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Today I am reminded of how complex yet simple God’s love can be. Complex because God's love is the complete opposite of the emotionally driven depiction the world says love is, yet simple because God makes His love so easy to receive. The fact that He went above and beyond by sending His only Son Jesus to live, die, and resurrect from the grave on our behalf, all to say  "I love you", speaks volumes about how much God cares for humanity and makes me desire and love Him even more.

Despite our limited capacity to give Him the love that He truly deserves, our yes through our repentance, surrender, and acceptance of Jesus and our obedience is enough to make Him smile and say "well done good and faithful servant" and call us both His children and his friends. This is an honor that I will never take lightly.

With conditional love, there is usually a level of expectation in conjunction with reciprocity. When an expectation isn’t met, access to what was previously given can become limited and sometimes nonexistent. However, the beauty of God’s unconditional love is the fact that we never have to strive, beg, chase, or work for His love. As a matter of fact, even when we disappoint Him through choosing things other than Him, our sin and our idols are what separate us from His presence but He never takes away or separates us from His love. His love is freely given, with the hope of being wholeheartedly received and with the hope of being loved back. But He will never take His love away.

Whether you have a valentine or not, know that you are fiercely loved, seen, and pursued by the One true God who created and exemplified love in its most purest form; through the love and sacrifice of His Son, Jesus, for you.

Today I encourage you to receive God’s love through His Son Jesus, to give it back to Him through your yes to His will and His way, and to give that same love away to others once you have received it for yourself.

Happy day of Love!

With love,

Simone Parke

Abiding Scripture:

John 3:16 KJV

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

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Just a thought...

What if what you’re waiting for isn’t the next best opportunity. What if what you’re waiting for is right in front of you?…Or right inside of you?

Instead of focusing on going after the “next best thing”, focus on stewarding what you currently have now, well. Learning how to steward the now things well, shows God that He can entrust you with even more when the time comes.

May this be an encouraging reminder to appreciate as well as evaluate where you are, what you have, and who you have now and to steward your now well until more is added to your life. Take time to think about what you can do today to help get you to tomorrow’s next step. One day at a time. One step at a time. 🤍

Abiding Scripture:

Luke 16:10-11

“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. 11 So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches?"

With love,

Simone Parke

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It is never too late to recreate the narrative of your life. We truly do have the power to visualize and create the life that we desire.

(Photo taken during my first solo trip to Clearwater beach, FL)

Last year I made a commitment to myself that once a year I would go away on a solo trip and take time to rest, reset, think, and reflect. I reflect on the year, celebrate the wins, have gratitude for the lessons and areas of growth-I don’t believe that anything in life is a loss-, and I take time to think about what I would like to keep the same and what I would like to change going into the new year. It is a great time for me to disconnect from familiarity and the busyness of life and be still and connect with God and myself as well as do whatever my heart desires!

On solo trips the only things that I plan are the destination, accomodation, the transportation, and the dates; everything else is spontaneous and I free myself from being tied to a regimented schedule. I started off my first solo trip in 2021 by flying into Sarasota, FL and went to one of their largest zoos. I fed a tiger for the first time and enjoyed interacting and learning about the different animals there. After my zoo adventure I caught a Lyft to Clearwater, FL and was inspired by my Lyft driver, Sunny's, story about how he intentionally created the life that he wanted for himself by making room for the things that he loved most. The Lord used Sunny's story to plant the seed in me to not be afraid to live and make decisions for myself, instead of for others.

While in Tampa, I went jet skiing, went on a dolphin tour, ate fresh water seafood, slept in, journaled, prayed, cried, laughed, meditated on the Word, met new friends, worked out, went parasailing, got a custom made t-shirt at a local small business, treated myself to good food, was joined by my mother towards the end of my trip to celebrate her birthday, and the coolest part was that I didnt spend much at all--I love findings good deals! But most importantly I had time to disconnect from the world and made room to connect and hear from God. Each day was unplanned but every day turned out to be amazing and much needed. Spontaneous trips like these remind me that sometimes the best things in life happen when you least expect it and when you release your plan.

Doing this solo trip gave me the fuel, clarity, renewed vision, and focus that I needed to go into this year. As I have been recently reflecting on 2022, I see how much that time away last year has immensely impacted this year for the better.

The moral of the story is, creating this annual moment for myself didn’t just happen. I saw the need and desire for it, and I chose to visualize and create what I wanted to change in my life and I vowed to find a way to make it happen and make the annual time away a part of my life.

As we prepare to go into the new year, I encourage you to take time to yourself and prepare your mind for next year from now. Process what goals-whether big or small- you want to set or start working on from now. What do you want your life to look like in 2023? If you only had one year to live how would you live now and what would you do differently?

Here are some things to consider:

Are you keeping your inner child alive?

Want to give therapy a try?

What fear could you conquer?

Stories you want to write?

What new hobby could you start?

What dream could you make come true?

An event you would love to attend?

A food you have never tried before?

An experience that will take you out of your comfort zone?

Are you content? If not, what could you start doing to change that?

The sky isn't even the limit. Write down whatever comes to mind and set a goal to accomplish what is in your heart. Write the vision and make room for what you desire. Let go of the fear, control, doubt, and familiarity if it is no longer serving you. Change the narrative and live now.

With love,

Simone Parke Abide and Ride

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