Purpose Through The Struggle

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What’s the thing that’s got you twisted and inside out right now? What’s the problem that’s eating away at your spirit? You know, that hurtful struggle that has sunk it’s teeth into you and latched on to every aspect of your life. I’m talking about that personal struggle you have. The one that you wouldn’t share with others if your life depended on it. You’d rather saw off your big toe than admit that struggle. That struggle that feels like it’s weighing down on you harder each second that ticks by. Yeah, that’s the one I’m getting at. 

Maybe it’s an addiction, heartache, feeling of rejection, health problem, failure, or whatever brand of struggle you have breathing down your back right now. But, listen reader, God has a purpose for that devilish struggle. He’s going to use it to turn your life around if you let Him. Sit down and ponder… and I mean really think. That meditative prayer kind of pondering. Maybe you just need to ask God what the heck His plan is for all of this pain? Sometimes He’ll give you an answer and sometimes (more often than not) He’ll push you to grow through the struggle. It’s quite possible (almost affirmative) that His plan is for you to grow closer to Him and teach you to fix your attentive wide eyed stare right up at Him rather than at your struggle. 

You don’t see the reason for the struggle but I can 100% tell you with a slap straight face that He knows. BIG BETS. He’s already weaved a purpose through your struggle. He already knows that outcome. And you ask why on earth won’t He share this with you? Because then you’d have the opportunity to say no. God is a God of action and He’d rather let you experience the flourishing purpose that is going to come out of your struggle. 

Instead of asking God to take you out of your hardship, ask Him to prepare you for the purpose. Ask Him to get you excited about the strength that He is growing in you because there is a purpose for that struggle.

By Grace

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My memory verse for the month of February is Ephesians 2:8-9, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith- and this is not for yourselves, it is the gift of God- not by works, so that no one can boast.” 

How beautiful that we don’t have to earn saving. God doesn’t make us jump through hoops to get salvation. He saw the sin of His creation, so He sent a solution which is Jesus. This is only by the grace of God. There’s no getting around it. Everyone would be doomed if it weren’t for God covering us with His unchanging grace. We’d be stuck in that rut called sin. We’d never break free from the hopeless prisons that we confine ourselves too. We have no hope without grace. 

Jesus comes from grace and hope comes from Jesus. Then God wraps it up with a big bow and freely gifts it to everyone who asks. We declare that God has covered us in His grace through our faith in Him. We have to have faith that His grace truly has covered us. Praise Jesus that His grace has saved me and not my own works. If you look around you can clearly see that we live in a world full of individuals who have put their faith in themselves while deeming them efficient enough to save themselves. As a result we live in a chaotic and confused world. But, thanks to the grace of God we don’t have to live in that confusion if we choose so. Allow yourself to be washed in His grace because it’s offered up for us, His most beloved creation. 

Side note: Check out Jon McLaughlin’s new album, Angst and Grace, because it is one of my new favorites. (Insert all the heart eye emojis.) 

Good Conversation With A Good God

This morning God and I had one of the best conversations that we’ve ever had together. I’d like to think it was two-sided, but honestly I did most of the talking and He did a lot of listening. Isn’t it amazing that God already knows every single thing that’s going on in our lives but He chooses to listen anyway? That’s right, He CHOOSES to listen to our requests and rants when He could simply dismiss us.

I’ve had so many girls come to me discouraged because their prayer life is bland. They don’t know how to pray and they don’t know what to pray about. In fact, they had almost given up on prayer altogether because they got distracted during their conversations with God and no longer saw a point in it at all. This made me sad, but I realized that I was in the same boat. I typically think that prayer is the hardest part of my relationship with God. How ridiculous is this considering prayer is our most prominent line of communication with God. My mind is terrible about getting distracted when I’m talking to Him and I know that it’s the enemy trying to break up our communication.

This morning I realized it’s okay to get distracted. It’s okay if my mind wanders off for a few seconds. Think about it. In our daily conversations with other people there are times when our minds wander off. Maybe even sometimes our eyes glaze over and we look like we’re on Mars. The point is that God knows we’re human. He knows we all have a little bit of ADHD in us. What was different about my conversation with Him this morning is that I decided I wasn’t going to let the enemy break up my conversation. In fact, the enemy’s goal is to distract you which leads to discouragement that will make you quit.

I didn’t worry about the words I chose or how theologically educated I sounded. I just talked to Him. Sure, I my mind wandered a little bit at times, but I didn’t get discouraged. I picked up where I left off (as best I could) in my conversation. Don’t be discouraged by distractions. All Jesus wants is His time with you and He wants you to tell Him EVERYTHING.

Guard Your Mouth… Or Should I Say Keyboard?

Proverbs 13:3 says, “The one who guards his mouth protects his life; the one who opens his lips invites his own run.”

After reading this verse in my quiet time this morning, I knew I had to blog about it. It reminded me of how in today’s society the Church can be just a bunch of noise. From the outside looking in we can look like a bunch of protestors making a whole lot of commotion. We say way too much on social media than we should which only stirs up anger and turns people away. In our modern culture today we could change this verse to say, “The one who guards his fingers from typing protects his life…” It hurts my heart to see some of the things Christians put out on their social media, things that hurt other Christians and turn away nonbelievers.

High depression rates in people today is no doubt the effect of social media. Don’t get me wrong, social media can be used as a great asset to the Church and in a lot of ways it has been, but it has damaged the view of Christianity for a lot of onlookers. We HAVE to strive to use our tongues and keyboards to spread the Word of Jesus, and not to bash those who fall.

For instance, our job is NOT  to ridicule and slander the homosexual community and abortionists all over our social media. Our job is most certainly to educate, but over all our job is to put down our smart phones and go out and love on gay people, abortionists, and get this…wait for it… even people who have different political views than us! Okay… don’t hyperventilate… just take a deep breathe. Jesus followers, it is our job to love others through our posts and actions and love them well. Everyday your social media, actions, and words should be a reflection of Christ.

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My Sabbath Guidelines

Happy Friday, ya’ll! The Lord has really placed the importance of Sabbath on my heart lately. I know that I’ve blogged about the importance of taking a Sabbath before, and now I want to give you some of the guidelines I follow for myself in order to have a fun, relaxing, and rejuvenating Sabbath. I’ve recently learned that a Sabbath day isn’t just a day to be lazy, but it’s a day of celebration. It’s a day to look forward to and even “treat yo’self”! On my Sabbath day, which is Saturday, I don’t always just stay in my pajamas all day and sip coffee (which is one of my favorite things to do) I do things that are fun and that I wouldn’t always do during a typical “work day”. Here’s a list of things I cut out and implement on my Saturday Sabbath day.

  • No calorie counting (It sounds awful, but lately I have been monitoring my calories on a daily basis. Ew, I know.)
  • No social media. 
  • No emailing or checking emails. 
  • No laundry or cleaning. (whoop whoop)
  • No babysitting. (Sorry, parents.)
  • No lesson planning. (I’m a preschool teacher.)

Now, here’s a list of my favorite things to do on my Sabbath day.

  • Be with family and friends.
  • Go to parties/gatherings. 
  • Do fun things like going to movies, plays, dinners, etc.
  • Binge reading.
  • Binge writing. 
  • TV watching. (Ya’ll know I had to put Netflix somewhere on this list.)
  • TREATING MYSELF – Because Sabbath is a CELEBRATION!

Now, your list doesn’t have to look anything like mine. You have to figure out what your day of rest looks like to you and remember to celebrate!

Where Does Disappointment Come From?

Disappointment occurs when we take our eyes off of Jesus. In Matthew 14 the disciples are out on a boat without Jesus. Verse 24 says, “But the boat was already over a mile from land, battered by the waves, because the wind was against them.” It’s interesting that Matthews says the wind was against them. The disciples in the boat were fighting against the waves and they were terrified. I am sure they felt consumed by the waves and that at any moment they would be swallowed up into the sea. This relates so much to our lives. I know that I feel like I am constantly fighting against the waves of disappointment that come up against me daily. Everyday there is a new wave that comes up and rocks my faith. Sometimes I get to the point where I feel like I just want to throw my hands up and let the storm swallow me whole. But, the story did not end there for the disciples and it will not end there for me or you.

Long story short, the disciples see Jesus walking toward them on the water and He says, “Have courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid!” That’s exactly how Jesus calls out to us when we feel like we’re about to be overcome by the waves. Then Peter decided that he was going to walk on the water to Jesus, but then he starts to focus on the strength of the winds rather than the strength of Jesus. This so beautifully relates to our lives. When we take our eyes off of Jesus things start to go south. We may start to get irritable, our emotions spiral, and we feel disappointed. We get disappointed because what we’re looking at is scary. When we’re not looking at Jesus, all we see are the winds and the waves. It’s impossible to be disappointed and terrified when we’re looking at the face of Jesus. Disappointment comes from taking our focus off of Jesus. 

Disappointment Happens

Everyone’s been disappointed at some point in their life. It’s so easy to be let down by other people. Sometimes it feels like people continually let you down. Disappointment can be a domino effect. The enemy will put little road blocks of disappointment in your life to make you feel like everything is falling apart. He’ll do anything to make you give up. Failing is falling into the enemy’s illusion that disappointment comes from God. God didn’t create disappointment, we did in Genesis three. Disappointment comes from man and not from God. God never disappoints or discourages. Satan will do whatever it takes to demolish you, but on the other hand Jesus will do whatever it takes for you to flourish. 

The enemy wants you to put all of your eggs in one earthly basket. He wants you to put all of your hope in human beings rather than God. Why is this? Because he knows in the end you’ll be disappointed by that human being. Satan is so desperate, he will twist the good intentions of others to lead you away from the Lord. We get so discouraged because we put all of our eggs in one basket. We put all of our hope in that pastor, parent, boss, friend, or leader and in the end we come up discouraged because we’ve been let down. The only time it’s acceptable to put all of your eggs in one basket is when that basket is Jesus. God is the only one that will never fail you. He’ll never let you down or walk away. You’ll never come up disappointed when all of your hope is put in Him. 

A New Focus To End Abortion

Here’s Google’s definition of abortion: “the deliberate termination of a human pregnancy.” Here’s Merriam-Webster’s definition of abortion: “the termination of a pregnancy after, accompanied by, resulting in, or closely followed by the death of a fetus.” (Emphasis added by me.) If we mesh these two definitions together, here is what it would be: “the deliberate termination of a human pregnancy resulting in the death of a human fetus.” If a fetus supposedly isn’t alive or unharmed in the carrying out of an abortion then why would these definitions state that a fetus dies. How can something die that was never alive or feeling? That’s right, it can’t. 

Just today alone as of 3:30pm on January 24TH, 2019 1,654 babies have been aborted. IN JUST A FEW HOURS ALONE. 60,479 babies and counting have been aborted so far in 2019 alone. The Church should be one it’s knees weeping and in constant prayer over this. But, instead we’re too worried about how bomb our insta story is. Wake up Church and get your hands dirty. Human babies are dying every second and the blood is on our hands. How did we ever let this get so out of hand? When did we turn a blind eye to the pro-choice politicians, planned parenthood groups, and the mothers that are so desperate for help they would sink so low as to murder their own babies. 

Maybe it sounds like I’m being too hard on the Church? I disagree. The people of God have a bad history of falling off track and focusing on the wrong things. Or maybe we bring in the money, but don’t have any willing workers to do the “dirty work.” “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into the harvest fields.” Matthew 9:37. That’s what I’m going to ask of you. I’m going to ask you to be a worker. I’ve decided that I’m no longer going to sit and watch this horrific act happen, I’m going to do my best to do something about it. The Fearless Journey is now going to be focused on and dedicated to helping end abortion. If you’d like to be a part of a prayer chain that The Fearless Journey is starting to end abortion, email fearlessfaithjorney@gmail.com for details. In the near future The Fearless Journey will have multiple opportunities and projects for you to be a part of. Stay tuned! 

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139:13-14. 

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Two Tips For Tuesday

Get a prayer journal. If you’re like me then you have the hardest time concentrating during prayer. I’ve never had problems with ADHD, in fact I normally concentrate really well. The enemy will do anything he can to wreck your time with the Lord. He loves to distract us and send our mind soaring off to lala land when we’re trying to concentrate on God. Lately, I’ve had the hardest time praying because my mind is constantly jumping to other distractions. I’ve noticed that writing down my prayers helps me so much. Sometimes I write my prayer down in a letter format, but sometimes I just list out the things I want to talk to God about. This always helps me to stay on track during my prayer time.

Sit up straight. Okay, I know this tip has nothing to do with having a prayer journal, but I think it’s super important. Your posture affects you more mentally and physically than you may realize. Sitting up straight and holding your shoulders back can greatly improve your overall mood. I’m guilty of slouching just as much as the next person, but I’m telling you that this really improves how you feel. But, in order for sitting up straight to have a positive affect you have to do it consistently, make it a habit. 

10 Gentle Reminders For Modern Day Etiquette by: Bella Lee from Budget Friendly Luxury

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Making others feel at ease is the essence of etiquette yesterday and today.

You don’t have to be a master conversationalist to put someone at ease. Simply look them in the eye, give them your full attention and be a open listener. Everyone loves to feel like they are the only person in the room.

There are few words more elementary or more welcomed than please and thank you.

As a mom, I remember constantly telling my son, “Don’t forget your pleases and thank yous.” As a southerner, these words were ingrained in my brain at birth (along with Yes Ma’am). However, today we sometime forgot how important these little words are. Take the time to remember your “pleases and thank yous.”

Good moods are contagious.  Hopefully, yours will be  pleasantly catching.

My motto is “life is too short to be rude.” Walk around with a smile on your face and a sunny disposition. You will notice not only a marked improvement in your mental health but you will be amazed at the people that want to be around you

Be aware and considerate of personal space–physical, visual and aural.

Close talkers and close walkers. Need I say more?

Showing respect is a gift, one that costs nothing and is  endlessly appreciated.

While it is easy to show respect to those in authority: parents, teachers, bosses, it is much harder to remember to show respect to those serving us. Be mindful and kind to those that help you: your waiters, your cashiers, the janitors. They should be respected and thanked for a job well done.

Think of your tone of voice as a telegraph. To the listener it speaks volumes.

I am a loud talker by nature. I have to be careful of this so that my excitement doesn’t come off as yelling.

A short fuse does nothing but burn.  Should you find  yourself  with one, steer clear from others.

There is nothing worse than being around someone in a bad mood. Don’t be that person!

Never underestimate the message that’s sent by your  poise and posture.

I went to etiquette school when I was a young girl. I was taught the proper way to walk and sit in a chair (and yes books on the head may have been involved). While I may have laxed a bit in my old age, I will always walk into a room with my shoulders back and my head held high. (Ms Pauline Murrs would be so proud!)

Clothes count.  Appropriate attire is not only respectful, it’s refreshing.

Kate Spade says,”Showing an appreciation for time and place are reflected first in your appearance: it’s often what leaves a lasting impression as well.” Your clothes don’t have to be expensive but they do need to flatter your body and be appropriate for the occasion.

Let common sense be your guide and graciousness your goal.

Be mindful of little ways that you might be considerate towards others: holding the door open for the person behind you, greet shopworkers with a hello and how are you, tip your servers well. Leave a positive footprint wherever you go.

I love manners and etiquette books. In fact, I have amassed quite a collection over the years. The ten tips here were from Kate Spade’s book Manners. All of the commentary on her gentle reminders were my own.

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Meet Bella Lee
Born in Atlanta, I’m a Southern belle at heart. I have spent my professional life as an event planner so I know a thing or two about throwing a party and creating spectacular events on a budget. I’m married to my college sweetheart and have a twelve year old son. I now live in Boca Raton, FL and I am convinced that I will never tire of looking out my windows and seeing palm trees. If you have questions or comments about the posts, feel free to connect with me at bella@budgetfriendlyluxury.com. I would love to hear from you.