I launched my brand new website today. Check it out at www.jenneacevedo.com!
If you’ve ever been caught in a thunderstorm, you know they can come on fast. The morning can be bright, sunny, and clear. But that afternoon wind comes in, bringing a fierce storm with it. Loud thunder, deadly lightning, and damaging winds can take you by surprise, leaving you exposed and in danger. The best way to stay safe is to find appropriate shelter.
Life can be like a summer storm. One moment, the kids are playing basketball in the pool, and the next, you find yourself in the emergency room. A phone call interrupts a quiet day at work, and suddenly, work doesn’t feel so important anymore. What do we do when these storms come out of nowhere? We seek shelter.
“For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock,” (Psalm 27:5 NIV). Our shelter is found in God’s loving embrace. Even amidst the storms, he can bring us peace and joy.
Dear Father, I want you to be my shelter, my safe place. Hold me in your arms and give me wisdom and endurance to press on through the storms of life. Amen.
I did not always call him Daddy. Even as a young girl, I called him Dad. But as I grew up and learned more about life, I saw how God had blessed me with this incredible father. Our relationship began to change. I had an appreciation for the impact of a father on his daughter and admired his commitment to our family. I began to call him Daddy. This name was not only a term of endearment, but a term of respect. As an only girl growing up with three brothers, I was always close to my mom, but Daddy has a special place in my heart.
I admired his dedication to our family and his love and protection of my mom. His commitment to our church was evident, serving in leadership for as long as I can remember. I knew I wanted a husband like that some day.
Daddy cherished me. He understood the significance of being a daddy and the role he played in my growing spirit. I was blessed with this amazing man of God to protect me, guide me, teach me, and love me as I blossomed from a little girl into a woman. The basis of his love, grace, and integrity gave me a solid foundation to understand my Heavenly Father. I knew this was a gift not many were given.
My daddy has given so much to those around him. He is loved, respected, and admired by many, especially by his children and grandchildren. “The godly walk with integrity; blessed are their children who follow them,” (Proverbs 20:7 NLT). I have been truly blessed by my Heavenly Father who gave me such a special daddy.
Happy Father’s Day!
(This is an excerpt from my story, “Wedding Trusses,” in Grandfather, Father and Me by Donna Clark Goodrich.)
We were never meant to live alone. God is with always with us. But, do you feel His presence?
“So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
Isaiah 41:10 NIV
His Word assures us of His presence and His strength. Trying to live in our own strength is exhausting. I tried it for awhile and was miserable. I knew God was there, but I didn’t think He would want to be bothered with the same problems over and over. I was wrong. Not only is He there, He wants to be our strength, to help us.
This verse, written hundreds of years before Jesus ever came, encouraged God’s people who were living in a time when nations were fighting nations. Though we may or may not be concerned about our life like they were, we need God just as much as they did. They didn’t know the grace and love of Jesus, but they knew their Father.
In verse 13, God says He takes our hand and tells us again not to fear, that He will help us. He will help you. I picture a little child taking her daddy’s hand and knowing everything will be alright. Our Father brings us that same comfort.
You may be unable to feel His presence right now, but He is with you. You may still fear, but He is with you. Seek Him now. Your problems won’t magically disappear, but let Him hold your hand. Let Him be your strength. Stop trying to do it on your own.
Dear Father, thank You for being my strength when I can barely take another breath. And thank You for holding my hand through every moment. Help me remember that I am never alone. Amen.
Look around . . . are people really happy? They are running from one errand to the next, in and out of meetings, and picking up their kids at school. That feigned smile remains on their face, but what does it mean? Are they hiding something?
We all wear masks because sometimes we don’t want others to see how we really feel. We go to church and smile as we listen. Did the message resonate in our hearts, or was it just another scheduled appointment? Do we believe what was said or just go along with it?
Many of us hide behind a mask of pain or fear. A broken relationship, a difficult child, a challenging diagnosis that means learning a new way of life. The mask is a self-preservation mechanism, but does it really work? Do we feel better with it on? Or has it been on for so long we don’t even remember it’s there?
If we believe what God says about us, then we can take off the mask. God says, “I have loved you with a love that lasts forever. I have kept on loving you with faithful love,” (Jeremiah 31:3 NIRV). He says we are loved, just as we are. It doesn’t matter what we are dealing with behind closed doors. God already knows, and loves us anyway. He wants us to be real so we can find peace in Him.
Dear Lord, help us to see the masks we wear. Give us the courage to be real. We want to find our peace in You. Amen.
To willingly admit that I suffer with anxiety took a long time. I did not want to be labeled as one of those people, always worried about everything, who just needed to get over it. I purposely stayed away from others for over a year. I didn’t want others to see my struggle. But God knew.
Thankfully, God met me there and brought a few godly women into my life who were able to speak to my fragile heart. I began to trust others with my pain. God used them to take my hand and show me I was not alone.
Many of us live in anxiety or another personal prison. We do not want others to see how difficult life really is, because they may think poorly of us. We fear their judgment, their reactions, and even their well-meaning “help.”
God already knows everything about us and wants to bring us peace. The Psalmist said, “Lord, you have seen what is in my heart. You know all about me. You know when I sit down and when I get up. You know what I’m thinking even though you are far away. You know when I go out to work and when I come back home. You know exactly how I live. Lord, even before I speak a word, you know all about it. You are all around me. You are behind me and in front of me. You hold me in your power. I’m amazed at how well you know me. It’s more than I can understand,” (Psalm 139:1–6 NIRV).
Once I let God work in my heart, I found freedom in sharing my story. I have the privilege of sharing this renewed hope. I know He is the only one whose perception matters. And He is crazy about me.
Dear Lord, You are my Prince of Peace. Thank You for giving me good friends who saw me through Your eyes. You know everything about me and still love me desperately. I am in awe of Your amazing love. Amen.
I stood in the kitchen listening to my eleven-year-old and thirteen-year-old sons messing around at the table after lunch. They were trying to one-up each other, and I didn’t like what I was hearing. I reminded them that we encourage one another in our home, and they were not doing that. After a few seconds of silence, they began again. Another reminder was given, this time a bit more stern. Laughter ensued as they contemplated whether or not to obey or continue. Yep … they continued.
The mom voice came out then, that I’ve-had-it-and-you-are-really-in-trouble-now tone. “I said knock it off. NOW. Stop talking. Shut your mouth, and don’t make a sound!” Their big eyes and silent stares said they knew I was serious. After a minute, my younger son said, “Well, that was encouraging, Mom.” And laughter erupted once more, me included.
In an effort to teach my children to be kind to one another, I yelled at them. Not the best example for them to follow, and they called me out. Thankfully, I have a perfect God who covers me in grace, and I have sweet kids who understand that mom makes mistakes too.
My passion in life is encouraging others. I love to encourage my kids and other children to be the best they can be. I love to encourage moms who are struggling to make it through the grind or their current catastrophe. I love to encourage women to find their hope and joy in Christ. And I love to encourage writers to use their God-given talents to honor the Lord. But, I was not modeling encouragement to my boys that day.
First Timothy 4:16 says, “Keep a close watch on how you live and on your teaching. Stay true to what is right for the sake of your own salvation and the salvation of those who hear you” (NLT). I want to watch my words and model what I teach. I want my words and my life to encourage others, especially my children. I know I will fall short of that goal at times, but I will do the best I can to honor God with every word and every action.
Dear Lord, may my words and my life be pleasing to you. Thank you for your grace that covers my imperfections. And thank you for my sweet children who teach me every day. Amen.