Meet Ashley {Faces of Nations Series}

FON

Faces of Nations is my new “ongoing” blog series. To know more about this series and the heart behind it all you can read that here: Introducing Faces to Nations. I’m excited to share with you this new series where I will be introducing you to important people around the world! This right here is my first article in this series. I’m excited for you to meet a special friend of mine and share with you all how she and I first met. Enjoy!

silvana-di-franco

Faces of Nations

Meet Ashley

I met Ashley for the first time while interning in the Dominican Republic when I was 16 years old. Ashley walks to the Pan De Vida (Bread of Life) Orphanage and Feeding Center every week day in the DR. There she receives a hot meal, love and attention, a safe environment to play in, prayer, the beauty of the Gospel, and a chance to embrace childhood. When we met in 2010 I sat with her as she ate and giggled through lunch. After she played for a few minutes, she decided to retire in my arms for the rest of the afternoon. I held her as she fell asleep. With her wrapped around me and held tight…I walked the property of the orphanage watching all my kids play. She was out like a light. A while later it was officially time to go. I waited until all of the kids had left to go home to finally wake her up. Trying to soak up every moment possible!

Ashley2

Unfortunately, it was time for her to go home as well. I called her name, asking her to wake up in Spanish. She wouldn’t budge. Ryan and I both tried whatever we could to gently wake her. She whispered no and clung to me even tighter. She refused to open her eyes, let go, or even officially wake up. My heart was breaking – fast. I held her tighter and longer. But even still, it was time.

My mind was racing with questions and thoughts like; 

“When was the last time she was held?”

“The last time she fell asleep in her moms arms…?

“Slept safely in peace..?”

“Does she even have a mom?”

“What about a loving Father who will rock her to sleep?”

“Anyone.”

My face was streaming with tears as her own eyes weld up. I took advantage of every second she hugged and held onto me. Not knowing what she was going home to. I could have stayed there holding her in my arms for a lifetime. Our circumstances said otherwise. I kissed her and asked Ryan to please take her. We peeled her off of me (which was one of the hardest things I’ve done in life) and walked her to the gate. I watched her walk down the dirt road looking back every so often.

It was a heart-wrenching and defining moment for me. This was one of many moments during my time in the DR where I knew that I was exactly where God wanted me to be. His timing is a beautiful thing. And as painful as it was I’d do it all over again. Cause even though mine and Ashley’s time together and me holding her had come to an end… It still happened. It’s one of my favorite memories from my DR experience.  

Needless to say, I headed straight for our bus and had a good cry until it was time for us interns to go back to our apartment. 

ASHLEY

I adore this girl. She is pure beauty. I could never forget her. 

Gracias Señor por esta hermosa niña! Ella es un regalo para mí y para el mundo.

Ashley1 Ashley3

Faces of Nations,

Sarah Grace

Introducing the NEW “Faces of Nations” Blog Series

Faces of Nations

My new “ongoing” blog series.

silvana-di-franco

If you know me at all you will know that I have a genuine love for nations. Which nations? All of them. Every single one…even the ones I have yet to meet. Of course, there are a few specific nations that I hold especially dear to my heart, being that they are a “home” to not only me but many that I love. I recently returned from a 9 day missions trip to Haiti where I led my first missions team. Having been my second missions trip to Haiti God continued to pour into me and speak to me about this beautiful country and my call to people/nations while staying there.

If you follow me on social media then you have probably seen my countless posts lately that have to do with missions and my family around the world. I can’t help it. This is a big part of me, a part of who I am. Ever since I returned from my most recent trip to Haiti I just can’t help but share about all of these friends, moments, memories, and encounters with the world. Trying to put into words all that God did during our time there seems impossible. When a memory or a face comes to my mind and the words start flowing, I go for it. So if you’re into that sort of thing you would probably love all of my recent Instagram posts! Haha Feel free to come join me.

With each internship and missions trips that I’ve been part of I always have the same resounding thought, “I wish I could bring everyone with me”. Every where I go in these countries, everyone I meet, the things I see, what God is doing…I can’t help but want to take you all with me so you can experience it for yourself. It’s an indescribable beauty.

Processed with VSCOcam with t1 preset

While in Haiti this last January, God and I talked a lot about my heart for nations and missions…why I go on these missions trips, why I wanted to lead a team, why I want to return, and so on. If you asked me what my number one reason was for taking part in missions and going to serve in other nations, (aside from the somewhat obvious fact that this is a part of my calling and God has placed it in my heart) my answer is: PEOPLE. This is all about people. That’s why I GO. I go because of people. This whole thing, life, is about two things: Jesus and souls.

That leads me to this new blog series I’m starting. I want to introduce you all to people I’ve had the privilege of meeting while being involved with missions. During this ongoing blog series you will have the chance to meet ones who I love and adore. You will see their face, hear their stories, and be invited into the experience. The family. This is an invitation into what God is doing in other nations and what beauty resides in His people across the globe. Some stories will be funny and others you might need a box of tissues nearby just in case.

 My absolute favorite thing about missions is the people I encounter, the ones I meet and get to know. I refer to these ones as my family. I call the children my babies. I mean this with all of my heart and I don’t take it lightly. I absolutely love them. I couldn’t be more grateful for the privilege and honor God has given me in being able to be a part of their lives and have them in mine. The connections, the friendships, the family that God connects you with when you’re involved in missions is a community like no other. This is it. This community is what I want to invite you into. I pray that God moves upon your heart as you hear these stories and you see these faces. And that you too would find your place among this family as a child of God.

Are you ready?

Lets GO.

Haiti – The Loudest Place on Earth

Haiti – The Loudest Place on Earth

I just got back from Haiti on Monday afternoon. I spent 9 glorious days in the beautiful city of Carrefour. This city is another one of my “second homes”. This year I lead a team of five ladies from my church Harvest Christian Center. I fell in love with Haiti in the fall 2013 after joining a team from my church on our first venture to Carrefour. I can’t explain the pure joy it was to be back in this beautiful nation and city, seeing all of my Haitian family again and holding all of my Haitian babies. Man, I really missed this place. God is so good. I woke up this morning to something strange. I woke up to sheer silence. Nothing but the sound of my alarm. It felt strange.

So, naturally, I grabbed my phone and opened up my notes to a little something I had written my first morning back in Haiti. I’m glad I was able to capture this moment. I wrote this on Sunday, January 4th early in the morning. I laughed as I read it this morning because it couldn’t be more true.

I hope you enjoy reading this and that you find yourself caught up in the experience. I have a lot more to say about Haiti. Be sure to check back soon.

P.S. It’s good to be home.

xoxo Sarah Grace

Sunday, January 4th

Carrefour, Haiti

 haiti50

“This is my first day waking up to Haiti again. It’s been fourteen long months. I’m sitting outside on our patio, before anyone else wakes up, just listening to the sounds of Carrefour.

Haiti is loud. Very loud.

Part of me is trying not to tear up and the other part is trying not to laugh too loud and wake anyone..
I knew I had missed Haiti deeply..especially the people! It just never occurred to me how much I also missed this constant noise.

The noises of Haiti are a myriad of sounds like; people singing as they walk down the streets, radios blaring as loud as can be, rooster crowing every five minutes, the church down the street singing “Just Because He Lives” in Creole, kids giggling endlessly, conversations, trucks, cars, tap-taps, and the honking!

Ohh the honking!

I didn’t know that I could miss these noises so much. It wasn’t until just now that I realized I DID.

America is loud as well. Depending on where you are, really loud. Yet, this is a different kind of loud. America is loud with busyness. Haiti is loud with life and community.

Two nations that I adore.

Here I am at 4:30am sitting outside after having been woken up at 3:20 by the neighbors rooster and I am overwhelmed at the fact that I am once again back in this beautiful place hearing these kinds of sounds.

I absolutely love that you can experience so much of the Haitian culture just through one of your five senses. It pays to be a good listener.

I’m so thankful I didn’t miss this moment.”

Please, Get Your Hopes Up {Scarlet Heart Co}

Please, Get Your Hopes Up

I recently wrote a two piece article on hope for the ever so lovely Scarlet Heart Co. Has any one ever told you, “don’t get your hopes up”? I had a feeling so. Do you want to know why they’re wrong? Read “Please, Get Your Hopes Up – Part 1 & 2″  and be encouraged to let your hope arise. 

 “But I will hope continually, and will praise You yet more and more.” – Psalms 71:14

“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.” – Hebrews 10:23

Click each photo for part 1 and 2 of the article.

 

 

“The phrase “don’t get your hopes up” has been stirring in my heart and mind for a while now. I just find it interesting that a single phrase can influence whether a person will choose to have high expectations in life or possibly none at all. I’ve begun to realize how powerful hope can be and that somewhere down the road we’ve allowed great things like hope, joy, peace, happiness, faith, love, etc., to become mere words in our vocabulary.”

lightstock_68414_medium_user_5186027-1024x682

“Life isn’t always fair. Life doesn’t always turn out like we plan. Life can be scary and embarrassing.  But placing your hope in God is nothing like tossing a coin in a wishing well.”

iYvDeqVGRbebiQv2PIJi_DSC_8407-1024x680

How to Pack Christmas Shoe Boxes and Where to Send Them

How to Pack Christmas Shoe Boxes

& Where to Send Them

 

It’s that time of the year again where we hunt for great deals and the perfect gifts for those we love! Christmas shopping has become a real art form, especially here in America. We run each other over by foot and cart to save $200 off of a flat screen TV that’s bigger than the one we got last year for our Birthdays. We run down the aisle of the nearest target to grab the last of the 10 Kitchen Aid mixers that are 50% off. We camp out on the sidewalk in front of Best Buy and miss the last half of Thanksgiving to get another cell phone that our faces will be glued to until next years Black Friday extravaganza!

I say we…but I really don’t do this. I’ve only participated twice in Black Friday shopping. The first time was with my family to see what the fuss was all about and the second time was with my siblings. That second time, we waited outside of our car with Starbucks in hand and watched, with much laughter, as people literally rushed, crammed, yelled, and knocked each other over to get into the suddenly open store. It was hilarious and disgusting all at the same time. We went to breakfast and then returned to Target once the madness had settled a bit and I bought a coffee maker for my mother. Then, after having at least 10 people push me or run into me – I had to leave. ASAP.

I tried so hard to explain to my friend Gens, while I was in Haiti last October, what Black Friday was. Thank God he is intelligent and compassionate and could not understand why people would leave their families, especially on a national holiday, to wait hours in line, sleep on the street in the cold, be incredibly rude and inconsiderate, all for a discount on material idols. He was amazed. I was embarrassed. I don’t even participate in Black Friday but as an American I was embarrassed to even have a “holiday” like this to tell someone about.

I’m not writing this to make anyone feel guilty. If you do, then it’s probably a conviction in your heart you should be intentional to think about. Don’t get me wrong.. I love a good deal. I like getting more for my money as well. I really enjoy shopping favor. Black Friday and the attitude and behavior behind it is beyond my convictions. It’s not worth it to me. I’d rather be with my family and pay a few more dollars for those gifts the following week. It’s really the heart behind it all. Anyways. My mini rant is over.

I love giving gifts! Love, love, love it. So I really enjoy Christmas. Even though it sneaks up on you and comes quicker and quicker every year. My favorite gifts to buy and wrap are my Christmas Shoe Boxes that i make and send to my BEAUTIFUL god-children in the Dominican Republic who I met during my 2010 internship there. (You can read about that here: Dominican Republic) If I can’t be there in person to deliver them presents then sending them in the mail is still a great option. I’ve done this three years in a row now and it never gets old.

I make boxes for my own kids and mail them off to Grace Covenant Ministry who then ships them to my friends and missionaries in the DR. They deliver the boxes and throw a big Christmas party for all the kids at the orphanage and Bread of Life Feeding Center. Here are some photos to show you what joy looks like.

These are my three god-children and one of the cutest sets of siblings you’ll ever see ;)

Danni, Leonidas, and Danielle

1

2

3

Confession time: I love a little friendly competition. So every year I like to out-give myself and up the ante in comparison to the previous years Christmas shoe boxes. lol Christmas 2013 I increased the shoe box size to boot boxes. They were very large. After filling them FULL I had this picture of my kids struggling to carry their gifts home as they walk down that dirt road…. So I drove straight to Target and bought them large tote bags! Hopefully that helped some :)

I’m getting ready to pack three more shoe boxes FILLED with goodies for this Christmas. I thought I’d share a bit about this amazing way to bless children around the world with a simple and fun gift. It doesn’t take much to bless a child.

Below you will find ideas of things to put in your shoe boxes and a few places you can partner with to send them off. 

Have you ever made Christmas Shoe Boxes? Tell me about it.

What was your favorite part? What kind of things did you add to the boxes? Where did you send them, etc?

Can’t wait to hear!

Here are some photos from past Christmases at the “Pan Da Vida” Feeding Center in the Dominican Republic.

4

5

What to Pack in The Shoe Boxes:

Toothbrush, Toothpaste, Hair brush or Comb, Wash Cloth, mild Bar Soap, Sunscreen, a small First Aid Kit, Band aids, etc.

T-Shirt, Tank Top, Flip Flops, Sandals, Socks, Hat.

Bible (in specific language), Journal, Note Book, Coloring Book, Appropriate Reading Books, Pens, Markers, Crayons, Pencils, Sharpeners, Erasers, Drawing Pads, Stickers, Ink Pad and Stamps, Solar Calculators, Small Dry Erase Boards with Markers, etc.

Jump Ropes, Jacks, Travel Checkers, Playing Cards, Small Cars, Balls, Dolls, Stuffed Animals, Harmonicas, Yo Yo’s, Hacky Sacks, Kazoos, Small Etch A Sketch,  etc.

Non Chocolate/melt-able candy, Lollipops, Gummies, Gum, Mints, Animal Cracker Boxes, kids healthy Protein Bars, kids Gummie Vitamins,

Hair Clips, Toy Jewelry, Flash Light with Batteries, Toy.Kid Watches, Chap stick, Small Travel Mirror, Tote Bag, etc.

A Card, Hello Letter…

The Possibilities are endless! 

Items You Should Not Include: Used, Damaged items, War-related items such as Toy Guns, Knives or Military Figures, Crosses, Chocolate or Food, Out of date Candy, Liquids, Breakable items such as Snow Globes or Glass Containers.

 

 

Who & Where to Partner with for Christmas Shoe Boxes:

(Click on the photos for ministry links)

As you saw above, I send my Christmas Shoe Boxes to my god-children in the Dominican Republic at the Pan Da Vida Feeding Center. Grace Covenant’s DR Missionaries are The Bernard’s and Humble’s who are all amazing at making sure my boxes get to my kids! They have done this year after year for hundreds of children. It’s beautiful.

7

Another amazing opportunity that is made available to all is Operations Christmas Child hosted annually by Samaritan’s Purse. I’m sure most of you have heard of them and the OCC at some point or another. These Christmas Shoe Boxes go around the world every year. They will even send you pre-made boxes to wrap up your gifts in.

Maybe you’re supper busy with the holidays but you still have a heart to give this season, you can do so by designing and ordering a Christmas Shoe Box for a child through OCC online! They have a whole selection of items to choose from to include in your child’s box. All you do is pick an age range, pick from the available items, include a note and/or prayer, pay for the gifts/box and boom! You have just blessed and taken care of a child somewhere around the world with their very own gift box. You can do so here: Build A Shoe Box

6

These are just a few ideas and resources I thought I’d share with you! I hope it inspires you and stirs your heart to give this season and every day of the year.

Blessings!

20 Things I’ve Learned In Twenty Years {Part One}

20 Things I’ve Learned In Twenty Years {Part One} 

I turned 20 a few months back and for some reason I still had not published this post. Well, here it is world. Here are 20 things I’ve learned in my 20 years of living. Thankfully I’ve learned much more than just these truths. But for now, here is part 1 of my “20 things list”. I hope at least one resonates with your heart as it does mine. I encourage you all to set aside some time to dwell and reflect on what you’ve learned through out your life time. Shine a light on some of the simple and profound truths. Maybe it’s 18 things, maybe 20, 30, 40, 50, and so on.  You wont regret it.

tumblr_mhux0ijj041r7o4kzo1_500

1. We must acquire a lifestyle of love, honor, and humility.

2. Holiness is a sweet gift and privilege and one of the greatest ways of living our world will ever see.

3. People are more valuable then you’ll ever comprehend. Even the people we don’t like.

4. We’re not entitled to anything – no matter who we are or what we’ve done/do. In fact, we’re indebted for the life and breath we’ve been gifted by our Creator.

5. Grace is crucial.

6. Favor and promotion is a costly gift that is to be celebrated and stewarded well.

7. Getting your licenses and having your own car isn’t as glamour as we think it will be when we’re in Junior High. Just wait until you have to buy your first set of tires…. 

8. Love wins. Every time.

9. You’re never to young to accomplish and conquer much.

10. Peace isn’t about survival it’s about thriving.

Checks From Heaven and How I Reaped 10 Times What I Sowed

 Checks From Heaven and How I Reaped 10 Times What I sowed

Just in case you were curious what my Facebook status update was last Monday…Here it is.

9a3a250d8614d0bb6a055b1f854dc225

40 days ago I was sitting at the Wealthy Place Seminar that our church was hosting with Dave Williams (which i highly recommend) and within the first 5 minutes I saw a picture in my mind of myself writing out a check for a certain amount of money. I asked the Lord who that check was for and He told me. I had met this particular person at our Holy Spirit Conference and was able to pray and prophesy over their family and they just happened to be back in town for the seminar. The next day I put the check in a card and gave it to them. On October 1st I gave another check to another person after having seen an amount and who it was for. Today, exactly 14 days after I gave the second check…I was given three checks from one person for EXACTLY 10X the amount of those two checks that I had sown combined!

I have had some ideas/ministry projects on my heart lately to be able to make happen during our time in Haiti. These were above and beyond what I had previously budgeted for our mission trip already but I was sure that God would provide for them knowing that they were dear to my heart and would be great blessings to our friends there. Well this person, who wrote me these checks, had heard about those ideas and wanted to be the one to pay for them! (*insert big ol’ smile and “C’mon Jesus” right here*)

 

God always honors intentionalism and generosity. Whether you are the one writing $100,000 or $1,000 checks God honors each and every seed sown. Not just financial seeds…all other generous acts as well. I promise you, He is faithful to the dreams He has placed in your heart. This isn’t the first time I’ve had people hand me checks this big.

God had put on my heart two specific amounts to give to two specific people. Although they weren’t $250,000 checks like I would have loved for them to be – I was faithful with the amount that I felt like God put on my heart to give. And I gave with joy.

I’ve heard so many stories of people receiving checks for unbelievable amounts of money to simply bless them or to make some crazy God-dream come to pass and  I’ve always purposed in my heart that that will be me. As you know, there’s a process to becoming a person who can write $250,000 checks when you want to. So until then, I’m sowing what I can every chance I get! There was a small part of me that was embarrassed to give those two checks that I did because they weren’t the $100,000-$250,000 like I’d like. Against all awkwardness, I knew that this would be a great opportunity to make room in my heart/life for God to continue to grow a generous spirit within me that will last through out all of my days.

You continue to astound me in every area of life. Thank You Father for Your faithfulness and extravagant blessings! xoxoxo

Whoever can be trusted with small things can also be trusted with big things. Whoever is dishonest in little things will be dishonest in big things too.  -Luke 16:10 ERV

“Now, if you will be careful to obey the Lord your God and follow all his commands that I tell you today, the Lord your God will put you high above all the nations on earth.If you will obey the Lord your God, all these blessings will come to you and be yours:

The Lord will open his storehouse where he keeps his rich blessings. He will send rain at the right time for your land. He will bless everything you do. You will have money to lend to many nations. And you will not need to borrow anything from them. 13 The Lord will make you be like the head, not the tail. You will be on top, not on the bottom. This will happen if you listen to the commands of the Lord your God that I tell you today. You must carefully obey these commands.  -Deuteronomy 28:1-2, 12-13 ERV

Great blessings belong to those who live pure lives!
    They follow the Lord’s teachings.
Great blessings belong to those who follow his rules!
    They seek him with all their heart. I thought very carefully about my life,
    and I decided to follow your rules.  -
Psalms 119:1-2, 59 ERV

So don’t lose the courage that you had in the past. Your courage will be rewarded richly. 36 You must be patient. After you have done what God wants, you will get what he promised you.  -Hebrew 10:35-36 ERV

Why “Love Looks Like Sacrifice to Those Who Lack Passion”

Why “Love Looks Like Sacrifice to Those Who Lack Passion”

tumblr_m1qwj6Ovy21r7o4kzo1_500

“Love looks like sacrifice to those who lack passion.”

This is my absolute favorite quote. I stumbled upon this quote in something that I had read or heard (I honestly can’t recall) about four or so years ago and immediately wrote it down, in my bible, on a sticky note, and about ten other places. I don’t ever want to forget this truth.

There have been things in my life that I have steered clear of or have given up because I refuse to let those things interfere with my relationship with God. Contrary to what the world may suppose, there’s not an ounce in me (anymore) that wants those things. Now, I’ve said this while having conversations with people before and when I have I usually get this look that says “Yeah right, you know you wish you could be out there doing those things that the world says is fun and brings ‘joy’. You know you do.” I really don’t. Do you want to know the reason why I don’t long for those things? Do you want to know why those things I’ve purposed in my heart to stay away from don’t attract me or cause me to wonder “what if” like the world may suppose? Do you want to know why walking away from those things has been so easy that I almost don’t recognize what I’ve done?

 

Simply put… I’m in LOVE.

 

I am. It’s completely true. I am in love. I’m madly in love with God.

 

And when you’re in love, it’s said to be true that, you do silly things. It’s true. Since falling in love with God I’ve done some silly things like choose the path less chosen, the narrow road, etc. (Matthew 7:14(But that won’t always be the case because there is a generation rising that knows the faithfulness of God and who are willing to run after and seek His face knowing full well that what He promised He is also able to perform.) Apparently I’ve decided to live my life counter culture. I’d agree with that analysis but I recently heard that, “It’s not counter-culture if the culture isn’t heading in the right direction in the first place”.

Whatever they’d call it, let them. Whatever they’d assume, why waste time trying to stop them? Only one in love could understand this kind of passion.

A passion that drives you to do crazy things like walk away from all that the world says will make you ‘happy’ and ‘successful’. The best thing about walking away is you end up finding yourself a little ways down the road realizing that you were made for more and that was simply a poor knock-off failing to disguise itself as the real thing.

That’s when you start appreciating the power of your YES.

I’ve had a handful of people, while praying or prophesying over me, say things like, “God will honor your sacrifices” or “All the sacrifices you’ve made have not gone unnoticed” and so on. I totally agree and believe that these people were hearing from the Lord. For some reason there was always something inside of me that, when I’d hear those words, just turned. I can’t describe it. I was almost embarrassed really… That’s probably the best description of how it made me feel to hear those words. My immediate reaction was, “God! That was not why I did this and it’s not why I said yes!” As if God didn’t know my heart, I wanted badly to make sure He knew that I was not doing “this” and saying YES so that He’d repay me or tangibly honor my “sacrifices”.

I would find myself, after hearing those kinds of statements, going to God and just pouring out my heart before Him. I wanted Him to know that those things I walked away from didn’t feel like sacrifices to me. Those were simply radical acts of obedience out of love for my King. Those were defining moments where critical decisions were made and I saw His face as I chose which way to walk. Those have been the best decisions I’ve ever mad. I did this not because I wanted to be repaid but because of my love for Him and my trust in His faithful character. I can honestly say I never fully viewed those experiences as “making sacrifices”. Now, granted they are all technically sacrifices but only based on the dictionaries definition of the word itself. Not in my heart though. In my heart they were merely courageous acts of passion.

In all honesty, those decisions didn’t seem very courageous until now. Because I knew where I was going they weren’t hard decisions to make at all. (Psalms 16:11 & Proverbs 4:18 ERV) After a few years of having those words spoken over me I’ve had time to meditate on the concept and talk it over with God. It doesn’t bother me like it used to. I’ve come to a better understanding of what this love and sacrifice thing looks like between me and God.

Simply put, God will repay, honor, commend, etc., the sacrifices you’ve made in life to keep Him number 1 in your life…not because you sacrificed expecting “to be repaid” but because it’s His character as a Father to bless you and provide for you above and beyond what anyone or the world can offer. He can’t help but pour out His goodness on us. It’s one of things that attract us to Him – His faithful and extravagant Fathers heart.

 

For God is not unrighteous to forget or overlook your labor and the love which you have shown for His name’s sake in ministering to the needs of the saints (His own consecrated people), as you still do. Hebrews 6:10 (AMP)

 

Love doesn’t look or seem like sacrifice when you’re living with passion.

62407e7c6ca1c02471eed5cded2e1be1What does “love looks like sacrifice to those who lack passion” mean to you?

5 Simple Recipes to Start Off the Fall Season

I thought we would start off FALL with a recipe round-up here on the blog! Sorry, only one of these recipes is semi healthy! [The Paleo Pumpkin Cakes.] They are all worth it though. What things have you or are you planning to bake this fall? Let me know, I need some new ideas! 

Enjoy!

 

1. Owl Shortbread Cookies

20120730-134800

Owl Shortbread Cookies Recipe

2. Candy Corn Fudge

Candy Corn Fudge

3. Carmel Apple Pancake Cupcakes

photo-2-3

Carmel Apple Pancake Cupcakes

4. Moist Pumpkin Cake – 2 Ingredients

Moist Pumpkin Cake

5. Paleo Pumpkin Cake

image2

Paleo Pumpkin Cakes

What To Do When Politicians Disgust You

What To Do When Politicians Disgust You

tumblr_m7c66e70ph1romcafo1_500

I’ve had a specific politician on my heart at various times over the past months. (No, it’s not President Obama.) Really, for no apparent reason. I hadn’t watched them on the news, seen photos of them anywhere, or even heard they’re name mentioned recently. A few weeks ago, while I was cleaning my kitchen, they came to mind again. I assumed that God was putting this person on my heart to pray for them. As I walked around the kitchen, cleaning and organizing, listening to worship, I began to pray.

I simply prayed what came to mind – everything the Holy Spirit put on my heart. Things like wisdom, clarity, restoration, peace, greatness, favor, angels to surround them, blessings over their marriage and family, etc. After a few minutes of praying, I had the idea to check and see if this person had a Facebook page. I was curious what was going on with them at the time. Was there something going on in their life or work that would be directed to me needing to pray for them? 5 seconds of browsing their page and I instantly felt disgust towards this person try to come into my heart.  You know those split second thoughts or feelings? It was just that. I saw all these posts, photos, projects, statements, etc. that just wrecked my heart.

I quickly shut that down and reminded myself of the words I had just spoken over their life. That’s how quick it was…just a few seconds and, had I partnered with that “feeling” of disgust, I could have countered-acted my own words of life and prayers for this person. I’m so glad that I didn’t! I made a quick decision to adhere to the wise words of Jonathan Edwards, “Oh Lord, stamp eternity on my eyeballs.” (Now, I know this statement is referring to something greater.. I’m using it in support of seeing others with His eye and their eternity in mind.) I had to make the decisions to tap into Heavens vision and Gods view of the person rather then my own. It’s not about what I saw, or felt, or what their Facebook page says about them. They are His child. Weather I agree with them or not. They are His love. 

You have permission to pray GREAT things over ones you don’t agree with. Do I agree with their politics? No. Do I agree with their view on moral and economic issues? No! Are they appointed by God as a governing authority in the US? Yes!

All of you must obey the government rulers. Everyone who rules was given the power to rule by God. And all those who rule now were given that power by God. So anyone who is against the government is really against something God has commanded. Those who are against the government bring punishment on themselves. People who do right don’t have to fear the rulers. But those who do wrong must fear them. Do you want to be free from fearing them? Then do only what is right, and they will praise you. Rulers are God’s servants to help you. || Romans 13 ERV 

Do I appreciate all of their hard work and sacrifice that it takes to be a politician? Yes. God appoints these ones as leaders in authority. What they do with their power, influence, authority, and position is at their free will. Our gossip, words of hate, laughter, unintentional word curses, etc. are only widening the gap and making it harder for them to be drawn towards their destiny in Christ. We have two options as citizens of Heaven, either we use the power of our tongue to speak death over their life and calling and make it that much easier for the enemy to stack the odds up against them and continue to steer them in the wrong direction…or, we humble ourselves, ask Him for wisdom and words of life to declare over them, and pray! 

The Bible is crystal clear on our part. Speak into their destiny and call out that God ordained greatness. It’s not gone or done away with, it’s simply hidden from their own eyes. God wants them more then they think they don’t want him. (If that makes sense. There’s probably a much more proper way of saying that.. But, hey!) It’s important for us to be aware…aware of what we do, say, think, and feel. In this type of situation and all areas of life. We must control our “feelings” and choose to call that which is not as though it were/will be. If we can’t speak life over the ones we disagree with then we need to ask God to soften our hearts towards them and, please, be quiet until He does.

 I’m writing all this to simply ask that we pay attention to how our actions, feelings, thoughts, comments, etc affect others. Seen and unseen, our actions and words are weighty arrows in the hands of one or two “camps”. You are either one Kingdoms representation or another. I’ve chosen His Kingdom and with that comes a lifestyle of honor. We must choose to honor God and others in all areas of life. Even with the words that flow from our hearts. You won’t always “feel like it” but it’s the Kingdom way and Jesus’ example. You will grow accustom to walking out your identity and becoming more and more like Him with every fiery and life filled word that comes from your mouth.

Love you all!
Sarah Grace
Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end. || Isaiah 9:7
First of all, I ask that you pray for all people. Ask God to bless them and give them what they need. And give thanks. You should pray for rulers and for all who have authority. Pray for these leaders so that we can live quiet and peaceful lives—lives full of devotion to God and respect for him. This is good and pleases God our Savior. || 1 Timothy 2:1-3 ERV