πŸ’› Romans 8 vs 28..."We are assured AND know that (God being a partner in their labor) all things work together and are (fitting into a plan) for good to and for those who lβ™‘ve God and are called according to (His) design.."

Grateful...this was almost the title of this new blog, but *HOPE* won out...because *HOPE* is what I want this writing of mine to give you.

Pretty much every Sunday, after church, my family is blessed to eat with a group of people, that I have come to lean on and consider family. They love me and mine, they encourage me and mine, they mentor me and mine, and are loyal and faithful to me and mine.

But it wasn't always this way for me. I'm going to have to be somewhat transparent here, so please be patient with me. For this is not always easy, but I have wrestled with the Lord this week, in wanting to write something else, and I have learned, in countless ways in my early years as His royal daughter,  that in truly following His leading me, in the big and small ways, do I find true rest in my soul (my mind, my will, & my emotions).

This past sunday, as our large group settled into lunch, everyone seated, children munching on chips and salsa, little conversations going on, all around me, even more so this week, because a couple with their beautiful daughter, when asked to join us, said yes, and as they say, "the more the merrier!"....and so chairs were added, more drinks were ordered, and it was just a scene of loveliness πŸ’› Happy noises, as my elegant mama would say...

It was right after ALL the orders had been taken, and lively talks had resumed....and wanting to give some attention to the sweet young family who had joined us, I leaned over to ask their lovely, and smart little girl...what she was drinking, to make conversation and because the kids cups at this restaurant were not clear and I couldn't tell what she was drinking. Well, she replied, it's PINK lemonade...πŸ΅πŸ‹ . And she was emphatic on the *pink* part, because as any girl knows, when lemonade is *pink* it's WAY better...it's princess lemonade πŸ‘‘πŸŽ€πŸ‹

And then it hit me, right out of the blue, like it has 1000's of times before in my pilgrim life...what with all the lively bantor, the fellowship going on, a baby girl in a high chair licking salsa off her sweet little hands, an *I spy with my little eye* game, being played between this pink lemonade little girl and her father and one of the brothers of the little girl eating salsa, and some of our friends were busy catching up on Christmas adventures and New Year's memories, and it hit me so much so, that I couldn't speak for a little bit, my eyes filled with tears, and I sat back, not munching on chips and salsa, praying no one saw this, saw me...

I had just had one of those deep, washing over me, moments of *gratefulness* And it came like a huge wave of deep love and warmth rushing into my very heart πŸ’› ...running through my veins, warming my soul, til it burst forth into huge tears in my eyes...shoo...  You see, it is still very green and real to me, just how far the Lord has brought me, carried me, toted me, since my day of asking Him into my messy, untidy, filthy, fearful, little πŸ’› all those many years ago...

Grateful is the word. I was caught up in gratefulness, right in the middle of this scene in a little restaurant in my, now hometown of Ringgold, Ga.. And I'm so joyful, even during the tears, that He still impresses my heart and soul in this way...so I never forget,  where He has brought me from, long ago. 

When I was newly saved, and attended a new church, and then joined their church family, I was divorced, with 2 young, young children, and not renewed in my mind at all. But this gracious church family, located in Chattanooga, Tn...Bayside Baptist Church....with gentle and tender arms, so took me and my 2 babies into their fold, so much so, that we never wanted for a thing...physically, spiritually,  or emotionally.  They became as much a family to me as my own blood family. 

On Sundays, my teacher and class mates taught me, checked on me, mentored me, loved me, prayed for me and the very same can be said for my children and their sunday school classes. We never had to worry about sitting alone on a pew during worship service, because 2 families really took the 3 of us, under their wing. And most of the time, on the sundays I had my children, we were asked to eat at someone's home and visit all afternoon,  or we treated out to eat with another family, or I was secretly handed cards with money to ensure I could take my children out to lunch like everyonelse. 

But on those sundays, where my children were with their daddy, I was sometimes alone after church, for lunch. I am not one who enjoys eating out, alone, so if I didn't have plans with someone,  I usually went back home. And those weekends were tough, let me tell you. 

I completely get that children need both parents,  so my mind understood why my children needed to be away from me every other Friday afternoon to sunday night, but my heart grieved. And so, on those weekends, after many times of choosing to sit in loneliness, I instead chose to *redeem* those times as dates with my Father. And so besides Wednesday night church and sunday morning church, and my morning devotions with Him...I pulled out my bible, and dug in, out of desperation. ..fed up with the routine of these sad weekends. And because I decided to make a firm choice in my heart to Honor Him and His Word. ..He still to this day honors me and that choice, 1 Samuel 2 vs 2b..."for those that Honor Me I will honor, and those who despise Me shall be  lightly esteemed.."

Now mind you, I had a fine job, was paid good, and received  child support too...which some do not get, and a loving family to lean upon, and for all of this I am still grateful.  But when you are a baby christian, not trained in the Word, and the only adult in your home...your mind can wander. Bills come in the mail, 2 daycares have to be paid for, birthdays, Christmases,  field trips at school, fluctuating electric bills occur...and late at night, after supper, bathing 2 children, homework is done, lunches are packed for tomorrow  (including mine, healthier and saves loads of money), flat men are laid out (everyone's outfits literally laid out so as to prevent tardiness in the morning) , devotion time with children is done (because I had learned I was the priest of this home) and girl child and boy child were all tucked in...I would sit in the livingroom and worry about the budget, or the big heat bill just received,  or saving for my oil change the next month...knowing how much I had available in income to me that month. But, then remembering that, I had made a promise to have a date with Him...I immediately stopped my train wreck of thoughts, got up, fetched my bible and journal off my desk, and set down to expectantly hear some Good News from Him. And He delivered!!! 

One of the first 2 verses He impressed me to *take and keep* for my own...was Psalm 23 vs 1,,," The Lord is (now!) my (carolclare's ) Shepherd  {to feed carolclare,  to guide carolclare,  and to shield carolclare } , therefore I {carolclare } shall NOT lack.." I could actually hear Him , in my spirit,  saying my name in this verse that night, and to this day, I still insert my name and now my children and husband's name too. But, 0, how I felt His Presence that night. ✨

And almost as soon as I could hilight that promise and take a quick note of it in my journal, He had me turn to Isaiah 54. Now I had been reading consistently Isaiah 54 each morning, because of verse 17..."no weapon that is formed against you, carolclare,  shall prosper. ..amen" ...but He caused my very eyes to glance to the left of this passage that night, and I have never been the same!! 

Isaiah 54 vs 5.." For your Maker, carolclare,  is your Husband-the Lord of Hosts is His Name-and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; the God of the WHOLE earth, He is called..." I froze, He was gracious enough to let me become fully persuaded in this Word to me, right there on my couch, without experience or working knowledge of it yet, He poured it into my cold, lonely, fearful, heart and that promise became a root so deep...that Noone or no-thing could or can pull it out. 🌱

And so I sat with Him, no more looking for verses that night. I just let them settle in me deeply. I said them over and over outloud, wrote and rewrote them in my journal that night...making them my own, and went to bed renewed in my mind and heart and with the beginnings of restoration going on in my hurt little soul. 

And so began my many date nights with my Husband, the King of Heaven πŸ‘‘ Immediately those feelings of loneliness and dread vanished...and that was no easy task. Let me tell you...long about Wednesday nights every other week, they started, because I would remember that I needed to pack Thursday night on top of all the other nightly routine, to have my two prized possessions ready for their visits with their dad. And the dread of this time away from them, came upon me like someone trying to put a dark, heavy, dreary oversized bulky overcoat on me despite all my resistance. The Lord was teaching me that, in order to shed a non Kingdom way or habit in my life, I can't just shed it, 0 no, I have to put something else in its place...take its place, so to speak.  And so, these dates with Him, were treasured by me. I was in Holy Ghost school, as my church family at Bayside Baptist, called it.

Now let me tell you, He didn't just want me piling up in my journal and heart...stacks and stacks of His Life giving Word....I mean what good is that, right..? He wanted fear rooted completely out of my heart, He wanted to give a hearty kick to loneliness and never have me entertain that guest again...He wanted despair and all the effects of this nasty guest cleaned out of my hurt little soul. I had asked Him in and as my Husband, He was cleaning house!! Now He knew how the process worked and was fully persuaded in This system of His Kingdom, but He needed to make sure, or rather WANTED to make sure, that carolclare was fully persuaded in His Word too. 

So He allowed circumstances in my new Kingdom life to occur, not averting them from me, so as to grow my full persuasion,  through working knowledge of wielding these new promises of His in my everyday life. For instance, the electric bill would arrive and it would be even higher than I had guesstimated, and even though my old flesh went to start up the panic buttton, His very Word would speak to me, even louder and remind me...now carolclare...you are in my Kingdom now, trusting Me and honoring My Word and tithing (which, let me say, is challenging).

Tithing...let's pause for a moment, for tithing is training wheels in faith buliding. Being the only adult under my roof, I didn't have someone supporting my choice of this and backing me up, so my thoughts would turn to fear, even after writing the tithe and sealing it up in the envelope.But i did it because He said ..."prove Me, carolclare.." ...Malachi 3:10.."Bring all the tithes (the whole tenth) into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and prove Me now by it, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of Heaven for you, carolclare,  and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it..."  

Well, I knew enough logically, that if I accepted John 3 vs 16 and believed I was now saved and in The Lambs book of Life, from which no one or no thing could EVER snatch me from, and I had already felt relief knowing He was my King and Husband, then I couldn't throw this verse out. And it's simple to unpack, but harder for people to walk out. But I was against a wall, so I had nothing to lose. So I tithed and I offered, even if it meant, that if after I wrote 2 checks to my church, right after recording my deposit in my check register ...and I felt a tug in my spirit to offer, and I couldn't fathom how to write another check, I would just march right over to my closet and pick out an outfit, a nice outfit too, some times newly given to me and  not yet worn.....because His Word taught me it had to really cost me something. And do you know what..? I immediately found out I could not out give my Lord. You see, old nature, carolclare would rack her brains and rewrite the budget in her notebook and retalley the items, and tighten up here and there and still come up short of the income needed when a surprise bill showed up in the mail. I could not figure ways to make it happen. And I was not enjoying life. But when I started following my playbook, according to the *Light* He had shown me thus far, miraculous things happened.  The new natured, renewing (reprogramming and rebooting) her mind, carolclare, after her dates with God, would call those things as though they already were (Romans 4 vs 17). So it became routine that I would gather my bible, and my budget notebook and the little stack of bills (which were still  goliaths to me) and declare these verses outloud, even saying, The Lord is carolclare's Sheperd, therefore, carolclare does not lack in any way...physically,  spiritually,  and emotionally or financially. I declared that I was now in God's Kingdom, the Highest Kingdom, and as such, was now translated into His economy, not Obama's economy, and in my Father's  Kingdom there was no lack of any kind. And so I further proclaimed, to increase my faith (Romans 10 vs 17) that my Father promised me to supply all my needs , and I obeyed by tithing and offering, and I now believed His Word in Malachi that He would open His very windows from heaven to pour out a blessing to carolclare's household, to take care of me and mine, as any good and faithful Husband would do. I learned how to be expectant...and that is simply put...biblical. and it worked!!

 At the time, my job also gave me commission on certain sales totals, once I met them. And lo  and behold, when my predicted, consistent income didn't cover the month, He would cause me to "prosper at everything I put my hand to.." psalm 1 vs 3 and my commissions steadily increased. Another provision He still does to this day for me is, I often enjoy lots of savings when I  grocery shop, not because I clip coupons either. I always declare psalm 121 vs 8 each day..."the Lord will keep (direct, watch over, surround with His favor) your going out ( into your day, errands, vehicle, job, etc) and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore. ." So I am truly expectant and excited each time I shop, knowing He is causing, through sale items or BOGO, or however, that my receipt will be less than I budgeted for, thus shaving off savings on my budget for the month. Plus, still to this day, I will be gifted a gift card to use while shopping or to splurge and go out to eat with. He has shown me and is still proving to me, He is my Husband and will always compensate by filling in gaps in my budget each month. So now, in my fully persuaded heart i know, even though I'm remarried, and to the world, it would appear I live in a 2 person income household, that is wrong. I now live in a 3 income family...my husband and me and the Lord Himself... all bring in monies and provision for each month. What joy and relief that still brings me!!!

I still have a long way to go...in renewing my mind and πŸ’›  to His ways, His Words, His Kingdom practices, as His ambassador down here on planet earth.  And I know this too, that a faith child, a royal child, a Kingdom child is called, sanctified, set apart....pulled out from the world's crowd...at our personal point of salvation. And as such, a faith child should always be growing, moving forward, rising up ⬆in our working knowledge of our new playbook, the bible, and also of Who He is and who we are now, in Christ.  This has become my passion, to rise up and grow my own faith and disciple those endeavoring to do the same. It's never too late. For this is truly what makes this present life exciting and fulfilling in a way no other means or idol can satisfy. 

So back to my life now, in Ringgold, Ga. ..my life has dramatically changed from that livingroom soooo long ago, when my 2 children were very little. My children are young adults, kind, lovely, and royally saved all by the grace of God in our lives. I have remarried to a Kingdom man, who is faithful and loyal to God and me. I am mentored by passionate daughters of the Most High God.  And I have surrounded myself with an inner circle that is white hot πŸ”₯on fire for our Lord. I have so many girlfriends who love and mentor me. And I have been honored with assignments from my Lord and Pastors that fuel my days as His soldier.

 And so, that Sunday at lunch, as I was vividly reminded by a little girl telling me how much she loved *pink* lemonade, and all at the same time, I heard those *happy noises* at my *family's lunch table* ...my Father took me back in time to a couch long ago, to remind me...not how I'd  messed up (for that is the adversary's favorite job)...but how I had started having dates with Him...πŸ’•πŸ’ž and because of His faithfulness and carolclare honoring (putting great value upon, highly esteeming) His Word  and what I believed His Word could do literally in my life and situations. ..here I sat,...hearing and feeling, and seeing...through carolclare's tearflooded eyes...the very fruit of Him and His Word in my life β€πŸ‹β€πŸ‹β€

Romans 8 vs 28..."for we are assured and know that God being a partner in their labor, all things work together AND are fitting into a plan for good to, AND for those who lβ™‘ve God AND are called according to His design and purpose.." πŸ’›

His Word has taught me that what He can do for one royal child, He surely wants to do for all His royal children. So...Hβ€’Oβ€’Pβ€’E!!! What He has done for carolclare  and is still doing, He can AND wants to do for you. The first step is to make sure you are , indeed, His royal child...if not, then let's settle that. If you need help with that, let someone know or email me (see my contact page). If you are already translated into His Kingdom, then great!!! Let's Roll!!! He is the Waymaker...He can do the impossible  (Luke 1 vs 37 ). Remember as His royal child, you are now on the Victorious team, step out into your day from this Truth, let His Word renew your mind and thus πŸ’›,  and let His Word be your Final Authority in every area and arena of your life. And look out, He will take you on an adventure the rest of your days, that will satisfy like nothing else can! He can even take your *lemons* πŸ‹πŸ‹in your life, and make them, not into just lemonade,....but special, one of a kind, royal...*pink* lemonade !!! πŸ‹πŸŽ€πŸ‹πŸŽ€πŸ‹ And thank you to the sweet Kingdom family who joined our group for lunch, and especially oodles of thank yous to little miss addison...for inspiring my faith blog this week, you are a special little girl πŸ’›πŸŽ€πŸ’›

Him we praise ☝ πŸ‘‘ 

Him we trust ☝ πŸ‘‘ 

John 10 vs 10