5 Steps Toward Purpose

I heard an incredibly impactful message today by John Bevere. He spoke about the calling on a believer. The calling only given by the Almighty. We all have one. We all have a purpose in this life that if lived out to its fullest potential will impact future generations in ways only God knows. Are you living out your calling?

I was born into a family that believed in Christ. We attended church every Sunday in my childhood. In my early teens I mostly attended church of my own will. I had an encounter with the Holy Spirit when I was about 13 years old on a youth trip that sticks with me to this day. I continued for a few years seeking Jesus on and off, all the while flirting with things of this world. Eventually, I found myself in a relationship much too mature for my age.

The relationship with that young man opened doors in my life that should never have been opened. I loved him deeply. At least the only way I knew how. He loved me equally, the way he knew how. But we were both broken people. And as young kids often do, we hurt each other, and only deepened the lies we already believed about ourselves.

Because of the pain inflicted on me due to that relationship, I began to believe the lie “I am not enough”. I believed that no one else would protect and care for me, but me. I believed in a counterfeit god, a false protector, instead of trusting the one true God to protect me. It wasn’t the first time the false protector showed himself, and it wouldn’t be the last.

I was in and out of that relationship into my young adult years. Around 20 years old I got so tired of trying to keep the relationship going, I radically turned my life over to the Lord. I spent 2 years in a school of ministry and had almost daily encounters with the Holy Spirit that are difficult to describe to those who have never experienced the supernatural. The Lord called me. He called me to minister to young women and to impact this generation for the Kingdom. I didn’t know what my calling looked like. But Christ began to reveal pieces of the puzzle slowly, as he often does.

I began to learn to hear the Lord’s voice and to prophesy. I began ministry in inner healing and deliverance. (The process of un-learning lies, and learning truths about identity as a believer in Christ) I felt empowered to do things that I never felt confidant to do before. I felt like the bumbling coward Peter, being transformed into a powerful minister! I wasn’t there yet, but I was transforming.

Unfortunately, my roots didn’t go deep, and when rough seas came, I couldn’t endure the storm. I experienced hurt again, but this time through the church. My church father and mother abandoned me. But the false protector came knocking on my door again. That familiar counterfeit god felt comfortable to me and I ran back to the world. I sought the ways of the world for 7 long and temultuos years.

I dabbled in sin I never imagined I could participate in. All the while comfortably confidant and proud of how well I took care of myself. I didn’t need God’s help (at least for a while), I could take care of myself. I played, I partied, and I marched on. I was strong and independent. But I soon found myself in another destructive relationship. Neither of these relationships started out that way, but again over  time my expectations weren’t met. Why? Because deep inside I knew I was a daughter of God and desired much more for my life.

I finally succumbed to my pain. I’m not sure if I really missed Jesus at that point to be frank. But I missed the peace that he brought. The shalom. I cried out to God for deliverance from my own choices.  A way out of my pain. And He delivered.

It’s been a steady uphill climb out of that place ever since. I say uphill, because I didn’t receive instantaneous inner healing. God can and does provide that kind of healing. But I didn’t receive my healing that way. God required me to put in some effort.

I met my amazing husband in the early hour of my return to Christ. He has been a great source of strength and encouragement. We fell in love and fast.  It was the love fairy tales are made of with one big difference, we’ve made a choice to love each other everyday since.

I’d like to say I was this really whole person when we met and before we got married, but that’s just not true. We met and married at the beginning of my uphill climb. We both have wounds that have caused us to doubt our sonship in the Kingdom. But we are claiming our freedom and healing. My husband has loved me well through this process and I don’t deserve him. It’s only by the grace of God that I have such an amazing man to lead me in this life.

It’s been almost 8 years since God pulled me out of that pit. One thing that has troubled me ever since: What’s my calling now? Did it ever change? How do I pick up where I left off? I’ve had to pursue wholeness from all the messy choices I’ve made over the years. I’m still pursuing wholeness. It’s been a challenge to not have regrets, to not feel condemned for all the years lost.

When I heard this message, “Steward Your Life for Eternity” by John Bevere I felt empowered in a way I haven’t felt since my school of ministry days. I have a whole life ahead to live out my calling. I don’t want to waste the life I have been blessed with. I want to hear the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” And be rewarded accordingly, as a daughter of God. It’s not about works, but truly living out my purpose, what I was created to do. No regrets. I’m still pressing in for direction, and little by little I’m seeing more of what God has in store.

Have you messed up in this life? Taken a few wrong turns? It’s not over. Many of “The Greats” didn’t start their ministry until late in life. Here are 5 practical ways to pursue your purpose and let go of the past. Don’t let your past dictate your future too.

1. Accept- Accept the past for what it is, the past. Leave it there. Realize the past is part of your redemptive story. There is someone going through what you experienced and they need to see you on the other side.

2. Forgive Yourself- Forgive yourself for making poor choices. Choices that weren’t God’s perfect plan for you. Actually verbalize, “I forgive myself for ______ ” And go through as many things as necessary to release it all to the Father.

3. Forgive Others- Forgive and release the people that hurt you. Walk through each name and feel the pain. If there is still pain there, then there is still a need for freedom in that area. “I forgive John for _____.” Feel the pain, and then release it.

4. Forgive God- I realize God can’t and didn’t sin against you. But you are the prisoner of your own anger and bitterness toward God. Release forgiveness so you don’t stay prisoner. (For me, I felt as though God didn’t protect me at certain times in my life when I was vulnerable).

5. Dream-Give yourself permission to dream again. Allow the story of your life to unfold. Be a carefree young adult again dreaming of how you’re going to change the world for the Kingdom of God. What does that look like for you? Ask God.

I encourage you to listened to John Bevere’s message here, and get with God. Seek Him and ask if you are fulfilling your purpose. It doesn’t matter if you are supposed to evangelize the nations or evangelize your babies at home, do what God purposed you to do. And do it with your whole heart and soul.

 

It’s Monday…

 

 

How a Busy Mom Stays Connected to the Holy Spirit

One of the most difficult aspects of being a mom is learning how to balance my devotional life with being a mom. And yet without a daily connection to the Lord, my lifeline, it’s not possible for me to be the best mom I can be.

Of course, there’s no one right way to stay connected, and I have all sorts of things I do through out the day to keep connected to the Holy Spirit. But lately one stands out for me.

One of my bad habits is waking up and immediately thumbing through my phone. It helps my eyes wake up! Unfortunately, we’ve been teaching our children not to fill there minds with cartoons first thing in morning, and instead to feed their spirit. You see my dilemma?

Instead of feeding the flesh, I decided to try opening my bible first thing even before getting out of bed.    Can you believe it? The phone light is great for reading!

The sweetest thing happened the other day. My 6 year old climbed into bed with me right as I was about to read. So I began to read the story of the Apostle Paul (Saul) being knocked off his horse by the Lord. I asked her if she wanted to sit with me and listen and she said yes. She sat quietly listening the whole time. At the end, I asked her if she had any questions. She quietly said no. But then she said, “Mama, thank you so much for reading that to me. Can we do that again?”

WAY TO MELT A MAMA’S HEART!

Sometimes, we make things more complicated than they need to be. Sometimes, there are simple solutions to getting what we need. Sometimes, connection to the Holy Spirit is closer than we think. I challenge you this week to slow down and listen for the subtle ways to stay connected to the Lord. And let your children join in!

Crockpot Chicken & Tomato Soup

This week at the Cruze Clan the kiddos started baseball and the week has been a complete whirlwind. Days that I work are incredibly hectic for the Cruze Clan household, as I’m sure it is for many of your homes! I’m always looking for new recipes that I can throw together quickly, especially if I can throw it all in the crockpot and have it ready when we all get home. I am not a particularly gifted cook,  I rely on my Pinterest friends to be creative and share their recipes!

We eat A LOT of chicken around our house, the tough thing about crockpot chicken is it always has the same stringy texture. My kids get a bit tired of the same ole’ chicken crockpot meal. (and I bet you do too) I have to say tonight we  tried a really great new recipe, and it was amazing! Even the kiddos gobbled it all down. I know you will enjoy this one, its a must for this week’s meal plan!

This recipe is so great, and it’s Whole 30 friendly as well. Start by spraying down your crockpot with nonstick spray or use a liner. Pour all the liquid ingredients right into the pot (tomato paste, tomato sauce, coconut milk, diced tomatoes, broth) mix it up with a spoon, stir in onions, garlic, basil, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper and chicken. (I use frozen breasts).

“Creamy” Crockpot Chicken and Tomato Soup

8 frozen skinless boneless chicken breast
2 tablespoons Italian Seasoning
1 tablespoon dried basil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large onion, chopped
2 14 oz. can of coconut milk (full fat), shake before opening can to avoid separation
2 14 oz. can diced tomatoes and juice
2 cups of chicken broth
1 small can of tomato paste
1/2 jar of your favorite tomato sauce
Sea Salt and pepper to taste

I love the crockpot below because it’s large and fits plenty of food for my family.

I used half the ingredients for my family and still had left overs. In fact we were low on chicken breasts and funds this week, so I used only 2 large chicken breasts and we still had plenty. The broth is very hearty and very filling.

Original recipe from River North Paleo Girl. This recipe is a great Paleo friendly/Whole 30/Clean Eating Recipe. Relax moms! Dinner is done!

http://rivernorthpaleo.blogspot.com/2012/03/creamy-crockpot-chicken-and-tomato-

 

 

 

 

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Just Getting Started

Today I spent 3 hours just working on my page layout and some of the behind-the-scenes activity of running the blog. All the while, my 6 and 4 year old were screaming and fighting in the background. Isn’t it ironic, or maybe just sovereign that the message I heard this morning by Kris Vallatton from Bethel Church in Redding, was about perseverance. If you are not familiar with Bethel Church or Kris Vallatton, you can check them out at krisvallotton.com or bethelredding.com

This generation is so talented and gifted in so many ways. We’ve led a life that’s so much more privileged than that of our parents and grandparents. We take it all for granted. We as a generation do not know how to persevere through hard times.

I realize that persevering through my kids fighting while working on my blog isn’t exactly what Kris was referring to, but nonetheless, it kept me focused on the task at hand! This blog is something the Lord put on my heart almost a year ago, and I have yet to really get it going.  I  believe there is a purpose. Whether its to encourage another mom out there or to bring in some extra income for my family, I am perservering Lord!

 

How to Trust the Storm

We all go through challenges in life, but in the life of a Christian, we know that suffering brings spiritual growth if we embrace it. Have you ever considered that Jesus could have easily directed the boat away from the storm? Instead, he directed his friends into the storm. Because even though we are often afraid of the storm, the storm brings growth in our lives.

Last week we were devastated to learn of an attack on our family and our belief system that was incredibly hurtful to me. The attack was out of ignorance, but it was nonetheless, painful. And it has the potential to bring a lot of division in our family.

I found myself feeling afraid and out of control of my circumstances. It was like there was a tornado swirling the pieces of my life around ready to slam them to the ground at any moment. God quickly reminded me of a situation that occurred with my 6 year old daughter a few nights earlier.

My daughter has a homemade beaded bracelet that she loves. The other night she dropped the bracelet and all the beads broke off and went flying all over the floor. Red, green, purple, pink, the colors were everywhere.  She immediately hit the floor crying, and my husband quietly whispered to me, “Don’t make a bigger deal out of it than it really is.” We calmly helped her pick up the pieces, and let her know that we could easily help her put the bracelet back together.

In regards to the recent attack on our family, I felt the Lord whispered, “Don’t you trust me in the same way? That I can easily see the big picture, and put the pieces back together.” So simple, and yet so easy to forget when your emotions are high.

My heart was aching, and quite frankly, at the time, I didn’t trust Him. I was afraid and I was hurting. I was bitter and angry. I was frustrated and I felt out of control. But I took His words to heart, and I began to cry out to Him. I prayed….I yelled at Satan….I cried, and cried some more. And then I let it go and trusted that the Lord is who he says he is. That he can be trusted to take care of the small things and the things in life that seem too big a burden for anyone to bear.

Even when I don’t know what the future holds. When I don’t know how the situation will turn out. I trust that the Lord is faithful and he will pick up the pieces of my broken heart and put them back together.

 

 

Hello world!

I’m so excited to set out on this new journey that God has me on. I being challenged to start a blog to share my life story with you! I hope that I can impart some of my experiences to further your growth as a mother, wife, Christian, and friend! Let’s do this together!