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The Year of Victory


Year of Victory

Today is January 1st, 2015. The beginning of not only a new day, but also a new year. A chance to start fresh. An opportunity to improve. A chance to invest in growth. An opportunity to be better than last year. Most importantly, an opportunity to lose yourself in Jesus Christ.

A friend of mine posted on social media a few days that each year she prays for God to give her a word for the year. After she shared her word and her thoughts, she asked for other people to share their word. My word for this new year is “VICTORY.”

I feel God impressing upon me that this is the year of victory. This is year that defeat will not be an option. The only option is being victorious. With that comes responsibility on my behalf though, and yours too should you choose to pursue the year of victory.

Courageous.

Bold.

Fearless.

Adventurous.

Faithful.

Devoted.

Secure.

Relentless.

Hopeful.

Loving.

These are just a few words that come to mind as I think on what a year of victory looks like. I believe that this is year of victory not only for me, but for you as well dear friend. I believe that marriages will have the victory. I believe that relationships with children will be victorious. I believe that there will be victory in finances, in businesses, in health, in faith, and in all areas of life.

Scripture says, “No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.” (Romans 8:37, NLT)

We have the victory through Christ. We have already won through Jesus. We have the ability to be courageous, bold, fearless, relentless, hopeful, loving, secure, devoted, faithful, and adventurous through Him.

I pray that this will be the year of victory for you too, my sweet friend. God has amazing things in store for this year. I can feel in my spirit. I can’t wait to see all the amazing things He has in store for you and for me.

Victorious in Christ,
Jaclyn

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God Is Close to the Brokenhearted


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This morning as I was driving in my car I had Jesus Culture playing. I usually have some worship album playing in the morning to set the tone for the day. And Jesus Culture is one of my favorite worship bands. The song playing as I drove was “Heaven is Here,” and the words seemed to just be a bit louder this morning. They seemed to stick a bit more than any of the other times I have listened to this song.

Here are the lyrics:

We won’t stop crying out to Him
Cause He hears us everytime
Yeah He hears us everytime

We won’t stop pouring out our love to Him
Cause He loves us everytime
Yeah He loves us everytime

Wake up, the normal life
You can do what ever You want to
Shake up eternal signs
Because we want you

We won’t stop going out to Him
Cause He meets us everytime
Yeah He meets us everytime

We won’t stop living only for Him
Cause He’s faithful everytime
Yeah He’s faithful everytime

Wake up, the normal life
You can do what ever You want to
Shake up eternal signs
Because we want you

Wake up, the normal life
You can do what ever You want to God
Shake up eternal signs

Cause heaven is hear now
He’s all around us
Heaven is Jesus
It’s the moment we meet

Wake up, the normal life
You can do what ever You want to
Shake up eternal signs
Because we want you 

These words really were echoing in my head, “We won’t stop crying out to Him cause He hears us every time…We won’t stop pouring out our love for Him, cause He loves us every time…We won’t stop going out to Him, cause He meets us every time…We won’t stop living only for Him, cause He’s faithful every time.”

This morning my heart was breaking, as it is another month of not being pregnant (if you haven’t followed my journey up till now, check out my past posts in regards to infertility and my faith). Another month of feeling defeated and crushed. Another month of feeling as if the enemy was doing a victory dance on top of my head and laughing the whole time, as I sobbed on the inside and then began sobbing on the outside.

BUT GOD. God knew all of this even before I woke this morning. He knew how my heart would break. He knew the defeat I would feel. He knew the lies the enemy would feed me. And He knew He would be there for me no matter how crushed I was. And He chose to speak to me through a song. He chose to remind me of His faithfulness, His love, His strength, and His hope. He wrapped His arms around me as my mind began whirling in a hundred different directions. As the questions began coming like a freight train. As insecurity and doubt began creeping in. As the enemy began throwing his fiery darts at me, my God became my shield and my fortress and my comfort. As He ALWAYS is.

Once the song ended and another song began to play, I felt the Holy Spirit whisper to me, “Choose joy.” I sat in my car and began saying that to myself…”Choose joy, Jaclyn. Choose joy.” I firmly believe that one of the enemy’s biggest weapons against us is our own feelings. He was trying his best to get me to sink into a dark place this morning, and just like the faithful Father that He is, God showed up and began speaking life into me.

Am I still brokenhearted that I have no celebratory news of a little Turner this month? Yes, but I know that my God “heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” (Psalm 147:3) and “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18). So I can keep crying out to Him, because I know He DOES hear me every time. I can continue pouring out my love for Him, because He DOES love me every time. I can go out to Him, because He WILL meet me every time. And I can continue living only for Him, because He is FOREVER faithful. The enemy is a liar. My God is my everything, and I will praise Him despite my feelings. I will praise Him even if I have questions. I will praise Him simply because He is The Great I Am, and I know He loves me more than I can ever fully understand.

My friend, I have no idea what you may be experiencing or what lies the enemy might be telling you, but what I do know that God will never fail you. He will always be there for you, and He will always be your shield. Drive into Him even if you don’t understand. Drive into Him even if you can’t feel Him. Drive into Him even if you can’t see Him. He is there. I promise you that.

More Than Just a Name Tag


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This morning as I was driving in my car and listening to my new favorite worship album (ONE “A Worship Collective” We Believe Live…isn’t that a mouthful), I found myself in conversation with God. I just begin praying to Him (don’t worry my eyes were open…yep, you can still pray with your eyes open *gasp*). My heart was burdened for the lost. My heart was heavy and breaking this morning over the ones who have yet come to know Jesus personally. 

Yesterday I preached about 1. Receive Jesus as King. 2. Feel as Jesus Feels. 3. Share Jesus. And the second one really has stuck with me. You see as Jesus neared Jerusalem we read these words in Luke 19:41: 

                                             “As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it.” 

The Greek word that is translated today in our Bibles as “wept,” doesn’t just refer to a simple tear streaming down the cheek of Jesus. No, it means a gut-wrenching sob. So Jesus was was sobbing, possibly uncontrollably, over the city of Jerusalem and the people of Jerusalem. Why? Because He could see the lost. He could see the outcome of those who didn’t receive Him as King. A life without Jesus is a purposeless life that will lead only to death. Jesus saw that and it broke His heart. 

So I found myself burdened with this thought this morning. The thought of a life without Jesus. Not only for myself, but everyone. As many curve balls life can throw, I wouldn’t want to do life without Jesus. I can’t imagine it. 

I began thinking about how some people say they want Jesus and want to have a relationship with Him, but yet their life reflects an entirely different choice. They wear the “Hello my name is ‘Christian'” name tag and that is about it. They wear the name tag by going to church on Sunday, but do nothing with the message they heard from the pastor. They wear the name tag by owning a Bible, yet they never read it. They wear the name tag by professing that they are a Christian and believe in Jesus, yet they wallow in sin daily. 

This breaks my heart. Now, please hear my heart in all of this. I am in no means trying to put myself up on a pedestal as some “holier than thou” Christian. I am not that at all. I have had wallowed in my own sin mess. I have days when I am not the best expression of Christ. I say things that I shouldn’t. I get angry when I shouldn’t. I find it hard to forgive at times. But I recognize these things, and I press into God because without Him I am nothing. Without Jesus, I would be a hot mess. Without Jesus I wouldn’t stand a chance against sin…it would consume me. 

                         “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” James 1:22

            “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” 2 Corinthians 5:17

I don’t want to just sport a name tag that says I am a Christian. I want my life to show that Christ lives in me, and that He is received as King in my life. And I want that for everyone. There is no greater joy than that of having a relationship with Jesus. There is nothing in this world, no amount of drugs, sex, alcohol, pornography, foul language, material possessions, and anything else this world offers, that can compare to having Jesus Christ as your Lord, Savior, and King. 

I pray that as you go throughout this day that you would allow the Holy Spirit to stir within you. Allow Him to move in your life. Let Him purge you of everything that is not of Him, so that He can fill you with everything that is of Him. I pray that you can’t imagine going through life without Jesus. My friends, He will totally change your life for the better. I promise you that.

Grace & Peace, Jac

Peace I Leave You…Do Not Let Your Hearts Be Troubled


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There has been some crazy weather happening lately. I mean, one day it is snowing in East Alabama and the next day it is 75 degrees. It’s enough to make you ask, “What the mess is up any way?” And on top of the crazy weather there are other saddening and heart-breaking events occurring all over. It really is hard to turn on the news and hear anything good. I know. I get it. I understand, and feel ya on that one. And with all of these crazy and sad things going on, I have noticed a lot of social media posts and blog posts turning our attention to the end of times. Let me just go ahead and let you know that this post is going to be different. It isn’t like the other posts floating around out there. But it will have some similarities…I suppose. 

I am a follower of Christ. I believe in Him, know Him as my Lord and Savior, and love Him more than I can put into words. I am forever thankful for His great love, mercy, and grace that He has extended and shown to me. I do believe He will come to restore the earth and all of creation, and I believe it could happen at any time. Where I differ in most of the other posts is that I don’t go all, “Hide yo kids! Hide yo wife! Stock the pantry and stop what you are doing because it’s the end of the world as we know it.” Yea, I haven’t jumped aboard that bandwagon. I was brought up in a Christian household where we went to church every Sunday. My Mom had a story about Jesus for everything. And I read the book of Revelation during worship service almost every Sunday (yea, I had a fascination with that book of the Bible). I have been made aware of Jesus’ return and that it could happen at any time, and I should always be prepared. But I wasn’t told to go into panic mode and focus only on the end of times. 

I can remember my Mom saying, “I think Jesus wants me to live for Him every day, and if I am only focused on His return then how can I make sure that I am being Christ to those around me.” Yes, we should always be aware and be ready, but I don’t think that it should be our sole focus. If I begin trying to interpret every event and happening and running around like Chicken Little, then I stop showing love, being love, and doing all of the other things Jesus laid out for me to do in scripture. And I am also one who steers clear of books, people, and teachings that claim to know when, where, and how about Jesus’ return. Why? Well, because I am a firm believer that if God didn’t disclose this to His Son, He isn’t going to disclose it to Billy Bob. 

Please do not think I am discrediting the return of Jesus, because I am not. I believe He is coming. I believe it will be soon. But I don’t want to play the role of interpreter and predictor. I want to just be the disciple of Jesus that He has called me to be, and to make sure that I am doing everything possible to point people to Him. 

Be blessed friends. 

Grace & Peace, Jac

Trusting in Him


Today I find myself thinking on this journey of infertility yet again. Seriously, it’s very consuming. Even when I try not to think about it, somehow my mind goes right to it. I see a post on Facebook of someone announcing their pregnant, or sharing a photo of their precious baby. I see a woman loving on her baby out in town as she runs errands. Someone asks me a question in regards to how things are going, or “do you want any more kids?” (because they don’t realize the journey I am on). Yep, it pretty much consumes my thoughts. 

Charts. Tracking. Articles. New research. Hoops. Hoops. Hoops. And more hoops. 

I feel like a flipping science project some days, and on other days I feel like a complete failure in this area, and then some days I am full of hope. Anyone walking this journey (or that has walked this journey) can completely understand the wild roller coaster of emotions. And just when you think you have a handle on our emotions, you flip out or melt down just like that. Hello crazy! 

I am not sure why some people get pregnant by just thinking about it, while other people can’t seem to get pregnant no matter what they do. It just doesn’t seem fair. Not at all. Yes, I catch myself going down this road every now and then. Just let me be real with you. It’s not pretty. I really don’t want to have the urge to scream at the young single girl who keeps popping kids out left and right. But the truth is, I do. I really do. I feel like Paul when he wrote in Romans 7, “And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway.” (Romans 7:18-19, NLT) A bit of a battle within. And it is just that…a battle. A spiritual battle. A physical battle. A mental battle. An emotional battle. A battle in every way. 

Today I am thinking on how much I hate this journey. Seriously HATE it. I wouldn’t wish this on anyone. I am thinking on the fact that I have been pregnant before, and I have a beautiful daughter from that pregnancy (and she is such a blessing). I am wondering why I am dealing with this since I have been pregnant before. Why is it that those who aren’t trying to get pregnant are plastering their “Ooops, it just happened,” statuses and pictures for those of us who would love an “oops, it just happened” to see? Why is it so difficult for those of us who genuinely want a child, to even have our desired child? Why/ Why? Why? My mind is spinning in all directions. 

Then I also am thinking on that even though I feel like my God has forsaken me and turned a deaf ear to my heart’s cries, I know He hasn’t. Even though I have told Him that I am angry with Him and don’t understand, He holds me in His arms and tells me how much He loves me. He holds my hand every step of the way on this journey, and when I feel like I can’t take another step, He carries me. He always carries me and holds me in His hands. 

Oh how I wish I had the magic formula to make all of this better. I so wish I could snap my fingers and find that infertility is just a horrible nightmare and not even real. But I can’t. I’m not God. But He is. And I have to trust Him no matter what. I have to cling to Him even when I feel like letting go. I have to press into Him even when I feel like He isn’t there. Why? Because deep down I know that my God is faithful, loving, merciful, gracious, and full of life. He can turn my darkness into light. He can take my mess and create a masterpiece. 

I’ve tasted and seen that the Lord is good, and because of that I will trust in Him. He is my living hope.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pcmUYDU-2DY/>Trusting in Him, Jac

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Marriage is Far More Valuable than a Piece of Paper


I saw something yesterday that disturbed me, while scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed. It was one of those premade quote pictures, and it stated something along the lines about how marriage is just a piece of paper and all you really need is love. Well, a relationship that has a good love going on is great. Nobody wants a relationship that is loveless. But to go as far as to say that marriage is just a piece of paper, well, I have to put the brakes on that one. It makes me kind of sick to my stomach to think that someone has created such a cheap view of marriage.

If you have ever read any of my blog posts then it shouldn’t come as a surprise to you that I am a Christian. Yes, my faith forms my belief of marriage and shapes how I view it. And yes, I am divorced, so let’s not start trying to throw that rock around (I remarried, by the way). I realize that some of you may not share in my opinion, and I won’t think any less of you for that. But for me marriage is something that should be held to a very high standard. Our society has cheapened it and made us believe that it is far less valuable than what it really is.

God designed marriage. Therefore, I believe, if God designed it then it must be important. It must be much more than just a piece of paper. And if I am to walk with Christ than I must value it more than I would a piece of paper I wrote on. And even further, if I am to walk with Christ I must value my own marriage to the point where I take my vows seriously. I must honor my husband, love him, submit to him (oh yea, I went there….but not in the “I’m his dog” kind of way), cherish him, forgive him, share in his burdens, share in his celebrations, and so on. If I get mad at him over something, I don’t need get my pants in a wad and tell him that our marriage is just a piece of paper and means nothing. I don’t need plan out a divorce plan just because he doesn’t share the same opinions as I do. I don’t need to teach our children that marriage is nothing more than a piece of paper.

Nope, I am in for better or worse. I am in for the long haul. Yep, Brian isn’t getting rid of me. Ha! I don’t want to treat our marriage cheaply. I don’t want either of us viewing our marriage as merely something written down on a piece of paper. I want us both to see how sacred our marriage is. Yes, marriage is SACRED. God holds marriage very highly, and that is how I want to see it too. Look, let me just go ahead and tell you that I am beyond crazy about my husband and love him more than I could put into words. I couldn’t imagine not being married to this man. Maybe that is why I see our marriage as more than just a piece of paper.

I want our children to grow up and have spouses who love the Lord and hold marriage as sacred as it should be held. If I want that for them, then I have to lead by example now. I know I will probably step on some toes here and cause some of you to block me or unfriend me. That’s cool. Blessings to you friend. But I need to share what I feel isn’t said enough when it comes to marriage and relationships. If you are a Christian, then you can’t have a live in boyfriend or a live in girlfriend. If you are a Christian, you can’t divorce your husband or your wife just because you don’t feel like being married any more. If you are a Christian marriage is held to be highly sacred and something you don’t treat cheaply.

I know I have done a lot of rambling and it probably feels like I have been on my soapbox FOREVER, so I won’t keep you much longer. But if you are still reading this, I want you to know that you are treasured and loved child of God. He loves you with an incredible love, and He wants the best for you. That is why He has created marriage to be so sacred. He knows that divorce, adultery, sleeping around, and “shacking up” aren’t the best, and that is why He has given us guidance in these things. Is there grace? Absolutely. God is a God of second chances, so you can always come back. He will always wrap you in His arms and offer you His grace and mercy. But in order to receive His grace and that second chance, we must first walk away from what led us in the opposite direction. Then we must humbly come to Him in repentance and ask Him to show us the way.

So they are no longer two, but  one. Therefore, what God has joined together, let man not separate. ~Matthew 19:6, NIV

For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. ~Ephesians 5:31, NIV

Grace & Peace, Jaclyn

Stamp of Approval


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We all want a “stamp of approval” on our lives. I mean nobody likes to be told that how they behave, how they parent, how they treat others, how they live their lives, and anything else that involves their decisions is well, let’s just say not up to par. I will admit that I don’t like being told that some of my decisions and choices aren’t always the best, and sometimes I have issues with authority (oops, how did that skeleton get out the closet). But lately, I have felt God making me more aware of that fact that not everything people do in their lives has His official stamp of approval. Oh, we like to put it there though don’t we?

How many times have we done something, said something, or behaved a certain way and thrown God’s stamp of approval on it knowing good and well He was probably shaking His head at us the entire time. I mean, come on. 

I have noticed a lot of “stamps of approval” lately that have been placed by human hands, not God’s. It upsets me, and it breaks my heart. Since when did we become so blind to the fact that if it isn’t in line with God’s Word then it does NOT get His stamp of approval? 

You can’t live with your significant other and have sex outside of marriage, and turn around and proclaim that God is in control of your life. No. God’s Word is very specific when talking about sex outside of marriage. Scripture tells to even flee from the very hint of sexual immorality. Shacking up with your significant other before marriage falls into this category. So, I am sorry, but God’s stamp of approval does not get placed on this. 

You can’t cuss and drink like a sailor, and then turn around and sing God’s praises. “From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this ought not to be so.” (James 3:10) “Do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery;” (Ephesians 5:18) God’s stamp of approval doesn’t get on this either. 

Divorcing your spouse because you “fell out of love,” or for any other reason other than abuse, adultery, or abandonment, and then saying that God is opening up a new door for you. No, God’s stamp of approval doesn’t get on this either. “Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” (Mark 10:9)
I realize none of this is like swallowing sugar….more like salt. It’s not easy for me to type this. I am more of a warm and fuzzy kind of gal, with a side (ok, maybe an extra side) of sassiness. But it really breaks my heart that God’s name seems to be placed just about everywhere now. We like to think that if we include His name then everything will be ok. 

Look, I am a divorcee. I went through a divorce, and I know the pain that it brings. It’s not easy. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. I won’t go into details of that chapter of my life (that’s another post), but I will share that it was a hard struggle for me. And I also know that divorce was never in God’s plan. Ever. God is not an advocate of divorce. Just like he’s not an advocate for shacking up, cursing, drunkenness, wrong behavior, nasty attitudes, lying, cheating, stealing, and the likes. 

Oh there is grace. His sweet wonderful grace. And we can have it at no cost to us, well let me take that back. His grace is freely given to us, but we do have to lay down our pride, self-centeredness, and our ego. We can make poor life choices and be forgiven. God doesn’t turn His back on us when we make decisions that don’t line up with His Word, but that doesn’t mean He approves of them either. So, maybe instead of putting His stamp of approval on it, we should strive to make better choices and seek His way. Maybe instead of looking at our poor choices and thinking to ourselves that God orchestrated the chain of events (you know, so we can feel better about ourselves), we should ask Him to show us His way apart from those poor choices. 

I am by no means perfect, and I don’t have everything figured out. God knows that, and I would never claim to be the girl who has it all together. Really, I am a broken soul in desperate need of my Savior everyday at every moment. I fail Him daily. I make poor choices. I hurt people. I don’t always have the best attitude. I can be snotty and plain out rude. I don’t always love my spouse like I should. I don’t always give my kids my best. And there are times when I try to put God’s stamp of approval on things I have done so that I can feel better. I confess. But that doesn’t mean it’s right. It doesn’t mean it’s ok. I cling to Jesus everyday because I know if I don’t, I will slip right back into the pit He rescued me from. And it’s a dark pit that I don’t ever want to return to. 

Friends, this post isn’t meant to be judgmental or cause you to have a pound of guilt strapped around your neck. And isn’t meant to make you feel bad about yourself. This post is as much for me as well. My prayer is that this post will cause all of us to take a good hard look at our life choices before we try to put God’s stamp of approval on them. And if they don’t line up with His Word, I pray that we wouldn’t try to force His stamp of approval on them. I pray that we would seek His way above our own way, even if it isn’t the easiest or most comfortable. I pray that we would rest in His grace, love, and mercy, and trust Him to always lead us in the right way. 

“But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” (Matthew 7:14)

Grace & Peace, Jac

There is Still Hope


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Do ever have those moments when you just want to throw in the towel and walk away? When you just feel like screaming, “I quit”? Or maybe you just feel like all of your efforts are hopeless? 

Yea, we all have those moments. They may not be the same for everyone. Some of us may feel like that with our jobs. Some us feel that way in our marriages. With our kids. With our dreams. Maybe our health. Whatever the reason, we still all can relate to having these moments from time to time. 

It’s funny though to me, because whenever I start feeling like this. Whenever I have one of these moments, God quickly reminds me to not lose hope. A friend may offer me a word of encouragement. Or maybe someone I am helping shares with me a success of their own. Sometimes the reminder comes through my husband just telling me how much he loves me, or my kids saying “thank you.” 

Too often I fail to think on these “reminders” when I begin to feel like all hope is lost, until God sends another one my way. But when these reminders come, it is like a breath of fresh air sweeping over me. My soul breathes life. My hope is renewed. My smile is returned. 

Friend, I pray that during the times where you feel that all hope is lost, that you will be reminded that there is still hope. I pray that you have a flood of reminders, and that your hope is renewed. You are precious. You are valued. You are amazing. 

I Have A Dream


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Today is Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, as many of us know. It got me thinking on these famous words from Martin Luther King Jr., “I have a dream.” Read that again, “I have a dream.” MLK didn’t just have any dream. His dream wasn’t to one day own a BMW, or to one day become the most famous person on earth. His dream wasn’t to open an ice cream shop with over 100 different flavors, or to one day sell men’s clothing. He didn’t even dream of becoming a famous rockstar. No, MLK’s dream was much bigger than any of those dreams. His dream was for prejudice and racism to exist no more. His dream was for his children to experience a world where everyone of all races could interact freely and openly. His dream was a BIG dream.

All of these got me to thinking. Do I dream BIG? I mean, really BIG? Are my dreams of just ice cream shops and fancy cars, or do my dreams carry the potential to make a difference in this world? Will my dreams lift others up or only build myself up? Say these words again, “I have a dream.” Say them though for yourself, not as if you are hearing MLK speak them. What kind of weight do they carry for you? Do they make you stop and evaluate your dreams? Do they make you excited for the fire in your gut to make a difference?

Did you know that God has BIG dreams for you? Jeremiah 29:11 speaks it so clearly, ” ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'” Did you catch that? (I know I am full of questions today.) God has a wonderful future planned for you! He has BIG dreams for you! And no, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you will have everything in the world you ever wanted, but it does mean that He wants to lavish you with His love. He wants to pour out his blessings upon you. He wants share his goodness with you. Those are BIG dreams my friend. Those are the dreams laid out for you.

So, my challenge to you today is to dream BIG. Embrace God’s BIG dreams for you. Share your dreams. Encourage others to dream BIG. Dreaming BIG is not something just for people like MLK. Dreaming BIG is for you and me as well.

Grace & Peace, Jaclyn

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