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I’m not Hidden

There I stood in a crowded room; people passed by, as I begin to blend into the background. I tried to join in on conversations, but my words could not convey what was going on inside. Did anyone notice me? Does anyone realize the hurt and pain inside? I feel trapped as if there is nowhere to run. Is there not anyone who can rescue me?

If the above scenario sounds familiar, then you will relate to what I’m about to tell you.gods presence2

For the last two years, I’ve been battling in some dark places. I’ve had many different battles throughout my life – broken home, failing marriage, and losses of various kinds, but this battle was something else. This battle was from some place else. The battle was raging in my mind.

You see, suddenly I found myself trapped by old lies that were resurfacing. In my inner strength, I found it getting harder and harder to fight.

It didn’t take me long to realize I could not fight this battle on my own (Shoot, no!) I had to turn to a truth that was deeper than the surface turmoil that was consuming me. It was there in the dark places that I would remember who my God is..

He consumes me with his love.

As I look back on this now, I remember the nights were the worst. The only thing that would comfort me, while staring in the darkness throughout the night drenched in fear, was the sound of music playing from my K-Love station (They didn’t have the Air One station yet;). I would also sit on my closet floor cradling my Bible and reading scripture like the one below:

“If I say, “‘Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night, ‘” even the darkness is not dark to You; the night is bright as the day, for the darkness is as light with You.” Psalm 139: 11-12

Even as I sat there in that dark place, this verse made my heart leap. Think about it…God sees me in my darkness. The times when I feel the most alone, He is there. He suddenly becomes my enough.

He loves me
He is for me
I am chosen
He won’t leave me
He sees me
I am made complete in Him

He releases the grip of the strongholds that want to weigh me down.

My biggest stronghold is fear. I am tempted in my own devices to be afraid of the unknown. I wrote about this in a blog post called Limited Visibility, but It’s like the feeling I get when I am driving in fog. It can be paralyzing not see and know what is three ft. ahead. During that dark time in my life, I was determined not to let fear keep me trapped and stuck, and I know there are many things that can cause people to be stuck…  loneliness, pride, rejection, fear, and sin. I was determined not to let my fear be bigger than my God.

He causes my heart to long for truth, when all I feel is utter despair.

In my darkest times, I felt comforted as the consuming lies were replaced with the healing touch of God’s presence; however, even in those moments there were times I didn’t (feel) the presence of God, I had to cling to the truth that He was there. This truth can be found in His word, music, encouragement of a friend, sitting in solitude (Did you know you don’t always have to have something to say? Sitting quietly in His presence is an awesome place to be).

He takes me to a higher place.

I feel like the darkness had been lifted. I am coming into a renewed revelation of who God is in my life. The truth that God is enough, even when I feel I’m at my worst. He is not looking down on me thinking “Man, how come this girl hasn’t got her mess together yet?” He sees a woman who deals with the wounds of brokenness, and a woman who clings to the truth in the messy details of her life. All the while, believing that she is a work in progress and has been made new by the blood of Christ.

He sees you, too, my sister:)

Where are you? Don’t worry your God knows. He loves you so much He sent His Son to rescue you. And, the great news is He loves you just as you are. There is no shame in needing Him every second of the day. He is in the midst:)

Jesus, I need you!

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Don’t Stop Short of Your Victory

Last week kicked off my son’s flag football season, and as I was sitting watching his out-of-shape-ten-year-old legs run as fast as he could, I started to notice something. Every time a teammate threw the football to him; he would stop and wait and anticipate that someone was waiting to snag the flag from his body. I’m telling you even if no one was within a hundred yards of him..he stopped and waited. Because of what he thought was the inevitable, he let the fear freeze him in his tracks; instead of running to reach the goal.

Frustration Ahead

As I thought about this scene a few days later, I couldn’t help but think….. How often do I stop short of reaching my goals, sitting there just waiting for the defeat that I think is sure to come.

For me, this might look like stopping short of receiving my blessing or breakthrough. An example would be my desire to lose 10 or 15 pounds. My thought process would be. “Well, I tried to eat healthily and exercise for a week and not 1 pound has moved from my body.” And guess what? I quit and stop there in my tracks.

Who knows, I could have been one glorious step away from having that long awaited desire fulfilled.

You see, It’s easy to get stuck in the rut of weariness of the same old mundane mess. Daring not to step out in faith because the routine seems all too familiar.

The Israelites are a perfect example. They were wondering around in the desert eating the same old food each day while walking to what seemed like nowhere. The routine was getting old:

“Now, when the people complained, it displeased the Lord; for the Lord heard it, and His anger was aroused. So the fire of the Lord burned among them and consumed some in the outskirts of the camp. The people cried out to Moses, and when Moses prayed to the Lord, the fire was quenched.” Numbers 11:1-2

It had only been three days from the Exodus from Egypt. I mean they were tired, thirsty, and sick of eating the manna every day.

They were giving up too soon. Stopping short of the victory that was ahead of them. How often do we find ourselves right there in the same mindset of the Wilderness Wonderers?

Funny thing – I’m beginning to learn more and more that when I persevere and get where God has purposed me to be; it ends of being everything I wanted along. I’ve seen this happen in my life time and time again.

My friends, listen we have a High Priest who synthesizes with our weakness (Heb 4). He knew we couldn’t live this life on our own. Praise God! We don’t have to live apart from His power. We get to run our race with endurance.

“Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.” Phil. 3:12

 

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Nothing Is Wasted

Last week, I poured my heart out in an emotional live video. (If you aren’t joining me on my A Woman’s Faith, I would love to have you join. The link is in the sidebar in the sidebar on the home page:)

As I kinda ran through a quick journey of my life, I realized that life seems so hard at times.

Why does it seem like there is so much pain in people’s lives- cancer, finances, divorce, lack of work, loss of homes, depression, national disasters….the list goes on and on? The one thing I find that gives me comfort in any hardship is the realization of knowing I’m not alone.

 

 

Hebrew 4 says I have a High Priest, Jesus Christ, who sympathizes with my weaknesses. He not only sympathizes, He lived it. Jesus relates to pain and suffering, and He was even tempted, yet He did not sin. This idea brings me such peace and security. Also, Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who are called according to His purpose”.

This doesn’t mean everything will work the way I want it to, but it does tell us that it will work out for the good.

Ok, what does this all mean? I’ve come to the conclusion that no matter what this life may hand me I can stand behind the truth that Jesus is with me, and I can hold on to the truth that everything in my life can be used for the purpose of making me more and more in Christ’s likeness. Also, I might add, without all the hardship and pain in life I would not have seen my need for Jesus, and that would have been tragic.

You see, I’ve seen God’s hand print on my whole life. And get this…. God didn’t promise to deliver us from all our circumstances; in fact, He told us we would have tribulation. He did, however, promise to be with us.

Nothing is Wasted: You are…..

W- anted, A- adopted, S-aved, T-reasured, E-steemed, D-elivered

 

Fragrance of Jesus

Compassion is the sweet fragrance of Jesus… Someone around us needs to sense His presence in their life.

I had just written the above in a post; then I stepped into my son’s room to wake him up for school. To my surprise, I smelt some perfume in his room. I was a little confused, but I walked back to my bathroom.

I stood there and looked into the mirror, and it hit me the sweet presence of Jesus was all Lavanderaround me. I couldn’t do anything but cry. God’s grace is so good.

You see, a few days ago I almost let my busyness cost me the opportunity to be the sweet fragrance of Jesus. I let the fast track of trying to get to a football practice cause me to be rude and short to a guy walking up to me to ask for help for gas.

My focus at the moment was getting to the next thing. I was tired. I was late.

But, my son, who was in a better spot of offering compassion then I was at the moment, stopped me in my tracks. “Mom, I can’t believe you aren’t helping that guy out. He needs your help!”

My unrestful heart quickly turned into a convicted one, so I pulled my car over to go back and help the guy. I apologized to him for my rude behavior, and he was so forgiving. I also apologized to my son, and I sought my Lord’s forgiveness.  I had let my busyness of doing… overshadow my ability just to be present.

So, that morning, as I stood in my bathroom remembering that sweet smelling aroma. It reminded me that I am in the presence of the Living God. His blood has cleansed me. I can stop and rest in that on any given day. I don’t have to be consumed by my “got to’s.” I get to put myself in a position to be a sweet fragrance in someone else’s life.

If you are anything like me, you have those moments where you forget to just slow down and rest in the presence of God. May this be a reminder not to be so hard-pressed to deal with the urgent that you miss the important things. The best things. But in those times when we forget, God’s grace is so active and real.

“Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.” Eph. 5:1-2

 

As for Me and My House

This (blurry) photo that I took last week of my son standing there with his friend’s arm around him warms my heart. I don’t know why they were standing there like that, but it spoke volumes. You see, there is still good in this world. Love still trumps all things. I am finding it easier now-a-days to want to watch the news or read the back and forth of FB and let my heart get bitter; However, I know without a shadow of a doubt there is a better way ~ grace, love, peace, hope, and prayer.

My friends, we can’t fix everything, but we can begin in our homes. We can begin to let the power of God mold and shape us. We can be an example to our children, who are watching. (I often here my son repeating the things he hears me say to his friends. His view of this world is coming from mine and my husband’s views).

Think about this today: By the power of the Holy Spirit, we get to align out hearts with God’s. We get to walk so close to Jesus that people around us see Him through each of us. There is still goodness in this world because GOD IS GOOD! We can proclaim with boldness….”AS FOR ME AND MY HOUSE, WE WILL SERVE THE LORD!

Crock-pot Thursday

Ok, I have to confess something…….Cooking is not my favorite thing in the world. However, throughout the years I’ve come to appreciate the value of placing a hot meal on table for my family. Not to mention, taking the time to prepare a meal saves MONEY. So, here is my first entry for “What’s for dinner”. Enjoy!

If you have easy to prepare meals or crock-pot meals you would like to share, please email them to me:)

Sweet And Sour Beef Over Rice (crock-pot)

2 pounds boneless chuck
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
2 T. butter or margarine
1 T. olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup of red wine vinegar
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
1 cup water
1 tsp. salt/ pepper to taste
4-6 carrots diagonally sliced

Cut beef into 1-inch cubes. Mix together flour, salt, and pepper and place cubes in mixture. In a skillet, heat margarine and olive oil and brown beef cubes. Place browned beef in crock-pot. Add remaining ingredients except for carrots. Cover and cook on low for 8 to 9 hours. Add carrots and cook on low 1 and half hrs or on high for 30 minutes. Serve with rice.

* I usually double or triple this recipe so I can have plenty of leftovers. It is also make good  BBQ beef sandwiches.
Rival Crock-Pot meals