~Inspirations from The Heart~

Inspirations from the heart is a book that is almost at the final stages before being published. It is a collection of articles that I have written over the years since about 2006. In 2006, a new good news paper was being started in the county I lived in before moving to Jacksonville and they encouraged readers to send in an article and it would be published in the weekly paper called 'The Home Town Journal. I have always had a desire to write and have been encouraged over time to write and get my work published and now that the Paper was being started, I actually considered it. I remember submitting my very first article and not knowing what was going to happen. I got a phone call from the editor of the paper a day or two before the day the paper was to be published and he told me that he loved what I had sent in. He immediately encouraged me to continue to send in my writings and from that point on, I became a very consistent free lance writer for The Howe Town Journal. 
I often would write about personal experiences and life lessons that I had learned and I always found a way to put it into words so that others out there could relate to it. It was always my goal to offer advice and encouragement that would encourage my heart in my writings and even though I may not be the best and grammar and all that kind of stuff, what was important was that I was able to get a point across and hope to inspire someone out there. 
So, as I wait for my book to be edited and then as I wait for the funds to come in to send it off to the publisher, I will share my short articles here, in hopes of encouraging somebody. 
I hope you enjoy them and I hope they help you as they have helped me. 
Be blessed and inspire to make a difference!
~The Adopted Child 

Are You An Esther?
Have you ever wanted to be somebody that you really admired? Has there ever been someone that you looked up to, someone that made you want to be like them? I have always loved the character of Esther in the Bible and have always had the desire to portray the characteristics that made her well known throughout history. She had such an amazing life and her story was full of awe, wonder and amazement. She will always be known for her courage, her faith, her spiritual strength, bravery, beauty and so much more.
 Esther, if you do not know, risked her life to save her people that were going to be murdered at the hands of an evil, cold hearted man. She was in a place in her life, in a position where she was blessed with to be able to save her people from a horrific destruction. Nobody else could do the job, the task that seemed almost impossible to almost anybody else around her. Esther had the opportunity to go before a king, someone of great power and to beg for the lives of her people, who were also her family. Did she know these people personally? Probably not. Would she ever know them on a personal basis? Most likely not.
Esther went, against rules and regulations to risk her life for the countless lives of others, lives she did not even know. She managed to find grace and favor in the eyes of the king and was able to save her family and her people’s lives in the end. She was the only one, able and willing to do whatever it took to save her people and their families. It was only her. Esther was without a doubt in the right time or place for no reason. The Bible says that ‘thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this’. She was where she was where she was supposed to be at the time of the opportunity. What would have happened had she not been there? What if she had not done as she was instructed and had gone where she was supposed to? Would she have had the same opportunity then?
 Esther had the burden, responsibility of going before the one and only person who could turn back time in a sense and keep something that could have been awful from happening. Here she was, going before a king without following policies and rules and could face death for doing so, so that she could save a bunch of people that she did not know. But she knew that these people were special to her God. To God, who created them, these people who were practically strangers to her, she knew were dear to God’s heart and since God was dear to her and her heart, how could these people not be dear to her? She certainly did not have to do what she did, nobody was forcing her to do it but, she knew that it had to be done, some one would have to do it or God’s people would perish and eventually she would as well.
 We all are where we are supposed to be, even if it seems that we are not. When it seems that everything around us is chaotic, or not making sense, when it seems that we are not exactly doing what we ‘should’ or ‘desire’ to do, we really are where God wants us doing what He wants us to do for the mean time. Its just for the time being, when it is time for us to move on to the next chapter of our lives, He will open up the book and start writing it. Until then, we have to be content working on this chapter, it is all apart of the story and each chapter will correlate with the next one. We are where we are for a purpose, to do something, to fulfill a mission. Where we are at the time, is a part of the bigger picture. In the book of Esther in the Bible, the story takes about 8 chapters to get the end of the story, where God’s people are saved. Between chapter 1 and 8, everything that was happening, was happening because it was leading up to the end of the story.
 In our lives, we should be putting our lives on the line for someone. Are we at a place where we can do whatever it takes to go before someone powerful and beg for the lives of those who are going to perish somehow? Is there anybody in our lives that we would be willing to sacrifice anything for including maybe our own lives? When Esther was asked if she would consider this task, she replied by saying ‘and if I perish, I perish’. There was no ‘maybe’ or second guesses. Are we that willing to fight, or take a stand, that we would do whatever it took and not think twice about it?
 There are so many different kinds of people in our lives that need someone to be their voice, to go before a king and beg for mercy and grace. There is the elderly, who maybe in a nursing home who can’t say or do much, they need a voice. There are the people who are fighting addictions, who just don’t know how to take them head on and heal from it all, they need a voice. There are people including young people who are hurting themselves because they just do not think that they have what it takes to fight or be a voice for themselves, they need a voice. There are children/teenagers who are crying out for help because they are being drowned in peer pressure, lack of affection and love and are turning to habits that will eventually destroy or kill them.
 Who are these people’s ‘Esther’s’? Who is being their voice? Who is sacrificing and doing what it takes to save them? Is there anybody? We again, are here in our lives at the moment for a reason, ‘for such as a time as this’. It is here and now. We need to be someone’s voice, cry, ambassador so that their lives will be saved, salvaged. It might mean that we risk our lives for someone that we do not even know! If the God who created us, created them, who are we not to want to go before a king for them? Esther did it, she did it for thousands of people she didn’t know. Why can we not do the same? For such a time as this, we need to do what it takes to be someone’s voice, be the ‘Esther’ in their lives. If we perish, we perish. If we perish while we are trying, trying to make a difference, trying to save someone, than we perish knowing that we were doing something rather than nothing!
 Esther did not know if she was going to live to see her prayers and dreams fulfilled but had she not acted upon obedience she may not have ever known. She may not would have ever seen it happen or her dreams be fulfilled. Her dreams were selfless, they were not for her. They were for others, people that were dear to God’s heart. Do we have dreams that are selfless? Are our dreams, full of desires that include making an impact or a difference for eternity? The people that we encounter on a daily basis are dear to God’s heart also. He loves them, He wants them to be happy and He wants them to live successful lives. It is okay to need someone to be an ‘Esther’. Sometimes we have to ask someone for help, to be a voice or to fight for us until we can do it on our own. There is nothing wrong with asking for help.

 Again, when life does not make sense, or it seems that this cannot be a part of the big picture, remind yourself that ‘for such a time as this’ we are where we are supposed to be. What if we are not where we are supposed to be at the right time and we miss the opportunity of a life time? Could we live with the guilt of knowing that we were not where we were supposed to be? Learn to be content with where you are at and then turn around and go be an ‘Esther’ to someone, someone who is dear to you because they are also dear to God’s heart.

Life Is A Puzzle
As I was talking to a friend of mine, I used a puzzle as an analogy to describe a situation that had come up in the conversation. As I was talking to my friend, a flood of thoughts came to mind as to how our lives our like a puzzle.
 Our lives are like a big 5,000 piece puzzle. If you have ever put a puzzle together, you'll sort of get where I'm going with this. I have put a few puzzles together in my life and I do enjoy doing them, although I must be honest and say that I have not always had the patience for them. When I would start a brand new puzzle, I would always start with the outside edge pieces so that I could have something to start with and get an idea of what the picture is going to look at. Our life at a young age is where the outside pieces of our life puzzle pretty much get put into place. I think that by the time we hit our teenage years, the perimeter of the picture of our lives is in place. We by then have a frame to work with and now it's time to start putting the actual picture together.
 When I am working a puzzle after the frame has been done, I start trying to work from one side of the puzzle to the other or I start working with different color patterns. As you put a puzzle together, you start to try to fit different pieces together, you either start finding the right pieces or you run into a brick wall and nothing that you find and put together actually fits! It's so aggravating. As our lives start to progress, we get older, certain pieces of the puzzle of our life start fitting together. Usually when the things and or events are going the way they're supposed to, is when the puzzle pieces are fitting. Then we start hitting places in our lives where nothing that is happening makes sense at all. We know that the puzzle is being put together but it's just not making sense.
 Perhaps it’s been a while since we have had a group of pieces fit together the way they were supposed to. Maybe now you are in a part of your life where it seems you have hit a brick wall and nothing is just working the way it’s supposed to. Well, when all this happens when putting a puzzle together, how many times do we try to just put the puzzle away or to the side and either give up on it completely or just put it away for a very long period of time? What if we did that with our lives? What if when we were at a place where it just didn't make sense, we decided to just put our lives on hold or give up? It's so tempting to just stop trying; it seems that when we aren't trying not much can happen. How wrong are we in thinking that just because circumstances in our lives do not make sense, we should give up or get comfortable with just living a life that doesn't really go anywhere? We have to keep pushing and living life, if we don't push or make an attempt to keep on living life no matter what, we will never know what pieces of the puzzle actually go together.
  If we push the puzzle aside and don't work at it, we will never get the puzzle done and it will either continue to sit on a table and get in the way of the other events going on around it or it will get thrown back in to the box and placed on a shelf somewhere and probably forgotten about for a long time. Do we want our lives to be forgotten? Do we want to put our lives on hold and placed on a shelf somewhere because nothing is making sense or we are too frustrated with trying and trying over again to put the pieces together? Just because things, people and circumstances don't make sense and can be painful, doesn't mean we need to stop trying and working at our lives. 
 The puzzle pieces will fall into place, if we only take the time to put them together until they all fit into place.
But the puzzle will never fall into place if we just push it aside or leave it alone. If you leave the puzzle alone, it won't go anywhere, it will just sit there until you decide to finish it. The very last piece to the puzzle won't be put on the puzzle until the day we die.  Do you want to die and leave the puzzle unfinished? An unfinished puzzle doesn't look very pretty, not much to look at. When we pass away, will our lives be something beautiful to look at or will it be unfinished and half way done?

You have to finish the puzzle in order to see the picture. Life is a puzzle of a picture, are you going to make the puzzle or just leave it unfinished? It’s your life, it’s your puzzle!

When Love Comes Naturally, It Becomes Possible

“And to know the love of Christ..”

Today, as I was seeing my students off for Christmas Break, I found myself really sad, sad that the students who I've been responsible for all year long were leaving but, then anxious that they were going home where they were going to put into practice what they've been taught and instructed for the past few months. These students are not related to me, just teenage boys and girls who are here at a place where they are taught how to live a successful life through truth from God‘s precious Word, where they are being embraced by the love and generosity of many people who care so much about them.
                They may just be teenagers, troubled teenagers but to me personally they are my life. They are who I go to bed praying for at night, who I spend my hard earned money on, who I passionately and honestly care about, they are who I dedicate a lot of my time for. I want to see them succeed in life, I want to make sure they know what true, pure and honest love is. I want them to know that being who you are, who God designed you to be is okay. It would devastate me to think of anything happening to them, it makes me furious to see the devil trying to steal the life out of them, it hurts me when they are treated in a way that hurts them.
                So, why is it that I and anybody out there can so passionately and  I know that I’m not the only one who has pondered this deep question. I have a son, he is my life, he is my flesh and blood and I love him with all of who I am next to the Lord of my life, but, is it possible to love anybody else with that kind of love? I think so, but how?
                As a child of God, we are to grow in Him and grow in His Word, as we do that, we are to learn and understand His love for us. The verse above says’ And to KNOW the love of Christ’, the definition of ‘know’ is to ‘understand’. We are to ‘understand’ Christ’s love. Why? So that we can turn around and exemplify that kind of love to those around us, to those who have been placed in our lives to care for and look after.
                The love of Christ was shown to us at Calvary, where Jesus Christ, the Son of God was put to death for our sins, so that we could choose to live an eternal life with God our heavenly father. How could He, Jesus die on a cross for people that were not even born yet? How could He? John 15:12-13 says, “This is my commandment that ye Love one another as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man this this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” Jesus laid down His life for us, so shouldn't we be capable of loving those around us with love like so?
                The Love of Christ is pure, honest, longsuffering, not envious, doesn't rejoice in sin but does rejoice in truth. We can do everything in our will and power to do things to show that we care about those around us, but if we do not do it in love, it is pointless. I can pray, be generous, encourage, etc to the students that I work with but if I do it all with out love, I am wasting my invested time in them. So, why would I waste my time and energy being all I can and doing all I can for these precious students and anybody else that God places in my life? It should be natural to want to passionately love and care about people, whether young or old, it was beyond natural for God to give His son to die and give up His life for us. I believe that when it becomes natural to just love people, it becomes and is possible to love them with a love that goes deeper than flesh and blood.
                When love comes naturally, it becomes possible to love somebody and anybody else all because of the love Christ showed us on the cross.

   Crossing the Bridges in Our Lives

I am sure that most of us have heard the phrase, ‘Don’t cross that bridge until you get there’, but, do we really try to apply that to our daily lives? Maybe you have not heard the phrase and didn't quite understand what it means.
            The phrase means to not worry about something and don’t waste your time stressing about something that hasn't even come up to handle. Don’t try to figure out how to solve a situation until the situation comes up.
            I was thinking to myself the other day when I was trying to explain this phrase to someone of a few thoughts that came to mind.
            In life, we are all so busy working and doing what daily life requires us to do. We all spend most of our days stressing and thinking about how to handle situations, such as how to pay the bills, feed the family, get kids to school, how to handle family issues and the list could go on.         
                        How often do we spend time and energy thinking and worrying about situations that haven’t even happened? How often do we start stressing about a situation before it happened just to find out that it never came to pass?
            Many of us go looking for bridges when we have no business looking for them. Don’t go looking for bridges to cross or go looking for situations to handle, before you know you it, you will find yourself a mess of bridges to cross at one time. Before you know it, you have found yourself a mess of situations and bridges that should have only been simple to start out with.
            Remember this thought when you’re thinking about the bridges in your life. Not all bridges are the same and not all of them are the same height. I have done some traveling in my life, not much but enough that I have crossed a variety of bridges.
            The majority of my traveling has been from here to Houston, TX and back. Well, on the way there, there are several bridges. I have always taken Interstate 10 and there are more bridges along that interstate than I would like to think about. But, all the bridges are different and cross different kinds of bodies of water. There are the big bridges that are in New Orleans and there’s one right after you pass through Mobile, AL. going west. Then there is the bridges that cross the bayous and the small rivers, there’s the bridge that crosses the Mississippi River and then there’s the bridges that cross from one mainland to another. If you have ever traveled that way, you know exactly what I’m talking about. If you’re anything like me who is terrified of heights, you know the fear and the nerve racking feeling when crossing one of those bridges. Not only am I scared of heights but of crashing and my car going off the bridge, it makes me so nervous. When I first started traveling to Houston and started driving those bridges, I was so scared but then I realized that some of those bridges are pretty simple to cross and I by the time I have finished crossing it, I find myself asking myself, ‘Now, why was that so scary?’, or ‘Why did I make such a big deal out of that?’. How many times do we ask ourselves ‘Why did I make such a big deal out of that situation?’ or we find ourselves saying, ‘That was not as scary as it looked.’ I mentioned that I also have a fear of heights and crossing bridges that are way off the ground are not my cup of tea!! But, I have thinking of this thought, when you have reached the top of a bridge that is way up off the ground, don’t you love the view from up there? It’s usually beautiful from the top of the bridge, normally though you have to get about half way across the bridge in order to see a good view. Well, when we cross those bridges in our lives that seem to far up off the ground, we need to remember that there is a view up there worth seeing but we have to start crossing the bridge in order to get to the peak of the bridge to see that amazing view.

One last thought as we look at the phrase’ don’t cross that bridge until you get there’. When I know that I will be doing some traveling and that the route that I’m taking is going to require crossing a few bridges, I try my best to get someone to travel with me. In most of the cases, that’s not entirely possible especially as a single mother. How nice is it when you do have someone to travel with and when you cross those bridges you have the opportunity to have someone either trade places with you to drive or there’s just the company of someone that keeps you focused but keeps you loose as you drive? If it’s possible to cross a bridge in your everyday life with someone, then do that. It will be easier to cross those bridges, but, like in my case, you may have to cross a few or several bridges by yourself. There is only one you who can handle the personal situations in your life. Others can give you advice and share with you tips in how to handle it but they can’t solve the problem for you.   
            Don’t give up on crossing your bridges. Remember there’s a view at the top but don’t go looking for those bridges to cross either, you might just be asking for trouble.
                        Don’t go crossing bridges until you get there!

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