The Inspire Shop


music monday: set a fire by will reagan

Tiffany NicoleComment

It was the first fire in our new apartment. We enjoyed hot cider and music as the flames danced over the logs, warming the small living room. As it died out, my husband, then boyfriend, discussed whether or not to close the flue on the fireplace. Having no idea on what the flue was, I had little to say on the matter and headed to bed after it was decided to close it.

Hours later, we woke startled to smoke alarms blaring. Jumping out of bed, my husband opened the door to our room, where nothing could be seen but clouds of smoke filling the hall way. Immediately he disappeared in to it, while I lay in bed trying to process the whole matter wondering if our apartment was up in flames and whether or not he was okay and what I should do.

Returning moments later, he let me know there was no fire, just smoke. Everywhere. Hard to breath, eye stinging, thick smoke covering everything. Windows and doors were opened and a sweet neighbor ran over letting us know he was a paramedic and asking if we were okay. We were in shock but okay we responded, as we turned on fans and stood on our patio in the wee hours of the night, smoke pouring out, with thankful hearts for the lack of flames and filled with new knowledge: always keep the flue open, even if the fire is out, for the smoke cannot be seen immediately or contained and comes before a fire.

And fires burn. They move in unpredictable ways, consuming anything in its path, only to acquire more.

Following Jesus is similar in its unpredictability and drawing others as the faith develops. There is something so contagious and exciting seeing someone passionate about Jesus and the life that he has redeemed. The way that it draws you nearer to him and you want the desires of his heart become those of yours.

Set a fire by Will Reagan is such a beautiful prayer for this passion and fire in our souls. Have a listen.

Set a fire down in my soul
That I can't contain that I can't control
I want more of You, God

It is not about comparing our walks with each other or what has God has done for this person or that person but thanking him for those blessings and testimonies and taking them as stones of remembrance of what he has been faithful to complete. 

Fires  shines out of the freedom that comes with truly accepting yourself as God has made you and moving towards the person you are to become through him. It is the hours and days turning in to a lifetime full of following the Spirit. 

Praying you would long for more of God, for more of the desires of his heart. Praying that as you navigate the waters as a follower of Christ that you would see the passions that God has placed within you and that you would seek God in those areas. That you God would reveal to you how to use your giftedness to further his kingdom, instead of using them to tear it down.

Praying that you would be set ablaze in hope and live in the freedom of the Spirit.

Here's to fires starting. 

music monday: everlasting god by chris tomlin

Tiffany Nicole2 Comments

The past few weeks, waiting has seemed nearly as long as it does to my four year old when I tell her she has to wait a few hours to go to a birthday party or one more day until a fun activity - it is never going to happen. The wait is long.

Though the waiting we have been doing is nothing serious, which almost makes it that much more frustrating. Our car was in the shop for nine days. Nine days! And our insurance would not cover a rental because it should not have taken that long (and we did not necessarily need it). Shipping the part does not count as labor time and according to the mechanic it was not to be driven. It seemed like an eternity. First world problems, I know. When you are used to life one way, it is hard to adjust and feels like nails on a chalkboard.

And then there were the court decisions and other questions for our foster baby, which we continue to wait on. I did not realize I was waiting until the day came and went and no outcome had been told. Surely we would know the outcome then. An expectation of knowing information instantaneously tends to be ingrained in us these days.

But throughout it, God reminded me nothing was out of his control. All the trivial waiting. It was all for him in his timing. It was not about waiting for the car to be repaired but waiting for him to give back the gift he had graciously given. All the while embracing the renewed appreciation for it. It was about learning how to wait patiently.

It was diving in to Psalm 40:1-3, line by line, in my annoyance and remembering God's hand in it all.

I waited patiently for the Lord;
(not hastily or angerly; not waiting for the decisions but for God
    he turned to me and heard my cry.
(He turns to us when we wait + hears us)
 He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
(God does the action; takes us out of distress / situation)
    out of the mud and mire;
(more bad stuff; bad stuff tends to come in bunches)
he set my feet on a rock
(takes us out of bad stuff to his solid ground -> building our testimony)
    and gave me a firm place to stand.
(God gives, God does ALL the actions here, while we wait PATIENTLY; firm place to stand: confidently trusting God, standing on his promises + words)
 He put a new song in my mouth,
(God puts new songs in us that he gives specifically during these waiting times; more appreciation for what you had, increasingly grateful + thankful for the GIFT!)
    a hymn of praise to our God.
(being able to praise God for being God; Praising for rescuing + restoring)
Many will see and fear the Lord
(Others see what God has done for you - how did you wait? Patiently? This causes good fear of God)
    and put their trust in him.
(Because of your waiting, others will trust God! God WILL use the waiting)

It was seeing how we are merely to wait patiently on the Lord. That is what we are called to do. God is the one doing everything else. He is turning + hearing + lifting. He is setting our feet on a rock and giving a firm place to stand. He gives the song to sing during the waiting and because of our patience, others see and put their trust in God.

It is such a beautiful picture of how God works. He works in the waiting period. He is working in you and in others. No matter how large or small the circumstance. You need only be still and be patient. 

Everlasting God by Christ Tomlin fits here. Have a listen.

Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord
We will wait upon the Lord
We will wait upon the Lord

Praying you would wait and rely on God to do things in his timing, not yours and that he would give you the patience and strength to do so. Praying you would be flexible when the need arises and that you would allow God to figure it the details, which will most likely not be as you had planned. Praying you would let God lead and let go of frustrations regarding the situation and fully grasp flexibility and learn whatever is being taught.

Here's to more waiting and more patience. 

music monday: god you reign by lincoln brewster

Tiffany Nicole2 Comments

By God's grace and guidance, we recently embarked on our first official family road trip, logging nearly 2000 miles. We sang and danced and snacked and slept and marveled at the works of God's hand as the numbers on the odometer ticked along. The beauty of traveling by car is the ability to see the terrain up close and admire the landscape God so intricately designed.

 With nothing but stretches of open road, it is hard not to worship. Especially when accompanied with sleeping children and blue skies interlaced with clouds and rolling hills and silence and quietingpraise and awe cannot help but fill the soul.  

 A change in scenery allows you to worship God in different ways. Seeing his creation shows you things about God you never imagined or could have.

The way he thought about the most intricate of things. How small we really are. How it all points to the bigger picture. How he knows each person in each car that passes on the road and resides in each town. How they were created to do great things. 

How there is more to life than us. Than pleasing our desires and fulfilling our needs. There's worship and praise and thanksgiving and standing in wonder at the work of God's hand. At the grains of sand at the beach and the pokey parts of a cactus and the green of the leaves on a tree. And how everything works together to fill the necessities of all creatures on the earth.

It's knowing that just as God created the most beautiful of things for our eyes to glance on and enjoy, that he made us in this same way but even more so. With more purpose and meaning. For we were made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27) and were made to rule over the land and everything in it (Genesis 1:26). We were given a hope and future (Jeremiah 29:11). We were made for good works (Ephesians 2:10) and have eternity written on our hearts (Ecclesiastes 3:11). All of which is incomprehensible.

And in our short time here, we are made to be imitators of Christ. To draw others nearer to him. To embrace each day with open hands and rejoice in it.

God You Reign by Lincoln Brewster fits well here. Have a listen, along with some worship.

Your glory shines, you teach the sun
When to bring a new day
Creation sings, God, Your reign

Praying that you would have eyes to see God in the creation around you. On your drive to work today or to the grocery store or to school. That you would seek out the works of his hands that he put there for you to enjoy on this very day. Praying that it would not be taken for granted but that you would enjoy it, as it too is fading away. Praying that you would praise him because you are fearfully and wonderfully made.

Here's to mountains and hills and open skies.  

music monday: god moves in a mysterious way by jeremy camp

Tiffany NicoleComment

Usually my husband is the pancake flipper. Cooking breakfast (and any other meal) is one of his specialties, which works out perfectly with my affinity for home cooked meals. This day, however, I took on the role as pancake flipper and was on my way to pancake perfection when my three year old questioned my flipping procedure that she had witnessed so many times before.

Why do the pancakes have to be flipped?

They must cook on both sides, I responded.

But why do the pancakes have to be flipped?

The batter only cooks on one side, so the other side has to cook, too. For the other side to cook, it must be flipped over, I reasoned with her.

But why do the pancakes have to be flipped?

She obviously did not understand the concept, despite showing her the difference between the raw side and the cooked side. She just saw the flipping. And something about the flipping intrigued her, so much so she could not see past it this particular morning. After the tenth time, I assured her I just had to do it.


This word is intriguing. So much can come out of this three letter word. Why did he do that? Why did she have to go there? It can take you in to an analysis overload where questions outweigh reason and slightest look has you wrestling,

Why has been rolling around in my head lately. Why was the tree of knowledge in the middle of the garden? Why was sin allowed to enter our bodies? And why is the wage of sin death? Why the family unit comes after the fall of man?

Somewhere, someone has some theological answers with some sort of biblical backing. But I like to think of some fun reasons, too. And in the wonder and questioning and lack of understanding, God reminds me to be still (Psalm 46:10). To praise him because I do not understand because I was not created to know everything.

He knows the path of thunder and shut up the sea behind doors when it burst forth from the womb and made the clouds its garment and wrapped it in thick darkness and fixed limits for it and set its doors and bars in place and said, ‘This far you may come and no farther; here is where your proud waves halt’? (Job 38).

Because he is God. He knows. He is ways are not our ways. We do not understand why the flipping and cooking occur though we watch it before our eyes as the minutes turn to hours and days pass by.
God Moves in Mysterious Ways by Jeremy Riddle fits neatly here. Have a listen.

God moves in a mysterious way

His wonders to perform.
He plants His footsteps in the sea
And rides upon the storm.

Praying that your whys or hows or whens would draw you nearer to God and that you would praise the Creator as you learn to trust him. That you would see glimpses of the bigger picture and stand in awe at the works of his hands. Praying that you would see the importance of the role that you play in His piece and how you have been created for a specific purpose (Ephesians 2:10).

Here's to questions that lead to worship and praise and admiration. 

music monday: tis so sweet by jadon lavik

Tiffany NicoleComment

Over the past year, God has opened my eyes to small things that I thought I trusted him with and made me realize otherwise. He has shown me how some responses have been rooted in fear, instead out of pure trust. These days, he reminds me to ask myself what my decision is based on before answering. If it is rooted out of fear - what might happen or the possible side effects - then it is not of trust or him. Good judgment is crucial and trusting God that if something were to happen that it is all in the palm of his hand. Entirely depending on him for the outcome.

It is small daily fears that so easily entangle. Yes, fears of heights and alligators and sharks may be typical but usually do not pose a daily threat, whereas the fear of a school shooting or car accident or failing at a presentation at work or school may hold you captive and instill an automatic no response. Fear of your child being at school during a shooting or not get the best education, so he is moved to another. Fear of your child being in a car accident with a loved one driving, so she stays home. Fear of not being able to meet work expectations, so you decline the promotion or project. Fear of people looking down on you, so you do whatever is required. Fear of the unknown. Fear of something outside of your control. These are little snares that so easily entrap you throughout the day that you may not have even noticed them.

Tis so Sweet by Jadon Lavik is a beautiful version this classic. Have a listen.

’Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to take Him at His Word;
Just to rest upon His promise,
And to know, “Thus saith the Lord!”

It is sweet to trust in Jesus. And rest in his Word and his promises. To not have to worry about anything. Scripture has so much to say about trust and testimonies of those who have gone before us with the benefits of trusting God. Abraham trusted God to go to a new land. Moses trusted God to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. Noah trusted and built an ark. Trust is not something that happens over night. It takes time. It requires a giving up of yourself to be able to trust God. To gauge his dependency status. To give him a chance to come through or if you will have to do it yourself. To allow him the follow through.

Praying that you will put your complete trust in God. Praying that you would not lean on your own understanding of the situation because sometimes we are not meant to understand but simply follow in obedience. Praying that you would be conscious of what you are basing your decisions off of and that God would guide you to one that requires trust. Praying that trust in him would be built and would be a constant in life. Praying that fear would not have a grip on you and for trust to be embedded in your being.

Here's to decisions and less fear. Here's to more confidence in God.

music monday: did not have a home by bethany dillon

Tiffany NicoleComment

Throughout high school I loved Jones Soda. The tasty flavors along with random pictures on the label and fun little fortunes on the bottoms of the recaps won my little heart. One lunch, during my gypsy-esque days, my fortune read: good luck will knock on your door. A well meaning friend optimistically responded that it meant I would soon have home with a door to knock on.

I have moved more times than I have toes and fingers to count. The longest residence in the past 15 years was at our previous address where we resided for two and a half years, which we are approaching at our current. When we first moved here, I remember speaking with my husband about the lack of that homey feeling. Since the celebrating of holidays and birthdays and adding another baby, the homey feeling has made its way here, too. Like it eventually does.

Residency and longevity and stability that an address provides is a unique thing. It gives a place to put your earthly treasures and display photos of memories past and makes a gathering spot for friends and family to congregate to make more. 

Jesus responds to a man who says he will follow him wherever he goes with:
Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man has no place to lay his head (Luke 9:58).

Once Jesus began his ministry, he did not have a home. He took the stance of a homeless man. He walked and taught and trusted God for a place to sleep. There is a lot of beauty in this aspect of his ministry. He did not need to rely on an address or possessions because he was involved in God's work and will for his life. His trust in God was so much so that he did not need to know where he would lay his head at the end of each day - God would provide.

Perhaps this person valued their comfy, safe life with their things and address. Perhaps Jesus was challenging the very thing that was a stumbling block for him, like he did with the rich young ruler (Luke 18:18-30). Following Jesus is never how we picture it. We would never imagine the good things that he has planned for us accompanied by the hard things we face, which are for our benefit - used to refine us.

Here's a little song about Jesus' lack of a home redone by Bethany Dillon. Fun lyrics - the wife part is interesting since he did not come for that - but fun none the less. Have a listen.

Birds have nests, foxes have dens
But the hope of the whole world rests
On the shoulders of a homeless man

Praying that comfort would subside and that trusting and following Jesus would be your main focus. Praying that you would not grow so comfy that you forget to look outside of your home to those of your neighbors. Praying that love and compassion and hospitality would reside in your home.

Praying that thanksgiving and gratitude for your home would dwell constantly in your heart and that you would follow God's leading in how to use it for his glory. Praying that your eyes would be opened to any stumbling blocks that are in view and that you would have victory over them through Jesus.

Here's to homes and comfort. 

music monday: while i'm waiting by john waller

Tiffany NicoleComment
The waiting period.  

Someone shared with me recently that she did not have enough to pay her rent. She has been learning to trust God but said he was taking too long, so she went out and bought lottery tickets, instead of waiting for him to fill her need. She admitted she was wrong and had not waited and of course, her tickets did not hold the winning numbers. I thanked her for her transparency because it was a big thing to share and not often does a person see the wrongs of her ways so quickly but God had showed her and she is continuing to learn and trust and wait.

Waiting is such a fickle thing. Something you cannot quite gauge that pops up at the most inopportune times and seems to smirk as it goes along. Waiting erupts in to questions and what ifs and soon you find yourself up the creek before you ever even got in the boat. 

It can drive you to do things you would not normally do or ever think of doing. Like Sarah, who after desperately waiting for the child God promised, gives Abraham permission to take another wife to have a child (Genesis 16:2).  

Waiting can also create idols. The longer you wait for something, the more that you want it, the tighter you tend to grasp it once you have it. The bible does not mention that Abraham made an idol out of Isaac, but God does instruct Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, which God may call you to do with something you hold near and dear (Genesis 22:2). This obedient act returns Isaac back to Abraham with fresh eyes, a deeper faith and trust in God and many blessings.

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9

Paul tells us in Galations not to become weary in doing good, which can be hard when waiting is required. Not to become weary when we are waiting for test results or the diagnosis. Not to become weary in disciplining our child for hundredth time. Not to become weary in our marriage or ministry or position because we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. God will provide throughout the waiting and lead us graciously in to the next step.

While I'm waiting by John Waller tells of how to wait. Have a listen. 

I'm waiting, I'm waiting on You Lord
And I am hopeful, I'm waiting on You Lord

Though it is painful, but patiently I will wait

Praying that as you wait, you would worship and find peace in knowing that God is in control. Praying that your waiting would produce patience and perseverance and more trust than you have ever known. Praying that you would see the benefits of not having your request answered immediately and the work that God is doing in and around you because of it.

Praying that you would enjoy the waiting period. Praying that you would not get ahead of the plans or jump through hoops that God has intended on giving doors to walk through. Praying that you would not hold your child or job or spouse or possessions so tight that you feel them less. 

Here's to waiting and trusting. 

music monday: our god by chris tomlin

Tiffany NicoleComment

While cutting an apple, one summer day, the knife slipped. It was a serrated butter knife, so it was a little sharper than normal but not so sharp as a steak knife. It slipped through the apple down to my little, nine year old, right pinky. I did not know what to do. It hardly bled but it was deep. I walked to my mom in the living room, cradling it in with my left hand and told her I cut my finger. She told me to grab a band aid. I stood there and knew it was more than a band aid kind of fix and repeated I had cut my finger. She took my hand and looked down at my pinky, straight to the bone. We proceeded to the doctors.

As we sat in the little room, I was terrified. I did not want stitches. My mom asked the doctor if there was any way I could forego them, and the doctor agreed - fixing it with simply three small pieces of surgical tape, holding it all together. Stitches were probably the best fix but the doctor's grace gave me another option. It took weeks to heal. The bandage could not get wet, so I spent the summer floating in an inner tube with my hand wrapped in bags, so I could still enjoy our backyard pool. Eventually it healed and but there is still the scar on the bottom of my right pinky to prove it.

When Jesus rose from the grave after three days in the tomb, he had scars to show, too. The holes from the nails that were driven in to his hands and feet were visible for all to see. They told a story. They told his story of defeating death and triumphing over sin for all of humanity. They showed more proof of his status as God's son. Proof to doubting Thomas, who said he would not believe unless he saw the nail marks in his hands and put his finger where the nails were, and put his hand into his side, he would not believe (John 20:25). And of course, Jesus shows up. He shows him his scars and lets him touch his side, so he would stop doubting and believe (John 20:27).

Jesus shows up to everyone differently at different times and places in life - ready to heal wounds and scars. Scars from past hurts - physical or emotional, if you let him. You may be a skeptic or a doubter. And. That. Is. Okay. That is a place to start. Without doubting you may never ask questions or ponder meaning or search for answers. Without skepticism you may never find the truth and be able to dive in to the healing of God.

God is a healer. He is bigger than any scar that you will ever face. There is no one like him. No one like Jesus. The lyrics of Chris Tomlin's Our God ring out these truths. Have a listen.  

Our God is Healer,
Awesome in Power, 
Our God!

Praying that you would show your scars to someone this week and share the healing that you have received. Praying that if you have unhealed scars, that you would share them, as well because in order to start the healing process, you have to recognize that they exist. Praying that you would take the precautions that come with the injury and journey on accordingly, knowing that in due time, you will be fully healed - either in this life or the next. 

Praying that you would seek and question and get answers if you find yourself doubting. Praying that you would find the truth in Jesus and join in the worship of the King of Kings. Praying that nothing would stand against you as you go along your journey. Praying that someone who has shared similar scars would be put in your life to guide you as you travel through it, encouraging you and praising the Lord along the way. 

Here's to scars and sutures. 

music monday: shake the world by finding favour

Tiffany NicoleComment

New stages are inevitable with children. The only constant with children is change. Change in height and weight and speech and understanding. My daughter is at the independent stage. She likes to dress and pour and snap herself. She also likes to walk by herself, without my hand naturally. This has been an ever increasing battle of safety and obedience all in one, accompanied with my ability to allow her some freedom. She is learning to hold on to the cart or stroller and walk in step with me and I am learning how to let go and give her freedom.

When you accept Jesus in your life, you are given a new found freedom from sin. You have been set free. Sin no longer has a hold on you because Jesus took it away (Romans 3:23). 

You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness. Romans 6:18

Do you believe that you were set free from sin? When you accept the freedom that comes from accepting Christ, you are lifted out of the pit of sin. Your perspective changes and you can see the other side. Whatever entangles you, addictions or malice or anger or guilt, becomes a victory in Christ. You are able to grow and develop the righteousness that comes with following Jesus.

Sin no longer has a stronghold over you when you accept Jesus. Jesus came to set the captives free (Luke 4:18). He came to set you free from whatever holds you hostage. Anxiety. Depression. Loneliness. Grief. Insecurities. Bad relationships. Lies. He offers freedom. He offers life. Not a life of monotony or comfort but one of fullness and abundance (John 10:10). A life that changes eternal destinies and impacts the world for his glory.

Praying that you see the freedom that you have in Jesus if you have accepted him as your personal Savior and if you have not, that your eyes would be open to the freedom that is being offered to you. 

Praying that you would be set free from any sin that you are currently wrestling with and that you would be able to use that victory to help another going through a similar trial, as our trials are not just for us but to benefit others in the name of Jesus (2 Corinthians 1:4). Praying that you would live each day in the freedom that comes with following Christ and learn how to navigate through it in your walk.

This song, Shake the World, by Finding Favour is a fun way to wrap up the freedom and its effects on you and those around you. Things change and you are never the same. Neither are those you encounter. Have a listen. 

When we all start marching to the beat of the drum
Moving to the rhythm of the Kingdom to come
It's gonna shake the world
You are here to make a difference in the kingdom of God now. You meant to be free in Christ.

Here's to being set free and showing others the freedom God has given you in hopes of setting them free. 

music monday: you make be brave by bethel music ft. amanda cook

Tiffany NicoleComment

I had the opportunity to go on the women's retreat for my church this weekend, my first time away since my kiddos entered the world. I had planned on bringing my little guy, since he is still nursing but God had other plans and I am grateful for the time apart and some quality time with my mama and other fabulous ladies and inspiring leaders and speakers. It is amazing how God always has something for everyone and is faithful to start a good work in each of us. The theme this year was fearless, based on Proverbs 31:25. After lots of praying and fasting the past few weeks, God has been renewing my mind in him and drawing my thoughts to him instead of the things that were weighing me down, one of which was fear. Who knew?

I did not think too much about it going in to it but God revealed to me little incites and slivers of fear that had crept in different aspects, one of which is writing. As I have said, allowing others to read the words that God has me sharing is not easy but I know that is what he is calling me to do.

Fear is one of those sneaky things that hides in the middle of something else and masquerades as other things, like doubt and what ifs and worry. It takes away a little bit of you before you knew it even crept in. It takes your joy. It holds you back and keeps you from a fulfilling life.

Fear intertwines with confusion. It coincides with normalcy and screams safety. Fear is hidden in the thoughts of taking chances and sides with not making mistakes.

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

This verse from Isaiah is my favorite of the "do not fear verses." One that I go back to and God pops it in my head at the appropriate time. God tells us not to fear. This particular verse is regarding Israel's release from captivity, which had been caused by their disobedience. God is speaking of hope for the captives. They will be set free. He will set you free. He will help you. He will restore you and turn desert in to pools of water (41:18). It is such a beautiful picture of how God makes beauty from the ashes. He uses our fears and takes them to bring glory to him alone.

Perhaps you find yourself in fear because of a decision you made or an event that happened out of your control. Or a choice you do not want anyone to know about. Whatever the cause, I pray that you would allow God to take your fear and give you truth and a sound mind and show you how to give yourself grace.

Over and over again scripture says not to fear. We do not need to fear men (Matthew 10:28). Or what we will eat or drink or about our life (Matthew 6:25). God has it all in the palm of his hand.
I pray that God will reveal to you any fears that are holding you back and that you will be able to stand in front of them with God leading the way. Praying you will be set free from any lies or misconceptions and focus on the truth that God is for you. You are his. And you are beautiful.

And I have to share the theme song for the retreat, You Make Me Brave by Bethel Music. Another awesome Bethel song, one I had not heard before but is amazing. Have a listen.

You make me brave. No fear can hinder now the Love that made a way.
Here's to not being ashamed of your fears but finding power in knowing that God is your strength and will show you how to overcome them. Here's to being brave. 

music monday: hello, my name is by matthew west

Tiffany NicoleComment

There is something almost magical about the day you become a parent.  A certain amount of euphoria mixed with anticipation and joy beyond description. My oldest brother recently had his first baby, which got me thinking about the emotions entailed with this event.

Not knowing when baby will come is all part of the fun, whether via adoption or birth. These days, you get to plan practically neverything. But with babies, most do not get to chose the day of arrival. The excitement builds and the thought, today could be the day, emanates your thoughts. The biggest day of your life. More exciting than Christmas morning as a child. You patiently await the birth of your precious gift that God has graciously lavished on you.

The gift that will change your status to parent and will add family to your description. The gift that changes a room in your home to a nursery and sprinkles it with baby gear.

I cannot imagine how God feels when we turn to him. When we truly turn our hearts to him and become his son or daughter. The bible says that angels celebrate when one sinner turns from his ways (Luke 15:10).

It goes on to say that he has adopted us. We are his children.
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 1 John 3:1
As I was writing this, Matthew West's song, Hello, My Name is, ran through my head with that verse.  I know, another Matthew West song. He has amazing lyrics, and though he does not frequent my playlist often, the lyrics always stick. Have a listen.

Hello, my name is child of the one true King. I've been saved, I've been changed, and I have been set free. "Amazing Grace" is the song I sing Hello, my name is child of the one true King. What love the Father has lavished upon us, that we should be called His children. I am a child of the one true King.
The bond between a parent and child is great. How much more so with the creator of the universe who has so intricately made you? Since becoming a parent, my relationship with God has shifted and has allowed me to view him in a different light. Seeing that he really knows best. That he has the best plans there can ever be for my life. Seeing that discipline is necessary and not easy for either party involved. Seeing that my strengths and weaknesses are there for a reason and how to best use them. 

I pray that if you find yourself far from God, that you would see his out stretched hand and his big, warm, fatherly embrace to welcome you back. I pray that if you are a parent, that you would see your children as God views them, as well as yourself. You are unique and your relationship with your child and God is, too. 

Here's to adoption and returning to God the father. And parents and children and loveliness. 

music monday: hope can change everything by K-LOVE Fan Awards Artists

Tiffany NicoleComment
For Father's day I had planned on doing one of those super cute printables that ask what is daddy's favorite color, food, thing to do etc. and have Penny answer the questions but with Ricardo being out of town for a week and Penny's third birthday the day before father's day, I never ended up getting to it. I did, however, start asking Penny the questions when I stumbled on the one that I imagined I would print out. 
Red was his favorite color, his favorite thing to do was play with is fairies (who doesn't right?) and then I asked why she loved him. I was taken back with her answer. She responded with "because he loves me." I thought for sure she would say because he plays fairies with her or swings her or gives her more ice cream than she should have. Surely, one of the things that he did for her would be the reason she loved him. Immediately, 1 John 4:19 came to mind, "we love because he first loved us." 
God loves us. He loves you. Unconditionally. Nothing you can do or say or have done will ever change that. He sent his son to die for your sins (John 3:16). He taught us how to love and gives hope. 
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. 1 Peter 1:3

I think somewhere it is engrained in our hearts to love. Not based on merit or anything we can do, just pure love. We only know how to love because Jesus loved us. Because he died for us. He gave us hope. Hope in tomorrow. Hope in the worst of times. Hope for the better. Jesus is hope.
This week I wanted to share a new song that K-LOVE started playing that was made for their fan awards about a month ago, with several of its performing artists featured. (A fun little fun side note: all of the proceeds from this song go towatds rebuilding Detroit and bringing the city back to life. You can read more about that here.) The lyrics of this song radiate hope and its effects. And how amazing it is. Have a listen.

This song so encouraging, right? What is more encouraging than hope? What about the hope behind it? I pray that if you have not found hope in Christ, that you would. That you would trust him to do so and give yourself the best hope now and to come. Hope can change everything.

Here's restoration and rejuvenation. Less worry and more hope. Here's a little 8x10 of a few of my favorite lyrics, although it was hard to choose - the whole song is well written -  to encourage you. Click image to download.

music monday:strangely dim by francesca battistelli

Tiffany NicoleComment

In our modern culture we rush around with phrases like "I am so busy" and "I don't have time," as if we actually are in charge of our short existence on this planet. Everything starts getting complicated from there. Which school to send your child to. Which car will work for your family. Which neighborhood will suit your life style. Which church will meet your needs. The list goes on and on and time is invested in each situation and each decision.

Do not get me wrong, it is wise to consider different factors and weigh out the odds but at the end of the day, if you are truly loving God with all you have, these things fall into place. The decisions unfold and God makes away, even when it seems like it is not possible. If you have spent your time worrying about which house to purchase or focusing on the minute details of the car in question to purchase, you are losing precious time that could have been spent elsewhere. Playing with your toddler. Hanging out with a friend who needs encouragement. Calling your mama. Studying your bible. Maybe even memorizing a verse to help you defer the thoughts.

I recently saw a horrible car crash on the way home. A car flipped and the driver was stuck inside with a police officer standing in front, possibly talking to him. I have no idea if he was okay or not.

The ambulance had not yet arrived on the scene.

 It was at an intersection I frequent almost daily. A crash has never bothered me so much. Prayers are always said in the passing but this time it seemed heavier as we drove past the cars and police and people. Perhaps it was the location. Maybe just a reminder. He could have been on his way home from the store grabbing groceries for dinner or on his way to visit a friend and then crash. I pray he is okay. In a moment everything can change. 

It's funny how simple life really is, yet so sad how much we complicate it. The bible says to love God with all your heart, soul, strength and mind and love your neighbor as yourself (Luke 10:27). And there it is. The essence of life summed up in two sentences. Sounds so simple. 

Our days are numbered and our days are so short! Focusing on God allows us to use our time wisely and not worry about the unknown. It keeps our eyes focused on His purpose and






More of Him and less of us and suddenly the things of this world will grow strangely dim and perhaps your busyness will subside, too.

This song by 

Francesca Battistelli sums it up perfectly. Have a listen. 

Perhaps this 8x10 printable of a few of the lyrics will help you keep life in perspective.Click picture to download.