The Light

The Light

So here I am. Still in the midst of my battle, but so much more at peace. I wouldn’t have thought it was possible just a few short days ago. Here I am, growing, learning, walking through the fire with God right by my side. I am also finding that sharing my struggle is essential not only to my healing and growth but for others.

If you are anything like me you are often afraid to speak about your troubles or even ask for prayer. Either you don’t want to be seen as weak, you are too ashamed, or you don’t want to be seen as an attention seeker. Maybe it is a combination of those. Here’s what God is showing me… we are the church… and because of this none of those things can be true. Our strength is found in our weaknesses, our shame was washed away with Jesus’ blood on the cross, and asking for help is part of the body of Christ.

Learning to let go and actually lean on God’s will is one thing, but when He commands us to lean on Him AND others, we can get lost. I know I have. I hang onto only having a dependency on Him. I will pray all day for others, even for myself, but asking someone to come into my struggle with me is treading on unfamiliar territory. When we let others in, it is a whole new level vulnerability. Letting others into our deepest, darkest, scariest places is terrifying.

But I promise it is so worth it!

I have had so many beautiful, wonderful people lift me up and speak life into me. I’d probably still be drowning in my sorrows if it weren’t for taking off the mask and letting other care for me.

We live in a world where so many people want to be in the center of it all. Attention seekers are everywhere. This world has to revolve around them, and there is no room for anything else. I’m finally seeing now though, others know when you are genuinely peeling back the layers, showing your real self, and asking for help. When we open ourselves up, tell of our struggles, and speak our stories, we can be a light to others. Not being alone in this cruel world is essential.

Matthew 18:20

For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them.

These battles are our opportunity to shows God’s grace and glory through our own lives. It is what He asks us to do. And it is nothing short of showing Him off when we can say, it was His love and guidance that brought me through. What a testimony!

Our Lord is never going to allow pain without a purpose. Knowing this and actually living this can be quite different. So I’m making it my mission, even during times like this, to still show God’s love to the world. He gives us a very short time here compared to the glorious eternity we will spend in Heaven with Him. I want every moment to count. I want to be His servant, His child, and His light in this dark world, even in the midst of my own darkness.

The devil fights hardest for God’s children. He knows to whom our hearts belong, and he wants nothing more than to steal us away from the Kingdom. The only thing I can say is, the devil can move on, he ain’t getting this girl’s attention for one more second more!

Lay it down at the cross, do not go back and pick it up! I dont care if “it” is anxiety, pain, sin, shame, or fear… I’m leaving it right where Jesus asks me to place it and I’m NOT going back for it!

I’ve been clinging pretty hard to following scripture and hope it gives you what its given to me…

Psalms 116:1‭-‬14

I love the Lord because he hears my voice and my prayer for mercy. Because he bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath! Death wrapped its ropes around me; the terrors of the grave overtook me. I saw only trouble and sorrow. Then I called on the name of the Lord : “Please, Lord , save me!” How kind the Lord is! How good he is! So merciful, this God of ours! The Lord protects those of childlike faith; I was facing death, and he saved me. Let my soul be at rest again, for the Lord has been good to me. He has saved me from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling. And so I walk in the Lord ’s presence as I live here on earth! I believed in you, so I said, “I am deeply troubled, Lord .” In my anxiety I cried out to you, “These people are all liars!” What can I offer the Lord for all he has done for me? I will lift up the cup of salvation and praise the Lord ’s name for saving me. I will keep my promises to the Lord in the presence of all his people.

Isaiah 60:19‭-‬20

“No longer will you need the sun to shine by day, nor the moon to give its light by night, for the Lord your God will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory. Your sun will never set; your moon will not go down. For the Lord will be your everlasting light. Your days of mourning will come to an end.

Philippians 4:4‭-‬9

Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon. Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.

I thank the Lord for His faithfulness and unending love for us! We are never alone! He holds us in His arms and if necessary sends us the right people here on earth.

I will keep my prayer simple again today… Please join me…

Lord, please continue to show me the ways I need to be refined in this fire and help me to always be Your light.

In Jesus’ Name.

Amen.

The Rock

The Rock

So, I know it’s been a hot minute since my last post, but I’ve found myself in a position I’m quite unfamiliar with. I wanted to share my struggle while in the middle of it. I’m very vulnerable right now… My heart hurts… Satan is attacking me hard.

I’m always “that” girl. The one standing firm on the rock. I’ve never wavered in my faith. I only find ways to see God’s point of view and pray harder. Life doesn’t get me down, and if it does, those moments flash by.

But today and for a few yesterdays, I haven’t been able to find “that” girl. I lost her. I spent all of my Monday crying. If I was awake, I was in tears. I even left my bible tear-stained and wrinkled. If someone speaks to me, asks how I am, I can’t even muster up the little white lie of “fine”. I just have to nod and walk away, end the conversation, OR cry right through it.

I started having the best week ever. I met so many wonderful, Jesus loving, light shining people on tour. Each one touched my heart in some way. I was so blessed to be given insight and guidance toward my future.

In the moments ending my time with that last tour, I found myself wrecked, emotional, and lost. As hopeful as I once was, I crash landed into a pit of discouragement, selfdoubt, and fear.

I know, I know… Like no one has ever felt this way before. But this time, it was me, the one who never falters, falling flat into despair. Music, my friends, my family, and even diving into the Word have not lifted me out. I know my only healer is going to be Jesus. He just hasn’t saved me from this yet. And if I’m still in that place, I know my God has to be refining me. He has to have me in the fire, only to prove I will walk out victorious. Jesus was not sacrificed on that cross for me to live my life according to satan’s lies.

I know the truth, living it is just harder than I would wish it to be. But I think that’s the beauty in the prayers I’ve remembered praying. You know the scary ones. The prayers that ask God to make me into who He needs me to be… Prayers begging for the allowance of me serving Him…. Prayers in this very moment of Him to allow me to suffer as long as it takes. BUT my worldly view has me wanting to scream out to Him to stop this storm immediately. I want to be healed RIGHT NOW! I just know that is never going to help me, it is never going to push me into my destiny or His will over my life.

Anybody reading this who is in their turmoil, you are not alone! You are in a moment specifically designed by satan to take you down, but taken over by our God to make you a new creation and to learn to rely fully on His love. Do not doubt His love for you. Do not doubt your worth. Do not doubt the future planned for you is greater than your imagination can design.

I have learned that satan attacks hardest when we are closest to our breakthroughs. I’m ready for the beauty on the other side of this pain, but I’m also ready for what the Lord has to show me. I want Him to do work in and through me.

I have so many pieces of scripture for study and peace during this time…

Psalms 63:1‭-‬11

O God, you are my God; I earnestly search for you. My soul thirsts for you; my whole body longs for you in this parched and weary land where there is no water. I have seen you in your sanctuary and gazed upon your power and glory. Your unfailing love is better than life itself; how I praise you! I will praise you as long as I live, lifting up my hands to you in prayer. You satisfy me more than the richest feast. I will praise you with songs of joy. I lie awake thinking of you, meditating on you through the night. Because you are my helper, I sing for joy in the shadow of your wings. I cling to you; your strong right hand holds me securely. But those plotting to destroy me will come to ruin. They will go down into the depths of the earth. They will die by the sword and become the food of jackals. But the king will rejoice in God. All who swear to tell the truth will praise him, while liars will be silenced.

Really you can find so much of God’s love anywhere in Psalms! Study it, live in it, love in it, find peace in it!

My prayer is very simple for this day, if ya’ll wanna pray it with me:

All I can say is Lord have Your way in me.

In Jesus’ Name.

Changed

Changed

I had to offer up some seriously broken stuff to God. I mean leave things right there at His feet and not look back. I couldn’t actually comprehend the weight of the things I carried around in my heart and soul. Bitterness, unforgiveness, confusion, self loathing, and mostly a girl who was trying to figure it all out when she knows better!

I had really been withdrawing. I noticed, maybe others did too. But not just from writing this blog, from a lot of areas in my life. My heart hurt. For a long time, I couldn’t put my finger on the source. Obviously, it wasn’t a single source, but there was, and always is a simple solution healing to the pain. My God has me in the palm of His hand, He will teach me through my pain, and though I may not like it, slowly may go the process.

As I started digging through my hurt, I started discovering so much about myself, much I long to change, much I thank God for as He works through me, and much I look forward to.

Let me be honest here and tell you about a few situations that God used to show me the source of my pain and lead me straight back to Him!

I had a situation with a former friend, and it wasn’t an ending on good terms. I was hurt, financially and emotionally. For the longest time have been under the impression this was just a part of my past. The other night, however, I realized, I was not healed, at all. When her name was brought up in conversation, I had no problem talking about her, the situation, and even saying hurtful things about her. I got home, 20 minutes after this conversation, sick to my stomach, knowing that is not who I want to be. If I am ever going to be the person God calls me to be, I had to forgive her, forgive myself, and make a stand to not give into gossip. We are called to love our enemies, but I wanted to take it further, I no longer wanted her to be my enemy. Right then and there, I released it all! Bitterness, I carried around for 2 years. Unforgiveness, that had been draining me for 2 years. And a stronghold satan had been using against me! No longer would I be a slave to that situation.

I’m not saying it was easy. And there were a lot of tears. Truth is I may have even argued with God about how I thought I was still right at the beginning, but that was never going to get me anywhere. I felt so much lifted off of me. Something I didn’t even know was dragging me down until I let myself get caught up in my own tangled webs of gossip and bitterness.

I had surgery a few months ago. Successfully had my gallbladder removed. The poor little blob had already died before the surgeon even got to it and was causing me a great level of discomfort. The pain associated with the surgery was minimal, a slight complication in healing but I was back to work before I knew it. God had me! I never had a single doubt during the entire process. Funny though, when it comes to money, the doubt can start to creep in. Even after insurance, I was left with quite a hefty bill and it is just recently that the insurance dust has settled so I could see the bottom line. I had told myself over, over, and over… The Lord has always provided, this time will be no different. Unfortunately, my mind and heart had been disconnected. I knew it, but my heart could not feel it. Then it hit again. My uninsured mother went in the hospital, 4 separate ER visits. Thousands of dollars I could just imagine piling up in mind, but I never had a doubt in my mind about her healing. I knew my God would heal her, the way He healed me because that who He is. And He did. He is good, He is great, the Glory is His. So why would I stress, doubt, or be in limbo about a few bills? I couldn’t figure it out. Its not like a different God handles each area of my life.

It was then He put a fresh new perspective on my life. Think of all the miracles Jesus performed. He didn’t just heal the sick. One day He provided food for 5000, then He walked on water later that night! My focus has to always be on the fact that He is my God, my provider, my love, my answer. It does not matter the need, just that He is there! When I give my life, my problems, my anything, my everything to God, He blesses it all. Again, more weight was lifted.

And this where I dive into Mark 6. Something about “Jesus Walks on Water” that always moves my soul!

Mark 6 : 30-56

Jesus Feeds Five Thousand
30 The apostles returned to Jesus from their ministry tour and told him all they had done and taught. 31 Then Jesus said, “Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.” He said this because there were so many people coming and going that Jesus and his apostles didn’t even have time to eat.
32 So they left by boat for a quiet place, where they could be alone. 33 But many people recognized them and saw them leaving, and people from many towns ran ahead along the shore and got there ahead of them. 34 Jesus saw the huge crowd as he stepped from the boat, and he had compassion on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.
35 Late in the afternoon his disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. 36 Send the crowds away so they can go to the nearby farms and villages and buy something to eat.”
37 But Jesus said, “You feed them.”
“With what?” they asked. “We’d have to work for months to earn enough money to buy food for all these people!”
38 “How much bread do you have?” he asked. “Go and find out.”
They came back and reported, “We have five loaves of bread and two fish.”
39 Then Jesus told the disciples to have the people sit down in groups on the green grass. 40 So they sat down in groups of fifty or a hundred.
41 Jesus took the five loaves and two fish, looked up toward heaven, and blessed them. Then, breaking the loaves into pieces, he kept giving the bread to the disciples so they could distribute it to the people. He also divided the fish for everyone to share. 42 They all ate as much as they wanted, 43 and afterward, the disciples picked up twelve baskets of leftover bread and fish. 44 A total of 5,000 men and their families were fed.

Jesus Walks on Water
45 Immediately after this, Jesus insisted that his disciples get back into the boat and head across the lake to Bethsaida, while he sent the people home. 46 After telling everyone good-bye, he went up into the hills by himself to pray.
47 Late that night, the disciples were in their boat in the middle of the lake, and Jesus was alone on land. 48He saw that they were in serious trouble, rowing hard and struggling against the wind and waves. About three o’clock in the morning Jesus came toward them, walking on the water. He intended to go past them, 49 but when they saw him walking on the water, they cried out in terror, thinking he was a ghost. 50 They were all terrified when they saw him.
But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage! I am here! 51 Then he climbed into the boat, and the wind stopped. They were totally amazed, 52 for they still didn’t understand the significance of the miracle of the loaves. Their hearts were too hard to take it in.
53 After they had crossed the lake, they landed at Gennesaret. They brought the boat to shore 54 and climbed out. The people recognized Jesus at once, 55 and they ran throughout the whole area, carrying sick people on mats to wherever they heard he was. 56 Wherever he went—in villages, cities, or the countryside—they brought the sick out to the marketplaces. They begged him to let the sick touch at least the fringe of his robe, and all who touched him were healed.

Finally, I am still facing a struggle. Elliott is our family dog. He is 11 years old, but suffering with congestive heart failure. I am sure many of you can relate to a pet being just like part of the family. He is treated just like a tiny little human, all 11 pounds. I do not want to get into a debate of dogs going to heaven or not, because just like my other family members that have been saved, I believe he will meet me on the other side of the blue when that time comes. He is perfectly innocent and loving. Dealing with grief and God’s plan for life and eternity are not always easy but His plan is so good. I would never want Elliott to suffer. I am so thankful for all of the years God has given us with him. It certainly doesn’t change the hurt but knowing He has a plan for my little guy, I’m comforted. I think about heaven, a place where we will be with Jesus, all animals will walk side by side, I can’t help cry. And it is not because I am sad, but I am overwhelmed.

At first, I couldn’t figure out why I hurt. God help break me down, and break the situations down for me, so I could see my need for Him in it all. Even when I do believe, He needs me to give it ALL to Him 100%, no matter what!

I know I am changing, because I long to change. I want more of Jesus. I want to be more like Jesus. I want every situation in my life to be touched by Him. I don’t want to feel hurt, lost, or withdrawn and if I ever do I want Him to be who heals me.

I have been facing the enemy lately, but I have NEVER been alone, EVER!

Life is broken. But God’s mercy falls on us. This world is broken. But we are saved by His blood. We will all be vulnerable to the enemy’s attacks, they come in many forms. The Lord will use them though, for the good. I rest in the Father’s arms right now, you should too.

Please pray with me….

Lord, You know we all hurt sometimes. The enemy attacks us. Situations become overwhelming. We live in unrest. But You God, You will take all of those situations and turn them into good. You will show us how we can be better, more like You. You will heal us. Have mercy on us when we cannot see. Please help us to surrender it ALL to You, even when it hurts. Thank You Lord for EVERYTHING!

In Jesus’ Name

Journey

Journey

Do you think you have outrun God’s love? Maybe you were never really good enough? How about you’ve gone too far off the path into the woods and He can’t find you? You’ve never really had a relationship or know how to have a relationship with Him? I know the familiarity of those statements. But now I could not imagine my life without Him in it. I want to encourage you, none of the above are true or have to remain. The Lord is waiting patiently for you, His arms are open wide, and He wants nothing more than to hold you close.

It might not be an easy start. Where does someone start? Its personal, but it is simple. Because He is waiting for you, just ask Him into your heart. He is listening. You don’t have to be at church, sitting in a pew with the help of a pastor. You can be in your car sitting in your driveway. TALK TO HIM! You don’t know how? Just like you would to anyone you know, He’s known you since before you were born. Tell Him you are ready, and I’m certain it will flow from there. Tears might flow too, so keep a tissue handy. When the Holy Spirit moves, I’ve notice tears move too, at least for me.

Talk to Jesus people. There are a lot of us! You can usually tell who we are. And we REALLY like to talk about Jesus. But I promise, we won’t try to control your relationship with Him. That is yours alone. We all have to forge our own path with Him but He built us to be a community, a church. Understand the church doesn’t always mean a building you visit on Sundays with a preacher. The church is us, believers, linked together because He loves us, we love Him, and because of that we love each other. If you find a church to attend with fellowship and people to love on, I urge you to be there. But I will not push that. I push your relationship with Jesus first, and foremost. The rest will come naturally.

I can tell you my journey has been nothing like I would have guessed, but that’s what is special about our God. He sees, He knows, He is patient, and He will work it all for our good!

I grew up knowing there was a God and a bible but not much more. Both of my parents were hard workers (mom still is) and church just didn’t happen because their schedules didn’t allow for it. Neither of my parents pushed any ideas of religion on me, so I had to form my own ideas. Growing up, I took the easy path, “I’m not religious, but you could call me spiritual”. Looking back, who knows what that even meant, I sure didn’t. Maybe another way of saying I was confused. Fast forward through my confusing years to the beginning of Christian journey, like many of them, it started with pain…

March 2009, I was working as a dental assistant for a FANTASTIC group. The doctors I worked for ran a faith and family based office. My coworkers grounded me, loved on me, supported me, and lifted me. That job had started to change me from the inside out. One of girls even played Christian music, which soon held a special place in my heart. The 2nd was just like any other day at the office, except my mom had called me and asked that I come straight home to see her. I felt an ache in my heart, but couldn’t place why. When I got home I realized what I had been feeling was just the beginning of an ache that could only be healed by someone I did not know yet.

My dad had been in an accident. 

The words echoed through my head. I collapsed on the floor like a scene from a movie. Tears streamed down my face and questions spilled out as my mom looked on calm as she could be. She explained to me that my dad, my hero, my rock, had fallen walking into a truck stop for coffee, broken his neck, and he was paralyzed from the neck down. I don’t remember much else from that evening except we worked out a plan that I would go to him while he was being stabilized, before surgery. My mom would go switch places with me for the surgery. So my cousin, the angel she is, packed me up, and on the train we were, northbound for Stamford Connecticut.  I spent most of that week in the ICU waiting room, my dad was very tired, his body had experienced a trauma many of us will never know. I would cherish even the 20 or 30 minutes he would be awake for me to spend with him each day, even though I wasn’t sure he would remember I was there. Here’s the thing, someone else was there with me. I know Jesus met me there. Right there in that waiting room. He had been waiting so long for me to cry out to Him, to reach out, and when I finally did, like who He is, He showed up big time!

I could have never predicted that during the biggest trial of my life, I could feel so much peace and love. I was new to this all. I didn’t really know what was going on, I just knew that I was going to be okay, I knew mom was going to be okay, I knew my dad was going to be okay. Now, my dad didn’t just get up and walk, to this day he is still in a wheelchair, quadriplegic for a technical diagnosis.

The Lord has done amazing things through my dad’s injury. He has allowed my dad to touch so many lives. He has proven time and again how He always provides for my family. He never leaves us, forsakes us, and has given my dad, our family this story for a reason.

I know my story started there, my testimony… And I had no idea what I was doing. I spoke to Jesus just like He was my best friend, because He is. I cried out. When I started living a life with Jesus, it was like nothing I’ve ever known before.

I’ve stumbled so many times along the way, but He has never left my side. I need nothing more than Jesus in my life because the Lord goes before me. I do not have to be afriad, even if a situation seems hopeless.

Deuteronomy 31:8

Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lordwill personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.

Deuteronomy 1:30 

The Lord your God is going ahead of you. He will fight for you, just as you saw him do in Egypt.

I want EVERYONE to know the God I know!

Jesus is full of tender love and compassion for us. We serve a God whose own heart is touched by our hardships. There is nothing that our God cannot do. There is no situation His power cannot affect and change in a positive way. We only have to LET HIM do His work in us and over our lives.

Check out the following passage from Luke to see exactly what I mean about God’s mercy over our hardships, how if we just look to Him, He will move on our behalf :

Luke 7: 11-17

Jesus Raises a Widow’s Son
Soon afterward Jesus went with his disciples to the village of Nain, and a large crowd followed him. A funeral procession was coming out as he approached the village gate. The young man who had died was a widow’s only son, and a large crowd from the village was with her. When the Lord saw her, his heart overflowed with compassion. “Don’t cry!” he said. Then he walked over to the coffin and touched it, and the bearers stopped. “Young man,” he said, “I tell you, get up.” Then the dead boy sat up and began to talk! And Jesus gave him back to his mother. Great fear swept the crowd, and they praised God, saying, “A mighty prophet has risen among us,” and “God has visited his people today.” And the news about Jesus spread throughout Judea and the surrounding countryside.
Just like that last line, the good news should spread like wildfire! The gospel will change your life! Adversity will still come. Life will still be hard. Christianity is not an easy pass to the rest of your days on this side of the blue. What it does promise, is a Saviour who will never leave your side. One who will help you through all battles you face because He has already achieved victory. And you will have an eternal life with Him in Heaven when your life here is done beyond what you can ever imagine!
Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life! 
Pray with me…
Lord, thank You for allowing us to live in Your Son’s victory. His blood was shed so we could be freed from all of our sins. Thank You for a tender heart of love when hardships come our way. Lord, I pray for everyone yearning for a relationship with You that doesn’t know where to start or those who just desire to go deeper. I know You, and that You will show them a way and open their hearts. You are faithful! You have never failed us!
In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Dear John

Dear John

The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.

So the first sentence, yea that part pretty much sucks. I know, and it is part of our every day battle. Remember when you gave your life over to Christ, and there was the promise of it not being easy but always being worth it? The devil is chasing after us. He wants us, he wants to win us over, back on his side. He will do whatever it takes to bring back believers from the arms of Jesus. An empty soul is worthless to the devil, but a soul full of joy and love for the Lord, that is a prize to him, that is why he fights so hard.

What is being stolen from you today?

What do you feel like is killing you today?

What is destroying you today?

 

I’ll let you in on what steals, kills, and destroys in my life…

 

Gossip. None of us are strangers to it. Often times it is hard NOT to participate. It makes us feel included, no matter who it makes excluded or who it could hurt. It wasn’t until I overheard a conversation about a friend that was very hurtful, and through all of the laughter of the gossipers I left in tears. I knew it was God telling me it was time to change. Now don’t let me fool you, I’m still working on it! I’m still guilty! But I know every single time I get immersed in a place of gossip I don’t belong it steals, kills, and destroys my heart.

Negativity. Is it easy to wear a smile 24/7? I’m not really sure, I do sleep 8 hours. But really, talk about something that will STEAL from me. Being around people who are negative can distort a believer’s vision of the world. We are taught to love and be like Jesus. This is very hard to do when the person next to you is satan. Humor me 🙂 Not really satan, but his best effort to derail us. I’m not immune to negative thoughts! Don’t get me wrong on this one either. Often times I find myself having to give the situation over to the Lord to find peace. Giving into someone else’s negativity will drain you, and for me it steals, kills, and destroys my joy.

Pain or illness. Thats a no brainer. I suffer with chronic migraine. Right off the bat, it can be a stealer of hours, days, vision, and quality of life. I’m sure many times “my head is killing me” has come out of mouth. Is it going to shorten my life, likely not. God knows the number on my days, and I’m doubtful it has anything to do with the pain in my head. Or in my dad’s case, I see how his quadriplegia was sent to be a stealer, killer, and destroyer of his life. Although my father is still in some valleys and climbing some mountains, he is still with us, such an inspiration, and changing so many lives along the way. Often times we give pain or illness the power to do those 3 things the devil desires but God is our great healer! Placed in His hands, we can truly heal or even through suffering we can see His glory revealed.

Being in this world but not of this world is going to bring us troubles, struggles, and pressures not everyone is going to understand. We will NEVER be persecuted like Jesus  was or His disciples. We likely won’t face a day where we will have to choose death or following Christ and praise Him for that!

I’ve seen a few movies and this scene in those has always drawn me in. I have my own versions that play out in my head when I read over it. I wept when I read over these verses today before I started writing. Something about The Good Shepherd & His Sheep moves my heart. I don’t know about you but I will be refusing to give into “The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy”. AND I will stand on the promise of “My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life”.

John 10:1-21

The Good Shepherd and His Sheep
“I tell you the truth, anyone who sneaks over the wall of a sheepfold, rather than going through the gate, must surely be a thief and a robber! But the one who enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep recognize his voice and come to him. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. After he has gathered his own flock, he walks ahead of them, and they follow him because they know his voice. They won’t follow a stranger; they will run from him because they don’t know his voice.”
Those who heard Jesus use this illustration didn’t understand what he meant, so he explained it to them: “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me were thieves and robbers. But the true sheep did not listen to them. Yes, I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved. They will come and go freely and will find good pastures. The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep. A hired hand will run when he sees a wolf coming. He will abandon the sheep because they don’t belong to him and he isn’t their shepherd. And so the wolf attacks them and scatters the flock. The hired hand runs away because he’s working only for the money and doesn’t really care about the sheep.
“I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me, just as my Father knows me and I know the Father. So I sacrifice my life for the sheep. I have other sheep, too, that are not in this sheepfold. I must bring them also. They will listen to my voice, and there will be one flock with one shepherd.
“The Father loves me because I sacrifice my life so I may take it back again. No one can take my life from me. I sacrifice it voluntarily. For I have the authority to lay it down when I want to and also to take it up again. For this is what my Father has commanded.”
When he said these things, the people were again divided in their opinions about him. Some said, “He’s demon possessed and out of his mind. Why listen to a man like that?” Others said, “This doesn’t sound like a man possessed by a demon! Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?”
Pray with me…
Thank you Lord for Jesus, my Good Shepherd. The one who sacrificed His life, so I could live forever with You. He has opened my eyes to the truth and I will always be grateful! I will NEVER have to worry about the devil’s desires to steal, kill, or destroy my life because I have life through Your Son and the blood He shed on the cross. No matter what comes my way, I follow You! The praise is to You only!
In Jesus’ Name.
With Love,
Michelle
Still…

Still…

I’ve been working over the Christmas holiday stretch (Friday thru tonight) and before you put an ounce of sympathy or empathy on, that’s what is making me uncomfortable. I don’t want to minimize anyone who came into my place of work and gave a gift or their love BUT God chose to place me here and give me a heart for this line of work during this season of my life. The truth of the matter is I celebrate Jesus everyday. Christmas is no different in my heart. I can love Him and celebrate Him no matter where I am! Sure, I miss my family, but again, I miss them every day and I treasure the time I get with them when God blesses me with it.

Every sentence that was a version of “I’m so sorry you have to be here on Christmas”, as kind as it was meant to be, hurt my heart. I am never sorry to be where God calls. Being in His will is what I want, all I want for my life! I want what He wants!

And I was never really alone. Although, at times, I was alone in the police department. I am constantly surrounded by the love of my coworkers and most importantly God’s love. Plus, I got a surprise visit from my best friend. More proof, God has blessed me, those -pathys would be such a waste!

However, it does lead me to another thought… I’m no stranger to loneliness. I’ve been single for almost 4 years. I’ve been living alone, or with a roommate for the past 3 years. I’ve lived over an hour or more away from my hometown for even longer. Silence, it makes loneliness even more real, even louder, and sometimes, very painful.

In this “lonely” time, down time, I can find myself mindlessly scrolling through social media. Over Christmas, I was excited to see pictures of family and friends together celebrating, in matching pjs, opening gifts, being silly, and just loving on each other! But in my scrolling, I started thinking about my friends, family, and strangers alike who would be hurting. The ones who aren’t quite there yet. The ones who would find everyone else’s joy painful, or who hide behind false smiles. Picture after picture of announcements. Engagements. Pregnancies. Love. Love. Love. God’s grace, His goodness from here to there. But still, I couldn’t get past the tugging in my heart, there are His children who STILL feel lost, hurt, lonely and helpless even in the middle of this holiday. There they are, STILL WAITING for their promises to be fulfilled. Wondering why God has “forgotten” them. Like a child who feels like Santa got lost on the way to their house Christmas Eve. The waiting gets tiresome. The waiting gets hurtful. The waiting gets old!

 

Everytime that you feel alone… He is STILL there.

Everytime that you feel let down… He is STILL there.

Everytime that you feel hurt… He is STILL there.

Everytime that you feel lost… He is STILL there.

Everytime that you feel forsaken… He is STILL there.

Everytime that you feel confused… He is STILL there.

 

So maybe none of us are like Thomas, and actually got to touch the holes left by the nails, but we still believe. We see the evidence of Him in our lives every single day. So we keep on keeping on. Moving forward into the future and the life He has promised, on this side AND ultimately what we all really want the life with Him in the great beyond!

If you are still in that waiting period, I really want to encourage you. I’m still there too! Waiting for the love of my life, waiting for my dream job, waiting for my answer. Does that sound all too familiar? It took me a long time to understand that God’s goodness, His grace, His will, and His love will always SUSTAIN me. Wanting what He wants for my life will be what truly fulfills my destiny on this side of the blue. If I do not live in His will, something will always be missing.

Open your heart, let Him in. Let Him fill your loneliness. Let Him fill your voids. Let Him heal your hurts. Let Him love you. I promise it will be worth it.

My dig in deeper for the bible, Isaiah! Don’t you have like 15 favorite scriptures from Isaiah?!?! It’s right there in the chapter titles… 40 – Comfort for God’s People, 41 – God’s Help for Israel 

Isaiah 40:28

Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding.

Isaiah 40:31

But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.
They will soar high on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary.
They will walk and not faint.
Isaiah 41:13
For I hold you by your right hand—
I, the Lord your God.
And I say to you,
Don’t be afraid. I am here to help you.
Isaiah 43:18-19
But forget all that—
it is nothing compared to what I am going to do.
For I am about to do something new.
See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?
I will make a pathway through the wilderness.
I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.
I want to pray with you guys:
Lord, I thank You for this platform, this life, and every blessing that comes with it! I pray to surrender my life to You. I want what you want for my life. I want to hand everything in my life over to You. I want to give it all FREELY to You and not attempt to pick it back up. Once I have laid it at your feet, no take backs. I pray Your comfort over every reader, over every loved one, over every enemy. I pray we can all be more like You in our every day. Many of us are still in our waiting seasons. There is a reason and goodness for that waiting, and we must be in peace for it. I pray we all learn to be thankful for it. Lord, thank You for NEVER leaving any of us alone.
In Jesus’ Name.
With Love,
Michelle
Good Vibes Only

Good Vibes Only

I recently received a Christmas gift from my hometown, forever best friend. It is a brilliant silver bracelet, adorned with a charm with the phrase “good vibes only”. The coolest part about the bracelet, her son, at just a couple months old, picked it out for me. When I was visiting with them the last time I was home, I asked the little rockstar about it, he smiled, laughed and cooed to me about how he was the picker-outer. I can honestly say when I look down at my wrist my heart is filled with so much joy!

“Good Vibes Only”

I see the phrase everywhere now, not just on my wrist though. Its on tshirts, social media, and I’m pretty sure I’ve seen it on a billboard. What does it mean though? Can we guard ourselves from every bad vibe that comes our way? Can we deflect any vibe that isn’t perceived good? In my walk I have certainly encountered many people who do not believe the same way I do. I would even venture to say, I’ve met people who look at me like I have 5 heads coming off of my shoulders. But here’s my spin, what is on my heart when I look at “good vibes only”…

God is good all of the time, and all of the time God is good. Simple is enough. When things are going good, it is REAL easy to recite that, believe it, and take in the good vibes. When life isn’t going so picture perfect though, that sentence, it doesn’t flow off of the tongue with such ease, and those good vibes seem to fade away. Does it mean bad vibes got in? Does it mean God is suddenly not good all of the time? Nope. That first line, it still rings true. God IS good all of the time. The thing is, God’s version of good, doesn’t always feel good and it certainly doesn’t always look like the version of good we have pictured. God’s good vibes never left us, and they never will.

In my walk, I’m learning a way of holding onto those good vibes, the Armor of God. If you are anything like me, wearing the FULL ARMOR OF GOD was a newer concept. I’d read about it, seen the scripture, but to really walk through this life wearing it? Are you picturing yourself as some Roman soldier right now? Or a knight about to go out into a jousting tournament? Yea, its like that! But this stuff, it’s invisible, except to the one who needs to see it, satan! He will see it, and know you are a Child of the King, and he will be in for quite the battle if he wants to send bad vibes your way.

Guys, mind blown!!!!!

 

There are 7 parts to the armor…

Helmet of salvation

Breastplate of righteousness

Shield of faith

Belt of truth

Sword of the Spirit

Footwear of the readiness of the gospel

Prayer

 

Ephesians 6:10-18

The Whole Armor of God
A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 
Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. 
For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.
Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. 
Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. 
For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared.
In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil.
Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.
I encourage everyone to study this area of the bible. Dig deeper! I have been pushed so much further in my faith by Ephesians as a whole, but this particular passage can only lift you to another level.

To me, wearing the full armor of God screams “good vibes only”! As Christians, we know the battles will comes. We are in spiritual warfare every single day, however, with God we will always be victorious.

 

 

Keep those good vibes flowing… Send the bad vibes straight back where they came from, to satan…

 

 

In closing prayer

Father,  I pray for all my readers. I pray they suit up with Your full armor no matter what they are facing in life! Hill, valley, light, or darkness, I pray they know the victory is already in You. I am so thankful Lord You allow a community of friends and strangers to share Your word and encourage each other. I also pray that Your word reaches those who need it most, the unbelievers, those on the fence, the unsaved. Lord, I love You, we love You!

In Jesus’ name.

 

 

With Love,

Michelle

 

 

Beautiful Beginnings

Beautiful Beginnings

My very FIRST blog post!

I’m excited, I’m nervous, I’m feeling countless other emotions, BUT I know God called me to do this. I hope through this blog I am able to connect with other believers on their journeys, and we can have a community, a church right here on the interwebs. I also hope that maybe I can reach someone who hasn’t quite found the way to Jesus, and give them a path to Him, or at least show them the light is there, He is there, and He simply wants to love them.

It would be fitting that I would start my blogging journey around one of my favorite times of year, Christmas! Christmas is so full of wonder, beauty, and love. And it is Jesus’s birthday! Hallelujah!

Gifts… Probably my favorite part! Who doesn’t love a gift?!?!?! I’m a giver and not such a good receiver but that’s really what I want to talk about. Christmas marks the beginning of the most perfect gift ever given. God sent His son to us, so we could forever have a life with Him. Nothing else can ever compare. As believers, we receive this as truth, but do we actually receive what Jesus did in His life here on earth as our “gift”. I’m serious when I say I’m not good at receiving gifts, so why would God’s grace be any different. Most of my life I would shy away, turn my eyes downward, and believe I was never going to be good enough. But do we do that with our Christmas gifts? Do we open them and hand them back? Saying we aren’t good enough, walking away with guilt or shame? So why do we do that when God opens His arms to us and invites us in, or chases us down with His grace, His forgiveness, His everlasting love? We try to give the gift back, believing we cannot receive it! But I am here to remind you, receive it because He loves you and NOTHING can ever change that! Jesus paid the ultimate sacrifice so you and I could be made clean and although always sinners, loved by the Almighty.

Let’s make an effort to be the best receivers we can be for the Lord! I believe He wants nothing more than for us to just openly, wholeheartedly take in His gifts, His blessings. Can you imagine all of the crazy love we are deflecting because we doubt ourselves or our standing in His eyes? Shake that thinking off and understand, just know you are enough. No matter what you have done, when you surrender your life to Him that gift has you covered.

 

Some scripture I’m am studying related to this time of year :

John 3:16

For this is how God loved the world: He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.

Mark 10:45

For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give His life as ransom for many.

Galatians 1:3-5

May God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. Jesus have His life for our sins, just as God our Father planned, in order to rescue us from this evil world in which we live. All glory to God forever and ever! Amen.

2 Corinthians 9:15

Thank God for this gift too wonderful for words!

 

 

So here it is! My first post! Beautiful beginnings… Mine to the blogging world, and honoring Jesus in His!

 

In closing, here is my prayer…

Thank You Father for a new platform and the words to glorify You! Thank You for the life You have given me, and the gifts You send every single day. I especially want to thank You for the greatest gift, Jesus. Without Him, we could not receive all good things from You! I thank You for the readers of this blog and I pray You bless them beyond their wildest dreams. Lord I pray You allow this blog to grow and honor You.

In Jesus’ Name.

 

With Love,

Michelle

 

 

 

I’m going to put the link for my day’s playlist here:

(I will do this with every post, my Spotify and playlists are public)

(This playlist was created after attending the Big Church Night Out Tour a few times. The tour is over now, but the memories are forever!)

Spotify is my go to for music!