Best Year Ever!

Best Year Ever aYes, that’s right… we are expecting this to be the “Best Year Ever” in our home (BYE for short).  I have never been one to make silly New Years resolutions because they are always dropped within a couple weeks and nothing ever really comes of them other than regret and disappointment in yourself.  I don’t need that 😉

However, this year my husband and I came across this course called “5 Days To Your Best Year Ever” by Michael Hyatt.  He designed it for “busy, high-achievers” like me… well at least that is how I would like to think of myself.  My past is spotted with holes of unrealized goals because life just “got” in the way.  In reality I haven’t found the right thing to keep me on the right track.  I had never learned how to plan, create real goals, and I had never learned how to put those goals into workable action.  That is where this course comes in and it has been amazing.

Yes, we just started this the first of the year, so no we haven’t seen the end results yet, but after all the work we have put into this I believe it will be our BYE because we now have clear have working steps for every goal and more importantly, our reason WHY.  I will be sharing about our walk throughout the year, as well as about aspects of all of my goals I have set for myself.  Some are personal and fun, others are serious!  All are good.  I may not hit them all… but I will never reach them if I never try and I never have a plan to work.

Here are my goals for this year… of course simplified for this blog. 😉

  1.  To cultivate a stronger and more pure relationship with Jesus so I know His voice better and I will follow Him no matter what.
  2.  To cultivate a more vibrant and Godly marriage.
  3.  To pay down debt.
  4.  To get healthier.
  5.  To treat myself well.
  6.  To read more books.
  7.  To be a better mom and homeschool teacher.
  8.  To revamp my blog and write again.
  9.  To improve my hand-lettering.

Best Year Ever 1aNow of course my goals in my workbook are much more specific with great action and purpose. What I just posted is very general and if they were left that way wouldn’t get accomplished because they are ambiguous.  That is why I love this course, it gets you into the meat of the matter.

So, as I blog this year, the things in my life that fall into those categories will be on the list to share.

What changes are you making this year?  Like Michael Hyatt says, “Nothing great ever happens in the comfort zone!”

Here’s to our Best Year Ever!

“But I Say To You, Love…”

MT rainier cThere is so much Hate going on in our world.  This group of people hates that group of people and that one hates this one.  It is heart-breaking.  Even those who call themselves “Christians” fall into this trap and I see them bashing those who don’t believe as the Bible tells us.  As a “Christian” myself, I would challenge you this way… If you truly believe in and love Jesus you should hate NO one, regardless of their beliefs or choices.

You may disagree with them and not like their choices.  You may even have to make difficult choices regarding participation in some of their choices, though it should always be done with love.

BUT… as far as that person goes… you should love them with ALL of your heart no matter what they believe or how they live and you should treat them with kindness.  Jesus does.  He died for them too.

To everyone reading this… YOU are LOVED and greatly cherished!

(Definition of Hate: intense or passionate dislike.  1 John 3:15 “Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer; and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.”)

(Definition of love:  An intense feeling of deep affection.  Matthew 5: 43-48 “You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.)

(Definition of a True Christian:  A personal follower of Jesus Christ in word and in deed.)

My Beloved

my beloved 3I was recently part of organizing and creating an atmosphere of worship for a women’s retreat.  It was a retreat like non-other than I have ever been part of before.  The Lord was there in such a way that the blessings are still ringing out. About a month before the retreat the Lord gave me this letter, “My Beloved” to give to the ladies and I believe He would have me share it with you. 

At the retreat someone shared a riveting and powerful video by Graham Cooke called… “To My Beloved”.  It was only God who could of orchestrated the two to be shared on the same weekend to the same ladies… to me!  I am sharing both.  So when you are done reading the letter from Him to His Bride (YOU) please take the time to watch the video, it will richly bless you.  He is calling you…. will you go?

My Beloved

My dearest love, do you not know how deep my love runs for you?  Oh how I long to scoop you up in my arms, twirl you around as your hair blows in the breeze.  I long to catch a glimpse of that beautiful smile that Father God created.  How beautiful is the smile He made just for you.  It fits you perfectly my love.

I have been following, pursuing and loving you all the days of your life.  When you were in your mother’s womb and you felt her pain when she thought of you, I was there comforting you.  I was covering and protecting you.  My Spirit was in the water that surrounded your tiny little shape and My Spirit flowed through your lungs giving you life.  He nurtured you for Me because of  My great love for you from the beginning.  You may have not been planned by your family but you were most definitely planned by My Father… We have a purpose for you.

I knew your heart would yearn for me, that you would eventually turn to me and it brings me such joy to see it come to pass.  I also knew the pain that you would endure throughout your life, the struggles that pain would cause you and how much you would fear.  The enemy could see your worth and your love for me too, and he could also see your weaknesses and he formed a terrible plan against you and I sent angels to minister to you and protected you.  I bound the enemy so he could not end your life and I have made sure you have been and always will be under my protection.  You are my girl, you are hidden under my wings.

My sweet love, how I long for the day when you abandon all your fears and run to me.  I see you peeking out from time to time as you think you are sneaking a peak of me.  As soon as you think I am looking you dart back behind the wall you have built.  I love you so much and I have more patience than you could imagine. I will not give up, you will be able to love Me with an abandoned love. I have so much to give you and I am just waiting for you to ask.  Remember my covenant to you?  It is unbreakable and I will forever honor my part regardless of your ability to honor yours.  I know you will make mistakes, I have already taken care of that for you.  Just touch my hands and you will see.

I wait with you to hear your desires and your invitation to be part of your life. You are my girl, my beloved, my passion!  I will always pursue you, I am right beside you. Come Away With Me…                         Yeshua

Carri Schutter ©2015  

Unrelenting Love

forest trail 2Many years ago I had a dream where I was visited by Jesus.  It was so vivid and clear that I felt and knew it was real.  In the dream… 

I was walking down a long road that was lined and covered by trees that were creating the most beautiful canopy overhead.  It was fall and the colors were amazing and vivid.  As the wind slowly rustled you could see the light dancing on the roadway.

I felt utterly alone and wishing beyond wishes that somehow my life would be worth something, that I would not be forced to forever wonder if I had a purpose or if I was from the beginning, nothing but a mistake.

As I walked down the old dirt road I could see someone walking towards me.  That person was a long ways off and I wondered what they were doing there.  As I continued to walk they were suddenly in front of me just a few feet away.  I knew without any introduction who it was and all within me jumped with joy and simultaneously shook with fear.  It was Jesus.

I had spent years calling to Him, begging Him to help me from one thing or another.  I had asked Him to help my daddy stop drinking, to stop being so angry, to just stop.  I asked over and over and over and each time I felt that my prayers fell on deaf ears, there was silence and the prayers were unheard.  My heart broke with each unanswered prayer and my belief in a God that loved me and a Jesus that saves all was shaken, of course not destroyed, but damaged.

The very moment I saw my Saviour standing there looking at me all my fears were in front of me.  The joy of seeing Him there was inside of me.  I could feel my heart leap.  But I couldn’t allow it to carry me into His arms.  I couldn’t allow it to help me feel peace.  Instead I felt the fear and the dread.  Is He here to tell me I was asking for too much, begging too much, that He had too much to do to deal with to worry about my miniature problems?  Was he there to crush my very existence because I was a mistake?  Was He there to accuse me of all the bad I had ever done, ready to sentence me to life of unbearable pain and suffering?

Hundreds of questions flew through my head in the split second before He spoke and then they were all silenced by His smile.  What a sweet smile, warm and inviting.  The very glance of His eyes melted my heart and put me at ease.  His voice was soothing and yet it was strong and had authority.

“You are my girl.” 

What did He say, surely He was mistaken, He had the wrong girl?

“You are mine and I love you, no one can harm you.  You were not a mistake and I have many plans for you, you are mine.”

I couldn’t believe that with three sentences He crushed every fear I ever had.  Tears streamed freely down my face and as they did He reached out and wiped up each and every one.  Not one fell to the ground.  I felt relief and joy and peace wash over me and as quickly as He was there, He was gone again.

To this day that memory remains.  It was a powerful, life changing moment.  His love is everlasting, unrelenting and unconditional.  It is pure.  I am thankful for a love like that, a love I don’t deserve but freely receive.  It is a love for the taking.  It is for you.  Have you had an encounter with Jesus?

Fierce Protector

Psalm 91:4

“He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart”

GU345-2 (resize)

This Bible verse has always captured my heart.  I have had many things happen in my life where I have needed the protection of our Father, and this verse reminds me that no matter what happens, I always have it!  His protection is fierce and requires nothing on our parts other than faith and from past experience, sometimes not even that.

This painting was done by my amazing husband, Mark.  You can see more of his works and writings at markschutter.com.

Know you are loved by the God who made all things.  You were beautifully and wonderfully made and His eyes are upon you!

Suicide Prevention Month

It is National Suicide Prevention Month.  Please watch this… it is likely someone you know is thinking about suicide right now.  If you know someone who is withdrawing from life, struggling or hurting… Let them know they matter.  You never know how much influence you can have one someone.  Just one person listening can make all the difference in the world.  They did for me.

Abandoned

Abandoned, alone, what do I do?  My heart is beating so fast, what do I do?  It has been so long since she left.  I need help but no one is here and I don’t know what to do.  She is crying and won’t stop and I am scared that somethings really wrong.  She has needed a new diaper for so long and I don’t have a new one.  I tried to clean it but it isn’t helping.  She has red streaks going down her legs and her tears just wont stop coming.  God what do I do?  Something calms my heart for just a second, something brings peace.

“Sis you stay here, I will be back soon.  I am gonna go call dad.  He will come and he will know what to do.  Please don’t cry no more.  I love you!  Just play with your baby.  I will be back.”  As I kiss her head goodbye I feel how hot she is.  Fear jumps forward into my throat again and my heart beats faster.  I feel like I might be sick.

I turn and leave before I can change my mind.  It scares me to leave her alone but I have to call dad!  There is that peace again.  I am her big brother and it is my job to take care of her.  Where is mom?  Why isn’t she back yet?  I hate when she leaves us like this!

It is a warm sunny day outside and I am scared as I walk up the alleyway looking for houses that might let me use their phone.  It is a scary neighborhood and we don’t belong here.  Mom left us at a friends house but they haven’t been home for a couple days.  I just start asking people if they got a phone and it takes a while before someone lets me in to use their phone.  As I walk into their home my heart jumps into my chest again.  What if they are really bad people?!  That peace fills me again and I wonder if it is God.  I call my dad as fast as I can because I know he will help and I am right.  He is on his way.

I run all the way back to where my sister is and go inside and scoop her up.  She is still crying and must have been so scared but seeing me seems to make it all better.  I hold her tight and realize how bad she smells, nausea washes over me.  I must have not noticed before because we were together in this small home for so long, or maybe I just blocked it out but the smell is putrid.  I notice now though and it makes me want to be sick.

This is not the first time I have been abandoned, we have been abandoned.  It has happened before, many times.  My mom works a lot and likes to party a lot too so sometimes she leaves us with different people.  Some people are ok, others are scary.  This time the people just disappeared.  Maybe they were with mom.  I wish she would come back.

I sit down with my sister and just wait for my dad.  Peace…   I can tell God is with me, comforting me.   God loves me even when those that are supposed to love me forget.  Because of Him, I can cuddle up with my sister and love her and forget the reasons I was afraid.  Once I was abandoned, but now… I am now saved.  Peace…

~~~~~

This story is based on a true story that was told through the eyes of a frightened little boy that grew up too fast. This kind of thing happens all to often.  I hope this inspires you to see and do two things.  First, see the pain in children’s eyes… it’s there.  Help them. Don’t ignore it.  Second, if that kind of pain lingers in your heart from long ago like it does mine, remember, there is one who will never abandon you and He will always love you.  Let Him love you the way you should have been.

Blood Moon

THE SUN WILL BE TURNED INTO DARKNESS AND THE MOON INTO BLOOD, BEFORE THE GREAT AND GLORIOUS DAY OF THE LORD SHALL COME.”
Acts 2:20

Photo Credit: VegaStar Carpentier Website – http://www.space.com/18307-blood-red-hunters-moon-photo.html

There is so much today that would break my heart if I would let it.  So much suffering that on some levels there would seem to be no god at all, especially not a holy God above us.  But then you glimpse the tiny little things that cause you to wonder and ask… “Was that god?”

There are so many things that would drown out the voice of Him who calls our names that we are in danger at all times of not hearing a word He says, not seeing the miracles He performs, not feeling the love that He pours out.  The evil is growing, it is prowling and growling and stalking it’s prey… you… me… all of us.  If he could only get us to doubt that what we hear isn’t really God, or what we saw wasn’t really a miracle, then he has us.  If he can get us to shed our own blood, ruin our own lives, sacrifice our own beliefs, then we are truly his slave.

He tried to destroy our protector 2000 years ago and in the moment that he thought he won he was fully defeated and it angered him so deeply that his sole desire is to tear each of us into terrible tiny useless and ineffective little pieces.  We are the hated, despised, loathed and we have become the hunted.  We are the prey.

The blood moon is coming and as it makes its way the enemy of our soul will stop at nothing to make us believe a little less, pray with less passion, seek rarely and love conditionally… all only shadows of the real power He has given us.  If he can do those things, though we “may” be saved our treasure will be small because we were not a true light in the darkness of this world.  We were too busy listening to him who binds our minds to hear Him who frees all of us if given the chance.

How will He find you on that great and glorious day?

~~~~~~~~

This was written for Free Write Friday from the image prompt  above using what is called stream of consciousness writing, no editing, no proofing just writing! Please check out Kellie Elmore’s official site or click on the Free Write Friday Image for more information.

Post your submission with a comment and link to your blog on Kellie’s blog, post on twitter with the hashtag #FWF, Facebook and join the fun!

 

Are You A Sledgehammer?

Life has been pretty hectic for me lately.  The time I have for writing has dwindled and when I do have time I am so tired I don’t want to write, I want to rest!  When I really start getting busy I tend to say no to the things that give me life and continue to say yes to everyone and everything else because heaven forbid I let someone else down.  That has to come to an end to some extent.

Don’t get me wrong, there are many times when we need to die to ourselves and continue to give to others, even when we are tired and overdone.  But when it happens on a continual basis something happens to us.  We empty out so completely that there is nothing left to give… not even a kind word to the ones you love the most.  You know what I am talking about don’t you?  Of course you do because it can happen to us all.

I was at church last night and I got to hear one of our pastors that doesn’t normally preach because our teaching pastor was home recuperating from surgery.  You know how you get used to hearing someone and then you realize someone else is preaching and the man (or woman) inside of you gets bummed.  Not because the other person isn’t great, but because you had set expectations there weren’t going to be met.  We can be so selfish sometimes.

Pastor Mike is a funny man, lively and outgoing!  My husband and I are introverts so sometimes people like him take us back a bit… mostly because we wish we could be so lively and happy to talk with everyone that we come in contact with!  He has a passion that is intoxicating and his passion for the Lord is something I will always aspire to.

In his message last night there were some wonderful points, many that should be shared… but in this season of my life the one that hit me the most had to do with being a sledgehammer.  He told a story about tearing down a wall with a sledgehammer and seeing the rubble all around him, likening that rubble to the people we leave in the wake of our unkind, angry or even hateful words. What I wrote in my notes was this… “Words are like sledgehammers… don’t leave a pile of broken people laying on the floor behind you when you are done with them.”

It cut me deep.  Not because I am a nasty person and talk horrible things over others.  The opposite is true most of the time.  I love to encourage others and make them feel wonderful about themselves.  But if I am honest, the people I love the most get the least of that side of me.

See I am tired from all that goes on my life as most people are today.  So when I am home with my family they get the brunt of that.  Example… My daughter comes running into the room, loud and laughing with the joy of the Lord because she has fully memorized her long Bible verse (something I struggle doing) and just wants to share it with me, what do I do?  I immediately tell her to quiet down and to quit running because I am tired and don’t want to hear it!  Now, I wasn’t overly loud or mean when I said it, but my words though they were true, took the wind out of her sail and left her feeling lifeless and unimportant.  My heart was crushed as soon as I saw what I had done.

How often do I crush part of her spirit with the quick words that just flow out of my mouth?  Am I bringing life to her or crushing her spirit and draining all the happiness and joy she has right out of her?  It is said that children laugh over 400 times a day and adults… only 17.  Are my words robbing her of those laughs?  I am not saying there are not times that she needs to be serious, but do we prefer serious at the expense of joy?

My new prayer is that I would see her and my husband for how the Lord created them… filled with great joy and love for HIM… filled with happiness that bubbles over in laughter and sometimes jumping, screaming and spinning craziness.  Those things can cause me a bit of anxiety but I can live with that anxiety because it is reminding me that I have lost my laughter and have become the sledgehammer and in the moment I can choose to be different.

Are you the sledgehammer or do you choose to be different as well?