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As I age, I continuously hear women saying, “I want to age with grace.” What in the world does that mean? Does it mean to smile and bear it, not color your hair, grit your teeth and act like you like this thing call aging? No. I don’t think it means any of those things. I think what is being said is not to fight it; to appreciate that with age comes an inner beauty and in Christ, a women who is not just accepting aging but embracing it, is exhibiting someone who is content and filled with joy.

I was at the dermatologist a few weeks ago – yes, trying to get rid of old age spots on my face – and saw this in a book.

There are days when I feel just like that. Where did my life go? Who is this person in a new body with sagging everything? Who put these wrinkles on this face. Sound a little like self- pity? Perhaps. But friends, what I have discovered is when I go down that road (and we all do) it’s time for a heart check. It’s time to reposition myself – take self off the throne and look to Jesus. It’s time to remember that what counts is what is going on in the inside of me, not the outside. I need to be obsessed with Jesus and possessed by His love. Every time I move off off the throne and invite Him to take over  – called surrender for those of you who despise the surrender word – He moves in and reminds me of my beauty in Him. 

I had to laugh as I was working on this making space Monday blog today there was a headline in the newspaper:

So all of you women and men out there who are stressing over aging, take a big breath, say a big prayer– something like this: Father, I can’t say that aging is my favorite thing but I can say that I trust you in it. And.. help me to know that who I am in you is all that counts and everything you have created is beautiful. 

The post Aging with Grace appeared first on Joanne Ellison.

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This morning I want to talk to you about woman depicted in the Proverbs 31 Scripture. When you read this Scripture, does your heart start to pound? Mine does. But the truth is, when we read this Scripture, there are some precious gems for us to hold true as women. Let’s dive in together in this video:

The Perfect Woman - YouTube

The post The Perfect Woman (Video Blog) appeared first on Joanne Ellison.

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Have you ever said to yourself, ” What was I thinking?” We all have! There are times that we do things and we wonder if we checked our mind out for a few minutes or even a few days.  Often when we say this we are having regrets and perhaps even condemning ourselves for making poor choices. Here is the thing. We all make mistakes. We all have regrets but there is always a BUT GOD… There is always Someone to turn to to make it right. When Jesus was looking down from the cross, barely breathing, His lungs collapsing, He looked at humanity and I believe as Savior said to His Father, “It was all worth it”. We know that His last words were “It is finished.” He did it. He made a way for us to come to Him when we blow it; when we do what we wished we had not done or said something we ought not to have said. You see His death bought our freedom.

So… when you find yourself saying: ” What was I thinking when I did that? ” remember that it is at that very crossroads, we must remember His words on the cross: “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” There were those who crucified Jesus who had no idea that He was the Savior but He asked His Father to forgive them. There are those whom you hurt by thought, word, or deed but we have an advocate who understands when we turn to him and ask for forgiveness.

I’m bringing this subject up today on this beautiful Monday morning because friends, it’s time we recognize that our freedom is just a text away, or an email, or a voice message or better yet, a face to face conversation offering forgiveness or asking for forgiveness. These days I see way too many unresolved conflicts that with a few simple words of forgiveness can pave the way to freedom.

The question I have for you today is have you been beating yourself up for something you did or said? Then stop right now and go to your Advocate Jesus. Get things right with Him first and then approach the issue head-on with others or maybe just yourself if you are the only one involved. Christianity is more than a doctrine or system of belief. Christianity is based on a relationship with the One who loves you even to the point of having died for you. Freedom. What a beautiful word.

The post What Was I Thinking? appeared first on Joanne Ellison.

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Good morning, Making Space for God community! Today I want to talk to you about pride. That’s a pretty hefty issue, isn’t it? And one we often like to ignore. Today’s entry from my Drawing Near to God devotional deals with this subject of pride. Speaking of the devotional, it’s a great way to stay connected with the Drawing Near to God ministry. You can follow along from our mobile app, wherever you are!

Here’s today’s entry, The Pride of Moab:

He will bring down your high fortified walls and lay them low;
he will bring them down to the ground, to the very dust.
Isaiah 25:12

The self-sufficiency of Babylon, the materialism of Tyre, and the independence of Moab all had pride as the root of their sins. Isaiah describes the people of Moab as high fortified walls. (Isaiah 25:12) The pride of these nations caused their destruction. Pride is the insidious enemy within us that tries to destroy humility. Yet God tells us in His Word that He dwells with the humble and contrite of heart (Isaiah 57:15) We must also be willing to allow the Lord to bring down the strongholds of pride in our lives so that the humble King of Kings can dwell in us.

Recently, my husband and I were discussing an issue; I thought I was right and he thought he was right. Naturally, I continued to justify and make a point that my way was the right way. I realized that we had locked horns like the buffalo I recently saw on my trip to Montana. Buffalo must be careful when they lock horns because they can die if they are unable to free themselves. I realized that both my husband and I were going to die in the ditch on this issue. Pride was at the root of our disagreement. Both of us wanted to be right.

The Lord desires to find a place in our lives to dwell—a place where He can have room to lead and influence our lives. Wherever pride dwells, we constrict the dwelling place of God in us. Where in your life do you see pride operating? Ask the Lord to remove any stronghold of pride you see operating in your life. You will find freedom and release from the bondage that pride gives.

Heavenly Father,
I pray for a humble and contrite heart—a place for Your Holy Spirit to dwell. Forgive me for my pride, my unwillingness to admit when I am wrong, and my stubbornness when I seek to get my own way.
In Jesus’ name, Amen

The post The Bondage of Pride appeared first on Joanne Ellison.

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A few weeks ago, I had a true, whirlwind of a weekend! My son graduated from Medical school and relatives were in town. Such fun. I learned something significant over that weekend. Don’t miss out on today.  Sounds so simple but I think sometimes we are either caught up in past or looking towards the future when all the Lord really promises us is today. His words to us were to seek Him daily. Pay attention to where He is at work. Pay attention to the people to whom He sends you or to the circumstances as they are unfolding.

At my son’s graduation, I was so busy taking a picture of his receiving his diploma, that I missed that special moment. Behind the lens of a camera, I was distracted and only seeing this precious time through a filter.

Over that weekend the second thing I was realizing is that I must not second guess the future or over think the past. Circumstances were such that my mind kept going there. And to that point…

I was driving down the highway thrilled that after 40 years of driving I have finally learned to use my rear view mirrors. Crazy but true. I also learned as I was preparing for a cycling trip, that I have two sets of gears- one on the right side of the handlebars and one on the left. I began thinking about both of these new learned skill sets and the Lord spoke into my heart:

Don’t look in the rearview mirror. And… use all of the gears that I have given you daily to get up the hill.

Sounds like God’s voice right? I pretty much ignored it thinking it was just my own thoughts. But throughout the day those words/thoughts kept coming back to me. Could it have been God’s voice and if so what in the world was He saying?

As the day progressed, I recognized that I was spending a lot of time looking at past regrets; things I should have done or things I wish that I had not done. I had been doing that lately. I had been forgiven and not moved on. God whispered in my heart not to look back anymore. And then the second part:

And use all of the gears I have given you. 

As I was cycling, practicing my newly learned skill of using both sets of gears, I realized how much easier it was to climb the hills (mind you, one of the only hills in Charleston is the Ravenel Bridge.). I began to see that the Lord was teaching me to not look back and to use the power He gives me to live fully into each day. We are powerless in the yesterdays of life, and we are powerless in our future. The Lord holds those for us. He gives us the power to seek and love Him daily with our whole heart, mind and soul enabling us to navigate our days with strength and courage.

So friends, in summary, take a moment and give the Lord your yesterdays and your future. Ask Him to forgive you for the past things you regret and ask Him to help you to enjoy the day you are living now. True joy is found in the midst of our daily lives knowing that God is here with us and He is in control.

The post Live for Each Day appeared first on Joanne Ellison.

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Good morning, Making Space for God community! If you have been keeping up with my blog lately, you’ll see that there has been a theme – anxiety. But really the theme has been the antidote to anxiety – God. As we make space for God, we find there is less room for anxiety. You can watch all of the videos in this series here or in the embedded playlist below.  I hope you’ll share these videos or this blog post with anyone you know who is feeling anxious.

But now back to today’s post. I want to reshare an older blog post about feeling powerless. What do you think the solution is? If you guessed Making Space for God, you’re right. God is still on the throne and when we make space for Him and trust Him, His power fills our tank.

I want to address the subject of feeling powerless. I have been talking to many people who are in despair for a multitude of reasons. It’s something that at one time or another we all deal with and often we find that hopelessness jumps into the same wagon.

We see a high level of anxiety in our world today. We live in a complex global world that is increasingly growing yet shrinking at the same time. Our far-off neighbors are accessible to us via a quick text or email so in that sense we are shrinking. In another sense, we are growing in extraordinary technological ways. But with this complex world, comes a sense of fear of forces that threaten to destroy us. Terrorism is a real threat and the safety we once knew is under attack.

Let’s face it,  like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, we are no longer in Kansas City, the place of security with Auntie Em.

As Christians, we verbalize that God is our peace but peace evades us. We say our trust is in Jesus, but our lives do not reflect this. Our hearts long for God but we wonder if He cares, or is really there.

Beloved friends, God is still on the throne. He has not decided that His job is just too difficult and has quit. Jesus sits on the right hand of the Father, and He has not abdicated or left us as orphans. As Christians, we are seated with Him (positionally) in heavenly places. We live on earth, but our eternal connection is with Him.

And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:6)

I recently read an article about auto-driven cars that may be available to us as early as 2020. As I considered this, and the fact that my hands would not be on the wheel of the car, I realized how difficult this would be for me to give up control of driving the car.  They say it’s not easy to teach a dog new tricks and that may be true, however, I propose that it’s not easy to teach anyone to let go of the wheel. We will feel powerless and I bet some of us will put our foot on the brake that isn’t even there!  In our times of hopelessness, a surge of insecurity and anxiety may rise and perhaps even an attitude of drilling down to see how to get out of this pit through self-efforts. And yet the next day we feel the same sense of dread and helplessness.  All our efforts feel as though we are in the back seat of an auto driven car.

So let’s get practical. What do we do when we feel powerless? It’s easy to say look to Jesus; trust Him. But when the tide of anxiety rises and the feeling of hopelessness are like a tsunami, that may not be possible. But what is possible is to draw from the well of deposits you have made spending time in God’s Word; spending time in His Presence– filling your tank to overflow.

The Apostle Paul must have had days when he felt hopeless. He was beaten, shipwrecked, despised by his own, imprisoned. But he found within a deep well of peace and comfort in His Lord. He had made daily deposits in his spiritual bank account so that His trust level exceeded his level of hopelessness. Friends, this is the one needed thing in which Jesus commended Mary. This is what Jesus meant when He told His disciples to seek Him FIRST and His righteousness and God would find a way. And this is what He is reminding us of today. His Presence must be more overwhelming in our lives than our circumstances but that takes intentionality to allow His Holy Spirit to fill our lives– daily,  drop by drop into our messy lives; our painful lives; our lives of despair. And the good news…. is this– the Gospel will make a way. It is the Good News of Christ’s coming and sending His Holy Spirit to come to our aid that does the heavy lifting of removing hopelessness and filling us with hope.

The post From Feeling Powerless to Powerful appeared first on Joanne Ellison.

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Good morning, Making Space for God community! Today I have another video to share with you as part of the series on dealing with anxiety. Are you anxious? Overwhelmed? I believe that when we make space for God, we have the tools to deal with anxiety. Let’s take a look at what Jesus says about anxiety —

Dealing with Anxiety by Making Space for God - Part 3 - YouTube

The post Dealing with Anxiety by Making Space for God – Part 3 appeared first on Joanne Ellison.

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Good morning, Making Space for God community! Now that we’re “unofficially” into summer, let’s talk about rest. For some people, summer can be a truly restful time – no school or schedules. And for others, it seems even crazier than the school year, with vacations, family visiting, camps, etc. But God invites us – at all times, not just summer – to rest in Him. Whatever this season looks like for you, give your worries and burdens to Jesus. He will take your heavy yoke from you. Below is an entry from my devotional, Sitting at His Feet, with some encouragement that the Lord has given me about this process of rest —

Rest

I know that you are worn out and have resisted giving in to much-needed rest. I long to bear your burden and take from you the heavy yoke of stress. My yoke is easy and burden light. When you release the concerns that you carry to me you will find rest. I have the answers that you need and the plan to navigate this trial. When you come to me I will take the heavy backpack of worry and the concerns that you have and carry them for you. Have you forgotten that I give strength to the weary and am your greatest advocate? I will lead you in the way that you should go and help you to find rest in me. Do not lean on your own understanding. Seek me and you will find a straight path unburdened by the cares of the world.

Proverbs 3:5; Matthew 6:25-34; Matthew 11:28-30

The post Taking Away the Heavy Yoke appeared first on Joanne Ellison.

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Drawing Near to God | Joanne Ellison by Drawing Near To God - 1M ago

Happy Memorial Day! Today on my Making Space for God blog I wanted to share with you some facts about the observance of Memorial Day. It was designated as a day on which those who died in active military service are remembered. Originally known as Decoration Day, it was traditionally observed on May 30th but in 1971 Congress established Memorial Day as the last Monday in May. It began as an observance for the military personnel who died in the Civil War and continued as an observance for the following wars and casualties.

Civil War

Roughly 620,000 Americans died making it the deadliest war in American history. About 644,000 Americans have died in all other conflicts combined. Red poppies are known as a symbol of remembrance and worn to honor those who died in war.

Our heroes of war are often forgotten but one day a year we are reminded that they sacrificed their lives for our freedom.

Friends, as Christians we are reminded on Easter of the sacrifice that Jesus Christ made on the cross for our freedom. He came that we might have life eternal. But we must not remember His sacrifice only once a year. As we make space for God, we make space to remember— we make space to have a heart of gratitude—we make space to honor the One who gave His life for us. As we live our lives in Christ and for Christ, we become a living memorial to the life within us. Church, people are watching us and if we only pay tribute to our King once a year, we cannot be the city on the hill that Jesus challenges us to be. We are called to daily shine for Christ. As you observe our heroes who sacrificed their lives for their country, let us be reminded of the Son of God who sacrificed His life so that we can one day be with Him forever.

Celebrate Jesus, the reason for every season.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

The post Memorial Day appeared first on Joanne Ellison.

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Good morning, Making Space for God Community! Today I want to share with you a video blog about one of the most significant topics for women today – our identity in Christ. The world and our culture try to send us so many messages and tell us who we are, but the true question is WHOSE we are. Let’s take a look at what Scripture says about our identity —

Identity in Christ - YouTube

The post Identity in Christ (Video Blog) appeared first on Joanne Ellison.

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