Get Rid of the Clutter, Guest Post by Debra Serrano

KeysHave you ever lost your keys? Well, I’m the queen of losing keys. Today, I am still in search of my keys.  I’ve searched everywhere and still can’t find them.  I’ve retraced every step I made, and I am beyond frustrated. As I searched every nook and cranny of my house I heard God say, “You will find ME when you search for ME with ALL your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13

Really, God? I’m not searching for you; I’m searching for my keys. Wow, did I really just say that?! Yes, I did, but then I asked, “Ok, God what are you telling me?”

You see, the truth is that He knows me. He knows everything about me. The same goes for you! He knows every thought, every struggle, past and present.

I’ve always put limitations on myself because I never thought, “I could.” I’m just a wife, I’m just a mom, and I’m just a Grammy and not believing I could be more.  So with the hectic and fast paced direction my life has gone in these past few weeks, I ask God, “are you sure this is where you want me to go?”

How great is this God that will use my lost keys to remind me that searching for them would lead me to Him. He reminds me how I was lost and now I am found. Searching for Him will never stop, and in this life I will have struggles, but as I keep my eyes fixed on Him and seek Him, I will find Him and His promises.

As I continued to search for my keys He gently reminded me “He will never leave me nor forsake me.” Deuteronomy 31:6. He will never forget who I am. “He has engraved me on the palm of His Hand.” Isaiah 49:16.  I am Chosen by Him. “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart”. Jeremiah 1:5

He knows exactly why I can’t find my keys! CLUTTER!  If I don’t remove the clutter in my house, I will never find my keys.  The same goes for my heart.  In order for me to see and believe that where I am is exactly where He wants me to be, I must remove the clutter from my heart!  The fear, doubt, and questions, must go!

The same goes for you.  Are you in need of a heart check? What is cluttering your heart today?  Remove all the unforgiveness, unworthiness, anger, resentment, jealousy, and control and start searching for God. Sometimes it’s just easier to turn to other things that make it better and easier for the moment (like just getting out your spare set of keys without finding your lost keys).

Today, I encourage you to get uncomfortable for a moment, get rid of the clutter and open your heart.  It’s not easy and it can be VERY uncomfortable to do this because we don’t like to change, but when we search with all our heart for the one who holds the key, we will find Him.

Living Victorious

I believe our heart’s attitude is the most important thing we should pay attention to. Ask God today to de-clutter your heart and remove anything that is in the way of truly finding Him.

Debra Serrano



Bio: Debra is passionate about helping others become healed and who God has designed them to be.  Because of her experiences and her trust in the One who does it all, she shares with realness and is able to relate to many and give them hope for the future. Debra is married to Johnny and has 6 adult children & she is blessed with 5 grandchildren who call her Grammy.


Parenting on Purpose: Living with Purpose

Living with purpose

The fourth thing our kids need to know when we send them out into the world is what it means to live with purpose. As my oldest son, Russel, is preparing to leave for college after he graduates this year, I am more focused in on how important this is, than ever before.

Like many soon-to-be college students as they embark on the next season of their lives, he is asking himself a lot of questions, such as, “What do I want to do when I grow up?” He is realizing his answer to that question will drive what he studies and majors in. He is asking how much he wants to make, what kind of lifestyle he wants to have… all great questions. On top of that, colleges are scouting him out, offering scholarship opportunities and petitions for him to come to their school. It’s a lot to process through for any high school senior, much less one who is graduating a year early at the tender age of just sixteen.

As my son is pondering these things, my heart is pondering many things as well. I wonder, have I poured everything into him he needs? Have I helped him understand enough who he is in Christ, how loved he is, and how important it is to live a life of surrender to God– for His glory? When our pondering moments come together and we talk through the transition that is coming, I listen and then I try to slip in a little nugget of wisdom… I try to plant a seed to steer his soul-searching in the right direction… and sometimes I outwardly remind him that the most important thing in life is to live within God’s will, fulfilling the purpose He created Russel to fulfill in this life.

That is my hope for my children — that they live within God’s will and that doing so matters to them. In my prayer time, I ask God to set them apart, to consecrate them for His glory, to use them in amazing ways to further His kingdom here on this earth. I want nothing more than for my children to seek God first in all things as it says in Matthew 6:33, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” And as they seek God first I trust He will meet their every need. To seek God first… there is nothing more noble than that.

I also think on verses like Ecclesiastes 3:11, which says, “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” This verse reminds me that we all have a void that only God and eternity in Heaven with Him can fill, that nothing on this earth can satisfy. My heart’s desire is for my kids to turn that void to God and not look to worldly things, careers, achievements or relationships to fill it.

My absolute dream for my kids is that they live successful lives on this earth, storing up for themselves treasures in Heaven that moth and rust cannot destroy. I do want them to do great things, have a good lifestyle, find a career path where they can live out their gifts and talents and pass on God’s love to those around them, but I want them to do it from a place where they recognize none of these things in and of themselves are their purpose. But rather, their purpose is who they are day-to-day as they walk out all they do in all the hats they wear. 

That brings us back to our family mission statement I started with in the first Parenting on Purpose post. I would love nothing more than to see my kids grasp and carry this out in their lives. That is — “We, the O’Donnell’s, live to unveil God’s love and glorify Him in our everyday lives.”

For me, I feel if my kids grasp this as they head out into the world, they will start that journey from a place of wholeness — a place of knowing where their identity lies — a place of knowing there is nothing better in this life than reaching Heaven and getting a big hug from our Heavenly Father along with a precious, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” As a mom, nothing would bring greater joy.

What does success look like for you as you prepare to send your kids out into the world, and how do you explain living with purpose to your children?

Amy O’Donnell

Copyright © 2014 by Amy O’Donnell. All Rights Reserved.

Living with Purpose

purposeOver the past fifteen plus years of raising our children, we’ve had a lot of time to accumulate gaming systems in our home. We started off with a Nintendo 64, and then we added in the GameCube and the Wii, then the PlayStation; and then they each have personal game playing devices and ways to connect them to one another, so they can not be personal devices, and then they have computer games and phones, I-Pods and Touches and a collection of the things we have available to us today. Our kids are at no shortage of electriconical fun, I can tell you that much.

But with everything amazing that our kids have, when the latest, greatest, newest gaming system comes out they are convinced that that new one is going to be THE ONE… The one to be the answer to all of their gaming needs, that’s going to bring them more joy, more fulfillment, more satisfaction than any of the other ones combined. It’s as if they think all the others will pale in comparison to this new one they just have to have.

And this past Christmas they proved that to be true yet again when they had conspired together at Best Buy and tried to talk us into getting the new Wii U. David and I have learned that all systems grow old to them in time, and we don’t want or need to spend money on any new one. There is no gaming system that’s going to be this epic AAAAHHHHH crescendo moment of all gaming systems that really is going to be the answer to everything they long for in life.

Probably most of us can’t really relate to my kids love of gaming. But what we can relate to is this search in life for the one thing that is going to fulfill everything that we long for in life. What is the one thing that is the answer to the question, “What on earth am I here for?” What is “that thing”!

That search is not new to us today. In the Old Testament, we can look at the book of Ecclesiastes for a long standing example. King Solomon, the author of the book, was the wisest man who ever lived and he had everything his heart could possibly desire. He had fame, he had fortune, he had women (Can you imagine being one of 700 wives or 300 concubines?) and he looked at it all and he said so much of it is meaningless, it’s chasing after the wind. And he gives us this amazing nugget in Chapter 3:11. He says something profound, “He(God) has made everything beautiful in it’s time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”

I love that verse because what that tells us is that after looking at everything, what he realized is that there is no one thing that can satisfy that epic question, “What on earth am I living for?” For God has put eternity in the hearts of all of us. What we truly long for in life, that void that we are really trying to fill, is Heaven, basking in the beauty of God’s glory and love, where all is made right… that is our destiny. But so often, when we ponder the question, What is our purpose? I believe what we often do, is believe that our purpose is our destiny, and it’s our destination. But our destination and our destiny are Heaven. Our purpose is what we walk out, day to day, amidst all we do, to get to our destiny.

I’ve always been a pretty goal oriented chick. I’m a pretty type A girl. What I have learned in my goal setting is to lay everything out before God. I do it in the beginning of every prayer journal, and I pray over it and ask Him to prune away everything that is not for me, and to keep the desire in my heart for everything that is for me, that is from him. And then I put them in His hands and write out Jeremiah 29:11, “ For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and future.” As much as I love that time of setting my goals, I know none of the things I am praying and hoping for are going to be THE ONE thing that fills my life with total fulfillment and unending joy. Not any one of them is ever going to be the one thing that defines who I am. Because what I am here for, my purpose, comes from the core of who I am.

As I looked at all of that in the midst of my goal setting and really seeking the answer to that question, “what is my purpose?” ( and my husband was doing the same thing, we did this together a couple of years ago), we decided that what we needed to do was write a family mission statement, much like businesses have vision or mission statements. What we decided on still stands for us today. Our mission statement for our family and ourselves personally, is “We, the O’Donnell’s, seek to unveil God’s love and glorify him in our everyday lives.”

That’s our vision, that’s our mission, that’s our purpose that fuels us. So as a wife, as a mom, as a leader, as a minister, as a sister, as a friend… in all that I do and all the hats I wear; I seek to walk this out.

Do you have a personal mission statement, or a family mission statement, and if so, what is it? If you do not have one, take time to think through what you’d like it to be, write it down, and then share it with someone, you can even share it with me! I’d love to hear what you come up with.

Live big, Love big, Bask in God’s love for you!

Amy O’Donnell