So Long 2017, You Have Blessed Me

Blessed: an inner quality unaffected by outward circumstances


With the new year underway,

just like everyone else, I am compelled to think about things need to change. Dissatisfaction is usually the driving force when it comes to resolutions. Life didn’t measure up somehow. The ‘if onlys’ try to take center stage, but truth be known, the ‘what is’ in life that should be my focus. What did happen this year has brought growth and change that has not disappointed.

So, instead of listing changes to be made, I am going to recount the blessings of the past year and give credit to God for each of them.

Here are some of the highlights of this year’s happenings—

• I worked with some other authors to complete a beautiful devotional journal based on Second Timothy called Legacy. The process was eye opening to say the least. Preparing everything to finally submit it for publishing was a challenge. So much goes into delivering a product you hope will catch someone’s attention. So far, the right person has not seen it, but it did win an award at last year’s Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference. Only time will tell if a publishing house will pick it up, but we’re hopeful.

• I continued to write a food column for Broken but Priceless Magazine. I love food, so this is right up my ally. It has been fun to come up with a theme for each issue, research recipes, prepare the food, and take photos. This has actually built up my own food blog, The Party’s in the Kitchen, and has brought another opportunity writing food articles for Southern California Christian Voice and its affiliates.

• I had a great opportunity to write devotions for the 40 Days of Compassion sermon series at my home church. It was an honor to be asked to participate in leading our small group members in discovering what compassion put into action looks like.

• I was invited be a guest writer by Katy Kauffman on her Lighthouse Bible Study Blog a couple of times last year. It was an honor to write for her. She has been a great encouragement in my life, and I have gleaned much from her wise words.

• In addition to the opportunities on the Lighthouse Bible study site, I contributed to their online magazine, Refresh. Two of the articles received special recognition. One was chosen as the lead article and the other was the feature article. I have also written a couple of devotions for a Bible study on renovating your heart that will come out in the spring.

•Girl on Adventure has been busy as well, averaging about a post a week. It also won an award at the Blue Ridge Conference in 2017. The blog, along with leading a women’s Bible study, meeting regularly with a group of local writers, and helping churches build loft houses for families in Mexico (Hands of Mercy), has kept my hands and heart full. I have traveled, spent time with friends, made so great food, knitted a sweater, read some books, lost a little weight, and had lots of fun in the process.

The year of 2017 brought a great deal of activity and accomplishment.  And best of all, I have been blessed with great opportunity to shine a light on God, His words, and His ways. I have grown in so many ways through it. My life is full to overflowing, and I can’t wait to see what the days to come have in store.

There are some new things I would like to try this coming year.

We’ll see what happens, but 2017 was far from disappointing and it only encourages me to continue following the course that God has laid out for me. I hope when you look forward to the next year, you look back and see the great things God has already done. His blessings will be my motivator for the days to come. I’m looking forward to the ‘what will be’ in 2018.

Reflect upon your present blessings—of which every man has many—not on your misfortunes, of which all men have some.

Charles Dickens
A Christmas Carol and Other Writings

SoLong2017

On a Mission: Not Your Typical Teenage Dream

I’m happy to announce a new feature on my blog. On a Mission will feature women who have taken on Jesus’ command to reach out to their communities and into the world beyond to love others. I hope that you find the stories encouraging as you get to know these extraordinary Girls on Adventure.


I would like to meet Madison Lamb in this very inspiring post by Beckie Lindsey.

 

Not Your Typical Teenage Dream

Madison Lamb

What were you interested in when you were sixteen-years-old?

Friends? Clothes? Music? Sports?

Madison Lamb enjoys many of the typical things most teenage girls do. She likes hanging out with friends and drinking coffee. But Madison has also found a love for something that is not so typical for a young woman of her age. She desires to go into full-time ministry serving as a missionary.

It all started when Madison was in eighth grade—except she didn’t actually know it then.

She signed up for her first mission trip.

Her first mission: a six-day trip to Mexico. Madison and a group of other kids her age along with several adults helped construct walls and roofs for houses. On the fourth day of the trip, her group visited an orphanage where many children had been taken to live by their own parents because they lacked the means to care for them. However, a heartbreaking fact Madison learned, was that some of the parents still came and visited their children in the orphanage, but leave them in hopes for a better life than they could provide.

“I’ll always remember the sweet little girl named Bethlehem that stole my heart,” Madison said. “After the orphanage, we visited the dump where many locals go to scavenge. We took hot dogs wrapped in tortillas to share. It was life-changing to see how these people live.”

orphans-411949_1920Dump

Each night Madison’s group listened to powerful missionary speakers from all over the world. One guest speaker named Brad had served as a missionary in Papua New Guinea. He stayed long enough to learn the language and translate the Bible for the locals.

“I learned so much. It was amazing, but I still wasn’t really sure if it was something I wanted to do. So, I didn’t tell anyone, but I was thinking and praying about it. I wasn’t ready to be accountable, I guess.”

The Lord was using the experience from this trip to plant a seed.

A year later when Madison was in high school, she was asked to go on another mission trip, but this time as a teen mentor for the junior high students. Madison agreed and the Lord was busy planting more seeds.

“I got to give a twenty-minute speech to the students about my mission experience. I didn’t realize how much they would look up to me.”

When Madison got back from her second mission’s trip, her heart was completely changed.

“I need to do missions! This is what God wants for my life!”

The future plan is to go to college—hopefully a Christian University with study abroad possibilities and major in Literature and Christian studies. She is also researching missionary training schools and looking into teaching English.

While Madison is still in high school, she intends to explore more missions and reach out to other teens. She says a major concern for teens is a lack of confidence and poor self-image.

“Unfortunately they are looking for attention in the wrong places. Society tells them so many things that conflict with God’s message,” she said. “I used to struggle with body image like a lot of teens my age. But then I read and understood that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. God, the creator, loves me and made me beautiful. I want others to know this too!” (Psalm 139)

Everyone needs to know they are loved by God.

Madison believes that if teens understood more about God and the Bible, they would be better equipped to handle the many pressures they face today. “When I put God first, my whole life changed. I love my Bible! I write verses on my hand to help me through the day. Others can see it too.”

Madison has some special people in her life. She says most of her close friends are Christians which helps her. There are also adults that have helped her relationship with God grow as well. “My parents are great! I have met many leaders at church too. My small group leader, Emma, taught me how to pray. I can call her and she’ll meet up with me for coffee. It’s so great to have her support.”

At the age of sixteen, Madison has learned some fundamentals and essentials that every Christian can benefit from, no matter their age.

  • Read your Bible and share it with others.
  • Memorize scripture. It helps keep you on track.
  • Prayer is powerful. Do it every single day.
  • Find your value in God, not society or anything else.
  • Surround yourself with other Christians.
  • Find a mentor.
  • Be a mentor.
  • Look to God to find your purpose.

Thanks for the inspiration, Madison!

Madison Lamb

COMMENTS AND PRAYERS WELCOME!

What do you think about Madison’s dream? Did it inspire you?


Beckie headshot

Beckie is a wife and a mother of three grown children and two adorable cats. She is an award-winning poet, published freelance writer of magazine, website and newspaper articles as well as devotions and studies. She is the editor of Southern California Voice, a division of One Christian Voice, LLC., a national news syndicating agency. Her desire is to see others not only know the truths of the Word of God, but to also experience them personally and practically in everyday life.

To learn more about Beckie:

Blog: https://beckielindsey16.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LindseyBeckie

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/beckie.lindsey.5

Southern California Voice: http://socal-voice.com/

March On!

 

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When they heard the blast of the trumpet, the people gave a great shout, and the wall collapsed.

 Joshua 6:20

The siege of Jericho would have been something to see.

Can’t you just picture it? Armed forces taking the lead followed by the priests with the Ark of the Covenant hoisted onto their shoulders, trumpets blasting as they stepped out with purpose in obedience to the Lord.

The story of the walls tumbling down is made even more fantastic when you consider these were some of the very “walls that reached up to the sky” spoken of in Deuteronomy 1:28. These walls, along with the ‘giants’ who lived within them, brought much fear and discouragement to the Israelites. They had no idea how they would defeat such a strong and seemingly impenetrable fortress. These people of Deuteronomy could not find the faith to trust God and march out with purpose. Instead their feet would be found wandering in the desert working on putting their trust in God.

But here in Joshua, a new generation has appeared. Their trek through the wilderness has produced the desired result. This time, the Israelites marched out in unity and confidently followed the Lord’s instruction. The result: success and complete victory. That’s what following God’s commands produces. You can rely on it.

This story makes me wonder.

If we just had the strength and courage to follow His instructions, what would happen? What obstacles could we overcome? How would the world change, personally and globally, if we trusted God’s ways of grace and obeyed His command of loving our neighbors? [Matthew 22:36-40] If we were united and marched together in God’s plan, then what? Hope would be found, that’s what. The walls of suffering, injustice, and oppression would lie in a heap of smoldering ash. And we, along with the rest of the world, would be changed for the good. We would see that God’s strategies work and only need to be put into practice to bring victory and success.

What keeps us from stepping forward to march out?

Are the walls of despair too high to overcome or the fear of the ‘giants’ too big to overthrow? Trust God’s instruction. Put His love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, and self-control into practice. These qualities of God’s character make a lot of noise. In fact, they will shake those negatives of fear, despair and oppression turning them into rubble. Take action and bring some walls down.

The world is waiting.

Clap your hands, all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy.  For the Lord Most High is awesome, the great King over all the earth [for] the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations.

Psalm 47:12 Psalm 33:11