Remember all those random spa product gifts that you received in years past and are just sitting in a closet or drawer? Bubble bath, lotion, nail polish, facial kits, etc. Now is your chance to use them! I know you’ve probably been focusing on getting things done around the house, working remotely, or homeschooling the kids, but you need to make sure you take some time to pamper yourself.
Have you seen the word “self-care” thrown around a lot lately? Often times, it’s been from beauty product companies that are trying to convince you to buy their products, but they’re not wrong! During this time of waiting and having everything taken away from our schedules, what a perfect opportunity to do something for ourselves and steal some moments of relaxation.
My challenge to you is to brainstorm a little before you go out and buy anything. After all, most of us are watching our spending and doing a better job of saving and prioritizing. What can you do to treat yourself with what you have? I did this the other day and was pleasantly surprised at my findings without having to spend a dime! I found some bubble bath, lotion, nail polish, candles, and teeth whitening strips. I decided to just spend some time painting my nails and putting in white strips. It’s not like I was going to go anywhere, but spoiling myself a little was fun. And, I’ve been more diligent in lighting candles around the house or turning on my wax melter because good smells are one thing that relaxes me.
So, what about you? What can you do for some self-care and pampering yourself? See what you can do without spending money, and if needed, go online to Amazon or another beauty product site to spoil yourself a little and have everything delivered to your home. Remember that is’t okay to take some time to relax!
“This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” 2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT
As businesses slowly reopen and restrictions are gradually being lifted, there’s no mistake that the world will never be the same. We will never be the same. And that is not a bad thing! Priorities have changed Perspective has changed. And we need to realize this before we go racing back to what was previously “normal”.
I encourage you to stop and reflect before any more time passes Have you changed at all during this time? I know I have. I have spent more time with God, have only been buying necessities, and have felt more productive overall. I’ve also embraced the simplicity of no makeup and wearing sweatpants, and I’ve even had a chance to focus on my hobbies. I definitely want to continue some of these changes!
But what if you haven’t changed? What if you’re reading this and realize that you’re the same grumpy self you were before, or you’ve just been keeping your head above water during the past couple months? Friend, it’s not too late! We serve a God who can make all things new and can turn an old life into a new life.
Take some time today to make a little list of the areas of your life that you need help in and bring it before God. Don’t make the list too long though! Just write down a handful of things so you won’t get overwhelmed. And remember that this list isn’t for you to accomplish on your own. God is there to help you through! He is the miracle worker and doer of all things!
And before you continue with your day, stop and think of how you have changed during this time. You may have not realized it yet so spend some time reflecting before you get too down on yourself. I bet you can list one thing!
Remember that God loves you and turn an old life into new. You are never too far from His love!
Do you like to garden? Do you like to spend time in your yard helping things grow? What kinds of things do you grow? Fruits, vegetables, flowers, or do you just enjoy landscaping? I’ll admit I have no gardening experience. I don’t really like being outside unless it’s on a beach. When I was younger and my mom would ask me to help in the yard, I would tell her, “I don’t like dirt.”
For those of you who garden or work in the yard, have you ever poured time and energy into something that didn’t grow? How did that make you feel? You probably spent time on your hands and knees carefully caring for your plants, and then something came along and ruined it; weather, animals, or no growth for no reason.
My family used to make salsa every year, so my mom and aunt often grow gardens for the ingredients (tomatoes, peppers, cilantro). I remember one year there was a tomato blight, and most of their tomatoes were ruined which was extremely frustrating. All those hours planting and working, all for nothing. They didn’t do anything wrong. They planted the garden, worked like they were supposed to, and there was nothing to show for it.
Have you ever felt this way when it comes to your spiritual life? I know I have. You do what you’re supposed to. You pray, spend time with God, help at church, you’re kind, and every other thing that you know you’re supposed to be doing, but you don’t “feel” any different. You don’t “feel” closer to God even though you’re obedient. It doesn’t seem like you’re growing at all no matter what you do. If you’ve been a Christian for any amount of time, you know that you cannot rely on your feelings. Our lives are so much deeper than that and often feel like rollercoasters, but we just have to keep going.
James 1:2-4 says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
According to these verses, it’s pretty evident that trials and the testing of our faith is inevitable, but it’s how we respond and what comes out of these trials. Joy. Perseverance. Maturity. Completeness. He never says it will be easy, but he does promise that the end result will be good! Even if we can’t “feel” that God is doing something in our lives, we need to know that He does keep his promises and will help us grow and keep us strong.
We did make salsa the year of the tomato blight. Maybe not as much as usual, but we were able to continue our tradition. Our normal tomato crop wasn’t as great as normal, but other people did have tomatoes, and some were willing to give them to us! And there were some for sale at area farmer’s markets! Yes, it was frustrating at first, but we just needed to reach out and God provided for us. The end result: we were thankful for that salsa and the people who gave us tomatoes!
As you reflect on this passage, take a few moments to answer the following questions. What trials are you going through right now? Can you see how God can use those to help you grow closer to Him? Has He put others in your path to help you out? No matter what, keep growing!
“And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” Romans 5:5
Our house was sold, and then it wasn’t. When the COVID-19 social distancing was just starting, it wasn’t too hard to handle. Someone had just put an excellent offer on our house, and we were waiting for the final paperwork. Stay in the house for 3 weeks? No problem. I would have the house packed up in no time, and then we could see what was next.
A day passed by, and then another day, and then a couple more days. And, sure enough, the buyer was backing out for fear of the virus and the certain down-spin of the economy. I was crushed to say the least. I really thought we were finally going to find a new house. And with the social distancing mandate, there was no way someone would come look at our house or consider moving during this time. Disappointment was unbearable and inevitable.
I am thankful to have a roof over my head, but this house has caused me grief since day one. It pushes my anxiety over the top. See, I am not a country girl. I was not made to live where there is little internet or by a corn field that welcomes pests of all sorts. I want to be near civilization in a house that I feel comfortable with organizing like you wouldn’t believe. I want a house where my belongings get to be moved in immediately instead of five months later. I want a house where I actually know where my jewelry ended up.
There was this huge burst of hope, but now, hope seems to be gone. Hope seems to be dwindling. When will this end? When will people want to buy houses again? The thing about hope is that it seems to be gone, but it’s never truly gone. Even when disappointment seems to be reigning, there’s always a glimmer of hope, and hope does not disappoint. Sometimes, we need that hope to keep pressing forward, persevering, waiting for what’s next.
In my disappointment, I know I need to focus on being thankful and taking care of what God has given me. I am thankful that since our house was for sale, it was extremely clean before all of this started so we are able to tidy up each day and keep it fairly clean. I am thankful that we have fixed up so much in this house and have little fear of anything breaking since so much is brand new. And, I am thankful that the market as a whole is paused and it’s not just our house. These reminders keep hope alive in me. Above all, I know that God is in control.
So friends, what are you needing hope for right now? What disappointment has you so downtrodden that hope is having a hard time peaking through? God brings hope. He brings peace. Trust in him while you wait. Bring your disappointments to his feet and ask for help. Ask for hope. He’s got you.
Do you need a daily reminder to wait and trust in God for whatever you're waiting for? Download one (or all) of our four free phone wallpapers! The pictures on the wallpapers are from the generous and talented photographers at unsplash.com.
To download a wallpaper, simply hold the picture down and an option should come up to save the photo to your phone. Then, go through your usual routine of changing your phone wallpaper. Enjoy and be encouraged!