"Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe in Him.” Romans 15:13
My toddler son has such a happy disposition and finds joy in little things in life. One of my favorite things that he does is sprint wherever he goes, whether it’s going to the bathroom, going to get a snack, or going to find a toy. He’s almost always running as fast as he can to his destination, excited to get there. Most little children, generally speaking, tend to be happy, worry free, and can’t help but joyfully “run” through life. They are not bogged down with worry about what the future holds.
Sometimes, as an adult, I think about how nice it must be as a toddler to go through life without a care in the world and to simply rely on your parents to take care of everything for you. Then I stop and realize that a worry free life is what our Heavenly Father has called us to live. He wants us to rely on Him so much that we are not concerned or filled with worry over our circumstances, but instead, go happily through life being filled with joy and peace that comes from Him. We’re reminded of this in Romans 15:13: “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe in Him.”
Many times throughout the Bible, we see Christ asking, “Why are you afraid?” or simply commanding us, “Do not be afraid.” One specific example in the Bible is found in Matthew 8:23-27. When Jesus and His disciples were getting tossed about in their boat in the middle of the sea, His disciples were terrified; all the while Jesus was sleeping. After they woke Him up, He asked His disciples a simple, yet loaded question, “’Why are you fearful, you of little faith?’” (vs. 26). I love that the verse tells us that He asks this question before He calmed the storm. By Jesus asking this question first, it shows us that He knew the disciples could have gone through this storm without being afraid, if their faith was truly in Him. Because they were so concerned with their circumstance, they were not trusting in Jesus. At the end of verse 26, Christ commanded the storm to stop and it did. Now, every time we find ourselves in a storm, it does not mean that God will calm it or make it go away like He did in this story. However, He is always trustworthy, and will give us the strength to go through the storm, if He chooses to allow the storm to remain. We need our faith to be so big and strong that our trust in Him takes our eyes off the storm and onto His presence and plan.
My precious husband, Bill, and I have been planted in Fort Myers, Florida for almost 35 years. As a newly married couple, God most graciously had placed people in both of our jobs to share Christ with us. Its hard to believe it has been almost 34 years since we asked Jesus into our hearts! Bill and I have been blessed with four children, 3 daughters, then a son. These blessings came quickly, all within 6 years!! During these years I'm so thankful I was able to be part of women's ministry classes at our church, helping me to grow in my walk with Him. Then came the day when I was asked that question that stretched me way outside of my comfort zone...will you teach a class? Its hard to believe that I have now been teaching more than 20 years. Bill and I love to travel, most of the time going to visit our 9 grandchildren, oh ya, and their parents! I also love reading, walking and hanging out with some very special young moms in Beloved that bless my socks off!
Julie is a Kansas girl who resides in sunny Southwest Florida. She's been married to her husband Sean for 23 years and they share two boys ages 21 & 17. She enjoys baking and biking, but her absolute favorite thing is snow skiing which is a little difficult to do in a sandy 80 degree land.
She became a follower of Christ at age 10. She loves studying and teaching God's Word. She has a passion for encouraging moms to love and follow Jesus.
Beth grew up in a loving home; however, in her early 20s she faced a very lonely time. During that time, she cried out to God and asked “If You are real, please show yourself to me!” God met her where she was and she trusted in the Lord Jesus at that time. Her life verse and desire is “no matter what happens, to conduct herself in a manner worthy of the gospel.” Philippians 1:27
Beth now resides in Tampa, Florida with her husband Larry. The Lord has blessed them by blending their family of five children. They currently have eight grandchildren and are hoping that there will be more grandchildren in the future.
Donna accepted Jesus as her Savior at the age of nine and has been amazed at God’s goodness and faithfulness throughout her life. She has been blessed to have had many mentors through each season of life, who have shown her what trusting God looks like. Donna and her husband, Bryan, have five children, one son-in-law, one soon to be daughter-in-law, and one wonderful grandson. Donna and Bryan have recently moved back to their home state of Arkansas after livingin southeast Alabama the past 23 years. Donna enjoys spending time with her family, laughing with friends (usually over coffee), going for long walks with her husband, and reading a good book (which may also be accompanied by a cup of coffee).
Sarah is a true Florida Cracker. She was born and raised in Southwest Florida. At the age of 6, Sarah accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior, and she hasn't looked back since. Hebrews 13:8 is one of her favorite verses, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever." Eating delicious desserts, spending time with her family and friends, and teaching people about Jesus are a few of the things she enjoys to do in her spare time.
Sarah has been married to her best friend and husband, Brandon, for 7 years. They have been blessed with one beautiful, determined son, Asher, who keeps them on their toes. Sarah and her family live in the Tampa area. They love exploring their community together, family hugs, and eating pizza whenever possible.
Katie Flint just recently moved back home to Fort Myers, Florida with her husband, Ryan and two children, Collins and Madden. At the age of 5, Katie accepted Jesus Christ to be the Lord and Savior of her life, after attending Vacation Bible School. Through each phase of her life, God has shown her that He alone is trustworthy. The verse that has been her life source is Psalm 46:10- “Be still and know that I am God.”
She is a stay-at-home mom and enjoys exercising and baking. She has been married to her husband Ryan for almost 9 years, who is her high school sweetheart. They enjoy trying new restaurants, family trips to the beach, and relaxing at home.
Marsha grew up in a small rural town in upstate New York. In 2006, after finishing college, she moved to sunny SW Florida where she met her, now husband, Shawn. Together they enjoy spending family time with their two fun-loving toddler boys Zachariah and Kairos.
Marsha enjoys living an active lifestyle, which is helpful, considering that her favorite hobby is baking.
Though she attended church as a child, Marsha was not saved until adulthood when her eyes were finally opened to the love and mercy of Jesus Christ.
Since being saved, God has placed a loving burden on her heart to share the truth about God’s healing grace with those who may feel like forgiveness is not possible for them.