you have ever wanted is unconditional love.
Unconditional love? I didn’t know there was such a thing. Then God whispered into my soul: You’ll never find the love you long for in anyone or anything but Me. I AM the unconditional love you’re looking for.
The thought of God loving me without any conditions was inconceivable, yet something deep in my soul told me it was true. I’d been looking for love that didn’t have to be earned. Love I didn’t have to fear losing.
Honestly, it was hard to see how God’s love could fill the emptiness in my heart. It took time, but I came to understand that God created me with a need for fulfillment so He could meet it.
Proverbs 19:22a, says, “What a person desires is unfailing love.” That word “desire” comes from the Hebrew word ta’avah, which means: to greatly long for, deeply desire or crave. Interestingly, unfailing love is mentioned over 30 times in the Bible, and not once is it referencing a person. It is only attributed to God.
God gave us a desire for unfailing love because He knew it would lead us back to Him.
His love draws us to Him. Only we can stop God from reaching the deep and hidden parts within us that need Him most.
Let’s invite Jesus to look into our hearts today so He can show us what, who and where we might be looking to be fulfilled. Then let’s ask Him to fill us with the promise and reality of His unfailing love instead.
When I say… I’ll never be satisfied.
God says… Let My unfailing love satisfy the longings of your heart.
“What a [woman] desires is unfailing love.” Proverbs 19:22
Wow Renee, thank you so much for sharing this!
Ok guys, and now I have some really exciting news. Renee has graciously offered to give away 2 signed copies of her new book, A Confident Heart Devotional.
Enter to win two signed copies of Renee’s new A Confident Heart Devotional book by sharing in the comments:
If you won 2 copies, tell us about the friend you’d give one to!
Winners will be announced here on the blog on Monday.
After you leave your comment here on the blog, head over to Renee’s blog to enter this amazing contest!
ENTER the Let God Love You Contest:
Find out how you can WIN a $50 gift card, 2 additional signed copies of Renee’s devotional book, and a beautiful 8×10 print from Emily Burger Designs at www.ReneeSwope.com
Click here if you can’t see if the video through your email subscription.
What about you? I’d love for you to leave a comment sharing what it means to have humility. Can’t wait to hear your thoughts!Read More