“The Beautiful Thing”

My spirit is bound by the darkness that holds it captive. The weight of it all most too much to bear in moments when I am at my weakest.
I pray that I might be like the sun when it is only hidden momentarily by the clouds surrounding it until a mighty wind forces the darkness away and the bright light bursts forth. It is a quick and effortless move and easily accomplished. But this is not me…

Instead I am the seed. I wait deep within the cover of the ground. It is cold and dark and the warm days seem as if they will never come. When will I gain the strength to break free and plant the roots that will allow me to stretch strong and tall?

Just as my impatience begins to further discourage me, I slowly begin to grow. It is an unhurried process but it allows me time to strengthen myself. Each day new parts of me are revealed and I begin to take shape. I start to feel warmer as I am pulled closer to the surface and I find myself growing more powerful. I suddenly erupt through the darkness and out of all that was holding me back. I finally rise up strong and tall. I radiate the love that was poured into me as I grew.

I am free.

I am the beautiful thing that God was making all along.

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“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; (Isaiah 43:2-3)

“Stronger”

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Music spoke to me once again this week. Sometimes it comes from places I least expect. A few nights ago I was on my spin bike, pumping away and listening to Pandora. Kelly Clarkson came on and I found myself working a little harder and feeling more confident in myself than I had in a while. The lyrics went like this:

“You didn’t think that I’d come back
I’d come back swinging
You try to break me, but you see

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger
Stand a little taller
Doesn’t mean I’m lonely when I’m alone
What doesn’t kill you makes a fighter
Footsteps even lighter”

I love the power in these words and in this song. Obviously when you hear the rest of the song, she is talking about a breakup, the end of a relationship. But when I hear these words, I put a different spin on it.

My struggles could have kept me down but I didn’t let them. I DID come back swinging and I DIDN’T let it break me.

I came back STRONGER. Stronger in my faith, my beliefs and in knowing who I am and who I want to be.

I DO stand taller because God lifts me up.

When I felt ALONE in my fight, I really wasn’t because God would never leave me nor forsake me.

My footsteps ARE lighter because God carried me during those times when I could barely put one foot in front of the other and allowed me to restore my strength.

Don’t give up on whatever battle you are facing. The strength is in you. Let God carry you until you find it again.

He gives power to the faint and weary, and to him who has no might He increases strength [causing it to multiply and making it to abound] – Isaiah 40:29

 

“Answered Prayer In A Tissue Box”

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My daughter and I were hit hard this week with the latest virus (her) and the mother of all colds (me). We spent two and a half days curled up under blankets in bed or on the couch, watching Brady Bunch and Gilmore Girls reruns and sharing the tissue box. It was by far the worst I have felt in a while and with three days of fever bringing her down, it was obviously the worst for Callie as well. But in the midst of sneezes, coughs and general “yuckiness”, one afternoon she curled up next to me and said “Aside from being sick, I like this day”. She was enjoying our Mommy/Callie time and honestly so was I. It was then that I remember a conversation I had with God several days earlier. We had been in a whirlwind for the past two months it seemed and I felt like I hadn’t had much quality time with her. It was concerning me and so I shared this thought during a prayer. God heard me. We may not have enjoyed being sick and weak but there were moments during those two and a half days when we bonded like we hadn’t in quite a while. Lots of conversations about random things, some silly, some serious. It was just what we needed and God provided.

As we prepared for the day today (back to school and back to work) I prayed for strength for both of us. That we would muddle through the day and God would step in during moments of weakness. I thought of two verses and repeated them in my head as I started the morning:

God is our Refuge and Strength, a very present and well-proved help in trouble – Psalm 46 (Amplified Bible)

I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I amself-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency] – Philippians 4:13 (Amplified Bible)

And when I checked my email this morning, this verse was in my inbox:

It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect – 2 Samuel 22:33

No matter what you are facing today, whether it be a virus, a cold, a more serious illness, depression, fear….God’s strength will carry you.  And in those moments (even those sniffling, sneezing moments) there is a reason. It is well-orchestrated and a part of God’s master plan.

“I Will Not Be Hindered By Lies”

Galatians

January. This month has been haunting me for quite a while. It was January of last year that my panic attacks hit me hard, completely debilitating me. I never really figured out why but I keep thinking to myself, “If I can make it through January (and then February) I will be okay”. So far, I am trying to simply be more optimistic and smile even when I don’t feel like it, laugh when I’m not sure it’s in me and force myself to do something positive even when it’s hard. And as I go, I find myself feeling better. But this morning I realized that isn’t enough. God made it known to me that in the fear I was facing and associating with this month, I still wasn’t trusting in Him as I should be.

I will be honest, there are a lot of times when I know He wants to walk side by side with me but I act like a toddler with a temper tantrum, wanting things my own way and screaming, “Not right now…I don’t wanna!” No, I don’t really do that but you get the picture.

Then there are the moments I do stroll alongside Him but I’m like a sixteen year-old with an iPhone. Head down, only looking up occasionally to say “Huh? What did you say?” Not fully involved in the conversation or appreciating the friend who is willing to “hang out” with me.

So I prayed about these things this morning and God led me to Ephesians 6: 10-12 (Amplified Bible):

10” In conclusion, be strong in the Lord [be empowered through your union with Him]; draw your strength from Him [that strength which His boundless might provides].

11 Put on God’s whole armor [the armor of a heavy-armed soldier which God supplies], that you may be able successfully to stand up against [all] the strategies and the deceits of the devil.

12 For we are not wrestling with flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the despotisms, against the powers, against [the master spirits who are] the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) sphere”

From this I understand that the enemy wants nothing more than to remind me that January was bad for me last year. He wants me to believe that this month is cursed and that I will not make it through. But with these words from God I know that I can continue on the journey that He has me on. That I will fulfill whatever He has in store for me through the struggles I overcome on a daily basis. I will not be hindered by lies, deceit and strongholds, whose only purpose is to distort or confuse my thinking. Any lie, with our permission, will gain control of our emotions and change our behavior. These things do not come from God.

But these things do:

22 But the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness,

23 Gentleness (meekness, humility), self-control (self-restraint, continence). Against such things there is no law [that can bring a charge]. – Galatians 5: 22-23

What are you facing today? Whatever it is, please let these powerful verses speak to you. Personally I am writing them down and carrying them with me this month : )

“Hakuna Matata!”

NYE Sunrise

Beautiful sunrise this New Year’s Eve morning

So here we are…December 31st. I’m sure most of you, like me, are reflecting on 2012 and looking forward to what 2013 holds in store.

Obviously, the past twelve months of my life are no secret. I have shared the good, the bad and the ugly through the words on my blog. I have also shared God’s word, which ultimately is the reason I am able to sit here and write about the journey I have been on this year.

Yesterday I received an email from WordPress documenting the yearly stats of my blog since it began in February. I can see the stats on a daily basis but it was fun to have it all laid out for me and see how it shaped up at the end of the year. My blog had nearly 2,800 views this year. My words were read by people in 29 different countries. The U.S. having the most visitors to my site, with Canada in second and oddly India was a close third. I had visitors from places such as Indonesia, South Africa, Bangladesh, Greece and Australia, just to mention a few. I never imagined my thoughts and faith in God would reach such far off places. My hope is that someone, somewhere along the way, near or far, was touched, found faith themselves or was lead to a greater understanding of the power and greatness of our Lord.

As I look back on the year, it is obviously been the hardest year of my life. I started out as someone I didn’t recognize. Slowly, I have found her again and I want to thank everyone who has been on this journey with me….you know who you are! : ) And to all of those who faithfully follow and read my blog, the ones who “like” the link when I post it and send me comments or messages, I thank you as well. I am looking forward to the New Year and pray I can continue to INSPIRE you.

Below are a few quotes, prayers, words of encouragement and verses that I collected this year. Some made it to the blog, some didn’t, and some are words that I carry with me to remind me I am never alone when I am a true believer in Christ.

  • “As a man thinketh, so is he”….Proverbs 23:7 (quote from a friend.. “Funny how the bible has an answer for everything”)…so true!
  • I don’t know about you, but often it’s just plain easier to throw up our hands, sit back, let life happen, and go nowhere. Or head backwards, slowly but surely. Hauling ourselves up the ladder takes focused energy and ongoing effort that we can’t drum up without the gracious help from our Heavenly Father. Yet, if we want to claim His rich, wise, eternity-in-view perspective, we have no other choice but to humble ourselves, get on our knees, and ask Him to lead the way.
  • Attempt something so big for God that it is sure to fail without Him!
  • Just BELIEVE in yourself and you will make it! (thank you Callie)
  • If I’m struggling, it’s not because of what I’ve been through. It’s because of what I came to believe when I went through it. God heals me, not by changing my past, but by revealing truth and displacing lies.
  • The battle is over but the memories will have to be rearranged to the back of your mind and this is where God’s gift must be fully internalized….you survived!
  • The Lord is my refuge and strength, a very present help in times of trouble.
  • The beginning of anxiety is the end of FAITH.
  • Let it go, and let God take control.
  • Hakuna Matata!!! (thank you again, Callie!)
  • Live a life worthy of the calling you have received – Ephesians 4:1
  • Follow Me one step at a time…if I do lead you up the cliffs, I will equip you thoroughly for the strenuous climb.
  • God will never lead you into a situation and leave you to fail. If we sit still long enough to hear his whispers and adhere to His counsel (the message may come through an acquaintance, stranger or friend), we can transition from a difficult place towards victory
  • If you feel like you’re just ‘going through the motions’ and it even feels fake, keep doing it! Otherwise, you may die in the desert, on your way to glory
  • “You have to break that bad habit, you have to face your fears not once, but continually and realize they are nothing but creative interpretations from a fatigued and confused mind. You must stay strong, keep hold of hope and have faith you will overcome this.” (this has been posted to my bathroom mirror for a year : )
  • The only thing wrong with you, is that you still think there is something wrong with you.
  • And finally….”Cast all your anxiety on Him…because He cares for you!” – 1 Peter 5:7

 Happy New Year everyone!!!

“Go The Distance”

Joshua 1:9

Every day when I wake up, I have to decide how I will face my “opponent” (that evil anxiety).  Most days are easy. I wake up and it’s a KO, a total knockout. I come out with fists swinging , throwing  jabs and conquer the day. Those days are simple and make me feel like a champion.

Other days however, aren’t so effortless. There are times I have to go a couple rounds before I even get out of bed. Those days don’t happen that often but when they do, it definitely can make me feel like I am down for the count.  My opponent sneaks in with a sucker punch, a left hook and has me on the ropes. He fights dirty.

But there is someone on the side cheering me on. Telling me how to defend myself, to cover my face from those punches and do some fancy footwork to dodge my opponent.  He tells me to keep going, to get up and go another round. He gives me strength and promises that I will walk out of that fight with my head held high if I will just believe in Him and listen to what He has to say. He wipes the sweat from my brow and gives me the essentials needed to be victorious. Saved by the bell, by the Saviour.

No matter what opponent you are facing, don’t ever give up. God is always there to “coach” you, to be your “trainer”, your biggest fan. Strengthen yourself in His word, in hope and in faith. As the great Rocky Balboa said “I ain’t heard no bell yet!” : )