New Beginnings

Who knew how much pain, fear, uncertainty one little word could instill. It’s incredible. I know that I am not the only person who has walked through a valley so deep, so dark that you can’t see five feet in front of you. I know I am not the only one who has had to rely so heavily on God that you start to wonder if He’s really there. Cause I mean lets face it… if He was really there why would He be allowing all of the pain and grief? Why would he allow all this yuck? But then you think about Job and all the stuff he lost… and realize that God does what he does to refine you into who HE wants you to be.

Today was a particularly rough day at work. I work in a school and all of the kids were literally… insane. I had to break up a massive fight that was starting between a bunch of fourth graders. FOURTH GRADERS people. The words that these kids were spewing at this poor girl broke my heart. All I wanted to do was wrap her in my arms and hold her close and say “I’ve got you sweet one. Don’t listen to what they are saying. I will protect you.” It made me think of my life, my situation. She was let down by these girls who were supposed to be her friends…just like I have been let down by people close to me (an I’m sure the same could be said about me) But these kids instead of saying words that would build her up, they torn her down completely.

Words are so powerful. I have learned that over the years. I let my mouth get the best of me. I’ve let words flow so carelessly off my tongue…words that are meant to sting because of the pain and lack of self worth I feel on the inside. If I can just make these people see through my words to how much I’m actually hurting on the inside… MAYBE…they will start listening to what I have to say. But instead I am held at a distance… told what I say is not valid… and crushed just a little bit more. My heart went out to that sweet fourth grader today. The pain I face daily is so raw and to see someone standing up for herself the only way she knew how by fighting back… I had to step in. (Plus I was the teacher in charge, so it was kind of my job… but still.)

And then I think… How many times have I held God at a distance? How many times have I read his Word and said, no that doesn’t apply to me, that’t not valid? How many times have I crushed God’s heart because I have been way too stubborn to just humble myself before him and tell him I’m a sinner and I need him… Probably more than I would ever care to count. But God…

2018 holds so much potential for me. It’s a new beginning. I think my word for this year is brave… or maybe it’s new. Brave new beginning… Anyway the point is I am learning who I am again. I lost who I was for a really long time. I tried to conform to who I thought people wanted me to be and not who God created me to be. I hated who I had turned into. I was a shell of my former self. Will I ever be perfect… oh hell no. I will be a work in progress until the end of time! But I can say that each day I get a little bit stronger, a little bit braver, a little bit better. I will still have so many moment of sheer panic over the unknown, but I am getting better at giving that kind of stuff back to God and putting one foot in front of the other. Take a deep breath and trust that He’s in control. So why do I always try to take back that control, take back what God never intended for me to carry? Probably because I am a stubborn woman who wants to prove that I can everything on my own… That’s a sin issue people… not something to be proud of (even though my human-nature pats myself on the back).

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So Will I

Life.  No one signs up for something knowing that it will end in heartache.  No one signs up for things knowing they won’t end the way you dreamed they would.  No one signs up for friendships only to have them crushed by distrust and brokenness.  No one signs up for life that will make them question everything they once believed in.  No one.

But God.  He is the only constant.  He is the one who can heal even the deepest of hurts.  He is the one that will never abandon you when those closest to you have and broken promises that never were supposed to be broken.

There is a song I have had on repeat all morning.  It has comforted me as my life has completely fallen apart.  God is the only one who can heal me.  His hands have my heart and are forming them to be like him.  A part of the songs says…

“God of salvation.  You chased down my heart.  Through all of my failure and pride.  On a hill You created, The light of the world.  Abandoned in darkness to die.  And as you speak A hundred billion failures disappear  Where You lost your life so I could find it here  If You left the grave behind You so will I  I can see Your heart in everything You’ve done  If You gladly chose surrender so will I.  I can see Your heart Eight billion different ways  Every precious one  A child You died to save  If You gave Your life to them so will I.”

God.  No matter what I am going through, the crap that this life throws at me.  He will always be there.  My one constant.  The only One I can count on when everyone else has let me down.  I have to breathe Him in.  In order for me to move forward…I have to look to him.

 

A Past that holds me hostage…

How do you take that first step forward from your past that is holding you hostage? I have had the choice to allow my past to define me or to leave it where it belongs, in the past.  I unfortunately tend to choose to let it define me.  I allow it to tell me that I am unworthy, unlovable, not attractive, faithless… really just plain not good enough.  Bad things happen, and sometimes worse than bad things happen.  But I can’t let those worse than bad things keep me hostage anymore… it is ruining my life.  When they keep me hostage a whole litany of regrets follow, and then I become paralyzed.  Paralyzed from fear, and the lies that are constantly whispered in my ear until that’s all I can hear.  So, back to my original question… how do you take that first step forward?

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This is the picture that constantly goes through my mind.  When Indiana Jones comes to a cliff and the only way to get across the vast deepness is to take that step of faith.  We come to these cliffs in our lives and can be held captive and stay put (which is my natural, stupid response), or we put on our Indiana Jones and take that super scary step, trusting the whole time that your foot is going to land on something solid.

When we are in the middle of a crap storm we need assurance that we are not alone, and sometimes it’s really hard when you don’t see or feel God. In the times that I don’t feel God… that’s when I realize I have grabbed onto my past again to be my best friend, to let it define and tell me who I am.  Because when you feel something familiar and you are “comfortable” with it… it won’t haunt you anymore.  It sticks with you so you don’t have to do the hard work of getting over it.  My past allows me to put up the walls and make me feel justified for doing what I am doing.  I end up keeping records of wrongs, and continue to bring people down with me.  Or I just push everyone away so I don’t have to be bothered by the truth of what is happening.  But the moment that I let it go (because of prayer, because of faith, because of family and friends loving me through the storm) I can breathe.  I can see God’s plan, and I get excited.  And I realize that I created a mess by allowing myself to be filled with lies.

God is ready to lift me up and bring me to the next level.  He is going to do big things for me… for my family… for my marriage.  And when I can finally shed the past that I hold so near and dear… I will walk straight into God’s calling for my life.  When we walk with our eyes focused on Christ, we will still have trouble, but we, I,  KNOW without a doubt that God has already overcome the obstacles that hold me hostage.

Shedding my past is so much easier said than done.  I cry almost every night giving it back over to God to do what He wants with it…to have His will NOT mine be done.  I cry and tell God that I can’t do this anymore. I cry and tell him that I am not strong enough for this battle that he has put before me.  I cry, pray, read my Bible and seek wisdom from those who are farther along in this journey than I am.

I have been learning so much about myself through these past few months.  I AM stronger than I think. Even though I feel completely weak and unequipped for this battle HE continually renews my strength and is changing me into who HE wants me to be… and no one else.  I have to keep taking these steps of faith because the next time that the lies come at me -which they will- I have to stand on my solid foundation and yell at my enemy and remind him who is in control of my life.  The rocks he holds to condemn me and hold me hostage no longer matter.  The paths that we go down are messy, but when I let God continually pour into my life – he will bring me out of the muck and mire so he can shine.

But God

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Life for me these past few months have been like a very unpleasant roller coaster.  It’s like all the dirt, all the yuck that I have tried to stuff down for years… just exploded.  I’ve tried controlling the way my life should look as opposed to trusting God and letting Him guide my steps.  Everything that I had put my faith in has been taken away and the only person I have left is God.  When  you reach the end of who you think you are as a person… you can only look up, and see God.. standing there on top of the water reaching down to pull you out.

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This is my new favorite picture.  I see it all over the place and it is now the lock screen picture on my phone.  So when I go onto my phone I see Jesus standing there, just reaching down to remind me to grab a hold of him every single day… every single moment.  I have allowed my circumstances to determine the course of my life.  I have allowed my circumstances to define who I am as a person.  I have allowed my circumstances to forget God and his merciful grace.  My circumstances cannot change who God is. But God will use my circumstances to change who i am.  He is just reaching down waiting for me to put aside my pride, my stubbornness and see that his grace is in full force, wanting me to grab on.

Having been a “Christian” since I was a young child, I grew up in the church.  Grew up “knowing” Jesus and what all of that means.  These past few months have shown me that I literally know NOTHING.  I thought I knew what grace meant, I thought I knew what forgiveness meant.  But I knew nothing.  I thought my life was built on the solid rock, the solid foundation of Christ, but he has been slowly taking apart my foundation… and when I wasn’t getting the hint… he ripped my foundation completely away to show me that I was living a lie.

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There have been some themes that have been reoccurring in my life these past few months…

1. John 10:10 “The enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy…”  My enemy doesn’t want me to be in God’s will.  He wants to destroy everything in my life that will bring glory to God and further His kingdom.  He wants to destroy my family, my marriage, my self-worth, my everything.  And because I am putting a stake in the ground and refusing to let him have those… he is pulling out all the stops.  It’s a draining battle, but I KNOW that God is on my side… sending out his warring angels ahead of me to fight the battle that we have already overcome.

2. Do not quit.  Do not exit too early – the miracle is right around the corner.  I have no idea what that miracle will look like.  But I trust that God is working everything according to his good, and perfect will.  God’s timing is perfect.  He is the only one that knows why we go through what we go through.  And I am learning to release my circumstances to Him so they don’t bog me down.  Now, don’t get my wrong… I have really bad days.  Days where my circumstances envelop me and I don’t know how to breathe.  Days where I say stupid things and let my tongue get the best of me.  Days where I just don’t care.  But I’m learning to not give in.  I pray.  I take deep breaths. I put one foot in front of the other.  I cry.  I pray.  I read the Bible.  I journal.  I pray.  And then God reminds me He is here.  He’s got me in the palm of his hand.

3.  I can only control myself.  It’s something that people have been telling me for years…literally YEARS.  And I just sit there nod my head, say “yeah, yeah” and don’t change.  I hurt people due to my pride and my stubbornness. I truly believe that when you hear something over and over again, from different people, that is God’s way of trying to get through to you.  I refused to listen mainly because I just wasn’t ready to hear those truths.  I wanted to keep taking control because my ways are better than God’s ways, right?  I mean that’s what this world wants us to believe.  HA!  Oh my word, I can’t believe I fell for it! How much heartache could have been avoided if I had just listened in the first place?  But God…

He finally got my attention when everything that I held close to my heart was taken away.  I had to reach my rock bottom to realize that I hadn’t been looking up.  I hadn’t been listening.  I refused to see.  I hadn’t been who He had destined me to be.  I continued down a path of selfishness and spite, and it killed me. To quote Pastor Steven Furtick “The grind (the day to day life we choose to live in) makes us forget what is really important.  The grind can make us lose a sense of priority so that you start giving your best energy to your lowest priorities… God will clothesline you if you are going in the wrong direction.  He loves you too much for you to waste your whole life – headed for a destination that will ultimately disappoint you.”  I had been so focused on me, and what I wanted from this life… that I forgot to look out and around to see what’s most important: my relationship with God, my husband, my kids, and everything else… in that order.  I started living in negativity every second of the day and took it out on God, on my husband, on my kids… and I sit here and wonder why God clotheslined me and ripped out my foundation.  My foundation was being built on lies, NOT on the truth, the grace, the blessings that God has given me.

“When we miss grace, a bitter root begins to grow.  In Hebrew culture any poisonous plant would be called a ‘bitter’ plant.  The author of Hebrews uses ‘bitter root’ as a metaphor to make it clear that when we miss grace things become toxic. Religion without  grace is poisonous.  A relationship without grace in poisonous.  A church without grace is poisonous.  A heart without grace is poisonous.  The bitter root may be small and slow in its growth, but eventually the poison takes effect.” –Grace is Greater, Kyle Idleman. I let my misunderstanding of grace poison my life.  I let bitterness, anger, record keeping pollute my heart.

I now have to go through the fire of refinement to get out all the dirt and ugly that I let live in my heart for so long.  God is disciplining me for my sins…my lack of grace and my unforgiving heart.  It’s no fun being disciplined.  It hurts, I feel the shame like I should have known better, and at times it literally sucks me dry.  I hate having to discipline my kids, so I can’t imagine how hard it is for God to discipline us when we are making unwise choices.  But I am learning that I am not beyond fixing.  I am not beyond his grace.  God is restoring me to be the daughter, the wife, and mom that he created me to be.  Is it painful?  Hell yes it is.  But in the end I KNOW without a doubt that I will come out as the woman God destined me to be.

And until that time… I will wait.  Sometimes not patiently, but I will wait.  I will, to the best of my abilities, do what God wants me to do.  I am human so there will be screw ups, but I can’t let that get me down.  I just have to pick myself up, brush off the dust, and take another step.  God’s got this… and I’m looking forward to see what will come of it.

Get in the Word Wednesday

These past few weeks have been super challenging for me personally.  I’ve been feeling like I’m just bogged down with my past, and feeling like I can’t forgive myself for what happened.  It’s been slowly eating me alive and I just can’t do it anymore.  I turned my back on everything and everyone who were/are the most important to me because I felt unworthy.  I’ve believed the lies for so long that I allowed them to define me.

This past week I have been in the Word more, and have been trying to redefine myself.  I’ve been trying to instill God’s voice into my kids instead of them repeating what I do.  I really, truly want to write God’s word on my heart.  I want to be able to have verses pop into my head when I am struggling with self-doubt instead of the lies that I so easily believe.  Faith is one of my top strengths or spiritual gifts and I have been hit hard here.  My faith has been wavering and I don’t like it one bit. One of my best friends told me this, “In James when he says that our faith is being ‘tested’, well that’s the same word used when talking about a blacksmith who is refining silver.  And the blacksmith continues to throw the metal back into the fire to get rid of the impurities.  He knows it’s complete when he can see his reflection in it.  Remember that God loves you more than anyone else ever possibly could.  Don’t allow yourself to believe the lies of the enemy.  Allow God to use you and your circumstances for His glory.”  I know that I wrote a blog post a while back talking about refining.  I had forgotten what it meant to be refined by God.  He’s not just going to let me sit back and and wallow.  I may think he is, but that’s when he keeps me in the fire until I can’t stand it anymore and want to do it His way instead of my own way.  I think that’s where I have been lately.  Stuck in the fire because I am just too stubborn to see it any other way out.

So, as I dive into the Word I am going to pick out verses that help me remember who I am in Christ.  And then I’m going to explain why it’s important to me and why I think it’s important that it’s in the Bible.  I am by NO means a scholar or pretend to know what the heck I am talking about.  I just write from my heart… You may disagree with me and whatever, that’s fine.  But this is my first step to being who I once was.

My first verse is in the second book of the Bible, Exodus.  A little context for this verse,  Pharaoh was in control of Egypt and he was so full of himself that he thought he was bigger than God. Moses was called by God to let His people go, and Pharaoh refused… like upright refused to let them go! (I don’t ever do that – refuse something because I want it my way…) Finally, the Israelites are able to leave Egypt after God showed his power with the 10 plagues.  Even after the 10th and final plague, still mourning the loss of his son, Pharaoh realizes that he has just let all of his workers go and wanted to chase them down.  As the Israelites flee, they realize that Pharaoh is chasing after them and they start to panic. They look at Moses and blame him for bringing them into the wilderness, and start thinking that maybe it was a mistake that they left Egypt… totally forgetting the hardships they faced there.  They are just in panic mode.  But Moses, with God on his side, stays so calm. In Exodus 14:14 it says,  “The Lord himself will fight for you.  Just stay calm.” (NLT version)  The ESV version says it like this, “The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.”  Silent.  That is something that I have a really hard time doing.  I have forgotten how to be silent, to be calm.  When things start getting crazy, my mind starts spinning and then nothing is calm… nothing is silent.  So, how am I supposed to hear God, feel God when I am making such a ruckus?  The Israelites were causing a ruckus too… a really big scene.  I can just picture it… Moses standing there thinking what on Earth is happening while the Israelites are running around trying to pack their stuff, yelling at Moses and telling him it’s all his fault, and yelling at one another because they are scared.  When all they have to do is just be silent.  Easier said than done, and I’m sure that’s what my hubby does when I go off-line.

This has been the scene of my life for the past… I don’t know how long.  I have forgotten how to be silent. I run around like a chicken with my head cut off.  No wonder people look at me like I’m crazy!  Ha!  Because I lost my focus.  I lost what truly matters.  I took my eyes off of the only thing that makes sense… God.  I believe this verse is in the Bible to show us that even the “chosen” people got scared.  It’s there to remind us, that God’s got this.  We just need to let him take the reigns, and fight for us.  I need to practice silence more often.

 

Fighting in Hope not in Fear

I think I’ve mentioned before that I’ve been reading all of Paul’s letters (Romans-Hebrews) this summer.  I am just finishing up Galatians today and seriously, this whole chapter (Chapter 6) spoke to me. Sin is so nasty, so ugly, and SO easy to fall into…yet so incredibly hard to get out of!  When we are deep in sin, or someone close to us is, it’s even harder.  If we are trying to help and aren’t strong in Christ we can become toxic to each other.  We will just keep pointing fingers at each other and making things so much worse because our focus in on the wrong thing.  We just end up making more cracks for Satan to get into and make a tornado of a mess.  A mess where if you aren’t careful will bring you to rock bottom and you have no idea where to start.  The nice thing about rock bottom is the only back to look is up. And if we can look up and get our focus back onto Christ, we will have hope.  Even if it is just a sliver for the time being.
It reminds me of Peter trying to walk on water in Matthew 14.

24 Meanwhile, the disciples were in trouble far away from land, for a strong wind had risen, and they were fighting heavy waves. 25 About three o’clock in the morning[b] Jesus came toward them, walking on the water. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the water, they were terrified. In their fear, they cried out, “It’s a ghost!”

27 But Jesus spoke to them at once. Don’t be afraid,” he said. Take courage. I am here![c]

28 Then Peter called to him, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.”

29 Yes, come,” Jesus said.

So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus.30 But when he saw the strong[d] wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted.

31 Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. You have so little faith,”Jesus said. Why did you doubt me?”

Can you imagine God just saying “Yea sure, come on out!”  I’d be like “uh, seriously?  Are you sure?”  As long as Peter kept his eyes on Jesus he was able to do the impossible.  How thrilling would that have been?! But the second he looked down, started to doubt and fear… he sank. It’s the same with me, the moment I take my eyes of Christ I start sinking…drowning really. I end up bringing everyone down with me as I struggle to stay afloat. And I end up looking at God like, how did you let that happen to me?!  I trusted you.  How many times has God had to save me from my own destruction?  It gets so discouraging not learning your lesson the first or second or perhaps the 64th time…. but God…
God will come to my rescue every single time.  No matter how much I fight against it and try to hold onto the problem and want to fix it on my own… God will always be there patiently waiting… or maybe not patiently…for me to get my act together and realize that HE IS THE ONLY WAY! The more that I am immersing myself into the Word lately, and listening to worship music all day, like Elevation Church… Bethel Church… Hillsong United… God is slowly – and when I say slowly I really mean that I am slow to listen and understand – whispering to my soul.  He keeps telling me to trust Him, and that He’s got this.  And since I don’t listen well the first time, He will start using my husband, my friends, my family.  Sometimes over and over again till they are so tired of saying the same things to me.  But I think it’s starting to click, people! (Thank you to all who have ridden this crazy ride with me!)  It’s finally starting to click.  And I am so grateful for that.  I just hope that I can prove to myself and to all those close to me that this is it.
I have a God that is bigger than what I am dealing with here and now.  Even though I feel at times that my entire life is beginning to explode… this is just a minor bleep on God’s radar.  He WILL be with me.  He WILL be faithful.  He’s got this, and I just have to be patient in Him and find my comfort and peace in Christ instead of in anyone else.  What I am going through right now is the hardest and longest battle I have ever had to fight.
I pray my harvest will come soon.

What am I doing?

Sometimes I don’t even know how I am still here.  Still married, still have children who adore me even when I go bat sh– crazy, still have friends that care deeply for me.  I am constantly pushing people away. My husband, my parents, my friends, my kids, God. I have done it my whole life.  I push people away because I feel like I don’t deserve to be loved, to be cherished… I have done and said so many hurtful things to people.  I go off-line and lose touch with reality.  So, if I just push them away then they won’t be hurt anymore. But the problem with that is… I end up alone. The only people who would love me unconditionally are now too far out of my reach.  Why do I feel like this is the answer?  Why do I constantly let the people who love me suffer?  And why do I constantly live in fear and show my suffering like it defines who I am?

Suffering changes how we see ourselves—it scars; it pains; it reshapes; it breaks. If we constantly look at our scars, and our pain…we will lose heart…lose hope. I have done this too much in the recent past.  I have let my scars define who I am, and I feel like there is no other way but to live as the ugly person I see myself as.  But here’s the thing… I’ve been reading through Paul’s letters this summer, and he doesn’t allow himself to be defined by his past – he looks elsewhere. When we suffer it’s supposed to help change our inner self too, and we need to cling to the gospel so that the Spirit will go to work in us. That’s where we must look.  But how do I even begin to let it change me when I’ve pushed God so far away?

When I constantly live in my suffering and push people away… I know that it’s wrong but there’s just something inside of me that can’t help it.  Such a cop-out.  It’s so stupid because then I have to go and do the hard work of apologizing… AGAIN. Hoping and praying that they will forgive me… AGAIN. And that is so very hard.  Because since I continue to live in this pattern of sin, how can people forgive me?  They probably think.. yeah, yeah whatever.  How is this any different from the last time?  It’s just going to happen again.  That’s the moment we let the anger, and bitterness take root.  And before we know it the relationship has been poisoned.  Satan has taken control and has blinded us to seeing each other as we truly are.  Humans that live in a sinful, fallen world.  Because of that we wind up living a life of refusing to forgive due to the constant hurt.  All we are able to focus on is the negative, instead of choosing to focus on the gifts and values that these people add to your life.

Right now, I am currently struggling with the negative ruts that I have created.  The pain that I’ve cause my hubby, family, friends… When I constantly live in the bitterness and have an unforgiving spirit, I am daring God to do the same to me.  Which is why I feel so distant from Him.  If I can’t live out what God wants me to do then he will be unable to show me the same kindness until I just let it all go.  Colossians 3:13 says “Bear with each other and forgive one another, if any of you has a grievance against someone.  Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”  I know God is trying to break down the walls of my unforgiving heart… but taking that first step into the unknown scares me more than anything ever has before.  I have carried it for so long that it’s a part of me.  But I’m slowly dying under the weight.  It’s crushing me and if I don’t let go then, I will lose everything.

I pray that God will protect me…my hubby…my kids…my family… my friends… and restore everything to how it should be.  I just need to trust and allow myself to be loved by my heavenly Father…and let go.  Just a minor thing right?

All I ask if you have read through my ramblings is that you would pray.

 

Emotions

I have been struggling a lot lately.  I seem to go in waves of writing and I write when I’m struggling through life.  I have felt very distant from God lately.  Distant from my family, my friends.  I know a lot of it was because I have been pushing them away.  I’ve been ashamed of things from my past… ashamed of who it’s shaped me to be… ashamed of the way it’s made me think.  I hold a lot in because not many people would be able to handle it.  So, I smile and go about my day.  Some days I function better than others.  Some days I have the hardest time just getting off the couch to make lunch for my kids.  Some days I have the patience to handle anything thrown my way and others I yell at the nearest victim for any little thing.  It’s been a whirlwind and I’m tired of spinning out of the control.

I was tucking my kids into bed tonight and had the most amazing God experience.  I have been praying on my knees… sobbing that I would feel Him again.  That he would heal me.  Teach me to forgive and trust.  That He would speak to me and direct me, and I have only heard silence on the other end… That is until tonight.  I usually sing to the kids at night.  I stand in the hallway between their rooms and sing a praise and worship song that is on my heart.  Tonight I felt that I needed to sing an old hymn… one I used to sing every night after my grandma passed away.  The song is His Eye is on the Sparrow**.  I couldn’t even get through the first couple lines without completely losing it.  I kept apologizing to my kids and they were so gracious.  They kept telling me that I sounded beautiful even while crying.  I was able to have a real conversation with them about how sometimes as an adult we forget that God still loves us.  He still wants what is best for us.  He takes care of the sparrow, the grass, the ants… so why wouldn’t he take care of me.  As I am talking my kids are just circling around me hugging me and telling me that they love me.  It was exactly what I needed.

After I sing, I read a chapter from the Bible.  I have been going through a 99 Day Challenge with my church.  We are reading all of Paul’s letters starting in Romans and going through Hebrews. Tonight, I read the next chapter to my kids.  It was 1 Corinthians 13.  What are the odds… that the night that I am struggling the most with feeling like I am totally unloveable and that I don’t know how to love my family the way I am supposed to… the chapter is all about love.  God showed up in a mighty way.  I started reading and cried through the whole chapter…

1 Corinthians 13 New Living Translation (NLT)
Love Is the Greatest
If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it;[a] but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages[b] and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever! Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture!10 But when the time of perfection comes, these partial things will become useless.
11 When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. 12 Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity.[c] All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.
13 Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.

Life is so hard.  God has never promised that because we follow Him that life would be all sunshine and rainbows.  He never promised that loving other people would be an easy task.  It’s a choice we have to make every single day.  And there are days I fail at choosing correctly.  You never know what kind of battle someone is facing.  Most of the time people will just put a smile on their face because they don’t want to be a bother.  I have my core group of people that I know I can go to for my deepest and darkest moments, and I encourage everyone to find those people.  The people you KNOW without a doubt will hold you up in prayer.  Will fight right along side you as you battle the demons that rage war all around.  The fight is wearing and I need to rely more on God to give me the strength.  Through God’s strength I will find my joy.  Nehemiah 8:10b **says “…Don’t be dejected and sad, for the JOY of the Lord is your strength.”  I have said that verse over and over and over again today.  When I felt defeat I would say “the joy of the Lord is my strength.”

No matter what battle you are facing God is right there beside you.  He’s got this.  He will show up when you are at rock bottom and remind you of His promises and peace.  He did that for me, and used my kids to further prove the point.  If there is stuff you are facing that is bringing you to the point of despair and unrest find someone you trust to help guide you through… it’s so worth it.  Even though I have ugly cried a lot the past two days… I know without a doubt that God heard me.  My challenge to you is to:

1. Read God’s Word…. Every. Single. Day.

2. Confess

3. Live the way God has always meant for you to live.

**The links are first Selah’s version of His Eye is on the Sparrow.  And second is a link to my church and the sermon that was done this past weekend.  It talks about joy.**

Life is funny

I’ve been going through a particularly difficult rough patch lately.  I am so honored that I have been able to give so much of myself to lots of different people over this past year, but there comes a time when you start digging from a dried up well.  There’s literally nothing left to give.  When I reach that point my temper begins to flare up, my annoyance over the little things really amps up.  I start shutting down and pushing people out because I just can’t do it anymore.

Last year around this time we were getting ready to move into our new house and we were so excited.  The possibilities seemed endless.  God has definitely brought my hubby and I out of some pretty thick muck from our past.  So this house was a breath of fresh air.  We could breathe, we could be a family, we could do what God was calling us to do.  But… there’s always a but… we have an enemy that doesn’t want us to continue our life for God and for his Kingdom.  He wants us to stay stuck.  To continue dragging our feet through the muck and mire of this world.  To feel useless, worthless, forgotten.  I have been forgetting the goodness of God and have been allowing the lies that my enemy wants me fear… to become my reality.  I have been doubting my ability as a wife and a mom.  Always thinking there is someone better out there for my family.  Someone who won’t lose their cool over trivial things.  Someone who could love my husband better than I ever could.  I begin doubting my ability at work.  I have never been a great swimmer so HOW ON EARTH am I supposed to teach little kiddos how to swim.  Those are just two of the big examples I have been fighting.  The lies that tell me I am not good enough.  The lies that tell me someone is better suited for my life.

So, I reached out to my bestie, my doctor, my husband, and my counselor.  And we have a plan.  I tend to take 3 steps forward and 2 steps back… so this is going to be a long healing process.  A long process of filling up my tank again.  I have good moments, and I have moments where I wish my tongue could be chopped off.  I say things out of fear and hurt those close to me.  I did that today to my husband before he left for work, and I hate myself for it.

BUT part of the plan to get me back has to do with blogging again and taking pictures.  I love photography and I have forgotten how much I really do enjoy it.  So every day I have to take a photograph, and I would like to share them now…

Monday: A Guilty Pleasure

IMG_2665 Who can pass up a good batch of GF Chocolate Chip Cookies?

    Tuesday:  Movement

fullsizeoutput_bd4 This one was really challenging for me.  I had to figure out how to get movement!  Thankfully we have YouTube and I was able to figure it out.  I think it turned out decent 🙂

Wednesday: Night

These photographs were really fun.  I was able to mess around with the camera and find cool angles for pictures.

Thursday: Emotion

Sometimes going to the park is the best place to get that raw emotion.  I felt bad taking pics of J and K in a tough moment, but man those pics!  I love them.

Friday: Texture

I am a touchy feely person.  When I am either out at the store or anywhere really, I have the irresistible urge to feel things.  So I loved that I got to take pictures of things that I found amazing.

I say that life is funny, because you really never know what is going to happen day to day.  One day I can feel on top of the world, and then next day come crashing down.  But I make it through life because of my constants:

  1. My faith in God.
  2. The unconditional love from my husband – even when I don’t deserve it.

Version 2

3. The way my kids warm my heart even in the darkest of times.

4. My People – you know who you are.

Thank you for walking this CRAZY journey with me.

The Storms of Life

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So, I just posted this on my FB page, but figured more than just “my friends” might need to hear this… So, here goes…

There are times when you just feel like life is falling apart and if one more thing lands anywhere in your vacinity, you are going to lose it. Christmas is always a stressful time. Missing loved ones that have passed, mourning relationships that have crumbled, stressing over the lack of funds in the checking account – while trying to figure out how you are going to make it through another month…yeah, it sucks. But I was reminded tonight, while tucking in my kids, that no matter how deep or wide the valley is that you are walking through… how dark the storm seems… God’s got this. I, Heather, will walk without fear because God’s got this. He has carried me through this and much worse so how can I doubt? All I can do now is just give it up, pray, and know that in His timing it will all work out.

Psalm 17:6-7 says, “I am praying to you because I know you will answer, O God. Bend down and listen as I pray. Show me your unfailing love in wonderful ways. By your mighty power you reduce those who seek refuge from their enemies.” We have a Father in heaven that loves us so unconditionally. All we have to do is fall on our knees and pray. He never promised that life would be easy. He never said “Follow me and I will make your life perfect.” No, we are still going to face trouble and trials and adversity… and it’s in those times that our faith is tested. It’s in those times where we get to truly see where our heart is. Is it (your heart) in the overwhelming day to day of this earthly life (which I must admit – I am there some days) or is it in the hands of our loving and gracious Father that has already overcome all these heartaches?

Psalm 22 1-2 “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? Why are you so far away when I groan for help? Every day I call to you, my God, but you do not answer. Every night you hear my voice, but I find no relief.” Even David suffered and questioned where God was, and urgently appealed to him to take away his suffering. David knew to trust God in the good, lonely, and desperate times. He knew that even though God was quiet, He WAS and IS listening. So, the good news is, through all the crap that we face in this life we will gain victory on the other side, and for THAT I cannot wait, and I will continue to endure the heartache of this world.

So, if you are still with me (my mind and fingers just won’t stop), I will leave you with the passage that started it all tonight which is Psalm 23…I’m sure you all know this passage so I’m only going to quote vs 4 “Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.” God will comfort me… He will protect me… and I just have to to let him. Will you? Will you allow God to comfort and protect you through all the crap that is thrown at you. We have an all powerful enemy that wants nothing more than to see us squirm and fail. So when you feel like there is no one else… just reach out…reach out to the one who loves you more than you can fathom. Trust that God will catch you even in those deep, dark, ugly places where you feel you can’t be touched. Trust me I have those places… My kids have seen them, my husband has seen them… it’s not pretty… but God loves me despite of my short-comings and dark places… He still loves me…and He is just waiting for you too.

Psalm 34:8 “Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in Him.”