Gracious Words

gracious words blog

 

You ever get in one of those moods? A moody mood. You can’t describe it or why you’re even feeling this way. You just feel tired. Down and out. Like you’re in a never ending cycle of Mondays. Nothing is really wrong per say, but you’re just not excited about life. You’re looking for much needed encouragement to feel like your joyful self again. Someone to say “you can do this!” You can make it through another week. You can make it through that meeting. You can make it through that tough exam.

But sometimes it may feel like you don’t have anyone. No one understands what you’re feeling or they’re ignoring you because you snapped at them over coffee in the break room (sorry to anyone I’ve done this to at work). And honestly you don’t even understand what you’re feeling.

Some might blame it on being a woman (hahaha boys keep the comments to yourself). But really there’s no reason for it other than life wearing you and your spirit down. The constant cycle of heartbreaking news on our televisions and social media can do that to you. Don’t let satan take a foothold in your life through these channels. One of my favorite things to do when this happens is to pick out a few Bible verses that I love. From there I write them down in my planner, on notecards to pin to the bulletin board in my office, write them on my bathroom mirror in dry erase marker, or set them as the screen on my iPhone. Go to Pinterest for inspiration!

  • When you say “I’m too tired,” God says “I will give you rest.”- Matthew 11:28-30
  • When you say “I can’t do it,” God says “You can do all things.”- Phillipians 4:13
  • When you say “I’m not able,” God says “I am able.”- 2 Corinthians 9:8

According to scripture, uplifting and encouraging words are beneficial to the soul. Proverbs 16:24 says “Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” Remember that this doesn’t just apply to ourselves however. Singing sweet songs of praise and encouragement to others not only lifts their spirits but ours as well. Recently there have been countless times where I mentally chose to decide my words weren’t going to better anyone or the situation and kept them to myself. Whether it be an argument or complaining about your food, try it my friends.

Some people say fake it til’ you make it, but I say “faith” it til’ you make it. You’d be surprised how much choosing to be joyful can change your mood daily. After a little while you realize reading those uplifting verses or complimenting your coworker isn’t just a choice, but a daily habit of your joyful soul. I can’t tell you how many times “forcing” myself to say okay I’m not going to let this bad mood get to me or ruin another day. When you say enough is enough, it will lose its foothold on you.

To my friends feeling like everyday has a case of the Monday’s. My friends who feel like they’re in a slump and just don’t know why, this one is for you. Grab your favorite drink from Starbucks-mine is currently the Caramel Apple Spice and dig deep for some verses to write down and keep for future slumps like this one. If you feel like you don’t have anyone to talk to or want some more ideas about combating mood blues, send me a message on my Contact page. Leave your favorite Bible verse for encouragement in the comments below!

 

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31 Prayers

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Some of y’all might think I’m silly. I’m not even engaged, but I’ve been praying for my future husband?! I stumbled across this book on Amazon. Amazon can be worse than shopping at Target sometimes. You click on one thing and they suggest something you might like, you decide you do like it and then all the sudden your cart exceeds $100 and you’re not even sure how it happened.

I started this devotional as soon as it came in. It’s not just any devotional-the prayers are written there for you. So if you’re someone who has trouble converting a daily devotional message into a prayer, then this is for you! I’ve been using it along side my Jesus Calling devotional.

31 Prayers for my Future Husband covers so many topics you would never even think of. Things you would want in a future spouse, but maybe never thought to pray over on your own. Topics like making wise decisions, keeping good company around him, and a compassionate heart. It also calls you, as a future wife, to say well if I want my future husband to embody these ideals, I should embody them as well. This turns into you praying for yourself and changing your heart along the way.

How beautiful is it to say you’re praying for your future spouse, whether you’re single, in a relationship, or engaged. You’re praying for his heart, for his mind, for protection and for the future together. Praying for your spouse while you’re married is obviously important as well (they make a devotional for that too), but becoming a prayer warrior before the wedding will make that transition so much easier. The world we are living in needs our generation of husbands and wives to joyfully pray for each other and their relationship.

If you are in a relationship, I encourage you to insert the name of your significant other in the prayer. Speak them out loud. Start writing prayer letters to your future spouse. It all may seem silly in the grand scheme of things, but what a difference it can make.

I am going to revisit this devotional soon, but for now I’m passing it on to sweet co-worker of mine. Pick a copy up for yourself or give it as a gift- it is well worth the $12 investment. Ladies, this isn’t just for you. The man in your life can read along with their version as well.  This book will prepare, inspire, and cause a revelation in your life.

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Anonymous

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Do you ever feel hidden? Maybe you’ve moved to a new place, started a new school, accepted a new job. No one sees the extra hours you’re putting in at work or all the effort you put in around your house. Have you ever entered into a new season of life? Where you shifted from being recognized to feeling unknown. When we enter hidden seasons, we can be concealed for months or years and our potential seems to go into hibernation. We don’t know if spring will ever come and awaken us again. You may feel like you have so much more to give and be, but no one can see it but you.

There is one who can see it however. God himself. The beauty He sees in you doesn’t diminish by the season you’re in. Whether we enter hiddenness by our own deliberation (relocating for a new job) or unwillingly (grief following the loss of a loved one), we can spend years feeling that the greatest part of us is submerged in the unseen. Everyone can see only see the tip of the iceberg we really are.

We must remember the most influential person in all of history spent ninety percent of his life hidden. Only ten percent of His life was spent in the public eye. Yet all of his life He was and still is absolutely indestructible.  We know practically nothing about Jesus’ first 29 chapters of His life. Eighteen years after Jesus gets in trouble for staying in the temple, Jesus emerges from his hiddenness by the Jordan River for chapter 30.

When we say we want to “live like Jesus” most of us don’t mean the hidden years. We don’t want to spend 90% of our lives living anonymously. But Jesus embraced a life of hiddenness. These years empowered Him to live an eternally fruitful life.

Let’s consider human conception. Our lives commence in the darkness of the womb. We are knitted together but concealed. Unseen? Yes. Unimportant? Absolutely not. If this hidden phase of development is prematurely interrupted, the results can be tragic. From God’s perspective, anonymous seasons are sacred spaces. They are to be rested in, not rushed through and most definitely never regretted. Not applauded but not unproductive: hidden years are the surprising birthplace of true spiritual greatness.

In moments where I am tempted to wait on the “main” course of this life. You know, the “when we get married” or “when we start a family” or “when I get my master’s degree,” I remember that my time is not some filler. God waste’s no man’s time. To Him, every “course” in our life is the main course.

Let’s imagine something for a second. Jesus had God’s divine power and calling within him every day. He woke up each morning and lived in his town unnoticed for a long time. He was not free to proclaim his mission or destiny. Everyone else was only seeing the tip of the iceberg of who He was. Most of us struggle if our callings or dreams are delayed a year, much less twenty! But in anonymous seasons, we must hold tightly to the truth that Jesus was strengthened through his hidden years. Father God is neither care-less or cause-less with how He spends our lives. When He calls us to greatness and obscurity at the same time-if we wait for it- we can change the world.

In hidden years, we may press the question of whom we will let hold the clock for the rest of our lives. When God’s timing is not our timing, whose timing will we choose? Ultimately the answer to that question depends on whom we really trust. You have to decide Father always knows best, God’s ways are perfect, and that He is never, ever late.

If you feel hidden, you are in excellent company. Savor the season and its potential. When graced with hidden years, wait because He is worth it. Keep the waters of your spirit joyful and be still while you grow.

Recently, I started doubting why I had started blogging in the first place. I felt I wasn’t reaching anyone with my words. I felt anonymous. Just a few days later, I received a letter in the mail from someone who had read my blog and appreciated the words I wrote. It reminded me when God places a calling and talent on you, He will be faithful to grow you right where you are.

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Sweater Weather

I am already thinking about Fall weather and all that comes with it. The pumpkin patches, crockpot soup recipes, and wearing cozy sweaters! Even though the weather isn’t quite cool enough yet, I had to grab this sweater when I saw it! It’s simple, but can be paired with a lot of different things. The best part about it? It’s monogrammed! Southern ladies, rejoice!!

For the first look, I paired it with my favorite ripped jeans, a plaid flannel, and booties. This look is perfect for grabbing dinner with some friends or even casual Fridays at work. Lipstick: Maybelline Color Blur in “Plum Please.” One of my favorite fall colors and it’s super inexpensive! View More: http://kristenelizabethphotographie.pass.us/angela-thomas-blog-picturesView More: http://kristenelizabethphotographie.pass.us/angela-thomas-blog-picturesView More: http://kristenelizabethphotographie.pass.us/angela-thomas-blog-pictures

The next look screams a fun date night like a country concert or a walk through the pumpkin patch. I think I’m going to wear this one when JD takes me to the state fair in a few weeks. Hopefully the weather will cooperate by then. Plus its an oversized sweater, meaning I can eat a funnel cake (or two). Winning! I paired the same sweater with a pair of denim shorts and my trusty (and worn out) cowboy boots. View More: http://kristenelizabethphotographie.pass.us/angela-thomas-blog-picturesView More: http://kristenelizabethphotographie.pass.us/angela-thomas-blog-picturesView More: http://kristenelizabethphotographie.pass.us/angela-thomas-blog-picturesView More: http://kristenelizabethphotographie.pass.us/angela-thomas-blog-pictures

The last look is for those days when you’re running errands, doing laundry, and grabbing coffee in between. I threw the same sweater on with a pair of leggings and a comfy pair of duck boots. These boots are especially good for those chilly, rainy days that Fall brings. View More: http://kristenelizabethphotographie.pass.us/angela-thomas-blog-picturesView More: http://kristenelizabethphotographie.pass.us/angela-thomas-blog-picturesView More: http://kristenelizabethphotographie.pass.us/angela-thomas-blog-pictures

MarleyLilly also has wonderful customer service. I messed up my monogram (am I even a Southern woman?!) and thankfully realized it before it was shipped. They helped me get everything fixed with no problems. Let me know your favorite part about Fall in the comments!

Since this post is a little different than my normal, I still want to remind you to choose joy today! We’ve almost made it to Friday!! Do something that makes you happy today. Whether it be grabbing a donut or your favorite iced coffee (or BOTH) and maybe pick one up for a friend too!

Thanks for reading!

*If you’re in the market for a talented and amazingly sweet photographer, send Kristen a message! She makes me look SO good!

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Hugs

Do y’all like hugs? My sister doesn’t. She’s one of those people. She cringes up when you grab her in a big ole’ hug (I’m sure she’ll love me telling y’all that). As long as I can remember, she’s been that way. The rest of my family however, we’re the hugging kind.

Hugs transfer energy and gives someone an emotional lift. It can say things you just don’t  have the words for.

Sometimes you just need to give a hug. Or to receive one. Someone gets married? Give em’ a hug? Haven’t seen your best friend in forever? Give em’ a hug. When someone dies? You offer their family and friends hugs.

Next week marks the anniversary of a season of grief my family and I entered into. A season where we got used to a lot of hugs. Between the funerals and visiting with family and friends, it was one after another.

One year ago, my feisty grandmother, Dorothy passed away. One of my fondest memories of her is when I would get to her house and she would be sitting in her old, worn down chair that’s probably been there since before I was born, with an afghan across her lap and she’d say “Come here and give me a hug, AJ.” Before I’d leave, she would say the same thing. Her hugs felt like home. They were warm and comforting.

One month after her death, my precious niece passed away. My sister, you know- the one who hates hugs, had to get used to them quickly. We had spent days together before the funeral and hadn’t exchanged a single hug. But after the services, I walked up to her crying and she just embraced me. That’s something I will remember forever.

The very next month, my Grannie- Miss Virginia, went to Heaven as well. Her hugs felt like Sunday mornings and Christmas dinner all wrapped into one.

Just a few days ago, a high school classmate passed away in a tragic car accident. Our small class of forty people gathered together. Most of us hadn’t seen each other in years. We came together to celebrate his life. We came together to comfort each other. At the graveside service, his brother spoke words I will remember for the rest of my life. He said recently, they had exchanged one of four hugs in their entire lifetime-something he would cherish forever.

I’d give a lot to hug those people one last time. I challenge you today, to hug someone you love. To give them one of those hugs that you’d remember forever if you never saw them again here on this earth. You know the kind I’m talking about.

Sometimes in the middle of darkness, it’s hard to see the other side. But as a child of God, we have to remember, the battle is the Lord’s. There is joy in the middle of sorrow. There is peace in the storm. There is hope for tomorrow. Even as the storm of tragedy and grief are raging around you, stand and know you have not and never will be forsaken.

Who brings light to the morning? It’s no other than God, and as surely as the sun rises, God will come and bring joy and peace.

 

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Dads

Dad n. – 1. father, guardian, protector, carer, friend. 2. teacher, mentor, coach, listener. 3. taxi, bank, yard man 4. best dad a kid could ask for.

Yesterday, my Dad turned a number he would probably rather I not mention for the world to see. Growing up, birthdays are just a fun day where you get to eat too many slices of cake. Now that I’m a little older, I realize birthdays aren’t just about the cake. They are a celebration. A celebration of life.

This year isn’t just another year I went and bought Dad some fishing gear (don’t worry Dad, I did that too). But a year I am thankful to have such a wonderful father in my life. Another year I am thankful God allowed me to have him around. Not everyone gets that.

Dad and I lived in a trailer out in the country for a while. Just me and him. He would cook me egg sandwiches and turkey bacon for dinner. He would play with me outside in a refrigerator box (don’t lie, y’all know this is the best). We lived a simple life. But it was all we needed. Those were some of the best years and fondest memories I keep.

Not matter what we do- whether it be sitting down and catching up on Scandal together, getting up to fish the Alabama River at 4 a.m., or sitting in a too small tree stand telling each other to sit still- we always have fun.

He is loving and kind. He listens, suggests and defends. He’s always been proud of my triumphs and patient and strong when things went wrong. Every year that passes, I’m even more glad that he is my Dad.

This post is a little short. But simple and to the point.

Happy Birthday, Dad!

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Another basic blogger?

 

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I know what you’re thinking. Angela, why are you blogging? What is the point of this? Aren’t there a million other bloggers out there?

Yes, yes, yes. There are. I didn’t create this site to become “Insta-famous” or to get glory from the world, but rather share His Glory. God gave me the talent of writing a long time ago. Just ask my parents how I exceeded in Language Arts but put two decimal points in my math homework (bless it Lord). In the last few years, God placed the desire to use my passion for writing and my passion for Him all in one place. I kept saying no. I kept telling God people would think I was silly and no one would read it. But after participating in #21DaysofPrayer with Church of the Highlands and truly asking Him for guidance in my career, I say to HECK with what I’m feeling cause God has placed this calling on me for a reason and he surely doesn’t give us the spirit of fear or doubt. If no one reads this blog but myself and my parents, I’m okay with that.

Now I know you’re also thinking, “Here’s another basic girl sharing some bible verses.” Nope. Not at all. I’m here to talk about Joy. You know the kind you sing about as a kid. “I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart.” Sing that yourselves though, cause you don’t want to hear me singing. AT ALL.

Choosing to live joyfully in the midst of all circumstances. Whether you feel lonely, left out, like you need a career change, or maybe you’re actually loving life. No matter what season we’re in, we can choose to find the joy in it all. That’s something He has taught me recently and something I desire to share with others. In a world that pressures us to feel down and out or even downright depressed about just getting out of bed everyday, we all need to choose Joy. And boy, what a difference does it make. Not just to you. But to your spouse, your co-workers, your friends, or the lady scanning your groceries at the Walmart. When we choose joy no matter what, we realize this life we live is a really beautiful gift. That my friends, is a wonderful thing and once you accept that truth, no one can take that from you.

Now, after all that rambling, I’m here to say Welcome. I hope you’ll share this with your friends and family. I’ll have another post up soon, so come back to visit often.