Finding the Blessing In Our Struggles 

Emelda De Coteau
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Emelda De Coteau

Mother, wife, sister, friend, writer / blogger / creative organizer, budding photographer... These are just a few of the many hats I juggle each day. I believe creativity is oxygen for the soul. I created Live In Color blog to celebrate the beauty in every moment, from faith to inspiration and motherhood.And it is soon becoming Pray with Our Feet blog which will focus on the intersection of faith and activism. Follow the inspiration on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/praywithourfeetblog/
Emelda De Coteau
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A few months ago, I joined an awesome tribe of writers at Our Words Collaborative, a Christian devotional website where we share how God is moving in our lives. From time to time, I’ll republish some of those devotionals here on Mondays. I think it’s a great way to kick off our week – centered in faith.

Artwork by Ainsley Jordan

There are days I wake up, beating back exhaustion and swallowing tears. The past few years have stretched our family in ways we never imagined. And yet, through it all, an unrelenting faith is taking root. Often I pray not day by day, but second by second.  Most people would not place struggle and blessing in the same sentence, but I now understand God uses our most painful experiences to help grow us beyond ourselves, and into the realm of steadfast belief. His grace always sustains and guides us, even when we feel alone.

“If I told you my story, you would hear hope that didn’t let go…” 

– Big Daddy Weave, “My Story” 

I believe God will do the impossible. And I say this to myself repeatedly, especially during those times when the weight of disillusionment chases me, relentless in its pursuit of my joy. Confessing victory over what looks like destruction defeats the enemy every time. It’s not an easy mindset to practice, but it’s a liberating one.

I draw strength from various ministries, meditating on verses of scripture which feel as if they were written solely for me. And I read books by healing ministers such as Becky Dvorak (Dare to Believe: The True Power of Faith to Walk in Divine Healings and Miracles) who works in Guatemala, and travels the world with her husband, delivering powerful testimonies, teaching people to activate their faith and walk in the supernatural.

“Everything is possible for one who believes.” -Mark 9:23 

Slowly, friends, I am learning to transcend the physical and embrace my spiritual eyesight. God can and will do the impossible in our lives. Yet we must do our part, cultivating radical and unwavering faith within our hearts. I would like to share two ways I am activating my faith throughout the day; I pray it helps you on your own journey:

1. Surround Yourself With God’s Promises: Put up encouraging and healing scripture verses all around your home and office. Read them aloud daily, several times a day. Commit them to memory.

2. Celebrating God Through Song: Listen to praise music with meaningful statements about victory and perseverance. I particularly enjoy songs from prolific artists such as Big Daddy Weave, Mali Music, Lauren Daigle and Plumb.

Our struggles are shaping and refining us. Instead of resisting them, embrace the lessons and allow your soul to bloom through connecting to His presence.


Prayer: 

Dear Lord,

Help me to understand what appear to be obstacles are actually opportunities to activate radical and unwavering faith. Today I might face struggles, but remind me you are here, standing alongside me, conquering each roadblock.

When I am tempted to talk to co-workers, friends or family, remind me to first come closer to your spirit. Place your words within my heart: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)
Amen.

 Inspiration For Your Ears & Soul: Christian Musicians, Travis Greene, Jessi Hughes & U.S. Olympic Champion Simone Biles 

Emelda De Coteau
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Emelda De Coteau

Mother, wife, sister, friend, writer / blogger / creative organizer, budding photographer... These are just a few of the many hats I juggle each day. I believe creativity is oxygen for the soul. I created Live In Color blog to celebrate the beauty in every moment, from faith to inspiration and motherhood.And it is soon becoming Pray with Our Feet blog which will focus on the intersection of faith and activism. Follow the inspiration on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/praywithourfeetblog/
Emelda De Coteau
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Gospel singer & minister Travis Greene

I listen to Christian music more than ever these days, the words simply resonate deeply with my spirit. And I feel God speaking to me so clearly in each song. I’m sharing some of my favs. today, along with the usual round up of articles, podcasts and book recommendations. Enjoy, lovelies!

Travis Greene singing his uplifting song, “Intentional,” still gives me chills, y’all.

Mali Music, oh how his songs catapult me up from despair. His song, I Believe, is such a gem! “I choose to look on the bright side despite all the negativity I am surrounded by… So much I don’t have answers for… that’s what makes me trust you more.” And I adore this ode to long lasting love.

Love & The Outcome remind us God’s love isn’t about anything we can ever do to deserve it, but His unfailing grace with “The God I Know.”

Francesca Battistelli’s powerful song / video, “He Knows My Name” infused with women telling their stories of struggle and triumph through their relationships with a God. “His forever, held and treasured… I don’t need my name in lights, I’m famous in my Father’s eyes.”

I met Jessi Hughes on Instagram. She is such a beautiful and multitalented soul, who has been called into the ministry; we also work together at Our Words Collaborative, where we share our faith journey daily with readers. Her new single, “I Know Who I am” is “a joyful fusion of soulful blues vocals and the vibrant dance rhythms of West Africa – you will be uplifted and want to dance.”

Writer Elizabeth Gilbert’s podcast, “Magic Lessons,”about helping creatives get unstuck is awesome! She not only coaches folks, but connects them with other talented and accomplished people in a variety of fields – writers, photographers and performers. Check out these broadcasts about one woman’s heartfelt photography project and another’s childhood dream to become a comedic writer.

This week I discovered The Liberated Heart podcast hosted by Cassandra N. Vincent. I love how she combines her  own life experiences with practical insights about the Christian journey.  I really enjoyed the recent broadcast, Fix  Your Crown & Fully Embrace Who You Are.

Could Simone Biles be any more inspiring?! I love this recent article in Time magazine that delves into her life. And this awesome piece in Clutch magazine about how Gabby Douglas and Simone Biles are encouraging another generation of young black girls.

Inspiration For Your Ears & Soul: From Powerful Poetry to Hope in Hard Times 

Emelda De Coteau
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Emelda De Coteau

Mother, wife, sister, friend, writer / blogger / creative organizer, budding photographer... These are just a few of the many hats I juggle each day. I believe creativity is oxygen for the soul. I created Live In Color blog to celebrate the beauty in every moment, from faith to inspiration and motherhood.And it is soon becoming Pray with Our Feet blog which will focus on the intersection of faith and activism. Follow the inspiration on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/praywithourfeetblog/
Emelda De Coteau
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Poet Aja Monet Photo courtesy of her website, www.ajamonet.com
Poet Aja Monet
Photo courtesy of her website, www.ajamonet.com

There is such dynamic art being created every day. It’s always a joy to discover another poem or essay. The more we explore and learn, the deeper our humanitygrows. Here’s my weekly list of inspiration from around the web:

Author Cheryl Strayed on Super Soul Sunday with Oprah, talking love, loss and bravery.

Poet Pat Parker on LGBTQ folks finding the strength to live their truth, and stand up to the many faces of bigotry.  This poem from Aja Monet brought me to tears, such intensity:”… black and woman is a sort of magic you cannot hashtag. The mere weight of it too vast to be held. My rage is righteous. My love is righteous… How you gonna be free without me?”

My blogging bestie Nellie’s moving piece about finding hope in tough times is at once raw and beautiful.

God’s love, this is what I strive to emulate in whatever small way I can in my daily
I recently learned about radical writer Hannah Arendht from the amazing Maria Popova over at Brain Pickings. Arendht’s thoughts about humanity and freedom are quite powerful.

My friend Lynae shared this striking illustration (not sure of the artist name who created the piece) and quote from Dr. Maya Angelou. She said the spirit of it reminded her of me. What a compliment!

The incomparable Lauryn Hill’s “War on the Mind.” There is such beauty and depth in this song!

Let my life be the proof of God’s love.  What an amazing musical testament to the radical and boundless love of our Creator from for KING & COUNTRY.

Motivational Speaker / Author / Entrepreneur Lisa Nichols on poignant life lessons and fully stepping into your purpose.