I have been silent for longer than I intended. Words, so many words have tumbled through my mind like clothes in a dryer. Too many words have remained stuck inside. Pain deep in my gut for people I love; my friends, my family and my country. At times even pain over things within myself has come to the surface.
Amidst this time where the true nature of our world has surfaced… Where we finally see how crazy and bonkers things have been below the surface, hidden deep inside, revealing too many dark secrets from the depravity of sin… So much beauty has come forth. Healing is painful yet so breathtakingly beautiful. I would like to think that some of the turmoil we see is a nation beginning to heal.
It has been hope that has carried me during this time. I have learned that it is okay to not have the right words. It is good to have moments of silent reflection followed by breaking out in worship, because words and the feelings behind them become pointless when the nation is up in flames and no one wants to listen.
When words fail you. When pain runs deep. When healing needs to take place. When you need a miracle. When you stand before a giant. When everything is going up in flames. When life is good. When laughter comes from deep wells.
Worship through it all.
No matter what goes on in life I will always be a believer of Hope.
There has been something deep inside me recently that has sharpened my resolve to never give up. Many things that I hope for I have hoped for, for years and years. Instead of giving up, God has been gently nudging me to stand and rise up in Hope even in the most foggy or the darkest situations.
I am a believer of Hope.
When it looks as if all is lost or broken, I choose to believe in things found again and things made whole. I choose to champion the hopeless, the hurting. I choose redemption and forgiveness despite the pain.
Hope is courageous. It can see the good when no one else can. Hope brings life. Dead men come out walking again! Hope and faith are one with each other.
Today, I Hope BIG! There will be a day that I can testify to a mighty miracle that lit up the darkness and set the captives free. Get ready! Join me 💪
I am a believer of Hope.
What about you?
This weekend we celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus. In between that was silence. Tension filled the air as Jesus’ followers awoke with devastation unable to comprehend His death.
But God in great anticipation had a countdown going. He knew that a mighty conquering was occuring and victory was running towards humanity. While the people waited having only begun to grieve, to mourn the son of both God and man, silence settled as Jesus was about to breathe again. Even though Jesus had told them what was to come they still did not understand it. They knew the Messiah had come but nothing occured the way they had thought it would.
We are all in waiting right now. In our homes, on our own, we are waiting for our lives to go back to normal. But perhaps our lives are supposed to be resurrected? Maybe our lives are supposed to change to become better than before?
There is beauty in the waiting. We may not know what it is going to look like but because Jesus defeated death and rose from that grave, we can be certain that what is waiting is full of victory, hope, joy! Could we view the silence, the waiting, a beautiful part of our journey to a great comeback where life is restored the way it should be and reconciliation has occured; where our pain has been healed and each of us has returned to love?
Don’t you long for more?
The more is on the other side of the waiting, the silence, if one is willing to embrace the risen Savior. He has been waiting with great anticipation and joy for the day of resurrection… In your life.
Aren’t you ready?
It is time to stop ignoring the gentle whisper of love that will bring you freedom and heal your pain, Dear world.
You are loved more than you know.
What is your focus on today? During these days of slowing down and coming close in your homes we have time, finally, to get “unbusy”… We have been forced to halt and stop what has become our normal.
I love the unbusy… I love the slow. For me it means we get to focus on relationship better. I see so much hope for families and spouses reconnecting during this time.
At the same time I know that a lot is up in the air, and many are scared about many things. When the unknown hits, when tragedy hits the world or your own small world it can be so easy to focus on what we’ve lost versus what we’ve gained. It can be easy to focus on the chaos of fear.
But today I say, focus on hope. Focus on every hour kissing the faces of your kids, hug your spouse extra long… Go out of your way today to love those around you bigger and better than the day before. If you know cleaning the toilet would make someone happy and feel loved then clean that toilet. If it means making coffee and sitting down just to be close and that is what fills someone’s love cup, then get to it!
In the time where things keep getting banned, sickness takes over and grief of your normal sets in– turn to hope. Hope helps you see the many opportunities before you now.
Focus on what is good. Philippians 4:8
Have you ever read Psalm 23 and thought that it didn’t pertain to you? After all, you aren’t in the shadow of death. But have you really read it closely?
I am doing a study by Aimee Walker on Psalm 23 titled, The Good Shepherd
One of the things that has come around full circle for me has been the beautiful truth of God as a caring shepherd. The past couple of years has been excruciating for me personally. I have known the valley. I have dreaded the valley. Amidst the valley my soul felt surrounded by darkness (shadows). But God in his goodness has taken care of my soul.
A couple months ago I realized the gift of the valley. Much like many others, my view of it was skewed. I saw it and thought I shouldn’t be there. Some days I questioned it’s fairness. But there are treasures to be gained in the valleys. There are treasures stored in secret places, in those dark places. If you are willing to press into the shepherds cloak and stay near him the valley will become a gift to you.
While there it can become your invitation to a deeper intimacy with the Lord. Still waters, and lush green grass await you (v. 1,2) . Even amidst enemies as stated in verse 5, it says that he prepares a table for you and anoints your head with oil. This is all in the valley!
Did you know you can find rest amidst it all? Yes, you can. “He makes me lie down” (v. 2) can be a command and an invitation to rest. I didn’t know it was possible to enjoy rest with horrific and exhausting circumstances still occuring. But in my valley the Lord has taught me how. It is one treasure I found in the darkness.
He is a good Shepherd. He takes good care of his sheep. The valley is often the place we dread but He has prepared it to be a place where you find strength again and increased hope. It is the place of intimacy. Great treasures are stored in this place. It is the place that even your enemies will look and wonder why you are protected and receive the victory.
Come close to your Shepherd. He loves and cares for you. Let his healing oil drench you. Drink from the waters and rest.
Do you need rest? What circumstances make you feel like you are unable to rest near your Shepherd? Please share with me and I will pray specifically for you and your situation.
Have you ever felt like God was taking things away from you?
The past year has been a life-changing year. My heart has been broken and wrecked in ways I never thought possible. Unimaginable things have occurred, both good and bad. We are still staring evil in the face. God’s gaze is my focal point.
Through it all I have asked God, “what are you doing?” My entire mindset has changed. My view on my career, personal goals and “plans” have all changed. I technically do not have a “plan” anymore and that is a good thing considering “planning” is usually what I do. I plan and make goals and then feel fulfilled after it is done. This year was the first year I felt incomplete after accomplishing some big goals. It led me to make some drastic changes. It made me realize that I was placing too much of my worth on accomplishments rather than on God alone.
This shift in mindset has not been easy. Letting go of huge loves of mine has not been easy. Completely pursuing God’s promises has not been easy either because His plans have been different than my own. He has taken a lot away.
He has taken certain things away in order for me to be ready to embrace the best! He gives far more than I could ever imagine.
The beautiful thing about God is that his plans are better than my own. Even though I am in the waiting I know that his intentions are good. In the letting go and letting God it has opened the door of heaven over me and my household. In the process peace has made it’s home permanently in me. No matter what circumstances I face it doesn’t knock me over like it once did. Because of this, letting go of all I’ve known for more of him is worth it. It is hard because dying to oneself is never easy. But his ways are better.
What has he taken away so that you may receive the best?
What are you waiting for?
I am right here.
While you complain about your life I am right here.
I am blessing your family because I love your family. I am blessing your body because I love you. I am blessing your job because I want you to succeed. Yes, I am even blessing what is to come because your future matters to me too.
Stop focusing on what is not. Focus on what is. I am I am. Nothing is hidden from me. Your enemies are haughty and arrogant. Do not worry about them for I have prepared a great feast of victory for you. They will see your feast and wonder at the great joy you have.
But you must focus on what is, not on what is not. Get out of the griping habit. Get out of the rut of the enemy. Bitterness grabs hold of your feet there and will not let you go until you choose repentance, forgiveness and joy. What I desire for you is so much greater than you can imagine.
My heart is drawn to you. I only want your good. I want to see you succeed. I am your biggest fan. My voice is the loudest cheering you on. I am for you.
What are you waiting for?
I am right here.
The dark, it has a sinister presence.
Have you ever noticed how much your perspective changes in the dark? That chair looks to be an ominous crouching figure. The chair leg stepped in front of you and stubbed that toe of yours. Pain, it is unbearable in that moment.
Putting laughter aside, when we face a season filled with darkness on either side, our perspectives can often get skewed. Some of us begin to doubt the truth we believed in the light. We must get to a place of calm security even when circumstance change and the light seems to dim.
God, mighty God, is never consumed by the darkness but instead He defeats it. He is so strategic that there is no foe that can come close to overtaking Him. What God says happens. He simply has to speak it and it is.
Friend, what darkness are you facing? Are you speaking truth? Perhaps you are yelling it and are slumped over in exhaustion. Why are you striving so hard to win a battle that has already been won?
Your victory is won by God almighty. Yes, you play a role but any hint that the victory is yours to claim for your glory is making yourself an idol. You are not greater than God. By letting go of control and following Gods path of life and light, therein lies your victory. He has it planned out just for you. As you let go more stability will come. No one compares to Him.
Let your enemies laugh thinking they have won. Let them speak lies thinking it does something (it does not). God reigns. He is good. He prepares a full banquet table amidst your enemies. You will not be overcome.
The morning is coming. Look up. Do you not yet see the hints of the sun rise? Wait. Breathe.
Victory is upon the horizon.
Recently I was struck with a grand reality that I have realized before but it finally burried itself deep into my heart:
God takes care of you when you sleep. While you sleep He is taking care of things unseen.
Anything that you face He has you completely covered. We do not need to strive for control. We do not need to have all the solutions, finances or best plan because God already does.
This does not mean that we get to be lazy. Absolutely not. What it does mean is that as we submit ourselves to Him and allow Him to guide us, we can find rest amidst the battle.
At a service the other night the word, “refreshment” was spoken over me. Simply put, just like a soldier needs to come back to camp for food and water and rest, I would receive the same spiritual refreshment. It resonated with my soul because I had just asked the Lord to help me understand how to do this.
In a flash all these dots seemed to connect more and the truth about God became deeper rooted within me. He never tires. He never tarries. His timing is flawless. He knows what He is doing. Because He is good, He is trustworthy. Because He is love, He is faithful. Because He loves you, He will help you and make a way for you.
There are no buts, what ifs, maybes, or rugs waiting to be ripped from beneath you. God is not the culprit of either your bad choices or the bad choices from others. He is always the one to help you back up, to cry with you or to fiercely roar in the face of your enemy.
He is mighty!
He does not like it when others mess with His own.
There is justice for you.
He stands in front and behind to declare that you are His.
There is a statement I keep saying this year, “He clothes me better than the lilies.”
This is a significant statement about how I trust the Lord. He has always provided for our needs plus some.
It has been our priority to take care of our daughter first. We pay hundreds a month for her care (even though she rarely sees half of it) and then we make sure she has all she needs in our care. With her constant growth spurts this means that any new clothes for us come not out of our own pockets but as a blessing from others.
I have been blown away in the last month and at scattered times throughout the past year! I practically have a new wardrobe. You may not know but I’ve kept things even as things faded, stunk (sorry armpits), and tore (I still have items from before college). I now can get rid of these because of generous ladies who have shown great love for me. They keep giving me very nice clothes (brands I could not shop for).
I truly believe this great outpouring is because I (my husband too) have gone without for years to ensure our daughter has had clothes to wear. There were moments when we could not even afford to purchase her clothes and the Lord always provided with hand me downs from other families. He has always taken care of us.
We have celebrated this year because we’ve enjoyed shopping for clothes for her. It has given us great joy to be able to do so after many years of struggling. I have not cared that all the clothes money goes to her. She comes first.
Becauseof this I have come to understand how proud God is for how we love our girl. He clothes me better than the lilies because he loves me. Every time I wear a new-to-me item of clothing I feel so much love. I know whose I am. It is a reminder that if God cares enough to clothe me like royalty that all the other impossible and difficult things will come to pass in time.