You Purchased the Conference Ticket: Now You Feel Like Backing Out.

You were excited about going when you bought the event ticket. Now the time has come you are having second thoughts. I've had those thoughts too. My reasons may be different from yours, but the end result is the same...we stay home. What's a girl gonna do? In my blog post I tell you what I did.

Impulse Buy

I was beginning to wish I had never purchased the ticket. In January it seemed like a wonderful idea, now April was here I wasn’t too sure. Just two weeks to go for the Be. Loved. Women’s Conference and I felt like backing out.

I am quite happy to fly internationally on my own, though the journey is tiring, I find airports fascinating. Each airport has its own personality, its own vibe. Even LAX airport didn’t seemed as intimidating in daylight hours as it had appeared at midnight.

But don’t ask me to drive solo for more than thirty minutes. You see anywhere I want to go locally is no more than a thirty minute drive. I always buy my gas at the same location, I know how to operate their pumps, so the thought of having to figure another companies pump doesn’t thrill me. I guess I’m comfortable in my routine.

The Stretch

It would be a little over two hours drive to the conference. Not far, but definitely out of my driving comfort zone. But it wasn’t just the stretching of my driving miles that bothered me.

Over the years I have backed out of many local events at the last minute. “Why?” you may ask. For the same reason that some of you back out; no-one-to-go-with. As women we love company, friends to share the moment and make memories with.

But hey, just because you or I are interested in an event doesn’t mean others are. So what is a girl to do when none of her friends are available?

We have a choice. We could stay home and pity party (done that), or we could go to the event (starting to do that).

Talk to Me

With Google Map set to give me directions I headed out into the dark of early morning and towards the freeway. I was glad I had written the directions out as the lady on Google Maps did not speak to me. Not a Word!! Having not used her for directions before I figured I must of missed a step to hearing her sweet voice.

I made it to Jonesboro with prayer and written instructions, but, Where. Was. The. Church? A helpful employee of McDonald’s fixed my Google Map problem and gave me verbal directions. In just a few minutes I arrived at my destination of Central Baptist Church. The McDonald’s lady told me I couldn’t miss it and she was right…this place was huge!

Though a large building it was not intimidating as volunteers were everywhere to help. Once seated I was soon joined by an elegant woman and her friends, we struck up conversation and I felt at ease. No feelings of sticking out like a sore thumb as if every woman there was eyeing the only woman who came on her own (me). I’m sure there must of been others who came without company. Somehow, we feel as if we are the only one.

During lunch I met a woman and her mother who use to own the meat market just half a mile from my home, and now lives within my thirty minute radius. Small world!

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

There comes a time my fellow, no-one-to-go-with sisters when we have to decide to stop making excuses and go anyway. I was not alone on my journey. Jesus didn’t leave me after my thirty minute drive. No. He was with me ALL. The Time.

He Meets my Every Need

When I needed direction, He was there to alert me to the roadside sign. When I needed Google Maps, He provided someone with technical knowledge. When I needed company, He provided several women. When I needed gas, He walked me through it, and when I needed a restroom and lunch on my return journey, He provided one at the right time. Yes ladies, I ate lunch on my own in a restaurant…now, that is something most of us women don’t cherish doing. But I did it, and I was fine.

Time for us to take back what the enemy has stolen; our God given confidence. Use Godly wisdom as you travel, have fun, be adventurous, meet new people, see new places and know you are never alone.

Helena

Looking to Jesus. Living in His Radiance

Not having someone to go with has held me back many times. What is holding you back (other than funds) from attending events whether they are church related or not? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Photo Credit: Pink Roses; Alina-Sofia on Unsplash.   Church photo; Helena D

 

 

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Hidden: Worship on Wednesday

Worship on Wednesday, a time to honor and be refreshed in the Lord. #singanewsong #worshiponwednesday

A New Chapter

I felt the stirring in my heart, the uncomfortable feeling of a change about to happen. Have you experienced that too? My church was gearing up to launch their eighteenth campus, and while I was happy for the other seventeen, I in no way felt a prompting to volunteer to help; there was plenty to do in my own campus.

To cut a long story short campus number 18 is now three months old. It doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of the larger campuses, nor do we have our own building. Instead, we set up and tear down pipe and drape, chairs, audio equipment, welcome table, coffee table and children’s rooms every Sunday in an elementary school cafeteria.

It’s definitely nothing like my former campus. I grieved for what I knew, what I had come accustom too. My friends, would they soon forget me? Would I just be a distant memory to them? And what about the guest speakers who come through? No way are they likely to visit campus number eighteen. Fear of missing out (FOMO) plagued me and I wondered why the Lord had put it on my heart (and my husband’s) to change campuses.

Not Just a Face in a Crowd

For the first two months I kicked and questioned the Lord’s intentions. I mean, what is He thinking placing me (my husband loves it there) in this tiny country town. As the people of the town and surrounding neighborhood have come in, as I have welcomed them there in my volunteer position as a greeter I have got to know them by name, they are no longer faces in a crowd.

“Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track.” Proverbs 5: 5 & 6 Msg

Over and over I hear the Lord encouraging me to trust Him. Trust that He knows what He is doing. Trust that He has good plans for me. Trust Him with my future. Could it be that I would actually miss out more by returning to my old campus than choosing to stay at the new one?

It’s hard when the road ahead is not clear, when we don’t understand the plan. It’s then that faith and trust in our Heavenly Father becomes a reality.

I have chosen Hidden: United Pursuit as this week’s worship song. These words speak to me, if you are in need of encouragement I hope they speak to you too.

Now I am hidden in the safety of your love

I trust your heart and your intentions

Trust you completely

I’m listening intently

You’ll guide me through these many shadows.

 

Prayer: Father you know the path you have planned for us. Help us to trust you when we can’t see or understand. Your plans are good. Your heart is good and your intentions are good. Help us to lean in and listen to your directions. Amen.

Helena

P.S. I had been doing the Jeff Goins 500 word daily challenge, pop on over to Grace Lace and Polkadots Facebook page and check out some of my posts. We are only on day 10 of 31 (Help!!) so still a way to go. Some of Jeff’s writing prompts I keep private, while others are on the Facebook page. Join me, I need your encouragement.

 

Leaning into Thankful: Part 3 of 3

Returning Home to Grace

NLC Worship CD, Our God & Our King song Thankful, describes where I was, and where my heart is now. I have written the words to the song in bold throughout this post, I pray you are encouraged by them.

Though I accepted Jesus as my savior in my teens, I would be in my late forties before I realized what grace was about and Who grace is!

For ten years I was away from church. It wasn’t something I decided to do one Sunday morning; it was a slow walking away. Missed a meeting here, missed a meeting there, and before I realized it ten years had gone by. Ten years away from fellowship with the saints of God and ten years away from personal fellowship with my Heavenly Father. My bible gathered dust and my prayers were not powerful, they were; Pitiful. Worrisome. Complaining prayers. Sometimes they were cries for help, but mostly they were pity-party style.

I was homesick. A foreigner in a foreign land and I longed to go home where people understood me. I had moved countries and hadn’t settled in a church, I had visited many but none seemed a good fit, so it was easy to miss meetings. No-one was going to miss me.

Nightly muffled tears ran down my cheeks as I silently prayed, “Lord, I wanna go home.” I was referring to my earthly home. He knew better. I needed my spiritual home. I needed Him.

I was invited to attend a bible study group in a neighbor’s home; I went because I didn’t like to say no to my sweet neighbor. The group met weekly and I returned each week even though most weeks I reckoned it was going to be my last week. Slowly I was being drawn back to the Father. I knew I needed to find a church home.

I visited two other churches before I walked into New Life Church (NLC). As soon as I walked into the sanctuary I felt the presence of the Lord, something (someone) I had not felt in ten years. A sigh went out from deep within me as I breathed out the words “Home.”

I was lost, Jesus you found me. In your mercy you sought me out, lifted me out of the ashes, to your unfailing love. To your unfailing love

I was lost, but He knew where I was and He was patient with me. He didn’t leave me but drew me quietly back to Himself. The song talks about the Lord lifting us out of the ashes and pulling us out of the wreckage. That is exactly what He did for me, and He will do it for you if you are willing.

 You came for me when I was lost, hopelessly lost. Your life for my liberty on the cross traded on the cross.

I was the guilty-one not Jesus, yet He died for me, trading places so I may live in His liberty and freedom. He did this for you too.

King of Kings, rising in Glory. To the darkness your light has come, pulling me out of the wreckage to your unfailing love. To your unfailing love

His love is truly unfailing, He is not fickle like me, and the pressures of this life don’t control Him. He is light and He brought me out from under the dark cloud that engulfed me.

For your love everlasting, I will be thankful. For your mercy unending, I will be thankful. For the cross that you carried, I will be thankful. All my sin has been buried, I will be thankful.

I am thankful God did not give up on me, thankful He pursued me before and after I asked Him to be in my heart. I am forever thankful for His love, His mercy, His sacrifice and His forgiveness. I am thankful for His unfailing love. I am thankful I came face to face with Grace.

Our Heavenly Father waits for us with eager eyes and a longing heart for our return home to Him. He pursues us with His love and gently draws us closer to Himself. Come home dear one, back into fellowship with the One who loves you. He’s waiting for you.

Helena

Looking to Jesus. Living in His Radiance

I had the privilege of sharing this article a few months back on Alice Standford’s blog mesetfree.com be sure to check her website out. Oops! sorry my link button is not working to connect you straight to Alice’s blog, but type in her web address in a search engine, you’ll be glad you did.

 

 

Leaning into Thankful: Part 2 of 3

 Thankful Ten

Photo Credit: Alex Geerts Unsplash

Thanksgiving: The time of year when we pause to reflect on the things we are thankful for.

Have you noticed the Thankful posts on social media? I have…

…and they have inspired me to write down at least one thing each day that I am thankful for. Rather than go for the usual list of family and friends; for which I am deeply thankful. I thought it would be good to narrow the list down to things I would normally take for granted.

Get creative or take the simple route. Own it, It’s yours!

Starting November 13th through November 23rd (Thanksgiving Day) join me in jotting down what you are thankful for and why. Doesn’t have to be eloquent, raw honesty is always good. Grab a notepad or if you journal write it there. Get creative or take the simple route. Own it, it’s yours! Your list can be as private or public as you choose. The main deal is appreciating and giving thanks to the Lord for the everyday things in our lives.

I’ll go First

I am thankful for HOT WATER!

Let me explain why.

Hot water was an everyday item I took for granted until I went to Guatemala in 2010 on a ten day mission trip to the wonderful people of the Zacapa mountains. The team would leave our low key, but comfortable hotel in pick-up trucks each day and head for the mountains visiting a different village each day.

The scenery and the people were beautiful and the roads were DUSTY . By the time we got back to our hotel each night we were covered from head to toe in fine brown dust. There was no way to leave showering until the morning no matter how tired we were.

The hotel was comfortable and the food was great, but there was one thing that caused me dread and that was taking my nightly shower. NO HOT WATER! Not even cool water. It was colder than cold. It was icy cold.

Each night before getting into the icy cold shower I would have to tell myself to be brave. The worst part was washing my hair, oh am I glad I took a two in one shampoo/conditioner. That was one less rinse under the icy cold water.

On my return home the hot water from my shower never felt more welcoming. Seriously, I was worshiping the Lord with a thankful heart for hot water.

Hot water is not available worldwide. I am so thankful I have the privilege to take hot water showers.

Now it’s Your Turn

I invite you to not only keep your personal account for ten days of the everyday things you are thankful for but to also join me each day November 13th through 23rd on Grace Lace and Polkadots Facebook page for Thankful Ten.

“I will give you thanks in the great assembly; among the throngs I will praise you.” Ps 35:18

 

Helena

Looking to Jesus. Living in His Radiance

Share this post with a friend and invite them to join in Thankful Ten over on Grace Lace and Polkadots Facebook Page.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leaning into Thankful: Part 1 of 3

A Thanking Woman: Right Off the Bat

Right off the bat I want to say thank you and welcome to Sue Moore Donaldson of welcomeheart.com. Sue is my guest today on Grace Lace and Polkadots.  Intentional hospitality is Sue’s hallmark. With a thankful heart she welcomes others to her table and invites them to know Jesus. 

Take it away Sue!

 

I want to be a Thanking Woman, right off the bat.

To begin my prayers with: Thank You, God.

To begin my words with: Thank you, friend.

Right off the bat, I want to start Thankful.

We’re taught to say: “Thank You” at the end of a party, at the end of an email, at the end of the day. Let’s switch it up to the top of the page:

 Thanks for inviting me. Thanks for thinking of me. Thanks for loving me.

Thanking God–right off the bat so that I’m ahead of the game when I get to heaven.

Is that possible? Can we get ahead of any game with God? I’d like to try. If I die trying, it’d be a great way to die –

Thank You, God – Whoa – here I am–here YOU are–in person! Thanks for that and for You.

My youngest always thanks me for dinner. At the end, not the beginning. But I love it. I didn’t tell her to do that. She just decided to. Even if it’s curry and curry isn’t her favorite. Even if we’ve had a rough dinner–one or more of us saying one or more things–we shouldn’t have. No matter the meal, no matter the tone, I hear her voice call out as she goes up the stairs,

 Thanks for dinner.

self care

Really. You’re thanking me. I appreciate that. I thank you for thanking me. This could go on and on.

Maybe it’s supposed to.

Thank you.

Well, thank you for thanking me.

No, thank YOU for thanking me.

(It could be worse. No thanks.)

I’ll start today:

Thank You, Lord that Tammy came for lunch and stayed all afternoon and that lunch was simple (and that she loves cilantro) and that I have enough of it leftover for dinner.

 

Whew. That covered a lot. We covered a lot.

Lunch: a simple meal. Thank you: a simple thing to say. May lunch remind me to be a Thanking Woman.

I want it to start with breakfast. No, before I get out of bed. I’ll especially be thankful if I get breakfast in bed. Either way, I want to be a Thanking Woman.

Ken Williams said,

Gratitude not expressed is not gratitude.

A Grateful Woman

Free printable.

Paul knew how to start a letter:

I always thank my God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. For in him you have been enriched in every way—with all kinds of speech and with all knowledge…I Corinthians 1:4,5 NIV
For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people,  I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. Ephesians 1:15,16 NIV

He used parachute words–he covered a lot:

always thank my God for you

I have not stopped giving thanks for you

Who needs your thanks? (I stopped writing this momentarily to write two pastors a little Thankful note. Short and to the point: “Thank you for this morning…” Every pastor needs a few more Thanking Women in the audience, don’tchaknow? (Every husband, as well, but that’s another post.)

Don’t know what to say? Don’t know what to write? Start by thanking. Right off the bat.

Did you catch the word FREE as in free printable? You will find it under the second image. Be sure to click on the words Free Printable. Also check out Sue’s website and shop you will find encouragement and maybe a gift of two for yourself or a friend/family.
Visit Sue’s website: welcomeheart.com
View custom jewelry: welcomeheart.com/shop
Feel free to share this post with a friend and on social media.
Helena
Looking to Jesus. Living in His Radiance