Unwavering Part 1

Blog- Unwavering (1)

When I was a small child, I had a teacher write on my report card; “She is like a butterfly, flitting from flower to flower.”
For years, I looked at that as a positive, seeing a beautiful butterfly gracing everything with her presence as she touched her soft wings to it.

I laugh at this memory as I still dance around with my head in the clouds and a song in my heart.

However, self-evaluation recently allowed me to see myself with a teacher’s eyes.
She was saying in a polite way, ” I wish your child would land and complete her tasks before moving on to the next.”

There are times, I jump on my dream entirely too early. Then I get discouraged and I move on to something else. This is something I have known about myself always. I dream it way before it is time.

There is a treasure in knowing when you do not see fruit because you are planting on unhealthy soil and when your fruit just hasn’t bloomed yet.

I have sat alone in an empty building wanting to share my heart for joy in the mess, to other ladies and week after week for six weeks nobody came, my heart was broken so I gave up working in women’s ministry, even though that holds a huge part of my heart.
God will put a dream in my heart and I will jump on it, without preparing myself for the fact that it may look completely different than what I am believing for.

Out of insecurities and preservation, I move on. When I see no fruit with my own eyes, I give up.

But what if I had waited one more week, maybe someone that needed to hear how to ease anxiety and obtain joy would have walked through those doors.
Or perhaps, just by being willing and diligent I would have unlocked something new in the journey I had yet to see.

I have been writing this blog for some time, this is the most diligent work I have ever practiced in my life ( besides worship team), this is the only time I have remained unwavering. Yet, I was ready to pull the plug recently. I feel my ministry within this blog is non-existent as I can’t see it, and I ask the Lord, “Why do I continue this work if I don’t get anywhere?”

The Lord gently reminded me, “this blog is for you, and the work I am doing in you that is not complete. Keep being faithful, remain unwavering with this one.”

God has made promises to me. If you are listening he has promises for you. He has called us to remain faithful. Keep pursuing, keep hoping, be unwavering in your pursuit.

What dreams do you need to pursue and hold tightly to?
Even if it does not look like we expect, If He has called you to it, He is faithful to make sure you reap your harvest!

His faithfulness is unwavering. He knows the plans, the purposes and if He has placed a work for you in your heart, keep at it, don’t let the DREAMS flitter away.

 

 

Joy Despite the Pain is Not Denial but a Necessity!​

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Joy despite the pain is not denial but a necessity. These are the words the Lord spoke to me days after the darkest, lowest point in my life.
Let me back up just a bit, before that revealing moment.
In 2010 I had been through the darkest valley I had ever known. I was a church-going, woman of God, that loved my family, loved my husband, loved my kids and my friends and all of a sudden, it wasn’t enough. I won’t go into the details that lead to this valley at this time. Just that I was in one.
In this valley of death, I was ready to end my life. I began to cut people away from me. I didn’t see it at first. In the beginning, it was because someone wronged me, and chop, they were out of my life. Then it was someone wasn’t around for me the way I needed them, and chop, they were out of my life.  Then it became a chopping block for no other reason than I was done with people. I wanted to hide away. I wanted to end all my physical pain that was blinding and no end in sight. I felt worthless, I felt hindering to others, unwanted (because I didn’t want myself) and unloved (because I could not love myself). I only saw my lack and hated myself for it. I truly hated me and the mess I was in.

The baffling thing is, on the outside, I seemed to have it all together. I was strong, I was faithful, I was serving, I was blessed… BUT
Suicide and major depression are not spoken of in the church very often or perhaps even not at all. Women are going to church Sunday mornings with a smile on their face, all the while dying inside. They feel guilty for dying inside, they feel weak and unworthy for feeling this weight they can’t explain.
Some will keep that mask on their face until, like me at that moment, they are ready to end it all.

I was sobbing in the bathtub, I had been told some very negative things by doctors, ” you have to live this way, the pain will not kill you, you don’t want to get better if you won’t try XYZ,”  lets forget I had tried A-W and was exhausted and broke. I was blinded by the opiates they had put me on for the pain and I was just done. I had it planned. Submerge in the tub inhale deeply and end it. My husband knowing something was off, sat on the other side of the bathroom door, banging on it begging for me to let him in.
I stopped crying answered in a very calm voice, ” I am fine, I just need some time.” He stood on the other side, quiet.

At this moment, I was not thinking of my worth, I was not thinking that my family needed me, my family loved me, all I could think was to end the pain both physically and emotionally. I dreamed of the feeling of nothing.

With a final heart plea, I said, “God you promised me joy, where is it.”

It was THE most defining moment in my life. He answered my spirit and said, ” you have joy, you just need to find it.”

My despair cleared and for the first time in 10 months, I had hope stirring in me. I had no idea the journey I would embark on, but that moment with my savior, truly saved my life.

In this process, Writing for Joy was created. I still hurt, I still was broken, I still had limits to my abilities, but as I sought God on what was robbing my joy, each day a bit more joy filled the holes of empty in my heart. One day while still walking in physical pain, but feeling joy again in my heart, I heard God speak clearly to me, ” Joy despite the pain, is not denial but a necessity.” This became my new mantra in life. I was still waiting for physical healing but in the meantime, I was learning my circumstances did not have to dictate my joy.

You see I needed this joy to survive. It did not matter that I was walking and have been walking for years in pain, the Joy is still mine. Through this process, God taught me how to regain it and obtain it.

I still have days the darkness tries to come in. But He gently reminds me, that Joy is my gift, waiting fresh each morning.

Now there is action that I take, to obtain and maintain my joy.

I have a feeling, that this blog and all these years of learning after the brokenness will be my beauty from ashes moment.

I will begin to write my new book: Joy Despite the Pain is not Denial but a Necessity

My heart is to speak into the heart of others, that have been hiding behind the mask, walking in the ‘normal’ every day while dying inside little by little. Not because they want to hide, but because perhaps they don’t even realize they are. Or maybe, just maybe, they don’t realize that they are not the only ones.

This scripture above in my heading is so relevant to me, as in the darkest season I had been bedridden in pain, He says to me RISE UP and I will speak to you and He has been so faithful both physically and spiritually. So I RISE UP and no longer walk in shame of where I was, but in JOY that I can use my story, to touch the lives of others that may be blinded in the pain at the moment.

Remember!! Joy despite the pain is not denial but a necessity.

 

Hope

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Romans 15:13- May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

How do I hope when I am surrounded on all sides? When the darkness comes in and clouds my mind. I am tempted to succumb to my weakness and lack rather than rising in His strength. How do I overcome? It is not by might, but by His spirit. It is connecting to Him in Spirit by praise and worship. It is in surrender, for in losing my old self, He clothes me with new life. And so…

When HOPE and EXPECTATION rise in my spirit fear, anger, hurt, insecurity and all forms of darkness are shaken out of my sites. Joy and peace become my covering.
Trusting in the Lord is the key to my hope.

I will sing of His wondrous love that saved me from my self.
I will rejoice in His overwhelming grace that covers all my shortcomings.
I praise Him in the morning, His mercies are new each day.
I take my eyes off of my moment and look to my helper, my comfort, my strength.
My moment will pass, but He is ever constant, faithful with every breath I take.
A keeper of promises.
A healer of disease.
Mighty fortress in times of trouble.
Provider for my needs.
The Hope will rise and overflow from my soul.
For the God of all Hope has said it will be so.

With Everything~ Worship song for my day

 

 

Obtain the Promise Land

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Lately, I have been feeling in my spirit over and over, the promise land. Obtain your promise land. I ask the Lord, what is my promised land, and just how do I obtain it? At the moment, I feel my promise land is my healing. 

For some time I have been wandering in the wilderness like Moses. I have been crying out for what the Lord has promised is mine, but for some reason, my healing hasn’t been instant and miraculous, as I have seen with my own eyes, happen for others. I only saw their moment, however, I didn’t see their journey. The process of faith and obedience that has taken root in their lives, or the lives of the ones praying over them. I didn’t see how they obtained their promised land, just that they had.

So I have been like the Israelites, wandering around and having no clue at what my disobedience and whining have done. Complaining where there are victories, forgetting to hold on to them in the midst of the trial.  Each time a new trial would arise I would deflate and lose hope, not looking at the fact that I was obtaining a piece of the puzzle to my full healing. I know the Lord can do the quick and instant, but He has me walking a different plan for His purpose and I need to trust in His work no matter how I see it working out.
As I was praying, and meditating on the things the Lord was showing me,  I saw clearly that Joshua ready to obtain the Promise Land was given divine instruction by the Lord. An instruction that would seem absurd to obtaining a land being held by an army behind a great wall. But by following those directions, by obeying the Father, and walking in Faith what God has placed within, Joshua and his limited (by our standards) army, obtained the promise land in the miraculous.
Study Joshua Chapter 6 to see how he obtained the promise land.

I was shown, that it was out of the following of instruction, the Lord was able to give Joshua the Land. If Joshua would not have acted, if He would have grumbled or complained or sat on his heels, they would not have obtained the promise. The people would have continued to flounder in the wilderness until someone ready to obey would rise up.

I find it funny this revelation came to me before my instructions came to healing. I recently found out all my dizziness is a result of a disconnect of my eyes and my vestibular system. I found out that there is work to do, ocular therapy and a lot of it. Commitment, time and even some discomfort will be my instructions. I will obtain my promise, but I must first follow the instructions. God can do the miraculous, He could have given the land over to the Israelites with no effort, but He didn’t. He instructs us to hear His voice. He instructs us to walk in obedience. He wants us to trust in Him. To not lean on our own understanding but to walk out what He has for us to do.
Some of the therapy seems silly and I ask, how will this really work. But if I sat and did nothing, didn’t even try, I would never get better. If I hadn’t known what was wrong, I wouldn’t know how to get help. The Lord lets us walk through things in our physical life so that we can see the link and process in our spiritual life and the work He would have us do for the Kingdom. This is my training ground! To follow instruction and see it through to completion.

 How many times have you had your promise in your grasp but you let go before you saw the fruition of it? I know I have too many times. I ask God, “why not me?” And feel He answers, “have you obeyed being faithful to follow through?”
I have to be honest, so often I let go before I see the harvest.

Perhaps you are feeling inadequate as I do, but I see time and time again in others, He uses the unqualified, He can use me too! He can take me beyond my ability. I need to not lean on my own understanding. To trust in Him and submit. He will make the path straight. I say YES Lord, I will obtain the promise Land!


Again and Again

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Recently I was in the waves of depression or grief I am not sure exactly which, but I was getting to where I  wanted to just isolate myself on most days.

I had lost my dad a year ago and my health struggles of the last few years hit another all-time high with no explanations, leading to walking away from my job I loved. Coming to grips with all the loss, I was truly trying to keep my head above water.

I had this heavy blanket over my mind often since childhood. When I was at Bethel Worship Music School this year, so much was revealed to me and was broken off of me.
I have been healed of the suicidal depression years ago. Jesus rescued me before. But this release was generational. This release will take deep roots in my family. God has brought me to a place of Joy that I had not felt since I was under 8 years old.

There with my heart open saying, God, why has this returned?  He said, “I will do it again. You want your release, here you go. I will do it again. I will meet you at every stage and every time. I will do it again! Don’t focus on the why, you know the why. Focus on the victory because it is here. ”

I just broke with my love from Him. I was valued and given the gift of LIFE.
When I let myself remember the work He had done before and I let myself be loved by Him in new ways, deeper relationship, it is then that He rescued me.
My heart was lifted with the knowledge that He will rescue me again and again from every situation. I do not need to return to the old. That one has been done with.
Anything else arises, He will be in that too, ready to save.

The funny thing is this time that I was rescued, it was much swifter then years past.
The days of deep depression did not linger long, as I was able to recognize them and remember where my help comes from. The maker of heaven and earth, my creator, my savior, my friend, my JESUS. He did it before and He will rescue me again and again. From each struggle, from each battle. He will rescue me again and again.

I am human, I may open the door to the same battle, but He is so faithful to reach in and pull me out of it. He is also faithful to give me the tools to not go there anymore.

I was at church Sunday and just heard…SOUND THE ALARM.

When you are struggling in life, sound your alarm!
Call out to Him and He will be quick to answer you.
Right there with you in your walk no matter where you are at, He comes.

In our natural life, if you are looking at a fire, you are going to sound that fire alarm. You will not just sit and watch it consume everything in front of you, you are going to call a rescuer. When you are struggling in the Spirit, SOUND your alarm.

He will meet you again and again. Give the song a listen 😉 This one blesses my heart to pieces.

 

 

 

 

 

Fruit of the Spirit part 2:

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Part 2: The fruit is Rotting

The journey to writing about Spiritual Fruit, actually started because I knew I had produced fruit in my life at one point, but in the most recent season, I was not seeing the evidence. It was almost as if my Fruit of the Spirit was rotting away. 

Galatians 5: 22-23
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness, and self-control. Against such things, there is no law.

Reasons your Spiritual Fruit may be rotting.

  1. You are leaving your harvest behind in your walk. You may have the Fruit of the Spirit at the moment, but when life gets hard or the world is tempting you have let it go and become buried in the mess.
  2. You have not shared the harvest with others by connecting with a community. You must USE your fruits of the Spirit. We cannot hold on to our fruits of the Spirit for our own gain. Our gifts are to bless and impact the Kingdom. It is then that we will see more fruit production because God’s math multiplies a good thing!
  3. Distraction is a killer of the fruit of the Spirit. When we are consumed with the weight of this world or the busy craziness of life, we are not focused on our God. He is the producer of our fruit. If we are disconnected from Him our fruit will rot.

 

Let’s look at the fruit of the Spirit and see how it may look when rotting. Now mind you, I am not talking about a once in a while I messed up, but if I am constantly walking in the ‘mess’ I am going to have rotting fruit.

*LOVE: Love your neighbor as yourself, love your family, love your church, love the stranger and love your enemy well!

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

I already failed at this one today, as I was not very patient or kind with my own husband.  I was tired and moody and failed. I was not showing the fruit of the Spirit within me. Now he was gracious and the Lord gives us grace, but how much more love will the Lord bless in my heart when I can actively obey his call to LOVE and love well?

*JOY: A feeling of great happiness. A source or cause of delight.

Psalm 47:1- 
Clap your hands all you nations; Shout to God with cries of Joy.

When I was grumbling and complaining to my husband about what I perceived as an offense, I was not shouting for Joy. I was not walking in joy. How many of us grumble and complain from the moment we see someone until we depart?
If we are grumbling and complaining we are not showing the fruit of the spirit, Joy.  If we are spending more being critical than we are walking in Joy, we are going to be sitting on the rotten fruit of the Spirit.

* PEACE: It is impossible to walk in stress and anxiety at the same time as peace.  I may begin my morning in peace, and by the afternoon of facing the daily stress, I often have chosen to let peace fall to the ground and rot. I must WALK in peace.

Isaiah 26: 12- 
LORD, you establish peace for us; all that we have accomplished you have done for us.

God has established His peace for me, I do not need to pick the garbage back up. He has done it and I have to share it.

 

*FOREBEARANCEHolding back or self-restraint. Specifically, a refraining from the enforcement of a punishment; holding back judgment.

Matthew 5:38-42
“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.  And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well.  And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.  Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.

Oh how I have wanted to retaliate, throw the stones back that was smacking me in the face. Even though I didn’t, my heart was so ugly with the thought of revenge. My Forbearance was undeveloped for sure. I don’t even think that one had a chance to rot. But now that I am aware of what it is and how to walk in it, Lord will give me the strength to sow that seed with HIS grace.

*KINDNESS- Friendly, thoughtful and considerate. 

Luke 6:35- But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.

I think kindness is taking love into action by actually connecting. For myself, in the past, I could compare my kindness vs. others towards me and get disgruntled. But I must be kind to the ungrateful enemy as well as those that will sow back. I can’t expect anything in return, just sowing the kindness for the sake of being kind. Because the Lord has given me much, I must share much.

*GOODNESS- The quality of my character and conduct. For example; integrity, honesty, and uprightness.

Ephesians 4:29- Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

It is so easy to tear down what we see as flaws, but the Lord directs us to build up. Edify others with our speech and conduct. He has called us to be faithful and honest. In my name of ‘sickness’, I have not walked in goodness but in despair and my character showed it. I affected the atmosphere around me and truly was giving off an offensive rotten fruit.

* FAITHFULNESS- Faithful, constant, loyal imply qualities of stability, dependability, and devotion.

Matthew 5:7- When you make a promise, say only “Yes” or “No.” Anything else comes from the devil.

I am learning to take on less so that I can be faithful in my YES. There is nothing more frustrating to others in my life when I can not follow through. This area of study has me more thoughtful on what I am able to do.  

*GENTLENESS-  Walking in the tenderness of the Father. Choosing to use a soft word.

Proverbs 15:1- A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

So many times with my family I have been harsh and I have watched the anger stir up. I have also experienced the anger stirred up in myself from the harshness in others. At the same time, I have seen the hand of God move when I answer with a gentle and tender heart. Lord I am praying that my action of tenderness is my first and my fruit won’t fall from you and rot.

*SELF-CONTROL-   Controlling your emotions and desires or the expression of them in difficult situations. 

2 Timothy 1:7- For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid; but gives us power, love and self-discipline.

God has given me the tools I need to be self-controlled. When I blow up in my emotion of the moment, I have not glorified His work in me. I have not turned to the creator with my emotion. I have let my spirtitual fruit is rotting.

I am still a work in progress, and I know the Lord gives me grace in my seasons of mistakes, but I have made up my mind to not WALK in this state, but rather in HIS POWER.


Intentional Connection

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John 14:26-

The Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and make you remember all that I have told you. 

Let me start off with this thought… you can not theory your way into changing my heart of what I have experienced personally. You may not believe in the Holy Spirit in such a way, that is okay, but I have EXPERIENCED the Holy Spirit this way, and I will not be convinced otherwise.

The greatest gift is to be able to have an intentional connection with the Holy Spirit.

Where would my relationship be with my husband if I was walking through life, knowing he was there and hearing his voice from a closed door in another room but not have an intentional connection with him? I would be one with him, but not aware of him.
I can hear him trying to converse with me, but no clarity of what is being said. What kind of relationship would that be?

This is how we can walk through life with the Holy Spirit. When we are saved and baptized the Holy Spirit comes and dwells within us. He is our friend, our comforter and hopefully leads us in our walk as we let him. But there is a difference between the Holy Spirit being there and having an intentional connection with Him. He is our face to face encounter with the Father. Our opportunity to hear the Father’s heart towards us.

Just like my relationship with my husband (or anyone for that matter) the Holy Spirit needs and deserves intentional connection. He delights to hear from us. He delights to spend time with us. He delights to speak into our hearts.

So I am intentional, shutting off the noise around me and asking the Holy Spirit, what do you want to share with me today?  He has blown my mind with His goodness and love for me. He reminds me that I am loved and not forgotten. He reminds me of my purpose and call. He is every bit as intentional with me, as I am with Him.

So very thankful for the intentional connection with the Holy Spirit. To be able to say, Holy Spirit, I welcome You.