Saturday, July 14, 2012

The God Bag


Heather's Cottage - Georgian Bay oil by Helen Tilston


Jeanne from Collage of Life recently posted  about  "Making Lists".  As many of you know,  Jeanne is  moving from England to Vietnam this week.  Her blog is one of my favourites and has been for some time.   Jeanne  responded to my comment on "Lists" and suggested I post on this subject.


Jeanne's "List"  brought to mind a Mission/Retreat I attended some years ago. The subject was:  How to Live a Happier life and  be free from Worry.  We were all asked to write down, on post it notes, a list of the items that weighed heavily on our hearts. Mathew 7.7 and Luke 11.9 were referenced, "Ask and it shall be given".  The requests are to be in the past tense.  e.g.  Thank God for healing Uncle John (rather than, please heal Uncle John) We must believe and have confidence in our request. The Priest then gave us each a brown paper bag. He called it a "God Bag"

 





 In it we put our list of worries and he suggested we lock the bag away in the back of our closet. He said not to keep bothering God by asking when your request will be granted or God have you forgotten me, there is to be none of that. The point being to believe and trust that God is looking after this issue. He suggested we visit the bag in a year and read the list. Yes, you guessed it, after a year most of the worries had disappeared.   The point being to hand over our worries to God and get on with life and put our gifts to good use.

 

I know many of you have been minimizing and purging from your closets.  Do you think you have room for this bag in your closet?

73 comments:

  1. Thank you Helen!! You know how much I love this story and I am so thrilled you posted it. I appreicate your kind words and I know your readers will think about this post for some time to come. I still am! Bless you Helen!! :) xx

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  2. Hello Jeane

    Thank you for the suggestion on this post. Will you please be my Personal Assistant and tell me what to write about each week? Sorry that is a big order, in view of all the changes you are presently making.

    Fondest wishes for a week of joy and rest.

    Helen xx

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    1. Interestingly Helen, I find many of my post ideas come from leaving comments on other posts, I wish I could do it more often. It takes thought provoking ones, my favourite kind, like yours, to get me going. I always feel like I am by your side Helen, when I read your posts, the best place to be. xx

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    2. Hello Jeanne

      What more could I ask for than to have you by my side. That is a precious thought, which I shall hold.

      Helen xx

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  3. So lovely Helen... sometimes I think we worry more about the thought of the worries... Have a wonderful Sunday Helen... xv

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    1. Good-Morning Vicki

      Very well said. Thank you for visiting and may all your worries be tiny

      Helen xx

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  4. Oh I loved this post Helen. I am so glad that wonderful Jeanne pushed you to do it and yes, I will be thinking of this for some time. This is something one can do no matter their belief of choice--it is the believing that counts. I am often overwhelmed by my worries (especially for the future), how incredible it would be to have that weight even slightly lifted from my shoulders.

    I find your faith very inspiring.
    With lots of love from Arles,
    Heather

    PS. You silly goose, there is an explanation for the Ethiopia "cutie on the side" comment! I will make an addendum today!!

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    1. Hello Heather

      What you say is so true about all of us and worrying about the future. It is so futile, yet we persist on doing the same old thing.

      At a younger age I had no idea what these meant. "peace be with you" or "peace be with your spirit"

      I am looking forward to your post on Ethiopia.

      Helenxx

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  5. This is a GRAND IDEA. You know, I wonder, I just WONDER if part of the FAITH THING is to do just this. Put your worries away in a bag and just FORGET THEM and walk straight on. Hmmmm...this just may be one of the elements of good faith. THANK YOU HELEN FOR VISITING ME and that painting of yours.....OH DEAR, the aqua seas are all mine.....thank you! Anita

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    1. Dear Anita

      I love how you summed this up "walk straight on".

      Thank you for your kind words always and may your week be full of straight walking.

      Helen xx

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  6. Georgian Bay has such beauty and that painting captures it so well.

    My Grandmother used to say that worrying was a sin. She always just got on with things and made the best, and trusted in the outcome.

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    1. Hello Chania
      Thank you very much for your kind words. Yes, Georgian Bay, as you said, has an incredible beauty.

      You Grandmother sounded like a wise and great woman and I have no doubt she lived a happy life.

      Helen xx

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  7. Anne LaMott keeps a God box. I love her books.

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    1. Hello Jen

      I did not know about Anne LaMott's God box.

      I have read Bird by Bird and loved her writing. You have inspired me to read more of her work.

      Thank you and have a wonderful week

      Helenxx

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  8. I too read Jeanne's post.. It got me thinking.
    you have written this lovely post Helen inspired by Jeanne.
    I sometimes find it a little difficult to put my worries away. I do eventually but it takes more time than it should . This post has inspired me to hand them over to our lord and have faith that things will become easier.
    I could use a god box now and then... What puzzles me sometimes is what to do when someone hurts us.!! someone dear to our heart. That is a difficult one for me.
    xx val

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    1. Hi Valerie

      Yes, Jeanne's blog is terrific and it was her promoting that made for this post. I think we all have those 4.00 a.m. lying awake worries and why at that hour (for me anyway)
      I wish I knew the answer for you when someone dear hurts us.
      Wishing you a week of joy

      Helen xx

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  9. Helen, What a wonderful post. I have been trying to do more praising than asking lately. I like to idea of physically sealing the worries in a bag and putting it aside. I tend to use my journal for writing down thanksgivings. Once I turn the page I seldom go back for awhile. Have a wonderful day! Bonnie

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    1. Hello Bonnie

      Thank you for stopping by. What you say about physically sealing the worries away gives some finality to the issues. Perhaps by this action we are saying you will not get the better of me and I shall plod on.
      Journalling is wonderful and thanksgiving is paramount.

      Helen xx

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  10. Well, Helen...

    So far, the only time I have asked, and something has been given, I was buying stuff in a shop, and paying for it! Ask for my worries to be taken away? No...

    In an ideal world "A la Leibnitz"... "The best possible world!" anything would be possible! But look at Voltaire's Candide! Is this world actually the best possible world and is what we think we believe in the only possible truth?

    The God bag idea isn't bad, but slightly naive. It's a bit like writing a Christmas list in January, hoping Santa is going to read and remember it, the following December! Do you know how long I had to wait for Baby Jesus to bring me a little China tea set, when I was a child? THREE YEARS! Three long Christmases! And what happened to that black poodle puppy? It never turned up!

    No more lists for me, I'm afraid! I will not ask for things, or for my worries to be taken away.

    If there is a God, out there, he's too busy! Look at the World he created? Why on Earth did he not take a bit longer than 7 days to create it? Why on Earth did he put George Bush in charge of his "Make Adam and Eve Department?" Look at the mess the two of them have made of humanity!

    Worries... there isn't a bag big enough to contain all of them and I think I would feel lonely without my fears... they kind of keep me going!

    Happy Sunday!

    ANNA
    xx

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    1. Dear Anna

      So your letters to Santa, like mine were unsuccessful in getting what we wanted. Perhaps my top secret letter to Santa should have been discussed with my mother.

      Anna, I so wish I had answers to all your questions and comments but alas I don't.

      I loved your recipe of today and if it were not so warm, I would make it this afternoon. I shall save it till the wind starts to blow.

      Wishing you a week full of joy


      Helen xxx

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  11. I wish I could believe in a worry bag; I'm not feeling too bright at the moment, but I know that it takes MY effort to do something about it to make it better.

    Most things tidy themselves away over the course of a year anyway, unless they get worse, like health problems; petty little things should never be put to God or anybody else, for that matter.It's a nice, cosy idea that some great providence is looking after us, I like it very much and wish I could sit back and wait. Sadly, that is not my experience.

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    1. Hello Friko

      Thank you for your visit and comments. I respect your opinion. I agree with you, when you say in your first paragraph, that we need to make an effort to do something about our problem to make it better.

      Wishing you a week of good health and happiness.

      Helen xx

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  12. I find that with worries, it helps to imagine oneself looking back a month later and determining the scale of the worry from that perspective - possibly the very same principle as the God bag, but more palatable for those of us (or me) who are wary of faith. May your good-heartedness be rewarded, Helen!

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    1. Hello Mise

      I love your suggestion of going forward to determine the scale of the worry. I will certainly remember this,

      Thank you for your kind and gentle way of expressing your difference on this subject.

      I hope the rain has ceased and outdoor activities have resumed.

      Helen xxx

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  13. What a beautiful idea Helen!

    Wish you a happy new week,

    Madelief x

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    1. Hello Madelief

      Thanks for visiting.

      Hope you have a wonderful week too

      Helen xx

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  14. an awesome idea, thanks for posting about it:)

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    1. Hello Becky

      Thank you for visiting. I am happy your like the idea.

      Have a glorious week

      Helen xx

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  15. Replies
    1. Thank you for your visit and kindness.

      Wishing you a week of joy

      Helen xx

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  16. A brilliant post and VERY thought provoking! Sometimes the most simple ideas can be the most helpful. Just the exercise of writing down one's worries and fears can be a cathartic experience - I'm so used to burying my head in the sand over most things, that to see them written down is probably a good way of finally facing them and actively doing something about them. I shall try your God Bag suggestion. Whether it enables me to forget about my worries OR to face them, it is likely that the conclusion can only be a positive one!

    Hope that you have a fabulous and inspiring week,
    Paula xxx

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  17. Hello Mrs Sutton
    Thank you for your kindness. It is so true what you say, that writing down one's worries and fears can be a cathartic experience.

    Wishing you a week of joy and peace.

    Helen xx

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  18. Thank you so much, Helen, for this absolutely wonderful idea. I know that God smiles when He sees us do something so childlike and trusting. This shows such confidence in His care for us. I am definitely going to do this. Thank you again for
    this wonderful idea.

    Shelly +

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  19. Hello Shelly

    Thank you for visiting. I love your words of wisdom and your faith.

    I admire all the wonderful works of charity you find time to do in your busy life.

    Have a glorious week

    Helen xx

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  20. Dear Helen, thank you for this inspiring post; a much needed something for me at the moment. It is such a lovely idea to take care of one's worries in such an encouraging, trusting manner. And anyway, most of the times our worries never actually happen. I am definitely going to try this, even though I am often accused of being a borderline atheist by my devout Hindu relatives!

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  21. Good Morning Suman

    Thank you for your kind and supporting comment.

    You make a very good point when you say most times our worries never actually happen. I have been laughing at your comment on your devout Hindu relatives. I am sure you are a very good living considerate and kind person.

    Wishing you a week of joy

    Helen xx

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  22. Hello Helen thank you SO much for visiting and for your lovely words.
    This is a lovely idea! Funnily enough a while back my husband suggested that I do this, but I used a box instead of a bag. I can report that it really does seem to help.

    Hugs Jane

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    1. Hello Jane

      Thank you for visiting and commenting. How coincidental that your husband spoke of this too. I am glad to hear it helped as it has helped me too.

      It is always a joy to visit your beautiful blog.

      Helen xx

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  23. Hello Helen,

    Oh this is a great idea! Felt a little embarrassed to tell you that I'm a very optimistic person (actually too optimistic like a fool), so I simply believe what HE said in Matthew 6:34. I love Mathew 29-30 too. In fact I don't worry too much, however, some people think that this is a sign of frivolity and superficiality. Maybe they are right. ..

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    1. Hello Sapphire

      I could tell from your beautiful blog that your have a calm, happy and optimistic soul. It comes through in your posts.
      Please remain as you are. You have been gifted with this disposition and frivolity is needed each day.

      Continued joy as you go through your week

      Helen xx

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  24. I'm a great believer in writing down thoughts, in every context, including this one. Love the painting at the top of this post - it has a lovely immediacy. (PS. Glad to have been of assistance in identifying the catalpa!)

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    1. Hello Deborah

      Where would we be without our journal? Somehow when we write it down, it get done. I am sure you keep a journal handy for ideas for your books.
      Thank you for your comment on my painting. I am happy to hear it has immediacy. I painted it en plein air.

      I will be visiting the catalpa tree today as it is in our dog's fabourite park

      Helen xx

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  25. My dear Helen,

    I enjoy reading this spiritual post. We live in our cynical world which had forgotten the essence of the spiritual teachings - forgiveness, kindness and compassion. I do believe in the power of spirituality. As a Buddhist, I often meditate and light the candles at home. Or I go somewhere quiet and think of the lines from a card which was given to me by an old, retired friend who used to be my cleaner. She was a devout Catholic and she gave me a card during my visit to her home many years ago. The card shows a graceful painting of Virgin Mary and at the back, she wrote down these lines:

    Trust Him when dark doubts assail thee,
    Trust Him when thy faith is small,
    Trust Him when to simply trust Him.

    I recite these lines when I have any doubts or worries. She was such an extraordinarily kind hearted and spiritual woman. Whenever I went to visit her, she would take me by my arm into her cosy sitting room with an open fire and said, "Do you fancy a cup of tea?" "When did you have your breakfast this morning?" "Oh, you must be famished!"

    Thank you for sharing this, my dear Helen.

    Best wishes, ASD

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    1. PS. I forgot to tell you how much I adore this sun-drenched seascape painting by you.

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    2. Dearest ASD

      Forgiveness, kindness and compassion as you state so clearly as the foundation of spiritual teachings. Oh we can only wish and pray that these three acts reach the hearts of all living in the world, regardless of their religious affiliations. I am reminded of Mother Teresa when one time a patient she was visiting said "but Mother I am an atheist". She kindly responded "be the best atheist you can be"

      Your friend who gave you the picture of the Blessed Mother certainly practiced kindness. I have no doubt she loved you dearly and to receive such a warm welcome when you visited. I can imagine how delicious such a cup of tea tasted when presented with such love and care.

      I have tremendous respect for the Dali Lhama and have several of his books. He exudes peace, joy and kindness.
      I love this quote by him:
      "If you can, help others, if you cannot do that, at least do not harm them"

      Thank you my dear friend for your visit and kindness and to coin the word used by your good freind, I must rush to the kitchen, I'm famished.

      Helen xx

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    3. Dear ASD

      Thank you for your compliment on my painting.

      Helen xx

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  26. I definitely have room...what a wonderful idea! Gorgeous painting...

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    1. Good Morning

      Thank you for commenting and I smile as I visualize the bag in your closet. May your day be full of joy

      Helen xx

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    1. Thank you for visiting.

      To a wonderful day

      Helen xx

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  28. I absolutely LOVE this...and as I am clearing through closets reorganizing several rooms, will find a special spot for my God bag! Thank you for stopping by ~ lucky you, you get to see the Falls often! Do you know, I am only several hours from the Grand Canyon, but have yet to go...I think I will Thank God in advance for letting me see some of his wonders!
    Have a blessed week,
    Nathalie

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    1. Hello Natalie

      Why thank you for your appreciation. The bag takes up little room but the contents are enormous

      You must take yourself to the Grand Canyon. I have wonderful memories and when we first went it was winter time and actual a soft snowfall. We stood in awe and amazement for at least an hour without uttering a word.
      I shall never forget seeing it then in the silence of the early morning, nothing prepared me for the enormity of it. Niagara Falls is more noisy and shouts.

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  29. This is a wonderful post Helen and thank you for commenting on mine. In fact, in The Vein of Gold she mentions a God Jar, same as the God Bag!! I just started using my God Jar this past week. It is in fact an old St. Therese planter!!

    Blessings to you, Donna

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  30. Hello Donna

    Thank you for visiting and welcome.

    A God Jar is interesting and of course will also work well too
    I wonder if the author of Vein of Gold attended the same mission.

    Have a wonderful weekend

    Helenxx

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  31. Thank you for sharing this Helen, I will do the same TODAY..! So i spiring.
    Love to you from Afrique du Sud x Colette

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    1. Hello Colette

      Many thaks for stopping by and leaving your comment. I am happy to find you inspired.

      Helen xx

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  32. Oh Helen my work does not compare to your hands that paint but all in all its what you see and the soul you put into it :)

    Love your work and love your post. Thank you for sharing your most beautiful thoughts over at my place I am every so honored to have you and best a comment from you.

    Keep inspiring your beauty inside and out.
    xoxo
    Blessings
    Dore

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    1. Hello Dore

      You certainly put your soul into your art and also a lot of heart.

      Thank you for your kind compliments on my painting. I wish you a glorious week

      Helen xx

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  33. Brilliant idea. It's true, so much of what worries us today is forgotten in a year. Good to remember the futility and trivial nature of worry. Your gorgeous painting is exactly where I'd love to be today on this hot afternoon!

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    1. Hello Pamela

      You are so right when you say what a difference a year makes.
      Thank you for your kind compliment on my painting - it is the view from my friend's cottage.
      Wishing you a week of joy
      Pats to Edward

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  34. Interesting way to get a sense of perspective :-)

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    1. Hello Rahel

      Thanks for stopping and commenting. Hope your week is very special

      Helen xx

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  35. Hi Helen,
    I saw your comment on Bloomsbury Life about Winston Churchill and Lady Astor. What a great story! Thanks for sharing.........This is going to help me immensely.
    my best, Maureen

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    1. Hello Maureen

      Welcome to my blog and I look forward to seeing you more often.
      I am happy you liked my comment on Lisa's blog.

      Wishing you a week of joy

      Helen xx

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  36. This is such a wonderful idea Helen. Truly having faith in God to take care of our 'worries' is really quite challenging sometimes, and this excercise in the gift of faith is a lovely way to help us walk in the spirit of reliance and trust.

    Now...finding a spot in the closet for this special bag is quite another challenge that will require a certain amount faith & trust! ;)
    xo J~

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    1. Hello Jessica

      As always your so beautifully articulate your thoughts. Oh to have relentless faith. I hope your week is full of joy and free of worry and may all your prayers be answered.

      Helen xx

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  37. Dear Helen, this is such a good idea. I'm going on a short retreat myself in August and I shall make my God bag then. As a Quaker, I tend not to ask for specific requests but just 'hold myself in the Spirit' with God and trust. But as you can imagine, there are times when you ned to say' Please God, look after...' This idea will be a great help. Jane xx

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    1. Hello Jane

      I am happy you feel this is a good idea. I do like the Quaker philosoply and belief. (I must read more about this faith which I have tremendous respect for, simply because of the people I have met who were Quakers)

      Wishing you a week of joy and faith.

      Helen xx

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  38. Hello Helen,
    I most definitely have space in my closet for my "God bag." This post makes one think....
    xo
    annie

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  39. Hello Annie

    Thank you for your kind comment.

    May your week be filled with joy

    Helen xx

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  40. I loved this idea so much! I know we all worry about present and future but I also have learned that without trust we get nowhere!
    After starting my new business last year and gone through a divorce this year I have gone through many trials when I thought it would be the hardest thing in life for me, but I trusted God and found peace and solutions. So glad to be able to say that.
    Thanks for sharing this great idea with us!

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  41. Hello Simony

    Thank you for stopping by and I am happy you embrace the idea of the God bag.

    Congratulations on being strong and continuing to do you best in trying times. If you got through all of this you can do anything and I know you will find joy, peace, love and success.

    Helen xx

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  42. GREAT idea…I am definitely creating a God Bag!!!

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