The Inspire Shop

past my circumstances // by Mary Elizabeth

tiffany garza
Black Friday Sale! (3).png

 When Tiffany first told me the theme of this month and asked if I would like to write a blog post, my first reaction was to say no. Let’s just say I hadn’t really been in a state of praise or encouragement or thanksgiving lately. 


But, I realized that that might show how much I needed to shift my perspective.

You see, in recent months I had been so caught up in all that I could see that I was overwhelmed by the negative. A lot of things in my life had fallen apart. I was struggling with so much fear. My faith was floundering. As the Father opened my eyes, I realized how much my heart shifted when I began to see past my circumstances. I couldn’t do that without praising Him and thanking Him for all He would do, regardless of what I could see.

I couldn’t do that without the encouragement of others that the future held better things, and that God would turn all of this for good. During this time, God showed me what it means that faith is the substance of things that we hope for and the evidence of things we don’t see, as the writer of Hebrews says.

Let’s say I’m standing in a dark room, and I have a rock in my hand. I can’t see it, but I can feel its substance, and I know it’s there. It’s real. The promises of God are like that rock. They are real and they are there. If I don’t see them, faith can still help me to feel their substance and feel how real they are, just like that rock in my hand.

But for me, it’s been true recently that I can’t get to the place of faith without praising God for how He will come through, without thanking Him ahead of time, and without encouraging my heart through speaking His truth out when fear and discouragement attack. I have noticed such a real shift when I refuse to be overwhelmed by my circumstances and by fear, and start practicing these things that help my faith grow.


Maybe at the times it feels like I was just shut in that dark room, and I can be so wrapped up in the darkness and in wondering how I will find my way out - that I forget the rock, the promises of God, in my hand. But they are still there. And as I still my heart, and I put into practice praising Him, encouraging my heart, and thanking Him for how He will turn everything for God, the substance of that rock- His promises- becomes more real to me than all I can see.


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// About Mary Elizabeth

Mary Elizabeth is an artist living in Richmond, Virginia. But more than that, she is a daughter of the Father, learning what it truly means to trust Him. You can find her sharing her gorgeous artwork on her Insta @maryelizabethstudio

Encouraging Others // week 4

tiffany garzaComment

Hey friend! Welcome to our final week of our Call to Freedom : Words creative bible study on living in freedom through the word.

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Knowing who God and having our identity rooted in Christ transforms our lives and allows us to live in freedom. From this place of freedom, our words play a large part. This month we are studying the bible to see what it says about how we should use them.

Join us as we pray, study and create through the Call to Freedom : Words creative bible study. Grab yours here.


Here’s to getting creative and studying God’s word. ⠀

TOPIC: Call to Freedom : Words
KEY PRAYER VERSE: Colossians 3:16
READING: 2 Kings 5


ENCOURAGING OTHERS - Week 4 // Inspire Weekly

Encouraging others is more than a pat on the back but has the power to bring healing and reconciliation to others, as we see this week in 2 Kings 5 through Naaman and his servants.


PLAYLIST

Each week we feature songs that tie into what we are studying. Praying they convey these truths and more as you take time to listen to the heart and lyrics behind them.

BLESSED BE YOUR NAME by Matt Redman

I SEE HEAVEN by Bryan and Katie Torwalt

HOSANNA by Hillsong


CREATE IT // Card Edge Embellishment

Want to add some flair to the edge? This week we share a few ideas to do just that for your cards.

EMBOSSED

Using your favorite emblossing powder, bring some texture and shine. My grandma used to design and create with stamps, so I used some of her old supplies she handed down to me. Love the gold.

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DECORATIVE SCISSORS

Have any fancy scissors lying around? They are perfect for a simple edge embellishment. Throw in a punch for a little more creativity.

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DECORATIVE PUNCH

The edge punch seems to always be a hit when we create cards in our Inspire Gatherings. If you have one, they really make a pretty statement.

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WATCH TUTORIAL

Let me know if you have any questions and I am happy to help as I can.


INSPIRE + ENCOURAGE OTHERS

What has the Lord been speaking to you throughout the study? What have you been creating? We would love to share and encourage others with what you are learning and creating as you study. Tag us with #findthejoytoday 

Water to a Parched Soul // by melanie emery

tiffany garza
Black Friday Sale! (2).png

 By the time I was in 4th grade I had decided that the academic part of school just wasn't for me. I was a “social butterfly,” or so I was labeled by well meaning teachers and family members, and after all, academics were my identical twin sister's thing. She was the “smart one” and I was the “social” one. No one told me I wasn't good at school, but no one told me I was good at it, or could be, either.

So, when I found out days before my 4th grade year that my teacher was going to be “Mr. B.,” who everyone unanimously agreed was the most difficult teacher in the school, I immediately felt deflated. By the third quarter my grades were in the tank, so when I was assigned my first major report in my academic career I did not have much hope for a good outcome.

My parents told me that if I did not get a good grade on this report, I would not be able to join them on our family vacation that year. For this reason, and this reason alone, I worked my tail off. I spent hours hand writing my report (I know this dates me, but it was before PC's were a thing). I was meticulous with the art work and presentation. I poured all of my fourth grade self into this project, and I was terrified, absolutely terrified, that it would not be good enough.

Several weeks later when Mr. B. handed me my graded report I was shocked when I flipped open the folder to see a grade of A+.  A wave of relief washed over me. Then I saw that Mr. B. had underlined two of the words embedded within one of the sentences in my report. The words were: HARD WORK. In his own way, he was acknowledging how hard I had worked on this project, and that encouragement meant more to me than any letter grade!

Isn't it weird that I remember all of these details of a childhood event that happened almost 30 years ago? You see, the reason I remember this so vividly is because those two underlined words were the very first words of encouragement that I remember being spoken (or written) over me in regards to my scholastic abilities. It was those two words that were a catalyst for me making the honor roll, for the first time ever (but not the last time), that quarter. You see, it was those two words that made me feel like if I worked hard, I really could be social AND smart.

The Bible speaks a lot to the importance of encouraging others. In particular, it underscores the importance of encouraging those who are weak, or are in a weary state of being or mind:

 “Encourage the exhausted, and strengthen the feeble.” (Isaiah 35:3)

 “We urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone.” (1 Thessalonians 5:14)

“Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11)

“But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “TODAY,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” (Hebrews 3:13)

Why is encouragement important? Because as humans we need it... the Bible says so! Giving a word of encouragement to someone, whether we realize they need it or not, is such an easy gesture. There is no money required and very little effort; but when encouraging words land on the ears of someone who needs them, they are received like water to a parched to soul.

Two words of encouragement that were underlined on a piece of paper nearly three decades ago have stayed with me all these years. Only God knows the direction my life would have taken had I not been encouraged on that day to believe that I actually could succeed in school, and only God knows the way He can use the words you and I speak this day to change the trajectory of someone else's life for the better. Who can you speak encouragement over today? Maybe, just maybe, your words will be the water their parched soul needs!


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// About Melanie

Melanie is a busy wife and stay at home mamma to three kids. She and her family serve the Lord at Hope Crossing Community Church in Carson City, NV where her husband is the Lead Pastor.

Melanie is an advocate for foster care and adoption and has volunteered with her local CASA organization as well as in her city’s DCFS offices helping to educate and support new foster/adoptive parents. Although she’s an introvert she’s also a people person. Above all else her heart’s desire is that she can be a conduit of the hope and healing of Jesus to the world around her.

Email her at melanie_emery@yahoo.com

praising god // week 3

tiffany garzaComment

Hey friend! Welcome to week three of our Call to Freedom : Words creative bible study on living in freedom through the word.

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Knowing who God and having our identity rooted in Christ transforms our lives and allows us to live in freedom. From this place of freedom, our words play a large part. This month we are studying the bible to see what it says about how we should use them.

Join us as we pray, study and create through the Call to Freedom : Words creative bible study. Grab yours here.


Here’s to getting creative and studying God’s word. ⠀

TOPIC: Call to Freedom : Words
KEY PRAYER VERSE: Colossians 3:16
READING: Luke 1


PRAISING GOD - Week 3 // Inspire Weekly

Taking a lesson in praise from Mary and Zechariah in Luke 1, we look at how our circumstances can affect the way we respond and praise God, consequences from our response and how we can still praise him when life gets hard.


PLAYLIST

Each week we feature songs that tie into what we are studying. Praying they convey these truths and more as you take time to listen to the heart and lyrics behind them.

GREAT ARE YOU LORD by All Sons and Daughters

MY SOUL MAGNIFIES THE LORD by Christ Tomlin

MARY’S SONG OF PRAISE by Seeds Family Worship

SO WILL I by Hillsong


CREATE IT // Designing with Circles

How are your cards coming? This week we are using circles to make a few new layouts.

BUNCH OF BALLOONS

Send a lovely bunch of balloons with this easy design using the washi tape and sentiments included in the kit.

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CREATE CIRCLE BUNTING

Punch various sizes of circles and fold them in half to make a fun bunting.

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POCKET FULL OF LOVE

A simple heart out of the patterned paper creates the perfect pocket to tuck a circle tag.

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WATCH TUTORIAL

Let me know if you have any questions and I am happy to help as I can.


INSPIRE + ENCOURAGE OTHERS

What has the Lord been speaking to you throughout the study? What have you been creating? We would love to share and encourage others with what you are learning and creating as you study. Tag us with #findthejoytoday 

Stop the Complaining // week 2

tiffany garzaComment

Hey friend! Welcome to week two of our Call to Freedom : Words creative bible study on living in freedom through the word.

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Knowing who God and having our identity rooted in Christ transforms our lives and allows us to live in freedom. From this place of freedom, our words play a large part. This month we are studying the bible to see what it says about how we should use them.

Join us as we pray, study and create through the Call to Freedom : Words creative bible study. Grab yours here.


Here’s to getting creative and studying God’s word. ⠀

TOPIC: Call to Freedom : Words
KEY PRAYER VERSE: Colossians 3:16
READING: Numbers 13, 14, 1 Timothy 6:20, Psalm 19:14, James 1:19, 1 Thessalonians 5:11


STOP THE COMPLAINING - Week 2 // Inspire Weekly

Complaining can not only make our situation look worse but also have consequences for those around us, including our families. Focusing on this week on the implications of complaining, we study the Israelites as they grumble against God, which leads them to wandering in the desert for forty years.


PLAYLIST

Each week we feature songs that tie into what we are studying. Praying they convey these truths and more as you take time to listen to the heart and lyrics behind them.

CELEBRATE by Rend Collective

RAISE A HALLELUJAH by Jonathan Helser and Melissa Helser

SONG OF MY FATHER by Urban Rescue


CREATE IT // What to do with Glitter

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Have you ever made a card? Our Create It for the kit includes three cards to prayerfully create for someone in your life. This week we are feature a few quick and easy ways to create a card using the supplies included in the kit.

GLITTER BACK SPLASH

Add some glue and glitter to create an eye catching background. I also used a bit of water to dilute the area (see video).

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SPRINKLE GLITTER IN THE ENVELOPE

Know anyone who loves surprises? A little bit of glitter makes opening a hand written note even more exciting.

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COVER TEMPLATES IN GLITTER

Use the sentiment shapes to cut out the patterned paper and cover in glitter for some shine.

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WATCH TUTORIAL

Let me know if you have any questions and I am happy to help as I can.


INSPIRE + ENCOURAGE OTHERS

What has the Lord been speaking to you throughout the study? What have you been creating? We would love to share and encourage others with what you are learning and creating as you study. Tag us with #findthejoytoday 

weakness, words and marriage // by kerri naber

tiffany garza
Black Friday Sale! (1).png

When Tiffany asked me to make a guest post on her incredible blog I did not hesitate! I immediately wrote back “Yes!” I gave her an estimate of time I think it would take to get that blog to her, told her about some commitments I had coming up, etc and then… I didn’t write it.  I never sent her a blog. I knew I wanted to send her a post, if for no other reason than she supports me and those I adore so well. So why couldn’t I just write a blog for her? Not to mention, I love writing and I write all the time. So why were my actions so far off from my words? A whole month later I stare at my blank screen and I know why. I am a real-time processor. I write as I go. I do not truly know how I feel about a situation until my fingers are at the keyboard and I start to type. And well, my writing isn’t always inspiring in the pretty way we think of it. How could I write for The Inspire Shop when I am at such a low point in my “inspirational tank”.

Tiffany discussed the theme of “Words” and their importance as the post. Oh boy, I thought, could I tell them how hurtful my words to those I love have been lately? I’m not afraid to be the one you all learn from, let me make the mistakes and you glean a better way from what I have already struggled through, please. This time though, this was someone else’s blog. Could I be that honest and have her accept it, have her followers understand how inconsistent I have been with my words and actions? I figured if for nothing else let my last six months be an inspiration like Paul heard “"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." [Then just like Paul] Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9.

Here is the summary, I have known and loved The Five Love Languages for over a decade now. One teaching on them and I was hooked. Boom, yes, this makes so much sense. We all speak a certain love language and we all receive a certain language, sold! Also in order to effectively love those we actually love we need to speak the language they receive or our words and actions fall on deaf ears, reaping no benefit for the relationship we are cultivating. If you had asked me if I was a master of the love languages before I got married I would have given you a side eye look and told you I am THE master of speaking them correctly. Don’t nobody love their people like I love my people. Then on May 20th 2017 I made a vow to love and cherish my husband. I vowed that I would continue to pursue his heart for better or for worse. And I hit the ground running. At one point I was reading three marriage books at once. I had this down to a science. He is words of affirmation, I got this. I would say one impactful word of affirmation before he left for work, I would send two cute texts while at work, then I would thank him for at least two things a night. Come on now kids, this is easy. And then, almost suddenly, it wasn’t easy.

Day after day I could feel my desire to fill his love tank diminishing. Mercy Multiplied, a ministry I love dearly, has a common saying “Your past gives you an explanation, but not an excuse”. And readers I have an explanation for all of this I do, but I do not have an excuse for giving up, for taking offense, and deliberately choosing to withhold words of affirmation from my Husband. David and I spoke about this very topic this afternoon and I told him after what felt like beating a metal wall with boxing gloves, I gave up. I forfeited and I have retreated to the corner of the boxing ring and been pouting ever since. I was speaking words of affirmation for a year and a half but without David having what our counselor calls his “receiver” on David was not able to hear the words. He was not taking my genuine love and appreciation to him to heart and I got tired. I stopped fighting and we both suffered.

Then after about a year of super hard inner-work on David’s end his “receiver” was back up and working. David used truth statements, leaned into the Lord, fought through the pain of past wounds and pushed forward. He was getting healed, but simultaneously I was getting even more bitter and sad. The progress was there but we both agree it was slow. So as of today, the right now, it is almost as if David is beating that same metal wall with boxing gloves and I am the one on the other side.

Am I willing to start using my words again? Words like, “I forgive you. I love you. I am proud of you. Thank you for being a great example of perseverance. Thank you for being the head of our household. Thank you for forgiving me when I took my anger out on you this year. I am excited for the future. And I will be here for better or worse.” Now is the time to be strong. God promised He would shine through my weakness. I have set up a great support network and I vowed to always be honest in my writings. Now is the time to speak those words of affirmation again, no matter how I FEEL.

Words matter y’all, I don’t have to convince you of that. I know you remember that one time that girl in sixth grade said something hurtful to you. You hear it, I know you do. Then your first heartbreak, you believed them, you did. When they said they would love you forever and then forever ended at four months, how could that even be? We matter and therefore the words we speak matter. Thank you for letting me share a weakness of mine with you may God continue to fill you up so you can be empowered to speak life to those around you.

Proverbs 12:18 NIV
The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.

Proverbs 12:14 NLT
 Wise words bring many benefits.

Proverbs 16:24 NIV
Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.

Ephesians 4:29 NIV
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.


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// About Kerri

Kerri Naber is an Upstate NY native living in sunny Sacramento, California. She works at a Christian nonprofit dedicated to helping young women break free from life-controlling behaviors and situations.

Kerri is a newlywed with a Corgi Puppy that is slowly learning how to bring routine and health into her life. As an Enneagram Type Seven she is constantly dreaming, creating, and trying to get to San Francisco. You’ll find her writing to constantly reflect both her love of The Lord and love of all things fun.

Find her on instagram at @Kerri_Naber and on her blog.

Call to Freedom : Words // week 1

tiffany garzaComment

Hey friend! Welcome to week one of our Call to Freedom : Words creative bible study on living in freedom through the word.

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Knowing who God and having our identity rooted in Christ transforms our lives and allows us to live in freedom. From this place of freedom, our words play a large part. This month we are studying the bible to see what it says about how we should use them.

Join us as we pray, study and create through the Call to Freedom : Words creative bible study. Grab yours here.


Here’s to getting creative and studying God’s word. ⠀

TOPIC: Call to Freedom : Words
KEY PRAYER VERSE: Colossians 3:16
READING: James 3:3-11, Hebrews 4:12, Proverbs 18:21, 1 John 3:18, 1 Peter 1:24-25, Psalm 33:9, Genesis 1


CALL TO FREEDOM : WORDS - Week 1 // Inspire Weekly

When we know God, who we are in Christ and have our identity rooted in him, we are able to live a life of freedom. This is where our word and God's word is key, which is what we are focusing on this week.


PLAYLIST

Each week we feature songs that tie into what we are studying. Praying they convey these truths and more as you take time to listen to the heart and lyrics behind them.

ALL CREATURES OF OUR GOD AND KING - All Sons and Daughters

You have probably heard this song but what I love about this version is how they integrate the history.

EVER BE by Kalley Heiligenthal

THE WORD OF THE LORD by Seeds Family Worship

Seeds Family Worship does an incredible job putting music to scripture, which helps immensely in memorizing it. This month we feature several of their songs that align with the verses we are studying. Praying you are able to put some of them to memory with their help.

The Word Of God (Hebrews 4) by Seeds Family Worship


CREATE IT // Easy Card Layouts

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Have you ever made a card? Our Create It for the kit includes three cards to prayerfully create for someone in your life. This week we are feature a few quick and easy ways to create a card using the supplies included in the kit.

CUT AND PASTE

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CUT AND COLOR

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CREATE A TEMPLATE

Use the sentiment shapes to cut out the patterned paper and create a fun geometric layout.

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WATCH TUTORIAL

Let me know if you have any questions and I am happy to help as I can.


INSPIRE + ENCOURAGE OTHERS

What has the Lord been speaking to you throughout the study? What have you been creating? We would love to share and encourage others with what you are learning and creating as you study. Tag us with #findthejoytoday