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To be honest, I don’t really know where this is about to go. Typically, when I write, a thought pops into my mind and I think about it for a few days before typing it out when it feels right. But right now, I just feel the need to write.

About what? I don’t really know. Why? Because I have been following the lead of my Creator for long enough to know when He is working something out within me. For what reason? I don’t know yet. Sometimes I never find the answer to that last question, but I’m kind of amazed by that. Amazed  by the idea that these words have power beyond my understanding. That by taking the time to just let the Lord do His thing through me, I could be used to bring glory to the God of all creation…somehow.

Let me be very clear, in my own right I am not worthy. I am not worthy of any clever phrase or well-structured sentence credited to my name (not many of those here, I’m afraid…grammar was never my strongest subject) .  I am not worthy to even think the name of Yahweh.

But y’all. God is. He is worthy of so much more than these words can express. He is worthy of every ounce of praise we shout and every prayer we pray, spoken or not. He is worthy of more glory and adoration than I could ever give.

Because He is God. Redeemer of the lost. Healer of the sick. Helper of the poor. Savior of the world. Creator of all things. Restorer of the broken. Sustainer of sanity. Pursuer of hearts. Answerer of prayers. Provider of needs. Father to the fatherless. Planner of futures. Worker of miracles. Friend to the lonely. Sovereign in all situations. Shelter for the weak. Bearer of heavy loads. King of all kings. Transformer of hearts and lives… and this is only scratching the surface because my human brain cannot comprehend all that He is. These are just the glimpses of Himself He has graciously allowed me to see.

So this is it. Maybe you’re still not sold on this whole “God thing.” Maybe you’ve never experienced the Lord in your own life. Maybe you’ve heard all about it but you want to know Him personally. Maybe you needed to be reminded of one of these attributes. Maybe you have another you’d like to add the the list.

Whatever your case is, bring it to God.

Please. I may have only seen glimpses, but I know that He is worthy of your time and capable of handling your circumstances, whatever they may be.

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when the fear comes…

Today is March 3, 2019.

On this day last year, life was good. I was happy, I was healthy, I was working.  The Lord had just brought me out of a season of waiting and feeling “stuck” (see “The Desert Place post if you don’t believe me), and I was excited about His working in my life.

Today, I reflect on that day and I’m honestly brought to tears by what I didn’t know then. I didn’t know that in 9 short days life as I knew it would be turned upside down.  I didn’t know that I was about to be brought to the end of my strength, my sanity, and frankly my ability to live. I didn’t know that over the next few months I was going to find myself closer to the Lord of my heart than ever before out of pure desperation to grasp the one thing I knew would stay steady.

I didn’t know.  Because it hadn’t happened yet.

So today, I have to admit that the point behind me writing this is that I am finding fear creeping into my heart.  Fear is reminding me of how oblivious I was to the pain that was so near to making its presence known, and fear is telling me that it can happen again.

As the 1 year mark gets closer and closer on my calendar, I find myself in crippling moments when the fear of my headache returning overwhelms me. It terrifies me.  It reminds me of the miserable pain and whispers to me that I couldn’t survive that again. And y’all, the limits of my humanity agree with the fear. I don’t think I could survive that again.

But God.

I could honestly stop writing there because God is the only word I need to keep speaking over myself. I need to be reminded of God.

I need to be reminded of God’s past faithfulness, of His right-now presence, of His future promises.

I need to be reminded of the love story He has written to me, of the sacrificial and unconditional love He has shown me by saving my doubting soul.

I need to be reminded that even when I want to let go and give in to the fear, He holds on to my heart and whispers truth. Even when I’m paralyzed by fear and don’t think I can take another step into the unknown, He sustains me…and carries me if need be.

I need to be reminded of His  grace. The kind of grace that gets me through the day when the day seems like it just won’t end.

I need to be reminded that time and time again He has rescued me from fear and provided a shelter for me in Himself, and He will continue to do so until I’m home with Him where fear cannot find me.

I need to be reminded of the peace that is found only in Him. The peace that goes beyond my circumstances and remains steadfast in the chaos.

I needed to be reminded of the purpose behind the pain. The pain was real, but I cannot express the incredible joy I have found in His presence or the unending gratitude that fills my heart each day at the thought of His provision during the fiasco that was my life in 2018.

When I think about enduring any kind of pain like that again, my humanness shouts that I could not survive it again. But God. God is reminding me of Himself. He carried me through once before and if the pain comes again, the Lord will carry me, once again.


 

Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the Lord. He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him. For he will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease. He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection. Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night, nor the arrow that flies in the day. Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness, nor the disaster that strikes at midday. Though a thousand fall at your side, though ten thousand are dying around you, these evils will not touch you…The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name. When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them. I will reward them with a long life and give them my salvation.”
-Psalm 91:1-7,14-16

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hallelujah

When I started this blog a few years ago, I wanted it to be real. The real me with real struggles and real successes all wrapped up in a very real God who orchestrates all the seemingly crazy moments into a purpose-filled life.

So the back story for this post –

March 12: Tax season is in full swing, hours are creeping above 40/week, life is good, but a minor headache begins (and I assume tax season is to blame because it can be stressful y’all).

Fast forward almost 11 weeks: That minor headache overnight became the hands-down worst pain that I have ever experienced, and it never let up.  My life consisted of trying to sleep, going to work, and wanting desperately to get back home to try to sleep again because sleep was the only time my head didn’t hurt.  Many doctors, many MRI’s, and many, many tears later, surgery was really the only option, so that’s what we did.

Thankfully (x a million), the surgery has been successful and recovery, though not without a few set-backs, has been smoother than expected.

Now to the point of this post –

“…I am He, I am He who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.” – Isaiah 46:4

He will sustain you.

With every medicine that didn’t work, doctor that couldn’t give me answers, night that I couldn’t sleep, and day that I physically couldn’t function, I became more frustrated and felt more helpless.

But I also became more reliant on the good Lord because honestly, I had to.  I knew I couldn’t do it on my own. I knew I couldn’t get out of bed and pretend I was fine in my own strength.  I knew I couldn’t put a smile on my face every day when it took every part of me to just get up in the morning.

Thankfully, with many God-timed reminders from friends and family along the way, it is with every ounce of gratefulness in my body that I say God truly sustained me.  He was my strength, He was my motivation, and He was the hope that I desperately needed. Because no matter how bad I felt, I knew even more that my God makes no mistake. “If this pain is part of my life, God has a purpose for it.” became the mantra that I had to cling to daily.

So let me say again, God will sustain you, just as He faithfully has every other day of your life.

In pain, in suffering, in confusion, in questioning, in grief, in sadness, in depression, in anxiety, in stress, in loss, and in every other phase of life, the Creator of every good thing will sustain you because that is who He is.

He is sovereign and gracious and persistent and faithful and purposeful and loving and so, so much more.

I know there are many people fighting a battle much bigger than mine, but please hear me when I say that no battle is too big for the God who splits seas and opens the eyes of the blind.

On the other hand, many people are fighting a battle that seems smaller than mine, so also hear me when I say that no battle is too small for the God who cares for you so deeply and so personally that He knows just how many hairs are on your head.

He will sustain you. He will catch you. Or He will pick you back up if He allows you to fall (again, He makes no mistake). He will rescue you. He will be your source of strength or light or hope or love or joy or grace or mercy or freedom or literally any other thing you could possibly need.

So what will I do in response to the greatness of my God? Honestly, no words have come to mind that seem to be enough, so all I’ve been able to say is “Hallelujah.”

Hallelujah – God be praised.

Throughout this journey, there was a song that sang the words I prayed over and over again: “Whatever’s in front of me, help me to sing Hallelujah.”

After saying it so many times, I’ve experienced more than ever that there is power in a “Hallelujah.”

So whatever you’re going through – sing, shout, cry, scream, or if you don’t think you can do any of those then simply whisper it. “Hallelujah, God will sustain me.”


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the desert place

*Full disclosure – I wrote this a few nights ago when sleep escaped me, life drained me, and Jesus lovingly reminded me of who He is through it all.  I still find myself in this season that feels a lot like a faith-drought, but I am waiting on my Jesus and trusting Him through this desert place*

Here I am in this season where I feel as if I’ve lost my fire, my desire, and my awe of Jesus.  And here I am reading and praying and wanting so desperately to snap out of it because it feels wrong, and it feels fake.

But isn’t it funny how God seems to speak even when we don’t hear him?  I’ve been reading the same Psalm twice a day for the past two weeks and right now it’s almost as if I’m reading it for the first time.  It begins with this:

“The Lord is my Shepherd. I shall not want.” 

It’s as if through this waiting for the voice of God or waiting for the “feeling” of his presence to find me again in this dry season that God simply speaks.  Not in a roar or a huge rush of excitement in an ‘ah-ha’ moment, but a quiet moment at about 12:15 AM, in the dark, when I’m worn out and tired. And this is what he says to my heart –

“I am your Shepherd, you shall not want.

You want this amazing moment when you find Me after a dry season, but I just want you to rest in Me.  You are worn and you are burnt out and you are exhausted. I want you to simply sit with Me.  Not wanting a  big show of Me, but simply waiting–not wanting–in My presence.  

Allow Me to refresh your soul. Let Me, your Healer, soak up the heaviness and revive your spirit. I want to do this. I want you to let Me do this, but you must be still.

You must stop moving. Stop wanting. Stop beating yourself up because you feel like you should find Me by being swept up in a big rush of worship or revival. 

I decide how and when to speak. I know what is best for you, and right now that is to remind you–gently and softly–that I am your Shepherd, your Protector, and your Provider.  You don’t always need life-altering moments and heart stopping feelings. 

You need Me, and you will find Me as you lie down and let Me watch and work over you, as you walk with Me by waters of rest.

I am your Shepherd. You shall not want.”


Psalm 23
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside waters of rest.
He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

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peace

For the past month, I have been praying for answers.  What will I do after school? Where will I live? What will my life look like 6 months down the road?  These are things I have worried and stressed about for months, but over this past month of prayer I finally realized what my answer is:

“just wait.”

What months ago seemed like the dreaded answer I knew I would get but didn’t want to accept has now become one of the greatest blessings in disguise.

You see, one of the things I’ve learned in my walk with Christ is that God does his own thing, and he does it better than anyone ever could.  His timing, his plan, and his faithfulness all remain in perfect condition.

In finding that I am just going to have to be patient and wait for His plan to unfold, God somehow managed to show a new depth to his faithfulness in giving me the answer to a question I didn’t even realize I was asking.

He gave me peace. And y’all let me just say that I have never in my life been so overwhelmed with pure, hopeful joy as I have these past few weeks.   I have no answers to where my life will be this time next year, but I have been given something so much greater.

I didn’t intend for this post to be all about me, but as much as I read and hear and speak about the peace God offers, I feel as if I am only now experiencing it in truth.  The peace God offers is different.  His peace is capable of melting every worry from your soul, every wound you still hold tight, and every single anxious thought that tries to crowd out what you know to be true in Christ.  His peace replaces any doubt with a trust that burns so deep it seems as if nothing could break it.

And the joy.  Of all things His peace has brought into my heart, the joy is priceless.  Even now, as I sit and wait for one of the most important exam scores of my life (really), I find myself full of joy because I have his peace.

Tonight I pray you find the same peace.  I hope that as you pray for whatever it is your heart desires, you take the time to listen.  He may not give you the answer you want, but He will answer.  He will answer in His way, in His time, and it will be exactly what you need because He is good and He is sovereign.


 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.
-Philippians 4:6-7

“I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.”
– Romans 15:13

You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!
-Isaiah 26:3

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less of me

Sometimes God takes his time molding me and revealing areas I need to let go/pour into, sometimes the revelation takes only a moment, but every time the result is the same: life change.  Over the years, me and God have had plenty of chats where He graciously reminds me that I still have plenty to work on in my journey to be like Him.  Recently the topic was selfishness…

I am a firm believer that prayer is essential.  Even in the tiniest life decisions represents an opportunity to come before God, refocus your heart, and acknowledge that your Creator is in control (this was also a previous lesson I had to learn).   But what is gained when your prayer life consists only of yourself?

Before I continue, let me say this: there is nothing wrong with praying for yourself.  It’s absolutely crucial that you pray for help when you need it, guidance when making a decision, clarity when faced with confusion, strength to stand through a storm raging around you, and praise when he reveals his answer…

but it shouldn’t stop there.

This may seem like common sense, and you’re right.  It should be common sense to pray for other people in need, but so often we (especially me) get caught up in what is happening in our life that taking the time to prayer for someone else falls to the list of things we’ll “get to tomorrow.”

So enough about me; I want to spend the rest of this post praying for you.  I pray these words find their way into your heart, along with the source of every good thing.  Whoever you are, wherever you are, whatever season of life you find yourself in, these are for you:

I pray you know that you are so loved.  Deeply, wholly, unconditionally, and eternally loved.

I pray you find your worth in Jesus and not in how you compare to the “flawless” girls on Instagram.  He gave his life to pay the price of your mistakes to make you a flawless child of God.  There is no greater worth.

I pray you seek the Lord in every moment, for he has a perfect plan for your life that he is patiently waiting to reveal to you step-by-step.

I pray you find joy. The kind of joy that goes beyond happiness and cannot be altered by your current circumstances.

I pray you find peace.  Whatever your situation, whatever your heartache. I pray you find peace in the midst of it.

I pray you find strength to get back up, to keep moving forward, to walk away, or to accomplish whatever it is you have been fighting so hard to finish.

I pray you thank God for both the good times and the bad, because he works through both.

I pray you find healing. Mentally, physically, or spiritually.

I pray you find hope in the greatness of our God and that you hold tight to him and his promises through any battle you face.

I pray you trust Him when he says he will be steadfast at your side through every season of life.

I pray you remain confident in your salvation and the inheritance promised to you when you chose to follow Christ.

I pray you give him all the praise and glory when he reveals himself to you and through you (and he will at just the right moment because his timing is perfect).

I pray that when you feel overwhelmed and your whole life seems to be crashing around you, you remember that you are not alone and you can find rest in the shelter of our Savior.

I pray you never lose sight of the presence of God and the knowledge that you are loved, you are forgiven, and you are beautiful because God has made you so.


In reading these, I hope you found what it is you needed to find, or even just took a step towards finding that thing.  My final prayer is that if you have a specific request or need, you reach out to someone. Whether it be to me or to someone you feel more comfortable with, please reach out.  There is power in praying to the God who always listens, and so much comfort can be found in knowing someone is praying with you and for you.

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