Monday, October 23, 2017

A Perspective Shift

  This past year has been a year of abundance. However, it has also been one of the hardest years of my life. SO much has changed for me, all in a short period of time. (I got married. I moved cities, away from family. I switched jobs. I started an internship. I had to make new friends. I transitioned from a house to an apartment. I switched churches) I am one who takes time to adjust to change. I welcome it, yet I fight it. This time I fought hard, although at the time I did not realize how hard I fought it. I could not find the sense of peace or gratitude that I knew I should have had. I was too busy focusing on my lack thereof and my longings for the old, rather than embracing the new.

  My dear husband had the patience to stand with me through it all and offer me the best support he could. However, he was not the key to my change. What I needed most was to change my thoughts. To continually hand them over to God and take in His truth for my life. I needed to trust in my heavenly Father, knowing that He has NEVER failed me before, so why should He suddenly do so now? He did not and He would not have. It's just not in His nature. Yet I forgot because I was focused on the difficult time I was in, rather than embracing the change for what it was and what God had in store for me.

  A month ago I realized that my perspective had finally shifted. Gradually, little by little, I was able to turn to God. I was able to fight against the lies of the enemy that told me I did not belong where I was. The lies that told me to go "home". Go back to where I came. Give up. Let go. Stop trying to fit in where you do not belong. No one wants to be your friend. Do not embrace the change; it will only hurt you. Such ugly lies, yet I felt trapped in them.

 I am a new person now. Nothing much has changed, yet everything has. Here is a sample into a recent journal entry I wrote to God about the change.

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(Don't mind the extra stuff in the photo)
 Hi there God! It's a little after 5am. I've been up since 4:30am and I can't sleep. This Wednesday is the Living Hope Membership class, take 2 for me. Thus my mind and thoughts have been centered on this past year. God, you have taken me so far in this past year. So far. I LOVE where I am! I love my husband. I love this city (I seriously want an Olathe proud t-shirt). I love my church. I love my pastor. I love this baby growing inside of me. I even love my job! I love the friends I am building here. I love that I can stretch myself again as I used to be able to. I can find people at church that I don't know and introduce myself. I can build relationships. I can create belonging. I can walk peacefully and confidently in what you have for me. I can connect with neighbors. I can invite/encourage other women to attend the retreat. I can host a small group gathering at my house. I can create belonging wherever I go. I can connect with strangers at the store. I can thrive where I am. I can love the place you have called me to! I am abundantly blessed. And the funny thing is, I have no idea when all of this changed inside of me. I just know that it has. Thank you Lord. From the deepest places of my heart, thank you!
 
  My pastor is doing a sermon series called "Metamorphosis" right now about breaking out of the cocoons we have gotten stuck in, be they emotionally, spiritually, relationally, etc. Something he has said a couple of times has truly resonated with me after this past year I have had. "The way I think determines how I feel. How I feel determines how I act."

Image result for butterly flyinh  So much truth packed into those two sentences. We hold ourselves prisoners to our circumstances so often, when we do NOT need to. What are you holding on to right now that is unnecessary? That is holding you back? Is it a lie? Is it a past experience? Is it a lack of something? Is it a fear? A failure? Doubts? Ask God to open your eyes to what it is. He will not fail you. He will walk you through and help you to overcome. He wants you to live, to Really live and thrive, rather than remain trapped inside of your cocoons. Let us be butterflies rather than caterpillars.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Music Monday // Peace Be Still

   I have been really wanting to/feeling led by the Lord to get back into blog writing. I do not know how often it will be, but I aim to be more consistent. I know my struggles, my trials, and the things God does in and through them can be a source of encouragement to others. So, why would I keep them to myself?

   To start off, I thought I'd share a song I literally just encountered today. Ironically, the timing could not be more perfect. It's all God. The song is "Peace Be Still" by The Belonging Co (feat. Lauren Daigle). This season, and today in particular, I am in the midst of the unknown. I have no insurance, and not for lack of trying. I am 24 weeks pregnant (so wonderful!!), so I kind of really need it. I have a REALLY expensive heart doctor appointment next week that I am not quite sure how I am going to pay. I have a few things to stress me out in this time. And yet, I hear the Lord telling me "peace be still."
   My heart cry is just as the song says "I don't want to be afraid every time I face the waves....I don't want to fear the storm just because I hear it roar." I want to declare God's truth. I want to cling to His promises and rest in His peace. Not my own lack of it. "Peace be still...I'm not gonna be afraid 'cause these waves are only waves....I'm not gonna fear the storm, you are greater than it's roar..."

  May you be encouraged by this song today, just as I was and I am. Turn your eyes away from the storm you may be facing. Rest upon promises and reminders of God's peace, strength, and power in your life. Today and always. No matter how big or small your storm is. He is peace. Be still. 


Peace Be Still
The Belonging Co
feat. Lauren Daigle

I don't want to be afraid
Every time I face the waves
I don't want to be afraid, I don't want to be afraid
I don't want to fear the storm just because I hear the roar
I don't want to fear the storm, I don't want to fear the storm

Peace be still
Say the word and I will
Set my feet upon the sea, till I'm dancing in the deep
Peace be still
You are here so it is well
Even when my eyes can't see, I will trust the voice that speaks


I'm not gonna be afraid 'cause these waves are only waves
I'm not gonna be afraid, I'm not gonna be afraid
I'm not gonna fear the storm
You are greater than its roar
I'm not gonna fear the storm
I'm not gonna fear at all

Peace be still
Say the word and I will
Set my feet upon the sea, till I'm dancing in the deep
Peace be still
You are here so it is well
Even when my eyes can't see, I will trust the voice that speaks
Peace, peace
Over me

Let faith rise up
Oh heart, believe
Let faith rise up in me (x4)

Peace be still
Say the word and I will
Set my feet upon the sea, till I'm dancing in the deep
Peace be still
You are here so it is well
Even when my eyes can't see, I will trust the voice that speaks
Peace, peace
Over me
Peace, peace
Over me

We don't have to fear, we don't have to worry
'Cause He is good, all the time (x2)

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Faith + Fear = Normal

Here are some thoughts from my journal that I wanted to share with you.

Abraham's life is full of faith, yet it is also full of fear.

He trusted the Lord enough to leave his family and head to a foreign land. He traveled over 1000 miles, never to return. Family visits were not an option for him. He left with the confidence that he would never see his relatives, including his own parents, again. He trusted the Lord enough to offer up his promised son, Isaac. This son was supposed to be the key to Abraham's numerous descendants. This was the son that had caused Abraham and Sarah to wait over twenty-five years from the time of the Lord's promise to the time of Isaac's birth. Abraham trusted God. Abraham had faith enough to be willing to offer his son to the Lord (the Lord spared Isaac's life in a wonderful turn of events).

YET...

....he (Abraham) was fearful and failed to trust the Lord to protect him and his wife as they entered new lands, so he lied and said that Sarah was only his sister. Multiple times. Abraham was afraid. He failed to trust in the Lord. Abraham also doubted the Lord's promise of numerous descendants and slept with his wife's maidservant when Sarah suggested that was the key to the fulfillment of the Lord's promise, rather than actually waiting on the Lord. He was afraid that the Lord would not fulfill His promise.

Through all of the doubts, Abraham is known as a man of faith. He even makes it into Hebrews 11, the "faith chapter." However, he did not make it in because he was perfect or because he was never afraid.

This is such a reminder that God does not only look at our faults and our failures. He sees our heart. What is the yearning of our heart? Is it to live life as we see fit or is it to strive for obedience to the Lord, amidst our doubts, insecurities, and imperfections?

I, for one, am so thankful that God sees not only my actions, but also my heart. He does not focus on the fact that I may have failed Him one thousand times before. He sees that I desire Him. He sees that I desire to honor Him, to seek Him, and to obey Him. That is what matters to the Lord. The fear factor is not the end all, be all. God sees my heart.

He sees yours as well. Do you feel like you have failed too many times? Take heart. Even the most well known biblical characters are full of regrets, fears, and failures. Yet God used them! :)

He'll use you and me as well!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Worth the Wait

It's been a while since my last post....over a year in fact. I thought it was time for an update on my life now. If you've read any old posts of mine, I've talked about my struggle with waiting on the Lord. It has not always been an easy journey. Sometimes I could understand what the Lord was asking me to do. Other times I did not see His plan at work or understand and I was tired of waiting (in regards to dating in particular).

Well, all of my waiting was entirely WORTH THE WAIT. Every single moment of it. The Lord has blessed me with the most incredible man in my life. My husband, Jeremy. We have been married six and a half months now and every day I feel incredibly blessed. I am constantly blown away by the Lord. By the MAN He has given me. I did not have to settle for a boy who does not know how to treat me. I found a man who loves the Lord, loves me, and my family. He respects me. He is kind. He is patient. He is loyal. He is a servant (he cooks and cleans and is so helpful around the house). He encourages me. He sticks by my side through all of my moods. He takes care of me when I am sick. I am blessed and I am blown away by the Lord's faithfulness. He is never failing. He is always at work. He gives me far more than I could ever hope for or imagine. He truly does fight for me.



 He'll do the same for you as well. He is not slow in keeping His promises. He never forgets. When it feels like He has forgotten, hold on. He is there. I watched a movie last night that had a great line in it: "When you're going through something really hard, the teacher is always quiet during the test." It does not mean that God is not with you. He is there, but sometimes we have to push through. Sometimes we have to wait it out. The reward is so much sweeter when we do. We need to be ready. We may not understand why the timing is not our own. But know this, the Lord knows. He truly does. He has a far better imagination and plan than we could even dream up. So trust in Him. If you feel He is far away or He is failing you, ask Him to remind you of His hand at work in your life. He will do it. He is faithful. His plan is ALWAYS worth the wait.



"God can do anything, you know
- far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request
in your wildest dreams! 
He does it not by pushing us around
but by working within us,
His Spirit deeply and gently within us."
Ephesians 3:20 (Message)



 
 
 *Photos compliments of Molly Harmon Photography*

Thursday, October 29, 2015

All Men are Broken

We are all broken or have been broken in our past. Some of the things that have broken us are small and some are large. Yet all of us carry some kind of wound that is in need of healing. We all also have such potential for healing.

I don't know why, but I was listening to a song tonight and I just felt compelled to post the lyrics to it.

Maybe you've been hurt by your father or maybe you've been hurt by someone completely different. Either way this song could apply to you. Broken people break people. Let's break the cycle. How about healed people share their healing with other people!?

God has the power to bring healing to even the most broken situations. He has the power to break every chain that has been placed upon our lives. He's kind of, most positively, definitely, in the business of healing and restoration!!!!!!!!!!!!













All Men are Broken
Misty Edwards
YouTube version

I hear Him singing over you
And some of you I hear him saying your name
Saying your name
He says to you
I'm not like your father
Listen my beloved one

I'm not like your father
'Cause, even the best of them are just broken brothers
Listen my child
Listen to me

I am not like your father
Why are you putting that on me?
Listen, listen
I'm not like your father
I'm not like your father
'Cause, even the best of them are just broken brothers
Listen

For all men are broken
And broken men break their children
Who grow up to be broken men
But I'm bigger than that
Listen
I'm bigger than that

All men are broken
And broken men break their children
Who grow up to be broken men
But I'm bigger than that
Come to Me
I'm bigger than that

I am not like your father
And some of you have been so afraid of
Repeating the same mistakes that fear has your frozen
But listen, listen
I have the power to change things
And I have the power to make you new
And I have power to rearrange that same old chain
And listen

You're not like your father
It's a new day
It's a new day
You're not like your father
And the sins of your fathers
And their fathers
And their fathers
And their fathers fathers will not be on you
Just keep on
Keep on coming
Keep on coming
Keep on coming
Keep on coming

Listen my beloved one

All men are broken
And broken men break their children
Who grow up to be broken men
But listen
I'm bigger than that

You've got to let your fathers go
Your fathers were broken by their fathers
Who were broken by their fathers
Their fathers and their fathers
On and on and on and on
We're all in this together
There's only one good Father
There's only one good Father
He's the father of all of creation
He's the father of lights
The father of glory
And He loves us so well

And all he says is

Everything is in My hands
It's gonna to be alright
It's gonna to be alright
You're gonna to be ok
No regrets
Everything is in My hands
It's gonna to be alright
You're gonna to be ok
And some of you have been so full of regret
But your babies are my babies
Listen, Your babies are My babies
And I will be the Father
'Cause, Your babies are My babies

I'm gonna to turn it all around
just wait and see
I'm gonna to make everything beautiful
just in time
I am gonna to turn it all around
Just wait and see
No regrets
I am gonna to make everything beautiful
Just in time

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Activating Strength

"Everything that goes into a life of pleasing God has been miraculously given to us by getting to know, personally and intimately, the One who invited us to God. The best invitation we ever received!"  
2 Peter 1:3 (MSG)

The great thing about life is, we get to choose. Sometimes this means that we walk in the strength of the Lord, in the gifts He has given us. Sometimes that means that we walk in our own strength, surrounded by fears, worries, and frustrations.

Friends, I learned something while in Colorado that has stuck with me ever since. A classmate was praying and said something along the lines of "I pray that God would be with us." One of our leaders commented afterwards that we don't need to pray prayers like this.

God is always with us. He has already given us the strength we need. And the boldness.  And the courage. And the patience. We just need to choose to walk in His strength. We just need to remember that He is with us. He is the Immanuel God. He is with us. Always.

He is a gentlemen to the highest regard. He knows what we need, yet He never forces it on us. He allows us to choose. He allows us to take steps toward Him. This is what makes our love stories with Jesus so amazing. He gently woos us. Sometimes He speaks a little louder. Yet He doesn't force Himself on us. The choice is always up to us. He longs for us to choose Him. He allows us to choose Him. He is waiting for us.

So next time you pray remember that God is already with you. He is just waiting for you to turn to Him. He is waiting for you to walk in His strength. He is just waiting to pour His strength out on you. He wants to do your life with you. He doesn't want you to struggle alone. He wants to be your strength.

Next time you face something insurmountable will you attempt to walk alone or will you walk in the strength of the Lord? Will you activate His strength in your life?





Thursday, July 2, 2015

Lessons Learned from a Deer

Eight months ago something happened to me that I wouldn't wish on anybody.

I hit a deer.

I was driving home late one night from out of town and a deer came out onto the side of the road. I had about five different thought trains running through my head but in those few seconds I decided it would be best to hit the deer head on rather than swerve and end up off in a ditch somewhere. That is what I ended up doing.

I hit the deer head on.

God is so amazing guys. Truly spectacular.

My car didn't swerve at all when I hit the deer. I pulled over onto the side of the road, saw that my car was pretty smashed, and then I got back in and decided to keep driving home. It turns out that I lost power steering but I didn't know it until I was exiting the highway via an extremely curvy ramp. That was a scary feeling. Somehow I was able to force the wheel in time to make the turn and I made it home safely.

Like I said my car was pretty banged up. I was able to get the car fixed shortly after so that I could drive it again, but I still need to get the car painted.I've been hesitant to do so because I learned something through this accident.

First, God's protection over my life is amazing. I didn't suffer any aches or pains from the impact. I was completely fine. I have known several people who have had pretty severe injuries from colliding with a deer, as severe as death. I was completely fine. God was watching over me.

So my next statement may seem a little strange....but I honestly believe that God put that deer in my path.

I needed it. I was headed down a dangerous path.

You see I met a guy two months before that who seemed great. We started dating. It was good at first but it turned out to be the worst experience of my life. He was verbally and emotionally abuse. He kept pushing me to do things that I didn't want to do.

I didn't realize it at the time. He had begun to pull me away from those close to me. He demanded too much of my time and of myself. I had/have very unique boundaries for dating. He "honored" those but he pushed in so many other ways that it got to the point where it was a joke to say that my boundaries were still intact. Although I still had them what had happened was actually worse.

I felt trapped and I didn't know how to get out. I prayed and asked God for help. I was confused. He told me that the truth would come to light, whether it was what I wanted to hear or not. I kept trying to get away, but I wasn't brave enough. I wasn't strong enough on my own. My words came, but they were ignored. They were belittled and I felt like I had to stay. So I did. I was trapped.

Then one day I hit a deer.

As I drove home I specifically felt God telling me that He had protected me yet allowed this to happen to show me that if I remained on this path it would lead to destruction. It would end badly. It would be far worse than my car was after the impact. He was using the deer as a wake-up call. A cry to get me out.

In that moment it was like a light bulb came on, in another room. I could feel truth beginning to set in, but it hadn't quite hit me yet. A week later God literally flipped the switch on my personal light and I was able to see the truth. I was able to see the situation for what it was and I got out. As fast as I could.

I got my car fixed soon after. I got a new hood and a new fender. The frame was pushed back into place. I bought parts that didn't match my car's paint color however and I didn't get them painted yet.

I was relating the restoration of my car in terms of my personal restoration. I was set free. The pieces were beginning to be put back into place. However the healing process from a situation like this doesn't happen over night. I was in the process of receiving healing.

I wanted my car to be a reminder to me of that journey. So I let the colors remain unmatched. I was still healing. I am still healing. Although that relationship only lasted two months it did a lot of damage. Just like that deer. The impact was brief yet the results were quite damaging. Over the course of these last eight months I have experienced so much healing. Enough that I was ready to paint my car a few months back. The paint color doesn't match perfectly however. My scars will remain. Not in a bad way, but in a way that says 'look what God has done in my life. I was (and still am) a broken individual in need of a Savior. God came through. He brought healing yet I will never forget what happened.'

I'm so thankful for my collision with a deer. It helped me get back to where I needed to be. I am so much stronger now. I have tools to fight. I also have an increased awareness of the difficulties individuals in abusive relationships have in getting out. It is hard. It is so hard. Yet freedom is possible. Healing and restoration are possible.

What hurt have you gone through in your life? What scars do you have? It can be hard not to be frustrated or embarrassed at the sight of scars. Don't let them get you down. Let them be reminders. Reminders of where you have been and what you have overcome. Today you are so much stronger. Healing and
restoration are possible!

"It ain't a dead end if it takes you somewhere you needed to go." -from the movie Unconditional