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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