Gandhi said, “ The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is an attribute of the strong.” I imagine everyone has someone in their life to forgive. We forgive people who have harmed us not because they asked for our forgiveness, not because they deserve our forgiveness, but because we deserve peace. When you choose to forgive someone you take away their power. Forgiveness does not excuse their behavior. Forgiveness frees us from the negative energy that binds you. Nelson Mandela agrees, “When a deep injury is done to us, we never heal until we forgive.” Pray to your God for the strength to forgive the people who have hurt you. You will know a new sense of freedom. Peace to your hearts, Sarah
God’s love is available to you no matter where you are. Scripture is filled with this promise, “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:18). Invite the Holy Spirit to live inside your heart and to bless you with peace. Draw close to God in prayer and meditation. “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7). You do not need to hide anything from God. He is all knowing and loving. His grace is real and you will receive it simply by asking. Your God is near to you.
Painting done by a woman inmate
Beginning today–let go of struggle and welcome the joy of a new year. Your conditions do not have to be perfect. Create in your daily routine a space for positive thinking and healing. Do this for twenty minutes a day and the universe will reward you. Find your inspiration through conversations with positive people, through literature, and Scripture. Find the strength through prayer and steadfast reflection. Isaiah 40:31 promises, “but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
Peace to your hearts, Sarah
Your worth is not found in your bank account, relationship status, or your outward beauty. Your worth can be found in God’s love for you. Today, I ask that you can begin to love yourself in a divine way. God knows our brokenness. Scripture tells us, “He heals the wounds of every shattered heart.” (Psalm 147:3); “
After your season of suffering, God in all his grace will RESTORE, CONFIRM, STRENGTHEN and ESTABLISH you. (1Peter 5:10) It is with this confidence that we can begin to heal. It is with this truth we can learn to love ourselves just as we are today. Peace to your hearts, Sarah
(painting created by inmate)
Butterflies remind me that it is never too late to transform ourselves. Transformation can be uncomfortable. It is okay to be uncomfortable. We are one decision away from a different life. At times we may feel like we are falling apart. We are not falling apart- we are in the process of change. We often find ourselves in a space of who we once were and who we will become. It is necessary to shed old ways and beliefs that no longer serve us. Within us is the power to rise above struggle. Sometimes God will give us this space of transition to develop a spirit of transformation. Scripture is filled with promises of transformation, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” (Ezekiel 36:26) Our time as a caterpillar is over, our wings are ready to open. Peace, Sarah
LOVE. HURT. HAPPINESS. ABUSE. HOPE. ADDICTION. BIPOLAR. It doesn’t matter which words you use to describe my life because I have experienced all of them. Even though I am behind bars, I have all that I need in my life– my Savior Jesus Christ. I have never been so free. Scripture teaches me, “So if the son sets you free you will be free indeed.” I am free in my paintings and it gives me the intense gratification that I need.
Most every day I talk to someone who is afraid or anxious of something. Even the most courageous people have fears to overcome. In order to overcome anxiety, we must make our God bigger than our fears. When we focus on our fear, we can become paralyzed. When we magnify our God we can become free, we can live the life we are destined to. God will shower us with peace in moments of distress. We simply have to call on Him.
Perhaps my most favorite illustration of God’s love for us in times of fear and uncertainty can be found in Matthew 6:26-30:
“Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.”
I thought of the lilies of the field. Flowers do not need permission to bloom. I meditated on this image for a while. I pictured the flowers blooming and dancing in the wind. I could hear the birds chirping and the warmth of the sun on my face. I imagined myself to be a lily, growing a bit stronger each day.
This week’s Stepping into Favor message is a poem written by one of the ladies that we serve in the community……
Prayer written by Sunshine Gaddis
I sit here in my head again
My heart is torn
My soul won’t mend
I’ve tried so hard to be strong everyday
When all I want to do is curl up and go away
I am tormented by these demons inside
Their hands are all around me
Pulling me over to the dark side
I can see the top of the hole I am in but
Then I am slowly being pulled down again
I fight and I claw with all my might
To get to the top
To get to the light
But the more I claw
The deeper I fall
The daylight is there–I can see it with my two eyes
It’d just out of reach so I begin to cry
Please God help me if you are really there
All I need answered is this one simple prayer
Then from above a loud voice came to say,
“Don’t worry my child, your prayer will be answered today.”
I look up to the sky to see a friendly face
With an outreached hand full of God’s grace
I am sending you back to earth with a purpose to fulfill
Never will it be easy but it will always be true
You don’t walk this life of chaos alone like you think
I am always by your side ready to help in a blink
The happiness of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts.
We are often harsh on ourselves, focusing on our weaknesses and what is lacking in our life. Negative self-talk often results in low self-esteem and a lack of confidence. It is necessary to train your brain to think and feel positive. When a negative thought enters your mind take a deep breath. Name your negative thought and allow yourself to feel it. Next, release it. Breathe in naming the negative thought–breathe out releasing it. Redirect your thinking with a life-giving phrase, “I live free from struggle and fear.”
Our minds are powerful tools, when you fill it with positive thoughts your life will change. This will take practice. Be gentle with yourself. You have to realize that you are good enough and worthy. Once you know this, no one can take it from you.
Let today be the day you love yourself enough to work toward the life you desire. Courage is a decision. Fear is a reaction.
You must choose courage over comfort and do what is right instead of what is easy. When we practice this daily our life will become more than we could have imagined. I have been told that courage is nothing more than taking one step more than you thought you could. Take the step forward in faith. Scripture encourages us, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6)
Remember to whom you belong. You are a child of the Most High God. You are destined to be victorious.
Peace to your hearts, Sarah