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Archive for the ‘Blessings Unlimited’ Category

From the first moment that I looked through a Blessings Unlimited catalog and laid eyes on this bracelet, I knew it was something I really would enjoy.

In part I knew why, but the rest God didn’t show me until this morning.

You see, several years ago something happened that rocked my world. It caused me to question everything about my relationship with Christ. I struggled greatly through that season, but my relationship with God emerged better than it had been before. Well, except for the fear that plagued my mind continually.

Fear. It is that tool that Satan uses in my life to render me completely ineffective for God. I know that to be true, and yet I allow the father of lies to dupe me just about every time. I know that faith and fear can’t coexist in my heart, but I still struggle. For years I have been on a quest to find a way to overcome that fear.

In May two of my dear friends came to town for Blane’s graduation. We went out to eat and strolled through some stores downtown, just talking and visiting, soaking up each other’s company. It was a relaxing and delightful time that I will forever be grateful for!

My friendship with these two ladies is a story of beauty that God allows from ashes, for our “triangle” friendship came out of a very hard time in two of our lives. I have known one friend for just over 10 years; I will call her “Trustworthy”. The other friend I have only KNOWN OF for a few years, I will call her “Faithful”.

“Trustworthy” has always been the kind of friend that I could share anything with no matter how ugly or beautiful, she would listen and share the Truth of God’s Word with me, but she would not judge me, nor speak of my actions in a negative light to anyone or think any less of me. She truly is genuine, and I am so grateful to have her in my life. She is not just this way with me, but also with her friend “Faithful” (and I am sure the rest of her friends). God allowed “Trustworthy” into my and “Faithful’s lives for a purpose. Both “Faithful” and I had been through “somewhat similar” situations in our lives that shook our lives to the core, and we both confided in our friend “Trustworthy” and she prayed and counseled us. She would tell you that she really didn’t do anything, because she is just humble that way, but her friendship with the both of us and her thoughtful actions and words during that time, helped us in ways we didn’t even know we needed. I think how she helped us most was to love us genuinely, listen and point us to Christ.

Prior to our lunch date, “Faithful” and I had never met. But God in His infinite wisdom had so knitted our hearts together a few years ago through our trials and our gentle friend “Trustworthy”. “Faithful” and I have only talked by phone one time. We have communicated by email mostly, but for a few years prior to that we had only spoken to God about each other, for we only knew a few minor details of each others lives, that our “Trustworthy” had shared, only with our permission. God allowed us to know each other by name and we prayed for one another through this rough season. God has so used my friend “Fatithful” in my life in so many cool ways. Most of them are stories that remind me of how much He loves me to give me a friend named “Faithful” that loves me deeply enough to pray continually for me in those days, although she had never met me.

So, during our luncheon date “Trustworthy” presented us a gift. As she pulled the three packages out of her purse she said something like, “I know that this is sappy, but…” and she presented us each with a matching bracelet. Each one says, “It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Thy faithfulness. Lam. 3:22-23 “.

She wanted this to serve as a reminder on our arms to not fear, but to trust God fully no matter what we encountered, for both “Faithful” and I have struggle with fear. Well, I got tears in our eyes, as I am sure “Faithful” did. What a tender gesture, which is not at all surprising coming from “Trustworthy”! She is incredibly thoughtful and kind-hearted, oh, how I long to be more like her as she is like Christ.

I have worn that bracelet so often. When I do I think of my two sisters in Christ that, even though I don’t get to spend physical time with them, I know love me and pray for me regularly. I also think of the faith that God desires to fill my heart and not fear when I wear it.

My fears and times of anxiety related to past events don’t come as often, I have learned to trust in Him more and more, but for a month or so I seemed to have entered a darker place, a place in my life that I have NEVER been before.

Everything in my life is, from the outside looking in, in perfect order. Our marriage is wonderful, my husband is incredibly thoughtful and lovingly faithful to me, our house is organized and clean, our boys are doing great, we are all healthy, yes, we are still recovering from the loss of my dad and an empty nest, but all in all we are doing great, and yet within me there has been this restlessness, discontentment, if you will. It has been so hard to put my finger on what has exactly been happening in my heart.

When I am a bit further out of this season I will write more about it and how God got me through it, but for now, just know that I needed to focus on what Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things”.

So when I saw this bracelet in the catalog, I just knew I needed (okay, wanted) it. I learned with the bracelet that “Trustworthy” had given me how effective a physical reminder around my wrist was to my mind!  

Today in my Bible study time I was reading Lysa TerKeurst’s “Made to Crave” devotional. She said a few things about emotional emptiness that spoke to me. I would like to share with you what she said, how God used it in my life and how it all relates to two simple little bracelets.

“It’s so easy to park our minds in bad spots. To dwell and rehash and wish things were different. But to think on hard things keeps us in hard spots and only serves to deepen feelings of emotional emptiness…We have the choice to either let those past hurts continue to haunt and damage us or to allow forgiveness to pave the way for the new life and lasting changes we desire. I can’t change the things that have happened to me” or the mistakes I have made in the past, but now I can make the choice to “forgive”.  Not just forgive others that have hurt me, but I have to forgive myself. She also says, “Yes, this (whatever it may be) is a circumstance of my life, but it doesn’t define who I am.”

I, Sheila, have things about myself that I just don’t like and Satan is quick to accuse me and tell me that the mistakes I have made or sins that I have committed make me a horrible person that God could never love or accept, but Lysa said she chooses to think in those moments when Satan accuses her, “’Yes, these mistakes are things I wish I could change, but they don’t define who I am’. Rather than dwelling on wounds that leave us feeling emotionally empty, we can learn to look for whatever is true, noble, right, pure lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy in life. When I park my mind and heart on thoughts that refresh me instead of the ones that depress me, I am filled. “

I needed to be reminded of that today and now I have an even greater story to testify of when I wear this bracelet. I am a mess, but God loves me just the way I am, mistakes and all. I am going to do my best to look at all that has happened in life and what is happening now and truly remind myself regularly that this stuff “does not define me. Only God can define me”, and He says I am beautiful. Each time I look at that bracelet I am reminded of the beauty that can come from the ashes of my life, if I will only offer God my open hand and allow Him to work.

Click on her name, Lysa TerKeurst, to find her website if you are further interested in her story or her books.

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As I was doing my Bible study this morning, I studied James 4:1-17. This day in the study comes at an interesting time for me, since I am in the process of trying to get a new business off the ground.

Luke 12:15 really put things into perspective for me. It says, “Then He said to them, ‘Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.’”   This is such an interesting verse to me, considering for the last 20 plus years, we have lived on one income. All through this time I have struggled like a yo-yo, between I want this or that and seeking to be content with what we have.

I have always known that “stuff”, consumerism isn’t for me. Why? Well, I am so easily distracted from the plan God has for me, that I simply must be alert to where my focus is and where it should be. I truly enjoy ‘things’, but my real love is people and relationships. I would rather spend an hour with you then have you give me some monetary gift. I guess my love language is ‘Time’.

Knowing this and more about myself, makes it incredibly funny that God would lead me to a job of selling stuff, especially because my friend nominated me, Sheila A. Bias, to be the “president of WASP” (Women Against Stupid Parties).  lol

Truly I have never really liked parties. Oh, they are fun, and the fellowship is great, but I always came home from them feeling discontent with what I had, wishing we had more. Being on one income was tough when so many of my friends were working. But I must say that that they never once put any pressure on me to buy things; instead they have blessed me greatly, even going so far as to share things with me that blessed my heart so much. But despite their kindness, I decided in my heart that I couldn’t go to the parties, because honestly, it created discontentment in my heart.

And then last week, God opens this door for me to become a consultant with Blessings Unlimited?? I was overwhelmed the day that God brought that opportunity to me; I just could not believe it. But I laughed as I thought of me, the “president of WASP”, selling products. lol  God really does have a way of humbling us, doesn’t He?

Well, back to my Bible study from this morning and what God showed me about how I should be running my business. From the beginning of this short journey to begin this business, I have struggled with asking others to spend money so that I could have money. Honestly, I truly understand the value of a dollar and I sure didn’t want to put anyone in a difficult spot. So I asked God to reconcile in my heart the tug of war that was going on within me.

Yesterday, as I was listening to a corporate training call, the first 5-7 minutes were spent talking about our ‘ministry in the marketplace’ and then praying about the opportunities God has given us to minister to women. During this time I realized that my business will only succeed if I put God first in it.

After reading the verse in Luke 12:15, God gave me the following statement that I wrote out, as a motto of a sort: I desire my journey in Blessings Unlimited to be more about ministry to others rather than gaining money from others.  Well, “That is a nice little motto, but it sure isn’t going to make you very much money, Sheila”, you might say.  Well, God and I, we had that talk as I stood by the stove, warming myself this morning. I told Him that if I was to make a go of this business, He was going to have to lead. He was going to have to be the one to bring the money in, because I could not allow that to be my focus on this journey. No, the women that He brings into my life, they will be my focus. Encouraging their hearts, that will be my drive. Helping them encourage others, will be my purpose. Yes, if they desire to decorate their own homes with some of these products, I will help them with that too, but I would always remind them to think of another before they think of themselves. I am absolutely aware that this is not a normal approach to business, but if you know me at all, you will know that I don’t really approach much of life in a normal way.

My main prayer for myself at this point is that I remain so focused on encouraging the hearts of others in the Lord, that I will not become greedy or distracted by stuff. So pray with me will you? That I will remain true to the calling of ministering to others in the marketplace, putting their needs before mine. Trusting the Lord to take care of my needs, as He always has been so faithful to do. So when you look at the products on the Blessings Unlimited website, be thinking of what person in your life God is asking you to share a bit of love and encouragement with, not just what might fit nicely into your own home.
Today’s list of gifts in my day that I am thanking God for:

~liquid vitamins

~totally organized closet

~being reminded in my Bible study that God allows all things that He does in my life so I will seek Him

~Freddo’s wisdom that said, “Perhaps you should stay home tonight and rest”

~finding a planning calendar in my box of papers

~opening one of my Blessings Unlimited boxes today…excited to get even more done from my list tomorrow so I can open the other box…incentives, they keep me focused, grateful for the products that I have seen so far

~warm quilt just out of the dryer to cuddle up with

~encouraging conversations with a few people today

~more Bomb Pops, sure help the sore throat

 

{Joy Dare} a gift shared, saved and surrendered:

~shared: my thoughts on how God is working in my heart, encouragement and Scripture a friend sent back to me

~saved: a musical and lighted birthday card from my parents at the last birthday party my dad had for me before he passed away in June. I found it today as I was cleaning out a box of stuff. Dad was excited all that day to have a birthday party for his little girl. That was when, in his mind, he thought I was still a child…so many memories that I pray never fade from my mind.

~surrendered: my “ministry in the marketplace” for His glory

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