Blog Feed

What’s on YOUR list?

66170015_834313096947292_1598803156483964928_o
The kid and I checking off one thing on my list. KAYAKING!! Such a fun day!

I don’t know about you, but I am ALWAYS busy!

ALWAYS!

And it can be really tempting to just get into a groove and go with the flow.

We wake up one day and realize a big portion of our lives has passed us by and we have no idea how we got to where we are.

I’m such a big advocate for intentional living. But it hasn’t always been that way.

The Bible tells us to be alert! Because our enemy, Satan, is on the prowl. He’s looking for that weak and distracted person in the flock to destroy.

And honestly, I’ve been that weak and distracted person. A LOT.

I was constantly saying how I wanted to do this or try that. I had all these dreams, but it never seemed to work out. And by work out, I mean it never seemed to fall into my lap.

Y’all, for years, I took that to mean that God had forgotten me. That He was overlooking me and ignoring my prayers.

But that wasn’t true.

What it really meant was I was too afraid (and lazy) to actually try anything different. To look around, decide what I wanted and then start working towards that.

In all fairness and honesty, we all know that just because we want something and work for something doesn’t mean we’ll get it. (We can say it. We’re all adults here.)

But sometimes when we start moving towards that life that we want, God has a way of opening doors that we never imagined were available to us.

We find ourselves in a completely different place than we thought… AND WE ARE ACTUALLY HAPPY ABOUT IT!

But all of that takes movement, faith and prayer.

Midyear of 2019, I sat down and wrote out a list of 10 things that I wanted to do. Whether it was something new I wanted to try, a habit I wanted to acquire, or an activity I wanted to complete.

Only 6 months later, some of those things no longer appeal to me. But some of those things call to me even more.

And it doesn’t mean I’m flaky or wishy-washy. It just means that I started trying some things and some just weren’t what I thought they’d be.

And I don’t feel bad about that. I started checking things off my list. And I’m pretty proud of myself.

And even more, I’m so incredibly thankful to God. He opened my eyes to the fact that life is fleeting and precious. And He never intended for us to barely survive. To just slide in bed at the end of every day glad to see it end and already fretting the coming morning.
He didn’t have to show me all that. He could have left me right in my pity party of perceived abandonment and loneliness.

He has a plan for us. Yes, even you. Especially you.

And what greater way to spend this life than glorifying Him every moment in the way we choose to spend our thoughts and energies.

Let me encourage you to make the list today. Don’t be tied to the outcome. Some of it you may not get to. But make it anyways. Add all your fun stuff. Your hard stuff. Your scary stuff.

Pray over it and then start working towards those things that are on your heart.
And when it seems tough or impossible, let that draw you to Him. Because that’s the point!
He gives us dreams bigger than we could ever accomplish on our own to remind us to run to Him. To look to Him for strength, courage, peace, guidance.

Today is the best day for you to start because today is the day you have!

So, tell me… what’s on your list?

Now go do it! And don’t forget to take pictures!

Advertisements

 

He's not changing you so He can love you. He's changing you because He does love you.

 

I know what it feels like to try an outrun your own thoughts. Your own guilt and shame.

It feels hopeless. And it makes us desperate.

Desperate for anything that will silence the noise or at the least… something that’s louder than the noise.

We shut our eyes tight in the dark when the memories won’t let us sleep. And we struggle in how we show up for life.

Because, sometimes.we don’t show up at all. We hide out in the corner afraid that if we bring attention to ourselves everyone will see how dirty we are.

Or we show up guns blazing. Hoping that maybe if we’re good enough now they’ll forget who we were then.

The problem is though… we can’t forget. And we can’t forgive.

The guilt’s too heavy so we blame others for our mistakes. Maybe if they can carry some of this for us, it won’t be so hard. If our parents would have been better or our spouse would have been kinder. If our friends were loyal or our kids better behaved.

We play the victim because victims have no power. And if we have no power then we can’t possibly be responsible for the decisions that we’ve made.

I know… those aren’t the words we want to hear. The words we want to hear are: You were right. It’s not your fault. You couldn’t help it. I don’t blame you…

But those words… those words that are meant to just tickle our ears… they may feel good. But they don’t bring good.

Those are the words that make it easier for us to stay right in the middle of the big messes that we’ve made. And honestly, easier to just keep making a bigger mess.

Those are the words we hear on dead end roads.

Understand this… the enemy can use your past in two ways. He can try and crush you underneath the accusations and reminders of just how fallen you are. Or he can try to convince you that you haven’t really done anything wrong. And if you did, it was completely justifiable.

But here’s the truth. The only way our pasts are justified is through the blood of Jesus. On the scales of righteousness, we all lose. If we’re standing there alone.

I know the truth can be painful. But the truth is much like the Law. It’s here to show us our absolute failure to do anything at all to save ourselves.

Can’t you see? Every single thing you’ve ever done… you messed up as a daughter, as a mother, a wife, a friend, an employee… and every single one of those mistakes HE CAN REDEEM.

All of those mistakes, He’s got a plan for them. For you. Because most often it’s when we look with honest and open eyes that we find our purpose.

He loves you. I wish I could look you in the eyes right now. I wish you could hear my voice as I say it again. He loves you. Just as you are.

Sure, He has some things He wants to heal, some things He wants to grow and some things He wants to weed. But He’s not changing you so that He can love you. He’s changing you because He does love you!

He loves you!

I don’t care if you’re the daughter that’s disappointed her family. (I’ve been there.)

Or the mom who has messed up big time with her kids. (I’ve been there too.)

Maybe you’ve been the wife that left. (Yep, I’m still with you.)

Or you broke promises and confidences with friends. (Me too.)

And maybe you’ve got more you want to add to the pile. Good. I do too.

While we’re piling it up, though, how about we leave it there? Leave it there at the feet of the Carpenter. The One who can take all our broken pieces and make a masterpiece from them.

Things won’t be perfect. In the here and now, there may still be some consequences for those mistakes we’ve made. But that’s OK… because He’s in those too.

Tonight, when you put your head down on your pillow, don’t be afraid of those thoughts and memories when they come. Instead take each one of them and hand it straight to Christ. The only One who can take them and bend them… mold them into praises to Himself.

And if they come faster than you can catch them. Here’s a prayer for you. Just close your eyes, get on your knees and open your hands to the only One who can take the bad and give the good. And say these words out loud. Over and over again until His peace has covered your heart.

 

Jesus, I don’t know how I got here. Here, that seems so far off track. And Jesus, I can’t even hold my head up under the weight of all I’ve done. My mistakes and my sins. They are too heavy for me to hold. I want to hide Lord. To hide from these things, to hide from myself, and to hide from You. But I know that Your Word says that I am more than a conqueror in Christ. That You are making all things new, including me. That You are working all things for the good of those who love You. Teach me to love You. Use all of these ugly things for Your purpose and Your plan. You are so good. And all Your ways are good. Thank you, Lord that even though I can’t see it now, this is the beginning of something new. Thank you that each of these things that threatened to take me down will, through Your blood, be used to bring You glory. In Your precious and Holy Name, Jesus, I pray. Amen.

Broken. ⁠⠀
Broken homes filled with broken people with broken hearts by broken dreams.⁠⠀
We don’t need to look far to see find them. Those broken people. And so very often, they look a lot like everyone else. They look a lot like us.⁠⠀
Those broken homes, and hearts and dreams… from the outside we’d never pick those out either.⁠⠀
You think we’d tread a little more carefully. We speak gentler. Love kinder. ⁠⠀
Surrounded by all the chipped and fragile people, but we are bulls in a china shop. ⁠⠀
Crashing headstrong into all their defenses, demanding our control, arguing our points, loving only that which shows our reflection. ⁠⠀
And when we hear the Lord whisper, “Easy,” we ignore. We’re insulted. Why should we be easy when they are so hard?⁠⠀
The Spirit reminds us gently that our battle is not against flesh and blood, but we argue back. He doesn’t understand this flesh and blood. He must not know how truly evil this is. How must damage it could do.⁠⠀
And if we’d listen for just a moment longer, we’d hear His response, “No child, you don’t understand YOUR flesh and blood. How I hung on the cross for it. How nails were driven into my hands for it. And spears into my sides. Thorns into my head.”⁠⠀
And maybe we’d realize that all the gentleness that He asked of us is not for their sake but for ours. He doesn’t need us to be protectors. He does that. He doesn’t need us to tend His flock. He does that too.⁠⠀
If we could only understand, only grasp just how much was given to secure our own place before God, maybe we’d be more willing to make sure that the ones next to us knew they had a place as well.⁠⠀
That we can all live from the faith that we are made whole. We’re no longer broken, pitiful sinners. We are redeemed, made brand-new, children of God. ⁠⠀
Broken homes don’t mean we have to be broken people. And broken dreams don’t have to mean broken hearts. All of it… all of us… are redeemable…. Usable… if only we look to the One who makes it all new… works it all for good. ⁠⠀

Bittersweet Disappointment

It’s been a while since I’ve been here.

Here, with my hands poised over a keyboard with so many words pushing to get out that I’m not sure if my fingers will keep up.

And it’s funny (and not in the HA-HA way) that the words come on the tail of a draining day.

William Shakespeare is quoted as saying, “Expectation is the root of all heartache.” And I believe we all can recognize some truth in that.

Because I know my heartache grows from it. At least for today.

I expected someone to do what I thought they would do. No promises were made but I had a picture in my head and I watched that picture slowly fade as the hours ticked on.

I struggled with my own thoughts and emotions. Anger and Fear came rushing out pushing carts full of bricks ready to start rebuilding walls that the Lord and I have worked real hard on tearing down. And Sadness and Frustration, they came with quivers full of fiery arrows ready to attack at the slightest movement.

I did my best to calm the chaos. But they don’t listen to me anymore. They know my history of bad decisions and ugly mistakes. Their hands hovering over the self-destruct button if I so much as even think about doing anything other than running and hiding.

And so I pray without really praying. I ask God a question I didn’t really expect an answer to. I ask anyway because at least that way when I’m in this hole I’m about to dig I can have someone else to be angry with besides myself.

I shouldn’t have been surprised. And the tears ran shamelessly from my eyes as I listen to exactly what He had to say.

“I want you to feel this. And I want you to bring it to me. You don’t have to feel it alone.”

And maybe you don’t know… but that’s the most difficult “easy” thing to do.

I don’t have to build walls, I don’t have to fight battles, I don’t have to do anything more than take every bit of all this mess straight to the One Who Sees Me.

“Here Lord, here’s my mess.”

Such easy words to say but such difficult words to live.

So, I try to be tough. I shut down for a little while and try to ignore the ache in my chest.

Until, WHAM! Another blow. Another disappointment.

This blow is a little harder because I didn’t expect it. It comes out of nowhere and honestly I feel a whole foundation shake.

I’m not sure how to look at these people the same again. And all those emotions are fighting harder than ever to have their way.

Frustration shouts, “You gonna let them get away with that?”

And poor Sadness whispers, “But you don’t deserve that? Why would this happen?”

And I’ve quit listening to Anger and Fear because honestly, they’re shouting profanities at this point.

And the tears come again and this time stronger and I know… I won’t survive another blow. Not today, not this week, not this year. Not if I try to make it on my own.

And so I do the hard thing that seems like a simple thing. I give it to God.

Actually, I take it to God. We argue a bit before I give it to Him.

But in that moment I sense it. The idea that from these very disappointments something good is going to grow. Something a little sour and a little sweet. Just the right amounts. Something bittersweet.

So why do I call it bittersweet? How can I even?

Because in a moment of such clarity I know it was nothing from me and only of God, I knew I had a choice to make.

I could choose to trust God in and through this or I could slide right back down into the pit I’ve been climbing out of.

A different life needs different choices, right?

And for the very first time EVER in my life, I find myself actually thankful for this moment. This moment when I get to practice exactly what the Lord has been showing me.

When I get to see Him moving in such a way in my life that I know things are going to be different. When I can see those first glimpses of the something big from all those small beginnings.

We were made for community. Ecclesiastes 4:9 says “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor.”

And even in Genesis 2:18 we hear God say, “It is not good for man to be alone…”

We are social creatures whether we are introverts or extroverts. We all want to find our people.

And these disappointments and betrayals can make us feel like we’ve chosen wrong. Like there’s been a big mistake and somehow we got put at the wrong table. And we feel alone, hurt, sad, scared… you name it… And we get mighty tempted to run and see if we can’t find a better suited group for us.

Isaiah 2:22 tells us, “Don’t put your trust in mere humans. They are as frail as breath…”

And later in 31:1-3 we read a warning about the sorrow waiting for those who trust in Egypt (man) instead of the Lord.

And it gets confusing, doesn’t it?

It’s not good to be alone but everyone will let you down. What’s a girl to do?

Because if we’re being obedient to God’s word then we know that hiding out or “hulking” out isn’t an option.

And Frustration fights even harder when he knows you’re on the verge of forgiving someone who isn’t even sorry.

It’s tempting to wail to God about how easy they’re getting off. But a while back I read somewhere words that stick with me today.

THERE WAS NOTHING EASY ABOUT THE CROSS.

And what He did on the cross wasn’t just for my sins but for theirs. And if all I’m worried about is their sins then maybe I haven’t really understood what happened on that cross.

Because I’m forgiven. That is finished. But what isn’t finished is the work God is doing in making me more and more like Him.

And that’s the work that I want to be my business. My priority.

And the truth is that someone hurting my feelings, betraying me, disappointing me does not make them a bad person. It just makes them human.

And maybe God is doing a something in them too. And that works not finished either.

We are all in these awkward middle grounds. Where our hearts and souls long for our true Home. But our feeble and weak bodies are carrying us through as God shows His loving patience to us and the world.

Because He is teaching me that in every difficult situation or relationship, I get to choose. I get to choose offense or grace. I get to choose retaliation or love. I get to hold on selfishly to what He has given me or I get to give it away.

And each of these choices is making me. And I’m either being made to look more like Him or more like the world.

I can choose to take something filled with pain and hold it close and lick my wounds. Or I can hand it over to an ever gracious and loving God and let Him turn in into something that is filled with joy and praise.

And that’s why I’m so thankful. Because I’ve always had the choice. But today I was able to see the choice. Today, when just for a moment, I decided to turn my eyes to the One Who Provides to provide me a way, He showed me His way.

There’s a small bud of something growing in this wretched heart! And I’m so thankful for it. And in the praising God for it, the disappointment doesn’t even seem that great now.

I’m not sure what the outcome of these situations I’m in now will be. But what I do know is that no matter what happens I can choose love and I can choose God. And that I’ll be thankful that I even have the choice at all.

Brave Grief

Grief. We’ve all felt it.

And no matter what the reason, it can be tempting to believe that this is the worst we’ll ever feel.

Yesterday was my oldest son’s 14th birthday.

And while I was so happy and thankful to be celebrating this boy who struggled so much in his first few days of life, I couldn’t shake the nagging desire to sit in a corner in cry.

This was his first birthday without his dad.

And as most mothers do, as I thought back on the day he was born, I was overwhelmed thinking about a time when life seemed to hold so many promises. And I never would have expected those first days to bring us here.

In those moments, we can find ourselves feeling slighted. Feeling the unfairness of life. Asking questions that never bring answers.

And in all those unknowns we can began to wonder how much we really know about God.

Just a few weeks ago, the people in my home state watched the story unfold of a three-year old girl who was missing. As the days passed, people shared photos and prayers across social media hoping that this story would have a happy ending.

It didn’t. Her body was found, and we mourned.

But you don’t have to watch the news to see devastation. Most of us can look around our own homes, families or even in the mirror.

And we wonder why. Why do these horrible things happen to children, happen to us?

Job asked those questions too.

He lost everything. His children, his belongings, his health.

And he cried out. Longing for understanding or death.

I get it. Maybe you do too.

His well-meaning friends came to comfort him. But their words only brought more pain. For Job and themselves.

They wagged their tongues tirelessly trying to fit God into a box that they could understand.

I get that too.

It can seem that faith and grief are like oil and water. They’re impossible to mix.

But the truth is grief is the very time we need so desperately to add a hefty dose of faith.

Jesus said, “The world will make you suffer. But be brave! I have defeated the world!” (John 16:33 The Good News translation)

Brave.

Grief doesn’t make us feel brave, does it?

It makes us feel weak. It makes us feel lost. It makes us feel scared.

But can we really be called brave in situations that don’t cause us to pause, or even to stop dead in our tracks. That don’t make us question for at least a moment all we’ve held to.

Bravery and faith must go together. I’m not sure you can have one without the other.

Bravery is the action that flows out of the faith.

Bravery is faith. Bravery is confidence.

Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. – Hebrews 4:16

We’re offered grace and mercy in our times of need, in our grief, because it’s exactly what we need.

God doesn’t expect for us to be hard-hearted. To hear devastating news or experience hard situations and to simply shrug it off. “Oh well, that’s just life.”

He knows we’ll have questions and tears and fears and doubts.

And He gives what we need in those times.

Faith and bravery in the face of grief is hard.

But instead of falling down in despair, they fall down in worship.

It’s an echo of Job’s words.

“I’m convinced: You can do anything and everything. Nothing and no one can upset your plans.” -Job 42:1

Faith and bravery say that Yes! God has a plan. And it’s good. Even if it doesn’t look good right now.

They believe that God is good even when they don’t feel it.And if He has allowed such heartache to touch our lives, He can also bring joy.

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. – Revelations 21:4

You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book. – Psalm 56:8

He sees our tears. He hears our cries. And He keeps a record of them.

I’m not sure there are many words that bring comfort in the midst of grief. We want answers and relief now and nothing we can say will bring either.

But what does bring comfort is understanding that we don’t have to understand. That maybe we don’t even have to like it.

That’s God is perfectly able and willing to stand with us in our grief. He is patient as we cry and wail. He never tires. He never wears out.

And nothing can separate us from His great love.

And that while we only see parts of the puzzle, we only see pieces of the picture, He is working something out that is beyond our imagination.

That our grief is brought as part of the sin of this world but He is oh so merciful to still offer us peace in the midst of it.

Today as we face the hardships and despair of this fallen world, may we recognize His voice calling to us in the storm.

May we run to Him in those times. Finding comfort and peace that only He can give.

We don’t have to be afraid of our grief. We don’t have to hide it. But we don’t have to let it isolate us from Him either.

In the fear of the Lord there is strong confidence. And His children will have refuge. – Proverbs 14:26

The hard blow to our pride is that we must seek Him more than our own comfort or our own understanding. When we allow God to take His rightful place in our lives and hearts, we find faith and bravery. And we find refuge.

While it’s tempting to run from God in times of trouble, we must run TO Him.

Trusting Him with things that are far above our thoughts or ways. Trusting that He is doing a good work. Trusting Him that we will one day understand but today may not be that day.

He loves us so fiercely. He stands ready to offer us shelter and rest.

Let’s allow ourselves to grieve not hidden and afraid, but in His presence. Receiving Him, the greatest comfort of all.

Overflow

Rest is good. And there’s never a bad time to open up God’s Word and dig in.

But I have a tendency to rest too much and a habit of always reading and very seldom ever doing.

I have two devotional books that I use during the day. One for home and one for work. I like to read the one at home before I leave the house. The one at work I read sometime in the afternoon for a quick encouragement.

I recently bought a third devotional and thought I might could add it in at night. As I sat trying to read it yesterday, the words seemed to bounce right off my brain. I couldn’t process what I was reading and I had a unsettled feeling in my chest.

“Why, Lord?” I asked.

Immediately an image came to mind of a pail already packed to the rim with sand. And as I tried to pile more sand on top, it would simply fall over the sides and back onto the ground.

I heard the Lord saying, “You’re full. Give some of this away first.”

I honestly didn’t feel full. I didn’t feel like I had anything to give. I needed to learn more, read more, rest more before I felt qualified to give anything.

The ironic thing is that even though I am absolutely sure God was speaking to me, I still set the book down and proceeded to spend the rest of the evening watching TV with my kids.

I wasn’t ready. Even though in my life time I’ve written more words than I can count, for some reason I still don’t feel ready.

It’s so hard and so vulnerable. And even though I tell myself over and over again it’s not about me, the fear of rejection can be crippling.

But sometimes my fear is more about actually experiencing God in new ways than anything else. Because I know that the more I experience Him, the more I change.

The Lord shows me more during the actual process of writing than He does before I start. Maybe He allows an idea to sprout in my mind but it’s not until I sit down and tend it that He really shows me what’s it’s about.

Experiencing God can be terrifying. And rightly so. In Exodus when Moses askes God to show him His glory the Lord responds that “you can not see my face, for man shall not see me and live.”

But in His goodness the Lord allowed Moses to speak with Him and to see a glimpse of Him after He had passed over. And when he came down from the mountain, he was changed in a way that was visible to all.

Something in our very souls understands the intensity of being with God. Of hearing Him talk and seeing glimpses of Him.

And it can be very tempting to stay busy with other things in an effort to “miss” it.

“I’m doing these other things right now, Lord. I don’t have time to stop and listen.”

I think of that day when Jesus visited the home of Mary and Martha. And I wonder if maybe the reason why Martha rushed to prepare was really in an attempt to avoid the intensity of the intimacy with the Son of God.

Maybe she was afraid of what He would reveal to her. What He may see in her heart. What He may ask her to give up. Or what He may ask her to do.

And understanding even in our limited capacity who God is can make it hard for us to face ourselves. So we hide from both.

We don’t want to submit our wills and lives to God. We are afraid to let go of our mirage of control. We don’t feel prepared and we don’t like stepping into something when we don’t know what to expect. We don’t want to preach and love on those people because they’ve hurt us. And even though we’ve justified our own sins we cannot justify theirs.

We pray… but we do most of the talking. We read… but only to feel like we are actually doing something. We worship… but only to feel good.

And even in all that selfishness, He still fills us up.

But when He says pour out. We don’t. We won’t.

Because we fear that if we give it all away, we won’t have anything left.

We don’t understand that it is not our own knowledge… our own understanding. It is not our capabilities. Our gifts. It is not for our own glory or fame.

Sometimes we will be like Joseph in Egypt. Storing up blessings and gifts and love for years to come. And maybe we find it easier to give then. But sometimes we will be like the Israelites in the wilderness… when the only thing we have to give is what we hold in our hands that day.

Lord, help us to give…out of our abundance or out of our lack. Help us to give. Because it all belongs to you anyways.

Lord, help us to quiet the noise and the busyness… to sit at your feet and listen. To give up this ridiculous idea of control and allow ourselves to be truly changed by You.

Lord, help us to loosen our grip. To let go of the things that are not pleasing to You. To submit ourselves before You and trust… trust Lord that even if it hurts and even if we don’t understand… YOU ARE GOOD. YOU ARE FAITHFUL.

Your grace abounds Lord. Thank you. But may we stop using that grace as an excuse to forge our own paths and do our own things. May we stop claiming grace in areas that You want us to claim freedom.

True worship is not just standing in church on Sunday morning with arms lifted and voices raised. It is the quiet and hard laying down every day of our own pride and will to live a life that points all the lost and hurting people back to You. A life and a voice to glorify God.

May we trust You when You say we are full. May we obey You when You say to pour out. May we follow You when You say to go. And may we be our absolute bravest when we simply agree to hear and experience You.

And all the people say… AMEN.

Giveaway!

It’s time for another giveaway!!!

You can enter by going over to the Facebook page and liking and commenting on the giveaway post OR simply comment on this post. I’ll make sure your name is entered!

Winner will be announced on Monday, October 21st.

Finding Comfort to Give Comfort

I don’t know about you but comfort isn’t exactly how I’d describe some of my most difficult times.

To be honest- it was during those times that I felt the farthest from God.

I didn’t feel comforted. I felt abandoned.

And that perceived abandonment caused me to rebel and lash out at God in ways only the wounded can.

Every time God has taken me out of my comfort zone I’ve raged and fought and wrestled. I’ve run and hid or turned and did the very things He had commanded me not to.

And it is only after He’s let me wear myself out, only after He’s come to find me, picked me up and put my feet back on solid ground that I’ve been able to look at my circumstances with any clarity at all.

I heard a song today by a Christian group called Social Club Misfits. In the song they sing, “When you’re afraid is the only time that a man can be brave.”

And I couldn’t help but think, “When you’re hurting is the only time a man can be comforted.”

I won’t even attempt to put God into some easy to understand box and try to explain why we experience some of the hardships we do. Because I don’t know. And I doubt I ever will this side of Heaven.

But I can say with one hundred percent surety that God carried me through each and every one of those hard times in my life. Maybe I felt alone but I never was alone.

The comfort hasn’t always been so evident. And most of the time it won’t be.

That’s because there are too many things in this world to distract us. The enemy doesn’t let you call a respite. He will kick you hard and fast when you’re down.

And lately God has been showing me three things that keep us from the comfort He wants to give.

Sometimes our focus is off.

Colossians 3:2- Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.

God’s word tells us to give thanks in every situation. But when we face the hard ones we often believe we have nothing to be thankful for. THAT IS A LIE.

We have so much to be thankful for yet we can’t take our eyes off the bad long enough to see the good.

Other times our pride stops us from experiencing the comfort He has to offer.

We’re so angry and offended that things aren’t how we thought they should be. We think we know better than God and the very idea of doing anything other than reminding God and everyone else how we’ve been wronged causes us to puff ourselves up and miss any comfort coming our way.

The third way I’ve missed God’s comfort is in my stubbornness. This happens when I refuse to experience the hard situation. When I do everything I can to distract myself from what’s going wrong in an effort to spare myself the feelings of loss, loneliness, and hurt.

But the comfort that I now see so clearly is revealed for a purpose. And that purpose is to give that comfort back out.

All of those difficult situations have given me a heart for those going through similar things. And it’s because of the comfort I received that I have anything to give to others.

2 Cor. 1:3-4 says, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”

2 Corinthians goes on to say that “then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.”

The truth is that we may never know why God has allowed certain hardships to touch our lives but no matter the what’s and the why’s what we do know is that everything is intended to bring God glory.

Even our troubles.

Some of the greatest healing we will ever experience is taking a situation that caused us pain and using it to be God’s hands and feet in this world. Using our troubles to bring comfort to those around us.

When life gives you lemons and all that… you know? And yes… it makes you want to roll your eyes and scream.

But honestly what better way to look at our hurts and hardships than as learning experiences. As times when we can be filled with all God has to offer so that we overflow into the lives of those around us.

No. Life isn’t easy. And sometimes those “hard” times are more like crushing times. But even in the worse possible times truth is still truth. The Lord is good and He is faithful. And one day He will wipe away every tear.

Until then, maybe we can help each other stand when the sting of salty hurts blurs our vision.

 

 

 

Responsibly Free

I wonder how many of us would connect responsibilities with freedom.

I have a responsibility to pay my bills, go to work, feed my family. While there are many other smaller responsibilities, those three alone take up a huge portion of my time. And that doesn’t always leave behind the feeling of freedom.

And that can cause me to be wary of taking on anything more. It even leaves me with a heaviness sometimes when I think about this ministry that I long to see growing.

How will I have enough time? And what if I mess up? What if I let people down? What if I let God down? Can I truly do the hard work when I already have so many other things to do?

I think those thoughts can hinder us all. Especially those of us that don’t feel like we’ve experienced a whole lot of wins in life.

I’ve done the wrong thing more often then I’ve done the right. Can I really be trusted with this?

Proverbs 24:10 says, “If you falter in a time of trouble, how small is your strength!”

Oh how I’ve faltered!

And not only have I faltered but I’m sure I’ve caused others to stumble as well.

Matthew 18:6- but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and drowned in the depth of the sea.”

Cast me into the waters!

The wrath of God over those He loves is enough to make even the most courageous shake in the knees. And most days I don’t feel at all courageous. Only just surviving.

So it’s tempting to sit on the sidelines. To ignore God calling us onto the field. Because we think that once we step out over that line, all eyes are on us. And that’s a burden we don’t want to bear.

But what if we didn’t have to bear that burden? What if it wasn’t our burden to carry?

What if we needed only to focus on one thing? The one thing that Jesus called “the first and greatest commandment?” And the second?

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbors as yourself.” Matthew 22:37

What if we finally wrapped our minds around the fact that our one purpose is to glorify God? It’s the reason we were created.

We aren’t here to impress people. We aren’t even here to save people. Because we can’t.

We can, however, love.

We can plant the seed but only God can command it to grow.

Over and over again in the Old Testament we see the cry for a savior. An advocate.

We have that Advocate in Jesus Christ. He told us to cast our burdens and cares on Him. To come to Him for rest when things get too heavy to carry.

And stepping out into whatever role, position, or life God is calling you will most definitely be too heavy for you to carry.

But consider these words:

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you with my loving eye on you. Psalm 32:8

Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know. Jeremiah 33:3

Jesus replied, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.” Luke 18:27

The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.  1 Thessalonians 5:24

Maybe you don’t think this applies to you at all. Maybe you’ve never thought about being in any sort of leadership role before.

But the truth is, if you have breath in your lungs then you are indeed in a position of influence for someone… even if it’s your spouse, your children, or your coworkers.

And if you’ve ever shrugged off God’s calling because you’re not quite ready to give up somethings in your life then this is definitely for you.

How can I say today that I want to point people to God when tomorrow I may get frustrated and only point my finger in blame?

How can I ask you to take a step forward when tomorrow I may take two steps backwards?

Grace. 

It’s a simple as that. And if you can’t believe that for others then I’m sad. Because that probably means you don’t believe it for yourself.

Don’t misunderstand. This grace is not a free-for-all do whatever I want kind of deal. The ground we walk upon is holy. And we must tread carefully.

But it is Free For All. Free for all who come to Jesus handing over their burdens of sin and shame and receiving with newly emptied hands His forgiveness and love.

When God puts others in your sphere of influence you are responsible for being faithful in that position whether you accept it or not. Whether or not we acknowledge the gifts and callings He has given us, there will come a day when we must return to Him what was given to us.

What if on that day you can hand back more than you were given? What if you can hear the words, “Well done my good and faithful servant?” And what if when you look around those that were placed in your circle, under your care, are standing there beside you hearing the same words?

It’s exciting, right?

The beauty of it all is that we don’t have to be perfect to experience that. We won’t be perfect. Because if you fail… if I fail- and we will- we can rest assured that while others may only see our mistakes, God sees our hearts.

So today hopefully, my words can lift you up so that tomorrow you can lift me up. Today I’ll encourage you so that tomorrow you can encourage me.

In my few years of homeschooling my children, I discovered something amazing. We often learn more teaching the lesson than we do being taught the lesson.

The lesson here is love.

And we trust Him with the rest. We can be responsibly free to plant the seeds we’ve been given to plant. Maybe we dig a little too deep with some and not deep enough with others. Maybe our rows are a little crooked. Maybe we plant too many in one spot and not enough in another.

But they can grow all the same. And when they do it’s not our abilities that get the glory but His strength and power. Because in our weaknesses He is strong.

Lean on Him. Follow Him. Trust in Him. Wait on Him. Seek Him. Because the One who calls you to step out is faithful, and He WILL DO IT.

 

Deep Waters

We’ve all been there. Some more than others.

Those times when life seems like a constant struggle to keep our head above water. And the more we fight the current and waves the more tempting it gets to just give up and sink.

We look around and it seems like everyone else has made it to shore. Or it seems like maybe they were never struggling in the first place.

And we begin the chore of comparison. Maybe we start thinking that somehow they must have something we don’t. That they must be “better.”

And sometimes we can even begin to think that God loves them more. That He has blessed their lives because they are more important to Him. And that we’ve ended up being the equivalent of a red-headed stepchild in God’s kingdom.

And we console ourselves as we sink fast with the world’s most depressing party. The one of pity.

We give up and accept our lot in life. That of failure. Of being overlooked. Of loss.

The ironic thing about throwing a pity party when you’re in over your head is that it only makes you sink faster.

It’s like using a bag of rocks for a life preserver. The tighter you hold on, the deeper you sink. 

The truth about going through overwhelming circumstances is that no one is exempt. We’ll all experience the desperate struggle with things stronger and bigger than us. Things out of our control.

And not one single person is worthy of being rescued. Not one single person.

Because I understand that feeling of shame when you realize that your own choices brought you to those deep waters.

Believe me, most of the difficult things in my life right now can be directly traced back to some pretty crappy decisions in my past. If I’d made better choices then, I wouldn’t be struggling through it now.

And I understand the temptation to believe that because I deserve what I’m getting that somehow I’m not capable of anything better.

But here’s the thing… deserving and receiving are not the same thing. At least not in God’s kingdom. I may not deserve God’s mercy BUT because of Jesus’s death and resurrection I am capable of receiving God’s mercy.

Maybe all the people around you say to sleep in the bed you made. But our Father in Heaven never does. Instead He says that it is by grace that you are saved- not by works.

Your salvation is a gift. Not a purchase. Not a reward. Not a prize won for a job well done.

One of the most important things you can do is to pray that God would send His Spirit to reveal to you all the lies you are believing about God, others and yourself. Because those lies are rocks slipped into your pocket by the enemy with the sole purpose of taking you down.

And then simply pray the words of Psalm 144:7:

Reach down from on high; rescue me from deep waters.

Maybe you wrestle with those lies for a while. And you can be sure that the enemy won’t give up easily. But keep turning your thoughts back to God’s undeserved love and mercy. Don’t underestimate the power of taking every single thought captive to Christ.

Examine them closely through the lens of His Word. And if it doesn’t fit… cast it away. Far away.

You won’t be able to do this alone. Or in your own strength. The truth is if you try to you are biting off more than you can chew. You’ll be fighting a battle you’re not equipped to win.

Zechariah 4:6 says, “Not by strength or by might, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of Armies.”

By His Spirit. Only by His Spirit can you be set free. Only by His Spirit can you be rescued from the deep waters.

I haven’t always understood walking in the Spirit. And honestly most days it’s more like crawling in the Spirit. Because I tend to still think of my actions as being the solution to my problems.

But the thing I’ve come to realize is that in deep and rough waters it doesn’t matter whether I breaststroke, backstroke or doggie paddle. I’m not getting out of it on my own. I have to look to Him and trust. Having faith that whether I sink or swim He is in control. He loves me and He will be glorified.

Wait. Trust. Lift up your eyes to the One from whom your help comes from. Don’t let bitterness and anger keep you from calling out. As a matter of fact let Him have that too.

And remember that the deep waters-whether you jumped in or were thrown in- can be a wonderful opportunity to strengthen your faith and experience His goodness and mercy.

You just need to rest, relax and trust that He is working all things for your good. To enable you to accomplish the plans He has for you. Be willing to learn. Take your time with the lessons and know that you are getting better. Even if… ESPECIALLY IF… your feet still can’t touch the bottom.

 

 

 

 

 

How to Keep Loving at the End of Your Rope.

I have a confession. For the past three days I’ve been binge watching Netflix. The Gilmore Girls have been my quiet escape from any and everything.

I haven’t written anything. I’ve barely prayed. I’ve done the bare minimum with my devotional.

I’ve stayed up late and woke up late.

And I’ve let the rules of the house fall by the wayside in an effort to keep my own personal peace bubble.

I’ve found myself holding things that I thought I’d left behind long ago.

In the midst of everything, it’s the only way I felt I could survive.

Make myself small. Build up the walls. Shut myself down and everyone else out.

Each night as I’ve gotten into bed I fought the overwhelming feeling of disgust.

Why can’t I be productive? Why am I falling back into these same old patterns?

I promise myself the next day would be better and wrestle my mind to sleep.

But the next day comes and I don’t feel any better. I’m still tired. Uninspired. Anxious. Desperate.

So I spend what energy I have trying to force pieces into places they don’t fit all in an insane hope that I could feel some semblance of control.

I run dry mid-morning. And walk thirsty through the rest of my day. I think I’ll fight the temptation to hide when I get home. But a defeated sigh escapes me as I sink into the couch and search for something mind numbing.

I’ve failed in loving myself lately. And I’ve failed in loving others. I’ve failed in loving God.

Instead of trusting in Him with all these different messes, all these broken pieces I try to fix it all myself. And when I can’t I sweep them under the rug.

Come to Me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28

How sweet those words are.

But what about when you’re too weary and burdened to come? What then?

When we’re stuck between a rock and a hard place what do we do?

In a time long before cell phones and Netflix. Long before over extended schedules and long work weeks. Before we felt like we were looking at the possibilities of the world through a chain link fence. He knew.

He knew and He provided. He provided the way and the encouragement.

If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? Matthew 18:12

We tend to think of astray as meaning a purposeful leaving. A rebellion.

But that’s not necessarily the case. It can mean lost. Adrift. Off course. Wandering. Vanished.

“Astray” can be intentional. But it can also be a unexpected.

And when we find ourselves lost, off course, adrift. When we find ourselves unable or even unwilling to find our ways out He comes to find us.

This time it was only three days, but there have been times in my life when I spent years “astray.”

But whether three days or thirty years, He comes. He finds us and He brings us back.

In all the huge hurricane size waves that have hit me lately I still heard Him calling. Urging me on. But when I couldn’t stand any longer and I couldn’t find my way to dry land, He came to find me. To save me.

We are but feeble humans. Weak but prideful. And we’ll find ourselves at the end of our ropes over and over again.

Sometimes we pay attention and realize that our steps are starting to falter. We can use our last bit of strength to go to Him and fall into His arms.

But sometimes we are unaware. We keep locking our knees and slipping and sliding trying to stay firm. And before we know it we have nowhere to go and no way to get there.

And in God’s good and great mercy, He comes. He comes.

Like Peter, one moment we’re sinking and the next we’re safe in the boat.

He loves us when we can’t love ourselves.

In hindsight I wish I would have spent the last few days going to bed earlier. Turning the TV off. And even though I didn’t have the energy to read His Word or pray, resting in His promises. In His goodness.

I didn’t though and I can’t change that. He’s given me back my footing even though I don’t deserve it. I can’t dwell on how I’ve failed. It’d be throwing His gift back in His face. I can only move forward. Remembering how He pulled me through.

Maybe you’re there too. Maybe you’re in that season of feeling overwhelmed and undernourished. Let me assure you. It’s OK. It really is.

Because His grace is sufficient. And His strength is made perfect in our weakness.

This season will end. You’ll find your footing. And when you do. Don’t look back. Just keep moving forward into the next thing.

He loves you. And the time you’ve spent lost hasn’t changed His plan for you.

You Are Worth It

Worthy.

That’s a pretty hefty word. And we define it in so many different ways.

We demand that we’re worth it with our mouths and yet live the complete opposite in our actions.

We do this because what we view as worthy changes with our circumstances… which in this life can be often.

In my teenage years, I viewed myself as worthy only if I could accomplish my goals. I NEEDED to go off to a good college and get a good job. Something special. Something great.

When I got pregnant at eighteen those plans seemed to drift out of reach. So I realigned. Now my worth would come from how well I could mother this child.

But I couldn’t just be a good mom. I needed to be the best mom this world had ever seen. I somehow needed to reinvent the wheel that was motherhood. And because of previous hurts I needed to do it all on my own.

Anytime well-meaning family or in-laws wanted to help I took it as a direct insult. They must not think I can handle this. This is MY daughter. I’ve got this.

But a year later I had completely worn myself out. I watched my friends still out having fun, doing whatever they wanted while I fought with my husband about taking out the trash and changed diapers and washed clothes.

Now my worth would come from getting back some of my freedom. I wouldn’t, of course, leave my daughter but I could leave the man. And so began a year long effort of walking a very thin line between single mom and free-to-do-whatever-I-pleased-twenty-one year old.

When I got married for a second time at twenty-two, my worth changed again. Now it came from proving that I could be a good mom AND a good wife. I stayed at home, had two more babies and proceeded to homeschool my daughter because mommy knows best, right?

I learned to rock two babies at a time. I could carry a pumpkin seat on one arm and a toddler in another while my four year old held tightly to my belt loop. I baked our own bread, and cooked every meal.

In hindsight, I’m not sure I could have kept going at the pace. I was running myself ragged trying to prove something to someone. But who and what we may never know.

And finally, one day, out of the blue… it was over. My second marriage ended on a regular Tuesday right before Christmas and I was furious. Not necessarily with my ex-husband, not with myself, not with the lawyers and the judges. I was furious with God. I had worked so hard. And it still didn’t work out.

I had to go back to work. I had to enroll my kids in school. I was no longer a wife. Everything that made me feel worthy was gone. So once again I readjusted to a new life.

This time though the things I measured my worth by were a little less “noble.” My worth now was measured by how many friends I had, how busy I stayed, how many guys tried to talk to me, my new outfit for the bar.

Slowly, this way of life lead to a very heavy depression. And I changed my view once again. I needed to get back what I had lost. And as crazy as it sounds, I knew what I needed to be worthy again… a husband.

Y’all, I’m not even going to sugarcoat it. I drove that guy almost insane. I just knew that if he married me it would be the answer to all my problems. There are no truer words than Garth Brooks’, “Sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers.”

In all fairness, I wasn’t looking for a man to take care of me. I was looking for someone to take care of. A safety net, yes. But more of someone to fill the space in my heart and nights that felt so lonely. Someone to appreciate me. To love me.

It took me a long time to realize I was looking to outside things to fix an inside problem. I keep measuring my worth by these incredibly fickled external circumstances.

Maybe you’ve been there. Maybe you are there.

Maybe you’ve been looking everywhere you can think to find something that finally quiets that nasty voice in your head. And if you’re like me, the more you look the more that voice just keeps getting louder and louder.

Every time I tried something I’d just mess up. And that seemed to give the voice more ammunition to use against me. So I’d run harder and faster to the next thing.

I honestly don’t know when it happened. When it finally clicked that I was doing it all wrong. But I can assure you that it wasn’t because of anything I was doing right.

And honestly it’s still like grabbing sand from the bottom of the ocean. I think I have a grasp on it but the waves pull back out and take most of the sand with it.

I can never quite take hold of it completely. But I don’t let that stop me.

I know now that my worth isn’t in what I’ve done or haven’t done. It’s not in whether I’m a wife or not. It’s not in how I choose to educate my children or what kind of bread I feed them. It’s not in my degree or my job. It’s not in who likes me or who doesn’t.

My worth comes simply because God says it. It’s mine simply because He gave it.

I am worthy because of the blood Jesus spilled to make me worthy. There’s no other reason for it.

And the same holds true for you. You are worthy. You don’t have to keep searching for it or chasing after it. You already hold it.

The only thing left to do is live in it. You can’t go back and change things. You can’t go back and undo things. But you can walk away from that striving and simply rest for a while in the knowledge that you are chosen.

The Lord has a plan for your life. And it’s not a constant battle to fight for your place. It’s tough, sure. But it’s also peaceful. Because you don’t have to earn it. You just have to own it.

Whatever your past is. Whatever your mistakes, your failures. You just need to know that you are worthy. It’ll break your heart that Someone could love you so much. It should. But it will also heal your heart.

The only thing for you to figure out today is whether or not you will accept what the Lord has already done for you. Who He has already made you. Nothing more. Nothing less.

It’s as simple and as complicated as allowing your heart to be broken over the only thing that really matters and then allowing the Only One who really can to heal it.

I know you can do this. I believe in you. Because I believe in me. And if someone like me can be made worthy, I know there’s hope for someone like you.

 

 

 

 

Gotta Have Grace

Grace.

We hear it, preach it, love it.

But sometimes it’s hard to show it. And even harder to live it.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how God uses our own broken stories to heal others. And that in the telling we often find our own healing.

But I’ve also been thinking about the people that those stories may hurt. Or anger.

My own story started a long time ago before I even realized what a story was. Before I knew about consequences. Or forgiveness. Or brokenness.

And after many years, I understand that the some of the people who hurt me were hurting too. And some of them were just doing the best they knew how. And some of them… well, I still haven’t figured out. But I’m sure they have their reasons even if they don’t make sense to me.

Then there are the stories where I am the villain. I’m the one who divorced a husband because I didn’t realize that love was hard. At twenty years old, I still thought love was supposed to be butterflies and romance.

I’m the one who told secrets, who hurt friends, who gossiped, who hurt my own children with selfish and childish ways. Who wanted to escape reality more than she wanted to play with her children. I was the villain in those stories.

Not long ago, as I was reading Psalm 9, I found myself very uncomfortable with the verses describing the fate of “the enemy.”

When my enemies turn back, they stumble and perish before your presence...You have made the wicked perish; you have blotted out their name forever and ever. The enemy came to an end in everlasting ruins; their cities you rooted out; the very memory of them has perished. Psalm 9:3,5-6

My first thought when I read the word “enemies” was for those who have hurt me. Who have wronged me in some way. But only for a moment. Because then I began thinking of the ways I am the enemy.

I wanted to rush through the verses. Because I was faced with my own shortcomings. All the ways those verses could very well be talking about me.

But I forced myself to slow down. To go back and read them again. To let me heart be broken over the things I just didn’t do right.

As I was reading I felt the Lord leading me to the next thing. And the next thing is GRACE. Yes, those verses should be talking about me. But they weren’t. And not for any other reason but the blood of Jesus.

Let me say that again. The only reason those verses were not referring to me was because of the blood of Jesus.

And the same applies to you.

Maybe you’ve messed it up big time. In ways you don’t know how to make right. Here’s the grace… you don’t have to make it right.

We can’t go back and undo what we’ve done. We can’t rewind time and be a good friend, or a wonderful mom, or a loyal and loving wife.

The only thing we can do is keep moving forward. And the only way to do that is to fully accept the position that was granted us by the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

That position is righteousness. That position is upright. That position is a child of the Most High God.

No, we’re not worthy. And yes, they’ll be those that wonder who we think we are parading around acting like we’re “something.”

But the truth is that same grace and blood that bought our freedom from all the shame and separation we deserve is available to them also. And if they can’t see God’s goodness that He would love us, change us, then maybe they can’t see it for themselves either.

God’s Word tells us that our battle is not against flesh and blood. It’s against all the powers of darkness. It’s against Satan.

In accepting God’s great mercy even when we know we don’t deserve it, we accept His love. And we learn to love ourselves. We learn to love others. And we set such a great example of the things He is capable of.

Those friends I hurt- I hope they’ve found peace. I hope they’ve found happiness. I hope they’ve learned that no human can ever be 100% dependable. Because we’re flawed and we’re selfish. And even though we try to do better, we’ll still mess up sometimes.

That husband that I left- he has a new wife now. She loves our daughter and they share a beautiful son together. And I have two sons of my own from a second marriage. Sons I couldn’t imagine my life without and I wouldn’t have without that divorce.

And my children- they’re learning that grace is a part of life. A huge part. There will be many people in their lives that need it, including themselves. They’re learning not to be afraid of the messes that other people live in but to get down in it with them and gently help them up.

The wonderful part of the story is that just because you were doesn’t mean you are. Just because you were a cheater or a liar or a party-girl or whatever label that Satan may constantly try to stick on you, you don’t have to keep carrying that around. You are absolutely free to choose a new label. Redeemed. Forgiven. Free. Loved. Chosen.

Psalm 9 goes on to say: Be gracious to me, O Lord!… O You who have lifted me up from the gates of death that I may recount all your praises, that… I may rejoice in your salvation. (vs 13-14)

Rejoice in it! Recount His praises. Do not be ashamed to shout from the rooftops, “Once I was lost but now I am found!”

Loving yourself demands grace. And in learning to show yourself grace, you learn the importance of showing others grace as well. Because our battle is not with them. As Christians, our battle should be for them.

Being brave enough to say, “Look what God has done for me! He can do it for you too!” To let go of our own pride and show grace when others let us down. To trust that in our own weaknesses, His strength is made perfect. That’s what gives others the courage to show grace to themselves. To love themselves.

And that’s the whole point of this crazy life. To glorify the Father who has done so much for us. To uncover our own brokenness and say with resounding confidence, “It’s OK. He has come to heal the broken. He has come to heal me. He has come to heal you.”

Today practice that grace for yourself. Ask God what He wants from you and focus on only that. No past mistakes, no future worries. Just today. Because today we are set free. We are living our best lives. And we are trusting that God is working good out of the most devastating stories.

The Good Soil of Loving Yourself

“The seed cast on good earth is the person who hears and takes in the News, and then produces a harvest beyond his wildest dreams.” Matthew 13: 23

If you read the Parable of The Sower in full, you’ll hear about four different types of people. Three out of the four don’t exactly inspire. But the fourth one… man do I want to be like him.

Each person in the parable heard the News. But only the one with “good earth” was able to “take in the News” and from there produce a harvest.

So what is the “good earth”?

This is the earth that is soft and deep. The earth that is free from hardness. The earth that is empty of all the things that could compromise the promise of new growth. But full of all things that will feed it. This is the earth that is doing exactly what it was meant to do.

This is the person whose heart is soft, who is open to correction, and who is seeking wisdom. The one who has made themselves submissive to God’s will and have let go of their own.

If I’m honest, there are days when I’m a little like all four of the people described in Matthew. Days when I hear a message and that part of my heart is still shallow and hard. And nothing more than an “Amen” and head nod will come from it.

And there are days when I hear the message and I know it’s true and it’s for me but I can’t seem to let go of the way I think things should be.

But then there are those glorious days when it’s just right. I’m ready. I’ve prepared the ground, I’ve done the work. It’s time. And the Holy Spirit will take a single verse and it seems the harvest will never stop.

I always want to be ready for whatever God is growing in my life. But I’m so thankful for the grace that covers the times I just miss it. Times I wasn’t paying attention, times I was distracted. I’ll claim that grace for the rest of my days, I’m sure.

But the hard truth is that sometimes we are aware, we aren’t distracted and we know that God is trying to do something. And we still resist. We puff ourselves up, get validation from others, and stick our flag in the ground trying to claim territory we have no right to.

The even harder truth… it’s pride. It’s not what you deserve, it’s not what you feel, it’s not standing up for yourself, it’s not the right thing to do in the circumstances.

It is 100% hard, cold pride. Nothing good grows from hard, cold places.

And what, you may ask, does that have to do with loving yourself?

So very much my dear friend. So very much.

Because while loving yourself does not mean demanding the very best, it does mean accepting the very best.

And in order to do that, you must realize that even though no, we don’t deserve this sweet mercy that we’ve been given. We are loved and it is that reason that we were offered it in the first place.

You do not have anything to prove. Only to accept. It’s a gift and it was given even when your heart is still hard and your ways your own.

And loving yourself means being emptied of all the bitterness, the anger, the jealousy, the regret, the self-doubt, and the “self”.

Allowing the hard places of your heart to be broken up and the weeds to be pulled up. Because it’s in that breaking and pulling that new growth begins.

We want the new growth. We need it. And we’ll only have room for the new when we let go of the old.

And a warning with a promise… that breaking, that emptying… it can be painful. Chances are it will be. But it will be worth it.

You’ll never be able to transform yourself because our instinct is to protect ourselves, hide ourselves from the pain. But sadly, the pain is necessary sometimes. And in that stripping away, breaking up, pulling out… that’s when we are transformed. That’s when we are changed.

And that is where you will produce a harvest beyond your wildest dreams. To love others more than you thought you’d love. To serve others beyond what you thought you’d serve. To go places farther than you thought you’d go.

It’s in that good soil that you’ll see overflow from all the things the Lord is planting in your life. And in that overflow you’ll see His glory reflected far more than you ever could have imagined. Your voice will be louder. Your reach will be wider.

So love yourself enough to tend to the garden that is your heart. Let God show you what needs to be pruned, ripped out, busted up, cultivated. Because I promise you that’s where you’ll find yourself. And that’s where you’ll find your purpose.

The REAL Truth About Loving Yourself

As I was scrolling through Pinterest the other day I came across a quote. It caught my attention because it was under the category of loving oneself. It read: When you start seeing your worth, you’ll find it harder to stay around people who don’t.

I jotted down the words and kept scrolling only to find so many more quotes along the same lines.

Our first instinct when we read words like that is to do a little fist pump. Yes! Sweet validation. A reminder that we don’t have to let people treat us however they want. We are completely justified in cutting the ties and building the walls.

And I don’t think you’ll find many who will argue with you on the point. Some are more forgiving than others. But most of us have an invisible line that we’ve drawn that divides grace for others and love for ourselves.

But what if… the truth of the matter is that we have it all wrong?

The world shouts to us to look out for number one, to do you, to claim your own truth and to never tolerate anyone who doesn’t see your worth.

But the Word… the Word tell us an entirely different story. The Word says to forgive seventy times seven. To bear all things, to hope all things. That if someone forces you to go a mile, go two miles. The Word says give.

But how can that line up with taking care of ourselves? With loving ourselves?

It only makes sense when we realize that knowing our worth isn’t what WE think we’re worth but what Christ says we’re worth. And usually the reasons for the two are very far apart.

Think back to before the crucifixion. I wonder if it were really possible for the disciples to fully understand the worth of Jesus. To completely grasp all that He was and all that He would do.

Yet, Jesus remained. Teaching, loving, leading.

When He knew that His time was near, He still washed the feet of those that would betray, abandon and deny Him.

He wasn’t a doormat. He wasn’t being taken advantage of. Because Jesus knew His worth. He knew that it wasn’t the people who were using Him, but God. God was using Him to fulfill His great plan. To save the lost.To heal the sick. To bind up the brokenhearted. To set free the captives.

We hold on to our own version of worth. We sit on it and hide it. Because we can’t help but lift ourselves up. We can’t help but demand praise for ourselves. To demand respect. To demand we be treated more than fairly.

Someone hurts us, criticizes us, betrays us, or even takes too long moving out of the way in the grocery store and the nature of what the world calls worth comes out. It’s ugly. Mean. Hateful.

But when we look to Christ for our worth we see things differently. It’s through Christ that we are called children of God. It’s through Christ that we have been redeemed. Through Him that we have been spared. Through Him that we are made righteous. And it’s through Him that we should live. And love.

Loving yourself is not holding yourself up, refusing to accept correction or conviction, or fighting for your own benefit. Loving yourself, realizing your worth, is knowing that you don’t have to do any of those things. You are worth more than anything you can fight to achieve in this world alone.

You have a bigger purpose. A bigger calling. He’s not asking you to be a doormat. He’s asking you to trust Him with the process. He’s making things happen even if you can’t see them right now.

There’s no room for two here. You’ll either serve yourself or you’ll serve God. You’ll either promote yourself or you’ll promote God. And somedays, most days, it’ll feel like a constant battle between the two choices.

Don’t get down when that happens. Know that there is a strange reassurance in our wrestling these things out. It means that hope is not lost. We have not been forgotten. We have not forgotten.

So today, love yourself enough to bow low. To wash the feet, to endure the pain and trust that those things do not define you. Your identity is not something that mere man can strip away. You are chosen. Chosen by God for this life, this time, this thing.

Loving Yourself By Yourself

Alone. Solo. Single. Solitary. Stag.

Those words don’t exactly bring to mind joy or fulfilment, do they?

Sure the idea of a nice quiet day spent doing only want you want sounds nice but if you’re like me- as soon as the noise dies down the walls close in.

We long for a time with no obligations but we dread a time with no distractions.

So we turn on the television, scroll through social media, call a friend or run to town. Anything to keep our minds and hands busy.

Because when you’re left alone you have only yourself for company. Time to think of only your own needs, your own dreams, your own flaws, your own shortcomings.

So you avoid it. Or at the very least you don’t make time for it.

But you should.

One-on-one time is the quickest way to get to know someone. And to nurture the relationship once it’s formed.

You go on date nights with your spouse, girls’ night with your friends, and fun days with your kids. You make time to cultivate all the different relationships in your life. Except the one with yourself.

Yes, it can be uncomfortable. Even painful. But those times are absolutely necessary if you want to take the next step in life. That leap of faith. And many times we’re so busy doing the urgent we neglect to do the important.

It’s in those moments alone you’ll come face-to-face with yourself. You’ll see things you love, things you’d like to change, and things that make your head hang low.

And believe it or not… that’s a good thing. It’s called self-examination. And it’s something we’re instructed to do as followers of Christ.

I Corinthians 11:30-31 says, “That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged.”

Self-examination is crucial. It won’t provide salvation. Only God can do that. But the first step in any recovery is acknowledging there is a problem.

In Psalm 69:5: “My sins, O God, are not hidden from you; you know how foolish I have been.”

Yes, He does. But do we? Do you?

And before that in Psalm 32:5, we hear, “When I did not confess my sins, I was worn-out from crying all day long.”

In order to confess, you must be aware. In ordered to be healed, you must realize that you are sick.

That sounds heavy. And the opposite of loving yourself, doesn’t it?

When you already have so many guilts, so much negative self-talk why spend time focusing on it? Why not try to see the good? To find the things you love about yourself? Why not focus on those things?

Because God’s Word says He is the Alpha and Omega. The beginning and the end. And you must start there. With His grace. His love. His mercy.

And once that love and grace begins to wash over you, you’ll see the good. You’ll find the joy. You’ll know the peace.

But that brokenness… it’s something you must come back to often. To remind yourself where you came from. And where you may go again.

We humans seldom fall in love with perfect. Perfect scares us. Instead we fall in love with real. We fall in love with honesty. We fall in love with transparency.

When you learn to spend that time alone searching yourself. And being searched by God. You will also learn to love yourself. To love God. And to love others.

Don’t hide from the ugly. Hold it out. In hands wide open to the only One who can bring beauty from ashes.

Love yourself enough to spend some time alone taking an honest look at your heart, your mind, your actions. And when you find something you don’t like. Something that you know breaks the heart of God. Have the courage to let it break your own heart too.

Because it’s in that brokenness that you’ll find your purpose. You’ll find your calling. It’s in that brokenness that you will be made whole. And where you’ll find faith, hope and love. And the greatest of these is love.


Love Yourself. Use Your Talents.

It makes your chest hurt. Your stomach flop. And your hands sweat.

Fear. The ugliest four-letter word you’ll ever hear.

Fear gives you two options: fight or flight.

And I’ve done my share of both. Just usually not the right one at the right time. I’ve fought when I should have walked away. And I’ve given up when I should have kept going.

Today we’re talking about the flight. Because it’s not exactly feasible to keep running away when you’re trying to make progress in life. Progress is scary. But moving forward through the fear is often the only way to gain ground.

You feel a call to go a different path. To try a new thing. To step out in faith. To take a chance.

It’ll be risky. And you’re afraid.

You’re afraid you’ll fail, afraid others will judge you, afraid you’ll waste your time. You’re even afraid you’ll succeed. Especially when you’ve spent years self-sabotaging in order to hide out.

And maybe you’ve heard all the Do not be afraids, the I am with yous and the We are more than conquerors .

Yet the truth is, we’ve heard those verses so many times we often forget to really listen to them.

But there’s another well-known story in the Bible that few of us remember when we’re faced with the fear of taking the next steps.

You’ll know it by The Parable of the Talents.

The Message tells the story like this:

It’s also like a man going off on an extended trip. He called his servants together and delegated responsibilities. To one he gave five thousand dollars, to another two thousand, to a third one thousand, depending on their abilities… Right off, the first servant went to work and doubled his master’s investment. The second one did the same. But the man with the single thousand dug a hole and carefully buried his master’s money.

After a long absence, the master of those three servants came back and settled up with them. The one given five thousand dollars showed him how he had doubled his investment. His master commended him: “Good work! You did your job well. From now on be my partner.”

The same was repeated with the next servant. But when the third servant was called we see a different scene.

The third servant returned the thousand dollars to his master. He explained that he was afraid to disappoint the master and so instead of risking the money, he hide the money to keep it safe.

The master’s response is a little shocking:

The master was furious. ‘That’s a terrible way to live! It’s criminal to live cautiously like that!… Take the thousand and give it to the one who risked the most. And get rid of this “play-it-safe” who won’t go out on a limb. Throw him out into utter darkness.’

That third servant… I get him. I wouldn’t be surprised to find him somewhere in my lineage. How many times have I hidden away what God has given me for fear that if I used it I might lose it? How many times have you?

As cliché as it may sound these days you are fearfully and wonderfully made. And that includes your talents. And talents don’t necessarily mean strengths- sometimes it simply means passion.

Romans 12:4 reminds us that each part of our body does not have the same function. And so it is with the body of Christ. When one part doesn’t function as it should the whole body suffers.

You were created to offer something to this world. And when you let your fears cause you to hide away the rest of us are missing out on something spectacular.

Love yourself enough to go out on the limb. To be obedient to God’s calling. And to trust Him with the outcome. Maybe that limb is just a closer step to another tree. Or maybe that limb is where you will be successful and in that success God will be glorified. Because even the servants in Matthew knew it was all for the master.

So what are your talents? What is that thing you are hiding away from? Is there something you can do today, this week to move yourself closer to your calling?

There are plenty of writers out there with more talent and a far more reaching voice than me. But we are each given according to our abilities. When we show we can be faithful with the small. That we can steward well what the Lord has given. We will then see our territory increased.

So use those talents that God has graciously bestowed upon you. He created them uniquely for you. Don’t continue to live in utter darkness with others taking what is rightfully yours.

Climb the tree. Go out on the limb. And watch God do things you never imagined.

Loving Yourself Means Letting Go

I get it. I really do.

You’ve been so focused for so long on making it work that letting go now just feels like quitting. You know the it I’m talking about. The very first thing you thought of when you read the title to this post.

And I know exactly what happened when the thought crossed your mind. You mentally tighten your grip and shoved it somewhere out of sight. Somewhere safe for the next few minutes while you gave this the obligatory read. You know the one. The one that ends with you kinda feeling numb so you pretend this must not be for you.

Can I encourage you for just a few seconds to bring that thing back out? I promise. You can always put it back when we’re done.

I’m not here to snatch anything from your hands. Or to judge you for that matter. Believe me- I’ve got scars from wounds so deep and nasty on my own hands from holding on to things for far too long.

I just want you to take a few seconds to look at it. It looks pretty good, doesn’t it? Ideally you can see how this could be the answer for you.

It could make you happy, make you feel loved, make you forget, give you revenge, put money in the bank, and save you from yourself. It has all the potential to be the reason… the motivation that gets you up in the morning. The reason you smile. The reason people think you’ve got it all together.

Definitely something to fight for.

But now, if you don’t mind, I’d like for you to turn it over in your hands. Bring it in for a closer look. Look out it from a distance. Even close your eyes- feel it.

Chances are under closer examination you see that in reality it doesn’t quite add up to what your ideals are.

I know what you’re thinking. As Christians we’re told to bear each other’s burdens, to give thanks in every situation, to forgive, and to love others as Christ has loved us. Unconditionally and grace-filled.

And all of those things are so true. There are times in life when that kind of selflessness is exactly what you’ll need. But we tend to use those beliefs as a reason to sit still when God is telling us to move.

And if I may… when God is telling you to be still- you’ll know. And I’m willing to bet that right now you don’t know. You don’t have that peace that passes understanding or the faith that God will work all things for your good. Right now you just believe that YOU must work all the things out.

You believe that somehow all the success in this situation is dependent on how long and how tightly you can hold on.

How do I know? Because I have spent a life time trying to hold on to things until I could force them into submission… to me. And only then would I be willing to submit to God.

I was completely OK with letting Him be in control of me just so long as I was in control of everything else.

You can’t save yourself from drowning in a boat with no bottom. And most of the time, the things we refuse to let go of are the very things we’re trying to use for lifelines. No matter how much you think you deserve to be loved, happy, to feel worthy, or to be appreciated, I can assure you that I believe it more. You do deserve those things. But there’s a better way to go about it.

No man except for Jesus will ever love you enough to save you or to make you completely happy. No job or amount of money will ever make you feel worthy enough. And no amount of rebellious self-destructive behavior over a situation will ever change it- even one percent for the better.

Maybe you’ve never read what the Bible says about letting go. Or maybe you’ve forgotten. Maybe you just don’t care. But it’s very short and takes place just as the Israelites are finishing their forty-year wilderness trek. I’d like to share it with you. Because a while back these few verses open my eyes to a whole new perspective.

And when we’re finished you can decide whether you want to tuck that little trinket back down deep and hidden or whether you want to let it go.

Then the Lord said to me, “You have been traveling around this mountain country for long enough.” Turn northward and command the people, “You are about to pass through the territory of your brothers, the people of Esau… be very careful. Do not contend with them, for I will not give you any of their land… because I have given [it] to Esau as possession… Deuteronomy 2:2-5.

Think about this for just a moment… the Lord would not have issued this warning unless the land the Israelites were about to pass through looked pretty good. If the land was bad, the people would have been rushing to get out of it. But instead He knew that once they entered, it may be tempting to stay there.

Because even though the land was good, this was not the land the Lord had given them. They were meant to be in that place- but only for a time. They would inhabit that land for only the amount of time it took them to journey through it.

I’m sure no one knows better than the Israelites how incredibly tempting it can be to stop in the first “good” place you come to. You’re tired. You’re lonely. You’re hurt. And you just want a safe place to land.

But sometimes letting go is the only way to hold on. Had they have tried to settle there they would have caused themselves more war, more loss, more heartache. Instead they pushed through. They had faith. And they were obedient.

Eventually they arrived at the GREAT land that the Lord had given to them. It was theirs; the Lord had promised. And He provided everything they needed to take it.

But first they had to let go. And unfortunately that seldom happens without pain.

Either path you take- to hold on longer or to let go- there will be pain. The difference in the paths lies in the destination. Only letting go leads to the eventual easing and healing of that pain. Only letting go leads to joy, peace and far greater things than you can imagine.

Whatever you choose, I want you to know that the Lord is merciful and He is gracious. When you call out to Him, He hears you and He will answer. And I hope that whenever you’re ready…you’ll do just that and love yourself enough to let it go.

The GO{LOVE}YOURSELF Purpose

GO{LOVE}YOURSELF was birthed out of the almost desperate desire to reach out and take the hands of the millions of women who struggle every day with depression, anxiety, fear and regret.

Maybe you’re one of those women. Over and over again, you let those struggles keep you from making the best choices for your life.

I’m no expert on life. Honestly, I could probably be the poster child for self-sabotage. Out of all the ways I’ve been wronged in my life, the worst and most often times were by my own doings.

I’ve put myself down more than everyone else combined. I’ve doubted my abilities, my strengths, my goodness, my salvation. All in the name of self-preservation, I’ve screwed myself right out of every good thing that I could.

But God is gracious. And sometimes, He’d give something wonderful without me even realizing it. And I didn’t have time to fight back or figure out a way to mess it up.

Unfortunately, instead of letting that marvelous grace push me closer to God. I often let it be the very reason why I stood at a distance.

I realized what I was missing out on. And I became angry and bitter with God for not giving me every good thing that same way. You know, the easy way.

I reminded of a very favorite quote from Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis:

Things never happen the same way twice, dear one.

If you’ve ever read the book, you know that the reason things couldn’t happen the same way as before was because the children had grown. They weren’t the same people they were before. And the lessons they needed to learn were different.

We all agree that the most important thing to accept is the fact that God loves us. And that indeed, so much does He love us He sent His Son to die for our sins. We can love ourselves to the moon and back but without the love of Christ it means nothing.

But until we learn to love ourselves, we will constantly find ourselves fighting the love given by others. And I believe that is one very important reason the Lord doesn’t just pamper and placate us. He wants us to learn we can, we are, and we will!

This isn’t new age mentality. This isn’t a look-out-for-number-one kinda idea. This is as simple (and as complicated) as understanding who we are in Christ and how that makes us worthy of even our own love.

If you understand biblical love, then you know that love is sacrifice. How ever you want to slice it, it’s tough. In the trenches of life, love seldom comes with warm and fuzzy feelings. It’s why we are stingy with our love- especially with ourselves.

We think we’re unworthy so we’re not willing to make the sacrifice to love ourselves.

It’s my prayer, my passion that this be a place where we can sort those things out. Because going it alone is tough and confusing. It’s why God’s Word tells us to seek out a wise counsel.

The only thing that qualifies GLY as wise is Jesus’s blood, God’s grace and a lot of learning life the hard way. But you’d be hard pressed to find better credentials.

We can grow together. So I hope you join me again. You can subscribe to be notified of new posts and even follow us on Facebook.

I hope to see you soon!

God is Moving.

Godismoving

“If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared for them a city” Hebrews 11: 15-16
It’s amazing isn’t it? How fast life can change. The funny thing is that we’ve never had any reason to believe that we know what tomorrow holds. And yet we are just now realizing that. We have no idea what tomorrow, next week or even next month will look like.
And it frightens us, doesn’t it? Will this all just blow over? Or will life be forever changed? And if so, how?
We look back to a month ago when we were blissfully unaware of what was barreling down at us. And I don’t just mean this virus. I mean the lost of a loved one, or a job, or the wayward child. Because I know firsthand, that regular everyday hardships don’t stop hitting just because the whole world looks like it’s gone crazy.
And it’s so very tempting to want to go back. To have life return to what it was before all these trials made their entrance. We find ourselves crying out much like the Israelites, “Why did you bring us out here to die? It would have been better for us to stay where we were!”
And maybe in our logical, earth bound minds that’s true. That statement makes a lot of sense. But we are not earth-bound creatures. We will one day stand before a mighty God who will determine, not based on our works, but on our faith whether we are heaven or hell bound. And that thought should put a lot of things into perspective.
“What does it profit a man to gain the whole world but lose his soul?” (Mark 8:36)
What does it profit us to continue on our paths undeterred only to find out later we were on the wrong one? Who wouldn’t want a detour sign, a stop sign, a yield sign, something??
Faith in God says that He is in control. That He works all things for the good of those who love Him. That He is a merciful and kind God. But He is also a jealous One.
And He demands no other gods before Him.
Throughout the Bible we find story after story of people leaving what they’ve always known to follow Jesus. To find a better land. A promised land.
Sometimes, most of the time, the journey was rough. And there were times when things looked bleak and hopeless. But never have we read of God’s children being forsaken. Forgotten.
I don’t know what these times hold for any of us. I don’t know if the economy will bounce back quickly. Or the businesses will open back up. Or the relationships restored. Or if the child will return.
But I do know that God is moving right now. If you can’t see it, then you’re blind. He is doing something. He is moving mountains and parting waters. And I believe that if we will keep pressing forward, eager to see what new thing He is doing, we’ll find ourselves in a completely new and better land.
These are the times when families can reconnect. When relationships will go through hard seasons, but on the other side come out stronger and better than ever. When we can all slow down, stop even, and rest in what He is doing.
I love my country. But I’ll say this at the risk of plenty of disdain. It doesn’t really matter to me how fast all this ends, or what bill Congress passes, or anything else. Because God does not sit in a seat in Congress. He sits with me, right here. And with you, right there. He knows better what we need then those elected to do the job. And I absolutely believe that right now He is doing just that.
And I believe that all those regular everyday hardships hitting right now, they’re coming at the perfect timing. God is moving in those too. He is making a way right now. And construction is never pretty.
So let’s not look too much on what we’ve left behind. But look forward and upward to what we have coming. God is moving right now. Can you feel it?

In the shadow of your wings, I will sing for joy.

Shadows can be dark. And shadows can be cold.

But the shadow of a tree can offer a respite from the glaring heat of the sun above.

In life we can look around and see those that are laughing and running in the sun. Enjoying their best life.

And it can kinda feel like we’re missing out sitting in our cool and dark place.

We can start to feel like we’ve messed up, like we took the wrong turn somewhere, like we’ve been forgotten.

Sometimes dark places can be scary. They can be hard. They can be places where we learn to overcome and live braver.

But sometimes our dark places are simply made for us to rest. To take a break.

Sometimes our dark places aren’t a cloud of despair hovering over us threatening to hold us hostage. But simply the wings of our Lord covering us. Giving us rest until it’s time to step back out into the sun, or the storm and keep moving forward

The Life Meant for Me

This isn’t the life I drew pictures of in elementary school. On career day, I didn’t dress up as this.

At 18, I didn’t see this path opening ever more widely before me.

And it’s easy… real easy… to look back with such regret. To look over my life and point my finger and hold my hand out waiting and expecting for someone to make amends… to make it better.

I’ve known loss. I’ve known hurt and broken hearts. I’ve known betrayal and bitterness.

But I’ve also known the laughter of a sweet babies who God knew I needed to anchor my wanderer’s soul. I’ve known the joy of growing up with my kids… I’m still growing with them.

I’ve known the joys of friendships that have lasted through years and tears. I’ve known what it feels like to be fully known and accepted in the good and the bad.

And every time I go into a new season I look back and see every hurt, every slight, every tear as exactly what God intended it to be. Preparation.

Without all the junk, I wouldn’t have all this joy. Without those tough times, I wouldn’t be strong enough to hold this overflow of happiness.

This life… every mistake, every hurt, every moment, every laugh, every tear… this life was meant for me. Hand crafted to change me into my own unique version of the image of God. It’s exactly what He knew I needed and on every dark path, He knew exactly where we were going and why.

I don’t know what tomorrow holds. And I’ve learned that false claims of happiness, love and fortune only set my fragile heart up for disappointment. But what I do know is that He is already there. And everything I’m experiencing today is exactly what I need to walk through tomorrow.

I’m learning, although slowly, to be thankful in the struggles. Because the struggles are where the growing happens.

This life was meant for me. And I am eternally grateful for every. Single. Moment.