Just Be Free!

by Tracy Hester

A friend recently told me that I need to “live in the moment.” I thought to myself: what does it mean to live in the moment? So I researched the phrase. It means to let go, not move back in time, be present in thought and not jump ahead to the future. To live in the moment, we must escape from the mindset that keeps us unable to do things differently or to stop overanalyzing situations and the motives of others.

To live in the moment, we must be flexible, patient, and willing to change our thoughts and responses towards uncomfortable and uncontrollable situations. Staying offended, trying to control everything, and being fearful can prevent us from living in the moment. Living in the moment is challenging because it requires us to trust God.

As I processed the definition of living in the moment, I realized my friend’s observation of me was accurate. My automatic default is to analyze, fix, solve, and ponder the past. Because I love challenges, I decided to work towards living in the moment as one of my goals this year.

Here are some “Live in the Moment” Dos and Don’ts I’m trying to live out:

  1. Do: Be okay with not having all the answers. Saying I don’t know and letting someone else figure it out is perfectly fine.
  2. Do: Understand the value of my time. Don’t spend days, weeks, and months worrying about the past and rehearsing different worst-case scenarios in my head.
  3. Don’t: Jump ahead of God by deciding what is best for me.
  4. Don’t: Establish timelines for God when I want something to happen.
  5. Don’t: Pull away from today. Resist focusing on an issue I can’t resolve today, such as a bill due next month or any other consuming thought.

Paul the Apostle gives us some great advice on how to live in the moment: After looking at the way things are on this earth, here’s what I’ve decided is the best way to live: Take care of yourself, have a good time, and make the most of whatever job you have for as long as God gives you life. And that’s about it. That’s the human lot. Yes, we should make the most of what God gives, both the bounty and the capacity to enjoy it, accepting what’s given and delighting in the work. It’s God’s gift! God deals out joy in the present, the now. It’s useless to brood over how long we might live” (Ephesians 5:18-20 MSG)

God has solutions and blessings for us in our present situations. If we keep projecting ourselves into the future, we might miss out on something beautiful God wants to show us today.

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Tracy Hester is a mentor, life coach, and a Bible teacher. She lives in Hercules, California, with her two children. She is excited about becoming a new grandmother in the fall of 2021. She has published a 90-day devotional entitled, All Things New! Discovering Peace and Protection During Challenging Times. Her second book is entitled Get Up, Girl, Let’s Go and will release in the spring of 2022. You can reach out to Tracy on Facebook or her website at tracyhester.com.

Join the conversation: Do you struggle to live in the moment?

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Do You Need Protection?

by Tracy Hester

Psalm 91 beautifully illustrates one of God’s characteristics as being our protector. In reading the entire Psalm, I get comfort in knowing God is my security guard and his host of angels. This Psalm reminds us that if we trust God and not in anything else, he will deliver and protect us from the snares set up by the enemy. The enemy wants to hinder, discourage, and distract us by making us forget who we are in God and the power we have as Christians. 

Psalm 91 is one of the if and then passages in the Bible. Meaning if we do something, then God will do something as well. Here are a few examples:

“When you sit enthrone under the shadow of Shaddai, you are hidden in the strength of God Most High.” Psalm 91:1 TPT

“When we live our lives within the shadow of God Most High, our secret hiding place, we will always be shielded from harm.” Psalm 91:9, 10 TPT

“Because you have delighted in me as my great lover, I will greatly protect you. I will set you in a high place, safe and secure before my face.” Psalm 91:14 TPT

I will answer your cry for help every time you pray, and you will find and feel my presence even in your time of pressure and trouble. I will be your glorious hero and give you a feast.” Psalm 91:15 TPT

The consistent message conveyed in Psalms 91: when we rely on God and stay in communion with him, despite our challenging and difficult times, he will place us under his care and protect us. Even if evil comes our way (and it will), it won’t destroy or hurt us because we have made God our habitation. A habitation is where we live or where we call home. It’s not a place we visit now and then, but it’s our consistent resting place.

So how do we make God our habitation? Well, first, it involves us not depending on our jobs, homes, families, or anything as the primary source for our security, filling us up, or making us complete or happy. Second, we can make God our habitation when we practice being in the presence of God consistently, not just on Sunday mornings. 

We can also practice being in God’s presence when our thoughts, actions, and desires focus on his ways and not our ways. This happens when we praise and worship him and consistently get our instructions from our life’s handbook—the Bible.

God’s presence is the only thing that can protect us completely, so run home and let God cover you!

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Tracy Hester is a mentor, life coach, and a Bible teacher. She lives in Hercules, California, with her two children. She is excited about becoming a new grandmother in the fall of 2021 and releasing Get Up, Girl, Let’s Go in the spring of 2022. You can reach out to Tracy on Facebook or her website at tracyhester.com.

All Things New!: Discovering God’S Peace and Protection During Challenging Times by [Tracy Hester]

Tracy is the author of All Things New. When we experience personal struggles, we often hope He will remove our pain and instantaneously lift us from despair. But God’s plans for us will not always work out in that way. So often God wants us to instead take a journey of healing that can change our lives.

Join the conversation: Have you made God your place of habitation? How did you do it?

God’s Funny Girl

by Tracy Hester

Can you remember the last time you laughed so hard you gave yourself an AB workout? When I was younger, my family would comment on how funny I was. Then, as I grew up and started to experience life—responsibilities, deadlines, and disappointments, that funny girl faded away, and the “get it done” girl took her place. She sneaked in as an uninvited guest and convinced me to stop laughing because my life was not funny or fun. 

Our daily routines can quickly become hurried, stressful, and robotic. It’s great we juggle 20 balls in the air at one time, schedule and organize our day down to the minute, and still have time for God, family, and our ministries. The critical question is, “Are we scheduling time for ourselves?” How are we filling ourselves up, so we don’t operate from a place of depletion? Do we have the energy to express the unique and creative gifts that make us special and beautiful? Can we be everything to everybody and still care for ourselves spiritually, emotionally, and even laugh until it hurts sometimes? 

I recently rediscovered the importance of laughter and how it is one of my superpower gifts. I’m a funny girl, it’s who I am and something I must do every day. I need to protect and cultivate my laughter and joy because it puts Jesus in me on display. Unfortunately, the enemy continues to try and silence my laughter to steal my witness and ministry. If my mission is to minister to women and point them to Jesus, I cannot accomplish this goal if my disposition displays sadness instead of being set free. 

God gave us the gift of laughter for the following reasons:

  • Laughter is powerful medicineMedical studies show laughter reduces stress and lowers blood pressure. In Proverbs 17:22 (NLT), King Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, said, “A cheerful heart is a good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.” Laughter heals.
  • Laughter expresses our inward joy from the Lord. In Psalm 126:2-3 (NLT), King David said this about laughter, “Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.” Our laughter puts the Lord on display in our lives. 
  • Laughter produces a connection with others. Who doesn’t like being around funny people? It’s contagious! Laughter can be a powerful witnessing tool.

God wants the funny girl inside us to display her freedom, creativity, and beautiful smile to exude hope and peace to others. So, pray and ask God about the funny girl inside of you, and how your laughter can become a powerful witnessing strategy. 

Laugh Challenge: What if God told you, “I want you to add more laughter into your daily routine.” Where could you schedule in laugh time? 

This article brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

All Things New!: Discovering God’S Peace and Protection During Challenging Times by [Tracy Hester]

About the author: Tracy Hester is a mentor, life coach, and Bible teacher. She lives in Hercules, California, with her two children. Tracy is excited about becoming a new grandmother in the fall of 2021. In addition, she has self-published a 90-day devotional entitled, All Things New! Discovering Peace and Protection During Challenging Times. Her second book, Get Up, Girl, Let’s Go, will be published in 2022. You can reach out to Tracy on Facebook or her website at tracyhester.com.

Join the conversation: When is the last time you laughed out loud?

How Long, God?

by Tracy Hester

“l will move past my enemies with this one, I sure hope: that with my own eyes. I will see the goodness of the Eternal One in the land of the living. Please, answer me, don’t give up! Wait for the Eternal One in expectation and be strong. Again, wait for the Eternal One.” Psalm 27:13-14 The Voice

Have you ever wondered if God has forgotten about you because you don’t hear his voice, or you don’t see him working in your situation? You’ve asked, “How long, God? I’m doing everything right reading my Bible, praying, serving others, leading a ministry, and even working on myself.”

It seems as if God has placed the desires of your heart on pause. He hasn’t said no or yes to your prayer and his will is vague. You are confused and apprehensive on whether you should move forward and take the risk or remain still. 

In Psalm 13, David is in a desperate situation. He is praying and asking God how long questions. But then his attitude and prayer changes:

“How long, O Eternal One, how long will You forget me? Forever? How long will You look the other way? How long must I agonize & grieve Your absence in my heart every day? How long will You let my enemies win? Turn back; respond to me, O Eternal One, my True God! Put the spark of life in my eyes, or I’m dead. My enemies will boast that they have beaten me; my foes will celebrate that I have stumbled. But I trust in Your faithful love; my heart leaps at the thought of imminent deliverance by You. I will sing to the Eternal, for He is always generous with me” (Psalm 13 The Voice).

David’s prayer is passionate. It expresses feelings of abandonment, fear, and insecurity because of his inability to feel God’s presence. Although David was anxious and questioned whether God would come through for him, at the end of the psalm he demonstrates what we should do while waiting for God to come through for us. As He finished writing, David shifted his question to a confession. His how long changed to Hallelujah. David began to give God the highest praise during his emotional pain. 

We are reminded in Philippians 4:6-7 not to be anxious about anything. Instead, if we pray about everything, the peace of God will come to us, and we will experience peace in our minds and hearts, despite our circumstances. While we wait on God, the solution is to pray, praise, and worship Him even when we don’t feel like it. When David started praying, he remembered how God had come through for him in the past, and he immediately became hopeful God was going to come through for him again.

That hope is available to us today. Pray as David did. God has your back.

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Tracy Hester is a mentor, life coach, and a Bible teacher. She lives in Hercules, California, with her two children. She is excited about becoming a new grandmother in the fall of 2021 and releasing Get Up, Girl, Let’s Go in the spring of 2022. You can reach out to Tracy on Facebook or her website at tracyhester.com.

All Things New!: Discovering God’S Peace and Protection During Challenging Times by [Tracy Hester]

Tracy is the author of All Things New. When we experience personal struggles, we often hope He will remove our pain and instantaneously lift us from despair. But God’s plans for us will not always work out in that way. So often God wants us to instead take a journey of healing that can change our lives.

Join the conversation: Are you living in the place of how long?