When God Gives Us Beauty

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Ahhhhh. The ocean. Such majesty and power, but yet so calming and relaxing to our souls. The mysteries of the deep are intriguing, and its beauty is never dull to the eye. I cannot sit and look at the ocean without admiring the One who created it.

The LORD on high is mightier than the noise of many waters, Yea, than the mighty waves of the sea.  Psalm 93:4

My son graduated in May, and we were fortunate to be able to go the the beach for a few days following his graduation ceremony.  The beach is always so soothing to my mind and body. It is a place of astounding beauty. The soft sand squishing beneath my toes and the constant sound of waves crashing in is therapeutic. It is like it tunes out all the noise and distractions going on around you, or even those racing around in your mind and heart, and causes you to focus on the vastness of it's existence. You soon just hear the repetitive sound of waves rolling in, one after another. Every now and then you may get a couple of seconds of complete silence, causing your eyes to pop open only to see the next wave barreling onshore.

One of my favorite things to do on a beach vacation is to get up to watch the sunrise. Sleeping in while at the beach is just not an option for me. I eagerly await each morning's arrival. The anticipation builds as I think of what shells I may find on the beach and what colors will be unveiled as the sun makes its appearance. One thing I did notice on this trip was that we, as humans, are not very good stewards of the beauty God has given us. As I walked the beach at the start of each day, there was garbage left behind from beach goers the night before. I thought, "How hard is it to take your trash with you when you go?". It got to the point it was frustrating me even more with each piece of garbage I picked up. The net I used for catching shells in the waves became my little portable trash bag each morning. I passed a lady one morning and she spoke the exact words running across my mind. "How can anyone see the beauty of the ocean and leave all this litter behind?" 

As I was grumbling about those who left their litter behind, God in his gentle ways, nudged my heart about looking at my own life. There is a lot of beauty in my own life, but I too, also litter it with the garbage of this world. Maybe it's the shows I watch, or the music I listen to. It could be the time I spend on social media when I could be spending it with him. Perhaps it's the lies I listen to from my enemy and instead of shutting them down, I let them linger so they start to take over my mind and root out God's truth about who I am. The choices I make each day can leave a trail of ugly on what God has called beautiful. The garbage in my life could come from what is being stored in my heart:  resentment, jealously, bitterness, comparison and insecurity. The list could go on and on. 

We all know that life is messy. It is hard and complicated. But, it is also a gift, it is a blessing, and should be treasured. It should be protected and valued. Don't be a litter bug! Whether it is actually leaving  garbage behind in God's wonderful creation, or letting the trash of this world pile up so much in your own life that it covers the beauty God has given you by allowing you to experience another day. 

What about you? Do you have anything littering your life today that needs to be cleaned up? I know I do. I encourage you to seek his help and do what you need to do to find the beauty again.

Keep moving forward,

Hayley W

It Is Okay To Rest

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Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Matthew 11:28 ESV

Repeat after me: It is okay to rest.

Did you hear what you just said? Now, do you believe it? I am not taking about others resting, I am talking about YOU taking time to truly rest.

Repeat it one more time: IT IS OKAY TO REST.

I feel like for most of us, this is a hard concept to grasp and live out. We live in a world that esteems busyness as a sign of success or productivity. An active schedule adds value to your life, or so is the lie we are told. We fill our calendars and lists with more activities than we have the energy for, but yet, we just keep pushing forward and adding more. Rest is just a nice thought of something we will get to in the future. When we get caught up at work, then we will rest. When all chores are done, then we will rest. Once this month is over and the schedule clears up, then we will rest. But guess what, there will always be chores, activities, or events that come up to fill our hours and days. So we press on, pushing our mental and physical health beyond its limits. I dare say that eventually our spiritual health will take a few knocks as well as a result of our overwhelming agenda.

Below is the definition of rest from the Dictionary app:

Rest – the refreshing quiet or repose of sleep; refreshing ease or inactivity after exertion or labor; relief or freedom, especially from anything that wearies, troubles, or disturbs; a period or interval of inactivity, repose, solitude, or tranquility; mental or spiritual calm. ( I really like the 3rd definition – freedom from anything that wearies, troubles, or disturbs. Who doesn’t want that? Can I get an Amen? )

We NEED rest. When we continue to run at our highest speed day after day, we will at some point crash. We should not feel guilty or have shame for taking care of our physical bodies and our mental health. Mental health issues have sky rocketed the past several years. I see it and I hear it all around me. People are exhausted, worn down, and fatigued. They want to rest, they need to rest, but yet they feel guilty for taking time to find that calm their soul craves. Have you ever felt that way? I have repeatedly over the years. I don’t know about you, but when my life is busy and chaotic, I am not at my best. Those closest to me take the brunt of the consequences when I run myself ragged. Sometimes it comes down to my body just being wore out from all the go, go, go! But there are other times, when from the outside looking in, things are at a slow pace, but boy if you could see my mind…’s like a hamster on a wheel who has had one too many energy drinks. I try to keep up with the daily flow, but all it does is dig a deeper hole mentally. I am learning, and it hasn’t been easy, to just say no. It is difficult to release myself from the guilt, but it will be okay if I say no to that invite, event, or activity. I am learning that what I need to do to regain my thoughts and sanity is not what others may need or even agree with, but guess what? It is okay. I know my limits and I have felt the consequences from where I continue to push myself.

In today’s world, it seems like the word “rest” can sometimes be can confused or looked at with a negative mindset. I do think that how we view rest and how we seek it in our lives are very different. We are all created uniquely with varying personalities, needs, and wants. Some in my circle of influence are extroverts, some introverts, and several fall in the the middle having traits of both which is called ambivert. The older I have gotten, I have tried to learn more on the different personality types to better understand and I have found it helpful to my relationships. Let’s be honest, we can be very judgemental towards the personality group we are not a part of just because of the diversity. Extroverts can see introverts as “anti-social, selfish, or lazy” . Introverts can see extroverts as “loud, bossy, or attention seekers”. Do you see where this thinking can lead to some trouble in relationships? Whether you are extroverted or introverted, you are not wrong, nor do you need to be fixed. You are who God made you to be for his purpose. You should not feel guilty for just being you. You should not feel pressure to be more like the other. Either way, God can use you! I have become aware that how we use energy and spend energy is as different as night and day. What extroverts see as a way of charging one’s battery, introverts see it as mentally draining. The way we seek out peace and rest can be just as opposite.

I am an ambivert, but definitely lean more towards the introverted scale. Reading up on the different personality traits, it has opened my heart and eyes to how my perspective was skewed. We throw labels on people so easily without taking the time to consider one’s actions or motives. Being intentional and taking time to understand one’s “why” can help us to show more grace and understanding.

Do take care of yourself. Do what you can to make good choices for your mental and physical health. Do not feel guilty. God never created us to be so overbooked and burdened down by the things of this world. Instead, I think he wants us to take more time to just sit and reflect on him. I pray that if you find yourself in the midst of chaos and busyness, you can find a way to slow down, seek God and find some time to just breathe. Whether it is physical rest you crave, or mental solitude, God can help you with both if you let him.

Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  Matthew 11:29 ESV

Keep moving forward,

Hayley W

Do you ever suffer from FOMO?

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FOMO: Fear Of Missing Out

I will go ahead and warn you, this post may just step on some toes or tug at your heart a little. If it does, don’t worry, this topic has made me a little uneasy as well. I do feel like it affects everyone, whether we want to admit it or not. It may not be a warm and fuzzy post, but I pray it encourages you . I will be the first to raise my hand. I would never want to admit to being a jealous and bitter person, but……I can be. Let me ask you a hard question and it is important that you are honest with yourself.

Do you ever look around and feel like everyone around you is just succeeding and living a great life, and you are over here in the shadows just trying to survive? It may seem like they are thriving and flourishing, and you are living each day just barely hanging on to your hope and sanity. Most of the time when we get into this mental rut, our eyes are focusing on the wrong things. Material possessions. We start to embrace worldly perspectives on measuring success. We look at what we have compared to others and feel like we are lacking. In my opinion, this is one of Satan’s greatest tactics to use on God’s people, and he is sneaky! In a world with information and social media at our finger tips, we are bombarded with visions of other’s successes daily. We start to compare, which leads to discontentment and a loss of joy in our own lives. The older I get, the more I start notice when this attitude will creep in and I have to redirect my thoughts and my vision with intention. If not, it can lead to a haughty, “holier than thou” mindset. What I mean by that is this, have you ever gotten so focused on the blessings others receive that is makes you question God’s goodness and love for you? Do you become judgemental when others succeed? Are you genuinely happy for those around who seem to be more successful than you? What emotions stir deep within when you hear of those around you getting good news, or receiving blessings? It can range from getting a promotion, moving to a new home, buying a new car, or getting engaged. There is an endless list of things we perceive as successes or gifts that can leave us feeling like we have been short handed by our maker.

Repeat after me:

Their success does not diminish your success.

It doesn’t lessen your value or worth to God.

It does not mean you are necessarily doing anything wrong. It is just a part of life. Period. We all face trials and we all receive blessings. I heard this statement on a podcast by Candace Cameron Bure and Heather MacFadyen. One of them made this statement, and it struck a chord within me. It was one of those aha moments.

When you are living in God’s will, you are not missing out on anything.

As I kept repeating that statement, I have to say that encouragement and peace just filled my heart. The only race we should be worried about is the one we run for Christ. All the other stuff along the way, is just stuff and fluff! You cannot base God’s love for you by what you have, or what you receive. Yes, God loves to give us good gifts, but he is also fully aware of our capabilities, our strengths and weaknesses. He knows what is best for us in the season we are in. He doesn’t withhold anything from you because he favors your neighbor or your friend more than he favors you. God doesn’t owe us anything. I think we often forget about the greatest gift he gave and that was his son Jesus. He died our death on that cross. Even if he did nothing more, we could never live a life perfect enough to pay that debt. But yet, while here on earth, it’s like just because we call ourselves “Christians”, or we go to church, or we help others, or read our Bibles daily, we sometimes feel like He owes us. Yikes….did I just say that??? But isn’t it the hard truth? We are spoiled little brats! May God help me and help you to be better stewards of the life he has blessed us with living on this Earth. May we focus on our blessings and have a heart of gratitude for every day he gives us. May we become aware when we start to groan or complain, whether out loud or within our own hearts, about how we think our lives should be. We each have been given a unique journey to live out. No two are the same.

Some may be asking, “Well how do we know we are living in God’s will?”. Good question. The answer can prove to be a little more difficult and everyone has varying opinions. For me, it is when I am seeking God daily for guidance in all things. When I am being obedient to what he has called me to do. Spending time with him. Relying on his strength for each day. Loving others as he commanded us to do. Giving grace as I have received mountains of it in my lifetime. Trying to live my life in a way that is pleasing to God and not this world.

Easy to type these words, harder to live them out each day. God does offer his help, we just have to ask and accept it. He will never force it upon anyone. He wants it to be an individual choice.

Whether you are living in his will or not, never give up. Keep trying and keep moving forward. Every day is a new beginning to choose Jesus.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.  James 1:17

Hayley W

When My Agenda Gets in the Way


I am a list maker. Post-it notes make me happy. Keeping up with appointments, events, and projects that need to be done in my planner helps me to stay focused. As I accomplish each task or complete a project, it feels amazing to check it off my list or calendar. Feeling productive helps clear my mind of all the clutter life can throw my way.

When I start to backslide on my to do list, my mind gets overwhelmed. Instead of tackling the next item, I start to let the number of items slowly increase causing me to feel burdened and weighed down, which leads to me avoiding the list all together. Procrastination kicks in and it is not my friend.

It is interesting in how we were all created differently. Some thrive in the chaos and freedom of no lists or schedules. They feel imprisoned when it comes to being structured and disciplined. The thing is that sometimes it comes down to our personalities and perspectives. What I may see as irresponsible actions in my life, others engage in that behavior because they are more creative and free. It suits their life and purpose. Some thrive in chaos, but I find my calm in routine and schedules. Keeping my life on track by notes or lists just helps me move forward in a positive state and no doubt it gives me a sense of control.

 I have learned that if I am not careful, this list making habit will roll over into my spiritual life. I start to make a mental checklist of actions that I feel like I should do to be a better Christian and to draw closer to God.

Go to church on Sundays. Check.

Read my daily devotion. Check.

Say my prayers. Check.

Listen to worship songs. Check.

Tithe to the church. Check.

Study the Bible more. Check….well half a check, I need to improve in this area for sure.

I am learning that I over complicate what God wants from me. God created the universe with design and order, and sometimes I can let the order and routines in my life become my focus. It then takes away from the place of genuine fellowship with God.

He simply wants me. He simply wants you. We do not have to do any polishing or cleaning up. We can approach him as we are. In our mess. In our struggles. Even in our disbelief at times. In our anger or our sadness. He sees it all anyway. You and I cannot hide anything from our Creator. But the thing is, he doesn’t want us to. As unpolished & imperfect as I am, He gave his life for me. He wants a relationship with me and with you. I hope you know that he gave his life for you, so that you could truly live in freedom with Him.

He says to come as you are. Bring your baggage. Bring your burdens. Bring your junk.

Yes, He has called us to go out and serve and let our lights shine for His glory, but more than anything, He just wants you and me to just be present with Him. That can mean a variety of things to different people. I feel closest to Him when I am out in His creation. The peace and solitude of nature calms my weary soul from the current chaos in my life, and I can just take a breath and just be in the moment, with my mind on God. I don’t even have to utter words. He sees what is on my heart. It is in those moments that I feel closer to Him. I don’t have to travel far either, it can be just stepping out my front door in the early morning to a new day. Seeing the colors of the sunrise. Hearing the birds sing praises to their creator. Seeing the trees and flowers starting to wake up after being dormant during the winter months. Where do you feel His presence and peace the most?

Now your moments may seem somewhat differently than mine and that is okay. We were each created with a unique set of traits and characteristics. We may worship, praise, and pray to God as differently as we look. We were all created with a God given purpose. Don’t get so caught up in checking off the boxes of what you think a Christian life should include that you miss the many opportunities to just “be present” with your Creator. He loves you and he longs to spend time with you. There is no to-do list that can be completed that is comparable to time spent with your heavenly Father.

Keep moving forward,

Hayley W

Learning to Dance

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Recently, I was getting down some containers from our attic. I recalled that I had put away some of my kid’s baby items in totes. Clothes, baby books, cards, their artwork and all sorts of little do-dads. As I was going through them, I came across a few pieces that I had written for this little paper that was circulated amongst our church people. I read it and thought, that wasn’t too terrible! Even though I had scribbled it down over 20 years ago, it caused me to stop and do some soul searching. I just thought I would share as it helped me re-evaluated some of my current choices and behavior.


I recently spent some time meditating on the word guidance. I started to notice the word breaking down into parts. The word “dance” kept popping out at me. As I thinking on this term, I thought about how living out God’s will for our lives can be compared to that of two people dancing. When two people both try to take the lead, the motions do not flow smoothly and they seem to be stumbling along. Instead of a graceful, flowing movement across the dance floor, it can look quite jerky and uncomfortable. But when one person takes the lead, and the other follows their prompts, they can become as one seamlessly moving as one accord. The lead dancer gives gentle cues, perhaps a nudge, or a gentle pull in the direction he is moving towards. The dance takes surrender, willingness and attentiveness from one person and gentle guidance and skill from the other.

My eyes were drawn back to the word guidance. When I saw the “G”, I thought of God, followed by “u” and “i”.

God, you, and I dance.

As I thought about the past few months of my life, had I been trusting God to guide me down the right paths? Was I surrendering my will to let him lead my life? Oftentimes the answer is no. Why is it so hard to stay in rhythm with him? He has never led me down the wrong path, but too many times, I choose to let go of his guiding hand, and go off on my own. It never ends well. I make the wrong moves, miss a few steps, and eventually fall flat on my bottom.

My prayer is that I can become better at dancing through this life with God’s guidance. Trusting him to lead me wherever that may be. My hope is I can improve at surrendering to his lead, and be more attentive to the direction he pushes me to. I pray the same for you.

The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you.   2 Timothy 4:22

Keep moving forward,
Hayley W

Where Do You Seek Refuge?

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God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1

Recently, I had an incident happen that left me quite rattled.

Anxious. Frustrated. Uneasy. Angry.

Those emotions just followed me into the days ahead like a dark shadow. I was on edge for a week. I couldn’t help but to become paranoid, just waiting on another attack. Someone had used my bank’s phone number, called me during business hours, acting like they were with the bank’s fraud department. They put on a good act of trying to reassure me that they were trying to help me by stopping the fraud charges on my account, when in reality they were the imposers trying to do just the opposite. Talk about feeling violated, I did. Why can’t people use their skills for good? Why choose what is evil and no good? There is a better way and it starts with one named Jesus. As mad as I was, I just kept thinking, you know, Jesus died on the cross for them too. I am not going to lie, I wanted to pray that God would send some punishment their way, but instead chose that he would open their eyes to his truth.

People can take away many things from us here on earth. Our material belongings. Our trust. Our money. They can even try to steal our identity. Along with that they can disrupt our peace and joy if we let them.

But one thing they cannot take from me is Jesus. I am his child. The day I believed on him as my Savior, and asked for his forgiveness, I became secured.

When the troubles of this world come pressing in from every side, I can rest knowing he is with me. He is my strength. He is my refuge. If all I have is Him, that is more than enough.

This past week, he reminded of the killdeer bird. Every summer, we have these birds that make nest in our driveway. Sadly, most eggs never hatch. Between predators and car tires, the survival rating is pretty low. One summer though, one made a nest up close to our house. It was out of reach where my dogs couldn’t bother it, but close enough to them, that the dogs were a deterrent for other predators. I believe she ended up with 5 eggs. They blend into the gravel so well, so I put up property marker flags to help protect them from getting ran over. I checked on them daily and finally the moment came where the babies started to hatch. I have never seen anything so adorable. They look just like their parents, just much smaller. They had only been welcomed into this big ol’ world a day or two, when we had a heavy, torrential rain. I was worried about them, but wasn’t sure I could do much to help. I remember looking out and seeing that brave, little momma bird with her wings out a bit, so all her babies could find refuge under them. It was the sweetest thing. She was getting pelted by hard rain, but yet she stood there protecting her little ones. My mind instantly went to Psalm 91:4. How great it is that we have a Heavenly Father who we can find refuge in when life’s storms press down on us.

He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge. Psalm 91:4

I hope things are going smooth right now in your life. If your like me and have had a few potholes & speed bumps in your path, don’t try to go through it alone. God is with us and he offers you a place of refuge, don’t turn it away. This world and its troubles are growing worse each day it seems. I desire a safe place and God is that for me. I pray you can say the same. Life’s trials are much easier to walk through when you walk through them with God.

Here is a picture of the 4 killdeer babies that did survive. So sweet!

Keep moving forward,

Hayley W

Troubled Waters

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Some of my blogs published do pertain to current circumstances, others are ones I have written in the past but at that moment didn’t feel like it was time to share. This one was actually written last year but I just now felt it was time to post it. So here you go, I hope it encourages you.

I am fixing to be pretty vulnerable at the moment, but in hopes it will help encourage someone and let them know they are not alone. I see it as fitting that as I write this, there is a storm brewing outside these doors. Dark skies, heavy rains, an occasional thunder that makes the walls shake. You can almost feel it from within as it rumbles. It seems parallel to my mood and spirit the past few weeks. Gloomy. Gray skies. Just blah. Usually with God’s help, I can navigate through troubled waters when they start to rock my life boat and keep rowing on course. But, if I am being transparent, the past few months have left me drifting. Drifting from the One who is my anchor.

I know we all go through seasons in our spiritual walk, but it is the struggles we tend to shy away from sharing with others. After all, no one wants to be seen as a weak Christian. Lately my spiritual walk has been “meh”. That is the only word that I tend to use to describe it. Not hot, not cold, just lukewarm which honestly can be dangerous ground. It is here where I find that I tend to get lazy. I slack in my effort in putting on the whole armor of God each morning. I get careless and lackadaisical in my relationship with God. I do not make my prayer time and devotional reading a priority. I hate to even admit it, but it is true. When I ponder why I must be in this season, all I seem to get is a shoulder shrug to sum it up. I have tried to think about what may have led to this. Is God trying to teach me something? What have I done wrong? At the beginning my efforts were going strong, but as time passed, and each trial came into my life was like a crashing ocean wave, one right after another. It wore me down. I was drained mentally and physically. Exhausted, I started to lose my focus, and so I started to drift. The thing about drifting is before you know it, you find yourself distant from solid foundation, and those you love, and more importantly the One who created you.

I have been a Christian for 33 years and with my experience this is just part of our walk that we will face periodically. We will all go through seasons. Today, I cannot tell you why I went adrift the past few months. It isn’t the first time, and unfortunately it won’t be the last. It is in these seasons, that is very easy to veer off the straight and narrow, and slide on it the wide path. The path with least resistant and more of ease. Let’s face it, every day we must choose Jesus. We must stay intentional in our relationship with him, and put his will over our will. So easy to write or say these words, but so hard to do. Especially when day in and day out, you feel like you are doing a decent job living a Christian life, but troubles just keep coming relentlessly. They don’t have to be on a grand scale to put off massive ripples either. Enough small ones can do just as much harm in rocking your boat. There are times when your just done. You just want to quit trying. The past 3 years have been filled with struggles it seems. It gets tiresome. I dare say at some point, maybe even several times, we have all wanted to just wave the white flag and say “I give up!!”. Maybe it has even gotten to the point, your faith has wavered and you have strayed from your heavenly Father. You wonder where God is and why is he not showing up. May I remind you that God is always present in our lives, the good and the bad. He sees your tears. He hears your murmurs when words just don’t come. His word tells us we will have troubles in this world.

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. John 16:33 ESV

 I want you to know you are not alone. If no other person ever admits it to you, I have been there. I have struggled to keep up the good fight of faith.

 But God.

He sends me reminders of his love for me. He calls to my attention his goodness in times past and present. He takes me back to all those moments where I couldn’t see a way, but lo and behold, he made one appear. He reminds me of all the blessings I have in my life. He brings to my mind of his faithfulness and there has never been a time, where he wasn’t close by. Whether it was sitting on the bathroom floor, driving home one night, or just sitting on the couch letting the tears fall. He was there, counting each one. He sees it all. The good. The bad. The in-between. And yet, he still forgives me for my short comings and his love for me is steadfast. Not only for me, but for you too. There are times it takes intention to see and feel these things. Slow down, take a deep breath, and know God has you. Completely and securely.

Keep moving forward,

Hayley W

2023: Hope

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Hope. My word for 2023.

I started picking a word to focus on for each year starting in 2021. It was something I saw others do, and just felt a nudging in my own heart to do so. It is not just a random act of choosing a word, but one that I ask for God’s help on. I believe my word for 2021 was perseverance. Looking back now, man how fitting was that word for a year filled with recovery efforts from a pandemic, which had also ushered in many changes along with fear and uncertainty. I feel like in 2021, there wasn’t a choice, we were in survival mode and each day we had to keep moving forward with finding a new normal. I had to persevere for my kids and family. Surrender was the word for 2022. Now, surrender has been a hard one for me. I tend to like things to go my way, I like plans and schedules. This past year, I have learned that the more tightly I held on to the reigns in my life, convincing myself I was in control, the more miserable I became. It also became apparent that the tighter the grip I had on my circumstances, the more relaxed I became with my relationship with God. I was not very attentive in my spiritual walk. I was just floating along. Thank goodness in time, God opened my eyes to how hardened my heart had become. Compassion was gone. My attitude stunk. Positivity disappeared. One day I thought to myself, how did I get here?

Being intentional in our relationship with God is crucial. We must make a him a priority in our lives. It takes discipline and being obedient to his call on your life. Is this easy? Absolutely not. Is it worth the cost? You better believe it is! Living in this flesh, is it even doable? Not in our own power, but with God’s help and guidance, it can be done. Will you mess up and fail from time to time? Of course, but he is greater than our failures and mishaps. He knows we will not be faithful, but He will be. Every. Single. Time. Every day we must choose Jesus.

This brings me to my word: Hope. I love the hope God offers.

Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost. Romans 15:13

Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, All ye that hope in the Lord. Psalm 31:24

Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil;. Hebrews 6:19

It is because of our hope in him that we can face another day. It is because of him, that we know a better day is coming for all of those who believe on him. It is because of his great love for us, we can know that he can bring good from situations that seem impossible. It is what helps me to keep moving forward. I cannot imagine life without it, nor would I want to. No matter what circumstances we may face, our hope can rest in HIM. He is faithful and we can stand on what his Word says. As long as we live and breathe, we will have trials and struggles, but do not forget that he is with us and he is GREATER!

Who or what do you place your hope in? I pray that if you do not know the hope I am writing about, that you will seek the one who can give it to you. He is the Light in this dark world. He is waiting on you to surrender to him. Let go of the fear and doubt, and seek him fully. I pray he will make his presence known to you, and pour his love and peace into your life so you too, can experience the hope that will be your anchor when life’s storms come your way.

If you have a word for 2023, please feel free to share in the comments. I would love to hear what God has put on your heart for the new year!

Keep moving forward,

Hayley W

Keep Your Mind on the Manger

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And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. Luke 2:7

Here we are, days away from celebrating the birth of Jesus, and I would ask you a question.
Where is your focus? What fills your mind each day as we inch one day closer to Christmas?

In a time where society and the media bombards us with the latest trends, the most popular gift ideas, and how to keep up with the status qou of the season, I am afraid that most of us lose sight of the real meaning behind this holiday. We think of it from time to time, in between the list making, the present shopping, the gift wrapping, and meal planning. Our intentions are good, but the busyness of the season usually drains all spare time and sanity we have left.

Let us not forget the simplicity of the first Christmas. I believe the "how" in Jesus came to earth can speak volumes to our lives if we let it. He could have been born into a wealthy, well known family. But he chose Mary and Joseph, who were humble and obedient, just common folk to most in that day. Instead of a fancy palace with a plush bed for a newborn babe, he chose a manger. A hard bin or trough like structure used for feeding or watering livestock back then. The environment wasn't quiet, sterile or dare I say welcoming for your first born to be. Some of the first to be told of his birth was not the highest officials so they could proclaim it across the land, but the lowly shepherds just watching over their flock. What a sight they got to see that night when a host of angels appeared and proclaimed Jesus's birth!

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger." And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of heavenly host praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased." Luke 2:8-14

Jesus came for ALL. The poor and the wealthy. The young and the old. The strong and the weak. No one is excluded, but you do have a choice. Will you turn him away this Christmas or will you invite him in? He doesn’t care about the size of your house, the brand of your clothing, or how much money you have in the bank. He doesn’t care what bad choices your past may hold. He simply wants you and not a piece of you, but your whole heart. If you are like me, 2022 has been filled with struggles. It has gotten weary and burdensome at times, but knowing I have God has been enough to get me through. He is my rock, my savior, and my friend. He is my peace and my hope. He has always made a way, when all I could see was a dead end. When my world gets dark, He is the light that guides me.

I hope this Christmas, we can all keep our mind on the manger and the precious gift it once held. Don’t let the chaos of the season cause you to forget the greatest gift that was given. Jesus. It is a gift that will last for all of eternity.

Merry Christmas,

Hayley W

God is Good, Even When…

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! Psalm 34:8

God is good. 
Even when the prayer doesn't get answered in the way you had hoped.
Even when you don't get the job or promotion you applied for.
Even when that relationship doesn't get restored.
Even when the medical diagnosis was unexpected.
Even when you feel alone.
Even when your marriage is going through a valley.
Even when your hard work doesn't seem to pay off.
Even if you are having a bad day.
God is still good.
Even when the bills keep piling up.
Even when you feel like your just going through the motions each day.
Even when the future looks dim.
Even when your loved ones are walking down a bad path.
Even when you don't see a way.
God is still good. 

God's goodness should not be based on our circumstances, but if we were honest, we often associate the two together. When we face trials in this life, we often start to listen to our enemy and his lies. We need to acknowledge this and remind ourselves of the truth of God.
God loves us.
God is for us.
God knows what is best for us.
God keeps his promises.
God does not lie.
God is a way maker.
God is faithful, He will never leave you.
He can restore what was once broken.
He can turn ashes into beauty.
We can trust that He hears our prayers and is always working on our behalf.
He is our hope.

I pray if your struggling today, please take time to remind yourself of God's truth. He is worthy and is able to do more than our little minds can comprehend. What we see and feel as the hard knocks of life, He can take and use those moments to grow us as Christians. Sometimes we just need to let go, and trust Him with the process. Let Him guide us through the hurt and frustrations. Release the pain over to him, and receive His peace.

Keep moving forward,
Hayley W

Playing Tug of War With God

Growing up, I can recall what we used to call a  “Field Day”  held at our elementary school toward the end of the school year. I always looked forward to this time. A day of no school work, and we would get to go outside all day long and compete in different events we would choose. Some events would be mandatory, others would not. My favorites would be any type of running or relay games. My least favorite would have to be tug of war. The rope was always rough to the touch and the back and forth pulling from each team just seemed pointless to me. For someone who is not a fan of that game, I seem to find myself quite often in a tug of war with God.  Have you ever been there?

I hate to admit it, but I engage in this type of behavior with God when problems arise. I hand them over to him only to pull them back. I am a pro at it and if they gave out ribbons, I am sure I would have a stack of blue ones. You know, you’re going along and life is good and then boom, here comes a problem or trial staring you dead square in the eyes. Maybe you saw it coming, maybe you didn’t. I found myself one weekend facing an issue that left my blood pressure high and my nerves shot. The tension in my neck and shoulders was unbearable and the lack of sleep the previous night just added to the stress. When we deal with other individuals, it can be really hard because we have no control over their actions or behavior.  As much as I wanted to fix it, I could not. I knew that the only thing I could do was pray. Pray for those involved and also pray for myself. I needed to loosen my grip on this burden and let God have it. This took many attempts for me. I would ask God to take it, but then take it right back with my thoughts. I would worry, stress and get angry again repeating this vicious cycle. Nothing positive was coming from how I reacted to the situation.  I remember a moment, lying in my bed, asking God to help me surrender this to him and leave it there. I recall literally holding out my fist, which was tightly bound,  and slowly one finger at a time releasing my grip until my hand was completely open and relaxed. It was a visual sign that I needed to help me surrender it over to God. It was at that moment, that I truly cast my cares upon God for the current situation. It was then that some peace began to settle over me and I could feel the tension in my body start to ease.

Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time : casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.  1 Peter 5:6-7

Why is it so hard to let go and just let God? He says in scripture to cast our cares upon him for he careth for us, so why are we so unwilling to do so? I have talked to others and it seems that many of us struggle with this. Letting go is not our first reaction. We contemplate, we fret, we stress, we worry. It is an ongoing cycle that leaves us drained mentally and physically. I pray that when I am facing a problem, I can become better at releasing it to my heavenly Father. My first reaction should be to go straight to God and lay it at his feet. And not only lay it there, but leave it there. That is the most important action for us to do. I never liked tug of war as a kid, so why I engage in it so often now just baffles me. My hope is that as I am growing as a Christian, I can loosen my grip on the problems that may arise, and cast them at the feet of Jesus. He is our shield and our refuge. When we don’t see a way, we can trust that He does. With our prayers and obedience, he can get us through the trials that we will face. He is a good God and he loves us more than we will ever know. So the next time you feel that tugging going on between you and God, I encourage you to release your grip and trust him with whatever trial you may be struggling with.

Keep moving forward,

Hayley W

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Cleaning Out the Cobwebs

Photo by Andrii Lobur on

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Psalm 51:10

I love this time of year. The crisp mornings and cool evenings are a blessing after the hot, dry summer we have experienced. I always enjoy the burst of colors that autumn seems to bring out in nature. Another thing that seems to be in abundance this time of year is spider webs. Especially in the early mornings, when the sun begins to show itself and the dew on the web is glistening from it’s light. We have a fence that is between us and the neighboring property and each morning you see several webs stretched across the fencing. Each unique in its own way. I find their design and details intriguing.

I grew up hearing the term spider web referring to those you would see outside. For whatever reason, when found inside, most people call them cobwebs. I personally used to think of them as two different things, but the dictionary refers to a cobweb as a web spun by a spider. This makes me giggle as I think back to a recent weekend trip my family took. We stayed in a cabin, I won’t say where, but I will say there was an abundance of cobwebs. These did not leave me feeling intrigued, but rather left me and the family with the creeps. The cabin definitely could have used a good cleaning with a Swiffer Duster. Who knows, maybe it had been thoroughly clean after the last guests, but some time had passed and it gave the spiders a chance to create a new living space. Anyways, I was just glad to back in my house. Where the cobwebs are mine and I am used to them 🙂

As we walk through this life, we can also let cobwebs build up in our hearts. We are good at stuffing our issues away in the darkest corners. No one will see them there. We tell ourselves out of sight, out of mind. We can all get our hearts broken, and our feelings hurt. How we deal with it will have an impact on our future. When we don’t address current issues and we tuck them deep in our heart, they have a tendency to resurface from time to time.

Hurt can come in a variety of forms. It can be from anyone within, or on the outside of our circle. If we don’t seek out God’s help when dealing with difficult people or difficult situations, we often just have the tendency to try to ignore the pain. Pack it away deep inside. This is where cobwebs can start to to manifest in our hearts. Webs of hurt, fear, rejection, betrayal, anger and jealously can start to build up. Pretty soon, one of these emotions will link up with another, causing the web to become stronger and larger. Just because we ignore the problem doesn’t mean the effects from it have disappeared. They are still there lingering. My point is this, life is hard. People will hurt us and let us down. We will hurt others and let them down. If we don’t face the hurt, and pray to God asking him to help us process our way through the pain, we can let our hearts become hardened over time. We build walls. We lose our compassion and we stay guarded. We don’t let people in and we become isolated. This is where the enemy wants you. Alone. Do not fall for his tricks. Remember the One who has promised that he will never leave you. You are one of his. Ask God to help you tear down the walls you have started constructing, and help clean out the areas of your heart that need swept. He can do that and so much more when we are willing to surrender to him and be obedient. Don’t let past hurts sit and fester, and keep you from living the life he has for you. There is always room for growth. When we start to realize how imperfect we are, but yet God still chose to love us and forgive us, it gives us the perspective to see others as he sees them. Show grace to those around you, and more importantly, show it to yourself. Despite how you may feel, your doing a good job. Each day may be a struggle, but keep looking up and moving forward. When the answer is beyond our reach, trust God with the outcome.

Keep moving forward,

Hayley W

Lessons From a Momma Cow

Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord, who walks in his ways! Psalm 128:1

Seven years ago, we moved from a subdivision out to the country side. It was a dream come true for my family. We were surrounded by trees on two sides and cows on one side of our property. I have always wanted cows, but living by them would have to be suffice. I could see them and interact with them, but without all the work. Pretty good set up I thought. I am not sure how many people sit and watch cows, but they can be quite comical. I love watching God’s creation just do what it was meant to do. They never worry or fret about what the next day will hold, they just live out each day as they should.

One particular day I just kept hearing this momma cow bellow out. I finally went outside to see what all the ruckus was about. She was looking towards the back field and every few minutes, she would let out another “Moo”. Not getting a response back, she would take a few worrisome steps forward. This wasn’t your normal “Moo”, this was starting to be a frantic, stressful “Moo”. I watched her as she would take a few steps toward the back pasture, bellow out another sound, and wait patiently. This went on for 10-15 minutes. Finally, I guess her patience had come to an end and she took off galloping towards the direction she had kept looking. I could tell this was no joyful stroll. She was on a mission.  She disappeared for awhile and the next time I saw her, she was coming up from the back field. Her gallop had turned into a confident stroll heading towards the front pasture. There along side of her was a small calf. Just doting along with its mother. I just giggled as I watched them heading my way. I am pretty sure in her own way, she gave that little fellow a stern, but loving warning. Listen to my voice little one and I will keep you safe.

God has always used his creation to speak to my heart. As I was chuckling about the situation, I thought of my role as a mother. I too, have called for my children, only to have to go searching for them. And I too, like that momma cow, was not happy as I was heading their way. It made me also think of my relationship with my heavenly Father. My, how many times have I wandered away from him, only to have him call and call for me to come back. It is not out of anger or disappointment that he speaks my name, but out of love and protection. His call has always been a soft whisper, never an angry shout. Just like that momma was looking after her baby’s safety, God knows that when I wander from him, I am just setting myself up for trouble to come knocking on my door. He gently speaks my name and nudges my heart, but oftentimes I am resistant. I want to do what the flesh wants to do and majority of the time that is the opposite of what we are called to do as Christians. That baby calf still has a lot to learn as he grows and gets older, but you would think that I would know better. I just turned 45 this year, have been a Christian for 33 years, but yet I am still prone to stray.

I have realized that it is a daily choice we must make. To choose God, or to choose self. It doesn’t come natural once you become a Christian. Yes, you have a greater desire to know him and draw closer to him, but just like the seasons we have in our weather, our Christian walk will also have seasons. I have went through periods of time when my fire for the Lord was blazing high, and other times when it feels like just an ember barely putting out the faintest glow.  I am so thankful that no matter how many times we may stray away from God, he will still draw us back home. We just have to listen and heed his calling. He loves us, and he wants us to live abundantly. He knows what our future holds and will try to protect us all he can, but at some point, we have to recognize that we have a part to play in that. We have choices to make. Every single choice we make has consequences. Good or bad.  I pray that when I start to veer off in the wrong direction, that I can become more attentive to God’s voice and recognize the impact of the decisions I am making, are they drawing me closer to my Creator or farther away? A lot of times it happens in little steps, we are not even aware of what we are doing. The next thing we know, there is a great distance felt between us and God, but guess what? He isn’t the one who moved. We are.  

To this day, I can recall the visual of seeing that momma calling out to her calf just wanting to make sure it was okay. She was upset and frantic when her baby wouldn’t communicate back to her. I can’t help but think how God watches me each day and my actions leave him with his hands on his hips, shaking his head. He calls for me, but I just keep walking the other way. He pleads for me to turn around and seek him and his ways, but yet I ignore the tugging on my heart. Daily, God is beckoning us to call upon him. To seek him. To spend time with him. Not just to hear our long list of complaints or needs, but because he loves us and we are his. No matter how old our children get, we still want to hear from them and in the same way, God wants to hear from us. I have had many conversations with him. Some in the form of prayers. Others in words of praise and worship. Some were just quiet moments spoken with my tears. When frustrations overwhelm me, or my worries are mounting high, I have to stop and just surrender them to him. I have often told my kids as well that God can handle our anger too. Sometimes we cannot help but get mad at the things going on around us. If it angers us, imagine how much it must upset him. He can help take that anger away and replace it with peace and perspective. I know he already knows all things, but he wants to hear it from us. Being obedient to the call of casting all cares upon him. When we talk to him, whether out loud or from within, we make a connection with him. It helps us to grow in our relationship with him. The less we talk to him, the harder it is to hear him when he speaks to us or calls our name. The more we spend time investing in our relationship with him, the louder his voice will become in our life. He is our faithful guide and will not lead us astray. I encourage you to communicate daily with God and open your ears and heart for the words he has for you.

Keep moving forward,

Hayley W

Knock the Dust off, and Get Back Up

Issue after issue. Problem after problem. Bill after bill. Worry after worry.

Stress, fear, anxiety, tension, frustration. I have rubbed and massaged my forehead so much the past few weeks, the wrinkles and creases should be ironed out. No major catastrophe’s, just life and it’s mishaps. Rising with the sun each morning, each day seem to bring with it a new issue to figure out. The weariness of trying to come up with solutions was becoming exhausting. Not only mentally, but the knot between my shoulders and neck just got worse each day. I tried to keep a positive attitude, but we all have a breaking point, and well, I hit mine. I lost all self control at the kitchen table with the latest bad news, and couldn’t hold back the tears any longer. They poured out effortlessly and my posture just cowered. I felt defeated. I felt weak. In that moment, I was careless with the words that came out. I believe I even uttered the words “Satan, you win.” That still makes me cringe just to write those words. Looking back, it was just plain foolish. A downright silly outburst of not-so-nice words about my life. Shame on me. My “pity party for one” lasted a few minutes, and momentarily I felt some release, but then came on the guilt. I knew I had let the flesh win. I also knew I had to apologize to God and ask him to forgive me. With each obstacle thrown our way, my gaze was shifted away from him and onto the current problem. I knew better than that. I also had to apologize to my daughter, because unfortunately she witnessed my little episode.

The thing is that life happens to us all, the good and the bad, but God’s goodness is still present at all times. He loves us. He has good for us. Bad things happen because we live in a sinful world, not because God doesn’t care, but to many times we want to blame someone so we blame him. I think if we have someone to blame, it makes us filled justified when we poorly handle situations. The only one that failed in that moment was me. I was weak and discouraged and that is when the enemy took his opportunity to pounce.

Later on that evening, I was driving in my car on the interstate. I was feeling some conviction over what I said earlier out loud during my little breakdown. I ask God to forgive me. I am a child of God, so I had to remind myself that I am on the winning team. God is the victor, and because I belong to him, I am victorious as well. I was reminded of one of my favorite verses.

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. Romans 8:37

Did you catch that 4 letter word “more“? We aren’t just conquerors, we are more than conquerors because of Jesus and his love for us. That verse encourages me. It gives me hope and strength. I hope it does something for you as well. If you have time, read the whole 8th chapter of Romans. It has some good stuff! Not only did I feel that verse being impressed on my heart while driving, but then the song Overcomer by Mandisa came on the radio. I had one of those “church in the car” moments. I knew God was trying to reassure me and encourage me to keep on keeping on for him. He is worth it. I thought back on where I used to be, the mountains I have climbed, the valleys I have went through, and remembered who was with me every step of the way. Jesus. My Jesus. It hasn’t always been an easy path, but I have never had to walk it alone. He is faithful in his love for us and you can stand rock solid on his promises.

When life knocks you down repeatedly, you can either stay down or get back up. Ask God for the courage and strength to stand back up. No matter how dirty the path may get, knock the dust off and get back up, and carry on. I think of Jesus, beaten beyond recognition, forced to carry the cross he would be crucified on, but he didn’t give up. He carried on to fulfill his role for you and for me. You are stronger than you think and God will be with you. Keep up the good fight and keep your eyes on him.

Keep moving forward,

Hayley W

Finding The Wonder In Each Day

If you read my last post, you know how I have a hard time keeping my mind on the right track. I am at an age where I understand this is a cycle that I frequent, but yet can’t seem to prevent it. I am aware that I have to just keep doing the habits I need to and I will get to the other side. Habits like reading my Bible, attending church, praying, and being intentional with my thoughts. Even though I am fully conscious of this, somewhere along the the path, I will slip off into the ditch or take a wrong turn. To be honest, some of those choices are mine to make, other times it just happens even when I feel like I am doing all the right things. It is a season we all face as Christ followers and it is a season we will face multiple times in our walk. But guess what, every season has an ending and it will pass. If you find yourself stuck in a rut, do not lose faith or hope. Keep pressing forward, one step and one day at a time.

Over the past couple of months, it has come to my attention that I have let the devil have a seat at my table. Not only did I let him sit down, but I let him stay for awhile. He knows my weak areas, and I just sat there taking each punch he would send. I believe wholeheartedly that our greatest battles are those within our thoughts. A good scripture to meditate on is Phillipians 4:8. This verse has been so helpful to me over the years.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.  Phillipians 4:8

Realizing that my focus was off, I started asking God to help me find the wonder again in each day. The definition of wonder is :

To think or speculate curiously; to be filled with admiration, amazement, or awe.

It wasn’t a sophisticated prayer, just one that ask him to help me to slow down and open my eyes and heart to see him daily. I have to say that he has answered each day. When I see each wonder, I can’t help but to chuckle and look up and say, I see you God! Now, I don’t actually see God, but I see his handiwork. I see the evidence all around that points back to him. It makes me smile each time. I feel his love for me. I will admit, it is kinda fun to start each day excited. What will he show me today? I will tell you some of my wonders. I am sure some will leave you laughing and scratching your head. You may think what is so neat about that? But the thing is, this is personal. It is between me and God. He knows me. He gets what makes my heart smile.

My wonders –

A groundhog on the side of the road (I told you some would make you scratch your head. And yes the groundhog was alive, just doing it’s own thing.)

A beautiful moth on the wall going into my work

A guy washing his car with the window squeegee at a gas station (Go ahead and laugh, I sure did. It is just something you don’t see often)

Sound of rain coming across a field

The flight pattern of a hummingbird

A young boy with a prosthetic leg. (He didn’t let it slow him down either)

Tree frogs chirping after a rain

Flowers in my garden

A morning fog rolling across the fields

A rainbow after a quick rain shower

Praying out loud with a stranger (Way out of my comfy zone, but God was there. To be honest, this person ask me to pray. I didn’t just volunteer.)

A late bloom on my hibiscus. (I have been waiting all summer)

This has been a blessing to me each day. I am grateful for God’s love and answered prayers. If you find yourself in a season of struggle, or have the mental blues and it seems the skies are constantly gray, ask for God’s help. Sometimes we just need reminders of how blessed we are, and what a good God we serve. He is willing, but it is up to us to ask and then be intentional with your thoughts and outlook. I will leave you with a quote I saw on a social media feed that really struck a chord with me. It said, “The moment you start acting like life is a blessing, it starts feeling like one.”

Keep moving forward,

Hayley W