Do others see Christ in you? 

I’ve had an eventful day today.
I went to clear my head today at a local beach.
I found a boat with paddles that looked like they hadn’t been used in years-but were in fairly good condition.

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Me being up for an adventure and something new got into the boat(not always recommended btw).

At some point into this and halfway out in the water my dogs jumped out and flipped the boat over.
Luckily, a handful of my friends from high school live nearby and were out on their dock.
After having their fair share of, “What were you thinking?” they got me back to shore.

So I’m now soaking wet and lost. The dogs and I end up on the highway 3 miles south of where I’ve parked.

I call another friend who lives close by to come pick me up, she has a busy schedule so that falls through. Continue walking and eventually get to a restaurant where this lady looks from the worn out dogs, to me and my sweaty face. She goes, “If you know where your car is, I’ll drive you. Get in”.
We load the dogs in and start driving to where I’ve parked my car. Driving? It was less than three minutes. If we had continued to walk we would have gotten there in another hour.

Something that I’ve learned today: Be the person who will go out of your way to help others even if it’s a stranger.
Now we all get busy, we all have moments when we really don’t want to.
Myself included. I can’t count the times I’ve been like, “I can’t. I’m sorry” or “I’m not up to it”
But, this lady who I don’t even know, loaded two tired dogs and a random person in her car full of empty baby car seats.
She was willing to go out of her way.
Just as Jesus went out of His way to help others. When we say, “I don’t know this person, but I’m going to reach out and help them” we allow others to see Christ in us.
Now, I don’t know if this lady believes in Christ, but I am so thankful to her.

So, I’m going to leave you with a question, “Do others see Christ in you?”.

Elizabeth Louise

It’s okay to un-plug.

Technology is wonderful. 
Social media is a great tool. It helps us to connect not only with family and friends but it provides businesses with a tool to reach customers that they might otherwise not have been able to reach before.

lets be honest though…. our technology and social media can be so distracting and harmful.

for instance like when we are in school and you start texting in class.
or how about when we go out with friends and every single one of us is on our phones…
maybe perhaps its how we just have to instagram that photo of our Bibles and coffee or that delicious meal we just ordered.

Yes, technology and social media bring people close but they can also be very divisive.

As I’m sure you can probably tell, I love photos of the water and sunset. The other day I went to a local park to journal and catch the sunset. As I sat on one of the pillars underneath the bridge I looked around.

Some of the people were there fishing alone or with their families.
Some were crabbing.
Some were laying out on blankets in the grass.
Some were having picnics with their dates or families.
Some were sitting on benches catching up with friends or family.

They were for the most part un-plugged.         They were enjoying quality time with each other.                                                                       They were basking in the summer weather as the sun was going down.

There is so much beauty to be found in each other and in the world when we un-plug. It’s okay to just sit and enjoy a meal and not Instagram it. It’s okay to not take a photo of the sunset once in awhile, and instead just enjoy the colors of the sunset. It’s okay to put your phone away and make eye contact and listen to people.

It’s okay to un-plug. I want to encourage you guys to un-plug this summer. To really enjoy the beauty of spending quality time with family or friends. To enjoy quality time just making memories. To enjoy this beautiful earth God has created.

Elizabeth Louise

Viewing God like we view a sunset. 

The other night I was sitting downtown Annapolis journaling and writing a new chapter in my upcoming book.

The water has always been a place of calm for me, something about sitting on the docks staring off into that blue water always bring me such peace.

I was fortunate enough to catch the sunset, and boy these photos don’t do it justice. Our God makes magnificent sunsets.

Staring at the sunset, it made me think, “What if we looked at God the way we do when we see a sunset?”

You know how captivating those sunsets can be, all those beautiful pink and orange colors in the sky, it leaves you in wonder. Just think of how many times you’ve just had to stop and Snapchat or Instagram a sunset because “it’s the most magnificent thing you’ve ever seen”. Almost as great as chocolate chip cookies and puppies. Am I right?

We look at sunsets with stillness and adoration the way we should look at God. What if we began to look at God the way we stop to look at sunsets? How would this look? 

Being still with God is something we all struggle with. Just being in the moment with God without texting, being side tracked by our hobbies or even our family and friends. Yes, finding complete stillness in God is often hard. Because sometimes even when we aren’t on our phones or with friends, our minds are racing with errands we still need to finish, whether or not we got that job we wanted. If we were to be completely still with God we would be like a young toddler soaking up the magnificence and wonder of God. We would be like still water in a river, calm and at peace. We would be so in wonder of WHO God is that we would silence ourselves just to be in the very presence of God. 

This ties in with adoration. Adoration is a type of affection, a type of love you have for someone. “I adore you so much!” you may say to a significant other or a friend. Adoration leaves you looking at a person in wonder and lovingly. If we were to look at God with adoration we would be so captivated by the very character of God. We would be so breathtakingly in love with the mere though of just sitting in the presence of God!

Guys.

I don’t know about you but I want to daily see God in stillness and adoration. I know sometimes it’s a struggle for me. Sometimes I’m not still in the Lord. Sometimes I don’t even look at God with adoration. Sometimes I rush through my devotional because I have such a big list of “To do’s” for that day. I know I’m a terrible person…..

My prayer for us is this:

Lord,

Sometimes I may rush or I may forget to go spend quality time with you. You still pursue me and love me. You hold nothing against me and I am constantly amazed by your love and grace. Lord, I pray that I will be so in love with you that I will look at you so adoringly that my heart will be calm and still. I pray that I never stop looking at you with adoration. That just by being in your presence I will be completely still. 

Amen 


Ease and grace,
Elizabeth Louise 

Establishing that Giant-like Faith with God

We all experience fear.

We all experience doubt.

Maybe we doubt that we know all the answers to that final exam despite having crammed for it for a week. Maybe we fear and worry what our parents will say about our report card.

Or maybe we doubt God is truly there and listening and we begin to stress and worry about what will happen.

Recently I was reading the story of David and Goliath. In 1 Samuel 17: 38-40 Saul pits armor on David to go into battle but what happens next??

David takes off the armor because he hadn’t worn it before. He’s about to go into battle…….and he rids himself of the armor. WOW!

I don’t think I’d go into battle with no armor. Anyone else agree? 

David TRUSTED God completely. He trusted God enough to into battle with just a staff, stones and a sling. Meanwhile Goliath is decked out with a sword and a spear. 

But is David scared? No way! In fact he gets up to Goliath and starts BOASTING in the Lord. He trusts that God will be by his side, so David is just trash talking. He’s going, “Oh yeah? Well my God is on my side and He will strike you down”

Guys? What if we did this when we did to experience worry, fear and doubt?

What if we BOASTED in God. 

What exactly would this look like?

It would mean we have such enormous faith and trust in the character of God and who God is that we don’t worry as much.

It would mean our first response would be to remind ourselves how BIG God is instead of how big our small problems may seem.

It would mean going into prayer first, rather as a last resort. 

It would mean having giant-like faith in God just as David did.

Friends, I pray whatever you are dealing with today, that you begin to establish that giant-like faith with God. Know that God is who HE says He is. Know that God is faithful, everlasting and constant. I pray that you begin to seek God in moments of fear and doubt. I pray that you lean on God and establish giant-like faith with God.

Amen.


As always,

Grace and ease,
Elizabeth Louise 

An open letter to the Addict

To that person struggling with addiction whether it may be alcohol, cigarettes, porn, food or drugs.

I know how you feel. I’ve had to overcome my addictions. It wasn’t easy, but I did so with help.

This is letter is for you.

Dear Child of God,

You were created by your Heavenly Father. He knew you before you were born and knows the exact number of hairs on your head. He knows your strengths and weaknesses. 

Struggles and weaknesses are all about being human…

We all have struggles. Whether it is addiction to sex, alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, money, etc. There’s something we all struggle with. There’s something we struggle with saying no to, or something that we try and we continue to do it over and over again until we are held in chains by whatever is chaining us down. There’s something that holds us in bondage. 

but guess what? you don’t have to stay in that bondage. you don’t have to be chained to your addictions. 

Jesus bore the sins of the world so that we could be set free. He overcame death on the cross.

I’m not saying that it’ll be easy….in fact it’ll be hard. you may be tempted to order a glass of wine when you and your friends are out at a restaurant. you may be tempted for “one” more cigarette. you many say yo yourself, “I’ll quit gambling after I win $300”. Or maybe you say, “I’m not addicted to weed. I can quit at any point”.

You may have to attend meetings. You may have to have a accountability partner, someone who you can call when you struggle and are tempted. You need a support system.

Oh yes….it’ll be difficult. You may cry. Get angry. It may take weeks, months, years. In fact there may be times when you may backslide. There may be times when you want to give up and give in to that addiction. 

When I was struggling with addiction a friend once told me, “Every day that you say no to your addiction and temptation is a victory with Jesus”. 

You’ve already been set free by Jesus. John 8:36 tells us, “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”

You’ve already been set free. Lean on Jesus, friend. Lean on Jesus.
Lean on Jesus in the moments when you most struggle and are most desperate and tempted.
Don’t give up.
You can overcome with Jesus because you’ve already been set free from whatever is holding you in bondage.
You are free in Jesus. 

Ease and grace,


Elizabeth Louise

Heart over words

We attend a Bible study or a gathering, and usually there is prayer involved at some point. Whether it’s one person, or going around the circle taking turns as you feel called to pray. Sometimes you hear words like, “Edification”, or “Infallible”, or “Discernment”.

You’ve heard these prayers and maybe you are a new Christian just thinking, I’m so nervous. I just want to say a simple prayer, what if I don’t want to use big words? Maybe you get nervous. Maybe you awkwardly sit there and don’t say anything because you’ve over thought it now.

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I know I did. I used to be petrified of praying in front of people, I didn’t have the right words to know what to say and I wasn’t as strong of a Christian as some of the others who had grown up in Christian homes.

Honestly though? God doesn’t care how BIG the prayer is or how impressive the words are. Prayer is simply communicating with God. Over the years of growing and walking with God He’s become my Creator, Judge, Counselor, Parent and Friend. He knows my strengths and weaknesses. He knows my thoughts. The Bible is filled with people communicating to God through prayer. Psalms, Job, etc.

These people they express their feelings, their hearts to God.

In 1 Samuel 1:10 Hannah prays to the Lord, And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed to the Lord and wept in anguish.

Further down a few more verses in 13 Now Hannah spoke in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard. Therefore Eli thought she was drunk.

God wants your heart in prayer more than he wants to hear impressive words.

Sometimes we feel hurt, in pain, sad, rejected, etc and the only thing we know to do is cry to God in our tears. Sometimes the only thing we can say is “Thank you God”. Sometimes the Holy Spirit moves in us and gives us these “big, impressive words”. Other times we may not have the right words to say out loud, but God hears our thoughts even before we speak them. He sees the condition of our hearts before we even know if it’s condition. 

Don’t be afraid to communicate what’s on your mind and heart to the Lord. However big or small.



-Elizabeth Louise

How to forgive when a person has hurt you.

Forgiveness. Forgiven. Forgive.
These words, ideas, concepts are altogether mentioned in the Bible around 140 times.
the bible tells us that we should forgive people when they hurt us, sin against us. We should forgive them as God has forgiven us for our own sins.

 

Matthew 6:14-15 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Sounds easy enough, right?

but what if that person has hurt us? what if that person has abused us? what if that person left us beaten and bruised physically and mentally?

How do we forgive people who have hurt us so badly? 

believe me. that’s something that i know i struggle with trying to do.
i struggle with forgiving ex-boyfriends who have abused me; physically, verbally, mentally, etc. i struggle with forgiving ex-boyfriends who have cheated and made me feel disposable. i struggle with forgiving friends who leave. i struggle with forgiving people who have hurt me and taken advantage of me over and over. i won’t sugar coat it. i struggle with this.

Recently though I’ve learned that in order to better learn how to forgive others we need to understand that we’ve all already been forgiven. We are all sinners. that sin separates us from God. whether its a sin of cheating, porn, lying, alcohol, drugs, etc.

In Matthew 18:21-22 Peter asks God how many times he should forgive someone. His answer? “Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”

You see. we sin daily. whether you realize it or not. getting drunk, sex outside of marriage, watching that porn, holding grudges, lying, gossiping. each day we sin against the God of the universe. each day we sin against the god who created each and every one of us. yet, god still loves us and desires a relationship with us. think about it this way: for as much hurt as we may feel from a person we are not able to forgive, when we deny god, when we sin against him we hurt him and we separate ourselves from him. yet, he holds nothing over us. he still longs for a relationship with all of us.

i’m not advocating for messaging that person who has hurt you unless the Lord calls you to. what i am saying is that to better understand how to forgive someone, we should start with a understanding of God’s love for us and how he forgives us. when we start with this understanding we can then approach forgiving someone with a understanding of, “Yes, this person hurt me. I don’t trust them. But, they are as forgiven as I am for my sins. Because of this I won’t speak bad of them to others”.

You see, when we start forgiving people we stop allowing those people to have control over us. we start to extend more grace and ease to people.