Rej[prot]ected

I know what it feels like to fall head-over-heels in love with someone– to believe that God created them specifically for you. I know what having a best friend like you never had before and making plans with them and dreaming about your future and believing that nothing will ever come between the two of you feels like. And I know what it feels like to watch the person you held so dear to your heart walk right out of your life— and the worst part is that there is not one single thing you can do to change their mind.

I know what it feels like to replay everything over in your mind– every single thing. Every happy memory, any sad memory, the end– all of it. Constantly on a loop. As if reliving it over and over again will allow you to go back and change the fact that they are gone. I know what it feels like to cry so hard and so often that a time comes when you can’t even form tears any longer, when your throat hurts from sobbing, when your head is aching and begging you to please just lay down and close your eyes, and when you’re wishing you could just pull your heart out of your chest so that the aching will finally stop. I know what it feels like to want to sleep so you can have relief from the constant thoughts and images flickering through your head and not being able to escape because your dreams are even worse. And then you have to wake up and come to terms with everything all over again.

But do you know what else I know? I know that it will get better. I know that it takes time and sometimes it feels slower than Christmas. I know that your heart will heal– but you have to bring it to God.

We ask why an awful lot– why did this happen to me? Nothing will improve if we spend our time asking why instead of asking what. What am I being prepared for? What is God going to do in my life? What do I need to do to be who He created me to be?

God has someone out there for me and you. I wish it was simple and easy but it isn’t. And if it was, what would the point in living even be? We wouldn’t gain anything or grow into the person we need to be.

Sometimes we get people that are here for a season confused with those that are here for a lifetime. Sometimes we let rejection creep into our hearts and plant bitterness– but you can’t do that. There is protection in rejection. If we truly believe that God has our best interests at heart, that He is good and everything will work out for us believers, then why don’t we see rejection as a blessing? Obviously it hurts and I am in no way saying don’t feel the emotions that come with it. What I am saying is after that time of grieving (and even during) praise God. Thank God. Because whatever happened has a purpose in your life.

We’re like pearls. We have to be wounded to turn into something beautiful.

Even Jesus was rejected– and He did the most beautiful thing of all.

Whatever God removes from your life He will replace with something greater. I know there will be moments where you may doubt or feel the sting of hurt again, but you can’t allow it to consume your life. Yes, you were rejected– but that is not who you are. 

Disappointments are God’s way of saying He has something better in store for you. 

So love on yourself, love on others. Pray for the people that rejected you. Thank God for His protection. Don’t allow this hurt to make you bitter, no matter the circumstances. Keep your heart softened.

With love and grace, embrace the protection.

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Lead, Guide, Direct and Protect

Many times we reach out and ask God for guidance. We ask Him to show us His will for us. Yet, we tend to forget our part of this– we have to see and hear His answers and directions. So, we need to ask then for seeing eyes and listening ears. Yet, even still, we can see and hear His signs but ignore or overlook them.

I know sometimes the world gets so in our heads that we aren’t sure which voice is ours and which is the enemy’s and which belongs to the Lord. Pro Tip: God’s voice will always line up with the Word.

One way the Bible shows us how to know what God is telling us is to ask Him for specific signs like Gideon did (Judges 6:36 – 40). And when He gives us answers to these signs it doesn’t hurt to keep asking.

I’ve asked God for signs and He has given them to me. I continued to ask for a while, but then I started ignoring and overlooking His answers and stopped asking altogether for signs. I was asking Him to lead me but I wasn’t allowing myself to be lead. I thought, “Well, these first signs turned out so maybe that was God’s answer and I don’t have to keep asking.” Basically, I did things how I thought it would be best (aka my way). Finally, He showed me a sign that I couldn’t ignore– it was so definite and painful that I knew it was the answer He had been trying to give me all along. Sometimes God has to allow pain if He knows it is going to help get you to where you need to be. 

Do you know what the gift of discernment is? My mom has it and I believe that as I continue to strengthen my relationship with the Holy Spirit that I will also have it and be able to truly recognize it. There are times when I have these feelings and thoughts, in the back of my mind, deep in my heart– and most of the time I have had them for valid reasons. I used to think of myself as crazy for it, but now I realize that it is actually a blessing.

The other day, this thought/feeling kept creeping up in my head. I couldn’t shake it, no matter what I did or how hard I tried or even how much I prayed. I didn’t want it to be true; part of me thought the enemy was trying to mess me up, but the other part of me thought that God was showing me the truth. By the end of the day, the thought that I was hoping would dissipate came to fruition.

It was difficult and painful and honestly humiliating, but after a while, I knew it was what was supposed to happen. I knew that God needed me to experience this for closure. He needed to show me so that I could move on with my life and discover the plans He has for me (and for the other party involved). And sometimes what happens has to happen the way it does because He knows you and how you think and what it takes to get to you see what is for you and what is not for you. (Psalm 139)

I’m still learning how to decipher all the thoughts/feelings/desires that swirl around my mind. I keep asking the Spirit to guide me– to be louder than I am (I can be pretty loud). And now I just have to truly allow myself to be lead. He made me bold to make the decision I had to make. If I allow Him, He can make me bold in my other decisions too.

Everything in life will work out for us if we allow God to direct our paths.

With love and grace, let yourself be lead.

 

A Wretch Like Me

Sometimes, even though we know what we’re doing is wrong, we still choose to do it. We follow the temptations that the enemy lays out– what he dangles in front of us.

I am saved. I have made mistakes. I chose to make those mistakes. I have given in to temptation. I  had felt conviction and I wanted to fight it. And I believe that is why events occurred in my life.

When what meant so much to me was taken away, and I was left with nothing– nothing but God, who will never leave me, I began to realize the mistake I had made. I succumbed to the conviction I had been fighting and I asked my Father to forgive me.

When you go through trials, majority of the time it is to push something out of you (aka prune you). I understand that this needed to be pushed out of me and I am accepting responsibility of what I did. I allowed myself to be lead by the lust of the flesh and I won’t do that again. I know it was wrong; I knew then too, I just didn’t want to see it that way.

I’m waiting for my future husband and in that waiting I want to be obedient and keep any intimacy for marriage.

In addition to that mistake, I’m learning about myself and working on my other flaws. I can be stubborn and prideful and hardheaded. I don’t want to be that way. I want to be humble and kind and submissive and graceful.

I want to be the person God made me to be. I want to be the person my soulmate is looking for, whoever you are. Just know that I am working on me so much right now to be who you need. And I am praying for you.

With love and grace.

Jesus Is A Gardener Too

I struggle with losing people. My biggest fear has always been to lose people that I love. I lost someone this year and I’m not going to lie– it’s been one of the most difficult experiences I have had to deal with.

I have been having to adjust to my life without their presence. It has not been an easy process, but it has been a learning process and a growth process.

Last night in Bible study we talked about John 15. Throughout our life, Jesus prunes us so that we can be more fruitful. Pruning can mean different things for different people; it can mean removing people from your life, places, etc. These people and places can be wonderful and awesome, but they just don’t belong in your life anymore.

My teacher’s husband gave us an example of how Jesus pruned him for his future. When he was younger, before he met his wife, he was engaged to another woman. She was a great woman, Christian, everything he wanted, but he just felt like he needed to ask God if this was right for him. He prayed about it and God gave him a sign that said it wasn’t right so he ended the relationship. He said it was one of the hardest decisions he had to make but if he hadn’t made it he wouldn’t be with his wife now (they’ve been together for about 30 years). And even after he made the decision, he still went through a difficult time. Still, he put his trust in the Lord and God directed him to his wife.

When I heard last night’s message, I knew it was for me. Looking back, I remember sitting there when it felt like everything was falling apart and my world was crashing down around me and every fiber of my being was wanting to fight for what I thought I needed– what I believed to be right for me. However in the midst of everything, this phrase ran through my mind, “Do not fight it.” And so I didn’t. I did say a few words in disagreement, but I didn’t fight what was happening. I just let it happen. I wanted to fight it more than anything in the world. I wanted to beg and plead and just show that I didn’t want this to happen– but I couldn’t. That phrase held me back from doing what every part of me wanted to do.

Do you know what that was? It was the Holy Spirit. I remember that feeling and I thought it was just me being in shock or whatnot. A lot of times we don’t recognize the Holy Spirit; we think that hearing God’s voice means we’re going to hear a booming voice speaking directly to us, but it’s not necessarily so. It can be a small whisper telling you something different than everything you’re feeling. A glimmer of hope or trust or wisdom.

If God is pruning you, you have to allow it. If you don’t allow it, you’re only going to make the process harder. If you sit and embrace it, it will make the experience much easier for you and help bring in the fruit bearing season.

John 15 gives me hope. If God is taking someone or something out of your life, He is doing it because He is going to replace it with what you truly need– what He has in store for you.

With love and grace, embrace your pruning.

Walk By Faith

I made a big decision. I had been thinking about it for a while, with my mind pretty set on it, and I finally chose to make it official this week.

I felt like it was the right choice for me. Then, I had someone attempt to put doubt in my mind and I just wanted to know if this was what is right for my life. All of me believed it was– but I have been wrong before.

So Sunday morning as I was preparing for church, I prayed a little prayer asking God to “send me a sign” and let me know if this decision was right. During the service, Pastor was telling us about a decision in his past that he had made to go to Arizona and learn a trade. He felt as if God wanted him to go there. However, someone very close to him told him that it wasn’t the right decision. Pastor said God told him, “Listen to the Lord.” Right in that moment, my momma elbowed me. I knew then that God had answered my prayer, right there in the midst of the service.

Whenever I told my decision to my boss, I told her the whole story of how I came to it. Her eyes welled up with tears and she said, “You’re not going to believe this, but just now I heard God say, ‘She’s going to walk by faith.'”

I am. I am stepping out of the boat onto the water. I have never done anything like this before and if you asked me a year ago would I do this, my answer would have been no way. I’ve been walking closer to my God lately and I feel like this will be an even greater test of my faith.

I am filled with such excitement and joy I can hardly express it. I’m excited for my faith walk. “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:7) God is a light unto my feet, not a spotlight ahead of me. So I’m going to have hopes and plans, but I know that I will be taking it one step at a time, with God right beside me.

Your Ministry

I never realized that I could minister to others through my own experiences. I always thought of someone who “ministers” as a preacher or pastor. I didn’t realize that I– little imperfect me— could also minister. In Bible study, however, I have come to discover that yes, I can do just that.

We all have ministries of our own, we may not know it. Our experiences, our trials, what we overcome, can allow us to help someone else who is experiencing similar issues. As you go through life, you will discover your ministry. You may have several different ones, or one huge one.

Twice in the past two months I have been able to minister to people. People that reached out to me, unprompted and a bit surprising; I was able to help them. Had I not just been through a similar experience, I wouldn’t have had the words to say to encourage them. It was during those moments that I felt more aligned with God than I had before. Even in the pain, I felt joy inside of me. It was affirmation for me! I was able to comfort another using what I had learned through the Word. (I was so excited I just wanted to run and tell everybody!)

Trials are not fun experiences. Yet, they do something amazing– they allow you to become the person that God created you to be. They help you witness to others the glory and grace of God. They help you lead others closer to Him. (Matthew 5:13 – 16) You just have to allow them– you have to be willing to grow. 

With love and grace, enjoy your weekend.

Healing

Each day I ask God to heal my heart, soul, body and mind.

This past month or so has not been an easy one for me. I’ve had a great deal of heartache, confusion, and endless questions that I’m too afraid to ask. I’ve been working on growing through what I’m going through.

Some days are easier than others. I’ve been listening to worship music each morning, and periodically throughout my day when I’m feeling a bit low. I’ve been reading several devotionals and have also started a book that I should have started months ago. I’m working on renewing my mind to be more Christ-centered and less self-centered.

As I stated, I’ve been asking God for His healing. I’ve been told that healing is yours if you take it. It’s a decision. By this, I don’t mean you decide one day, “I’m healed” and never have trouble again– you do. But each time that feeling or thought pops in your mind, you have to cast it back into the sea.

In the beginning, I wanted to complain and I did. “Why did this happen to me? Where did I go wrong?” Yet, we should not complain. (Philippians 2:14 – 16) We know not what He is doing for us.

God delivered His people from the slavery in Egypt and was bringing them to the Promised Land, but do you know what they did? They complained. He was working wonders for them– yet they complained. And they didn’t get to see the Promised Land.

God has done so much for us and is doing for us and will do for us. We may not see it, but we have to trust and know that He is God. Appreciate how God has blessed you, despite your heartaches.

What if your blessings come through raindrops? What if Your healing comes through tears? What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near? What if the trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise?”

You can complain or you can pray, but you cannot do both. 

With love and grace, be blessed.

In The Highs And Lows

Today was an eventful day. I travelled between two different hospitals, one for a birth and one for an emergency. Great exciting news and not so great news.

First, I went to the hospital where my best friend was going to deliver her baby. I was so excited on the way over there, I was singing and praising God, thanking Him for His blessings and this beautiful moment that was going to be experienced.

While there, I got a message from my mom saying she was in the ER at a different hospital. I rushed out, headed to her. I felt very conflicted– I wanted to be there for my best friend to have her first baby, but I also wanted to be with my mom.

On the way to my mom, I thought about earlier in the day, when I was dancing and praising the Lord, and I asked myself, “Why did this have to happen? Today was going so well.” Almost immediately after I said that, a verse came to mind. “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16 – 18) Instead of allowing myself to become upset I decided to thank God for everything. I thanked Him for healing my mom and for a healthy and safe delivery. I prayed about the situation, lifting my momma and best friend (and baby) up to Him. I said, “God, You are holy. And You are good.”

We have to train our brains to think Godly not worldly. If you can do that, you will be able to respond to situations instead of react to them.

My best friend had a healthy delivery and my momma was sent home. Praise the Lord.

With love and grace, have a blessed day.

Seasons Change

Lately I have been reading a variety of devotionals and inspirational works that are all Bible-based. There are questions that I have that I don’t have answers for, and the best place to find the answer is in the Bible.

Change has always been difficult for me and particularly in this season, I am truly struggling. So I’ve been leaning on Jesus a great deal and asking for Him to love on me a little extra each day.

Something that I have learned is that we go through seasons. (Ecclesiastes 3:1 – 8 NIV) When we go through a season of difficulty, it is to make us stronger and wiser. You have the choice to grow, and thats what I’m choosing to do. Yes, I have my weaknesses and doubts and negative thoughts that creep into my mind, but I fight against them with the hope and faith in my God– He is greater.

One of the biggest questions that I have been asking is, “Why?” I keep thinking with my human mind about all the reasons what is happening is all wrong or shouldn’t be happening and I have to take a step back and remember God’s mind is way greater. (Isaiah 55:9 NIV) He knows what is in store for us and it is good. (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)

I may not receive my answer today or tomorrow– it may never come clearly, who knows. Yet thats what this is all about! Even if we don’t understand why something is happening, we have to put our trust and faith in the Lord! (Proverbs 3:5 – 6 NIV) That is what He wants– He wants our belief and trust in Him. He wants us to lean on Him during our struggles and to praise Him always. (1 Thessalonians 5:16 – 18 NIV) God loves us.

Straight from the Bible here are three things to remember during our difficult seasons:

  1. Rejoice (in hope)
  2. Patience (during your trial)
  3. Prayer (continuously)

Don’t let your struggle bring you down; don’t let anything steal your joy. I know it is tough, we are only human. I have ridden an emotional rollercoaster each day since my season began; some rides wilder than others. But we have to push through. We can and will overcome because God overcame the world.

Seasons change; this one will not last forever. Keep the faith.

With love and grace, enjoy your day lovelies.

Understanding God’s Ways

Understanding– that’s a phrase we seem to have trouble with more often than not. I know that I struggle to understand many things. Life is not clear cut; if you use the Bible as your instruction manual, it can be way easier. Yet, we seem to get caught up in our human lives and stuck inside our human minds, unable to step away and take a different look at the situation. We have to do that, otherwise we won’t overcome our trials. If you’re trying to make it through a difficult time or experience without God– you’re going to fail.

Simon Peter knew this. When Jesus told him to put the net into the water, after they had repeatedly done so, Simon did just that. “Because you say so, I will.” (Luke 5:5 NIV)
God tests your faith. When nothing you’ve tried has worked, when you’ve exhausted all your options, maybe it’s time to stop and ask God what He would do. You have to be willing to listen– it is your choice to listen to the right voice. You will know which one is right based on what you’re told. God would only ask you to do something good– never anything bad.

If you use the story (Luke 5:1 – 11), you can see that God works in three main ways.

  1. He uses the common for the uncommon. (Look for Him in your day-to-day lives and you will notice His works.)
  2. He will move you out of the security (shallows) to the risks (deep). The blessings and the trials are both part of the same “sea” of life. You can’t have one without the other.
  3. He allows you to go through one experience to teach you another. Those men became “fishers” of men.

Matthew 6:33 says, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” We have to put God first in all aspects of life. We have to seek Him; read and study the Word. God loves us; He has promised to supply all our needs, He cares about every individual concern of ours.

I know it can be hard to understand what is happening or why it is happening, but I have been leaning on the belief and knowledge that God has everything planned out for me. As confusing and painful as my experience may be, I know inside that God is doing what is best for me. (Romans 8:28 NIV)

With love and grace, have a good day lovelies.