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  • Writer's pictureSheena East

Ok, I think it is safe to say that we all know you really need a whole lot more than love to exist. Water, food, media. The true necessities. =) Our church kicked off the year with a time of prayer and fasting and it was amazing. Our social media fast was such a MUCH needed thing for me personally. I had a friend say "Sheena you are such a millennial" referring to my social media love affair and she was so right! Normally, I don't think of myself as a millennial, but I am one, and social media is apparently my downfall. If you have never taken time out to disconnect from the world, DO IT! Less comparing, less judging, lots more Jesus. 

One thing that has played on my mind a lot the last few weeks is simply John 13:34 and 35.  “Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other.”

That is how people will know we are His. Pretty plain if you ask me.

Our world is so divisive. Social media has made it so easy to see others opinions and share our own without the guts it would take to say it to someones face. We are "hidden" and "protected" to say what we really think, oftentimes not really considering the wisdom of what we are doing. We are able to put out our best and hide our worst and I think it can cause people to assume you are ok instead of coming to you and really finding out how you are. We were made for real connection.

How are you connecting? How are you loving? How are you showing the world that you are His? I encourage you to reach out to a friend you haven't seen in a while. Ask someone to a meal and keep your phones off the table. Send handwritten notes to people you are thinking about.  Nothing makes me happier than getting a sweet and simple note in the mail from a friend. How wonderful to be thought of! Look people in the eye and SMILE when you are out and about during the week. There are so many small things we can do that make a big difference in the lives of others. Lets not get too busy to remember that how we treat each is other and who we shine our light on is really all that matters! 

🖤 Sheena

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  • Writer's pictureSheena East

They say that hindsight is 20/20 and if I could tell 15 year old Sheena anything it would be this: It is all going to be ok. You finally learn how to give things to God and he takes care of it. So chill out. Can you believe at the base of most things that stressed me out as a highly dramatic teenage girl was what guy I was going to marry? That sounds pretty serious for 15, but I had a dream of what my life could look like and I wanted it so desperately. I never saw the guy clearly in my dreams but I thought about him all the time and I knew he and I both had to have a passion for two things...God and a peaceful home. Hallelujah, I serve a prayer answering God! I am also thankful God worked out the details, I mean, have you seen Cliff East? Holla! I have been sitting around today thinking about how much I have to be thankful for. Thanks to God and a good man, I live a majorly blessed life. That does not in any way mean I live a perfect life. I learned a long time ago that a life devoted to God didn't immediately give me a free pass from sin or pain. Inside that incredibly blessed life have been incredibly hard trials. I can't lie and say and I haven't begged and asked God to give me answers or felt anger and helplessness. Crippling anxiety and depression. Some days the grief has been so heavy I didn't even want to get out of bed, and I'm not altogether sure I won't have more of those days. The hardest part of dealing with trials for me personally is how quickly my thoughts can be overtaken.  Like my mind isn't even my own.

I recently had a conversation with a friend about how the hardest battles we fight are in our mind. It's amazing, how when left with our own thoughts for too long, we can conjure up a whole lot of fear, anxiety, and doubt. All things that have no place in a child of God. His plans is for us to have power, love, and a SOUND MIND. Not a freaked out, anxious mind. For someone who has struggled with depression and anxiety in the past, I know that God has more for me and I know that He will take care of everything even when I don't understand. That isn't sweet sounding lip service, that is experience talking. In Philippians 4 Paul is encouraging the church to be joyful. Not worrying about the future but trusting that God will send his peace that passes all understanding to help you.  Over the past few months I have done back to this particular chapter over and over. Reminding my self in EVERYTHING  rejoice in the Lord. Be thankful. Trust Him.  And to remind myself that I can do this by living out verse 8.

8 Finally brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any moral excellence and if there is anything praiseworthy—dwell on these things.

We all have so much to be thankful for! Every single one of us, no matter what we have been through, can be thankful. I woke up today, my kids are healthy, I ate today, I have a roof over my head, I have clothes to wear, I have friends, I have access to education and healthcare in an emergency. Blessed, blessed, blessed! Thankfulness in the small things we easily take for granted.  I pray that no matter what life throws your way you will remember to put a thankful heart and trust in God front and center so that your mind may dwell in peace!

🖤 Sheena

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  • Writer's pictureSheena East

I hope all of you had a beautiful Christmas season! Time is flying and we are about to walk into a new DECADE. A whole new decade. I can barely believe it! Every new year is a world of possibility. There is something so amazing and magical about the energy that surrounds the promise of a fresh start. The chance to do things differently, forge a new path, be a better person. I think it’s pretty cool that the New Year comes right after Christmas. Jesus came to give us all of the things we hope and imagine the New Year will bring. I kind of picture those two holidays holding hands and being best friends. If you really get the meaning of the first, you’re so much more able to live out the second. (And keep your peace when plans or dreams veer off course a little).

Every year I pick a bible verse that is my theme! 2019 was Deuteronomy 31:8.

“God is striding ahead of you. He’s right there with you. He won’t let you down; he won’t leave you. Don’t be intimidated. Don’t worry.”(MSG)

November 2016-June 2018 was filled with anguish. We lost vital pillars in our lives to illnesses after watching them battle for over 5 years. I gave birth to our youngest in April of 2017 then struggled heavily with postpartum anxiety for over a year. We changed ministry roles at our church. It was major life change after major life change and I felt like I couldn’t keep up. Now, on the other side, so much of that time is a blur. I honestly couldn’t tell you what my life verses were for any of those years without pulling out old journals and looking. All I knew was that 2019 was going to be a year without fear and anxiety ruling my life. That verse kept creeping in right when I needed it and gave me so much peace over those years. GOD IS STRIDING AHEAD OF ME! I love how The Message puts it like that. Like God is a warrior taking the lead, fighting my battles. I don’t have to have one thought of worry!  It’s so powerful. Gods word is so life giving, I encourage you to add digging a little deeper in His word on your 2020 resolution list! This year was not totally perfect, but it brought so much more peace than the few before it.

I wanted to share with you what God has laid on my heart for this upcoming New Year. We are blessed to be a part of an AMAZING church staff and one thing we do every year that I am so grateful for is our Pastoral Staff retreat. The theme of that weekend for me ended up being “Healthy”. I left feeling a burning desire to have a healthier marriage, and family, a healthier life physically, emotionally, and spiritually. God wants that for us. We don’t have to live a sick, chaotic life even when it seems like that is all that surrounds us. We don’t have to be led by our circumstances. As I’ve been praying in the weeks since our retreat I keep coming back to John 10:10.

A thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance.

I believe that God wasn’t necessarily talking about abundance in terms of lots of material things, although He can and does bless His children that way. No, I believe He was talking about peace and strength physically and mentally. True joy in our hearts no matter what life throws at us. Peace in the dark times, and a grateful heart at all times. Walking in the abundance that is only achievable when we are filled with and led by His spirit. 

This year, I don’t have a long list of resolutions just this: To be healthy in all areas of my life. To lean on God better and let His abundance flow in my life.

🖤 Sheena

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