Posted in Faith

Thoughts on the New Year

open door

Well, we’ve officially moved into a new year.  2016 is here!  Maybe it’s my age showing, but I’m amazed at how each year seems to go by faster than the one before.  And as I look around, I see there is always more money to make, less time to spend and many unhappy people.

With the new year comes time for New Year’s resolutions.  Since 2010, I’ve stopped making resolutions because I don’t like the feeling that I’ve failed.  Setting the bar and not meeting it means I didn’t succeed, so why put that unnecessary pressure on myself?  But lately, I am feeling the opposite.  Since I have given my life to Christ, it doesn’t matter if I set the bar and fail, because He gives opportunity after opportunity without deadline.

I’ve written in the past about how I’ve run ahead of God and how He’s been extremely gracious in my hustle and bustle.  In the past, I have loved the frantic, crazy pace of getting things done and having the feeling of accomplishment.  I’m not ashamed of it because it’s part of my make up, however as I get older, I’m realizing God is asking me to sllllllooooooooooooooooooooooooooowwwwwwwwwww dooooooooooooowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwnn.

Being a woman, it’s natural to just take over certain tasks, keep everyone in line, make sure things get done, and go to bed depleted.  Checking boxes makes everyone happy, especially when the bottom line is saving money and time.  But in all of the busyness of life, I’ve even recently noticed how Christian biblical women authors are encouraging women to listen to the voice of the Lord and slow down.  And I believe God is speaking through them.

Lysa Terkeurst has released the best yes,

Susie Larson wrote your sacred yes and

Karen Ehman shares how to let it go.

I’m seeing a recurring theme from women who have “been there, done that” and have learned the rhythm of the Lord is in patiently waiting and not rushing.  What a crazy concept in our fast-paced society!  We don’t like to read these books that make us admit that we’re so goal-focused and check box driven, especially when it means something in our behavior pattern will have to change.  Yet realizing EXACTLY THAT will save us much heartache and unnecessary rebuke.

What is it that sends us to the task driven life?  In social circles, what is it that we are afraid of, if we don’t DO something?  Each woman (or man) who reads this can answer the questions themselves.  Honestly, I believe the questions should be mulled over, and prayed over, with time to hear back from God before replying.  When we can recognize WHY we jump to do something, and whether or not it’s something the Lord is truly asking of us, we can answer with confidence and not hesitation.

fasting

Our church is currently in a new sermon series about spending time with Jesus.  As part of that study, we are learning to fast and actually spend quality time with God.  Doing so requires discipline to follow the suggested regimen, not eating physical food, but depending on the Word of God and what He is speaking to us.  It’s a common practice done in the Bible by Jesus, for getting closer to God, and seeking His will.  I’ve done it once, as a teenager, when raising money for the 30 hour famine.  I’ve never done it longer, and I’ve never done it with the intent of getting specific answers from God.  I believe it is not a manipulation tool, because God cannot be manipulated.  But it is a practice worth doing, to have my physical body completely depend on God during my quiet time, and to exchange my hunger for food, to hunger for Him.

I have much to pray about specifically at this time in my life: I have many unsaved friends and neighbors, stepchildren with concerns about their futures, family members who have broken relationships, a job that is inconsistent at times, clarity for a dream/passion of mine to come to fruition.  All of these things need to be placed in the loving hands of the Father and LEFT THERE.  I needn’t pick them up again.  I can trust Him and I believe that my quiet time with Him will be beneficial, as He will provide what is best for me.

fervent

Now my issue is that I’ve listed my specific prayer needs/wants, but I’ve left out the ones that the Lord has for me.  How will I know them if I don’t ask Him what He has planned or what He is asking me to do?  I fall into the trap of thinking that prayer is simply telling God everything that I want Him to accomplish and then waiting for it to happen.  Have you ever had a conversation with someone like that?  They just talk at you and walk away, and you feel as if you didn’t have a chance to share your viewpoint on anything?  It’s one-sided, unfair, and is one thing I’m resolving this year.  I’m going to take the time to wait for His response.  Who am I to make demands?  I know I am His daughter, but if anyone deserves respect and ultimate praise, it’s God.  I need to be reminded of how I walk into His presence.

And something else that is heavy on my heart, is the gift that the Lord has bestowed on my husband and me.  We love spontaneity, whether it be something we do together solely as a couple, or whether it involve other people who need us in a time of need.  We have been obedient in listening to the Lord for those opportunities and then just “going”.  And we’ve seen the fruit of that obedience.  A dear friend of ours recently said Kevin’s and my greatest gift is our presence.  That we stop what we are doing, and just show up.  And I think that will be something I pray about specifically again this year.  Where do you need us to be, in what way, and what should we bring, if anything?  Giving of time has become such a wonderful way for me to see how the Lord can use me, instead of me having an agenda, or a place to rush off to.  Time really is the most precious gift.

Have you ever done the OneWord movement for the New Year?  I’ve come up with mine and it will be something I pray over and specifically focus on for 2016.  My word is #abide.  God has been speaking into my heart for some time now about spending time with Him (which is why I’m so jazzed about our sermon series at church), but also because I have been convicted by James 4:7.  I need to be drawing near to God and resisting the devil.  So much time in my past has been given to him, out of fear or insecurity, and I’m reclaiming my value this year.  I’m going to spend more time with the Lord, actual QUALITY TIME, and immediately relinquish all thoughts that aren’t from Him.

post it         calendar        tast list

Finally, I have a challenge for you, a very simple one.  If you trust your life in the capable hands of God, do you believe He has everything under His control?  Do you know that He hears the prayers of His children and filters them through His ultimate purposes and wisdom?

A girlfriend of mine told me a few years ago that when she is in prayer about the future, or something that she is uncertain that she’s supposed to be doing, she takes the task, calendar, or a sticky note with the option written on it, and puts it on the floor.  Then she prays over it, and waits to hear back from the Lord regarding it.  She doesn’t say YES until she knows it is what He is asking her to do.

I’m going to be doing this challenge.  I’ve said yes so many times in the past, without knowing whether or not something was correct, and I’ve become overwhelmed and burnt out.  So instead of struggling to find my way, I’m going to give everything to Him and wait for Him to interrupt my plans, intercede with a better idea, and speak to my heart in a way that only I know.

Praying a special prayer for each reader, that your year would be one of surrender, hope, trust, love, grace and forgiveness.  God is trustworthy and faithful to His promises.

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Posted in Faith, Family

What’s Next for us (a sweet testimony of the love and goodness of my husband and God)

 I cannot believe it’s been four years since I walked down the aisle to my groom.

Time has passed.  At times so swiftly, other times without regard for my impatience.  But it sure seems fleeting.

Four years of marriage is not a normal celebratory year, at least in popular circles or in card shops.  Typically, we tend to celebrate the first, fifth and every fifth year after that for patterned events.

So why is four such a big deal to me today?

Because I want to share where God has moved in the lives of two simple people in Ohio, out of the entire Universe.  And I finally am ready to share a deep hurt that was healed and overcome.  But first, some highlights of one of the happiest days of my life…becoming Mrs. Hejnal.

new startcake2

candles

God's KnotThe day had finally come.

My husband and I had a lot of strife getting to that day.

As with every wedding, there are moments that things don’t go as planned, and ours was no different.  Leading up to our wedding day, we had a few hiccups: reservations and contracts for locations that went missing (gasp!), family issues with unforeseen miscommunication (with people who weren’t even part of our day) (YIKES!) and deadlines we didn’t plan for (seriously!?).  Waking up the morning of the wedding, I just prayed for God to handle it all, and we would soak up every minute.

And on the day of the wedding, everything fell into place.


We both were so excited and were ready to commit to each other.  We could have done without the trimmings and planning. We just wanted to be together!   me staring offKevin excited

listening to In Christ Aloneso happyfrom the startrings

our new stepfamilyStarting over would be an adjustment for me.

I had been divorced for a few years, and I was used to doing things on my own.  My personality is independent by nature.  For as long as I can remember, once I conquered something, it was on to bigger and better.  I didn’t like someone telling me what to do or how to do it.  I would figure it out and then move on.

So, I definitely had a lot to learn about submitting to a man.  Obstacles, schmobstacles…

It couldn’t be that hard, though, right?  I mean, this guy and I seem to get along so well.  We play video games together, go to church together, grocery shop together. For those who are afraid we do too much together, we do have separate interests and hobbies, but they are done in moderation.  We truly enjoy each others’ company. I’ve never had such an amazing and supportive guy best friend.  So moving into the house that was now ours, and sharing EVERYTHING shouldn’t be so bad, right?

Sadly, I didn’t prepare myself for everything.  I did what I normally did, which was to jump into the abyss and run full speed.


We had those who opposed Kevin’s and my marriage, and I felt obligated to try to change their minds, quite verbally, I remember.  I had those who slandered me on a regular basis, so I found myself in defensive positions constantly.  And I felt I had to prove to everyone that I was capable of being a stepmother, since I’d had no previous children of my own.  How hard could this be?  (Just reading this, I’m exhausted.)

Another factor I didn’t really see ahead of me that would test my patience and willpower were his daughters.  At the time, they were 14 and 17.  They are both beautiful women now, and have always been loving and understanding.  They have grown a ton, and so have we.  But let’s be honest ladies, learning to love someone else’s children seems to come easy, but it comes with being on the back burner and being rejected A LOT.  If you keep your eyes open for the lessons, however, it also teaches you humility and compassion.

I was young (and I say that to be humorous, but also to indicate my maturity level in all of this).  I expected things to go swimmingly all of the time.  I am not one for confrontation, so I didn’t have to worry about arguing with the kids.  They rarely voiced discontentment.  They were eerily silent more than I could stand at times.  But I learned about them, I stretched myself and spent time with them when they were in our home, and I shared as much about myself as I could with them.  They were adjusting too.

Was our daily life all roses and gumdrops?  Absolutely not.  I can remember a few days where I stayed in our bedroom and avoided them, after an argument with their mother, or someone else in the family who wouldn’t accept me.  I had to become aware of the times that the enemy would try to pin Kevin against me, and when the enemy would isolate me.  Sometimes I felt excluded, unwanted or just plain ignored.  Those were painful times, but they passed.  We all grew.


Now the kicker: I’ve shared previously on this blog that I wanted to go back to school when God revealed that He wanted me to go into Christian counseling.  What I didn’t share was how I made that decision solely by myself, signed up for, was accepted into college and THEN told my husband.  Who does that!?!  Ugh, I hate that things went down that way.

Kevin and I have had many conversations about US adjusting to each other.  And at the height of one of our saddest but most raw arguments, he admitted how hurt he was by that, and I was ashamed that I’d not even seen that I had done it.


My point for all of this is to share what my view of marriage is, and how it’s taught me to rely on my Lord and my husband.  And to share that through some of the heartache, pain and humbling heart condition checks that were necessary, God is not done with Kevin and me.  There is more to come, and it can WILL be accomplished with our Lord and my unselfish, unconditional loving husband.


A ceremonial addition we incorporated into our service was God’s Knot.  It’s a cord of three colored ropes that you braid during your ceremony.  The groom holds the ring and the bride braids the three colors together.  Below you can see the description, and the shadow box I made of our knot after the wedding.God's Knot cord 3 strands

I loved this aspect of the ceremony, but the truth is that I didn’t know how to incorporate it into my marriage.

I had my faith, Kevin had his, and we would meet in the middle, I was sure of it.  We were growing as a couple.  We were going to church.  We were attending life group, and I could see Kevin’s growth, and it just fueled me to do more at church because God wanted me to be helping others in their lives.  After all, mine was perfectly fine…

Yet in all honesty, for the first two and a half years of our marriage, I was running my race to the goal line (whatever event I had created in my mind), and Kevin was jogging behind, lovingly supporting me, but keeping silent.

Newsflash, brides: That’s not journeying through life together.

That’s living as though you’re still single, and just having the guy’s last name.  What could be more emasculating to an amazing man (or any man for that matter)?

I have learned so much in the time since I’ve walked down the aisle.

I have learned the ability to admit my wrongdoings.

It’s not that I didn’t know how to do it before, it’s just that in the past, my lips seemed to go numb, and my mouth wouldn’t open to get the words out. 😉  I mean, come on, who loves to say, “I was wrong”?  If it seems hard to say, take a few minutes to repeat that over and over…it gets easier.

I have learned the ability to put my partner first.

Kevin is so simple, and I mean that so lovingly.  He really doesn’t ask for much. He’s not extravagant, he doesn’t have unrealistic expectations for me, he just lives so simply, and if he sees a need somewhere, he does it/fixes it/helps someone/loves on people.  I couldn’t ask for a better example of who Jesus is.

Kevin really is a living example of someone who is willing to do whatever it takes to see others love their lives and Christ.  But my nature (and let’s be honest again, it’s not a personality flaw, it’s my sin nature), was to put myself first.  And I have a background, so here’s where I used to justify it.

Coming from a first marriage that ended in my leaving abruptly, I wasn’t used to putting the other person first.  I had been dealing with someone who had so many expectations for me to live up to, and a facade I couldn’t pull off…well, it just was such a relief to get away from someone trying to change me and I could finally have an opinion without him making fun of me, or calling me a name because I thought differently.  But unfortunately, my desire to overcome that part of my past, left Kevin in the dust!  I had opened a business and gone back to school all by myself. Surely, you’re proud of me, right, honey?  Honey??


I’m going to take you back to a moment in time that is forever seared into my memory.  It’s painful, but becomes beauty from its original ashes.

Thankfully, God got a hold of me one morning/afternoon in February 2014.  And let me tell you, where I should have been treated harshly for the words I let spew out of my mouth during a Valentine’s dinner to my sweet husband, God wrapped His arms around me and said, “Tell me what’s wrong.”

The afternoon after that dinner, when I was alone in my living room (Kevin was at work), I had such shame. Have you ever been so mad at something, but had so much going on, you didn’t know who to blame or where to put the pain?  I was at my wits end!  (Clearly.)

 I had allowed myself to become so overwhelmed, overworked, disappointed, and so angry at everyone and everything, that I didn’t even want to go into the Lord’s presence.  Quite honestly, I figured He didn’t want to talk to me.  He was there at the restaurant the night before, when I unleashed venom against my husband (who had done nothing wrong), and made him my punching bag for my built up anger.  Surely, God’s back would be to me.

I wrestled in the living room.  I went from couch to chair to couch and thought, This is ridiculous.  I can’t even muster up the courage to talk to God.  And though I wanted to cry (and for those of you who know me- that’s not a hard feat for me to accomplish), I couldn’t get any moisture from my eyes.  How sad…now what?

And so I texted a few of my soul sisters from church: “Will you ladies pray for me? Without going into detail, I’ve hurt my husband and feel like I can’t pray.”

Within minutes, my dear sisters countered the enemy’s lies and told me to press into God, to seek Him with my heart and He would reveal a way to redeem myself with Kevin, that I need to resist the devil, draw near to God (James 4:7-8) and just boldly go to Him.

I stretched myself out on the floor facing downward.  And then I laughed.

How absurd, I thought!  I have no words to even say.  Obviously I’m sorry, but where do I begin?

So I stayed on the floor, arms stretched out in front of me.  And I started, “Lord, I don’t even know what you want me to say…”


Within seconds, He spoke into my spirit, not words of condemnation or ridicule, but peace and truth.  He somehow got me to the point of repentance.  I can’t even explain exactly how, but with my arms out in front of me,

I began to sob,

and then cry,

and then mourn loudly.

I hadn’t let tears out in a LONG TIME!  On my knees, still facing the floor, I knew what I had done wrong.  I knew I had gone before Kevin and hurt him, but God was letting me know that I had RUN IN FRONT OF HIM AS WELL!  Talk about a 2×4 to the face!  I’m just living my dream, without regard for anyone.  What in the world is wrong with me?!?

The Lord is our judge, yet also a loving Father.  That day, when I should have had Him laying out the record of all of the times I had wronged my husband, God chose to show me His grace.  (And if you know 1 Corinthians 13, Love doesn’t keep a record of wrongs, so this clearly shows you where my belief about God didn’t match up with His character.)

He spread out such merciful, totally needed, completely undeserved GRACE.

Still sitting on the floor, I cried endlessly, and felt His love, compassion and clarity. I knew within minutes that I had to back out of school, close up shop on my business, and put my focus on HIM and my husband, and then my family.


Words that echoed in my spirit, which will never go forgotten, were the following: “Grace, you’re calling me the Lord of your life, but you’re not letting me do it.”

That realization hit me so hard.

I had such remorse for my treatment of Kevin.  He didn’t deserve my tongue-lashing.  I had immediate sadness at knowing my dream of finishing college would again go to the wayside.  But knowing that I was a fraud to myself and my Lord was the most painful.  Who was I kidding?  Yes, my grades were high where I wanted them to be, but the grade for my contribution to my marriage was F after F.  My priorities were so skewed.  Devastated, but hopeful, my heart ached horribly, but I couldn’t wait to talk to my husband.


Later that evening in our bedroom, I finally had the opportunity to apologize to Kevin.  He had been quiet all day when he got in from work, and my stepdaughters were over.  I certainly didn’t want to do this in front of them, so I asked the Lord to give me the words at the right time.  Kevin listened so intently, and yet his face would look away at times.  I shared with him all that the Lord revealed to me during my quiet time, and when I was finally done, he looked at me, and said, “I can never stop you, Grace.  You get something in your mind and you just run with it.  I’m in awe of you.  Everything you’ve ever wanted to do, you can do it.  But what killed me was that you’ve never asked me, not that you need my permission, but that you would consider me.  You’re still living like you’re single.”

Dear friends, if I can impart wisdom to you regarding marriage- which is a holy, beautiful, institution using two broken, imperfect people (one man, one woman), take my words to heart.  YOU CANNOT CLEAVE TO SOMEONE BY YOUR OWN WILL.  The Bible is so full of wisdom and truth regarding marriage being an institution that reflects the relationship between God the Father and God the Son.  That one would lay down their life, they would cleave to each other, they would forsake all others, they would lead, serve, submit…  I wasn’t doing any of that.  And I had been so blinded because of my own selfishness, I didn’t realize the pain Kevin  even felt.

I used to pride myself on telling others to “put the shoe on the other foot”, but I couldn’t follow my own advice.  And because I had squashed the Holy Spirit, I wasn’t hearing His gentle rebukes to consult my husband, pray before deciding, wait to see if it was something the Lord wanted of me.  All of these steps I took were “GRACE-driven”, but not grace-driven.


I have learned the ability to squash the enemy instead of the Spirit.

If you are married or considering it, your primary concern will always be for the other person.  Yes, you have dreams and goals, but trust me, if they don’t include your spouse, you live a life of secrecy and darkness.  These things always come to light, Scripture says.  Even in the midst of a godly marriage.  If we’re not seeking the Lord and our spouse’s approval on things, are we truly surrendered to their ideas, opinions, viewpoints?  And let’s not gloss over the fact that the enemy HATES marriage, so he will do anything he can to separate, isolate and KILL off any part of you that works in conjunction with your spouse.  Instead of running ahead of your mate and figuring things out, seek your spouse’s opinion (communication is sexy, people) and see what he has to say.  You may be surprised by his wisdom and acceptance of your ideas.

Submission to a man of God is easy.

If a man loves the Lord, and follows His commands (most importantly to put YOU first in his life, and love you like Jesus loves the church), you can easily walk alongside him and submit to him.  I know every marriage is not like this.  But if you are a godly woman, you are not alone.  Your Lord is your husband and voice of wisdom until He gets through to your husband.

I learned that my husband “gets” the idea of unconditional love (and it’s something I cannot take for granted)

When I screwed up royally, Kevin never held it over my head.  We have thousands of dollars in college loans for a degree that I never finished, and he’s never said another word about it, except to tell me that we have to remember a certain amount coming out monthly.  He said it’s a lesson that we learned together.

Talk about GRACE!!  Could you do that?  If your husband cost you THOUSANDS of dollars for a dream that God called you out of, would you be able to NOT talk about it?  I mean, we may want to tell our girlfriends why we can’t go out for coffee or dinner, “because let me tell you what my husband did…”.

He NEVER did that.  He just moves forward with me, seeking God for our next step.  That’s insane, but possible with God.  Kevin’s love for me overshadows my mistakes.  Sound like anyone else you know? 😉

I’ve learned God’s plans for me do coincide with my dreams (after all, He put them there), but I can wait for His direction and timing to execute them.

My frustration and becoming overwhelmed was because I was putting pressure on myself that was never meant to be there.  I needed to seek God and His Word regarding my steps, but I was too busy running to stop and read (or listen).  And out of that journey of running, I realized many reasons why I was pushing to prove myself.  I am now equipped with Ephesians 6 and the armor of God.  I know the schemes against me, I know the tactics the enemy uses, I know his cunning behavior.  I cannot prepare myself for everything, but I can be aware, and that is what is required of us.  We need to watch and know that he seeks to KILL us and DESTROY us.  This is your ENEMY…the one that knows he loses in the end.  So remind him of that.

And ultimately, I have a few dreams that are in my think tank.  I know the Lord put them there.  He is slowly revealing timing for certain things, but I’m more patient than I’ve ever been.  I know when I see myself putting on tennis shoes in my mind’s eye, I need to sit back on the bench and consider him and my husband first.


The cord of three strands is essential to a vital, godly marriage.  Kevin is a flawed human being.  As am I.  And there is only one other person involved in our marriage, who has a vested interest in our marriage, who is not flawed.  God designed it, He knows the obstacles, but He has the power and the resources to conquer them.  And He’s given us the wisdom to learn how to do it.

Put simply: RELIANCE ON THE LORD HIMSELF.

I can come up with some pretty awesome ideas (brushed knuckles on chest), but if I haven’t sought the Lord or Kevin, I will be devastated at the loss of time spent by choosing to go the path alone.  I’ve witnessed after a long day of work, Kevin come home and say something that neither one of us has talked about, but that I know the Lord must have put on His heart.  That is evidence enough for me that He is present in both of our lives.  And He has to be!  We are so prone to going our own way, but in a marriage, it’s always about the other person.  Sacrifice to self is essential.


Something else that the Lord brought to my mind in the living room that day was that friends lay down their lives for each other.  I hadn’t done that.  For me to be successful as a wife, submitted to my husband and completely surrendered to the Lord, I had to lay down my hopes/dreams/college credits/Avon makeup business for the sake of Kevin and my longevity.  It’s not that these were bad ideas, but sometimes the Lord asks us to give up things that are in the way of what He is trying to accomplish through us.  If my grip had been so tight on school or my business, where would that have left Kevin?

hold everything in your hands


I’ve learned to let go of hurtful, hateful moments and live in the NOW.

Earlier, I had mentioned how things went wrong leading up to our wedding day. Life isn’t perfect, and moments aren’t as tidy or neat as Pinterest tries to convince us.  Over the last two years, the Lord has been working on my heart of unforgiveness.  I’ve been holding onto so much, about so many people, that it had become a huge wedge in our marriage.  I had to come to the realization of three things:

  1. Kevin wasn’t responsible for the actions of those who hurt me, so I had to stop treating him as if he was.
  2. Holding onto the anger for what others had done wasn’t hurting them.  It was hurting me.  And Kevin.  And other family members.  My responses weren’t Christlike many times, and if I was trying to be a light, I wasn’t accomplishing it very well.
  3. Forgiveness is able to be done by humans, but the peace that comes as a result, is something only the Lord can give.  I have said I’ve forgiven and forgotten a ton of times.  But I hadn’t ever given the situation to the Lord.  Then, all of a sudden in 2013, God started messing with my sleep schedule.  He would keep me up, replaying an incident or how I handled it.  My anger would rage, my thoughts would get wound up, and I would want to scream.  But when I learned to take those moments and hand them over to the One who already died for their mistakes, and mine too, I was able to let Him deal with that person and no longer hold it over their heads.  I cannot tell you the freedom I have, and the lack of weight on my shoulders for doing this!  If you need help with forgiveness or unforgiveness, call me, text me, email me.  I will be doing a bible study on this topic because it is so beneficial to our mental and physiological well-being.

I’ve learned that where God said No for now, it doesn’t mean forever.

I still have dreams.  I also have a husband whose work schedule might change, and stepdaughters in college.  I want to be there for them.  This doesn’t mean my goal of counseling will fade.  It means that the Lord will be faithful in what He told me: He will give me what I need when I need it.  And I can rest in that.

I’ve learned that everyone needs second chances, and third, and eighteenth, and ninety-seventh, and…

The beautiful truth about the God of the Bible is that He is full of grace and mercy, justice and truth.  He gives grace much more than He punishes.  Like the loving parent that He is, He disciplines those He loves, but He doesn’t leave us in timeout, or in prison!  He conquered death so we could be with Him.  Is He happy with our choices and behavior all of the time?  That depends on your walk with Him.  But the good news is that when we screw up, He is faithful and just to see the sin, cover it with the blood of His Son, and grant us newness.  Out of that thankfulness, we need to be appreciative and turn our lives in another direction.

Where our sin is great, His grace is greater!


So that’s my story.  At least for now.  Four years may not seem like a long time, but for me, it’s been packed with lesson after lesson and grace upon grace.  I’ve titled this post “What’s Next for us”, but to be truthful, only God knows that.

I just know that we’re all in, whatever that looks like.  And we’re going to do it hand-in-hand until He calls us home.

flowers butterflies marriage walking the future

Posted in Faith

Walking with the Lord…new steps

Who wouldn't gladly follow Jesus here?
Who wouldn’t gladly follow Jesus here?

It is often said that the life of a Christian is a “walk with God”.  Once you step (fall, stumble, tiptoe, lean, leap) over the fence of unbelief, it becomes a journey.  And a journey typically includes having a map because there is a destination.

Those of us who walk with the Lord certainly have a map with a destination, but the ways we get there are incredibly different.  The path isn’t always gorgeously laid out with flowers and greenery on either side.  Sometimes it looks like this

Where do you even begin to cut back on these things?
Where do you even begin to cut back on these things?

Or this

Stone path leading up a hill.

Or (yikes!) even this

Where do I even start?
Where do I even start?

Why?  Why, when we are going through life difficulties, do we have to have paths that have thorns, or that go upward (where I have to exert energy…ugh), or that don’t even have a semblance of a path?  Why would we follow someone blindly through a desert?  Why would we take the road less traveled to get to someplace others tell us doesn’t even exist?  Why put ourselves through emotional and physical turmoil like that?

I have an answer.

Because the God of the universe who did create everything (Colossians 1:16) and who does have crazy paths to follow (2 Corinthians 5:7) LOVES you incredibly.  Do you believe that?

He loves you so much He sent His son to die (John 3:16), but also because He knows there are changing terrains (Deuteronomy 5:33), paths that look daunting, days that are overwhelming, kids that are screaming, conversations that are worth having, lies that are worth rebuking, people worth loving, and hearts worth stretching.  Psalm 119:133 is a cry to keep our steps steady.  Why?  Because the Lord knows that LIFE will overwhelm us and create a path that is unstable.

I do believe that God does not change (Scripture confirms this in Malachi 3:6 when He is speaking about his nature).  However, since I’ve been walking with Him, learning His ways and have felt Him softening my heart, I’ve learned that He is extremely creative and ultimately lovely.  His character doesn’t change, but His methods for seeking me (us) will and does.

One aspect of the Father that I can resonate with (and have incredible admiration for) is an adventuresome, loving Father who is constantly looking back to take my hand and show me something wonderful.

My earthly father did that a lot when I was younger.  My dad would pack us in the little red Chevette (all five of us, Mom too) red chevetteand my two siblings and I would do creek walks, flip over rocks to look for crayfish and go on hikes until our legs burned with pain.  All because Dad wanted to show us something amazing!  Sure, Dad could’ve gone and jogged the trail ahead of us, and came home and told us the story about what he saw/experienced, but it was worth more to him to have us experience it with him!  And I’ve learned our Heavenly Father is like that too.

Walking alongside someone also gives time to have conversations.  Have you ever gone on a walk with someone else and remained silent the entire time?  Doing physical activity together like walking, is a way of sharing hearts and opening up about something in life or an opinion.  Many of the times that I spent walking with my parents gave them opportunities to talk and share things with me, and I in turn would share my opinion with where I was at that time.  It is a relational activity.  So walking provides the Lord a place of communication with us.  When we communicate how much we hate anything that goes uphill to Him, it allows Him the opportunity to reach a hand out to help us up.  It builds dependence.

reaching outTrusting in Jesus, who is unseen, is a step of faith altogether.  We choose to believe in Someone who chooses to remain hidden to the outside world.  He manifests Himself in many things to affirm He is with us, and He reveals Himself in ways that are not tangible.  Since Jesus ascended to Heaven, He has sent the Holy Spirit to be with us, to guide us, to lead us, to be our “true north” and it is up to us to seek Him out. When we accepted Jesus and made Him Lord of our lives, we accepted the call to be Jesus’ hands and feet and show the world who HE really is.

My journey with the Lord has changed, grown, stretched incredibly over the last year, and my walk has mirrored each of the paths above.

I’ve learned He is faithful.

I’ve learned He is silent for a time.

I’ve learned He is loving during the wait.

I’ve learned He has a plan that is the best for me, and it’s worth waiting for.

I’ve learned I can’t do everything on my own, which is what sent me to Him in the first place.

I’ve learned that sometimes He speaks and I need to drown everything out to hear Him because I’ve let too much of the world in.

I’ve learned He is hope.

He created me (and you) with unique, special gifting and He will share with me (and you) when the time is right to reveal them.  He longs to be close to us.  He desires the relationship.  He loves when you pray because He hears from your mouth and heart where you are, even though He already knows. He created you with a desire to be known, and He knows you best!

He continues to reach out His hand to help us up those tough hills.  He continues to wrap Himself around us through the thorny paths.  He makes a way when the path isn’t even a path.  He CAN be trusted.

My journey is changing, and my new path is being revealed.  I will share more as I am able.  But it’s worth the wait, as long as I am holding His hand, walking alongside Him and trusting what He is doing.  Stay steadfast, dear ones!

walk Love, G 🙂

Posted in Faith, Stepfamily

Open letter to stepmoms and some reflection

Recently, I was on a website for stepparents who struggle with their issues, need encouragement and are dealing with heartache.  I don’t read the stories to get stuck in each individual encounter, nor do I read them for feelings of affirmation for myself.  I read them to remind myself that my own situation as a stepparent has grown remarkably in the last three years, and the family I’ve been a part of, for over five. It helps me to celebrate the small milestones and to thank God for what He is doing/has done.

This past spring, I completed a study on forgiveness and began to put into practice the steps necessary to release the hurts/anger/offenses.  The change in my heart was proof of Christ’s conviction, release and freedom.  I couldn’t shut up about the changes, the prayers, the weight lifted!  It was no surprise that when our class ended, I was asked by the leader if I would teach the study out of my own home, for the benefit of women who struggle with areas of unforgiveness in their lives, not just stepfamily situations.  Without hesitation, I said yes, and I can truly see God’s hand in it.  It’s been amazing!  And I pray it continues.

In reading the post for this particular day, one of the moms who was sharing her heartache was at the end of her rope.  Normally I would skip past and move onto another topic, but I felt compelled to share some hope with her.  Below is my response.  Keep in mind I have no idea of the woman’s faith or lack of, and am just sharing my heart with a complete stranger.

As a stepmom of a little over three years, and dealing with the BM for over five, I want to share hope. I still deal with painful moments, and heartache. I’ve got many moments of ambushes, intended public humiliation, childish behavior in my memory, and am praying forgiveness through them. I have learned/am learning that my reaction to intended hurt says a lot to those who watch: primarily the children I’ve come to love as my own, and to my husband who chose me as part of his journey, and extended family, friends, extras. Ladies, we aren’t machines, so pain still hurts. But I’ve found my faith in the Lord is my mainstay. I keep praying to Him for strength He has willingly given, and I keep the long-term in my focus. When my girls are a little older (they’re 20/17 now), I know in my heart, they will know that I kept myself from retaliating, spoke kindly of the BM even when she didn’t deserve it, and put them first MANY TIMES over my own happiness.

As stepmothers, we end up on the backburner many times. IT HAPPENS (much more often that we feel we deserve), but we chose to enter into an already existing family, with hurts/damaged feelings/ high emotions, etc. It’s not as much about being the bigger person, as it is about remaining strong in the commitment between your husband and yourself, and your value in Christ.

Remembering every incident that created a wound had begun to make me bitter and hurtful. Having learned to give my hurts to Christ who died for these moments and asked me to let them go so I can live, I am finding it easier by saying, “Jesus, take this moment from me. Help me to love with Your love and remember this moment no more. Thank you for the grace you freely give that I don’t deserve. Help me to continue to give it to those who hurt me.” Does it take away the wound? No, it leaves a scar. Does it remove the memory? No, sometimes seeing the repeat offender makes the memory more vivid. But I have to continually give the hurt to Jesus. He has helped me heal and look at my scars lovingly. In the palms of His hand are the scars I’ve given to Him that He didn’t deserve either.

With time, comes healing, and with Jesus, the freedom to not stay in bondage to bitterness, but to free ourselves to love those who hate us, and to show our children how to be overcomers. All of the children have pain we can’t imagine, and loyalty issues we wish they could move past. We have to be mindful of that and allow time to work in their lives too. But I do know from Scripture that LOVE heals a multitude of sins.

When I let my guard down and began to treat the BM like another human being, even when she didn’t want to acknowledge my physical presence, I saw Jesus at work. Over a few months, she began to talk to me like a human being, and I kept praying for Jesus to soften her heart as well as mine. I believe in miracles because I see evidence of forgiveness everyday. My prayer for all of you is the same. Go to God and let go…continue to love the kids, and your hubby, and even your enemies. It changes you, and you can still live. The ex, if she wants to remain in the past, chooses bondage. You CAN be free!”

I proofread it and hit send.

And then I read it again.

And I read it once more.

And then I cried.

Happy tears for the growth in my heart and faith,

and sad tears for the moments I’ve given up to the BM that I couldn’t be a part of.

Happy tears for the girls who are loved regardless of their behavior toward me at times,

and sad tears for the bad moments I pray they forget.

Happy tears for the man who loves me and whispers words of encouragement and praise when he sees my growth,

and sad tears for his heartache at missing his girls at times.

The life of step-anything is hard, rough, rewarding.

I know when I was younger, I never thought, “I’ll grow up and become a stepmom.  I’d love to be name-called, made fun of, judged, slandered, alienated, pranked, stalked, brushed aside, etc.”

I wanted children of my own, a small version of Gracie who would love books like me, and show off wit to impress me and make me belly laugh, and have a heart of selflessness that would be evidence of Christ in her life.  My dream daughter would exhibit a love of working in the garage with her daddy, and run the mower for him, and tinker with electronics like he does.  She would love to write, and snuggle.

And I don’t have that.

At least from my own blood.

I have two girls who came prepackaged, with their own abilities, humor, mindsets, and gifts.

I had schematics and formulas for the child I was supposed to have, but God has been changing my heart to show me what He did give me.

The booklover I wanted happens to be BOTH of my stepdaughters.  They are relentless readers who escape for hours with huge books.  Their memory retention blows my mind.  And I’m amazed at their lack of having to study.

The wit I throw around at family gatherings happens to also be in both of my stepdaughters.  The youngest is always pushing the envelope to get me to laugh (and she succeeds) and I love to return the favor.  When she throws her head back and silently smiles, it makes my heart beam.  And it’s even better when she emits sound!  That really makes me happy!

Selflessness is coming…I can see it. 😉  Kids and these darned electronics…

Our youngest does work in the garage with her father, is mesmerized by helping him take things apart and put them together.  She’s never been afraid to make sure that things work and if they don’t, she wants to know why.

The writer is our oldest.  For Christmas, I got her a real leather-bound journal with fresh, paper.  If she gets it wet, it’s TOAST!  It even has a really cool emblem on the front, like it’s from the Hobbit or something… 😉  Since I’ve known her, she’s had notebooks, diaries, journals and paper somewhere on her person.  I don’t know what she writes, or about what, but just cultivating that practice is healthy.

Snuggling…well, I’m settling for sidehugs and leg pats.  Both girls have an issue with personal space, so I respect that.  My nieces fill my love tank with their hugs, “I love yous” and lap-sittings.  And my husband is an incredible snuggler.  Even at night, when he’s dead asleep, he still reaches for me.

I am also entranced by what they are capable of.  The youngest loves tennis and finished her varsity tennis career this Senior year.  I’ve sat through almost every match, watching her do her best, and watching her get upset with herself when she blew it.  The oldest is in school for nursing, and where she lacked motivation in her high school senior year, she now prioritizes things for her classes, meets deadlines and even changed schools to get the program done faster.

So, in a way, I do have what I’ve prayed for.  Either through osmosis, or through the power of God and what He is able to do, or both, these kids have somehow embodied the essence of me, and I am content.

Two amazing young women who challenge me every day
Two amazing young women who challenge me every day

Could there truly be light at the end of the tunnel?  Or maybe better yet, instead of looking to the end, I should enjoy the journey itself.

When I said this life is rewarding above, I meant that it is truly rewarding.

I dish out time and money like crazy, but I would have done the same with my own children.  I can’t imagine missing something that is important to them, because I know it matters to them, and it matters to me.  And it makes me feel extra special when they ask me to be a part of something.  I easily would slip into the shadows, but they don’t make that happen.

Time has healed, and is still healing.  Forgiveness is a practice that must be utilized daily.  Assumptions have to go out the window.  Judgment has to take a backseat.  Humility is forefront.  And Christ MUST BE the head.  The enemy would love nothing more than to keep us hating and playing games.  But I refuse.  We have lives to live, and so do the kids.  And honestly, I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Posted in Faith

A call to dig deeper

Recently I’ve been tasked with the charge of getting women in my church to dig deeper into the Bible.

Wait, is that crazy?

First of all, they’re already going to church, so that should be enough, right?  They’re getting a dose of Scripture consistently every Sunday.  How could they have a need to dig deeper?  Don’t people at church know how busy they are?

I’ll admit, I have this dream that my fellow Christian sisters are waking up in the morning, getting a hot cup of coffee, grabbing their Bible and their favorite devotional/journal and settling in on a couch or in a warm chair to have quiet time with the Lord.

And then the balloon pops and I sink back down to reality…not every woman is afforded that private time.

Some women have a set time they like to meet with God, others worship/pray/interact with Him on the morning commute, and others are woken up before the sun rises by little feet and these women aren’t able to get a cup of coffee until almost noon!  (And yes, you may substitute any other hot beverage into my dream, I’m not opposed.)

Hence, why I need to figure out ways of helping women to meet with God on a regular basis.  I have a desire to help them so that their souls can be filled, their days aligned with His will and their hearts ready for obedience.  And let’s be honest, whether or not we have a ritualistic quiet time every morning, or we read a week’s worth of OUR DAILY BREAD, the first step is recognizing a need to stop the rush of the world to hear Him through His Word.

https://secure.rbc.org/odb/signup/
https://secure.rbc.org/odb/signup/

To get personal for a second, I truly realized just this year that my prayer time needs to be more consistent.  I was very good at rushing into the day and doing what I thought was right, and many times I failed because I hadn’t spent time speaking with the Lord, waiting for His response, or reading His truths.  That kind of disconnection is unacceptable as a believer.  Truly.  Paul says we are runners in a race and as runners, we have to train.  The more we train, the easier it gets. But we can be spiritually out of shape.  That lack of connection to God should push us to desire Him more.  That sensing of the Holy Spirit that guides our steps should be missed when we aren’t hearing Him.

As a quick sidebar, I have often thought about the ways that God chooses to interact with us.  At the onset of Creation, the Bible explains that God was present, He walked with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and was verbally relational (see Genesis chapters two and three).  Throughout the many MANY years since the beginning of Creation, God has continued to be present.   After the Fall, He manifested in different ways (burning bush, cloud of fire, thunder, lightning, etc.) but never forsook humans. Even before Jesus came, God resided in the Temple.  The Messiah, Jesus, came and was God in human flesh. When Jesus left after His atonement work was finished, He promised to give us a Comforter, to empower us so that we could do God’s work and never be alone.

Vector dove

The reason I digress, is that the Holy Spirit and the Word of God are the two main ways that we interact with our Father today.  We have direct access to God because of Jesus’ work on the cross.  Once we become a believer, we are able to pray directly to the Lord (Jesus is the ONLY INTERCESSOR necessary) and wait for His response.  And what a gift!  To be able to present our unworthy selves before Him for all requests (Philippians 4:6) and instead of seeing our sin, He sees His Son.

When hoping to help others seek the Lord, I have to admit, prayer for each lady has become essential.  It’s not up to any human, really, to get another human to WANT to seek God.  The Holy Spirit draws us to Him and we obey that call.  My desire, of course, is to want these women to meet regularly when we have women’s group during the week, spend time throughout the week when we’re apart meditating on what we’ve learned, and have their own private time so that God can reveal to them through the Holy Spirit what it is that He wants them to know/do.

I hope to present classes that push the envelope a little, make them question things, give them a desire to go home and study more for themselves, research and come to their own conclusions for when the groups meet again.  That would be idyllic.  However, I know every woman I’ve met who comes to our meetings has a different agenda for the evening.  There are some women who just come to check it off of their list for the week, some who say they get nothing out of it (??), and some who honestly love what they’re learning.  The truth is that each woman will get out of the studies what they choose to put into them.  And the other point is that I can’t wear that kind of responsibility.  As a leader for teaching, I have a heart to get everyone excited.  I can talk about books that have touched my heart and boosted my faith, but I cannot guarantee the same response in every woman.

Each believer is responsible for their own walk with God: their hearing of the Holy Spirit, their obedience with His requests, their intention on the nights we meet, that is all up to them.  I firmly believe in being attentive to fellow believers so that if they are feeling discouraged, we can assist and come alongside to lift them up.  But by all means, I can’t make any woman want to go deeper if they don’t have the desire themselves.  I can pray with them if they feel like they are unable to move forward, but even the next step in that will come from the Holy Spirit for them.

Regarding these women, I feel as if I can listen to their needs, I can try to find materials that match, and tend to newcomers who don’t have years of Bible-reading under their belt.

A common misconception, in my opinion, is that people who go to church have full knowledge of the Bible.

Psst…want to know a secret?  I’ve never read the Bible all the way through.

ashamed

I know…please don’t turn me in.  What would the other church people think!? 😉

I know it’s crazy, but God uses broken people to touch the lives of other broken people.  There’s no theological Master’s degree requirement to lead a bible study (thank God, or it’s back to blogging with me). I would stress, however, that a heart that is open to God is essential, and a woman who loves other women are qualities in fellow leaders that I desire to have on my team.  Aside from that, I am admitting that I’m stumped when it comes to answering how to get them to dig deeper.  I know what works for me.  I love spending time with God and being quiet.  I can speculate other ideas, but unless I get a green light, I’m limited.

Since I was a little girl, I knew that I had a purpose.  Not strictly a godly purpose as I wasn’t sure of my faith until my teens.  But I knew I was made for something.  I can’t explain how exactly, but that feeling has never left me.  The one time it was challenged was during my divorce, but I never lost the feeling that my words would benefit someone else.  I don’t know if that has happened already, or if God has something planned that is much bigger, but I take the time each time I write to ask for His guidance first.  And the same is true of stepping into a role that I was asked to do.

I’m sure that the weight of any church volunteer is heavy.  When it comes to women’s ministry, I have to remember dynamics.  Each woman has a need to connect, engage and learn.  I’m learning more and more that we all think so differently and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.  But the goal of a church isn’t to lose people during the trial/error process.  We want to offer what works and what helps women to grow.

So I beg of you: Have any of you out there been a leader for bible studies?  Or a teacher/facilitator for ministry offerings? What were some things that your women were impressed with, or grew from, or asked for more of?  I have some amazing ideas, but found out that I’m very restricted in what I have chosen to do, and before my heartache grows further, I would love some extra insight.

I appreciate any and all responses.  Thanks from the bottom of my heart!

Posted in Faith

James 5:13…where do we turn?

“Is anyone among you in trouble?  Let them pray.”  James 5:13 gives a simple command to turn to the Lord in prayer.  It doesn’t specify whether you have to be a believer or unbeliever.  It doesn’t count you out if you’ve crossed the invisible dotted line on the naughty list.  It doesn’t say that we have to pray elaborate, lengthy, breathy prayers.  It just says to PRAY.

I’d like to share with you a message on this passage from my church in Elyria, Ohio, (I attend at the Avon Lake satellite campus).  A simple passage of Scripture with a rich truth provided by Pastor Jim on where to go.  Please take the time to watch and see what God can do with you, and you’ll also see what the Lord has done in my life since 2006.  Be blessed in Christ!

http://opendoor.tv/sermons/trouble-comes/

Thank you.

Posted in Faith

In the wait… and other ramblings

Change.

What type of emotion does that word evoke in you when you read it?

I know many of us can read that word and feel a sense of hope if we are looking for a way out of a particular job, situation or life event.

Or we may feel the opposite.

What if we are content where we are? Then out of nowhere, a boss, spouse or friend uses this word in a discussion and we know there will be some effort on our part to adapt.

Deep breath…

Many times in my life, I can say I’ve felt the effects, both positive and negative, of that word.  Some of the changes in my life were brought on by something I decided to do on my own, and others were done as a result of prayer or wise counsel that led me to take a step.  The reason I bring it up is that I am in a season with the Lord where I am waiting on Him. I’ve been spending much time in prayer about something, and where I’m hopeful and expecting a change, I’m afraid He may ask me to stay where I am.

Have you ever felt that way?  Does your prayer life ebb and flow?

What does that say about our spiritual lives?  We say we are willing to follow Jesus and put our trust in Him, but if He decides to change our circumstances, life situations, physical living locations, etc., are we willing to obey?

I’m a woman.  Being told to wait usually doesn’t sit well with me.  In my assessment of where I’m at, I’ve pretty much figured out all of the details on my next step, if He would just hurry up and approve my decisions already…

Ah, but you know where I’m going with this, don’t you?

If you know me personally, you know that I took a step of faith in a direction for school, only to have the Lord lovingly rebuke me in February of this year, tell me to withdraw and focus on my family.  I had rushed through a prayer time with Him and taken what I thought was a clear step for me, and in retrospect, it was covered with red flags relationally with my husband.  Where I wanted to excel (my GPA was right where I wanted it, my grades were significantly high, the material easy to understand, the schedule overwhelming, but all students have problems with that, right?), God wanted me to sloooooooooooow down.  This relationship with Him is sure breaking down who I was…

Do you want to know the truth?  

The deepest part of me wants to be told to slow down.

I know that when I get so focused on something, it’s easy to push everyone away and just DO IT.

I don’t need anyone, and I’VE. GOT. THIS. becomes my mantra.

But there’s something that has happened in the last eight years.  I have realized many things about myself that I believe all women need to understand.  Face it, though we are all uniquely created in the image of God, we struggle with the same things when it comes to value.  Trust me, we could talk for hours about our issues, and we would all come up with the same answer: WE ARE BROKEN AND IN NEED OF SOMEONE TO RESCUE US.

Remember as a child, when you got into trouble, and were told to go to your room or were placed in a corner for a timeout?  Some days, I wish someone would tell me to go take a nap and come back when I feel better.  As adults, we are deprived of such direction.  We are over the age of twenty-0ne, so we should know how to do these things by ourselves, yet we just keep adding to the schedule and figure at some point over the weekend, we’ll end up in blankets on the couch watching reruns of Person of Interest instead of looking at the clock and realizing Monday morning is just hours away and the cycle of waiting begins again.

If you’re like me, I’d like to give you some hope.

During this season with the Lord, I have read sections of the Bible I’ve never even thought to look at.  I’ve had verses come to mind that I learned years ago that have carried me through.  The Holy Spirit has brought peace into otherwise anxious situations, all because He can and because I’m learning to trust Him with those times.  I’ve seen miracle after miracle in my reactions to those who have previously hurt me and I am thankful.  I can forgive, love and move on without hesitation.  I have grace as my first response, which is so unlike me, and it just confirms that God is at work in my life.

And do you want to know something cool?  The Bible says that this is considered holiness.

1 Peter 1:13-16 shares the following truth, “Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.'”  He is speaking to believers.  This passage is PACKED with hope and newness for us.  What does this mean?

It means that while we are in our human physical form, after we accept Christ, we are given the Holy Spirit who helps to transform us into the likeness of Jesus.  I want to be clear.  We aren’t perfect as believers.  We aren’t above anyone.  We will never be.  Jesus actually expects us to put others first ALL OF THE TIME.  And if you struggle with selfishness, take that to God in prayer.  He may be requiring you to repent and surrender that part of yourself.

When you became a believer, you were changed from death to life, not a bad person to a good person.  The work of the Holy Spirit is something the Lord does for us as we surrender.  But before I get off on a tangent, being holy means that we begin to manifest Christlike attributes that are contrary to our human nature.  They are supernatural and can be seen by everyone, believer and unbeliever alike.  God wanted us to be different so that those who are lost can see the difference and desire to know more.  This is not done by picketing events we’ve judged, or ranting on social media when someone who is lost ACTS like a lost person…we are to love as Christ loved.  See Matthew 22:36-40 where Jesus commands us to love God first and others as we love ourselves.

I’m still not looking forward to staying put right now, but I have seen Christ in action in my life, and want to continue to walk in His holiness as I learn how to be more like Christ.  I know that He must be preparing me for something I’m not ready for yet, and He still has work to do.  The knowledge that He has my best interest at heart is reassuring.  But it also means that since I’ve agreed to follow Jesus, the plans I have laid out for myself, may have NOTHING to do with God’s will for my life.  So I have to be obedient and continue to trust in the wait.  Many other people throughout God’s Word were told to wait and also benefited from having a deeper relationship with Him as a result.

Do I have hopes and dreams and desires that I know would benefit the Kingdom of God?  YOU BETCHA…but I also don’t want to supersede His will like I’ve done in the past.  I want to continue to trust His will and surrender the part of me that is following my womanhood.  I know He knows the outcome of my life, and I am willing to wait.