Three Rings

I wear three rings almost every day. Some people do tattoos; I do rings and sometimes bracelets. They each have a special significance. I get asked about them from time to time…

First, the heart ring. People often think I’m married by this ring because I wear it on my wedding ring finger, so at a quick glance I could see where that is assumed. Inscripted on the inside of it are the words, “My heart belongs to Jesus.” Before anyone or anything else, He has my heart. He is first and He is enough. There is no person or no thing that can fill the place He fills; my heart is His!

One ring has the words, “Quench not the Spirit. 1 Th. 5:19”. I originally submitted it to be made in NIV, but it wouldn’t fit, so that is why it is in KJV.  I also have rings for “Rejoice Always”, “Pray Continually,” “Give thanks in all”, so this was the final verse of 1 Thessalonians 5:16-19 and the line people often leave off as people often recite, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances.” It just so happened that the others in the line of verses weren’t quite fitting my fingers right, but this one did and ultimately, this one really spoke to me as a reminder to always follow the Spirit’s leading. When I am prompted by the Spirit, I don’t ever want to hesitate!

The final ring, the “;” has a couple of meanings to me. It states, “By His Grace” on the inside. This is His testimony for my life because the truth is that every step forward I make in life is by His grace. Life can be a tough journey but, by His grace, He is always leading me forward. A lot of people have semicolon jewelry or tattoos and this universally symbolizes a point we reached where we felt we couldn’t continue on, but did (be that by our own choice or by the will of God). So, for me, the next words after the “;” would start with, “by His grace.”

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Depression – Not Just a Struggle

“I’m struggling with depression.” I was thinking about that statement after I had the thought of how it comes and goes; I’m unfortunately currently in the ‘it comes’ phase.  I was thinking, should I really word it that way, “I’m struggling with depression.”  Yes, it is a struggle, but in that struggle there has been a lot of resilience, endurance, strength, and victory. 

I often feel shame when I have the thought of struggling with depression because I want to overcome it and get upset with myself that it is back again, but then I am reminded by God’s grace that one, it is not within my control and nothing to be ashamed of, and two, I am not in a place of defeat; I am in a place of victory at the fact that I continue to endure each time I face it.

Let me look at it differently.  I don’t just “struggle with depression,” but also, “I endure depression.” “I am resilient over depression.” “I have strength over depression.” It’s not just struggle; it’s also a whole lot of victory.


But He said to me, ā€œMy grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.ā€ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christā€™s power may rest on me. (2 Corinthians 12:9)


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All scriptures from Holy Bible, New International VersionĀ®, NIVĀ® Copyright Ā©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 or New King James VersionĀ®. Copyright Ā© 1982 by Thomas Nelson or The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESVĀ® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright Ā© 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Pressing On In the Battle

Have you ever felt like you’ve reached a place in your struggle where you’ve felt you’re better and then out of nowhere something hits and you’re emotionally spiraling?

That’s how the past three weeks were for me. It’s been several months of doing really well and then out of nowhere came a trigger and I was completely unprepared for how reactive I would be. Once it hit, I was filled with anxiety and I was super sensitive which ultimately led me to be vulnerable to another triggering event, so two triggering events in a three week period after several months of stability. It was extremely tough and emotionally painful and a reminder that this is an ongoing battle.

Today is the first day I feel like the panic of all that has decreased and my emotions have stabilized. Yesterday I went through the emotions of feeling defeated and hopeless in my fight. When I get triggered and emotionally spiral, I generally go through a period of shame where I feel defeated that I let myself get so emotional and where I feel I’m defective for having been so reactive.

I had to come to a place of realizing I still have work to be done, and also I’ve had to stop blaming myself as this isn’t a choice to have a trigger and react. The self-defeating emotions that follow being triggered are completely out of my control.

Sometimes we just have to give ourselves grace. Hitting a bump in the road on this journey doesn’t mean we’ve lost the fight or been defeated; it just means God has more work to do in us. This recent struggle has also reminded me that I need to be intentional in prayer each day, to put on the full armor of God and go into the day prepared for whatever I may face.

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Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devilā€™s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lordā€™s people. (Ephesians 6:10-18)

All scriptures from Holy Bible, New International VersionĀ®, NIVĀ® Copyright Ā©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 or New King James VersionĀ®. Copyright Ā© 1982 by Thomas NelsonĀ or The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESVĀ® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright Ā©Ā 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Scriptures to Push Through the Darkness

I know what it’s like to wrestle the darkness. These are some scriptures that have helped me hold on to hope in my darkest moments. I pray you find comfort in them too. The more truth we have to lean on when the enemy’s lies get the loudest, the better, so if you have any that have carried you through a dark moment, please share in the comments. šŸ’›

I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. (Psalm 27:13)

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)

For I know the plans I have for you,ā€ declares the Lord, ā€œplans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)

But He said to me, ā€œMy grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.ā€ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christā€™s power may rest on me. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from Him. Truly He is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will never be shaken. (Psalm 62:1-2)

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:18)

I will not die but live, and will proclaim what the Lord has done. (Psalm 118:17)

I can do all this through Him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13)

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13-14)

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that dayā€”and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing. (2 Timothy 4:7-8)

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:22-23)

I will extol You, O Lord, for You have lifted me up , And have not let my foes rejoice over me. O Lord my God, I cried out to You, And You healed me. O Lord, You brought my soul up from the grave; You have kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit. Sing praise to the Lord, you saints of His, And give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name. For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning. (Psalm 30: 1-5)

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All scriptures from Holy Bible, New International VersionĀ®, NIVĀ® Copyright Ā©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 or New King James VersionĀ®. Copyright Ā© 1982 by Thomas Nelson or The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESVĀ® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright Ā© 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Miracles

I have to wonder how often we overlook God’s miracles.  Not only that, but how often do we not believe enough to actually ask and open up the door of opportunity for that miracle to be performed by Him?

This week my church organized an event that consisted of corporate fasting and prayer for the week and three nights of what they referred to as revival services. Each night was ended with people seeking physical healing coming forward and other attendees, regular everyday believers, laying hands on them and praying for miracles.

I began the week (Sunday) in a small group meeting being asked the question, “What are you believing God for?” Surprisingly I didn’t have a clue what I’d be seeking Him for personally, so that’s what I prayed for on Monday, “God, what should I believe You for?”  By the second morning (Tuesday) I had an answer settled on my heart, some specific prayers for God’s guidance as a mom and for my son and prayers for overcoming struggles with depression, for healing.

The first two nights of services (Tuesday and Wednesday) had amazing worship and powerful messages, with the prayer time focused specifically on physical healing, addictions, and prodigals. Honestly though, I felt a bit personally discouraged that they were only asking people to come up who needed, very specifically, “physical healing” as I felt ready to receive emotional healing and thought maybe this would be the time.  I felt a disappointment because with everything the pastors said, they were very specific about “physical” healing, addictions, and prodigals. At one moment one of the pastors even started to say the word, “depr…” but it’s like he caught himself and didn’t want to go there so backed up and changed his words.  I was teary eyed the end of night two (Wednesday) as I left because I knew how much I wanted to be healed and I knew there were others in that room feeling what I felt. I felt upset, thinking, “God can heal this too!”

So, the fourth day, Thursday morning, I went into the day feeling an expectancy, an excitement of what the last night of this prayer event would bring. I’d been seeking God during the noon hour each day and during this time of seeking God on Thursday, I clearly heard from Him, “I’m going to heal you of your infirmity and I’m going to use you to minister to others from a place of understanding, with My heart for them and with My love for them.” This was an amazing moment, as it’s the first time in a long while God so specifically and clearly spoke to me, and it grew faith and more hope within me. 

The third night of service was amazing, as the other two nights had been, but once again they focused on the same three areas (physical healing, addictions, prodigals), but in this night I did not feel the same feelings of exclusion and disappointment I had the other two nights.  I believed what God had spoken directly to me in my personal prayer time and I felt it within me; my healing is coming! If it turns out to not be yet, well, I’m confident it is coming because I know what God spoke to my heart!  Not only that, I have seen His faithfulness in my healing process. It’s been three years of walking through different processes in my healing, so it’s been a work, not an instant thing but I believe that is how emotional healing takes place; it’s a process, because there’s a lot of factors that have contributed to the need for this type of healing, so my experience has been that God has addressed one thing at a time.

Leaving out of those three nights, I praise God for the physical healings that took place in so many and I praise Him for the answered prayers that will come out of all those prayers for addiction struggles and for prodigals. We saw God show up tangibly with the physical healings and I believe God is going to show up powerfully healing people of addictions and with salvation for prodigals.  I also believe God is going to answer prayers that were not specifically prayed for from the pulpit.

The words God spoke to me I believe were not just for me, but for anyone who is discouraged in their fight with whatever struggle they may be dealing with. I believe that if we have a little bit of hope and a little bit of faith, He will meet us right where we are at and He is ready and willing to perform the miracle we so desperately need!  We have to be willing to ask and believe that there is a possibility He will answer our prayer and we have to be willing to let Him guide our healing process.

Today during the prayer time following regular church, a mom brought a child up for prayer who had been hospitalized a while back and is going for a followup this week.  God so vividly brought back to me the reminder of what He did in my own son,  what I now realize is a miracle. My son was hospitalized several days as an infant and then struggled until he was four with recurring pneumonia and lots of scary moments. Ladies at church prayed in faith for him and those issues literally stopped and never returned. It was a miracle I never truly acknowledged as a miracle!  As I saw this mom bringing her son for prayer it reminded me that I have experienced the miraculous with my own son and yet I have sometimes doubted the possibility of the miraculous. Even writing this I am reminded of when my son was born the doctor held up his umbilical cord and said the words, “a true knot” and then someone in the room said, “are you saying he’s a miracle” and the doctor answered, “yes.” I wasn’t even a Christian when my son was born, but it’s just a reminder of the plans God has always had for my son and for me. A miracle before he was even born and a miracle when he was four and struggling with respiratory issues. My son is a miracle on so many levels! God used my son to lead me to Him. God giving me my son when he did is all a part of my testimony and a part of what led me to know Jesus.

One thing we have to realize is that a miracle doesn’t always have to happen in an instant; it can take a little time but that doesn’t discount the fact that it’s a miracle.  We live in a society of instant communication, instant delivery, instant this or instant that. Yes, in the Bible you will see that Jesus often performed miracles in an instant, so that is always a possibility, but in the Bible we also have to think about the miracles that took a little more time.  Abraham had to wait 25 years after the promise to conceive a child after God promised him he’d be “a father of many nations.” Taking that long does not discount the fact that it is a miracle, because how many 100 year old women do you know who conceived a child!?  Think about Joseph’s 13 year miracle in the works after being sold into slavery. Many miracles take time as God works out all the details in the in-between.

So, this all has me thinking, I have to wonder how often we overlook God’s miracles.  Not only that, but how often do we not believe enough to actually ask and open up the door of opportunity for that miracle to be performed by Him?

I believe in miracles!  I had experienced miracles but I never acknowledged them. It couldn’t be just other people’s testimonies that got me truly believing, it was God bringing to my remembrance and leading me to reflect on what He has already done in my own life, His faithfulness.  He brought it all to remembrance, so many miracles He has worked in my life!

God is a miracle working God, for me, for my son, and also for you!  What are You believing Him for? 

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If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.ā€ (Matthew 21:22)

He replied, ā€œBecause you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ā€˜Move from here to there,ā€™ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.ā€ (Matthew 17:20)

Through the Lordā€™s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not.
They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.
ā€œThe Lord is my portion,ā€ says my soul,ā€œTherefore I hope in Him!ā€ (Lamentations 3:22-24)

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All scriptures from Holy Bible, New International VersionĀ®, NIVĀ® Copyright Ā©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 or New King James VersionĀ®. Copyright Ā© 1982 by Thomas Nelson

New Year, New Hope

To me, the new year brings new hope.  While it comes every year, and realistically January 1 is indeed ā€˜just another day,ā€™ there is just something about the new year. In the new year, it’s always good to set aside some time to reflect on where youā€™re at, where youā€™re headed, and where you desire to go.

I have been plagued by depression for the past three years and, while I thought it would be a quickly passing season, I realize it is an ongoing battle, a part of my story. I make the often-difficult daily choice to keep having hope.  Itā€™s been ups and downs, reaching places of defeat and discouragement, but with that there has also been lots of healing and breakthrough.  I didnā€™t realize my need for healing until I reached a place of absolute despair.  Before the months of COVID isolation in 2020, my life had been on autopilot, and I didnā€™t realize how many aspects of my life were operating in a superficial way, and just waiting to fall apart, until I was forced into isolation for eight months.  I know I am not alone in that experience.

Going into 2023, I have an awareness that God is still at work in my healing process.  I am so glad He is faithful and never gives up on me! I still have my days where depression fogs my outlook and I question having purpose in this life, but I fight off those days by recalling Godā€™s faithfulness and trusting that if I am here, there is purpose in it, both for this life and in preparation for eternity with Him.  I choose to continue having hope and to keep trusting Godā€™s way and Godā€™s timing. 

I have started to see the blessing of the place I reached, and the place I reached was far from anywhere anyone would desire to reach.  It was not a blessing in the moment, quite the opposite, but looking back, I feel blessed that as a result of reaching that rock-bottom place, I have an opportunity to live and experience this life with purpose.  While Iā€™m not in the place I want to be yet, I am not where I was and I have a hope I didn’t have before.  I feel blessed that I have an opportunity to live my life with intention and to not let it get back on that superficial go with the flow track.  I don’t ever want my life to look like that again. I trust that God has a plan and a purpose in everything and I hold on to the hope that everything I have struggled through these past three years is part of my healing process and that the end result will be so worth it!

If you are currently in a place of discouragement, I want to encourage you in this new year; what you are feeling right now will not be wasted and a breakthrough is coming.  You have to continue to be willing to keep moving forward and be willing to do whatever hard work you have to put in.  Keep at it!  Whatever honest conversations you need to have, whatever appointments you need to make, be bold and be brave. I know how hard it is and I encourage you; keep pressing on! 

For I know the plans I have for you,ā€ declares the Lord, ā€œplans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)

He has made everything beautiful in its time. (Ecclesiastes 3:11)

I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. (Psalm 27:13-14)

All scriptures from Holy Bible, New International VersionĀ®, NIVĀ® Copyright Ā©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 or New King James VersionĀ®. Copyright Ā© 1982 by Thomas Nelson

Coronavirus – Faith, Not Sight.

Well, this is definitely a different time for all of us.Ā  This day ends and I know I’m not the only one thinking, “this has been surreal.”Ā  Having to hunt down usually basic groceries such as toilet paper, rice, canned goods etc., as it was announced schools will be closed for at least a month, gatherings of 250 people or more not allowed, and other closings.Ā  There’s such uncertainty about where this is headed and the affect it could have.

I have strong faith.Ā  Two years ago I faced a lot of trials in a small period of time and one thing that season did in me was give me a lesson in God’s faithfulness and in trusting Him beyond what we see in the natural. “Your love,Ā Lord, reaches to the heavens, Your faithfulness to the skies. (Psalm 36:5)

We walk by faith, not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5:7)

In any given moment there is so much we can see or perceive in the natural, but there is also so much we cannot see.Ā  As children of God, we have to trust His ways. As He says in His Word, “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:9)Ā  His Word says, “Trust in theĀ Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; Ā in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.” We will not always have understanding, but we can always trust.Ā Ā 

We know God numbers our days and that we have an eternity to look forward to with Him, we know that He is in control and that His Word is truth. We know, as His Word says, “we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.”Ā  Yes, we know these things and we have to stand firm on these truths.Ā  God is faithful! We can trust Him!


Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us runĀ with perseveranceĀ the race marked out for us, Ā fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before Him He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.Ā Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (Hebrews 12:1-3)

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. (Romans 12:12)

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love Him. (James 1:12)

You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised. (Hebrews 10:36)

Therefore we do not lose heart.Ā Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardlyĀ we are being renewedĀ day by day.Ā For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. Ā So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal,Ā but I press on to take holdĀ of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.Ā Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behindĀ and straining toward what is ahead,Ā I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:12-14)

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)

but those who hopeĀ in theĀ Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. (Isaiah 40:31)

Psalm 91:
He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

I will say of theĀ Lord, ā€œHe isĀ my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.ā€

SurelyĀ He shall deliver you from the snare of theĀ fowler andĀ from the perilous pestilence.

He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler.

You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, norĀ of the arrowĀ thatĀ flies by day, norĀ of the pestilenceĀ thatĀ walks in darkness, norĀ of the destructionĀ thatĀ lays waste at noonday.

A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand; but it shall not come near you. OnlyĀ with your eyes shall you look, and see the reward of the wicked.

Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge, even the Most High, your dwelling place, No evil shall befall you, nor shall any plague come near your dwelling;

For He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways. In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.

You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra, the young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot.

ā€œBecause he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My name. He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him, and show him My salvation.ā€

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All scriptures from Holy Bible, New International VersionĀ®, NIVĀ® Copyright Ā©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 or New King James VersionĀ®. Copyright Ā© 1982 by Thomas Nelson

2020, A year of… Grace

Grace.

I could never have enough of it; I can’t live without it. God’s grace sustains me.  As I prayerfully considered what God would have me share in this new year, He led me to share a few, “2020, A year of…” words of encouragement.  This one, “grace,” is the one that resonates with me the most right now.  I’m at a place in my journey where it is only by His grace that I press forward.  For those like me who day by day lean on His grace, I encourage you, we are at a good place.  Relying completely on God and the strength and grace He provides is the best posture we could be in.  As we keep seeking His grace, we will keep finding His grace. We must keep our eyes always fixed on Jesus, our Lord and Savior.  He fulfills, He heals, He makes whole.

Lord, Thank You for Your unfailing love and for Your never ending mercy and grace.  For all those who need Your grace in this new year, I pray that you would pour it out in abundance.  Thank You that You never leave us; You never forsake us. With You by our side we will never fall.  You uphold us and strengthen us.  God, You have shown us so much grace!  Thank You, Lord!  May we experience more and more of Your grace as we press forward, keeping our hope and trust always in You.  In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen!

“Let us then approach Godā€™s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)

“Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.” (2 Peter 1:2)

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faithā€”and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of Godā€” not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)

“Now this is our boast: Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, with integrity and godly sincerity. We have done so, relying not on worldly wisdom but on Godā€™s grace.” (2 Corinthians 1:12)

“But He said to me, ā€œMy grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.ā€Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christā€™s power may rest on me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)

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All scriptures from Holy Bible, New International VersionĀ®, NIVĀ® Copyright Ā©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 or New King James VersionĀ®. Copyright Ā© 1982 by Thomas Nelson

As He leads

I have pondered some big questions lately.  What is my place in this world? How can I help the hurting?  What does God have for me to accomplish?  I am different than the average; how can I really be used?

As I have pondered all this, There is one solid conclusion I have come to.  Jesus.  Jesus is the only answer.  He defines my place in this world, He is the only answer for the hurting, God has much for me to accomplish because of my faith in Jesus and He has led me to embrace my differences and realize that my differences equate to Him being able to use me in a different way.  God wired me the way I am and He has purpose in the way He designed me.

I dont know exactly what all He will call me to do, but He has been lovingly revealing to me over the past few years that I am someone He can and will use to accomplish His purposes.  He once told me, “what you see as your weaknesses, I see as your strengths.”  He has been growing my faith tremendously over these past few years as I have stepped out in faith and obedience and as I have realized my complete dependence on Him.  I’m not afraid because I know He is with me.  I have complete trust in Him and He gives me strength.  When I face worries and uncertainty, I know that because I am submitted to and trusting Him everything is working out for good.  I walk by faith and not by sight.

When I was just starting my faith journey, a little over five years ago, He gave me a vision of how my journey would look and He gave me a ‘life scripture’:

 ā€œTrust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will direct your paths.ā€ (Proverbs 3:5-6)

I saw a vision of an incomplete brick path in the process of being laid.  It looked rather rough as if it had been there waiting to be worked on a while.  At the time I received the vision, I was having worry over stepping outside of His will – of missing it or taking a wrong step.  He told me that I do not have to fear taking a misstep because, while a step off the path would cause delay, as I focused on Him and trusted Him He would rework the path so my feet would be on it once again.  He showed me my feet on the incomplete path and I saw my foot take a step and as I took the step He laid a brick below it before my foot hit the ground.  As I took the step, the path no longer looked old and abandoned!  He was completely directing and establishing my path as I took a step.

I have been seeing this vision take place in my life.  He speaks something to me and as I take a step in faith and obedience, He truly directs my path.  I see good come out of these steps of obedience.  I see His strength overcoming my weaknesses in these steps of obedience.  I see His purposes being accomplished in these steps of obedience.

I just recognized this right now, seeing that unfinished path that hadn’t been worked on in a while was an invitation.  It was an invitation for me to be a willing servant, for me to be obedient in lifting my foot to take any step He calls me to take.  Over these past few years, I’ve had to overcome some worry and I’ve had to allow Him to do some much needed growth in me, and now I’m at that place where nothing holds me back.  I am willing to step as He leads.

May His good, pleasing and perfect will always be done in me and through me. For His glory!

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All scriptures from Holy Bible, New International VersionĀ®, NIVĀ® Copyright Ā©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 or New King James VersionĀ®. Copyright Ā© 1982 by Thomas Nelson

Thankful

It’s that time of year again where everyone is asked the question, “what are you thankful for?”Ā  Hopefully whenever you ponder that question, you have a hard time answering – not for lack of things to be thankful for, but because there’s an immeasurable amount to be thankful for!Ā  I couldn’t answer that question in simplicity; I’d have to write a book and it would be incomplete.Ā  I hope that you feel the same way!Ā  We are so blessed!

So instead of asking, “what are you thankful for,” here’s my question:Ā  “When you think of this past year and all you have to be thankful for, what is one thing this year that has really stood out among the immeasurable list of what you have to be thankful for?”

Here’s my answer:

Last year was a year of many trials, but also a year of growth.Ā  In a span of four months, my sister was in the hospital for over a month with life threatening injuries, the home I lived in had a house fire, I moved in to my own place with my son for the first time in his life, my grandma had a stroke that left her in an alzheimers state, my grandpa died after a long battle with cancer, I was in a hit and run car accident (the guy later turned himself in) that totaled my car and left me in a very long and frustrating process, the car I replaced it with broke down, my super sweet and loved boss passed away after a short battle with cancer.Ā  It was a lot of trials, but also a lot of growth and a lot of blessing in response to the trials.

I share this because it was the beginning process of what I am most thankful for this year.Ā  Last year when I was facing trial after trial God placed the word “preparation” on my heart.Ā  This gave me hope in the midst of what I was facing.Ā  I really was able to keep my eyes on Jesus through it all.Ā  At the beginning of this year God placed the word “growth” on my heart, and that is what I have experienced this year.Ā  What stands out to me this year in particular to be most thankful for is that God has been growing me in my relationship with Him and He has been growing me as a whole, helping me to discover who I am in Him and to find complete fulfillment in Him.Ā  As I have given over control to Him over these past two years, submitting to and trusting Him, He has truly directed my every path, led me in the way I should go, and established my plans — just as His Word promises to do (see Proverbs 3:5-6, Psalm 32:8, Proverbs 16:3).Ā  It is this growth, in dependence on Him, in faith and trust in Him, in fulfillment in Him, in completeness in Him, that I am most thankful for this year.


Someone shared this fabulous idea and my son and I started a “Grateful Jar” at the end of summer.Ā  We write down one thing we are grateful for in the morning before we start our day and drop it in the jar.Ā  It has been wonderful to reflect on all God has done and continues to do for us!

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Be blessed!