“He has made everything beautiful in its time.” \
Here in sunny Southwest Florida, we don’t experience the Fall in the same way as they do up north. Up north it’s obvious, the colors change, the trees shed their leaves and the weather becomes noticeably cooler. In Florida not much changes in September; it is still hot, humid and we are on hurricane watch. If you’re not paying attention, it is easy to miss the fact that a new season has begun.
For nearly 10 years after being saved, I was very much like the Fall in Florida; I was changed, (saved through faith in Jesus Christ), but I was still experiencing the weather conditions from the previous season of my life. I continued to carry around my shame and regrets, unwilling to release them to the Lord. I thought that somehow if I kept lugging them around that I could make up for the wickedness of my youth. You see, I was a saved Christian, but I was not experiencing my salvation as God intended. I was in a new season, but I was missing out on the fullness of its beauty, because I was too focused on the ugliness of my past.
The Bible says in Psalm 146:8 that, “the Lord gives sight to the blind, the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down, the Lord loves the righteous.”
We serve a God who loves us so much that He refuses to idly watch as His children stay bowed down, cowering in the shadow of what used to be. Instead, He mercifully reaches down and draws us out of the darkness of yesteryear, so that our eyes may be opened to the beauty of a new day lived for Jesus Christ.
Last year in September 2019, God made an obvious change in my spirit as He lifted me out of a season of lingering despair and opened my eyes to a new era of joy. He had given me healing from hurt that I never thought I could get over. Until that moment, I was unaware of what it truly felt like to live as a new creation in Jesus Christ. I learned that God does not just want us to be saved, but that He truly wants us to thrive in our salvation.
The Lord has ushered me into a new season and He has plans for me. When I was still carrying around the burdens of my past, my hands were not free to do His work, but now I live with my palms open wide, without shame and ready to serve Him. I may not be able to see what the future seasons of life will hold, but I know the God who holds the seasons. I know that He is faithful and that He will make all things beautiful in His timing.
If we aren’t thriving in our salvation, then we are missing out on the glory of what the Lord has done for us. He has given us new life. He has said that, the old is gone and the new has come. Oh, sweet friends, like a northern Fall, let the change that we experience through faith in Jesus Christ be beautiful and obvious.
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.