Tag Archives: gifts

Leaving Me Behind

My hope once jumped at the chance
to find such purpose
a way out of the old dance.
So you said wait here
Don’t grumble
For what I hold is more than just one glance.
For all the delays
And all the missed boats that sailed away
I trust you Lord
I trust my purpose in You
I pray, I pray, I pray.
For my hope is in you
I praise, I hope, I pray.

I recently read a powerful story in another devotional that a beautiful friend sent. It was about someone who had been disappointed that as they were leaving Slovakia to come to the United States, they were stopped in France. Her great great grandmother had been coughing and they were afraid of her possibly having tuberculosis. So because of their delay, they missed their ship, the ship that held their hope. They had to have so disappointed in the delay and deflating hope of that boat changing their lives. That was until they learned of that boat’s sad fate.

That boat was the Titanic.

Often we put our hope in things that are not God. In doing that, our trust goes into material things or boats that we really know nothing about. Our promise is in the Lord. Therefore our hope is in the Lord. God is using delays like the story above to save our lives, to protect us, to guide us to the paths he wants us on. God is our hope. Therefore if we put our hope in him, we can trust the delays and even the missed “ships” as blessings.

Why am I reaching for the things that are not my meant to be? Why am I reaching and trying to jump onto boats I have no business being on? God knows where he wants me to be. Therefore, I know and trust that he also knows the best and safest way to get there even if it includes some delays and road bumps along the way.

““But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭39:7‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Reflection:
Am I still holding my hope on any missed ships today? If so, I pray to put my full hope and trust in the Lord.

Prayer:
Dear God,
You are my hope. Forgive me when I try to jump on boats that I have no business on. Forgive me when I put my hope on material things. Empower me. Use me. I pray that my gifts are used for your purpose and for your glory. Show me the way. Despite the delays, open up my eyes with the Holy Spirit and guide me on the path you want me on. Help me make the connections you want me to make and bring your good news and promises to the world. And may I never be quiet of how glorious you are through it all. In Jesus’ name. Amen

#theartofamessyhouse

Book 1 of the children’s series is out now all over including on Amazon:How to Be Kind

My First Book is Out!!!!

Ever since I was little, writing was something I did. Writing was how I made sense of the world. Writing was something that came from my heart.

Now, it’s time to start sharing.❤️

So first up is… How to Be Kind.

It is the first book of the children part of my series “The Art of a Messy House.” It is a book, and soon series, filled with imperfectly perfect stories for families connecting simple life lessons with God’s word.

And it is now available on Amazon!!! (#someonepinchme #godissogood #everydayfaith #kindnessislove #godstiming #snowday #blessing #theartofamessyhouse)

How to Be Kind: An imperfectly perfect story for families connecting a simple life lesson with God’s word. (The Art of a Messy House)

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1736218204/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_glc_fabc_ce02FbRCJ9GM0

6 Years Ago & Grateful

This past weekend TJ had a moment of frustration about his allergies. It was the first time in 6.5 years of his life that he had spoken up and said that sometimes he gets frustrated. He is currently still allergic to dairy, eggs and peanuts. He went on to explain that he knows dairy is in a lot of foods. So he vented and we listened. Then we came up with a game plan for what new recipes we could try that were safe and yummy for all of us. That made him happy and so excited.

It was both heartbreaking and precious. But we also agreed we needed to continue to pray and believe that one day he would outgrow more, if not ALL of them. And trust me… we believe!

The next day as I was scrolling on my social media page, I saw a memory of TJ from 6 years ago. Those cozy, adorable pajamas were ones I could never forget. Instantly, I was brought back to that late afternoon. It was the last picture I had taken right before his first allergic and anaphylactic reaction…

6 years ago…

I remember it like it was yesterday …

It was a snowy, December evening when I gave him that tiny spoonful of yogurt for the first time.

I remember the highest level of fear I have ever felt. I remember the terrifying ride in the ambulance that had no epi-pen jr. in it. I remember holding an oxygen mask over his face, praying that he would continue to cry because… crying meant he was still breathing!

But I also remember 45 minutes later and being so thankful to have gotten there in time.

I remember the doctors in the emergency room being so comforting …

I also remember the triumph…

I also remember watching TJ’s resilience that those 21 food allergies could not erase. I remember his smile…

I remember his smile when he saw us standing there.

Back then I used to say, “I’ll be happy when …”

… all the allergies are gone …

Or

… when I have more money…

Or

… when I get to go to Disney World with my kids…

But then I see their smiles…

Then I saw his smile…

And I read God’s word more and more and I realized joy is not something we wait for.

Joy is a gift from the Lord.

So I celebrate the allergy count dropping from 21 food allergies to 3. I celebrate the here and the now because God is here and now. And He is always working!

“I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.”
‭‭John‬ ‭15:11‬ ‭NIV‬‬

So I am grateful. I am joyful. I am hopeful.

Right here and right now.

A Ladybug & a Laptop

Deeply broken then made whole
beaten and weary
life knows how to take its toll.
And still there is truth
there is hope on even the darkest night
for there is a purpose
found in God’s light.

The world tugs
and tries to convince us to flee
to give up and in
but that’s not who God wants us to be.

The worries knock
and they pound to get in
but God’s word reminds us
this is a victory He will always win.

So as they shout
and even through each doubt
God has a purpose
greater than what the world says it’s about.
So don’t run from it
don’t hide or flee
for you are God’s handiwork
created so wonderfully.
So trust and become-
all God created you to be.

🐞 For a few days now, there’s been a ladybug in my bedroom. I noticed it first on a part of the ceiling where I can’t reach. Then the day started and online teaching began, and it was something I no longer noticed. Then the next morning I noticed it again but in a different spot. Once again I could not reach it so it was soon erased from my sight and mind. But then yesterday morning as I woke up and went to get up, I noticed that this lady bug was no longer on my ceiling. Instead it had landed right on my laptop on the decal “Just be Who God Made You to Be.”

🐞 And that moment hit me like it was a way to slow me down and bring me back to the basics… to who I am… to who God created me to be.

🐞 We are all created with a distinct purpose. We are all God’s handiwork. We are born that way and yet from an early start the world throws challenges and distractions at us that can make steer away from that purpose. It can make us think that we must be who the world wants and needs us to be. And in that, everything can become confusing.

🐞 But God’s word and purposes are true and clear. They do not bring confusion.
They bring clarity.


So we must pray to God for it.

🐞 We must pray for those God-given purposes to be revealed, sharpened and used. We must pray to stay aware, connected, and aligned with His wisdom, direction and strength with it. And we must stay aware that the reminders will come when we need them.

God knows what we need.

🐞 We must just be open and ready to see and more importantly, accept them, swallowing away the pride and making the changes we need to make. We must use the reminders to bring us back to reality… to bring us back to what God has created us to be.

🐞 So be ready for those those moments that stop us. No matter how big or small they are, you’ll know them when they come. Pray for the wisdom, acceptance and obedience to be renewed by them too. For God is trying to do such a great work in you.

🐞 And much like that ladybug who held on tight as I walked the laptop downstairs and outside to set her free…
we must hold on tight to God’s word…
for it too will set us free.

Fun Fact: l always assumed a ladybug was a beetle that got its name because of his polka dots. The polka dots leaned towards a female and thus it was a LADYbug. I was wrong in my assumption. Instead, ladybugs are named after one amazing lady, Jesus’ mother Mary. While it is unknown for sure why, many theories state it symbolizes the red cloak Mary is often seen wearing in paintings. There are other theories too related to Mary. Those theories all point to being a gift from God. I always thought ladybugs were pretty but now their beauty has taken a whole other beautiful meaning. 🐞


“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians‬ ‭2:10‬ ‭NIV)‬‬

Prayer:
Dear God,
You created it all for a purpose. Your purpose reigns above it all. Forgive us when we steer away from what you created us for. Empower us with the Holy Spirit and fill our lives with wisdom, direction and clarity on our purpose. I pray for the courage to be obedient to it today and every day. I pray for a world where more and more people learn to do this too, all for your glory. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Wear Those Hats Proudly

This morning as my daughter was getting ready for school, we almost forgot that it was Hat Day! Therefore at the last minute, we searched through her closet and found several options to choose from. From a beach hat to a few wool ones to the princess cap that she picked, they were all right there. She did not need to carry a bag full of them to school or pile them all upon her head. Instead, she picked one and went off to school. I could not help but reflect on the simplicity in that and how life these days has become quite the opposite. Our days seem to be full with a large arrange of hats to wear and roles to fill with no choice on the table but to wear them all.

For most of us, 2020 has given us so many more hats to wear. From wife to mother to teacher to therapist to technology support to coach to comedian to detective to motivator to entertainer to EVERYTHING ELSE, this year has given us all so many more roles to play. And that alone is exhausting. I don’t know about you, but I was exhausted before 2020 even hit.

Still, it came and continues to challenge us to the core. 2020 has challenged us out of our comfort zones and into uncomfortable places. And while most of us do not like to be uncomfortable, it is in the discomfort we grow. It is in the discomfort we learn. It is in the discomfort we are challenged. It is in the discomfort we step into more. It is in the discomfort we become everything we were created to become. It is in the discomfort that God is working and right besides us. So, embrace God during this time and even if it all feels so heavy and like nothing makes sense, lean into Him and trust. Make room for Him. Put it all into His hands. Then, use those emptied hands to grab a hold of His word and His promises. Then together with Him, embrace those hats and wear them all proudly and boldly, knowing that there is a whole world out there, out of our comfort zones, waiting for us.

So, while there may be a lot of suffering, pain and discomfort, choose to trust and believe that with every step you take in and through it, God is using it to make you stronger…because YOU were made for more.

“And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.”
‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭5:10‬ ‭NIV‬‬

So wear those hats proudly and wave them boldly through the raging storms. Celebrate all that you are growing into…and the strength that is being uncovered within you… because it is something truly amazing! Most importantly, use your gifts and embrace the most important hat we all have access to… being a believer and child of God.

Love Speaks

No perfect words 

no perfect day 

to stand for what is right 

to hide behind silence 

when the heart has so much to say.

 

No perfect past 

no perfect way to teach 

but there is color 

we cannot be blind 

for in each shade

beauty is what you find. 

 

No perfect draft 

no perfect time 

united we must stand 

hand in hand. 

For in His glorious name 

-Jesus Christ-

all hearts beat the same. 

 

So don’t overthink 

don’t leave it up to the mind 

follow the heart 

united in Christ 

and that is where 

words you will find

united together under God

there is love 

and there is no better kind. 

 

For silence is blind

but love speaks –

and above all God’s gifts – 

love

is

the

best

kind. 

The Justice of Love

I do not understand what you walk through
but I understand pain
I do not understand your story
but I too have a name
and though the world is crooked
and our paths may never meet
I know there is love
waiting to save the world
in glorious defeat.

I do not understand your scars
but I see mine
I do not understand your distance
but I too stay away
and though the world is broken
and these roads all draw different lines
I know justice is for all
no matter the color of these creases
it is the heart that defines.

I do not understand what your days bring
but I hear the birds sing
I do not understand their hate
but I too know what love can bring
and though the world flashes heartache
and reactions act in rage, evil and fear
I know love exists
and colors, shades and scars do not matter
when God is near.

I do not understand what you go through
but I hear your story
I stand by your side against the rain
I pray for a world
where love sees no divides
and loves holds the burden of the pain.
For together we stand
when all else comes against
to have one’s back
is to see the beauty of the colors
of the shade from white to black
for together we stand
against the injustice
using love for all
as the truest, and strongest attack.

Reflection:

We cannot simply stand and watch or even just shake our heads at injustice in this world. We must stand together and unite against it. The divides of skin color and even within the churches all make us weaker. There is strength in number. There is power when voices come together. Ignorance just feeds the hate. But unity and courage stands up against it, and brings love. And love conquers all. Don’t turn a blind eye on injustice today or any day. Don’t believe the excuses the ignorant will throw out to justify hate. That is the kind of ignorance that falls under sin too.

Instead, pray for the courage to step up and to unite together with people who are not the same as you. The labels destroy us. They build walls with no strong foundation so when they crash, and they more than likely will, they take so much around them down too.

So start within today. What is your foundation based on? What are the morals and your belief system that ground you and form that foundation? Make sure they are aligned with the fact that God loves everyone. He created everyone to be different and for incredible purposes. Therefore, each person is beautiful. Pray to see that beauty too. Pray to have eyes like Jesus and not that of the world. Pray for the world to transform to that vision too. Pray for justice and speak up when you can today and everyone just that justice.

Justice is love.

Love is for all.

We ALL can have a voice against injustice. Don’t let that devil’s lie tell you otherwise. You do not need to understand or even know someone else’s story to do what is right. Don’t fear what the world will throw back at you. Instead, fear God’s judgment. God-fearing faith and love are what change the world. But, change starts within when we face our foundation and rebuild and restructure where we need to. Strong foundations can best stand their ground against the

We must unite.

We must stand up for justice.
It’s a sin to stay silent.
It’s a sin to not do what we are equipped to do.

We must use our gifts to stand up for that justice. We must use our gifts to stand for love,

love for all.

Justice for all!

Check Out:

Psalms‬ ‭33:5‬ ‭NKJV
Psalms‬ ‭106:3‬ ‭NKJV‬‬
Proverbs‬ ‭28:5‬ ‭NIV

Hebrews 13:1 NIV

“He loves righteousness and justice; The earth is full of the goodness of the LORD.”
‭‭(Psalms‬ ‭33:5‬ ‭NKJV‬‬)

“Blessed are those who keep justice, And he who does righteousness at all times!”
‭‭(Psalms‬ ‭106:3‬ ‭NKJV‬‬)

“Evil men do not understand justice, But those who seek the LORD understand all.”
‭‭(Proverbs‬ ‭28:5‬ ‭NIV)

“Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters.” (Hebrews‬ ‭13:1‬ ‭NIV‬‬)

Source:
https://www.bible.com

Why Wait?

In even these days alone,

where handshakes and hugs are all pushed aside

forbidden protection behind locked doors

there is a God who provides.

There is something greater,

We can all embrace.

for we all have gifts,

no matter what we face.

We are all made for a purpose,

no matter what giants come our way.

We all have the ability to make a difference,

no matter where we must stay.

For we are all made for more

so we must silence the questions

and doubts that ask, “What for?”

We all have the chance to use this

to make someone’s day or even our own,

for in the quiet times of chaos,

if we rest with Jesus,

out of discomfort,

strength is grown.

 

So while we may be at a pause,

and while the unknown tries to spin us round,

why wait for tomorrow

when today is where life is found.

 

Therefore, think about it.  What have you been gifted? No matter what you do not have right now; you have even more.  No matter how unsettling it may feel; use this time to find peace in God. Use this time to draw nearer to Him and ask that He shows you how to use your incredible gifts.  He has always called us to rest in Him and now is the perfect time.

The time is not perfect.  Our situations are not perfect. But, it doesn’t need to be perfect.  It cannot be perfect. Nothing in life is perfect.  In fact, our imperfections are what make us beautiful.  They are what make us real. They are what make us capable.

So think outside of the box and use your gifts right here, and right now.  Use them to create and spread love at a time when the world needs every shade of hope,

every avenue of love,

every color of the rainbow.

Why wait?

IMG_5972

#bettertogether #thinkoutsidethebox #itsnotperfect #usingwhatwehave #alwayswantedpinkrainbows #spreadlove #godisgreater #pray #everythingwillbeokay #spreadtheword #makearainbow #righthererightnow

 

Equipped with Gifts
Luke 9-10:42, ‭Psalms‬ ‭37:3-4‬ ‭NIV‬‬, ‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭2:10‬ ‭NIV‬‬)

Our gifts are ready
our callings prepared
but they do not come from the world,
still in the craziness of life
the true essence of our lives can become lost,
for though few are needed,
God’s will has a plan for us all
it is free, ready and prepared
but when we waste our skills, time and focus on selfish ways
there is a cost.

Our gifts are ready
our callings prepared
for we are each God’s handiwork
we are each created in Christ to do such work
that is beautiful, selfless and good
God’s will has a plan for each of us
it is free, ready and beautiful
this work He prepared in advance
for us to do
that is the principle
that now must be understood.

Our gifts are ready
our callings prepared
we must trust in the Lord and do good
dwell in the land where He has called
and enjoy safe pasture each day
for God’s will has a plan for each of us
it is free, ready and laid out
so we must go to Him to lead us
He is the truth
He is the light
He is the way.

Ready are our gifts
prepared are our calls
for humble our hearts
and silence our ways
to see and hear like Jesus all of our days.
So let’s discover and uncover our gifts
let’s grow and flourish them in His word
let’s not try to be who we are not
instead let’s be who God calls us to be
let’s use those incredible gifts to do our part,
and to see and act on what He needs us to see.

And even if it is not how we expected
even if it is not how we planned
in love and truth we must live
using our gifts to serve
giving all we have to give.
For every moment can be a new start
where we first
take delight in the Lord
for that is where He will give you
the desires of your heart.

Our gifts are ready
our callings prepared
let’s use them to be who God wants us to be
let’s use them do what God wants us to do
He honors obedience
and so use those gifts and do not wait
for fully equipped are each one of you.

 

 

Use What You Have (Luke 9)

In the chaos the day, in the haunting of the night

what is being lost

God needs you now

so use what you have,

it is free of any cost.

 

Bring what you have, bring the gifts,

bring them all

for He will multiply

do not question

just listen to the heart

for that is where He speaks truth

louder than any lie.

 

What can we do, what can we say

it is a troubled time

each night, and each day

and yet He tells us all,

“You give them something to eat.”

with only what we have

God uses our little to do

great thing after great thing

so be the one who listens

and let it be your gifts that you bring.

 

In the chaos the day, in the haunting of the night

we cannot risk what can be lost

God needs us now

to use what we have,

for if we don’t,

life, lives and love all can be the cost.

So shine the truth, shine your light

through your gifts

no matter where you are at

shine, shine, shine

use it all

so that through the darkness

the great news of Jesus shines bright.

 

 

Legos For Days

It’s so incredible to watch the personality, gifts and talents of a child unfold. All are so distinct and special from each other, a great reminder of how each of us is our own unique person, even at a young age. A great reminder that all of us have our own God-given gifts and purpose.

As a special education teacher, it is my job to discover and teach to each individual student’s own talents and strengths. It is both my privilege and obligation to empower them against any challenges they may have or face. It’s part of my nature now to do this in the classroom. However, in the home, it is a bit more complicated at times.

Both my husband and I played sports for most of our lives and assumed that our children would want to too. And even though they are both so young yet at the ages of 2 and 5, their little but LARGE personalities and interests are already shining through …

I first saw this with my son. He may not be asking to go throw a football right now; but he is following in my husband’s footsteps of loving Legos. Since the age of 2.5, TJ has loved puzzles, activity sticker books, creating, building and taking objects apart. Literally, he could spend hours, and even days partaking in these activities. Proud Mama over here when he turned four and started to tackle legos made for as high up as 10 years old and older.

It’s all fun and games until you have 10 boxes of Legos and pieces all over the place.

That is when we created TJ’s LEGO room. While it now holds 40 sets and counting, it is much more organized these days, even if TJ takes it apart five times a day.

So while I can’t help but to be a little sad as we transform his room from baby giraffes and elephants to Legos for days, I also can’t help but to be proud of the amazing person he is and continues to become. A nice organization system amongst the mess helps the transition as well…

Madi wanted in on the fun too…

Unchained Candy Crush

I played Candy Crush for five years.

Yup.

Five years.

And while I do admit I loved it and how it made my mind turn off any worry or stress for those minutes each day of playing …

.. and do not judge anyone who plays it…

 

_Embrace the storm before it ends and learn to dance in the rain, even if it tracks in some mud along the way. (7).png

let me share why I finally stopped playing cold turkey.

 

I have goals. Many of these dreams have been deeply rooted in me since I was a child. One goal this year is that I want to live in the present. Others include wanting to start this blog again, to write and publish my poetry, to write and publish a book or two, to make a difference according to God’s will, to develop a deep connection with my husband and children, to be more in-tune with family and friend relationships, to be my best self…

Back in the fall, one night as we were spending time with my son before bed, he asked to play on my phone. Finding Candy Crush, he then begged me to show him how to play. It was only for a few minutes that night … but soon turned into a few minutes every night that week… a few minutes every night that took away from conversation and soon could turn into hours or even days of valuable time taken away.

My husband challenged me, “You still play that game? Why don’t you delete it?

I started my defensive comeback …

It helped me work out in the morning (Yes I’m guilty of being the one running on a treadmill crushing away!) …

It helped me unwind …

It helped me de-stress …

It helped me …

Avoid …

Now, unwinding is one thing … but avoiding is another. I was avoiding my goals and dreams because it makes you extremely vulnerable to acknowledge them, verbalize them, and even more vulnerable to stretch out and reach for them.

Stretch goals are not easy. They are not meant to be easy. However, they will never be reached or even have the possibility of being reached if you avoid them.

“I’d rather attempt to do something great and fail than to attempt to do nothing and succeed.” – Robert H. Schuller

God-given gifts and those dreams that are placed on our hearts that align with those gifts cannot be avoided. They must be prayed for and used to do good.

So 1,825 days later …

I deleted candy crush.

You see the devil will use distractions in life to keep us from out destiny… and Candy Crush was one of mine.

While I could not get any of that past time back, I needed that time going forward…

Prayer … writing … poetry … close family and friends … all help me unwind, destress, and focus. But they also help me, stretch out for those dreams and give me the time to do so.

And even though as the work week comes to an end, the house is messier than I would like, my mind and heart are aligned in knowing they are working together to do good. They are working together for a greater purpose.

For more information:

  • “Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time.” – Colossians 4:5
  • “I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do.” – John 17:4

© Jennifer Kosuda and The Art of a Messy House (theartofamessyhouse.com), 2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jennifer Kosuda and The Art of a Messy House with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.