I first gave my life to Christ around the age of 11. That simply meant I chose to believe what the Word says about who God is and who Jesus is. Shortly after, I made the decision to be baptized, an outward declaration to the world of the decision I had made to follow after God.
Then as a teenager, probably starting around age 14, and into my 20’s, I fell far away from any kind of Godly life. That’s a story for a different time.
I was 28 when I rededicated my life to Christ and God. Those that know the story of the prodigal son just make it the story of the prodigal daughter and that was me. For those that don’t know the story, it simply means I was tired of living and doing things my way (because it brought nothing but misery) so I told God I was ready to try things His way again and that I needed His help.
I just turned 40 this past February so I’ve been growing in my faith for 12 years now. I would never want to go back to how I was living in that “middle” part of my life but it has only been in the past six months or so that I have had a revelation in my relationship with God that I didn’t even realize I struggled with all these years.
I’ve always believed and known that Jesus loves me. I’ve never doubted that. God on the other hand, I’ve doubted quite a bit.
God knows every detail of our lives and if you knew every detail of mine, you would see how hard it’s been for me to accept that God truly, relentlessly, constantly, loves me.
I don’t know the exact moment it hit me that I was not fully persuaded that God loves me but it’s been something I’ve been meditating on for quite some time now.
Over the years I would listen to messages or read my Bible on God’s love and God IS love and for some reason, without realizing I was doing it, I would always tell myself, “He may love everyone but not me. Not like that. Not constantly.”
I had somehow convinced myself that God was always kind of upset with me and if He was always kind of upset with me, He didn’t always love me.
This is how I was living my Christian faith. The entire time as I served at my church, as I tithed faithfully, as I prayed in the Spirit, as I talked to others about how God loved them…
I didn’t believe it for myself. I couldn’t accept that God would or could love me. I let past shame, self disappointment and doubt over shadow God’s written Word.
This past week, something clicked. I’ve been working on accepting God’s love for me and working to see Him as the Word describes Him and not what the world says about Him. Not letting MY past or MY actions determine who HE is.
I’ve had to immerse myself in completely opening up to God and letting Him love me. I believe this may be partially the reason he sent us a son who is now 15 months. I have gained a deeper understanding of my relationship with my heavenly Father through the relationship that is building with my son.
God looks at me and smiles and I see it now. He rejoices over me. He wants the best for me. He is on my side. He fights for me, not against me. He is the same God to me that He is for you. Let Him love you.
Zephaniah 3:17 The LORD thy God in the midst of theeis mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.
I’ve been angry with God. That’s right, angry with the Almighty. There’s no point in hiding it, He knows.
Well, at least I thought I was angry with Him.
1 Timothy 6:12 says:
Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.
I realized today I’ve been frustrated and angry with my own faith.
For a year and a half my husband and I have been believing God for certain things. I can’t go into detail about all of it right now but some of these things are simple things. Every door we thought would open for one thing in particular to come to pass has been slammed shut or nailed shut from the other side before we even arrived at it. It’s been frustrating. Just when we think the situation is about to change, it doesn’t. So we continue on in our faith and belief.
We continue to listen to sermons and read material to encourage our faith walk. We stand on scripture knowing what we have asked for is in line with God’s will. As days, weeks, months and the year and a half has gone by, things seem to have gotten worse.
Yesterday I broke. I was angry. I was frustrated. I was bitter. I was ready to give up and did. I was done. Finished. Towel in hand.
We can’t hide from God so I just let Him have it. I threw my temper tantrum, I questioned our situation based on HIS Word.
“God, we’ve been obedient! We’ve believed! We’ve done what you’ve asked us to do! Those things you asked us to do that we didn’t do, we repented and made right! We’ve prayed! We’ve waited! We’ve listened! Why are we being squeezed into nothing?! Why are you allowing this to happen?! Why?! Why is our situation getting worse and not better?! ”
Fight the good fight of faith. Faith is a fight. I don’t know what round I was in yesterday but I lost that one horribly. It was a KO.
We are in a non stop boxing match when it comes to faith. It’s OUR faith that makes us whole and moves mountains. The Word establishes the rules of the match, the Holy Spirit is our trainer, and God is the referee. Jesus, well, he’s in our corner wiping the blood off our faces and squirting water into our mouths and speaking the words of encouragement we need to hear because he’s already been through it.
Today I woke up and talked to God about yesterday (and the past year and a half).
“God, yesterday I was knocked out. I threw in the towel. I was done. I was spent. I was wore out. It was a silly laptop that pushed me over the edge but everything has been building and pushing me to my breaking point. Today, I’m renewing my mind. I’m continuing the fight. I was knocked out but I know according to your Word, who gets TKO’ed, and it’s not me.”
Faith is a fight. And where I felt defeated yesterday because the latest Windows 10 update destroyed my laptop and rendered it useless, the one tool I had to work on the manuscript God has called me write, the fight isn’t over. It wasn’t just about the laptop. It was about every little punch the enemy has hit us with over the past year. I was tired. I needed a break. I needed to lay in the middle of the ring and not move for a while. I needed time to recuperate.
Guess who came back up swinging? Guess who’s still in my corner? Guess who’s rules still apply? Guess who gets the Total Knock Out when all is said and done.
Keep fighting. Get back up. Swing. Don’t download the latest Windows 10 update.
I haven’t been writing much lately and I miss it. My time however has been consumed with the arrival of our son, Nicolas. He was born February 24th, healthy and whole.
I wasn’t supposed to be able to have kids. I was told in my early 20’s that it would be a miracle if I ever became pregnant. Well, at age 39, our miracle is currently snoozing in my arms.
I may have shared this before but eight years or so ago I had a dream that I walked into my doctor’s office wearing a green hospital gown and for the life of me, didn’t understand why I was wearing a hospital gown. The next thing I knew I was in one of the exam rooms and I was in labor.
Even in the dream I was confused as to how it was happening. Then, the doctor handed me a little blonde-haired, bright-eyed, healthy baby boy. As I looked down at him I heard a voice behind me say, “His name is Nicolas and I sent him.”
I woke up from that dream not knowing what to make of it. I thought maybe my husband and I would adopt one day and that’s what it was about. I held onto that dream in my heart all these years waiting to see exactly what God had in store and this past July when we realized I was pregnant, I knew exactly who I was carrying in my womb. Nicolas.
He looks just as I remember him. He has blonde hair and bright blue eyes.
On my 38th birthday I made a promise to myself to be in my best health by the time I was 40. I’ve always tried to live a healthy lifestyle but had some health issues hindering my efforts. Through prayer I found and switched my way of eating to a Ketogenic lifestyle. When I did, all of those health issues dissappeared. Within two weeks my bloodwork was normal again and I felt like a new person. We’ve never looked back and keep moving forward. You can read about that journey here.
I had read that Keto helped many women with infertility issues but it never crossed my mind that it would be the same for me. I had it stuck in my head that I would never have kids and had accepted that a long time ago. However, my daily prayers over my health of being healed and whole…well, I was healed of everything and made completely whole. When God does something, He does it right.
He’s only 13 days old but I don’t know if I will ever not feel overwhelmed holding him…not just holding him but knowing I am holding a promise from God. I get to hold a promise that God showed me over eight years ago after believing for almost 20 years that it was impossible.
If God can do this, He can do anything. There are things I’m believing Him for right now that seem truly impossible but I’m reminded with each feeding, each diaper change, each cry, each smile, each coo, each look, that with God all things are possible.
Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations. Jeremiah 1:5 KJV
But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible. Matthew 19:26 KJV
I’ve been meditating on this and feel led to share. Sharing a testimony is for others, not for ourselves. People need to know they aren’t going through things alone. The enemy likes to make us think we are alone and when he gets us alone, he can really mess with us.
December 21, 2009, when we found my dad in his front office, deceased, my adrenaline had kicked in so hard that I couldn’t even dial 9-1-1 on my large faced android phone. Literally, took me about five minutes to be able to dial the numbers I was shaking so bad from the adrenaline. I was so frustrated I eventually set the phone down on one of the work tables and used my right hand to steady my left hand enough to dial the numbers. Not sure how that worked since both hands were uncontrollably trembling.
Something happened to me that night because of the adrenaline rush. Something changed internally. I don’t really know how to explain it but I thought something was really wrong with me because I wasn’t, and couldn’t, cry. I couldn’t really feel anything, I had gone numb physically, emotionally and mentally. I didn’t cry the entire time we waited on police and ambulance to show up. I didn’t even cry as I watched them wheel him out on a gurney in a zipped up body bag. I just kept thinking over and over again, “What is wrong with me?”
A fear settled into me that I had never had before, little by little. I started noticing it when things would take place months after his passing. The following February I had a meltdown in my car driving home when snow hit and I was stuck on a hill with my wheels spinning. It came out of nowhere.
When the tornadoes came through on April 2011 and I drove through the tail end of one downtown, thinking my car was going to go rolling like a tumbleweed, the fear living inside of me gained strength.
I didn’t understand why this fear had taken hold of me and there aren’t words to describe what it was really like. Children of God aren’t supposed to live in fear and I prayed about this daily and begged God to take it from me over the last 8 years. I wasn’t a person who lived in fear prior to this. My husband knows however that this fear had changed me. If it was raining out, I wasn’t driving anywhere and if I did, it was nerve wracking and I was white knuckling the steering wheel the entire time. Didn’t even have to be storming, just raining.
It was never about the rain or the snow though. It was a fear that settled in the night my dad passed. I hated it. I didn’t want it. I was ashamed of it.
Earlier this summer, when we were headed to one of our first appointments for a baby check up, it was pouring rain sideways and some thunder and lightning…My husband asked me if I wanted him to drive. My response was, “No, why?”
Note that I typically drive when we go somewhere because I get severe car sickness, something else I’ve prayed about and still believing I will no longer have.
I realized however in that moment, the fear was gone. Completely gone. It no longer had a hold of me. I knew it wasn’t coming back either. For over seven years I had been living with an internal fear, had never talked to anyone besides God about it and continuously spoke scriptures over myself in defiance to the fear, and it had hindered me in many ways. In that moment, I was set free. Prayer, perseverance and the Word of God had conquered it.
One would think it would get worse carrying a child inside them and worrying about their safety but just like something clicked inside of me when that fear took hold, something clicked inside of me when I let it go. I knew right then, I would never have that again. It was gone.
I was thinking about this last night as I was driving to church when I left work. It was pouring, people driving crazy, water on the roads, glare on my windshield…and I started laughing.
Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.
Sometimes we find ourselves in places that make no sense. I am there right now. I have been there for a while. I’m beginning to wonder if I’m going to start chasing rabbits or having tea with strange men in purple velvet suits and tall hats.
It’s hard to trust God when we don’t understand the situation. More so, it’s hard to trust Him when we can’t see the entire picture. He sees it but sometimes we barely see past the end of our own nose.
I constantly remind myself of the Israelites and the forty years they wandered in the desert. I remind myself of this because it helps to keep my attitude and my obedience in check. History is meant for us to learn from. We would be fools not to study it…
They would not have wandered as long as they did had they just trusted in God’s plan and submitted to it. There was a second factor that also played into their wandering. Their attitude.
I believe it was Zig Ziglar who said,
“It is your attitude, more than your aptitude, that will determine your altitude.”
How true it is. Attitude equals altitude is a more simple way to put it.
Being pregnant with a due date of March 2018, it has been shown to me through recent experiences that employers find their way around the law of not hiring someone who is pregnant with things such as job requirements of being able to lift over a certain weight and excuses like, “We hired someone more qualified.” No way to prove their discrimination in such instances unless they come out and say, “We aren’t hiring you because you are pregnant.”
This is why I trust God’s plan. I have obtained a seasonal part-time position and hopefully another part-time position this next week by employers who I have been up-front with, same as all the others, with my pregnancy. This tells me they are fair people and employers. I am thankful for this most of all.
They are however two positions that I would have never thought myself to be in. They are both new experiences and I have enjoyed the first so far. For the past 20 years I have worked in a professional office atmosphere. The seasonal part-time position is a retail position and although I am adjusting to the hours, I enjoy it. Being pregnant, I need something that is low stress and easy on my body. This fits the description. The second position I would be taking if offered, would be front desk office in a medical atmosphere. Taking phone calls and working with the public I can do in my sleep. I believe getting to wear scrubs is a bonus on that one.
So here I am, in the desert, unknown territory, and I can either be an Israelite or I can change history and keep a good attitude and know that I am right where God needs me.
I choose the latter. Today I sat in my car in my garage when I pulled in from work and some after work errands and shed some tears. I can’t say they were tears of sadness, frustration, anger or the opposite end of joy, happiness or delight. They were just tears as I prayed and talked to God. God already knows our hearts and I have no problem revealing mine to him anyways so He and I have some pretty candid conversations. Today’s was candid times ten. If anything, my tears were more out of thankfulness, relief and trust.
I told Him I didn’t completely understand where he had me and my husband in life right now and I know I can’t see the entire picture but regardless, I trust Him. I believe His Word and I believe the words that have been spoken over us the past couple of years not to mention the revelations and messages we have personally received in our prayer time while communing with the Holy Spirit.
God is not a liar. God is a God of His Word. He always comes through. He always provides. He always watches over His Word.
The enemy will try to make us think differently. The enemy will try and cause us to doubt. The enemy will try to take our focus off of God and onto the issue…
…and sometimes the enemy succeeds. But God.
Even when the enemy succeeds, God will send people or a Word into our life to get us back on track. That’s who Jesus is. He’s a Good Shepherd who keeps track of his flock and though one may stray, He will go and search for them and bring them back to safety.
If you have strayed, it’s okay. We all stray at different times no matter how much of the Word we know or how often we go to church. God knows how to take care of His people. Open your heart to His peace, His comfort, His protection and His guidance. Ask and receive. If you need direction, tell Him. If you need answers, ask Him. Whatever it is, He loves hearing our voices. Be candid. Talk to Him like you do your best friend. Be open with Him and build trust in your relationship with Him.
Yesterday, July 4th, my husband and I went hiking in Cloudland Canyon, GA. It’s been 5 or 6 years since we have been there and I’m not sure why since it’s right in our back yard and one of the prettiest places around here.
According to his fitness tracker, by the time our day was finished, we had climbed the equivalent of almost 40 flights of stairs. It only counts the ascension, not the descension. If you have never been, there are a few different trails that lead down into the canyon to the bottom of waterfalls and a majority of the trails are man-made stairs.
We have had heavy rains in the last week including yesterday morning so water was falling everywhere and it was beautiful. Best time to go.
We hiked the overlook trails and stood on the wooden fenced in cliffs overlooking the Tennessee Valley. Breathtaking. It looks and smells so much better from up there.
I was thankful I took an extra pair of shoes because the ones I started out in provided me with a nice blister on the back of each heel. I need to invest in some lightweight summer hiking shoes.
We hiked down to Cherokee Falls to dip our toes in the rushing water, which felt nice on the puffy blisters as well. We watched a crayfish climb all over a submerged rock, hanging on for dear life as the water gushed over it.
After we came back up from Cherokee Falls we decided to drive around the rest of the park to check out the disc golf course and fishing pond. We parked and started towards the fishing pond trail, unsure how far out the pond actually was.
There were no other people in this part of the park and it was eerily quiet on the path. My husband even commented how little wildlife was around. We heard some cicadas but that was it. Not a squirrel or bird in site. We also noticed that yet again, we were headed down meaning our walk back would be up.
When we reached the end of the trail that opened up into a large field, watch tower and the pond, it was serene. Dragonflies were zipping around and the uncut grass tickled my ankles.
We decided it was time to call it a day and begin heading back home. By this time I could feel the burn in my calves and thighs from the canyon hike we had already accomplished. I was feeling good though because I hadn’t used my inhaler at all. I have mild asthma and I remember the last time we hiked the canyon, I was not in the shape I am now and I weighed 40 pounds more. It was horrible to say the least. I thought I would never catch my breath and that I would explode from exhaustion right there on the trail in front of everyone.
This time, the ascension was still a workout but not like it was before. I know my health has improved and I’m rebuking asthma one hike at a time. Another amazing feat for this hike was the fact that on Tuesday evening, earlier last week, I could barely walk. I had aggravated a bulged disc in my lower back and was not doing so well. Again, prayer and knowing the Word and what it says about healing, had me back on my feet by Friday.
On this last leg of the hike back to the car, as we were climbing the trail, the Holy Spirit began ministering to me about this season I’ve been in. If you have kept up with my blog, you’ll have an idea of what I’m talking about. If not, I’ll quickly give an explanation.
I’m in a season that I’ve never been in before. I’m in a career transition that has required me to step out in great faith, partly by choice and partly by force. As I’m typing this, I realized it’s like hang gliding tandem. You want to hang glide but you can’t do it on your own the first time. You have to fly tandem. It’s in those moments of stepping off the concrete pad that even if you wanted to stop, you couldn’t because your trainer has built the momentum and is jumping whether you like it or not. We stopped on top of Lookout Mountain at the flight center on our way home yesterday to admire the view and just realized how it played into the lesson God was teaching me all day yesterday.
Anyways, back to the last part of the hike. As we were heading back towards the car, my lungs were beginning to burn which usually happens right before I have to use my inhaler. I slowed my pace a bit and we took a couple of breaks so I could catch my breath and regulate my breathing. I had made it that far and I didn’t want to resort to the inhaler, I wanted to stand firm in my faith and on the Word.
At the beginning of this season, I was led to read the story of Abraham and Isaac (Genesis 22). The focus this entire time has been his obedience in climbing the mountain. All along I knew this was a “mountain” I’ve been climbing but yesterday things just clicked. There have been some really good days these past few months but there have been some really rough ones as well. Days where my faith was slipping, like I did yesterday in the silty sand where the rain had created some slippery conditions. I didn’t fall though and I kept on hiking. Those rough days I slipped but I kept on hiking – kept on building my faith.
The hike down into the valley was pretty easy and going down there we knew we would have to come back up and it would be a little more difficult than descending. The view in the canyon was spectacular but so was the view from the top of the mountain.
As we headed towards the car on that last little hill, I saw our car off in the distance and I thought about how close I am to having my heart’s desires. I can see it off in the distance. I’ve hiked down to the canyon of this season and I’ve been climbing back out for a while. There are times I’ve had to stop and catch my breath. There are parts that have been harder than others. There are times my footing has slipped but the goal has not changed and I have continuously pressed towards the mark.
The times I thought I had failed on this journey were not failure, they were just part of the hike. When we stood at the bottom of the canyon watching the water rush by, it was peaceful. When we stood on the overlook cliffs viewing the valley down below, it was peaceful. The hike in-between the two points, we learned. We learned where to put our feet to keep us safe. We learned about the rock formations because my husband is a Geologist and every hike is a science learning opportunity. We learned what shoes to wear and not to wear. We learned how much endurance we had. We learned how hard we could push ourselves. Most importantly, we learned how beautiful and important every step of the journey really is.
I don’t think I would ever actually hang-glide but I’ve reached that jumping off point and God is my trainer. He’s my tandem partner. He’s pushing and I’m strapped in about to view it all from above.
Climbing the mountain takes time. It may even require a few breaks here and there. You will more than likely lose your footing in the slippery areas. Always remember though, it’s just as beautiful at the bottom as it is at the top and it’s up to you how much you learn along the way.
Hebrews 13:5 (KJV)
Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.