Stir Up Joy

Joy, Joy, Joy, and more Joy! That’s what we need. The joy of the Lord is your strength.

So much of life tries to wear us down and steal our joy, that’s when we need to stir up joy on the inside of us.

I remember this song from when I was little, but I find myself still singing it sometimes LOL.

I’ve got that joy joy joy joy down in my heart –Where? 
Down in my heart –Where? 
Down in my heart –Where? 
I’ve got that joy joy joy joy down in my heart –Where? 
Down in my heart to stay 

Do you remember it? I might be dating myself😊

So how do we live with more joy in our lives?

Praise! Nothing can stir up joy better than getting your praise on!🙌🏻 It’s the highest form of prayer. When nothing seems to be going right and your down in the dumps just putting on some praise music can literally change the atmosphere. It also lets the devil know he is under your feet!! Because he wants nothing more for you to stay down, depressed, and hopeless. But praise and worship moves our hearts to God and he is inclined to move closer to us and move in our circumstances when we praise and worship him for Him!

Every day I will bless You and lovingly praise You; Yes, [with awe-inspired reverence] I will praise Your name forever and ever. Psalm 145:2

Another thing I would say is extending grace to yourself, it might sound sill but when your busy hating yourself or being hard yourself you can’t walk in joy and peace. I don’t know about you but this is one thing I’ve really struggled with and something I’m learning to do. For instance, I’ve struggled with eating disorder, can I just say how much shame and guilt come with this. But I feel like I’m finally on a path to breaking free.

I’m not approaching these changes as a weight loss goals although that may happen. Instead of restricting things I give myself permission to eat and not feel guilty or bad after. I haven’t felt that way in I can’t remember when? Not sure if that makes sense or not. I’ve been able to eat things I would have never ate before, like fruit every day, fruit has been taboo for years. I’ve even been able to eat a treat in the evenings sometimes. The old me thought fruit had to many carbs but then I’d turn around and eat a bunch of GF cookies….because that doesn’t have carbs LOL.

Now I know for some people with diabetes like my husband they do have to watch their carbs but which is understandable but that wasn’t me. For whatever reason I developed a really warped mindset against food and body image So allowing God to renew my mind and extending grace to myself is crucial to my freedom.

Praise God, I haven’t binged very much at all, maybe because I’m giving myself permission to eat and not feel the usual guilt and shame. I have been praying a lot and just asking God to give me strength, wisdom and to renew my mind and change my view of food and image. I know I’ll make mistakes but today that’s ok I don’t have to try and be perfect and put on a mask. I can be the real me! We need to learn to extend the same grace to ourselves that we would extend to someone else. 

I know I’ve mentioned this before but confessing His word daily is so important to renew our minds and bringing more JOY to our lives. But you gotta actually speak it out loud over yourself, your marriage and family, your health and finances, etc.

Being thankful and having a grateful heart increases our joy. Be thankful and SAY SO!!

The Word:

A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. Proverbs 17:22

Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and a thank offering and into His courts with praise! Be thankful and say so to Him, bless and affectionately praise His name! Psalm 100:4

Praise the Lord, all nations! Extol him, all peoples! For great is his steadfast love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord! Psalm 117:1-2

The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing. Zephaniah 3:17

Decide, make up your mind and keep it set that no matter what the enemy throws at you YOU WILL WALK IN JOY.

Questions to help stir you up and ponder:

1. What are some ways you can express walking in joy in your own life?

2. What situations in your own life do you notice the enemy tries to steal your joy?

3. In what situations of your life have you experienced the joy of the Lord as your strength to get through certain trials?

Prayer:

Heavenly Father restore to me the joy of your salvation and let us not grow weary. I thank you for loving me and extending grace to me when I make mistakes. Help me to extend that same grace You give to us to others and myself. Help me to praise You in the trials of life and walk on your ways always. Fill my heart with unspeakable joy no matter what is going on. Bless my family and marriage and let us walk in you favor in Jesus name, Amen!

Big hugs,

Nicole💗

Rise Up Daughter Of The King

It’s time to Rise Up!!

Don’t be shaken by what’s going on around you…..NO! You Rise Up because your a daughter of the King! He says “Be strong and courageous!! Don’t tremble or be terrified, becus The Lord your God is with you wherever you go!!”

Sweet friend you were born for such a time as this and you are anointed for hard!!

His word says in Isaiah 41:10 Fear not, for I am with you; do not look around in terror or be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen and harden you to difficulties, yes, I will help you; yes I will hold you up and retain you with My victorious right hand……..so rise to the occasion!!

Remind the devil who you are and Who’s you are! Then remind him of what happens to him because you’ve read the end of The Book, and he is under your feet!! Amen!!

She’s a mighty warrior princess child of God and her prayers move mountains.”

“You say I am loved when I can’t feel a thing. You say I am strong when I think I am weak. You say I am held when I am falling short When I don’t belong, oh You say that I am Yours. And I believe, oh I believe, What You say of me. I believe.”

You Say by Lauren Daigle

The Word:

Shake yourself free, Jerusalem! Rise from the dust and sit on your throne! Undo the chains that bind you, captive people of Zion! Isaiah 52:2

Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you. Isaiah 60:1

The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; Isaiah 61:1

God’s word for you:

Daughter it’s time for new beginnings, new levels, and fresh starts. You are My princess warrior, anointed for hard, capable of changing the world. Stand firm precious one and press into Me. I am calling you up to a place of victory, favor, provision and abundance. Renew your mind, put on the whole Armor of God and prepare yourself for battle. Call to Me and I will answer you, and tell you great and mighty things which you do not know. I will open up the windows of Heaven and pour out a blessing that you cannot contain sweet one. I will release My power, My wisdom, My Spirit on you. Walk with Me, talk with Me. Arise My love. You are a Overcomer! You aren’t fighting for victory. You are fighting FROM victory. I am transforming you into My image more and more everyday! You don’t have to walk in confusion, fear, and worry because I have given you the mind of Christ. You are steadfast and immovable daughter. Now go forth and walk in your anointing and destiny. I have loved you with everlasting love and will do exceedingly, abundantly, above and beyond all you could ever hope, ask or think. No weapon formed against you will prosper. Daughter, you are My masterpiece and you were bought with a price. I love you💗

Love,

God

Things Are Always Changing

Good morning my beautiful readers! How are y’all doing today? What’s new in your life? My youngest daughter is home for a couple of days, we are meeting with the caterer today and shopping for new outfits for her job interviews coming up. She is going to be the best teacher. So excited for her new journey….graduating in May and getting married in July. Times are a changing here at the Hopkins homestead.

Change brings about many emotions, doesn’t it? Fear is the first one time come to mind. I guess because of all the unknowns. What all will change? Will things still be the same in your relationship, etc? Will I get to see my children very often? There’s also grief, the grief of losing something or the grief of how things will change and not be the same anymore. Then loneliness or sadness, you feel like your losing a child or sad things won’t be the same in your relationship. Just the loneliness or emptiness of it all. There’s also happiness and excitement, seeing your child grow into a beautiful godly successful young man or woman. Just waiting to see what all God has in store for them. All the prayers you’ve prayed, seeing them come to pass.

I guess I say all that to say, things are always changing, we just gotta roll with it and not get stick somewhere along that path. I’ve been the one who got stuck and it’s not a fun place to be. Enjoy the journey my friend because just because a season might be coming to an end doesn’t mean everything is lost. It just means things are going to a new level, I know there is excitement mixed with fear when we go to a new level, but God is with you always. Your relationship might look different but I believe it just has the opportunity to go deeper, and you cherish your time more with loved ones.

See God is not finished with you just because your children grow up. No way! He’s got so much more in store for you and them. I’m blessed to have been a stay at home wife/mom but as my kids grew up and they start leaving the nest, I really struggled. We do still have our oldest at home, but she’s so busy with work and church, and small group you wouldn’t know she’s here lol. But I tell ya throughout all the changes my husband and I have grown closer and I’m also able to travel with him whenever I want, I didn’t have that luxury when they were little. So yes there are sad changes but there are also good changes as well. Look for the positive instead of dwelling on the negative.

Just a couple of our trips…

Let me ask you, what has God been speaking to your heart to do that you have been to afraid to do or just simply didn’t have the time?

One thing I’ve learned is when you step out in faith to walk in your destiny or something new, you will have opposition. The devil doesn’t just roll out a red carpet for you. Often times there seems to be one attack after another. Once we make an unwavering decision to walk in God’s plan for our lives, the enemy ramps up and opposition begins. But can I just say…..he is just trying to distract you, wear you out, because if he can do that he gets your joy and ultimately that’s what he wants. He knows the joy of the Lord is your strength.

God’s word says,”For a wide door of opportunity for effectual service has opened to me and there are many adversaries.(1cor 16:9)

Be determined sweet friend that you are not giving up, quitting is NOT an option!!! Make up your mind, and keep it set!! Keep your eye on the prize, finish your course with joy! Do not fear, God is with you every step of the way. It maybe hard and scary but God didn’t give you a spirit of fear, He gave you a spirit of peace, love, joy, discipline, self control and a sound mind!

Help us Lord that as things change in our lives, we won’t look at them in a negative light but that we will embrace where we are on our journey and believe You for bigger dreams and better and stronger relationships. Thank you that you are not finished with us yet, we are just entering a new season. Help us to grow closer to You and our family and friends. No matter what changes come we will not walk in fear, we will not retreat, we will not back down but we will press into You and persevere!! Strengthen us for the battle Lord so that we might finish the course strong in Jesus name, Amen!

Big hugs,

Nicole💗

We Celebrate Love, But What Is Love?

Check out my friend, Ryan’s blog on the love of God! It’s powerful! I shared his post earlier to pray for his wife, and God healed her. Thank y’all for your prayers! Prayer works! God is so good.🙏🏻🙌🏻

Ryan Callahan's Blog

Rose Rose in our backyard summer 2018

Hello everyone!  I didn’t write a post yesterday because I have been spending time taking in what the Lord did for my wife and praising Him.  Even though the Lord has done so many amazing miracles in my life before, it is still a bit overwhelming when He moves in power like that.  You are awesome God!  Thank You Jesus!  The Lord has strengthened our family greatly and we are at peace.  He helped me take it all in and He moved in my heart this morning to get back to writing.  When the Lord does a miracle, we praise Him, then keep moving forward in Him!  So, Valentine’s Day is tomorrow and millions (possibly billions) of people around the world will be celebrating love.  There is just one problem.  Most of us don’t even know what love truly is.  We can only discover…

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Anxiety & Me

Great post! Love her heart and honesty. “The reason for this particular post is to tell everyone to do not just celebrate your biggest accomplishments because the tiniest of them matter as well. You can help your mind to stop focusing on their sizes and shift it to focus solely on the fact that you have accomplished another task in life whether it was on your list or not.“

*UNBREAKABLE QUEEN'S LIFE LESSONS DIARY*

I was asked recently “what does your anxiety feel like” and frankly it took me sometime to be able to come up with a answer. Most times I am extremely good at not showing signs of it to the outside world around me but lately everything is becoming too much but not to the point that I am doubting my ability to handle it all though. Reason being that I have dealt with anxiety all through out my life and similar to the views of evolution I have been able to adapt to my current surrounding because of how I was able to handle it in the past. For myself I came to realize that I can no longer complain about my anxiety holding me back because I had to acknowledge the fact that if my anxiety was holding me back from anything I was the one who allowed it…

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H🌼PE

Hey y’all! Hope you’ve had a great weekend so far. Our church has had Marriage Conference this weekend, Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott, they are AMAZING! It just reminds me that no matter where we are at God is still there and there’s is STILL HOPE! I know it’s hard to see sometimes but He is always working on our behalf.

Sweet friend, let me just be real with you for a moment, God loves you with an everlasting love. He’s not disappointed that you made a mistake. He is not afraid of what’s happening in your life, nor was He caught off guard. Nope you were NO surprise to him.

We worry about a lot of things but let me just say your finances aren’t to far gone…Nope! He’s Jehovah-jireh, My God, My Provider.

That sickness, disease, pain, depression…Nope that’s not to big for him either. Because he’s JehovahRapha, My God, My Healer.

Jehovah Gmolah, the God of Recompense. Yes that’s right He’s the God of restoration to families, to marriages, to our bodies, to whatever we need. He gives you back double for your trouble!!

Keep a grip on Hope, sometimes it takes both hands to hang on but never let go precious one!

Hope is favorable and confident expectation; it’s an expectant attitude that something good is going to happen and things will work out, no matter what situation we’re facing.

Do you have a confident expectation for what your believing God for or have you just giving up all hope of seeing it come to pass?

My friend, God is faithful and what he does for one he will do for another sometimes we just have to hang on a little longer. And we gotta press in a little deeper, and grip hope with both hands and just don’t let go!!

Whatever storm your going through I know it seems big BUT GOD IS BIGGER and he is with you every step of the way. He’s also on the inside of you strengthening you precious one. He is for you not against you and He is working all things out for your good so keep a grip on hope for He is forever a faithful God!

Praying for you always sweet readers. You each are so special. You bring your own unique style to our BIG BLOG FAMILY. Hope you have a blessed week coming up.

Big hugs,

Nicole💗

Going Through The Storm

My husband and I just let for Las Vegas Sunday for a business trip, mixed with fun and pleasure💑

Our plane ride was so rocky, the pilot came over the intercom and told us we were gonna have a rocky ride 30 mins a couple different times because there were storms and snow and we had to go through some of it. If you know me, flying it not my favorite but I’m always up traveling 😉 I usually say a prayer, listen to my music or watch a movie.

The picture above was one were we had descended some. You could see where the storm had been. It was beautiful.

That one statement just really resonated with me. “We have to go through the storm.” And isn’t that just what we need to do in life? We often have to go through storms if life. Sometimes God removes the problem or situation but more often than not……we gotta go through!

I wish I could say if you decide to follow Jesus your life will be easy and you’ll have no problems but I can’t!

“You can be both in the center of God’s will, and still in a storm.” Tony Evans

We live in a fallen world so it doesn’t exempt us just because we are followers of Christ we won’t have trials. Let me assure you that when the trials come you don’t have to go through them alone. God is with you ALWAYS!!

So instead of focusing on the problem or situation we need to focus on God’s promises! My friend, ALL of God’s promises are YES and AMEN!!

“Never let the presence of a storm cause you to doubt the presence of the Lord.”

Hang in the sweet one! God is with you….ALWAYS!

Big hugs,

Nicole💗

Bondage Breaker

Faith doesn’t create reality, faith responds to reality. It’s not the idea that you merely “believe” that counts; it’s WHAT and WHO you believe in that counts!!

Everybody believes in something and everybody walks by faith according to what he or she believes. BUT “WHAT IF” what you believe isn’t true???? Then what you live won’t be right. ~Bondage Breaker #Jesussaves #walkbyfaith

Big hugs,

Nicole 💗

BALANCE… IS IT POSSIBLE?

Please check out my sweet friend blog. She is full of wisdom and such an encourager! Love her heart💗🙏🏻🙌🏻

Becoming HIS Tapestry

Hey friends, how are you today? How is your day? Did you, like me, hit the ground running? I promised myself, I would make a conscience effort to slow down, but that dream can only become a reality, when I intentionally take the time to slow down.  As an empty~nester, it feels very wrong for me to be idle.  I just can’t do, I don’t know how, therefore, I’ve made some changes.  I’ve added more responsibilities to a not so empty schedule.  I now work five days a week, instead of two or three and very soon, I will be starting a young ladies bible study. The truth is these are not very difficult tasks, but they are time consuming.  Time consuming, did I already say, time consuming? Add two blog posts a week and I may be ready for bedlam. Thank God, He is in the time management business. …

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Good Good Father

You’re a good good father
It’s who you are, it’s who you are, it’s who you are
And I’m loved by you
It’s who I am, it’s who I am, it’s who I am
You’re a good good father Chris Tomlin

I love this song, it speaks to my very core.

Romans 8:15

The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship.[a] And by him we cry, “Abba,[b] Father.”

Before I was 2 my parents divorced and my relationship with my father wasn’t as good as it should have been or could have been. I would say it was lacking in many ways.

The word father can stir up lots of ideas for people and as to what they think and feel. For some it’s warm happy memories, trips, important events, etc. But for others it’s the complete opposite. It’s one of hurt, pain, rejection, and not being there. I would say I fit into this category and if this is you let me just say while I know it’s easy to think your Heavenly Father is just like your earthly father but this is so far from the truth.

Your Heavenly Father created you on purpose! He loves you with an everlasting love. He calls you beautiful, holy, righteous. He will NEVER EVER abandon you. You are the apple of his eye, his beautiful masterpiece. He would never hurt you or reject you.

But you say to yourself “How could He ever love someone such as myself? I’ve made so many mistakes.”

God is not only your Creator but also your Father but even more than that he’s a Good Good Father. He’s cares for you and has a plan and purpose for your life. Plans to prosper and not harm. Plans to give you a hope and future.

Sweet friend do you believe with your whole heart you are loved and a child of God?

The Word- Get it on the inside.

Romans 5:1; “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

I Corinthians 2:9; “No one has seen, or heard, or even imagined what wonderful things God has ready for those who love him.”

Galatians 5:22; “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness.”

John 14:27; “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

1 Peter 5:7; “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

Hebrews 4:16; “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

John 11:25 – 26; “Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?”

Psalm 103:4 -5; “who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”

Jeremiah 31:3 The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.

Begin to memorize the Word, try and apply it to your everyday life. If you can only do one that’s fine. Just study it, say it out loud, repeat it over and over. Let get down on the inside of you, and it I’ll come back to you when you need it.

Have you always trusted God? Or is there something you are in need of but you believe God will do it for someone else but not you? I know I’ve been that person. I thought God didn’t care about what I needed or what happened to me. I believed for others I just didn’t believe he loved me enough to do it for me.

In the beginning I spoke of how my relationship with my earthly father wasn’t very good when I was younger but our because we serve a Good Good Father what was once broken has been restored. We go on trips together, I had my first Christmas with my dad that I can remember this past year. We talk and text all the time. See He’s a God of restoration. He’s into giving back what the enemy has stolen from you. A double portion baby!

My prayer is that You would know Jesus, feel and sense His presence in your time of need. Pour out your heart to him. Keep asking, keep seeking, keep on knocking sweet friend! He loves His sons and daughters and watching over them and will perfect that which concern you. Because that’s just what a Good Good Father does.

Galatians 4:7 Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God.”

Big hugs,

Nicole💗