1 Peter 4:10- Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in various forms.
Can you think of something that you are good at doing? You know, something that does not require much effort on your part. It comes very natural to you. Perhaps, so natural that you really don’t give it much thought when you’re doing it. Yet, you often find that others comment on your ability to do it and do it well. Or, maybe it is something that you absolutely love to do that energizes you like nothing else does. You may even get excited at the sheer thought of doing it. Regardless of what it may be or how it may effect you, it is a gift. A gift from The Lord that he intends for you to use to serve others, and one that the two of you, together, can undoubtedly use to fulfill your dream. Both of which are meant to satisfy a calling on your life, and inevitably direct others towards him. This brings me to the second reason that I believe The Lord gives us dreams to fulfill.
See, although our dreams are unique to us, they do not stop with us. There are no borders surrounding them. In fact, the opposite is true. Our dreams are meant to reach far beyond ourselves in order to positively impact the lives of others. Take a look around you right now . There is proof of this every where you turn. Everything that takes up space in your home started with someone’s dream. From the furniture to the décor to the appliances and everything in between. What about the job that you drive to each day or the various businesses that you pass on the way or frequently use? Those, too, started with someone’s dream. How about the different organizations, non profits, social clubs that you are a part of? Every one of them started with someone’s dream, and somehow impacts your life.
I say all of that to say this, it is imperative that we not only use the gifts that we have been given to serve others, but that we use them to see our dreams to fruition. Better yet, to fulfill his purpose for us in this life. Our dreams are the very things that The Lord uses to reach his people in the work place, on the streets, in the schools….everywhere. It is not enough to think about them any longer, we must take action! For our dreams are designed for us, to be fulfilled by us and for him to reach others through us! Walk into each new day with confidence knowing that there is a purpose for your life, many who are waiting on you to fulfill it, and The Creator who is cheering you on!
Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in The Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and He will make your paths straight.
Now that we know that our dreams come from God, why do you suppose he gives them to us? I mean, why would The Creator of The Universe, the one who sees all things, knows all things, and created all things, give us task in the form of dreams to accomplish in this life? After all, he’s God. He is fully capable of doing whatever he wants done, and he doesn’t need our help to do it. Wait, maybe that’s it! Maybe, it has nothing to do with needing our help as much as it does with wanting it. But, the question remains. Why? Well, I believe there are three good reasons, and transforming our hearts is the first.
See, although our gifts point us in the direction of our dreams and help us to achieve them, they will not be enough to see them to fruition. In order for them to become a reality we will need to expand our thinking, learn new skills, develop trust in ourselves and most importantly, in The Lord. After all, our dreams started with him, and will require us to depend on him to see them through. This process will not only change our understanding of things, but transform our hearts, too.
I, for one, can certainly attest to this having built this website on my own. I knew that The Lord had called me to creating a blog to share his message with the world, but I did not know the first thing about building a website. I felt confident about writing the content, yet inadequate about the very platform that I would be using to share it. Honestly, the development of it was quite frustrating at first. But, with time, persistence & prayer, I launched the blog on December 31, 2018. The project required me to trust him completely, and to lean not on my own understanding of things, for certain. As a result I gained a wealth of knowledge & skills, and a website that I am proud to share.
On that note, I want to leave you with this. The Lord has given you a dream to fulfill, and he wants to transform your heart in the pursuit of it. This dream is unique to you. No one, but you can fulfill it the way that you can. That is, the way that you and The Lord, together can. That said, you have a choice . You can choose to see it through, or to let it pass. What will it be? Choose wisely! For one will bring you great joy & fulfillment, and the other…a load of regret.
Psalm 37:4- Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Welcome back, my friends! I hope you all had a restful weekend surrounded by those that you love, and that you shared many laughs while creating beautiful memories. The Watson’s certainly did! And the sunshine that finally made it’s way back to north Texas was the added bonus. Although it was chilly, we managed to enjoy the outdoors after being inside for several days due to the cold temperatures. I, for one, love the cold weather as long as I am somewhere with a heater, warm blanket, sweat pants, and a cup of coffee, hot chocolate or warm tea. Oh, and socks! Warm socks are a must!!!
Now that you know my feet being warm in the winter is a requirement, lets move on to the topic of dreams, which is where we will be focusing our attention to this week. Meriam-Webster.com defines a dream as a strongly desired goal or purpose. Have you ever experienced a strong desire to accomplish something…anything? Maybe it was to start a business, a ministry or a non profit. Perhaps it was to write a book, travel, start a family, etc. Whatever “it” was for you, did you get excited about the thought of it coming to fruition? Did it keep you up late or wake you up early researching information about it on the web? I believe it did something of the sort! I also believe that it was uniquely picked for you, and you alone, by The Creator of The Universe. Yes, the one who spoke all things into being gave YOU a dream!
You see, I have read Psalm 37:4 multiple times over the years; however, it wasn’t until I looked at it from a different angle, that my vision became clearer and my understanding of it much deeper. Not only does The Lord want us to have the things we want in this life, as all good fathers do for their children, but he actually gives us the very desire for them. So these dreams are not just something that we have thought of on our own, but rather something that The Lord has planted in our hearts.
I truly hope you see the beauty in this. For me, it was a game changer. Once I realized that my dreams were sent from above, unique to me and that I was the only one who could see them to pass, a shift took place in my approach towards life. My days are no longer filled with thoughts of my dreams, but the pursuit of achieving them. My hope is that yours will be too.
Please, take a few minutes today to unpack the dreams that you once had. You, like the old me, likely tucked them away due to circumstances or perhaps out of fear. Look at them with a new set of lenses. You may just discover that they look a little different to you now!
(Photo credit- Montana Watson)
Psalm 118:24- This is the day The Lord has made, let us be glad and rejoice in it.
For the past 3 days we have talked about the importance of celebrating our struggles, victories and loved ones. We also touched on the blessings that come from doing so. But as I share my final thoughts on the topic with you today for the week, I want to stress, more than anything, the importance of celebrating the gift of today.
As a planner, I spent many years looking ahead without much thought for the present day. I could tell you what was on the schedule next week, next month, next year. Truth be told, I could go as far as telling you what I had planned for the next 5 years. I’m sure that The Lord found humor in this, as I now know, that His plan outweighs my own. But what I learned over time, was that I was robbing myself of the blessings that were all around me each day.
Looking back, I can see where The Lord was teaching me this through various experiences throughout my life. Although, I’d have to say that the lesson became very clear over the course of our daughter, Morgan’s original leukemia diagnosis. You see, there were days when Morgan would look us in the eyes and not know who we were. Then, there were days when she was in coma, and we were unsure if she would make it through the night. But, thankfully, there were also the really good days when she would wake up with enough energy for us all. Those were the days that we learned to embrace, by becoming spontaneous in every way. If Morgan woke up feeling well, we would set out on an adventure for the day. Sometimes that meant within the hospital walls, if she was inpatient. Ultimately, each day became so precious as we begin to see it for the gift that it was.
Listen, the truth is, none of us are guaranteed tomorrow. Nor are we guaranteed the life we have become accustomed to. It can change in a blink. Yes, just like that it can be taken away. Everything that we have worked for can disappear…our health, our wealth, our relationships, and ultimately, our lives. I know, because I’ve seen it… I’ve experienced it… I’ve lived it! This is exactly why we must learn to practice celebrating the gift of today every day, and the good & not so good that comes with it.
On that note, as we say goodbye until Monday, I wish you a weekend full of love & laughter. I pray that as you go to bed each night, and wake up each morning, that you recognize the gift that you have been given & understand the value that it holds. For The Creator of the Universe died over 2,000 years ago so that you could live, and live each day to the fullest!
Blessing to you all!
Romans 12:15 (NIV) – Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.
When I was a little girl, I grew up in a small town where everyone knew everyone. There was no such thing as a stranger. This meant that I couldn’t go to the grocery store, gas station or church on Sunday morning without someone knowing my name. And if by chance they didn’t know my name, they recognized me as so & so’s daughter, granddaughter, niece or cousin. Although there were a few disadvantages to this, it was always so comforting to me, for it generally resulted in a soft smile, gentle wave, warm hug &/or sweet conversation.
One of the greatest things about growing up in an environment like this, at least for me, is that I always felt supported. Whether there was something to celebrate or grieve within our home, I always knew that there were others around that would be there. Even today when I visit, having left the area many years ago, the same things occur. In fact, my family & I were recently in our hometown over the Christmas holiday where we were able to see many friends, family & acquaintances who inquired about Morgan’s health, and the launch of my website having been following us on social media. They were so supportive of both, which absolutely warmed my heart.
That being said, I recognize that things have changed over the years and that we are busier now than we have ever been. But, I do believe that making time to celebrate those that we care about is imperative. Whether we stop by for a visit, make a phone call, or send a card, we must strive to let others know that they are loved & supported. It is the essence of our existence, and the foundation for which blessings arise. Cheers!
(Photo credit- Montana Watson)
1 Corinthians 15:57 (NIV)- But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Good Tuesday morning, my friends! Happy New Year! I hope the events of New Years Eve found you reflecting on 2018 with ease, anticipating 2019 with excitement, and surrounded by those that you love! I know, I, as a wife, mother, daughter & friend, cannot think of a better way to end or began a year, than to be in the presence of those that I hold dear. For it has been these precious people who have walked beside me at my best, carried me at my worst, loved me unconditionally, and supported me through each goal &/or dream that I have set out to pursue in my 44 years of life.
Speaking of goals & dreams, with the new year at hand, I am sure that many of you, like myself , have some that you hope to accomplish this year. Perhaps yours are related to a business, education, employment, finances, health, relationships, etc. Whatever it may be, you have been given a fresh start…..a clean slate….a blank canvas to bring them to fruition. And, with a little planning, action & patience, I am confident that you are capable of doing just that.
But, before you do…may I offer you a little bit of advise? Good! Because I have set out on similar journey’s many times before, and believe that there are 2 crucial things that you must know, before you get started . First, don’t focus all of your attention on the end result that you miss the blessings along the way . To be honest, you achieving your dream has nothing to do with the dream, at all. Instead, it has everything to do with what happens in & through you on the path to achieving the dream. You see, when we push past our comfort zones, and reach for something greater, we begin to change as a result. That is, The Lord begins to change us. The process starts from the inside out. Our vision becomes a little clearer, our hearing more precise , and our hearts expand to the will of God.
Secondly, celebrate the small victories along the way to achieving your goal &/or dream. This is essential! You see, as we celebrate the small victories, we build momentum. This will help to sustain us for the long haul. Most importantly, it will shift our thinking towards gratitude, which is a firm foundation for all that we hope to accomplish in this lifetime. The more grateful we are for what we have & for what we are able to do, the more we will be given.
With this in mind, in 2019, may we look ahead with hope, be aware of the blessings in our midst, and celebrate the small victories along the way!
(Photo credit- Montana Watson)
James 1:2-3 (NLT)- Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.
Hi, my friends! Welcome to my little corner of the web! I am so excited that you stopped by for a visit, for I have been expecting you for quite some time. You see, although I have been preparing to launch this site today for the past several months, my blog, The Faith Filled Traveler has been in evolution for years. You, being here with me on this special day, has been anticipated for the duration of that time. With that in mind, please, make yourself at home. Discover a little about me and my vision for The Faith Filled Traveler, meet my family, and learn about my daughter, Morgan’s story by clicking on the tabs above. While you are at it, get comfortable. Grab a blanket & a cup of coffee. Let’s get started!
Each week, I will be focusing on one topic as I share my thoughts & ideas with you. Monday thru Thursday, we will approach each topic from different angles, with the goal of discovering the blessings that are hidden within them. This week, with the New Year upon us, we will direct our attention to the act of celebrating. I believe that as we dig deeper into this joyous act, we will find blessings that we may not have considered before now. On that note, lets dive into how The Faith Filled Traveler came about.
It was December 2009 following our daughter, Morgan’s original leukemia diagnosis. A member of her healthcare team suggested that we start a CaringBridge website, given the many visitors and phone calls we were receiving. For those of you that may not be familiar with CaringBridge, it is a free website that allows patients to share their healthcare journey with loved ones, without having to repeat updates to each individual. Although I was thankful for the suggestion, I was against the idea given our crazy schedules. I felt sure that it would consume more time than any of us had to give. That said, against my wishes, John & Morgan created the site. Before long, Morgan was blogging about her journey daily with a dedicated following. It was something she looked forward to doing each day that seemed to divert her attention from the grueling treatment she was receiving .
A month into the project, Morgan became very ill and was unable to maintain the site. Considering how much it meant to her, and the people that were depending on the information, I agreed to continue to update everyone, until she was able to do so, again. Before long, days turned into weeks, weeks turned into months, and months turned into years. Some 2 years later, I was still posting updates, and realized that the blog had become a big part of my life, and was an outlet for my soul. The CaringBridge website that I was reluctant to be a part of, had become something that I looked forward to each night and a tool that The Lord was using it to do a work in me. You see, while He used it to share Morgan’ s journey with many, He also used it to bring forth the purpose that He had created me to fulfill in the world…hence, The Faith Filled Traveler.
I share this story with you today to encourage you. Know that if you are faced with challenges that seem much too big for you to bear, The Lord is at work on your behalf. You are not alone. He is there beside you creating something so beautiful and He’s using your current circumstance to do it. His word reminds us that what was meant for our harm, He will use for our good (Genesis 50:20). Take some time today to meditate on these words. Then, reflect on the events of the past 12 months. Dare to celebrate both the good and not so good. For it is through the trials that we endure in this life that our faith is tested, and beautiful blessings abound!