Fear

Fear.. It’s dark, thick, and heavy, it threatens to suffocate me. I can’t give in, or I will drown..

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No, I can’t give in, I won’t give in to the fear. It’s real enough.. But my God is more… He gives me songs, scripture, and constantly reminds me He is there. But this is a choice, I could allow my fear to run rampant. That would be so easy. If I look just slightly away from the Lord, it is right there, it’s real.. It’s ready, growing, powerful, angry, and wanting another victim. I won’t be that person, I will keep looking at my Savior. My powerful, gentle, all consuming and relentless love…my source of strength and security.

Psalm 23:4 NLT “Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.”

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I am faced with frightening possibilities, and an unknown diagnosis at this point. I have to have an angiogram done in a couple of days. This is after a visit yesterday with my neurologist, to receive my Botox treatment for my migraines. I mentioned that I passed out three consecutive times, a couple of weeks ago. I also told her about the now daily episodes, of nearly passing out. She sent me to my neurosurgeon immediately. He ordered an MRI of my head and neck with contrast. After reviewing them, he said he is very concerned, because I have narrowing of a main artery that goes into my brain. Thus the need for an angiogram.

I know what that could mean, so I feel a bit like a ticking time bomb. Waiting is hard… If this is what he’s thinking, I could die.

If I allow the fear to take control, and it’s right there.. I will lose all hope. But my hope is in the Lord, no matter the outcome.

I would be lying to say that that fear doesn’t constantly creep up, and take a hold of me. Even more so the Lord keeps reminding me He is right here… Look at me He says. Look to Me, seek Me, rest in Me.. So that is what I am doing. Every single day, second after second. the fear will come back, relentless in it’s greedy pursuit. But God is far more relentless, in love and drawing me near to him, covering me, shielding, with the feathers of His mighty wings.. Yes, I will take refuge there.. If God is for me, who can be against me?

Psalm 91:1-4 ESV “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare
and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.”

When the fear doesn’t take hold of me, distraction attempts to.. An unwanted, painful text comes in at just the wrong moment… the moment I am hearing what the doctor is worried about. A once incredibly close friend, now no longer, happens to be in my sight, and on the same route as me. Reminding me of the anguish I felt, and to some extent still do. This just happens within the subsequent hour of my news… My children begin to try my patience in the next moments..

Psalm 57:2 ESV “I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me.”

Just like the fear, I will not allow the distractions to be successful. I put them on the back burner, to deal with after my health, which must come first after God.. So I look to the Hills, where my help comes from. The Lord, that is always with me. Yes, I am afraid, and I do get distracted momentarily, but I have to choose every single second to keep my eyes on Him. I know He has plans for me, and they are good, even if I can’t understand them. I just choose to trust the God, that has proven to me He is always there, and will always take care of me..

Zephaniah 3:17  NIV “The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”

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#fear #anxiety #scared #God #faith #hope #strength #power #control #life #health #drowning #unknown #death #security

 

Abide in Him

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I have been living in this place of hurt, anger, rejection, disappointment, and life completely spiraling out of control. My health continues to be an issue for me, my kids continue to challenge me, and in my attempt to reconnect/grow relationships with family, I have only found more anger, and discontentment.

In my efforts to regain control/make some headway somewhere, anywhere, I have fallen further down the rabbit hole. I have been struggling friends… My recent surgery to alleviate the pain from my migraines, has helped some, but I continue to have them every day. In addition to that, the surgery itself has further complicated my families’ and my life. I live with new and greater pain. I am limited in what I am able to do, so much so I have had to step back from ministry for a time.

This isn’t what I wanted…this isn’t what was supposed to happen.

I wanted to be better and dive deeper into ministry. I wanted to be healthier, feel better, be able to do normal things again. I want to be able to clean my house all by myself, to do the grocery shopping and errands my family needs done, to work, workout, have a sport I can do for fun, take up my hobbies again, sleep, be human again… That is what this feels like…I feel subhuman. I wanted to break free from the prison of this body I am in. I want to be happy again, to be me.

In my attempts to grow and maintain once lost family relationships, I have encountered more hurt and rejection. Anger surfaced once again, justified without question, but I do not want to live with it.. Further twisting the knife in my heart. The knife tears at me then..

I live in hurt, I am depressed. I feel lost, I feel myself spiraling out of control, the ground beneath my feet disappears. I am left grasping for anything to hold onto. I fall further, deeper, I try in so may ways to find the Hand that reaches for me, but I try in all the wrong ways… Sure, I listen to worship music almost constantly, read my Bible, pray, but smaller prayers, desperate prayers, one way prayers that do not listen for a response. I surround myself with other trusted believers, go to church, listen to sermons online, and I seek the Lord half heartedly.

That is the truth of it… It’s all empty if I am not actively seeking the Lord and His will. In the last couple of weeks, when I was able to go to church, we were supposed to pray for a moment about something. I do not recall what, because I remember knowing that I know what God wants me to do, and I am actively (for the most part) doing it. But I took that moment to pray, “what do you want me to know Lord?” I listened, truly this time, He said, “seek Me.”

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Wow, that took me aback. I thought that I was, but without realizing it I fell off track. My health, my circumstances, my hurt steered me there. And why, how? Well that is simple, as Lysa TerKeurst says, “we steer where we stare.” That is just what I was doing, not intentionally, but that is just the thing. I need to “be intentional,” the words God gave me at the beginning of last year…

By not purposefully seeking Him, by not focusing on Him, by allowing my pain, difficulties, and frustrations to be my focus, He no longer was. I put God on the back burner unintentionally. I became unintentional with Him. I allowed all of those other things to consume me.

So He has redirected my focus, as He is a good God. I had to ask Him for help, He answered that call. It may not have been what I wanted to hear, but it was true, and it hurt…

The hurt was good though.

Months of sleepless nights, have now ended. Last night, without the aid of anything else, I slept better than I have in I don’t know how long… And God gave me a new word, “Abide… Abide in Him…”

I feel whole again, I have been corrected, lovingly..

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So here I am writing again, just as He has shown me so very many times He wants me to do, through so many different means… I want to be a blank canvas, and in a way I am…

Christ paved the way for me, to the Lord, I am precious, perfect, and new. But the fact of the matter is, in this world I am marred, torn, and damaged. I can not be, we can not be, perfect and new, not here. From the moment of our conception we are marred. Every single decision our parents have made. Their parents have made, and their parents parents have made. As well as the decisions they will make, we will make, and all of the decisions that others make, are a stroke on that canvas. They cause damage to the canvas that we are. We need a Professional, the Only Professional to carefully restore the canvas, and to create a new, far more beautiful and precious work of art.

That is what The Lord is doing with me, is doing with all of us that follow Him, that seek Him…

I do not know what He has in store for me… I will abide in him, and He will make me into something far more valuable, far more precious, far more effective than anything I could ever hope to be. I am anxious to see what He will make of me, I know the process will involve difficulty, it will involve more change, there will be pain as the process of restoration is challenging, but it is so worth it…

So here I sit, anxiously and NOT always patiently, LOL, waiting, listening, and seeking Him. He draws me near, draws you near, to help us become all that He knows we can be.. What is the Lord saying to you my friend? Will you listen? Will you become all that He has in store for you to be? Join me in this, be more, be love, be intentional, and be more effective. Answer the call, you will not ultimately, regret it!

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#abide #seekHim #seektheLord #seeking #family #hurt #depression #pain #choices #God #faith #Jesus #answerthecall  #beintentional #belove #purpose #difficulty

Silent Suffering

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It’s amazing how quickly life can consume you, and threaten to completely suffocate you… Oh how it has drained me, and invaded my safe places, my restful places… It has pulled me down, and I am battle weary… Time after time, I gain ground, I see where my Hope is, I focus on the Lord.. Only then do I have renewed energy, strength, and peace. Amazing grace, endless mercy, Love beyond all comprehension… How is it then that the slightest thing happens, and I lose sight of my Hope, my Lord?? This battle has been vicious and long, it is relentless, and overwhelming. It comes at me on all sides, throughout the day and the night, never ceasing… Relentless, growing, enveloping me in it’s thorny tentacles, laughing in my face, telling me I will not be ok, seeking to make me crumble out of sheer desperation.

I have this disease, Psoriatic arthritis. It doesn’t sound so bad, but let me tell you with each day, and every step I take it morphs into something worse. I have debilitating pain. Every single joint, every tissue inflamed, terrible migraines. Every. Single. Day. Complete and utter exhaustion, not the I didn’t get enough sleep kind.. It’s more like the I ran, and did manual labor non-stop for a week, and now I am going to collapse kind.. Complete depletion of all my reserves, and beyond.. My body can take no more, but sleep does not come, or it comes fitfully..

I have nightmares each night, I wake up screaming many nights. Everything is hard, everything is overwhelming. My skin gets lesions, and unheard of rashes. Oh and this is new territory, because all I had experienced in this area until now, was nothing compared to what I am currently experiencing. You see I now have the understanding of how it can affect my female parts. I have lesions inside and on my girly area. So painful… It is like having open blisters on and in there. The pain never ending..

After trying every single preventative, and treatment I could for my migraines, I was so desperate for relief, that I (after as much research as I could find) had a device implanted to alleviate the pain from the migraines. That was incredibly invasive, and painful… Thirty hours of driving in all, in whiteout conditions at times. Being hospitalized from complications of the surgery, having my head shaved, emotionally scarring me. After all of that, it does not work. Not only that, but after consulting with new doctors, better highly recommended doctors, I found out with my disease and symptoms, I should never have had that surgery. It can, has, and will exacerbate my migraines, the scar tissue on my occipital nerves causing far more harm.

Now I am looking at having to go through it all again to remove the device. I am also looking at having to have surgery on my neck to help regain strength in my right arm, and to hopefully alleviate some of my migraines.

I am completely overwhelmed. I am full of pain, sorrow, and longing to be human again… I can’t do normal things anymore. I have no life. I constantly have to cancel, or tell my friends I can not go out with, or hang out with them. Losing many in the process. Not because I want to, I am desperate to have time with those I love again… It hurts, no one can see on the outside what I am going through, they think I am a flake, or do not really want to do things with them.

I become more and more isolated… Each thing I chose to do costs me dearly… I have to be very careful with my choices, I have a limited amount of them, and I will pay for them, I always do… I have a family that needs me. I may have a day that is good here or there, and I take full advantage of them, because they are few and far between. I never know when I will have another one..

This is not life, this is a prison, and I lose more and more of myself each day… The darkness blinds me, it laughs once again… It tells me I will not be ok, there is no hope.. Why I am here anyways?? Wouldn’t everyone be better off if I were gone? If I did not burden them anymore? Couldn’t they be happy again, and normal, if only I would cease to exist? Wouldn’t their lives be better? Without me??

But that is not true… The darkness lies.

You see I have Hope, and I have Joy.. It defies all understanding.. If I look to the Lord, and all the messengers of love, hope, peace, joy, and comfort that He sends me, if I focus on Him, I can live again… It takes constant work, constant vigilance, if I do not do that, I will be consumed. I will be consumed then, because I will be looking at my circumstances, instead the truth.

The truth is my Heavenly Father is with me, He will help me bear the load, He will give me hope, joy, and peace.. And He does! I am human, I make mistakes, I focus on the pain, I focus on the hopelessness of it all, I feel overwhelmed, consumed, desperate, depressed, alone… But that is not true..

The Lord kindly, gently, lovingly, and with longing at times, reminds me of the truth. He is the truth. I am loved, He is my Hope, He is my Joy, he is my Peace, my Comfort, He is LOVE… When I redirect my focus to Him, it all fades away.. I am filled with all the things He is… My circumstances do not define me… What freedom there is in that! Yes, I will fall again, but He will pick me back up. He always does, He always has.

I see Him everywhere, in everything, I hear His voice.. How beautiful, how gentle, how strong! He takes the time to speak to me, because I am His… He loves me, and nothing else matters…

If you suffer, I pray that you find Him. I can not imagine life without Him. I would not be here anymore.. I will gladly speak privately to you if you have any opinions, or questions about any of this. I do not have all the answers, but I can get them, or put you in touch with people that do. There is no judgement here, only love, and hope. I love you all my friends…

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#pain #suffering #silence #hurt #life health #God #faith #hope #healing #joy #Jesus

The Rain Fell

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I sit here alone, completely enveloped in my thoughts and emotions…. They run low, and deep, like a strong current twisting through the darkest corners of my mind. Immersed in the stench of the muck, and mire, I can not move. I can not help myself. I’m so low, I fear I can go no lower.. I hurt so deeply, so completely.. I bleed anguish and pain. Oozing with the purulent debris of my heartache.. It threatens to overwhelm me, to fully consume me to a point that is so dangerous, so hopeless. Thoughts run through my head, situations unravel, twist, and tangle about, all at the same time. Dare I tell anyone how low I have gone? They won’t understand… I know I have to tread so carefully, so lightly, lest I fall into the vast abyss of my emotions.

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Such is the state of my mind as I live with anxiety, PTSD, depression, and an empathetic heart that loves deeply. In a moment my world can crash around me. Only God can change that for me, if I look to Him.

For the longest time now, life has happened TO me. Even in my best times, I still haven’t seen the choices I could make, the power I actually had to change my circumstances. Relationships ending, leaving me my confused, frustrated, and my heart broken, full of pain. I stand here now uncertain. Which way do I turn, how do I salvage what is left of these relationships? Is it even possible? Is it even worth the trouble, the risk, the heartache? What if I do make a decision to set a boundary, will I lose these relationships?

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As I weigh these questions and relationships in my mind, I feel so conflicted. I don’t want to allow my past hurts to shape my current relationships. Although it is hard not to.. I am a person that goes deep with others. I feel deeply.. love deeply.. and hurt deeply.. That is a good thing, as it allows me to fully open my life up to my friends, forging deep connections. Although it can also open me up to deep anguish. That is the place I am in right now.

Actions speak louder than words.. I hear words of affirmation, with no actions to support those words. In fact, the actions are in stark contrast to the words spoken.

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When I am the only one putting effort into the relationship, time after time, what kind of relationship is it truly? When time, love, forgiveness, and sharing can be made in regards to others, but not me, what does that really say? Oh the words spoken to me offer me hope, but there is no evidence to support those words. Why then do I hang on, and hope? I want to cut off the painful relationships, but don’t want my past hurts to be the reason. That is what i truly fear.. I am afraid if I make a decision, because of their actions, that I will end something that never would have ended. That I will self destruct my life. So I hang on.

That is until now..

Actions speak louder than words.. God is showing me the truth here, they are showing my the truth here..

It is time for me to take charge of my life. I am not a bystander, so why act like one?

Do not ignore what people show you to be true. That is what I am learning. I am not cutting anything off. I just am not allowing myself to be hurt anymore. I am setting boundaries. Boundaries are good. Just like I won’t allow anyone toxic to be in my life, nor should I, I will not allow a relationship that has become toxic to hurt me anymore.

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You see the rain always fell on me, and I covered my head to shelter myself from the storm. Sometimes however, you need to let the rain fall to cleanse your soul. I am there now. I let the rain fall, both literally and figuratively.

I came out of that storm feeling refreshed and new.

I have a clearer vision now.

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I can see these relationships for what they are. So I no longer allow them to cause me any further anguish. I am focusing on the friends and family, that love me. That pour into me. For too long now I have been distracted trying to mend relationships that were never intended to be repaired. I have wasted my time, heart, and energy on the wrong people. I found that I question myself, not trusting my own judgment far too often..

I hear the Holy Spirit in the quiet still part of my heart and mind. Unfortunately time and time again, I have not listened, thinking I know better, I can fix this. I was wrong.. I only brought more pain into my life by attempting to do so. Also losing my focus on The Lord. Well no more..

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I will focus on God, and the people He has brought into my life, that love, support, encourage, and hold me accountable. The people that make time for me, the people who are there when I need them the most. My true friends, and family. I love them, and I love myself enough to change.

Change is hard. Painful even. But it is for the better.

I will focus on God more, and relationships second. I will not waste my time, energy, tears, and heart on people that will not appreciate and be careful, with my gentle heart. I have value, God says so. So I will look to Him and let Him tell me where to invest.

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I have a beautiful future ahead of me, if only I look to the Lord for direction. Eyes on Him alone. I want to be His masterpiece. So shape me Lord… I submit my life, all of me, to You alone..

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#pain #hurt #anguish #relationships #choices #path #friends #family #God #hope #faith #strength #life #love

“Sticks & Stones”

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“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never harm me…” But words do hurt, they have power.. They can have the power to heal, but they also can have the power to cause pain. It depends on our choices. Recently I was reminded of this. I thought about the regret that can be felt with words. I myself have regretted mine countless times. In this situation, it was someone else that either regretted their words, or just didn’t want anyone to know of them..

I can identify with both. There were times I did not regret my words, but certainly didn’t want others to know them. Those were times when I was hurt, or wrongly treated, and felt justified in having said them. Words that came from my pain, my injustice..

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As my walk with God became stronger, and closer, that changed for me however. I rarely say words I regret on purpose. Although like anyone, from time to time I lose my cool.

If I do say words that hurt, I truly regret them, and give a heartfelt apology. God has shown me that with my gift of writing, so also comes a great deal of responsibility. I pray and weigh my words carefully. Although I will likely make a mistake along the way, I will make amends when that occurs.

In my last post, a revised a previous one. I know some of you have mentioned it seemed like a new one, that was rather vague. That was done to make amends to a person that I hurt, even though I had done nothing wrong. Other than allowing some of the hurt they brought, to come through. At the time, I know I did what God wanted me to, not perfectly, but to the best of my ability. Once I became aware of the pain that was felt (even though I left so many painful details out) I did revise that post, and apologize.

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Because this was never about them, if it were, I would not have held back so very much.. This is about what happens when difficult life challenges occur, and how God helps me to still follow Him, and reconcile all that occurs, through His filter. The point of this is to share that, in hopes of helping others do the same.. Because life is messy, and relationships are hard. Without God what, or whom, would we have left??

When I went up north with my family for Thanksgiving, I had this on my heart to share.

I was reminded of what it feels like to say something you regret, not just to be on the receiving end of that. I hoped it was regret that fueled those new hurtful words, and not just wanting to keep things secret, even though so very much still is.

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We had the blessing of spending time with family immediately, then again after. That was also when new ground was taking place. I knew I needed to revise my post to nurture this relationship, and hopefully amend the one that is still broken. I pondered all of this as I was up there..

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I woke bright and early, even though I was quite ill. I was very crabby, and felt miserable.. Instead of being crabby with my family, I decided to do something productive. So I went for a walk. IMG_2711The first thing I saw was that there were changes, many of them.. Bella was gone..no more sweet talks and pets/nudges with her.. I was sad to see she was gone.. I still am.. The other cows just aren’t the same..

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There were fewer cats, and no kittens. It seemed as though there were a couple less chickens, and they weren’t laying as many eggs. So much change.. (Later that day, I would find some of our family missing from Thanksgiving dinner as well, besides the few I already knew would not be with us.) My children were gone for a time also. That was quite difficult for us.IMG_2748

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So I began my walk, which was less than happy from the start.. I was not in a good place, and every second seemed worse than the last. As I began to walk, I was feeling sorrow over no longer being able to run. This was always my favorite place to do so..

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So I began a conversation with God. I told Him just how I was feeling, starting with not liking that I could no longer run. As I made my complaints verbally known (because He always knows..) I heard Him say in my heart, “who said you need to run to spend time with Me? Who said you need to even walk? You can be still, and spend time with Me, in fact sometimes I want you to be still, and you can listen too…”

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As I said ok, I will walk with you and I will listen, my heavy heart, foul mood. and lassitude began to change. I found myself feeling lighter, feeling happy, then feeling joy. God wanted me to slow down, and take in His creation. So I did, and as I did I couldn’t believe how I felt.. I was completely full of joy, and free.. I couldn’t run, but that no longer mattered, it doesn’t matter at all.

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I took time to watch the sunrise, take photos, a hobby of mine, and just appreciate nature and that this time anyways, I could walk. I went off in the woods along some deer trails. I took photos, I looked at everything from a different perspective, God’s. It was amazing, it was truly beautiful, and I was sincerely grateful..

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I looked at that long road, and enjoyed my walk with brief outings in the woods. I saw antiques along the way, beautifully worn, and some beautifully restored. All beautiful though.

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I saw a Turkey. How fitting on Thanksgiving morning! I enjoyed watching it strut around. I saw trees, old and new.

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I saw broken parts of the road, as well as newly resurfaced. I saw years of wear, yet it was still there. This road that takes people, places, whether in their vehicles, on bikes, running, walking, or wheeling down the road.

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I saw paths to choose from, some less traveled, some highly trafficked. I saw clearings and I saw heavily wooded areas. I saw death, and I saw life. I saw refuse cast aside, left along side the road. I heard the river in the distance, and the train as well. I heard birds calling, and squirrels clicking. I saw much, and took in much.

As I was feeling so completely full of bliss, I saw an orange hat up in the tree. As I walked further, I saw the silhouette of a man all in orange.. Oh no! It was hunting season. And there I was all in black with my furry hood, and my outings in the woods, and on deer trails.. I believe my lack of (this pertinent) knowledge was protected by God as I talked with Him.. I heard all about how dangerous it was when I went back home. I was like a huge five year old out there, but a happy one. Fortunately protected from myself. I can’t believe I did that!!

During my time out there God showed me that though I had done nothing wrong with my blog, I now knew that post was causing pain.. So He showed me it was time to change it, and make peace and help healing to occur by doing so, and issuing the apology. I meant it, and that was all that mattered.

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So I finished my time there, and once I was home and had a good internet connection, I did just that. Much to my surprise, it wasn’t hard to do at all. It was the right thing, and I am glad that I did it. no matter what has come my way since then.

Those words, they did hurt at first. This person didn’t even know me, she never met me.. Why did her ignorant, judgmental, and hurtful words cause me such pain? Well that’s just it, words do hurt. Unlike what we said growing up.. It should say “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will always harm me.. and likely haunt me at just the wrong (or right) time, for the rest of my life.”

We have the Power through Jesus to free ourselves from those words however. It is as simple as listening to who He says we are, loved, redeemed, precious, sons and daughters, priceless, forgiven and worthy… We choose to forgive what has been said to free ourselves, and reaffirm in our minds what God says about us. When that takes hold, freedom occurs. Those wrongful words, those unjust, hurtful words, even those true words, can be left behind. In their place lies freedom, joy, hope, love, forgiveness, sonship, redemption, worthiness, value, and sanctification.

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I choose to live in the place that God says I belong. In the place where I am His daughter, His joy, His love… True freedom occurs in that place no matter what our circumstances try to dictate. Only God, gets to define who I am… I am beloved, precious, forgiven, worthy, and His..

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#freedom #pain #hurt #relationships #family #faith #hope #joy #love #God #blessings #difficulty #farm #Thanksgiving #truth #honesty #difficultpeople #people

Loving the Hurt

I have never been more stretched, had my faith and this heart that Jesus gave me, put so greatly under fire.. Love and unity are of paramount importance to me.. This is the burden which is also a blessing that Lord gave me: to love even when it’s difficult, even when it sometimes seems undeserved, in fact especially then. There is so much pain in the world, those hurting can often look like the ones that do not deserve it as they lash out, likely from pain. After all, isn’t that what Jesus did for me, for us? I did not deserve His love, but He called me and loved me in-spite of me. In-spite of all my hurt, all of my ugliness, all of my wretchedness.

So I answered the call when God put this mission on my heart. For five years now,  I have loved a person that I believe loves me to some extent. For the first year there was loving, and acceptance of me. So it was much to my surprise when the first time came, that was just plain hurtful.  I believe there are conflicting feelings here, because where there is very love and friendliness towards me, even parental like love, there are times that have been incredibly hurtful to me, sometimes overtly. Hurtful words, digs, things that would  chip away at me, at my heart. Almost always done when I was isolated, or over the phone, although sometimes the digs occurred in front of others, but with a laugh.

I believe all comes from a place of unimaginable pain. Pain I cannot even begin to understand. I know that, and I have patiently endured much, to show love. Love that is so deep within me, I can not separate where it is, and where I begin. On my own, I am nothing, I have no redeeming qualities. But God tells me differently. He gave me this heart, and it has grown so much it consumes me. I have to be so careful with it though, because it is so vulnerable. The same heart that makes me love so deeply, also can be hurt very deeply.

I am in a place of deep hurt right now, but even through this I choose to love. My heart is heavy.. I want unity more than anything else, and here in my personal life, I have found division. Division that was not necessary, but has happened none the less, at least temporarily. I pray that it is temporary, I pray for them all the time, daily of late. I found myself in a place that was so incredibly difficult. I prayed and had many praying for us, as well. God showed me that I did have to say something about this conflict. My job was what was asked of me, and to do so in love. So I did.. I really did not want to have this conversation.. but I knew that I must.

So with God’s help, and only His help, I did have that conversation, in a loving, calm, compassionate, and sympathetic manner. No matter the hurtful things that at times were said, I remained calm. I truly felt sympathy, and was so apologetic for both having to have this conversation, the pain I was sure the content caused, and the pain that is felt on a daily basis. In the end no matter how calm I was, or the compassion, patience, or  understanding given, all that was heard unfortunately, were lies. I am certain the enemy spun them just as fast as he could, to drown out what I actually said. Unfortunately in the end, the lies triumphed, and now we are here.

This skewed reality has now become real in their minds. Just as I said in the conflict, about perception unfortunately becoming reality, so it has played out and has affected our relationship currently. What I was trying to change, to give an opportunity for changer and clarification where needed, morphed into this mess we are in. Once that conversation was over, I knew of the unfortunate disaster that had taken place. That was when all that I had held back, what God had helped me to hold back, came flooding in, in torrents of tears, and deep soulful heart aching sobs.

Even through this, I chose love, and still do. I hurt for the hurt that is felt, and the hurt that is caused others by this ripple in reality.. I hurt that division has taken place rather than reconciliation, and shared understanding, mutual goals, and love. I sought Godly council from a few trusted friends, ones that would not be afraid to call me out if need be. That is what I wanted here, I wanted truth, unity and love. If I was wrong in any way I wanted to know, and to make amends. That is not what I heard however.. God showed me that I did exactly what He wanted me to, and did so in love, to the best of my ability.

Does that mean it was perfect? No, it does not. It meant that God wanted me to know, given all I went through, and all of the gifts, grace, love, and abilities He had developed in me thus far, I did the right thing. I did the best thing, and He was proud of me. God did not want me to feel guilt, were there was none. Given my desire for truth and love, I did go over things again and again in my head. I rethought, reevaluated, recalculated the possibilities, always searching for the best possible outcome, and more importantly how best to please Him. I desire all I do to be done in love, and I want to know when I am wrong. In this situation both from the words the Lord gave me, and from my council, I did the best I could, and God gave me peace in that moment. I have carried it since then, and that is such relief..

Since then however the word of God has been used as a weapon.. This is hard, and so complicated.

I want unity, and love, and pray that is desired on the other end of this relationship..

There is so much more, but the point of this is how to love, when loving is hard.. The ways I still love are multifaceted. I do so by seeing people, these people included, as people that are in pain. Most people who are acting or reacting negatively are in pain. There is almost always a hurt behind it. If you can look around the person to see their pain, or at least remember that none of us knows exactly what someone else has been through, then you can rather easily imagine they have been through something you can not understand. We all have hurts.

Second, but primary for me, is to love as God loved me. Does that look perfect? No, but if you can think of who you were, who you are, and despite all you may have done, that the God of the universe loves you, called you by name, and made you His, though you did nothing to deserve it, that makes it easier. Yes, in the moment it is difficult, and you will make mistakes. But if your desire is to please Him, and to love as He first loved you, as He still does, more than we deserve or can fathom, then it becomes easier. Remember that mistakes, are learning opportunity. God will always give you another chance. Perhaps not with the same person or situation, but He will give you as many opportunities as you are willing to try, perhaps more.

Here is the other thing, if you are trying to obey, and please the Lord, to work for His kingdom, and if you have done the best that you can in His name, then you are not the one being rejected. Yes, it may be taken out on you, but ultimately it’s not about you, it’s about their relationship and journey with God. If they are angry with Him, or don’t believe, then it is so easy for them to take it out on you when you represent Him, in His love.

I still do (and choose to) love and pray that God will heal this hurt. In fact, I love all the more, because of the hurt and need for love. I have forgiven, though I admit it has been difficult. I choose to forgive, because it is right, and because being angry will not make anything better. Though I admit, it took God to quell the rage I once felt inside, due to all the hurtful things said and done. Only He can do that. I thank Him for that, and for the Godly council that also pointed that out to me.

I pray for reconciliation.. I pray for unity, and for peace. I pray that truth will flood hearts and minds. I pray that just I once had to have it pointed out to me that in my relationships, they are not my enemy, that it will be seen that neither am I. I pray that God’s love is felt, and the healing that only He can bring will take place. I pray for unity and restoration.

I leave this in God’s hands, and pray that He will continue to help me love, no matter what actions take place. I admit that is so difficult when it comes to my kids. I know God is growing me in this area. I submit to Him, and ask that He helps me to learn all that I can from this situation, and to apply it to every situation I am in. Growth can be difficult. Actually, it always is, who am I kidding?! But I am grateful for it, and desire to learn, so that I can do more for His Kingdom… I am grateful for this, and for the insights the Lord gives me as He teaches me. I pray that this will help someone else in challenging circumstances, to choose love.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 ESV “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

 

 

Conflicting Feelings

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I have so many conflicting feelings at this time of the year. I have the joy of time spent with the family I love, that loves me, yet I also dread the pain it will bring. That pain is both physical and emotional. Physically it will be quite difficult for me to bear. I will have intense migraines, which have already begun in anticipation of the upcoming stress, noise, and emotional distress I am already feeling in regards to other family situations.. I will have extreme joint pain, and physical pain all over my body from the nights not spent in my own therapeutic bed, and the walks I will take to try to decompress, and alleviate my migraines with the crisp cool air.

I look forward to this time with my family as well. There will be meaningful conversations with my sisters, and time spent making memories with all of my family, some playing games, some on those walks, some in the kitchen helping my mother in-law with thanksgiving dinner. Still others will be time spent with my nieces, nephew, and children. I look forward to the country time, slow, and quiet.. Time walking and talking to the cows, to Bella, time searching for eggs, and kittens, time appreciating the serenity God has blessed us with there.. There will be time to share difficulties, and triumphs. God will meet us there where we lift our burdens to Him, and have community, the community which He designed us to desire, and need.

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Yet my heart is also broken… There will be family not seen, not heard from, family that will be missing. My beautiful eldest daughter and my soon to be, son in law, will be with my parents, where I am unable to go.. My sister, her husband and children, in another part of the country, unable to make it here, and us there. The separation is so hard, but at least I do have my sister and her family, and my Daughter and son in law in my life. For that I thank the Lord, He is the Healer that brought us back together. I will see them soon, although I do wish it could be much sooner..

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Then there is my most recent and raw heartbreak.. The family that no longer wants us. Oh how that hurts.. I (we) have tried everything.. I have been loving, kind, patient, apologized for any hurt that may have been caused, all so far, to no avail. In my last communication I did just that. I apologized from my heart, sincerely trying to mend whatever is broken. I made it known that my children are unaware of all that has transpired.. They desperately want to see them. I told them I would give them my trust if they choose to see them. They don’t have to see me, or us, to see our children. To which I received a monotone response, accepting my apology, indicating I am forgiven, and without mention whatsoever of seeing the children.

I have tried so hard to shield my children, both for their sake, and for the sake of those that are choosing this path. Unfortunately the question arose, which it obviously, inevitably would. While it was just the two of us in the car, my son asked, “what about (them) will we see (them)? I would be sad not see all of our family.” I took a long deep breath, and carefully weighed my response. I couldn’t ignore the question, but I also didn’t want him to know. I still have hope, and am trying so hard to do damage control all the way around. After a quick prayer, and some thought, I told him, “I’m sorry, no we aren’t going to see them. I am sad too, we are sad..”

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The long and short of it was I had to explain that they just hurt too much to see us right now. That it has nothing to do with any of us, and we (you) haven’t done anything wrong, it is just too painful for them. We are still trying, and hope that one day they will feel better. We can pray for them to feel better, that God heals their hurt, and hope that they will feel well enough to see us again one day.

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My kids (once we told our daughter) were both sad to hear this of course, but there was no way around it. The last thing I want is for my kids to feel a sense of guilt, rejection, or to be angry with them. I have done my best to shield all involved in this situation, so that reconciliation can still occur, more easily.. The good thing is my kids are so forgiving. It should be relatively easy for my kids to accept them back, when they are ready, I thank God for that..

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God has helped me to forgive them, and continue to do so. I am grateful for that. My heart is broken, but that is because I love them, and want them to be in our lives. Our relationship is currently broken, and God does not want that, we don’t want that, I don’t even think they do.. They just hurt too much for healing right now, too much to see that the door that has been opened wide in front of them, that they simply, need only walk through. So I pray.

Prayer is the only way through any of this. Life is not perfect, we live in a fallen world. I couldn’t do this, couldn’t get through all of this hurt, this pain, without God. I thank Him for giving me the strength to get through, and to forgive. Otherwise I would be a very bitter person, that would have seemingly no reason to go on.

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I can’t imagine going through all of this, through life, without Him. It is no wonder people turn to the vices they do… to taking their own lives.. It is all so overwhelming… If I didn’t have the Lord, my Faith, my Hope, my Joy, my Peace, I would be in that same situation. I thank God for helping me to get through this. He is the only reason I am still ok, even though I hurt immensely in every way.. God gives me the hope and peace to get through. Yes the emotions will arise again, but God will be there when I ask Him to take them away, and fill me with peace, time and time again.. His mercy, grace, and love is infinite.. He has all I (we) need, if only we ask..

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#family #hurt #hardship #conflict #life #hope #faith #joy #peace #God #pain #healing #resolution #reconciliation #time #seperation #apart

Overcomer

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Life can be so hard, no one ever said it would be easy. In fact John 16:33 tells us “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” This statement was not to bring us worry, anxiety, or fear. It was to tell us we can have peace, hope, and confidence. I have seen this and lived it, sometimes poorly, leaving destruction all around me. Other times well, bringing peace, healing, and growth. We have choices to make when trouble comes. Trouble of our own doing, or done by others. Both of which I have lived, we all have.

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In my own life I have hurt relationships, caused pain, and a loss of hope and faith. I have damaged those I love most… I have also seen trouble happen and watched the ripple effect that it causes. I have been affected by both those hurting, and those that inflict pain more times than I could ever count. Those that inflict pain have left scars for certain.. That is a different kind of pain, and it is lasting. Although with God I have found healing. Those hurting however are in a more dangerous place in a way.. They don’t see what they are causing. They are so wrapped up in their hurt that they are blind to the ripple effect they bring. I have been that person..

Currently I have a situation that continues to disseminate. That was born of deep sorrow, and unimaginable pain. That pain has caused division in multiple relationships, only further causing themselves more pain. More pain, more anger, more separation. What a vicious cycle it is.. There is complete blindness (I believe) to all of this. I know there is conviction as well, but that is reasoned away, and brings forth more anger. Love has been poured into this relationship for years. People have left that were close to them. People have been pushed away, shut out. We are those people now. Others have been in the past. All from their hurt, and anger with God.

It hurts so much to be in that ripple, and to know that no matter what we do, how much love we show, how much forgiveness, and the multiple efforts to give new roads as a healing option, trying it all with God’s prompting and restoration in our hearts, it is still rejected. I wish, I have prayed, that these hearts would be softened, that they would truly want some healing. Apparently they are not there yet. I continue to pray, and do what I can to shield those I love from the hurt, and rejection. Ultimately it’s between them and God. God can do anything..

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In my own life I have caused some of the same things. I have virtually lost one of my very best friends with my sin. I have become a stumbling block for her. I have caused her to lose faith, to lose hope. What an egregious sin.. I have asked forgiveness, and sought help in multiple ways. The damage is there now though, and it causes us both great pain. God can heal that, and I pray for healing. Not only have I caused her pain and loss of faith, but also I have caused those closest to me deep pain and hurt. We are all getting help for that. I pray for forgiveness and restoration. This is a work in progress, I am a work in progress. I do have faith, hope, and peace however. God has forgiven me, and continues to restore, but it is a long road. One that I must be committed to, and one that requires more than me to repair and put effort into. All of us are doing that.

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How differently things turn out when you chose to shine light on the truth, the sin, and allow God to work by submitting to Him. By humbling yourself, and exposing the sins, the lies, God comes in and heals, and restores relationships, and hearts. He will not force it, we have free will. The other situation is an example of how we can limit God, and by doing so, cause further damage. The ripple never ends, in that place, unless you are willing to admit your sin, and seek help. How differently things work out then..

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God showed me last night how large that ripple effect can be, and that, is just what I can see. Both in my life, and in the lives of the other people I mentioned. God showed me how alike in some ways I have been, and how different I have been in my choice to follow Him and allow Him to shine light on my sin. That was the most difficult thing I have ever done… Bar none..

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Let me tell you that I reached out to two people that I respected and trusted, looking for help. To confess, and then receive guidance. One of those people judged me, judged us, and left my life.. The other heard all of the ugly, the unthinkable, and responded in love, and without judgement.. That second person is the one who lead me down this path. She will forever be incredibly near and dear to me. She knows me completely, and she still loves me, still doesn’t judge me, but you can bet she will hold me accountable. That is what I want. Without accountability, we can and likely will, fall back into our sin. I love her more than I could ever say for that… She still guides me, and is helping to heal what I have broken. She allows God to work though her. She is love to me, to us… I adore her, and am forever grateful for her ability to hear the ugliness without judgement, but telling me like it is. I respect her for that. I want to be like her. I want to be the person, the kind of friend, that people can come to with ugliness, and be truthful, but in love.. That is what I aspire to be.

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I need relationships like that. Those are real. They will hold me accountable, and still love me when I fail. I am blessed to have a few like this. I thank God for that. That is true friendship, and so necessary for growth. I surround myself, well God has, with those people. I still have all kinds of friends, and love them all dearly, I pray they know that.

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To the friend I hurt most. Please forgive me. Please don’t let my sin challenge your faith. Go to the one I spoke of, she will help you. I am forever sorry, and have asked God to forgive me for being a stumbling block to you. You are one of the most important people in my life. and always will be. I love you..

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#hope #sin #division #restoration #God #faith #choices #decisions #life #joy #peace #growth #accountability #forgiveness #hurt #friendship #darkness #light #love #blessed

Change of Seasons

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Little did I know, that this crisp frosty Autumn morning held a special blessing for me. As the sun shone brightly, I saw her gorgeous shimmering gold spun hair fully illuminated, sparkling as it was wrapped in the sun’s kiss of light. Then she turned, and her beautiful glowing face smiled at me sweetly, as her tiny hand came up to wave goodbye to me. Twice… My heart soared, as this has no longer been a part of her routine with me of late. I sat their filled with joy, hope, my heart full, but in that same moment I took a mental snapshot of this precious fleeting memory. Just like that moment I took in so very long ago, though only yesterday it seems…

I can still feel her in my arms, her warmth, her soft sweet baby scent, her tiny gentle breaths, and soft grunting/clicking/cooing sounds as she fell asleep, the weight of her in my arms, so full they felt as if they would give way after a time, Her soft fleece resting against my skin, her skin… her soft sweet silky warm skin against mine. Oh that moment… I knew it could be one of the last in that season of life, so I soaked it in saying, “I will always, always, remember this” closing my eyes to fully immerse myself in her precious tininess, allowing my senses to become fully alive and completely intoxicated with her, to retain that incredibly beautiful, and soon to become, distant memory.

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Just like that day so long ago, I quickly realized this moment too could be the last in this season of life. I was filled with sorrow and anguish momentarily, tears coming freely to wet my cheeks. Just as quickly as my emotions changed, God reminded me of that precious memory I now have, that He also spoke to my heart long ago. So, I took a mental snapshot, and I will always, always, remember this morning, this gift God gave me. How good is our God that He would help me to be so keenly aware of a moment so beautiful, and so fleeting all at the same time? Yet He loves me enough to do so. So now I have two memories so very dear, so full of emotion, that it is incredibly hard to write this.

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My eyes are blurry full of the weighty, warm, salty tears that role down my wet cheeks and nose, and fall to my desk as I continue to write. My heart full of gratitude, love, and sorrow.. Though I need not feel that sorrow, this is all normal, and I have the blessing of this memory. I recall how just last week, I thought, “when did the last time happen? I missed it..” I went to my small group, and had a conversation with my fellow blogger, we spoke for a little while about my current struggle, and how it would be in my next post. As I stood there looking at her beautiful young face, her perfect little baby bump, knowing she has a toddler at home as well, I knew she was not yet in this season. (Although I remember well the struggles of that season of life.) Tears were flowing  freely and unexpectedly as I told her of my deep heartbreaking pain of no longer being in that season. These were the kind of tears that flow heavily, without crying, yet unable to be thwarted. I was embarrassed knowing this was all so normal, but even so I was incredibly emotional about it. Although I shouldn’t have been embarrassed, our kids growing up, is a very emotionally difficult thing to watch. At times we have tears of joy, moments of elation, at times we are frustrated, impatient, but still at other times their “normal” brings our hearts sorrow. Motherhood is not for the faint of heart.

I am reminded of how our children are one of our best insights into what the Father goes through with us. God uses our children to teach us. Through this gift, we see how like our children we are in God’s eyes, but also what we can do to change. At times He is full of joy at the attention and growth He sees in us. Other times we turn our backs on Him, by putting other things first, other people perhaps, or just plain not focusing on Him. There are so very many things to distract us in this world, in this life. How we must hurt His heart when we do not spend time with Him… say good morning.. say goodnight.. or go about our day without thinking about, or talking to Him throughout. Ahhh, I am guilty of this.. I do so well for awhile. Then before I know it, I am less available to Him. How that must hurt Him.. Although, I know because of the gift of my children, how much joy we bring Him as well.. How much joy I can bring Him, if I am intentional.

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So I strive to do my best. I will fail at times, I will have seasons of life that are transforming, usually through hardship, but I will be better as a result. Just as my children will be with each season of their lives. These have to happen to transform them, and us. Otherwise they would never be ready to leave our homes, and we would completely fall apart when they did. This change is necessary, and good. Although I admit it doesn’t feel that way. Then again, it doesn’t feel that way as I go through hardships, and trials either.. Ultimately however I am better for them, I am being sanctified, and transformed into who I really am, who I really am meant to be.

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Change is hard, but good. So I will remember that as each season comes and goes, and I will pray for more gifts like this morning, and like that seemingly endless late night so long ago. Defining moments that I will always, always, remember, and will be able to recall when I am in a new and difficult season. Just as there are moments of my own life that I recall were so difficult, but in the end God helped me to be better having gone through them, or in-spite of going through them depending on the circumstances for the hardship. Those memories are the gifts that God uses to help me get through each new trial. For that I am forever grateful. Oh how He loves us, how He loves me… a love so unfathomable, understanding so much deeper than our own. I can not think of a grater gift, or anyone else hands I would rather be in. Thank you Lord for your unexpected blessings..

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#blessings #preciousmoments #life #lessons #children #family #growing #change #love #hope #joy #God #faith #pain #sorrow #tween #teen #heart #heartbreak #heartache #baby

 

A New Creation

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There are moments that still surprise me. Whispers of love that find me.. Each time I am taken by surprise. In those moments.. I find that I (apparently) matter to people. That sounds so simplistic, but it is not for someone like me. There is a battle in my mind every single day in that regard. We all want to matter, don’t we? Even if you feel relatively secure, you want to matter to someone. How much more so when you are constantly told that you do not?? For most of my life I was told just how much I did not matter, that I did not belong, and how un-worthy I was, that no one would ever want me. Those words took residence in my mind and heart in time. To this day no matter how often I am told, or shown, I feel like I do not matter, or belong.

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There are whispers of truth everywhere though… More and more they come to me. God sends them using messengers of love, truth, hope, joy, song, as well as opportunities for me to be that for my sister or brother in need. Just this past Sunday I was reminded of this yet again, as I found myself standing there surrounded with love. I stood there in a awe, as I found love waiting for me. Love seeking me. Love intentionally coming to me. I found myself, my soul uplifted, thinking afterwards, “wow, really?” I matter to them, I matter to Him.. As I sat there listening to the message, and sitting next to dear friends, welcome there as well, I thought “why do I do this? Why am I still surprised?” Also, “why do I matter to them, I am nothing, I have nothing to offer, nothing worthwhile?”

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That was never true though, I always mattered to God. It has taken some time to get that message through to me. I suppose I have a thick skull. Actually, I know it was conditioning. Just like it took time to believe the lies, though not very long, it will take time for the truth to sink in. I am beginning to believe it now though. I usually believe it momentarily, when I am first shown, at least with the people that God touched to love on me. That hadn’t yet carried over yet into the rest of my life however, until this past weekend. As God is revealing so much truth to me, about who I am, I am seeing more each and every day, this included. I matter. YOU matter. We ALL matter to God, and we matter to people we may not even realize yet.

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Those beautiful sisters of mine showed me love, and showed me that I matter… God loves me enough, I am important enough (as are you) that He used their beautiful hearts, to say, April, you matter… When will you listen to Me? When will you see all that you are? All that I created.. When will you realize who you are in Me, and accept that it is true, because I do not make mistakes.. You are not a mistake, and I have always loved you, always been there, and always protected you, from the people that hurt you, they will have to answer for that. that is the message I continue to get from Him, my words, but his message.

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We are so very important to the Lord, we can not begin to fathom His love for us. I can tell you personally, that no matter what I have endured in my life, and it is immense, He has always been there. I can see that now, He said “no more..” He kept my innocence (mentally) in tact, and my faith strong.. He kept me well, when I should have turned to drugs, and other destructive behaviors. God kept me. He kept me when I did not know He was there, when I thought, I was all alone. God knows how many hairs I have on my head, every cell in my body, who could possibly love me more? Nothing goes unnoticed to Him. He pursues me with a relentless love, strong, and passionate.. He tells me I am more, I am precious, I am stronger than I think, I am loved, I am beautiful. I am gracefully broken.. I believed it now… Yes, I believe!!

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So here I stand in awe of the Creator, in awe of His creation.. I am a princess, I am His daughter, and there is NOTHING, NOTHING my FATHER won’t do for me. For you.. Let Him speak love to you.. Ask Him to minister to you. I promise He will.. That is what God has been showing me this year. He said, “Abide in ME.” I have learned what that means, and through that, He showed me to ask Him to minister to me, and He has answered that request abundantly and freely. God has poured so much love out on me, so much truth, I am overwhelmed to the point of endless and all consuming joy, faith, and hope. Let Him show you. God is good, He will speak to you in the ways you can best hear Him, and you will be made new. I am confident in who I am now, and I will never go back! I will pray for opportunities to minister love to others, and help those in need. My God will answer, because He is good, and He hears my prayers. Let Him show you who you are friend, you will not regret it..gWSaRqBG

#value #worth #life #friends #family #church #faith #hope #love #God #Christian #beautiful #new #grace #abundance

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