Love Life

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Love Life Ministries is this weeks #FeatureFriday

“Our mission statement here at LOVE LIFE reflects our name perfectly. We choose every single day to wake up and be victorious. We choose to encourage. We choose to live in faith EVERY SINGLE DAY. Most of all, we choose love.

How was LOVE LIFE created? — Back in 2012, The Lord laid it on my heart to start a Facebook group called “Love Life”. This group was designed specifically for married women between 20-30 years old to come and have a safe place to talk, learn, and pray with one another. Since then, God has confirmed it to me that this group needs to have its walls stripped down, and that all women across the globe need to learn how to LOVE LIFE. The only requirement to be a part of LOVE LIFE is that you have to be at least 18 years old. It doesn’t matter if you are married, single, engaged, divorced, or widowed. Jesus loves us all the same. By bringing all women together, we can all learn and grow together in any season of life. As for right now, LOVE LIFE MINISTRIES is a Social Media driven ministry. The Lord has bigger plans for LOVE LIFE MINISTRIES though, and I know that one day LOVE LIFE MINISTRIES will be known all around the world.

We are a team of 5 who spend time each day loving, encouraging, and befriending women from all over the world via our website & blog.”

Connect with us at (www.wearelovelife.com), our facebook page (www.facebook.com/chooselovelife, our twitter account (www.twitter.com/wearelovelife). and our instagram (@lovelifeministries)

Brittany Zimmerman is founder of Love Life Ministries. She is a mama to a beautiful little girl named Mackenzie, and a wife to Ty. Family is everything to her. Brittany loves to fish, ride four-wheelers, and go camping. ” I am definitely an outdoorsy girl, and it is when I am outdoors that I feel the closest to our creator!” she says.
Brittany has a deep desire to share the love of Christ with women all over the world.

My Diet Is Making Me Sick!

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I have a personal mantra. The general idea is: “Be a good example…or at the very least a cautionary tale.” So, it is with a good measure of trepidation that I tell you that lately, I’ve been that cautionary tale. I’ve been overeating. I am kind of embarrassed to speak that into cyber-space, but really only the truth will do in order to help others, right? If we feel isolated, alone and a freak because of the way we feel, we tend not to reach out to others for help. Who is safe, anyway? Who can we trust with our hearts, our secret thoughts…?
This goes back to the last couple of years. For me, here’s where it starts. I am hungry. That is my general default. But it’s not what you think. I wake up hungry. Always. So even though I’m hungry, and even though I live in a country where food is as plentiful as the air I breathe, I won’t satisfy my hunger for a couple of hours yet. For me, it’s not an actual “Oh, I got busy and just forgot to eat breakfast.” thing. It’s usually “When I get my husband and kids out the door, I’ll eat breakfast” kind of thing. Or “I can stick a load of laundry in before I sit down and eat” thing. I’ve decided I like to defer. You know why? Because it gives me a measure of control. I am captain of my own destiny. In a world marked by chaos and confusion, people having a say-so of my schedule and who, conversely, don’t want to cooperate with my plans, I.have.control. Read into this, perfectionism. It all boils down to perfectionism and control.
Let’s talk about my diet. What I have been eating is literally killing me. When I say I’m overeating, I’m not just talking about food. I am talking about something bigger: I “eat my feelings”. My friends and I have been batting this phrase around for a long time, so it’s familiar to me, but might not be to you. Bear with me – you’ll see what I mean. Because I decide to wait for breakfast, I will start snacking as I get the kids ready for school. I start off with a small bite of comparison. I look at the lunch I have packed for my kids and think to myself. Yikes. “Too many carbs” or “not organic fruit” or “this is too much sugar”, or whatever demon the latest nutritional news source is talking about. Comparison doesn’t taste good, but because I am hungry, I keep snacking. Then I realize, comparison left a bad taste in my mouth, so I decide to try and wipe out that taste with a different taste. So I unwrap some “resentment”, take a big bite and think “Well, I am doing the best I can with three teenagers who are about to eat me out of house and home!” I am currently feeding an athlete, a very healthy eater and one who, apparently, has a vegetable/fruit aversion and is probably throwing away that “not organic fruit” anyway. Oh! And because of our current culture of leaving reviews for everything and everyone that serves us, my children are not shy about critiquing my efforts. They honestly believe this helps me. What?!? Another bite of resentment. I notice that someone left the jar of “reproach” open, so before I replace the lid, I take a spoon, get a big bite and mumble under my breath: “You try doing this all school year and see what you come up with!” or “All I ever do is drive you places and go to the grocery store to buy food that you will either complain about or wipe out the first day!” So then, my efforts to love on them and serve them by feeding them healthy food becomes a battlefield. At this point, I know “mad” is hiding in the cookie jar for an extreme emergency, so I go over, look both ways, take off the lid and reach in. “Everyone in my house is so ungrateful! Why do I even bother? I’m just going to ______! (I fill in the blank with whatever heinous thing I can think of.) That will show them!” The kids leave for school, but I sit in my chair, with the cookie jar, and keep bingeing. This can last untold minutes or even hours unless something or someone interrupts me.
Perfectionists eat their feelings. Or starve their feelings. Or work their feelings. Or mask their feelings with spending, alcohol, smoking or any number of unhealthy lifestyle choices. I’m sure we are all thinking of our own way we deal. It doesn’t matter if you are a man or a woman or a mother or a father or don’t even have kids. Allowing your feelings to be the boss of you is not the way to go. Not if you desire life to the fullest. So this is/was, could possibly still resemble me some days. Let me show you the better way.
Take Two:
I wake up. I am hungry. There’s a song lingering in my mind. I make a mental note of the name and the artist because I’ll need it later. I stop before my feet hit the ground. I say a quick prayer to God thanking Him for the safety of the night and the peace of the moment that is “right now”. I pray that I don’t go borrowing trouble from the next thirty minutes or an hour or even later in the day. I just thank Him for right now. Because I know that Jesus and His Holy Spirit are there with me, as well, I say good morning to Them, too. I ask them to help me plan out my day and for favor to get the ultimately most important things done, whether or not that means my to-do list gets satisfied or not. Hear me: the most important things (to God) only, please. Let the other junk just fall off or go away entirely. I.release.control. I go find my phone. I look at my “Jesus Calling” devotional and find a few other Bible verses that apply. I then go find that song from earlier and start playing it loudly in the kitchen. Today it was Casting Crown’s “Just Be Held”. This is the message that Jesus was singing over me as I slept last night: “Stop holding on (to your control) and just (decide to) be held”. I drink some water, then say a quick “Thank You, Lord!” for the invention of coffee and start my morning. Immediately afterward, I make a healthy smoothie for the kids and take half for myself. Immediate mood enhancement! When they wake up, I can greet them with a smile on my face and in my heart. I can greet them with love that is now not just my own, but the Father’s.
I don’t have to stuff things down anymore. I am in overflow mode. You see, God longs to feed me every morning with His word and His love. He is still in the business of providing manna. Strength, love, help and hope…just enough for each day, yet always enough to fill me up and to overflow to others. Jesus longs to be invited to hold my hand and walk me through every situation of my day. He wants to give His play-by-play commentary of what is really happening in my life. Not in a condemning way, but in a loving, teaching, coaching way. In a “You’ll get ‘em next time, Tiger!” kind of way. This gives me confidence. Confidence in the fact that I am doing the best I can. Confidence that I have a heart lined up with God’s word and fueled by the Father’s love. Confidence in the grace and saving mercy of Jesus and the constant, caring presence of the Holy Spirit.
What about you? Is what you’ve been eating making you sick? Try a better diet. Not one where you have to be “perfect” in order to see results, but the one where you just show up with yourself and nothing else but God and things change. Show Him your diet journal and ask Him to help you.
~ Debbie Bouckley

Taste and see that the LORD is good! How blessed is the person who trusts in Him! ~ Psalm 34:8 ISV

May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer. ~Psalm 19:14 NIV

Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. ~Ephesians 4:31-32 NLT

“Free to Forgive” by Johnette Cruz

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Today we kick off our #FeatureFriday series. We will be sharing some amazing people with you each Friday. Enjoy!

For years I’ve unknowingly held on to things so buried that they became part of my inner being. With every year and every season that has passed, those things festered and grew so deep that all of it was bound to come spewing out. I’ve dealt with a lot of situations from my past that I’m sure many women face daily: abuse, addiction, depression, anxiety, health problems, betrayal, abandonment and resentment issues….yup I can say it, I was a hot mess.

I was saved at the age of 23 and started to turn my life around, and things were looking great. I got married, God blessed us with a miracle of a son and my professional life was striving ahead; but all in the while my personal life was falling apart.

In 2011, I began working with a ministry based out of where I live and we do women’s conferences call the Finally Free Women’s Conference. I attended my first one as the “host” and to experience it myself. Our conferences are all about life transformation. We want to see women coming in one way, and leaving completely different, and let me tell you that I was no exception.

That day was the beginning of my freedom journey. I recognized the things from the past that I was holding on to, burdens that I was carrying that were never intended for me to carry. During the conference we hand out stones, and you name them-claim them, and then give them up to God to handle them. I think that day I had at least a bag of stones, all with different names! Through our gifted speaker Kim Tabor and team, God made me aware of all my past hurt that I had so eloquently hidden from everyone.

Galatians 5:1 “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery”

I left the conference a changed person, feeling like I could take on the world and handle everything the way God wanted me to…but oh how very easy it is for Satan to crawl back in, get comfortable, make his home again and tell you different.

1 Peter 5:8 “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour”

Fast forward to 2014. Earlier this year, I experienced a season of life where I had to face some really tough decisions head on. This specific situation was the catalyst to my breakdown. Satan knew exactly what to do, how to hurt me to the deepest part of my soul. It’s like he took my heart stabbed and stomped on it, ripped it into shreds intending it to never be repaired again. Those stones that I thought I left at the altar back in 2011 were facing me dead on, and they were no longer stones- they were huge boulders and I couldn’t get rid of them this time.

I was completely broken, utterly empty and in despair. Now that I look back on it, God NEEDED my soul to be shattered; He had to strip me down of everything so that He could reshape and mold me for Him and His purpose. For a series of months I went into intense Christian counseling to have someone guide me through this traumatic time- you see you need to dig deep, and get the ugly out so that God can fill you with things of Him. When you’re filled with hate, anger, resentment, and pride there is no room for God to fill you with His goodness. It was a process, but I finally began my new journey to freedom and healing.

One day a few months ago I had enough. I literally yelled and cried out to God, “This is it! I rebuke Satan and he will never win, I cannot live like this!” So I ran outside to a pond near my house and grabbed 4 stones- each representing something, and I chucked them as far as I could throw them. I HAD to let them go. The negative feelings were producing nothing but a hateful and angry person and my coldness was permeating everywhere I went.

Through my freedom journey, I have learned that there is POWER in letting go, there is a SUPERNATURAL POWER in forgiving. I have a close friend in our ministry who shares her story in our conferences and the one thing that has stuck with me throughout our travels is one of her sayings: “I choose what I dwell on” and oh my goodness how true is that! Is it hard to move forward and not “choose” anger over happiness? Absolutely! But if you choose to do that you will not be living the life God has promised for you! God has so much more in store for us than we will ever know, but the love, forgiveness and grace that he has given us should be given to others- we are called to do that, so why not extend that same love to the people who have hurt us the most?

Ladies- if you are dealing with some hurt in your life and you haven’t let go of it yet and decided to forgive, may I ask why? What are you afraid of? You are missing out on God’s unending love! Do I still have my bad days? Of course! Do I still have pain and hurt? Yes! BUT- I now look at it differently, the anger is gone, and instead of my past irrational decisions to act out negatively I CHOOSE to go directly to God, seek counsel and most importantly pray. One of the hardest things we women will ever have to face is to forgive- it can be done, but not alone. You must give all to God and HE will make all things new, wipe every tear, and bring light into your heart that was dead and dark.

Isaiah 43:18 Forget the former things, do not dwell on the past

Ezekiel 36:26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.

For more details on the Finally Free Women’s Conference, book, CD and Bible Study, go to http://www.finallyfreeconference.org

Johnette Cruz is a multimedia professional who has always had a love for music, worship and a talent for connecting people to Christ. Johnette is the Communications Director at Mount Pleasant Christian Church located in Greenwood Indiana and Midday Personality Radio Host for Shine.FM. She also works with Tabor Ministries and is involved in the Finally Free Women’s Conference and Stripped Free; an outreach ministry.

Connect with Johnette:
http://www.facebook/mediacruz
Twitter: @Cruzza
Instagram: @jcruzza

Totally Rad Contentment

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Let’s take a very short and quick look at the Sermon on the Mount with the emphasis just on verse 5.
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”
Call me simple minded or elementary. I like things to be broken down in an easy understandable way. I tend to look over and see how The Message translates certain verses. My husband would say the Message passages should all end with the saying “totally radical dude”. He prefers the versions that
are not quite so elementary. Well, different strokes for different folks is always my answer to that!!
So those who want to go with me to The Message, come along:
“You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.”
That is totally radical dude!!!
How hard it is for us especially as women to be content with who we are!!! No more or no less!!! Yikes a doodle!! That can NOT happen on our own. At least not in my meek weak little self!!!
So I must ask for God’s favor and send up a little prayer for that one to happen. (This must be done daily for
likely success and stick a tude!!)
Lord,
Help me to be content with who I am. After all, You created me perfectly just the way you wanted me to be. It is only because we live in a fallen world that I may have picked up some annoying hindrances that block me from becoming who I was created to be in Christ. Show me those things that I need to “kneel down” and lay at your feet so that I don’t trip and fall on this road to contentment. Thank you, Jesus that you took all my sins, and imperfections to the cross and died so that I could be free to live.
Isaiah 43:4-6
(prophecy spoken in Isaiah about the Son of a Man who would come and
take away the sins of the world)
***The Message again
” The servant grew up before God—a scrawny seedling,
a scrubby plant in a parched field.
There was nothing attractive about him,
nothing to cause us to take a second look.
He was looked down on and passed over,
a man who suffered, who knew pain firsthand.
One look at him and people turned away.
We looked down on him, thought he was scum.
But the fact is, it was our pains he carried—
our disfigurements, all the things wrong with us.
We thought he brought it on himself,
that God was punishing him for his own failures.
But it was our sins that did that to him,
that ripped and tore and crushed him—our sins!
He took the punishment, and that made us whole.
Through his bruises we get healed.
We’re all like sheep that’ve wandered off and gotten lost.
We’ve all done our own thing, gone our own way.”
Totally rad!!!! I am blessed to walk out this journey of discovery of who I am in Christ by daily walking side-by-side with you, Jesus and inheriting the kingdom of contentment along the way!
Amen
***Now I am a proud owner of things that can not be bought. Bonus points: they were free, now that’s bargain shopping!!
Matthew 5:5b

Light On,
Kelley Allison
John1:4-5

Get Connected

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Do you shy away from really connecting with other women in your life? Are you afraid of being judged? Afraid of being hurt by a friendship? Well, stop that! We are live wires to
connecting others to God. God works in and through us to connect with people…especially women! We need relationships with other women for this very reason!

So open up, buttercup!
Mind you, you can’t just tell everyone …your junk, but there are certain relationships in your life that God has ordained to help you through what you are going through at this very moment.

I get so excited and encouraged when I am a part of other women connecting, getting vulnerable, and relating and encouraging each other through God! Seriously, it brings me such joy!

So, what if you don’t have women in your life that you feel comfortable relating or sharing with? Well, pray for them to pop up. Be that person for someone else!

When I moved to the outskirts of Houston with my would-be husband, in 2006, I had one friend in our neighborhood and my closest friend was still living in town miles away. I remember Jeff telling me for such a long time, you really need to make friends. You need to join a play group or something, but I just wasn’t ready. I just wasn’t ready to connect. I wasn’t happy with myself or fully happy with the life I was living.

It took me almost 2 years to join a Bible study group at my church. That one group of women has been a part of radically changing my life. That one group has evolved and grown and is still a foundation for me. That one group has helped me open up, reveal, get real, deal, heal and start stepping into my calling of encouraging others through Christ!

So, get vulnerable ladies. Find some peeps to get real with and blow the roof off your life!

~Stephanie Wanic

#godsbeautysecrets #beautyqueenwisdom #getreal#getvulnerable

Move The Cheese!

“You say I am free how can it be?”

We feel unworthy, stained, broken and just plain not good enough at times. Especially if we play the “Let’s Compare Ourselves” game. We look at others who appear to be easily “all that” and feel “not that”. Ladies, we are the best players of this game.

Stop and REFUSE to participate.
Homey, don’t play that!! Boink!!!!

The truth is that we are ALL broken. We all have issues, some days more outstanding than others!!
Choose ye this day whom ye will serve!!! Are you going to accept the lies that encircle you with the chains of insecurity or the truth that sets you free?
Jesus, I choose to compare my life to what you have done for me!!

Listen to the words from the song, “Can It Be” by Lauren Daigle
“Jesus you plead my cause….
you gave your life to give me mine…..
You break my chains you overcome!!!”

Roll the dice and make a move to the link below and listen as the truth lands you on a new space with the draw of “get out of jail free” card.

Move the Cheese!!!

Isaiah 61:3
to provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, a mantle of praise instead of a spirit of despair.” “Then people will call them “Oaks of Righteousness”, “The Planting of the LORD”, in order to display his splendor.

http://youtu.be/Wt5X91ciE6Y

Light On,
Kelley Allison
John1:4-5