Monday, November 28, 2016

In The Eye Of The Storm

It's hard to believe that Christmas is less than one month away!

I have no idea where the time went!

For me, Christmas brings peace, hope and joy because of what happened at that time over two thousand years ago, the arrival of a Savior, Jesus Christ.

However, this time of year doesn't bring peace or joy for a lot of people.

It seems our world is in greater turmoil than ever before.

People are more anxious, worried, and depressed.

Sometimes the circumstances and difficulties in our lives can take us to a very dark place.

I recently read a story on Facebook about a beautiful mother who took her life as a result of post-partum depression.

This is a form of depression brought on after the birth of a baby.

I can't even imagine the loss felt but I do know the pain that woman was enduring and how it took everything to live when I was fighting PPD as a new mom.

When you are in the eye of the storm of pain, it's hard to find hope, joy or peace.

It takes everything you have to make it through the next five minutes, then the next five, then the next five.

It breaks my heart to hear of so many people in our world be in pain.

Within my own difficulties, it's hard not to let the pain be a crutch even though I want it to stop.

Often stopping it means going for a walk, talking to a friend, asking for prayer, or listening to music.


There is something about music and its words that are transformational.

I have had difficult circumstances change in an instant because of a song.

I mean THAT song. The one that is like a hand pulling you out of the emotional quicksand you, somehow, stepped into.

I think there is something to be said for the billion dollar music industry.

Music has the power to soothe, shake and save.

For me, Christian music and the hope the lyrics possess save me every time even when they may bring me to tears.

There is a song that has been playing on the radio almost every time I get into my car.

I call that a God-incident because I don't believe in coincidence.

It's a song that reminds me of how far I have come and who I am.

It also reminds me of the One, God, who saved my life.

Sometimes I wake up in the morning with some of the lyrics playing in my head!

I'd like to share some of those lyrics:

In the eye of the storm, You remain in control
And in the middle of the war, You guard my soul
You alone are the anchor, when my sails are torn
Your love surrounds me in the eye of the storm 

Encouragement for the week:

I know you're hurting and that it feels like the pain won't stop.

Can I encourage you to find that one know the one, that changes things when you listen to it.

That changes you, for the better.

That makes your heart feel lighter and pretty soon you are singing along even though tears are streaming down your face.

Whether it is a mainstream song or Christian song.

Play it. Play it LOUD. Play it again and again and again until the hurt subsides and you feel some relief.

Let it surround you and immerse you in peace.

You are loved.

Monday, November 21, 2016

This Is Risky Business

This past week, I have been pondering the risks of believing.

Believing in something strongly or in yourself.

Believing beyond what you see in front of you.

Believing things that reside firmly in your heart.

And how these beliefs can bring challenges...opposition.

Opposition can manifest itself in many ways.

From an inner self-doubt to an external, judgemental attitude from a close friend.

Either one can be defeating and cause you to give up on what you really, truly believe in.

Whether it's a desire to pursue a completely different career, knowing it's going to take a lot of hard work to get there.

Or to stand up for something you believe in despite what others close to you say against it.

Or to believe in yourself to achieve things that are scary.

When I first became a Christian in 2007, it was easy for me to believe God and in God.

Experiencing His deep love, peace, and acceptance for me was so powerful and real, I was changed in dramatic ways.

So dramatic that I lost friends.

Even in my brokenness of loss, I still believed that believing in God and Jesus would have risks worth taking.

Risks like going to Uganda for two weeks alone to help at an orphanage even when people thought I was nuts to do so.

Risks like giving up everything, even my car, to follow God to Costa Rica for five months, or maybe forever.

Risks like choosing to follow God over my deep love for another person.

Risks like choosing to believe and trust God for my future even when my greatest heart's desire continues to go unmet.

Even moreso, believing and trusting in the midst of doubt and fear.

Some may say that believing in and following God is equal to gambling...risky business.

Betting against the odds with your entire life's savings.

For me, I have only known God to be one thing.

A sure thing.

Someone to believe in and bet all I have on, and come out with no regrets.

Someone who has kept me believing in the face of all the risks, sacrifices, and heart breaks.

Encouragement for this week:

What do you believe in?

What is stopping you from believing in yourself to achieve anything, even what you think is impossible?

Are you willing to risk believing beyond the opposition?

As Christians and Non-Christians, we have all experienced opposition in our lives.

We have also struggled to believe in something or ourselves.

You are stronger than the opposition. Push through!

There is a great encouragement in the Bible that helps me to keep going when I feel like I have hit a wall.

When I feel like I have nothing left and struggle to believe.

It says: "...suffering (difficulty) produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope." (Book of Romans, Chapter 5, Verse 3 and 4)

Don't give up! Keep persevering!

Even though your difficulty may be bringing you hurt, that hurt is transforming you into someone incredible!

Someone ready to achieve the unimaginable!

Monday, November 14, 2016

What You See Is What You Get

For the past week, I have been filled with a deep, indescribable peace.

A peace that has brought me restful sleep without being woken by doubt and anxiety.

The eviction notice worked! The squatters (self-defeating thoughts) are gone! I choose to keep it that way!

The peace is a welcome reprieve and I know God is behind it.

It's amazing how different things are now that I have peace.

I have clear and rational thought patterns and I'm not ruled by feelings and much.

The inner calm has also enabled me to hear more clearly from God and what He wants me to do. That is to trust Him. *gulp*

I have shared in the past that I have trust issues.

Since becoming a Christian, I know that one of the key components of maturing in faith is to trust God implicitly.

To let go of my own control and let God, with whom I have shared a very close relationship, take care of things. All things.

Much easier said than done.

There are still days that I believe I can do a better job with my life than God. When will I ever learn?

I think it's because I have forgotten the mess I made when I took over so I think I can do better if given another chance.


However, with this peace so strong within me, giving up control has definitely become easier.

Yet it still comes with speed bumps.

One of the major bumps being trusting God for my future.

Moreso, trusting Him for the continued desire and longing for marriage.

Trusting Him to make things happen without seeing anything materialize until the time is perfect.

Trusting Him to know what I need and when I need it.

In all honesty, waiting for something this BIG to happen without any outward encouragement sucks.

One of my top three love languages is words of encouragement. In this case, I need it to be acts of encouragement.

I want a sign, a text, a billboard from God telling me when all this is going to go down.

When God is going to pull the theoretical trigger on my greatest desire.

The unknown can be an exciting place to be. I've experienced it.

However, this kind of unknown is not exciting. It's heart breaking and frustrating.

Don't get me wrong, I have had times of calmness and contentment while single, as I wait.

Just not all that often.

So, what I am seeing is what I get.

A blank canvas I am waiting on God to paint.

A desert I am walking through in hopes of coming across that oasis of food, drink, and merriment.

So, in order to get over my trust issues, whether with myself and/or God, I have to make a decision.

Do I want to be more than who I am in God right now? Yes!

Do I want to do the work required to be greater than my doubts, fears, and anxieties? Heck ya!!

Then that leaves me one route. To trust God. To trust Jesus.

I just know, that I know, that I can trust the One who died for me. So can you.

Here goes nothin'!!!!

Encouragement for today:

Pain is universal and inevitable in the world we live in.

Whatever pain or heart break you are going through, you are not alone.

While it seems very unpleasant right now, something will come out of this. Something beautiful.

Your pain will not be in vain and it will make you stronger than before the tragedy crossed your path.

I know there are days it gets hard to breathe and it takes everything you have to get out of bed in the morning.

Get up. Don't give up!

If you know Jesus, you know there is peace and calm in this storm. You can trust Him.

If you don't know Jesus, look for Him and you will find Him and you will find peace.

I pray wherever you are, whatever you are going through, that you would know it will be okay. YOU will be okay.

Monday, November 7, 2016

When All Avenues Have Been Exhausted

I'm exhausted. Spritually, physically, and emotionally.

This past week has become a dead end for everything in me with the exception of my mind.

For some reason, the others didn't give the exhaustion memo to my brain.

It keeps reeling with thoughts that don't want to shut off or shut up until I go to sleep at night.

Sometimes, I wake up in the morning immediately riddled with thoughts and anxiety.

I've been told I have a tendency to over think things.

That I will read into things that are just not there. 

Guilty as charged. I'm not sure how I got here. I blame the Google maps of my mind.

For misdirecting me from the path, I thought, I was doing a great job at following. 

Not so much, apparently.

Lately, I have had doubt and anxiety about many things. Things that have, literally, woken me from peaceful slumber.

Some of them are:
  • My future (Do I even have one? Is it as a married woman?)
  • My gifts and talents given to me by God
  • My ability to make a living from my passions

There are more self-deprecating thoughts but I think you know what I am talking about.

We all have doubts about ourselves. We all have fears that might even prevent us from reaching our full potential.

Some of those things might even keep us up at night, stealing our sleep and peace of mind.

They've been stealing mine.

So what do I do? Allow all of it to consume me? To keep me in a hole that I never wanted to dig in the first place?

Everything we do, I do, involves a choice.

Will I allow my head to dictate to the rest of me that I am not stronger than the lies swimming in it?

Will I give anxiety and doubt free living space in my head?

As exhausted as I am, right now, I choose to say, "HECK NO!!!"

I choose, right now, to look at the Cross, where Jesus died FOR ME, to be freed from doubt and anxiety.

I choose to let go of all the useless stuff floating in my brain, taking up valuable space.

I choose to lay everything down and let God deal with it so that I can rest in the peace Christ died to give me.

I choose to serve an eviction notice, today, to all the thoughts that have been squatting in my head. Get out and don't come back!

I also choose to say, out loud, things that I am thankful for. Even the silly things like organic butter and pumpkin french toast.

I may still feel exhausted but these avenues, this dead end, are places where I can rest, assured of God's love and peace.

Encouragement for today: For all of you out there who battle with the enemies of doubt and anxiety, please know that you are greater and more valuable than the sum of your thoughts.

You are stronger than any of the crud that's swimming around in your head.

I pray that you would know true peace and victory in pushing aside those thoughts and that you would find rest.

For those of you who know Jesus, you know the incredible and indescribable peace that can come from knowing Him. Fight your way back to that.

For those of you who don't know Jesus, I can attest that there is no greater peace and rest that comes from knowing Jesus through a personal relationship with Him.