The Golden VLOG! Volume 1 – Intro!

Hey y’all! I am so glad that you are here! So, I’m SUPER excited to be linking up with Faith from Mrs. G and the Artist for her very awesome & first edition of The Golden Vlog! It’s just a fun way to grow in community with other bloggers & to share with the world who we are & what we do! I hope you enjoy my awkwardness & hope you don’t mind my rambling too much! Don’t you just love this hilarious thumbnail below?! HA! Oh my…

 

 

 

{check out this link if you aren’t able to view that one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c4BkuzYWE5Y }

I hope you enjoyed it! Now you know a little bit more about me! Hopefully you were able to stick it out until the end! Shew, you must really love me then ūüėČ See y’all on the flip side!

(do people even say that anymore?!)

You are loved!

Katie

Inspire Me // Volume 3

 

This big ole blogging world & all of the great community that it holds has had such a great impact on me after just a year and a half. One word comes to mind when I think of the blogosphere: inspiring!

Sometimes inspiration, dreaming, motivation, & creativity get pushed to the side when the ups & down of life happen. But is it really abundant living without all of those whimsical little words floating through our minds and out through our hands?

Here are the latest things that have been inspiring me lately… Enjoy! {simply click on the pictures if you want more info for your own inspiration!}

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This welcoming & rustic front porch totally inspires me to head over to hobby lobby, sweep off my vacant mini-front porch & redecorate! We are in the process of painting our front door an amazing TEAL like the picture below so we are off to a great start already!

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I totally love the garden veggies decorating the front steps… perfect for any season

4d509ab232478540177d52fabbe5c36aI am sooo itching to pull out my flannel for this lovely fall season that is creeping up on us!¬†I LOVE this combo- stripes & flannel. Who would have ever thought!? I’m super excited to put this together once the weather cools down!

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Speaking of fall, this delish homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte is totally calling my name. You can find the recipe by clicking on the picture! Pumpkin Spice lattes & frappes (okay anything pumpkin-flavored) are totally my weakness! Can’t wait to make this one!

615dc52e268b0f2121cd5d9e0974722fIf you aren’t familiar with French Press Mornings, I recommend that you go right after you leave my blog! They are amazing. I am loving this one especially since it’s from Romans, the summer study we have been doing!

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Our kitchen looks SO familiar to this one so I am itching to pull my sewing machine out to whip up some teal curtains & a DIY ‘eat’ sign to tie everything together.¬†And maybe even one day,¬†I will blog about it…that will give¬†me the motivation to actually do this!¬†LOVE!

ea3947d48b7d10a4d878d48da04c33bcThis quote… oh, this quote. Inspiring, motivating, convicting, & encouraging. I need to write this all over my house & in my car. Let’s do it, friend. Let’s let our faith in God be bigger than all of our fears. “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” 1 John 4:4

I hope that you have been inspired to get up & get to working on your home, your faith, your fashion, & your good eats!

What inspires you lately? I would LOVE to hear from you!

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When You’re Still Afraid of the Dark…

“The Lord is my light and my salvation‚ÄĒ
    whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life‚ÄĒ
¬†¬†¬†¬†of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1

When I was a kid, I remember lying in bed at night scared to death. I absolutely hated being by¬†myself at night¬†and I was terrified of what lurked in the darkness.¬†I was so scared of the dark that I would even¬†wear my glasses to bed just in case I had to get up and go to the bathroom or fight one of those monsters and I did this until I was at least twelve years old. Even though I was so afraid of the dark, I knew that God was bigger. I knew that He was the Protector of all things, my fragile, young self included. So I would pray. “Please God, send your biggest, strongest, and¬†most fat¬†angels into my room to protect me. Put them in the doorways so that nothing can come in to get me. Please God, send them, send them.” I prayed that prayer at least five times a night and I envisioned them floating down and standing in my doorway,¬†eight feet tall and six feet wide. Nothing could get to me. And then,¬†my eyes closed and my mind drifted off to sleep. I was safe.

Last night, after watching one too many episodes of Prison Break with my husband, I was lying in bed a little scared to be honest. Anyone who really truly knows me, knows that I’m a pretty sensitive person. I can’t watch disturbing or creepy things and I¬†would rather watch¬†rated G or PG movies over a rated R classic any day.¬†I believe that God has made me like this for a reason and I embrace my sensitivity. Last night as I was lying there, hoping no one would sneak into our room, I thought about all of those nights when I would ask God in complete faith to send my big angel friends to protect me and how He would, every time. I didn’t doubt for a minute that He wouldn’t hear my voice or answer my plea for help.

So why do doubt Him now? When darkness surrounds me in this life¬†and I feel like I’ll never make it out alive, I break under the pressure of fear and doubt. But, in reality, God isn’t any different from when I was a scared¬†young girl, lying in my bed at night. He hasn’t changed or gotten any tougher on me. He isn’t far away or too busy to answer my cries for help when the pressures of this world and it’s evils are¬†surrounding me.

I often wish that I could just believe without doubting so that God would work on my behalf. But is that really how our Heavenly Father works? No. God knows our frailty and our weakness. When I was that scared little girl, He knew that I was afraid of the dark and He protected me from it because He loves me, not because I did something right or was righteous enough for Him.

 He was simply protecting His child.  

Oh, how I long for childlike faith. I long for it but it’s in my reach and it’s in your reach. Heaven really isn’t¬†far away.¬†All I have to do is trust Him as the protective Father that He is. I don’t have to be good enough or say the correct words in my prayers. And even if I get a little too scared in the middle of my¬†cries for help, He isn’t going to call the search party off.

God loves us. He cares for us. We are His children. He is willing to save us at any time of the day. He is able to save us from drowning in fear and doubt and sin and pride. He is able to turn our broken hearts into whole, thriving ones.¬†He is able to heal our diseases and heal our hurts. He is able to pull us out of the pit¬†of anger and jealousy. He is able. He doesn’t save us because He thinks we earned it. All we have to do is cry out to Him for help, know that He is watching, listening,¬†and will come to our rescue, and trust Him. We must come to Him in child-like faith—- Sincere, pure, and bold faith.

We tend to over-think things as adults. We somehow believe that if we were only good enough or smart enough or brave enough, God will pay us attention. But it’s when we are at our weakest, our most vulnerable, at our most human and low state, He makes us new… because He is¬†madly in love with His people.¬†And He is just waiting to burst forth through¬†the dark to save us.

“Arise, shine, for your light has come,
    and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.
See, darkness covers the earth
    and thick darkness is over the peoples,
but the Lord rises upon you
    and his glory appears over you.
Nations will come to your light,
¬†¬†¬†¬†and kings to the brightness of your dawn.” Isaiah 60:1-3

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In what area of your life do you need to humbly come before God in childlike faith?

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In His light, we see light…

-Katie

Summer Bible Study: Romans // TEN

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Hey there! Have you enjoyed studying Romans? I sure have!¬†God has shown me many different things about what righteousness and faith really look like. More than that though, I feel as if I am in a season of the testing of my faith right now. So many things are bidding my action to faith and it has been a beautiful mess learning to have faith in all things, good & bad. I love that God doesn’t leave us alone to deal with our problems. He is with us and speaks right to us with His Word and I’m thankful that He has been doing just that while studying Romans. He is teaching me to truly live out what I study even if I fall a thousand times in the process. What has God been teaching, showing, or challenging you with through the study of Romans? Let me know in the comment section below!

Today, we are in Romans 10; a short yet powerful chapter of salvation for all people.

 

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Romans 10:1-4

What is this passage saying?

Paul is expressing that his heart’s desire and prayer to God is that the Jews who were placing their faith and hope for salvation in their works would come to know Christ, be saved. He says that they have that zeal yet they are ignorant of the true salvation that Christ bestows. The Jews that Paul is talking about were so focused on doing good works in order to become righteous, right before God. They didn’t accept the truth that Jesus had just paid their debt in full on the cross. Like we have talked about so often in the former chapters, that is true faith, believing in Him who paid our ransom for sin and made us righteous through His blood.

How can we practically apply these truths to my life?

Zeal, or passion,¬†and true knowledge of salvation go hand in hand in knowing God and serving Him. We can’t simply have passion without knowing anything about¬†Jesus because that just makes like any other person without Jesus. We can’t only have knowledge since passion is what moves us to desire God. Head knowledge doesn’t¬†mean¬†salvation. You have to have the heart behind it. You must be moved {zeal for God}¬†to repentance {knowledge of your sin & Christ’s forgiveness}. Passion & wisdom,¬†zeal and knowledge.¬†They go hand in hand!

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Romans 10:5-13

What is this passage saying?

Paul is quoting Moses from back in the OT {Leviticus to be exact} about how right standing before God is impossible if based only on the law. “To hope for a righteousness based on obedience to the law requires perfect conformity in every detail–an utter impossibility.” In verses six and seven, Paul speaks of righteousness by faith as if it were a person asking a question which is actually a quote from Deuteronomy 30. Isn’t he a pretty cool writer? “Do not say in your heart, “who will go into heaven?” that is, to¬†bring Christ down or,¬†“who will go down to the abyss?” that is to bring Christ up from the dead. On the contrary, what does it say? The message is near you, in your mouth and in your heart.”¬†¬†¬† He is meaning… you do not have to go on a soul-searching adventure to find salvation, Christ. It is right here. Right in front of your face. It has clearly been revealed by God to man through His Word. It is by faith alone that you are saved.

How can I practically apply these truth to my life?

This is the message of faith, the gospel, the salvation of mankind: if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord”, and believe with your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. {v. 9} Salvation is by faith in Jesus alone. You cannot earn your way to new life, freedom from sin, and eternity with Jesus. You can only have faith in Him for those things. Have you repented of your sin and asked for forgiveness? Do you really believe? Salvation is more than words. It’s a total giving away of your self to Jesus. It’s confessing that Jesus is Master over your life and you choose to give away your rights to Him. That’s what it means to confess that Jesus is Lord. It’s a way of life. It’s a daily pick-up-your-cross-and-follow-Jesus kind of decision.

One believes with the heart, resulting in righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, resulting in salvation.” {Rom. 10:10}

This salvation is available for all people. The white, the black, the rich, the poor, the needy, the prideful. All ages, all races. God is holding out in Hand for all of mankind.

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Romans 10:14-21

What is this passage saying?

God uses people, you & me, to make His name known to all the earth. There must be messengers for Christ going to the lost and unbelieving. Without messengers, people won’t hear. And those people hearing must be paying attention and believe. We,¬†mankind¬†are just like Israel. We are God’s children, chosen and loved. Yet, we continually choose our own way. We choose our own way. Some ears are bent on not listening. The point Paul is making is that we are all disobedient, whether we “look” good on the outside or not. Jew or Gentile, we are all in need of Christ.

How can I practically apply these passages to my life?

Thankfully, God is in control and we are not. He does the sending, the convicting, and the heart-changing. But as Christ followers, we have responsibility. Jesus has called each one of us out of the boat, out of our comfort zones, out of the norm to take the message of salvation to the ends of the earth. How are you on mission in your life for Christ?

¬†Then Jesus came to them and said, ‚ÄúAll authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.¬†Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.‚ÄĚ {Matthew 28:18-20}

When I was younger, I remember someone in my church asking a question that has stuck in my heart through all those years.

“Who is your one?”

We need to have at least one person in our life who we are doing life with, leading them to the Lord we follow.¬†There doesn’t have to be anything fancy or formal. Just an intentional relationship where Jesus is the center and purpose. We are all called to lead others to Christ and you can do just that without going across the ocean to a third world country. Get out a piece of paper and start writing down people who come to your mind. Is it¬†a family member, a neighbor, coworker, the girl in your class, a fellow new-mom, a church friend?

Let me ask you, who is your one? Your two, your three? Are you spreading the love of Christ?

“How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” Romans 10:15b

You are loved

-Katie

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Hot-Tea-And-The-Empty-Seat/481525375276865

 

Summer Bible Study: Romans // NINE

I am thrilled that you are back for study & review of Romans chapter 9! We are a little over half way through¬†{sad!} but this isn’t the end of our weekly bible studies! {sneak peek: a tall handsome man may be joining us next time, but he’s taken!}

Before we start I would love for you to comment below & share some friendly feedback about our journey through Romans so far!

¬†I think it’s safe to say that the reoccurring theme or truth in Romans has been¬†this:

righteous

Good works do not deem you righteous in God’s eyes, only faith in Jesus Christ does!

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Romans 9:1-5

{Being honest, I had to read these verses over & over. I just couldn’t get it. Therefore, I did what I normally do when I can’t wrap my mind around something: ask my husband, haha. Thankfully, with the help of the Holy Spirit, I was able to get it…a little}

What is this passage saying?

Paul is saying in these verses that he wishes so badly that he was in the place of his brothers in the flesh, Jewish people, instead of them doing what they are doing because they are choosing to be so far from God. “I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart…” His heart literally hurts seeing his fellow Jews choosing to alienate themselves from God. He exclaimed in verse four that they have so many advantages of being in relationship with God yet they continue to reject God’s Way, Jesus Christ.

How can I practically apply these truths to my life?

What can we learn from Paul in these five verses? Compassion. Does your heart hurt seeing your friends and family members choosing things other than God? More than that, have you taken action? Have you talked with them, encouraged them, asked them questions, asked them ways you can serve them, prayed with them? If you haven’t yet, I pray for boldness to do so. I desire¬†so¬†much¬†more of a¬†heart of compassion for the lost and even for my brothers and sister who are slowly falling back. Let’s commit to praying to God for boldness, a heart of compassion, & opportunities to share Jesus’ love with them. Let’s also pray for God to break our hearts for what breaks His heart, to ignite in us a passion to love and serve others, to unashamedly proclaim Christ in the dark and¬†sometimes awkward times.

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Romans 9:6-33

What are these passages saying?

Paul is describing how the Word of God did not, has not, and will not fail just because of Israel’s rejection of Jesus Christ. His Words will stand eternally and are everlasting. After declaring God’s sovereign Word, He reminds his readers of God’s sovereign plan. God has had a perfect plan from the beginning. We may think that we control our futures but our future is God’s past. He’s already there and He already knows what’s going to happen or not happen. You can see this portrayed in verses 10-13 {flip & read them now}. God had it planned that the younger twin would serve the older twin “that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of Him who calls”. It is God who holds the past, present, & future. He knew Israel would reject him as well as Pharaoh (verse 17) and He knows if you and I will follow Him or not. You may be thinking, “why does God choose some and not others?” God says that He wants¬†all people to repent and be in relationship with Him in life¬†{1 tim.2:3-4;2 pet.3:4}. Paul answers our doubting questions with a spunky yet full-of-truth¬†comeback:

“Who are you to reply against God?” {Rom. 9:20}

We, humans, are simply the created. We have great worth in the eyes of God, the Creator, but¬†we cannot pretend to be God, telling ourselves that we are the¬†all-knowing ones. I love these beautiful next verse…

“does not the potter have power over the clay…”

God does have complete power but this shouldn’t scare us or make us turn away. God is LOVE. He isn’t just a loving God, He¬†CREATED love. Everything He does is in love & for His great glory. The end of this chapter, Paul quotes a few verses from the Old Testament sharing God’s great but dear love for us. He calls those who are alone, His people. He calls the unloved His beloved. He calls you His own. {Rom. 9:25-26} And remember, the way to God is through Jesus. Faith in Jesus. Amen. {Rom 9:30-32}

How can we apply these truths to our lives?

You can be encouraged that God’s faithful words and promises in His Word will not fail and never will even if you feel like God isn’t coming through or sticking in someone’s life. It’s so easy to focus on the bad in this world. Sometimes I feel like this world is doomed but the truth is, the end of this world is the beginning of¬†perfection with Jesus forever. His Word will NEVER fail.¬†Always choose hope.

Knowing that God is in complete control of my life comforts me. It allows me to breathe a great sigh of relief that I don’t have to have it all together, all the time. It comforts me knowing that His ways will¬†triumph over evil even if we don’t see it until the day our Lord comes back to earth to perfect everything¬†in existence.

Rest, beloved. 

Rest in the arms of the Almighty who holds head up and holds your future.  

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{via}

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You are LOVED

-Katie

Coffee Break // when you want to give up

The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple.

I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!

 ‭Psalm‬ ‭27‬:‭1, 4, 13-14‬ ESV

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There are people in my life going through heart breaks, health issues, job loss, and confusion. I have known hopelessness, sleepless nights, & worry.

Some say life stops for no one and but I say that we have a Great Father & Protector who would stop time to save us.

Realize that God is on your side. The Lord is your Light in the darkness, your salvation when you feel like giving up. He is the one and only one who can guard your life and protect you with His right hand.

Have faith. Keep praying. Continue to trust.

Even when you can’t see the light. Even when you have been praying for years. Even when you want to give up.

My husband has had a tough month at work. While is it easy and natural to want to give up and think that God mustn’t care that we are struggling, our faith in God in these hard times is vital. If we had faith in God when everything was going great, is that really faith at all? We must have faith that God will work all things out for the good of those who love Him. His Word proclaims that truth.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

-Romans 8:28

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Father, help me to have faith in you. True, unwaivering, undoubting faith. Please help all of your children who are struggling to find peace and hope. Lead them beside still waters, comfort their hearts. I pray for all of your children who are not struggling right now. I pray that their faith will be increased in this season so that when storms do come, they will stand strong through faith in You. You are so good & gracious. Amen.

You are loved

-Katie

**If you want to link up with Hot Tea and the Empty Seat’s Coffee Break Pick Me Ups {every other Friday}, upload this below pic to your post {a psalm with some encouraging words} & be sure to link back to Hot Tea and the Empty Seat’s blog! { http://www.hotteaandtheemptyseat.com }¬†Then, comment below to let me know that you are linking up! Can’t wait to hear¬†from you, friend! ¬†

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Summer Bible Study: Romans // Ch. 7

You’re back!! It is so good to be back in my little corner of Starbucks writing to you all. Welcome to our summer bible study! We have been in Romans for the last few weeks and today we are reviewing Chapter Seven! Did anyone else highlight the entire chapter?? Did anyone else whisper “amen” or “me too” about ten times? It’s comforting to be in good company with Paul, the writer of Romans. He is so transparent & real, something that I feel we need a bit more of in our lives.

If you haven’t read Romans 7 yet, I encourage you to do that first before you read on! It’s a short yet powerful chapter. Let’s jump right in!

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Romans Chapter 7 {verses 1-12}

What is this passage saying?

Paul is calling out all of the people who base their belief of their standing with God on good works. There is no beating around the bush with this fella. Through the leading of the Holy Spirit of God, Paul, over & over, denounces this belief of self-righteousness. Through verses 1-6, Paul uses the analogy of marriage. We are born¬†“married” to sin and the¬†law.¬†When a person gives their lives over to Jesus, they die to the law & their sin. The law loses it’s power over a person & Jesus becomes their Lord whom they obey. We are either bound to the law and sin or we are free in Christ. We do not gain freedom in Christ by being bound by the law because like his analogy, a wife cannot have two husbands. You are either bound by sin through the law or bound by freedom through Christ. Thank God that freedom in Christ is the only way to true peace, joy, & life.

Paul isn’t saying that the law is pointless. God created the law to point us to Jesus Christ, the fulfillment of the law. We realize our need for a Savior when we realize that we cannot keep the commands on our own. Like Paul says in verse 7, “For I would have not known covetousness unless the law had said, ‘You shall not covet.'” The law is in place so that we would KNOW how sinful we are & then seek forgiveness & cleansing from sin through Jesus. Some believe the lie that the law’s purpose is to save them.

How can I practically apply these truths to my life?

Have you realized your need for a Savior? Have you been seeking saving from something or someone other than Jesus? Understanding your sin is your first step. Maybe you have never asked for forgiveness. God WANTS you! He loves & desires a relationship with you! Do not wait another minute. Break up with sin. Freedom and life comes through faith in Jesus alone. Repent & move on with Jesus.

If you are a Christ follower, this is still practical for you. Are you trying to earn God’s acceptance? I struggled for years trying to please God with good works. I thought¬†that the¬†only way¬†God¬†loved me is if I did everything right. That’s an exhausting place to be.¬†It’s a place that only leads to disappointment & not freedom.¬†God loves you & He loves me regardless of what we do or do not do! There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ. Don’t beat yourself up over your sin but don’t flirt with it either! Like that bad ex, move on! Walk away from that sin & run into your Savior’s arms!

You’ll never be able to do it all on your own.

Rely on Him alone. Rely on God’s strength, the Holy Spirit’s power in you, & Jesus’ words to truly experience the life God has for you.

Chapter Seven {verses 13-25}

What is this passage saying?

Paul is exposing his heart to us in these last verses. He grips boldness as he spills his heart. “For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.” Then, this is the part that really comforts me, “for I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells”

I am kidding myself if I think that I am a good person. Without Jesus, we are just sinful and weak. That totally blows the self-righteous belief right out the window. We are ALL in need of a Savior because we are all sinful. Until Jesus returns & makes all things new, we will always struggle.

Have you ever been there? Have you ever wondered why you keep on committing the same sin over and over? You know what you should do but you do the complete opposite?! You are in good company! Instead of God beating us down & leaving us spinning in this cycle of sin, He graciously and preciously gives us the strength we need every single day. He understands. Although we are new creations in Christ, we are still covered with human skin and this skin is soaked in sin. It’s in our DNA. We won’t be able to get away from it. We can try and try and try again. That’s why a daily relationship with Jesus is so important!

How can I practically apply these truths to my life?

Your walk with Christ isn’t a to-do list. It’s a friendship, a relationship. It’s just as real as the relationship you have with your spouse, parents, or best friend. It’s just a perfect version of a friendship. Jesus won’t ever let you down, mislead you, or lead you down the wrong path. His advice is perfect, his company is¬†warm & fulfilling, & his words are sweet to the soul. He is amazing.

Realizing that you will never be perfect or good enough is the only way to be more intimate with God. He accepts our mess with open arms. He is big enough to handle our sins & our failures. He is the answer to every question & the antidote to every sick soul. He is faithful. He will give you joy & purpose!

Be comforted that you are not alone! You are not alone in this journey. And it’s definitely a journey. We arrive at our desired destination and will be made perfect, without sin, only¬†when Jesus comes back or we go home to meet Him. Until then, it’s a fight. It’s a battle. It’s a journey. You’re going to fall and trip and trip again. You’re going to be exhausted. You’re going to want to turn around. Don’t. You’re not alone¬†in this journey. We have each other, brother & sister. And we have the Greatest Friend & Strength¬†on our side.

Ready-to-forgive, loving, strong, & compassionate Jesus ‚̧

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Join us back here next week to cover CHAPTER EIGHT!

You are loved!

-Katie