You Can’t Give What You Don’t Have

You Can’t Give What You Don’t Have

I cannot remember a time I did not know Jesus’ love for me. I knew when I left this earth I would go to heaven. But somehow, I missed the” For God so loved the world that He Gave” in John 3:16. I had separated Jesus, Who loved and saved me, from God the Father, Who I thought judged me and sometimes didn’t even like me. With this flawed thinking, I grew up very insecure and with low self-esteem. I was a people pleaser, wanting everyone to like me, and if they didn’t, I thought something must be wrong with me. I needed others to validate me and give me worth. This was a very dangerous position to be in. If someone spoke negative and condemning words and even curses over me, I took that in as truth, and it became self-destructive. 

One Sunday I heard our pastor say, “If you had been the only person here on earth, our Heavenly Father would still have sent His beloved son Jesus to suffer and die just for you. That’s how much he loves you!” (1 John 4:9, John 16:27) I heard this truth and hope sprang up in me! I wanted to know more about my Father’s love. I wanted a relationship with Him. I started reading the Bible and meditating on His love and what it was saying to me about who God said I was. The more our relationship grew, the more He revealed His love for me. This verse became my favorite verse…

“For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

In the Bible you will find love to be the supreme and dominant attribute of God. I began to pray to see myself and others through my Fathers eyes. As the door to my heart opened to receive His amazing love, it began to overflow onto everyone who came into my life. I learned that you cannot give to others what you do not have yourself.

God taught me more about loving others through my relationship with my mother. My mother was a kind and godly woman who loved well. But in our relationship, there was something missing. It was almost as if there was a wall between us that kept her love from reaching me. Romans 8:28 says “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him and have been called according to His purpose.”  I was given the blessing of being the caregiver for my mom when dementia robbed her of being able to care for herself. As the dementia progressed so did our relationship and our love grew for each other. Mother was slowly leaving us and needing more care. She would have accidents with her bowels and become so angry and embarrassed that she wouldn’t let anyone near her, except me. As I was driving to the home where she lived to help her, a song came on the radio,’ Worshiping with the Angels’. I wondered what that would be like and how wonderful it would be to be able to do that! After arriving and cleaning Mother up, I was clipping her toenails and that song popped into my mind. Tears began to flow when I heard the Holy Spirit say, “THIS IS WORSHIPING WITH THE ANGELS!” And then Mother began to sing “This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

When we love and serve others, we are worshiping the Lord with the Angels!  

“And the king will answer them. Truly I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.” Matthew 25:40

We cannot learn or make ourselves have Agape love. It only comes from our Heavenly Father, through His Son Jesus, to us and flows from us to others! 

“Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” John 7:38

Amen! Let it be so!!! 

We want to thank Elaine Norrell for sharing this post.

Godliness is a Choice

Godliness is a Choice

Editor’s note: For the month of January we will be sharing our top blogs from the year of 2022! We hope you enjoy the recap as we begin the year of 2023.

Upon being asked to write a blog about godliness, my first response was, “Me? Write a blog about how to be godly?” So then, I decided to look up the definition of godliness. 

A quick google search said, “the quality of being devoutly religious.”

Well. I didn’t like that one. So I kept searching. 

I stumbled upon the biblical definition of godliness, which says, “the quality or practice of conforming to the laws and wishes of God; devoutness and moral uprightness: to be wise is to live in godliness, reflecting the nature of the kingdom of God in the course of everyday life.” 

That sounded more like it. And to me, this sounds like the act of godliness is a choice. That I am to choose to conform (obey or agree) to live a life that reflects (mirrors) the nature (characteristics) of God every single day of my life. 

So…what are the characteristics of God? He’s merciful, tender, compassionate, love. He never changes, is all powerful, wise, and faithful. He is good and just, gracious, and holy. 

Can I be honest and say that my next thought was… I wonder if my children or my husband would describe me as godly? 

EEEEEK! Time for some repentance, huh? 

The beautiful thing about our God is that He allows us to choose to walk the other way. So, even if looking deeper into godliness was convicting to me, that doesn’t mean I have to live in shame. I get to choose to turn and walk the other way. 

So what does that look like? 

I will start responding to my children in a more tender, compassionate voice. I won’t snap at my husband because his question he asks seems inconvenient to me. I will ask the Lord to help me show love to every person I come in contact with. I will believe that I am filled with the power of the Holy Spirit like the Word says. I will seek wisdom through spending time in God’s Word and with those that I choose to surround myself with. I will let my yes be yes, and my no be no. 

Friends, the choice to live a godly life is a gift. In fact, 2 Peter 1:3 says, “By His divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life.” Y’all, that says God’s given us everything we need to live that out. What a relief that is! 

So rest in this: 2 Peter 1:4 says, “Because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.” 

God’s got you, sis. Rest in his promises and seek his face. 

We would like to thank Paige Keller for writing this blog post.

Forgive and Let God Take Care of the Rest

Forgive and Let God Take Care of the Rest

Editor’s note: For the month of January we will be sharing our top blogs from the year of 2022! We hope you enjoy the recap as we begin the year of 2023.

My walk with Jesus, sadly to say, didn’t start until later in my life. I’m a Whosoever (John 3:16).  

I have always known about God and believed in God wholeheartedly. I believed that the Bible was His word. I went to church. I would read a daily devotional. Occasionally, I read the Bible. I listened to podcasts. I had checked all the boxes.  

But my relationship with Jesus started when I was suddenly awakened early one morning with a jolt and with, what I know now, was the Holy Spirit. In my spirit, He had said that it’s “time to deal with it!” 

I already knew what that meant. You see, I had been sexually abused as a small child. Of course, I had that little tidbit buried deep. I didn’t see any reason that anyone should ever know that. It was one of those things that we bury from our past – you know those deep, dark, secrets that we hope no one can find out about. But I had scars and personality traits that were not meant for me to have. However, I wasn’t sure what to do about it. 

That morning, I suddenly realized God does have a plan for our lives and mine had just started. And  when God has a plan, He also has a way.  

 A couple of nights later, I awoke with another word: study. So that is what I did. Each book I read, and each verse I read, the Lord was teaching me. It didn’t happen fast, but along the way, I was learning how deep Jesus’ love is for me. I could feel my soul healing. With the help of the Holy Spirit, I was learning and healing. Sometimes that help would come through the word, sometimes in a dream and sometimes through people.  

 As I look back and realize where He took me and why, I’m still just as amazed today. When it came to the part of the journey where the Holy Spirit let me know the Father wants me to forgive, that was hard! I had to forgive the ones who hurt me. My first thought was: You must be kidding!! Does He know what they have done? I can now see how I must have looked like a mad customer marching up to the service desk, yelling “I need to speak with Jesus”. 

I remember walking around my house praying and even sometimes, praying VERY LOUD!. I was afraid my neighbors would think I was crazy. 

I didn’t want to do it; I didn’t think I could do it. But the first thing to do is pray. You are talking to your Daddy, and you just must be honest. He already knows what you’re thinking anyway. Here are some prayer starters. 

  • Lord give me the power to forgive. 
  • Lord grant me the grace to forgive. (2 Cor. 1:10) 
  • Pray that God will enable you. (Heb. 12:15) 

It’s hard to hate them when you pray for them.  Make a choice to do it, and God will do the rest

Perhaps one of the most Godlike things we can do in life is to forgive and forget it. When you pray for them, don’t gossip about them, just speak well of them. If there’s a need that comes up and you can meet that need, that’s the full force of forgiveness.  

Here are a few other verses about forgiveness. 

  • Matthew 18:21-22 “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times? Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy – seven times”. (This one got me good).  
  • Matthew 6: 14-15 “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” 
  • Romans 12:18 “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”

Here are a few things I’ve learned.  

  • If you don’t forgive, it will be a burden that you carry, and it will torment you. 
  • It will open a door for Satan. Once you make the choice to forgive someone and you don’t feel different, don’t let the Satan deceive you, making you feel like you didn’t. How you feel has nothing to do with it. 
  • Once you choose to forgive, trust that God will make your feelings change. 
  • Once you forgive someone, it will set you free.  

God has a plan for your life, I would not have chosen the things that happened to me, but be assured that God does work things out for our good. I see it almost every day. My journey with Jesus just gets better, so do yourself a favor and forgive. 

We would like to thank Julie Duke for writing this blog post.

God is Love

God is Love

Editor’s note: For the month of January we will be sharing our top blogs from the year of 2022! We hope you enjoy the recap as we begin the year of 2023.

I can remember being a little kid and dreaming about the husband and family that I would have someday. Love looked like a perfect glass box where everything was right in the world, and nothing ever went wrong. I mean “And they lived happily ever after” was the perfect encapsulation of everything that love was meant to be, right?


Because I was obsessed with this perfect picture of love, I tried to make my life match that. I tried to make my life look as perfect as possible. I swept my junk under rugs, shoved ugly feelings in closets and closed the doors of my heart, only allowing certain parts of me to be seen and explored by God.

See if my heart was a home, I allowed God to enter through the front door, have a seat at my perfectly decorated dining room table for a cup of coffee, but I never invited Him to have a tour of the house. The consequence was that I never felt like I was truly loved or accepted by Him or
anyone else. I was scared that if I allowed every part of my heart to be on display, the ugliness would make them run away.


What changed you may ask? Singleness – that is what changed. See as I was hiding my junk, I was also desperately searching for “The One” that would satisfy my heart’s longing to be loved. I figured to be loved I needed a husband, and before I could have a husband, I needed a boyfriend. To get a boyfriend I just needed to catch his attention and keep it on me.

Spoiler alert: that did not get me where I wanted. I sacrificed perfect love for lust and that is far different. You will never find perfect love outside of God because He is love. I allowed too many red flags to turn into green ones as I reasoned out why I “deserved” this less-then-perfect love. Because remember those closed doors and dirty rugs, those were all reminders of why my love looked less than perfect.

Until one day Jesus stepped in. I was at the end of my rope, and I remember thinking “singleness would be better than this”. In that moment my heart had decided to stop running away from God and instead throw everything aside and run into him and that changed everything.


1 John 4:16 says “So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in Him”.


When I invited God to love me, what I was really doing was abiding in Him. Abide simply means to stay fixed on or stable in; to live in. I allowed God to come live in the home of my heart; not just visit but to stay forever. He had full reign to go into every locked door and look under every rug. Suddenly I wasn’t wishing and lusting after my imperfect love; instead I was being fully saturated and overflowing in the love that never fails, never disappoints, and never leaves.


The thing is, God will never break into your heart. He wants to be invited in. He is gentle and kind. So, the question to answer today is will you invite Him in?

We would like to thank Savanna Rodriguez for writing this blog post.

Forgiveness is LOVE with a Big Helping of Grace

Forgiveness is LOVE with a Big Helping of Grace

Editor’s note: For the month of January we will be sharing our top blogs from the year of 2022. We hope you enjoy the recap as we begin the year of 2023!

Forgiveness-the action or process of forgiving or being forgiven. Or I prefer forgiveness-love with a big helping of grace and mercy. It’s something we all experience one way or the other. About 8 years ago, I learned what true forgiveness was and how it frees you and changes your life.

Without going into the messy details, I had to confess to my husband that I had committed adultery and because of that, I had also lost my job. I will give a little bit of background to what brought me to this point in my life. I had accepted Christ as a teenager, but never really believed that I was worthy of all He offered. I didn’t know who I was in Christ, or how much love He had for me.  I was under the assumption that if I was saved, I wouldn’t be tempted to fall into the trap of lies and sin the evil one throws at us.  Through a series of events a couple of years prior to my admission, those lies and temptations came in huge waves. The evil one knows exactly how to attack and he did just that!. I began a downward slide into lies, deception, and false identity. The farther I slid, the faster my slide became until I hit rock bottom.

I came home one Friday afternoon and waited for Don to come home. I confessed what I had done and that I had lost my job. Let’s just say it was not pretty. After several questions, comments, and accusations, he had me pack my stuff up and he took me to my mother. He was done. It was over. The evil one had destroyed another marriage, so he thought. But God…

Shortly after accepting Christ, I discovered Romans 8:28 that says,  “And we know that God causes ALL THINGS to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them.” (Emphasis added) That became my favorite verse and one I held onto. And it’s a good thing because that verse became so real for me.

The first act of forgiveness came from my mother. Although she was very hurt by my actions, she took me in. I know it was hard for her because, when I was 8 years old, my parents divorced because my father had an affair. She had to look past the hurt and resentment of that generational curse to see her child, her child that was lost, confused, scared, and alone. The second act of forgiveness came from 3 dear friends and my sister-in-law. They were all disappointed and confused. I had become very good at hiding all my secrets and lies. These four friends could have decided to look at me with judgment and disdain but instead decided to extend grace and mercy. But the biggest act of forgiveness came from my husband. 

After Don returned home from taking me to my mother, he called our daughters, and he called his family. Our daughters came home to be with Don. Mary, our youngest, came to see me that evening. To say she was upset was a huge understatement. In her honest way, she laid into me and let me know how disappointed and hurt she was. Becky, my logical daughter, knew she needed time to process what she was thinking and feeling. She came the next day. She was very hurt, but she came with grace and mercy. During that Friday night and most of the next day, Don searched his heart. Several members of his family came on Saturday to support him and the girls. They prayed for Don, our girls, me, and our marriage. Don came the next day to talk to me. He realized he would need me to help him get through all this and realized that what God had joined together, no one would tear apart. He took me home. When we got there his family was there. Instead of anyone looking at me with judgment, they surrounded me in a prayer circle. It was not easy for us, but with prayer, love, mercy, grace, a good Christian counselor, and many hours of talking and growth, we are better than ever before.

Forgiveness doesn’t come easy. Was it easy for Christ to forgive the disciples who chose sleep over praying for Him in the garden? (Mark 14:32-42) Or the ones who called for His death? (Mark 15:13-14). Judas, one of Jesus’ disciples,  sold Jesus out for 30 pieces of silver. (Matthew 26:14-16). Another disciple, Peter, denied Christ 3 times after saying that would never happen (Matt 26:69-75). But Jesus forgave these disciples just like He forgave me.

 I recently read a devotional about the woman caught in the act of adultery (John 8:1-11). A sentence from that devotion really stood out to me. “God’s forgiving grace is greater than all of our sins.” He forgives us when we confess and ask for His forgiveness.

But, what about us? Do we forgive easily when we are wronged? Do we sit in judgment? Do we allow those who have been caught in sin be forgiven? Or do we want to stone that person? And when we are the ones who need forgiveness, do we truly accept it? When Peter denied Christ 3 times, did he hold on to that shame? I think not. Scripture tells us he wept bitterly. What it doesn’t tell us is that I think he asked for forgiveness. Mark 16:7 tells us the angel of the Lord told the women who had gone to the tomb to “go and tell his disciples, including Peter, that Jesus is going ahead of you to Galilee.” If Peter had not asked for and received forgiveness, he would not have been told to “feed my sheep” (John 21: 15-17). By the way, Jesus asked Peter 3 times if he loved him, and 3 times Peter said yes. 3 denials, 3 moments of grace and mercy.

And what about Judas? When he realized what he had done he didn’t ask for forgiveness. Instead, he hung himself. What if…what if, he too, had asked for forgiveness? I can’t help but wonder what his life would have been like. Maybe he would have had an even greater testimony of forgiveness than anyone.

Forgiveness is hard. It’s hard to extend to others when we are hurt. It’s hard to point out the need to forgive or to ask someone for forgiveness. It’s hard to forgive ourselves when we have hurt those we love the most. I know, personally, I had a hard time forgiving myself. I still have times of regret remembering the pain I caused my family and friends. But I have been forgiven by them. I forgive myself. But most importantly, I have been forgiven by my Heavenly Father.

We would like to thank Hope Warren for writing this blog post.

Homemade German Noodles

Homemade German Noodles

As I look back into my childhood, I have many wonderful memories. My grandmother, Agnes Obenhaus, was an amazing cook. And she shared her wisdom and experience of cooking with my mom.

One of our favorite things that she made was homemade German noodles. She made them every year for the holidays as far back as I can remember. She has been gone for many years now, but her noodles live on. My parents have carried on this tradition ever since. All of the family loves them and would be very disappointed if they were to not be present for our holiday meal!

This year my daughter wanted to learn to make them, so we spent the afternoon making the dough, rolling it out, cutting the noodles and hanging them to dry. We had four generations together making homemade German noodles to share with the family on Thanksgiving.

2/3 cup flour 
1 egg
1 T water 
1/2 t salt 
1 t oil

Make a well of flour. Barely mix egg, water, salt and oil. Add to flour and mix with hands until it forms a ball. Knead for 10 min. Let stand covered 1 hour. Pinch off and run thru 2 or 3 times to make thin. Then use slice attachment and hang to dry. 

We want to thank Rhonda Bain for sharing this post.

Christmas at the Dietrichs

Christmas at the Dietrichs

Christmas in the Dietrich home was and is still a time when family comes together, to cook or bake, put up Christmas decor and make memories. 

Starting right after Thanksgiving, Christmas decor would always go up in our home. My mom, sister and I enjoyed and putting out all the the Christmas Nativities. At night we would turn on Rudolph and all 5 of us would put up the Christmas tree together. Everyone had their special ornaments that only they could put on the tree. 

The advent book would be set out and ready for December 1st when we would start reading the Christmas story. The memory of reading the Christmas story throughout December is a tradition that I now do in our home. The memories spent reading about the birth of Christ are some I will never forget. 

And then there was the baking.  My grandmother would always bring Jello Christmas cookie dough(recipe below) to the house where she would let us cut them out with her metal cookie cutters and decorate them how we wanted. Martha Washington were/are our staple Christmas candy(recipe below.) Martha Washingtons are definitely a recipe that are fun to do with the family. Dipping tons of chocolate balls leads tons of laughter and messes, which lead to great memories. We would always make enough Martha Washington to share with our little grandpa, he was little in stature but big in heart. 

One of the earliest traditions I remember as a child was the matching Christmas dresses. These weren’t just any Christmas dresses, mom handmade them. One year she even made one for herself. This tradition has continued though my daughters and nieces. Last year my mom worked so hard and made 4 matching Christmas dresses for our little girls. They were so excited to all be matching and were even calling each other sisters instead of cousins. 

Christmas Eve was busy with preparations of getting ready for the Nativity at church. My favorite part of Christmas Eve at church was the candle lighting and singing of Silent Night. Today, Cole and I still find so much joy and peace at going to church on Christmas Eve. 

Christmas morning started early at our home with the smell of sausage balls(recipe below) baking and hot coco in a Christmas mug. Our stockings would always be filled with nuts, candy and some odd piece of fruit. Family would come over for a delicious lunch followed by great fellowship. 

I have so many great memories from Christmas growing up. I am now a mom of 4 precious kiddos and enjoy making our own family memories and traditions. Some are the same as when I was young and some are different but the focus is till the same. Christmas time is when we remember that our Father sent the savior down to earth as a baby who would live a perfect life and then sacrifice it for all of us. A sacrifice made so humbly so we could all live eternally with our Father.

Jello Cut out cookies 

1/2 cup of margarine 

1/2 crisco 

1 cup of sugar

1 3oz. pkg of jello any flavor 

3 eggs

3 cups of flour

1 tsp. of baking powder

1/2 tsp. Salt 

Cream shortening and margarine with sugar and jello until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time and beat throughly. Add sifted dry ingredients and mix well. Chill for several hours. Roll about 1/3 of the dough at a time on flour surface about 1/4 inch thick. Cut with cookie cutters. Bake on un-greased cookie sheet at 375 degrees for about 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned. 

Martha Washingtons

2 lbs of powered sugar

1 can of eagle brand

1 stick of margarine 

1 cup of coconut(Optional) 

Mix together and add 2 cups of pecans

Make into balls and refrigerate for 30 minutes. While they are refrigerating heat up candy chocolates. Dip the balls and put back into the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Store in air tight container.   

Sausage Balls 

1lb of breakfast sausage

1lb of cheese 

2 cups of bisquick

Mix well together. Roll into small balls. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

We want to thank JoBeth Dietrich and Bethany Williams for sharing this post.  

Baking Christmas Cookies

Baking Christmas Cookies

In our busy everyday schedules and in our effort to make Christmas special, we can sometimes forget what Christmas is truly all about. “Keeping Jesus” as the main focus of Christmas was what moved me to start some Christmas traditions for my young family. Some of the traditions were passed on from my parents and grandparents. Like observing Advent…this is the expectant waiting and preparation for both the celebration of the birth of Christ and the return of Christ. It begins four Sundays before Christmas. You light a candle at the beginning of each week, there is a devotion every day centered around the coming of Jesus. One year we made a tree skirt that told the story of Jesus birth, we also baked a birthday cake for Jesus on Christmas day.

The Christmas cookie making started when our children were very young and still at home. Of course we had to use my grandmother and Tante’s (aunt in German) Christmas cookie recipe. It wasn’t just the wonderful taste of the cookies but the anticipation of going to my grandparents and playing with my cousins, the feeling of love and family. We have carried this tradition on with our children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.  We still try to pick a day around Thanksgiving when most of our family is here to make our cookies. Some come home Thanksgiving just for the cookie making. Those who can’t be here have started their own tradition in their homes or wherever they may be, sometimes carting homemade cookie dough all over the state of Texas just to continue the tradition.  

Christmas is the season of love, joy, giving, and family. Traditions are a way of combining all of those into one beautiful package.  I can’t explain the feelings of blessing and joy watching my family laughing, sometimes throwing flour and smearing icing on each other or just enjoying being together. Seeing the children’s eyes wide with wonder and imagination. Decorating their cookies, licking their icing sticks (we do send their own cookies home with them – ha ha) and getting icing all over their faces. Those special times of being gathered together for one tradition also may lead to other traditions. The grandkids (Stewart & Elaine’s) after making Christmas cookies would put on a play for the adults to end a wonderful day of fun, food, and family. 

These are some of our most treasured memories. If we’re having a bad day all we have to do is look at some pictures of our cookie baking days and the children’s plays, then remember how blessed we are. 

We want to thank Elaine Norrell and Torrie Gilleland for sharing this post.

We Can Have Self-Control Because God is in Control

We Can Have Self-Control Because God is in Control

My husband Heath and I have been married for 10 years now, and when we were just dating back in 2011 I was the full time assistant manager at maurices. I worked there for 4 years, and during that time one of the requirements was to offer the option of signing up for the credit card to every single one of our customers. And if you know me very well, you know I love to SHOP, and being immersed in an environment of new clothes all the time did not help my self-control in regards to my card swiping abilities. We were encouraged to wear current clothes there to be a walking mannequin to the customers (makes sense, right?) My manager at the time talked me into getting the credit card (my first one ever) and from an innocent place, I truly thought I could use it and pay it off on paydays. Full disclosure – did I ask my husband if he thought that credit card was a good idea? NOPE. I want to encourage you here: our husbands often provide wisdom when our brains want to act impulsively (the opposite of self-control, I might add). More on that later though. 

We have been learning this year in 2 Peter chapter 1 that God has given us the ability to share in his divine nature (verse 4) but keep reading! The rest of the passage says we are able to escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires through these precious promises. 

Don’t you think human (aka fleshly) desires are the biggest cause for us to deliberately choose to not have self-control and just live on impulse? Human desires like keeping up with the Jones’, upholding an image we really don’t have or that we think we need, thinking we constantly need to have all the brand new stuff, when in reality we need to be content with what we have. 

I mean think about it; when we actually slow down, take a deep breath, and give ourselves time to truly assess something, we typically end up making a better choice simply because we are allowing not only our own minds to process, but we are allowing the Holy Spirit to speak to us regarding the situation. And like verse 6 says in our scripture, we are to supplement our knowledge with self-control and our self-control with patient endurance (aka perseverance). I don’t think that was said in that order on accident. 

So more on my story; I got a credit card without talking with my husband first. Before getting it, I honestly already shopped way too much and I thought a credit card would somehow help our paycheck to paycheck finances we were living with (and boy was I wrong.) 

Growing up, I shopped until I dropped with family members and friends, and often. It was all I had ever known, and I never really knew it was supposed to be or could be different. And I’ve learned now that there’s a better way. 

As a woman, shopping is one of those things that I *think* will make me feel better, and it might for a moment, but in the end I usually just get mad that I impulsively bought something that I may or may not have needed, spent money we could have used somewhere else or saved, and then end up frustrated that I feel like I have to hide it from my husband because of that, instead of remembering that my joy comes from Christ alone. Doesn’t that sound exhausting?

Most times when it feels like we are lacking self-control, we are simply not dwelling in God’s precious promises and his divine nature. We’ve allowed those human desires to take root and let the enemy convince us that our ways are better. 

Often times, having self-control can seem impossible, whether you’re a woman who struggles with impulse buying and shopping behind your husband’s back, or if you struggle with over eating or turning to other things for comfort in moments of distress or overwhelm. 

In whatever area you struggle with self-control in, God is asking you to let Christ rule as King in your heart. We can have self-control because God is in control.

If I can tell you anything about my past experience today, it’s that I wish I had been more vulnerable to share my struggles with other women in our church. I was ashamed and I allowed the enemy to convince me that no other Godly woman I knew could possibly be struggling in this area like I was. I just needed to suck it up and deal with it on my own. That is a big fat lie my friends, and no matter what your struggle is regarding self-control, there is someone out there who can help you, pray for you, and provide practical resources to allow you to work through whatever it is. 

Upon my confession to my husband about the debt I had developed with my credit card, I realized I needed to truly surrender to what the Bible says about wives being submissive to their husbands. I learned that true self-control comes from a surrendered heart, and that I honestly needed to surrender to the obedience of Christ so that I could experience the fullness of God’s promises (which, like our scripture says, is our own ability to live in God’s divine nature because it’s our own). 

I want to encourage you today to be honest with yourself. Maybe you need to admit there’s an area of your life where you need God’s help in applying and practicing self-control. My advice to you is to share that with someone you trust and then surrender it to the Lord in prayer together. We have the King of Kings on our side and the opportunity to allow Him to rule in our hearts. Remember, self-control comes from a surrendered heart, and we can have self-control because God is in control. 

We would like to thank Paige Keller for sharing this post.

Self-Control is All About Yielding

Self-Control is All About Yielding

The definition of control in the dictionary is “to exercise restraint or direction over.”  Some synonyms are “dominate” and “command”.  That seems to mean that self-control would be how we exercise restraint over ourselves.  

At first glance, it looks like self-control is me taking the bull by the horns and using my willpower to do the right things and stop doing the wrong things.  I found out I can do that – with some things. 

Outward signs of self-control are the easiest to achieve.  However, self-control is more than just “being good”.  Even when I was lost, I could “be good” in front of people like my mom or my grandmother, or people at church.     

How many of you know that we can hold it together on the outside, at church or in public, when there is still a lot of out-of-control stuff happening behind closed doors or in our hearts and minds?  Trying to present a nice front for other people is not going to work for long.  

Self-control is my will yielding to His will by His power.

After Kelly and I were married, I really struggled with controlling my tongue.  If we had an argument, I would say we should get a divorce.  I never meant it, and I KNEW this was not God’s will, but words seemingly just rolled out of my mouth.  I know that I hurt him many times when all that was going on.  Here I was, a pastor’s wife, and I was yielding to my hormones and my sharp tongue!  I felt miserable and guilty almost all the time, and I stayed under condemnation because I didn’t seem to know how to stop this cycle. It was all about yielding – to the evil words, to bad temper, to feelings. 

God has the answer for us.

Self-control is my will, my hormones, my feelings, and my temper yielding to His will by His power.  

The book of Romans has so much to say about the issue of control.   

Romans 6:12-13 says, “Do not let sin control the way you live.  Do not give in to sinful desires.  Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin.”   

That’s good!  That’s what I want to do!  How?   

13b goes on, “Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have a new life.  So, use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God.” 

Instead of giving in, or yielding, to my smart mouth, I must give my mouth completely to God!  And that’s going to take some discipline on my part. 

It takes practice to be able to continually yield any part of our bodies to the Holy Spirit instead of yielding to our old nature.  And that practice is called discipline.  When discipline is required for something, I’ve learned that the enemy comes in with his lies to tell us things like: 

  • This is just the way you are. 
  • You’ve already made too many mistakes. 
  • You will never be able to stop this. 

The enemy says these same lies, whatever it is that you are trying to overcome.  

Condemnation is another tool of the enemy to keep us from turning to God and from yielding to the Holy Spirit.  Even a person who is saved can be living under condemnation when they have not received the truth about the gift of grace.  Each time I failed, I developed a worse and worse opinion of myself.  I thought that I would eventually drive my husband away, and I didn’t know what to do about it.  He always forgave me, but I feared that I had done irreparable damage to our marriage.  Something had to stop the cycle! 

I had been so focused on what I was doing wrong that I could not overcome it!  When we spend so much of our time thinking about the sins we have committed and worrying about how to make ourselves stop doing them, we are dominated by our sinful nature.  We are not living in the freedom from sin that we have in Christ. 

Letting go of condemnation and receiving forgiveness is a big part of yielding to the Holy Spirit.  It removes our focus from our sins and places our focus on who we are in Christ.  Then we can yield to the Spirit and not to our fears or condemnation. 

The key to self-control is yielding everything I understand about my mind, my will, my emotions, and every part of me to everything I understand about God by power of the Holy Spirit.  Self-control is living in the freedom of Christ!

We want to thank Sheri Warren for sharing this post.