Big Hope



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?⁣

Especially The Impossible

As a child I remember believing in impossibly big things. Adults, friends even family would all make sure to tell me the reality of life. Simply put, some things would never happen. But when you are born a dreamer, it is a part of you that never dies. It is big faith.

No matter what has happened in my life I have always come back to the impossible. The impossible is a challenge. What looks like a mountain could be moved or if you’re Mary Poppins, you could simply fly over it.

I have lived through many soul crushing things. I may have suffered times of doubt or felt extreme defeat but I was not defeated. The beautiful thing about God is that circumstances can change in an instant. Feelings come and go but God does not. God remains good. God remains the same. God is faithful.

Because of God hope rises as the sun awakes in the early morning. Dreams can and often do become reality. The impossible becomes possible.

Yes, Mary Poppins, anything is possible. But I would say, especially the impossible.

What My Dog Taught Me

This is a picture of my dog while I am gone. To some it may look like a dog who is in deep sleep. What this is, is a dog incredibly sad that I am gone. He almost looks a bit defeated.

I have been thinking about my sweet dog and this picture the rest of this week. He has separation anxiety because he believes the lie that when I leave, I will not come back. He lets that lie defeat him. I am also told that while I am gone he is mopey and sad. When I return he is renewed and exudes a joy that he is unable to contain.

We are not much different (forgive me for comparing us to a dog but the reminders from him are good to note).

This is what our souls look like when we don’t make time to be with the Lord. We get depleted. Ever so slowly we are exhausted by life circumstances and our souls become heavy laden. We want to give up. Sometimes we give in to the surrounding darkness. This is what happens when we believe lies about ourselves and about our circumstances.

If we could only remember the truths about our King. He will never leave us or forsake us. He has won our victory. He is always present. He loves us with an everlasting love. He waits for us to let him into our lives. Our growth and our joy is our choice because he will never force his way on anyone.

I encourage you to spend more time in prayer. Read more of the Bible. Get to know who God is. In his presence lies are destroyed, faith grows and hope rises.

There is no better way to live.

“God, thank you for always being there for me. Thank you for giving me strength to love through the storms. Thank you for helping me remain steadfast no matter how much my heart may break. Thank you for the gift of joy. Thank you for the gift of the Holy Spirit. I cannot and will not live life without you. I choose you. Thank you for choosing me first.”

Slaying Giants

We are facing giants.

Everywhere we look one stands. It is our responsibility for us to take the land. We must be like Caleb who knew that it would be fine to move forward.

We know God has given us the promised land. It flows with milk, honey and blessings beyond what we could imagine.

The question is, “how do we move forward? How do we slay giants?”

We are so close. We are almost close enough to grasp it.

These giants may be loud, obnoxious and cocky but they don’t know what is coming. Let them shout. Let them laugh in our faces as we come to take what is ours.

We were meant to walk this path to show others that with God the impossible happens.

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Dear heart, arise and lift your head up.

Do you have the courage to face the day even amidst your darkest hour? When the battle is thick and a cloud of darkness is all you can see surrounding you, will you choose to be brave and press on?

The Lord, like a fierce lion is in pursuit. He sees you and your eyes lock. In His eyes you see victory and a love so fierce that fills your soul to continue pressing on through each assailant. In that instant, a light bursts forth ahead piercing the darkness.

Mighty God, the Lion of Judah, smashes every assailant in your path. He leads you to victory. His roar makes the whole earth tremble. Justice has just been dealt. Laughter echoes into the valleys. The waters and bubbling brooks dance with joy.

He lifts you up. You stand triumphant looking upon your enemies, every foe has been laid low. New breath fills your lungs.

Every ounce of blood and every fallen tear has been worth the journey to get here.

His roar brings victory. His breath restores life. His laughter scatters the rest of your enemies.

He has made you victorious!

Love Letters From God: NIrV Bible

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This sweet children’s Bible is simple yet beautiful. If you have read the book, Love Letters From God you know that it is a personal application for kids to understand that the Bible was written for them. There are some excerpts of similar artwork throughout the pages but I was hoping for more of them since the book was amazing. Despite that the illustrations have how to guides on things like praying, the Ten Commandments and information about Jesus.

My favorite part of this version of a children’s Bible are the love letters from God. These are written by Glenys Nellist, who authored, Love Letters from God. It is the same simple layout. Your child gets to insert their name into the letter written from God and then they can reply back to it on the side. Below that there is a verse that the children can meditate on and memorize themselves. These three tools are excellent ways to help make the Bible become a big part of your children’s lives. If the Bible just becomes a book to read there is no point to it. But if we can get our kids to understand that the Bible is a love letter from God, that it is a guide on how to live our lives, we have a big win there. I believe that for many kids this could be one of their favorite Bibles.

I have received this book for free from booklookbloggers.com and these opinions are my own.

 

 

 

 

All That She Needed To Know

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This is from a previous blog that I wanted to repost. It has been good for me to be reminded of this post personally and I hope it will inspire others. Enjoy!

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 22, 2013

All that she needed to know

She stood there shimmering with a beauty that defied all logic. After everything that she had been through many believed that she would be destroyed forever, left in the dirty muck. But there she stood, clothed in truth and a freedom that came only from the Almighty.
A man, who watched silently in the shadows, wanted nothing more than for her to stay bound in the dirty mud that once encased her. He looked her over with jealous disdain. She was clothed in white and wore a pearl necklace of remarkable worth. This necklace represented real beauty that is found only in an honest relationship with Jesus. It represented the truth of being redeemed and having every chain of fear, abandonment, abuse, and lies dropped to the grave. She was free. She was pure. She radiated Love.
In anger he pulled out a fake pearl necklace and walked toward her. He was tired of seeing her stand upright, smiling with joy. Her laugh grated at his nerves. She glanced his way the closer he moved towards her. She recognized his face. He was a familiar companion yet one she had been freed from years ago. Despite his advance towards her, she started to sing, closing her eyes as she peacefully smiled in worship.
This infuriated him so much that he screamed for her to take off the necklace she was wearing and put on the one he had in his hands. She opened her eyes in time to tell him no and made sure her footing was firmly planted so that she would not move. Being denied, he furiously brought up his hands and attempted to rip off the necklace around her neck.
Pain shot through her neck, head, and back. Nothing he did was able to break such an incredible gift. The more he tugged, the firmer she stood despite the pain. When he was tired of yanking her necklace, he wrapped his hands around her neck to strangle out her voice, which she was using to speak words of loving truth. The tighter his grip, the stronger she fought for her voice.
She pleaded with the Lord, asking for help from such binding actions. Jesus, having been the one to give her such a gift of priceless worth stepped into the room. She saw him in the distance with relief. He nodded to her to do what He had prepared her to do in this moment. In an upward motion, and with all of the strength within her, she broke off the hands that were slowly choking out her voice.
His eyes went wide. His grasp on her had been broken. Pain shot through her entire body as she gasped for air. Her throat throbbed.
Then Jesus, in all of His glory, appeared behind her. She was filled with awe as the man could only cower, desperately fighting the urge to kneel to the King of Kings. And as he collapsed to the floor, she stood victorious. Jesus wrapped His arms around her gently and whispered in her ear words that filled her with strength. These words she would forever remember.
Jesus said, “I am so proud of you!”
That is all that she needed to know.

The Treasure

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The past several weeks have not at all gone as I had originally planned. But I guess that is life, right? I am writing this with a smirk because I have begun to find joy in these simple hiccups in plans. God has little blessings and treasures even amidst those times as long as you are able to stop focusing so much on what did not happen!

The fatigue and health issues that I have been having, which I thought were simply from stress and grieving were indeed more than just that. Unbeknownst to me, I have actually had mono. The mono then led to a flare up of tonsillitis.  Because of my diagnosis, I realized just how much I needed to slow down, and not put such high expectations on myself to do everything that I wanted to do. This meant that I did not hand out any Christmas goodies or cards to many people that I originally planned on (sorry everyone). It also meant that I have been learning the art of pacing myself while enjoying every single moment possible to the fullest measure. When one’s energy is low and food puts pressure on an inflamed and swollen spleen, you learn to enjoy every bite because it could be your last for a couple of hours.

I am grateful for everyone who has put in extra effort to help carry loads for me since I am ordered not to do so for at least a month. I am grateful for a husband who helps do laundry, pick up the house, and cook for me while I lay down on the couch. For those who know me well, I am much like my Mom…  a stubborn go-getter, never letting pain and fatigue stop me from living. This is how I have been living my life. I did not realize how serious it was until my spleen was at risk of rupturing. I am thankful that God was protecting me and intervened through the prayers of my husband and my daughter.

Despite all of the physical disruptions to my plans, Christmas has been very full of blessings, sweet surprises, and moments filled with tears as well as laughter. The art of choosing joy is the best way to live life. Cherishing every moment and not getting hung up on how things are so painfully different is also important. What will your focus be on? I choose the positive things. Those people who are right in front of me. A daughter that needs me and wants to be a part of everything even if I am so tired that I feel like the couch is enveloping me.  My husband that chooses to work hard, provide, take care, encourage, and love me as well as our daughter with every fiber in his being blesses me daily. What greater treasure is there than that of the people whom love you and you love?

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Those people are my God given treasure. They remind me just how much God loves me.

I could have chosen the other route. It would have been easy to sink into the misery of what my body has been feeling for over a month and allow that to overtake my thoughts and feelings. I am stubborn.

I choose joy. I choose to be thankful. I want to be the type of woman that has grit! I want to be tough as well as sweet and gracious. I want to be like Jesus whose life was not always full of great circumstances yet he knew whom his Father was and why he needed to choose his ways. Life is not about us. Life is about love and choosing that love above all else. Life is about pointing others to the source of our joy. Life is showing others why we choose the way of living lovingly and joyfully. Life is full of twists and turns with blessings and treasures at every single one of them if we take the time to see them.

Life is beautiful!

God is the source and he is good.

 

 

I Will Exalt You

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Here I am going into the second year of holidays without one of my best friends, my Mom. This time last year I was doing my best to walk the journey day by day uncertain of how the waves of grief might hit me as important traditions ceased and days trailed off. I was not anticipating the grief to take a different face yet have such similar affects on my body as last year. Once again I cannot seem to remember things like I used to, my appetite is either none to completely ravenous, and I am very emotional. To be perfectly honest, this makes me feel a bit angry because I do not like this affect on my body.

Despite all of this, there is a difference. Laughter fills my body clear to my bones. Each day I choose joy and choose love. Letting go has come much easier. The ache still lingers. Tears still fall. Last year I was mourning Mom and continue to miss her each day. But this year I am mourning family as well. It has felt like we have taken hits to our family in all ways after having to fight a battle for our own little one recently. Everything seemed to hit all at once. That alone is exhausting!

Even amidst the issues God has given us victory. He has provided for us like only he can. He has drawn us closer to him. He has drawn us closer as husband and wife. If there is any purpose for the pain in the journey, being intertwined closer with him and with my husband makes it all worth it! That alone gives me a reason to sing. That alone gives me a reason to smile through the tears.

I want to know him more! I want to move in his love and power effortlessly and fully surrendered to him. I want to sing and dance. I want his joy to bubble over onto others. I have known many joyful people that I have wanted to be like. Their joy seemed so contagious. You know the ones I am talking about. They can often be labeled as, “those annoying super positive people out of touch with reality”. I now understand why they always have a positive response. When you spend more time with God and choose his joy, it penetrates every part of your being. You have a reason to be so positive. No Eeyore over here!

He is the source of my strength. He is the source of my joy. He is joy! Because he has won the victory we can persevere with joy through anything. Because he was and is stronger than anything that could come up against him, we have a reason to be full to the point of overflowing with joy!

My heart overflows.

Joy is Jesus.

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The lowly manger scene reveals our source of joy. When God brought the greatest gift to come save us and make a way for us, joy entered our lives. Holy Spirit within us is a reflection of that day, the only virgin birth known in history, and a family knit together by God. The furious love of the King of Kings coming to save the day in the most unlikely way was also anxiously awaited by so many. It was scandalous for the time period. But Mary and Joseph chose to obey. Because of their obedience and God’s perfect timing, joy was sent to all people.

This is the reason I sing. This is the reason I can laugh in the face of grief. This is the reason I love like every second counts. It is why I live.

Jesus.

“I will exalt you; I will praise your name”.

The Journey I Started One Year Ago

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WordPress just announced to me that it is my one-year anniversary since starting to blog on their site. As I reflect on the year where I decided to not allow silence to dictate my life, and instead use the gift of writing God has given me, I see how silence would have been deadly. The enemy tried to steal my voice once. I have the choice to use my voice several different ways. Writing is one of those ways.


When I decided to open myself up and allow others to be a part of my journey of grieving, I never knew the onslaught that would occur. As I wrote it made some people very upset. Still to this day, when I write as God leads, fearlessly writing truth, it upsets and irritates people. I understand that not everyone is going to agree with what I say nor does everyone believe that God works the way that I profess. Despite the venomous words, the attack on my integrity and faith, and the rejection, I have chosen to not be silenced.


I once allowed silence and the fear of not pleasing certain people dictate my every move. That life was horrible. I was caged in. But I was like a songbird longing to sing and take flight. It took several years for God to show me that he had unlocked the cage and it was my choice to get up and walk out of it. He helped me to pick up his sword of truth and take back from the enemy what he had stolen. Ever since that day, God has been bringing me into places of renewed freedom and victory.


By choosing God daily and choosing to use my voice so many other people have been encouraged. Thank you dear readers for letting me know that my journey written out has helped you. Thank you for letting me know that I was not alone. Thank you to those who desired to bless me rather than curse me.


We all have choices to make. I have seen how bitterness causes such destruction. My heart aches for you that have chosen this path. Love will always be waiting with open arms to welcome you back when you so choose it.


In the meantime, be brave dear readers. Do not let fear of what others may think silence you sharing your story. Your story is powerful. Your story is important. You matter so much more than you may ever fully realize.


You can choose to allow God to make something beautiful out of your messy life. After all, the dirty grave did not bother him at all. He is ready to resurrect the dead in your life.


Choose Him. Choose beauty.