To the ones who feel trapped.

First off, I’d like to say I appreciate every kind word expressed. Every encouraging “I understand, I can relate!” every “me too” as my good friend would say. I am not keen on sharing personal information about myself. Especially being raw, honest, and open on a public site. I am an extremely private human being. Although some mistake me for being an extrovert, funny enough. I truly believe God has me writing my story for a greater purpose than me. And if what it takes is sharing my story and getting out of my comfort zone to let you know YOU ARE NOT ALONE in this mess called life, then I am willing.

Tonight I sit with a heavy heart. Wanting to reach out my hands to those who have been told that because of their mistakes they are worthless to God. To those who have been burned by other christians.  To those who have been shamed into crawling into a whole in the ground. To those who have been scarred for life by those they trusted. To those who thought they had to be perfect, sinless, to fit in but could never attain such. To those who were made to feel bad for what they’d been through, past or present. To those who were scoffed at by the hypocritical. To those who were bound by a legalistic code that Jesus did away with on the cross. God’s not finished with you yet, so don’t allow anyone to tell you what you’re worth, but the One that created you. 

Have you allowed people to shape you into who you are, or have you allowed God?

Allowing people to do what only God should do can create bitterness, anger, and sometimes a path to just walking away from Him. An overwhelming feeling of defeat.

I can attest to this. I was young, naive, shapeable. I was caught in a self-righteous crowd. But when I turned from that, feeling overwhelmed with all the rules I had to keep and the image that was required, I jumped off the deep end and walked away from God. That was my knowledge of God, and I didn’t want it. I knew I’d never fit in with the God-crowd again. At the time I didn’t want to anyway. But through His miracles He wooed my heart again and brought me back to Him. Letting me know that His mercies are new everyday and that my mistakes and bad decisions hadn’t defined me or His plan for my life. That as my Father, He loved me and had grace upon grace to offer, something that was new and refreshing to my ears. He ran to me though I had taken and spent all that He had given and He put His arms around my neck and said welcome home, I still love you as my child.

I want to encourage those who have made mistakes and bad decisions in their life and think God could never use them or love them again. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. You are His child. He is your Father. I don’t know what kind of earthly father you have had but our Father, God, He loves you and cares for you with an everlasting love. And He will never stop working on you until the day you die. Allow Him to pick up your broken pieces and bring beauty out of the ashes of your life. Dust yourself off, pick yourself up, and begin trusting Him with your all. The devil wants you to stay down, he wants you to feel useless and unloved, discouraged and defeated and he will use others to help do that. But God has overcome all of that, and He desires to use you in the lives of others. He needs you to share what He’s done for you and share the good news of His Gospel so others can know that God’s love is true love. 

Romans 8:31-39 says, 

 31What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 

32He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? 

33Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; 

34who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. 

35Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

36Just as it is written, for your sake we are being put to death all the day long;
         We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.

37But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. 

38For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 

39nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

He died for us, so we could live for Him. He knew we could never be perfect or sinless, so He sent the One who could, to die in our place. He took the sins of the world on Him that day- past, present and future. Now He offers you grace in place of your mistakes and past decisions so that you can live for Him, unashamed. 

I hope today you find an ounce of encouragement knowing YOU ARE NOT ALONE in this journey of life and living for Him. 

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Busela

About 2 years ago I bought a bicycle and I named her Busela, she would bring me happiness and independence.

After all, when riding a bike it’s that feeling of the wind on your face and it running through your hair that makes you feel happy. That makes you feel like you’re unstoppable and independently in control. That rush of thinking you know what you’re doing and it’s all going to be ok.

This was in my stage of denying God and any belief in Him. 

I was working two jobs and living the life. I had more money than I needed and more brokenness than I knew what to do with. I was in a stage of grief and not knowing who I was or what I wanted to be or do. I was vulnerable. Seeking. Mad. Bitter. Hurt. Unhappy. Empty. Broken.

What I desired most was to be independent and happy- doing my own thing. I had just gotten out of a long term relationship and was seeking happiness in others only to be let down every time. 

On top of that I had felt that God had let me down in my marriage. And I wasn’t about to give my life over to Him, again.

I was a mess.

Fast forward to now. 

I am choosing to be thankful in where he has me. It isn’t easy. There are good days and bad days. But when I look back 2 years, for a brief moment I think I am back to that spot. Living with my parents, putting my life back together, fresh out of a serious relationship, wishing to be independently happy. But as I look back I realize and see how much I’ve grown. How much God has GROWN ME. And it encourages my weary heart.

You see the lessons I have learned, and am still learning are worth every step of this journey. I am thankful that every time Siri says, “you have arrived” I can laugh out loud and say, “well actually I haven’t but thank you very much anyway!” or sometimes I mischievously say, “I know I’ve arrived!”. The point is, it reminds me of how I haven’t yet arrived because God’s still working on me. And when I feel like He’s still trying to teach me the same lessons year after year, I don’t have to be discouraged because I can rejoice over His patience with me. I am thankful that 2 Corinthians 12:9 says, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.”

My favorite song right now is “Do It Again” by Elevation Worship.

Walking around these walls
I thought by now they’d fall
But You have never failed me yet

Waiting for change to come
Knowing the battle’s won
For You have never failed me yet

[Chorus]
Your promise still stands
Great is Your faithfulness, faithfulness
I’m still in Your hands
This is my confidence, You’ve never failed me yet

[Verse 2]
I know the night won’t last
Your Word will come to pass
My heart will sing Your praise again

Jesus You’re still enough
Keep me within Your love
My heart will sing Your praise again

[Chorus]
Your promise still stands
Great is Your faithfulness, faithfulness
I’m still in Your hands
This is my confidence, You never failed

Your promise still stands
Great is Your faithfulness, faithfulness
I’m still in Your hands
This is my confidence, You never failed me yet

I’ve seen You move … you moved the mountains
And I believe … I’ll see You do it again
You made a way … where there was no way
And I believe … I’ll see You do it again

[Chorus]
Your promise still stands
Great is Your faithfulness, faithfulness
I’m still in Your hands
This is my confidence, You never failed

Your promise still stands
Great is Your faithfulness, faithfulness
I’m still in Your hands
This is my confidence, You never failed me yet

And You never failed me yet
I never will forget
You never failed me yet
I never will forget

This song makes me cry crocodile tears every time I hear it and sing it. Do you ever feel that you’re walking around those same walls, those same struggles, those same lessons with no movement whatsoever?

For me that lesson is relationships. I have this terrible tendency to allow that special person to take the place of God in my life. To become what is most important to my heart. And every time God says, no, we’re not doing that. And yet I still choose to do that. I’m selfish. I want what I want. And anytime we become selfish in our hearts and desires God has to remove them from our life so He can teach us to rely solely on Him. And He can take back His throne in our hearts.

So here I find myself walking around walls, wondering when they will fall. When I will learn this lesson. But, in the meantime I have learned greatly over the past 2 years what a bicycle could never teach me. I have learned to lean into God for my independence and happiness. Because true happiness comes from knowing that the battles already won and that God never fails! That He is my confidence and He is faithful! 

And that is the difference between two similar situations. Then. And now.

My confidence lies in the one who holds my future. Because I have seen Him move those mountains in my life. And I know I’ll see Him do it again. He is still enough. And through the pain, I will learn to sing His praise again.

“I’ve seen You move … you moved the mountains
And I believe … I’ll see You do it again
You made a way … where there was no way
And I believe … I’ll see You do it again”

Thank you for reading and stay tuned for the rest of my journey in finding TRUE JOY and SATISFACTION. 🙂

In the absence of words

Right now I don’t even know what to write. All I keep thinking over and over in my head are the lyrics from Hillary Scott’s song “Thy Will”

HILLARY SCOTT
Thy Will

I’m so confused
I know I heard you loud and clear
So I’ll follow through
Somehow I ended up here

I don’t wanna think
I may never understand
That my broken heart is a part of your plan
When I try to pray
All I got is hurt
And these four words

Thy will be done
Thy will be done
Thy will be done

I know you’re good
But this don’t feel good right now
And I know you think
Of things I could never think about

It’s hard to count it all joy
Distracted by the noise
Just trying to make sense of all your promises
Sometimes I gotta stop
Remember that you’re God
And I am not

So thy will be done
Thy will be done
Thy will be done

I can really relate to every bit of this song.

Do you ever get really mad at God and just not want to talk to Him? Me too. Because right now, “all I got is hurt”. It seemed like I did hear him loud and clear. I thought my prayer had been answered. And I still don’t understand. Nothing makes sense. And I just feel hurt. I am saying why God? And not that He needs to give me an answer. But He is a loving Father that I can go to with my broken heart and ask why.

I am thankful that Romans 8: 26 & 27 says that when we don’t know what to say or what to pray He intercedes and prays for us towards God’s will.

26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

 27 And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.

“I don’t wanna think I may never understand that my broken heart is a part of your plan” I think these words just make a heart hurt more. And yet how much do we feel every word?

But I am thankful for these, “And I know you think
Of things I could never think about”, because somewhere down deep inside I know I’m going to be ok because God knows all. And I don’t have to. All I have to know is that He holds my heart. He holds my hand. He carries me. He loves me. And He wants the best for my life. He has a plan. He has a BIGGER plan for me than I do.

And in those promises, I find strength.

Even though, right now, I don’t feel strong.

Through Pain

So much suffering

We are to look above

So many in pain

We are to look within

It isn’t fair

They don’t understand

How can it happen

My heart cries out to Him

Draw us closer

Hold our hearts

Give us peace

Let us move towards Him

What could we have done

Where could we run

Our hearts in question ask

We thought it was a gift

But taken away it was

And now we sit with empty hands

Our heart split into two

The why’s feel unanswered

And hope nowhere in sight

A calmness within the storm

He is the One who answers

He says peace be still

I calmed the waters

And now I will calm you

Let me hold your breaking heart

Hand me all your cares

I know it seems so difficult

But trust my love for you

I am the great Creator

I work all things for good

Though it seems your world is over

I can help you through

I love you more than ever

And I have overcome much too

I promise I’ll be with you

With every step you take

You will not face this pain alone

Because I don’t forsake

Find comfort in my promises

And take me at my word

I’ll never leave you comfortless

My strength I’ll give to thee

I’ll be your refuge and your cleft

So hide yourself in me

(dedicated to friends who lost their baby 💔)

 

 

Whole Again

Gathering up the pieces,

I long to be whole again.

Looking up with open hands

I give back what I’ve taken.

Humbly bowing in submission

I readjust my position.

Casting all my care on Him

For I know He cares for me.

And when I turn my eyes

Back to His face,

I find that He is loving, true, and tender,

And I am undeserving of His grace.

But somehow that just draws me closer

Because He’s like a Father.

And I the ungrateful daughter,

Who just keeps on forgetting.

I want nothing more 

Than for Him to be my hearts desire.

For all aspects of my will,

To be aligned with His.

Nothing ever more important,

Than the One who died for me.

I see Him hanging on that tree,

And it brings me to my knees.

How could I be so foolish

To think my life, all for me. 

I must ask for spiritual eyes

To see what needs to be seen.

For only then and in His Name

Will I be whole again.

His Name

What brings honor to your Name,

Or magnifies your fame?

The hypocrite will never show,

And the unbeliever will never know.

What brings beauty to that Name,

And reverence just the same?

Is it a humble heart that seeks You alone?

Or one that bows before Your throne?

Is it a contrite heart,

or one of stone?

How will men believe the beauty of it?

A Name so worthy of our praise.

Are we proclaiming and obeying it?

Or do we seek our own to raise?

A look deep down will prove to us,

If we are full of thankfulness.

Bringing glory to His name,

And spreading abroad His great fame!

For in our selfishness we cannot.

And in our denial we are caught.

In our disobedience we deny

His worthiness of our comply.

And bringing to His Name disgrace;

Spitting in His face.

You see, it isn’t just in our abilities,

But also simple humility.

A life lived in submission,

To carry on the great commission.

To tell the world of His Beauty,

And show them, not just out of duty.

You see friend,

Your story paints a picture

Of how they see His Name.

So do you prove it richer,

Or do you bring it shame?

 

 

Just Smile

IMG_3084

My Love, Jeremy

About ten years ago I wrote a poem. It inspired at least one person that I know of, and probably the only one who has ever read it so far. Today, I feel compelled to share it. 

 

JUST SMILE

I know its’s hard but – Just Smile

When things go wrong; Just Smile

When the unexpected happens; Just Smile

When life sucks and you feel like giving up; Just Smile

When theres no reason to; Just Smile

When disappointments come; Just Smile

When life throws you around and kicks you down; Just Smile

When failure launches hard against you; Just Smile

When your about to go insane; Just Smile

When you feel like crying because everything turns out like crap! – cry it all out…But then–> Just Smile

When everything changes around you and theres nothing you can do about it; Just Smile

I know its’ going to be hard but —> Just Smile! 

Right now, this is where I’m at. 

But in my days of writing that poem I didn’t fully believe in the hope that I have now. I knew of these things but I did not personally KNOW them. 

Today I can “Just Smile” because my hope is in Him. The God of the universe. The Creator of all things. 

So when things feel that they could not get much worse, I will smile and say, “My trust is in God, He’s got this!”. I have a HOPE. 

In my devotions today this was my passage. And I am thankful for the reminder.

Isaiah 40: 28-31 says, “Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”

The reason we can stand and sing, “I am a child of God”! 

So whatever you are going through, I encourage you to “Be still and know” to “Wait upon the Lord” to “Know that He is good” to “Run the race with patience”!! Because everyone struggles with what to do during the waiting period, when there is no light to be seen at the end of the tunnel. But, God is good! And in time, you will see the light! I will see the Light! And He will renew our strength! We will mount up with wings as eagles, run and not be weary, walk and not faint! 

So friend, let’s be patient. Let’s wait on God. Let’s be faithful in the waiting period. And in time, God’s-time, we will receive our wings and God will show us what it looked like from His perspective. 

Matthew 18:20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. 

BSF

IMG_0622As I reflect on todays activities it is bittersweet to come to the end of Bible Study Fellowship. My heart feels so much for my group of ladies, my leader, the friend who told me about and invited me to BSF, and all that I’ve studied and learned over these past eight months. I was the youngest one. There were some who stayed and some who didn’t. They called me their young bride. They rode through every hill in my life during that time. From praying about where to move, praying for my Nana, praying about Jeremy and I, his job, our relationship, my patience. I tend to be emotional and hold on to it all. I’d say I don’t think I’ll ever forget my ladies and how they invested in my life. 

We studied the book of John. 

John was “the disciple whom Jesus loved”. And through John’s intimate relationship with Jesus I began to see that I too could have such an intimate relationship with Him. John gave us an example by writing this book. His perspective of Jesus was one of adoration and such love. Instant belief and trust. God is not just way up there in the sky busy with other things. He is Jesus! The one who came here to this earth for 33 years, self-sacrificially died on the cross without a valid charge, and rose again. But not only did he rise again, He came back to earth to show Himself to his disciples, Mary, and 500 other people. Jesus knew that fast-forwarding 2,000 years we would be so hung up on science, history, and all of man’s other accomplishments that he made sure to put himself right in there as well so that we could see History proves His life as well. He didn’t have to, but He wants to reach every single person where they are. There is no cookie cutter way that Jesus “picks” those who come to Him. “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance”! (2 Peter 3:9)

As I sat in our last class of the year and the lecture was being given a thought was sparked in my mind. Jesus begins with miracles so that he can strengthen our faith. Like the disciples, in obedience, we can without hesitation cast our nets on the side that Jesus tells us. Then He can bless us above and beyond what we think or imagine. (John 21:6, Ephesians 3:20, 21) 

This is true in my own life. And I wonder how many others. 

It was May two years ago. I was in a toxic relationship and miserable. Feeling overwhelmed by what my heart was saying and what my head was telling me. Knowing I’d made a promise to myself and knowing I wasn’t going to keep it. I quickly decided I needed to remove myself from the situation and asked my friend if she wanted to stay on the beach for a night. I was relieved by her willingness and company. We had the best time the two of us had had in a while. We talked about our relationships and how detrimental they were to our lives and how we could see them coming to an end. We cried. We laughed. We sat on the deck, near the ocean, under the stars, and allowed our troubles to blow away with the sound of the waves. The next afternoon we were heading out and I asked her if she wanted to grab dinner before we ended our weekend at the beach.

And here’s where my miracle began. 

We had driven separately and on the way to the restaurant I had to stop and use the bathroom. When I finally got to the restaurant my friend was waiting outside talking with a woman. (If I hadn’t stopped she wouldn’t have met her.) That woman invited us to sit with her and her family. Now my friend and I are NOT ones to just go along with this and have dinner with complete strangers. But for some strange reason we did it. To keep a long story short, I will just briefly say that the woman began asking questions to get to know us a little. One question she asked was about our relationships. My friend and I just looked at each other and laughed. My friend exclaimed, “oh my goodness, that’s why we’re here!”. I began to open up about my situation. And, thank you Jesus for being merciful and using a complete stranger to stop me in my tracks, look me straight in the eyes, and tell me what I needed to hear to keep my promise to myself and get out of my toxic relationship. People! Had I not met this wise, incredible stranger that God placed in my life at the exact time I needed her, I would have drove home and stayed stuck. I don’t know where my life would be today. 

I don’t think I KNOW that none of the happenings on this day were by accident. My day was interrupted by God. He was using a miracle to bring me back to faith in Him. Regardless of this intervention I used the next 8 months denying God. Telling people I didn’t believe in Him anymore. Being bitter against Him for not giving me the things I thought I should have. Spiraling down into some of my lowest lows. Doing things that left me smack down on my face. Because that’s what it took. I know in my life God has used everything that has happened, for a reason. This girl needed to be broken of her pride. She needed to learn the hard way. She needed to learn humility. She needed to grow up. 

You see my friends, God worked a miracle in my unbelieving heart because He is good. He is patient. He is long-suffering. He is kind. He is gentle. He is merciful.

It wouldn’t be until the next year that I gave my life back to Him. But I can tell you right now that the miracle He worked in my life then, proved to me that He STILL LOVED ME AND CARED FOR ME in my lowest of lows. He showed me His desire to draw me back to Him. Aside from Him dying on the cross, this is one of the most crucial and important things He has ever done for me and I will never forget it. And so when I started trusting Him with all my heart, and leaning not on my own understanding (Proverbs 3: 5&6), I was ready. I was ready to allow Him to show me more miracles. I was ready to run the race with patience. I was ready for my faith to be tried and to count it all joy. I was ready to SEE His miracles in my life and ready for Him to build my FAITH. And I could look back on that day with 100% confidence, zero fear and say, that was MY God.

He worked in my life in a special way that day. 

And, He has blessed me above and beyond what I could ever ask or deserve.

My life is because of HIM, Jesus. 

Thank you for reading and stay tuned for the rest of my journey in finding TRUE JOY and SATISFACTION. 🙂