I Am Free!

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I feel like a whole new person. Like I’m me again. I’ve let what’s happened in my life totally derail me. I let doubt get in my head and destroy my confidence, my belief in myself. And I did that. I let that happen.

I needed to stand up for myself, I needed to be clear that life has thrown me a curve ball, but I’m going to move forward. I needed to have the confidence to say, “Nobody is perfect. I’m not perfect. And I’ve been down.”

I needed to know that I have the freedom to speak. The freedom to make mistakes. The freedom to hurt and not cover it up with a smile. I needed the freedom to grieve, but find true happiness in my grief.

And I am really happy. I’m free. I’ve spent my whole life trying to get away, to live without fear, and I did it.

And I feel…right. Like I’m back on the path I’m supposed to be on. Life threw me into a viscous cycle of doubt and heartache. I always want to know that I’ve given everything my all. I don’t want to live with regret. But my fear and doubt was eating me alive. Leaving me to question myself.

But I don’t doubt myself anymore. I still struggle with heartache, but I can be confident in God. And I’m free. I don’t have to silence myself anymore. I don’t have to hide. To live in fear.

I’m free to be myself. I’m free to be the person I’ve been trying to be. Life feels good again. I’m hopeful again. And I’m comfortable.

The Lord is good. He has heard me and He is guiding me out of my pain and suffering. And this makes me glad. This makes me joyous. Praise the Lord! I am free!

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The Lord Is My Rock

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I don’t feel weak anymore. I don’t feel lonely anymore. I don’t feel helpless anymore. I am strong and the Lord is on my side. He sees my heartache, he sees the injustice I’ve been shown, and He knows my heart.

My God is great and powerful. He is always faithful and has never left my side. I know His presence and I know His favor. God has blessed us and He will continue to do so.

Storms will come, tragedy will strike, but my Lord is always faithful. He is always good. He is always just. And He will always stand by my side.

In Him I have no fear. In Him I am confident. In Him I am strong. Life may try and derail me, friends may betray me, and I may suffer, but my heart belongs to God. I will serve Him for eternity and do so with a glad and joyous heart. Nothing and no one can come between the love I have for my Lord or the love He has for me.

2 Samuel 22: 2-7, 18-37, 47-50

2-7

The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my savior;
     my God is my rock, in whom I find protection.
He is my shield, the power that saves me,
and my place of safety.
He is my refuge, my savior,
the one who saves me from violence.
 I called on the Lord, who is worthy of praise,
and he saved me from my enemies.

 The waves of death overwhelmed me;
floods of destruction swept over me.
 The grave wrapped its ropes around me;
death laid a trap in my path.
But in my distress I cried out to the Lord;
yes, I cried to my God for help.
He heard me from his sanctuary;
my cry reached his ears.

17-37

He reached down from heaven and rescued me;
he drew me out of deep waters.
 He rescued me from my powerful enemies,
from those who hated me and were too strong for me.
 They attacked me at a moment when I was in distress,
but the Lord supported me.
 He led me to a place of safety;
he rescued me because he delights in me.
 The Lord rewarded me for doing right;
he restored me because of my innocence.
 For I have kept the ways of the Lord;
I have not turned from my God to follow evil.
 I have followed all his regulations;
I have never abandoned his decrees.
 I am blameless before God;
I have kept myself from sin.
 The Lord rewarded me for doing right.
He has seen my innocence.
To the faithful you show yourself faithful;
to those with integrity you show integrity.
 To the pure you show yourself pure,
but to the crooked you show yourself shrewd.
 You rescue the humble,
but your eyes watch the proud and humiliate them.
 O Lord, you are my lamp.
The Lord lights up my darkness.
 In your strength I can crush an army;
with my God I can scale any wall.

God’s way is perfect.
All the Lord’s promises prove true.
He is a shield for all who look to him for protection.
For who is God except the Lord?
Who but our God is a solid rock?
God is my strong fortress,
and he makes my way perfect.
 He makes me as surefooted as a deer,
enabling me to stand on mountain heights.
 He trains my hands for battle;
he strengthens my arm to draw a bronze bow.
 You have given me your shield of victory;
your help has made me great.
You have made a wide path for my feet
to keep them from slipping.

47-50

The Lord lives! Praise to my Rock!
May God, the Rock of my salvation, be exalted!
 He is the God who pays back those who harm me;
he brings down the nations under me
and delivers me from my enemies.
You hold me safe beyond the reach of my enemies;
you save me from violent opponents.
 For this, O Lord, I will praise you among the nations;
I will sing praises to your name.

Do Not Fear!

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I don’t always talk about the Holy Spirit. It’s kind of one of those topics that we all kind of avoid. It’s spiritual, it’s not a science, and experiencing the Spirit isn’t something everyone is open to.

For those that aren’t familiar with the Holy Spirit, it is: 1 John 2:20, 2 Corinthians 1:21-22, Mark 13:11, John 14:17, Acts 1:8, Acts 2:38, Acts 10:44, Acts 13:52, Romans 5:5, Romans 8:5, Romans 8:26, Romans 9:1, Romans 15:13, 1 Corinthians 2:4, 1 Corinthians 6:19, 2 Corinthians 6:6, Galatians 3:2, Galatians 5:22

There have been times in my life when I have clearly felt the Spirit, His will, and His guidance. One example of this was the all consuming faith and peace I felt when Brielle was born.

I felt Him again this past week and weekend. My heart, my spirit felt like it was on fire, and I felt His anger. I felt a power, a force I cannot describe. He has watched me suffer, He has seen my pain, and He knows my innocence and I felt His anger. I have suffered long enough and it’s time to fight.

But I doubted my feelings. I doubted what I felt as real. And then we went church. Dr. Cooper took the stage, and I saw that he too, was on fire. He preached against those who try to intimidate us, who try to derail us from our path in life. He spoke against those who speak with hate against the children of God, and he spoke of how God is with us and He will fight for us. With Him our Goliath will be destroyed. That we must stand firm in Him, confident in God.

And I felt it. I felt the Spirit, the fire, the rage of the Lord. I was too tired, too weak to even stand, but I felt Him. And I knew, it’s time to fight. The Lord is on my side, He is my strength, and He has had enough.

David and I got in the car and he turned to me, with a huge smile on his face, “Can you believe that sermon this morning!? I haven’t seen Dr. Cooper that fired up in a long time. God is fighting for you. He’s fighting for us. Don’t doubt yourself, God gave you this message, He is on our side.”

That night, I felt prompted to write a post, and I flipped to my Bible for a verse, praying God would guide me to the scripture I needed, and I was amazed. I was comforted. God is great and powerful. He is faithful.

My Bible later opened to Exodus, it just, fell open. I turned my attention away for a moment and when I looked back, my Bible had changed pages to Exodus. Which was a bit of a jump. I almost didn’t read it either, but so many things had happened that day, that I thought I should read. I’m glad I did. I read the story of Moses and the plagues of Egypt. And this verse jumped out at me.

Exodus 14:14

“…Do not fear! Stand by and see the salvation of the LORD which He will accomplish for you today;…”

You can see Dr. Cooper’s message here. It will be available until June 26, 2016 give or take a day. And then, I think, it will be available here.

I highly recommend his Valleys series and Get Well Soon series. The Valleys series is about going through life’s hard times. And Get Well Soon is about the importance of a healthy lifestyle and faith.

Encouragement In The Little Things

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Found this written on a scrap piece of paper in Bernice’s things:

“Mercy withholds what we deserve. Grace gives us what we don’t deserve.”

I needed this little pick me up. Funny how God can use the little things to encourage us. I’m sure Bernice never could have imagined a quick note she wrote years ago, would be encouraging to me during one of the hardest seasons of my life.

Life may be pouring hard on David and I, but we can trust that God is continuously merciful. And He is incredibly gracious. And sometimes that’s all I can cling to, God is good.

God is Good, All The Time

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My hero!

God is always looking out for us. This afternoon, I took Emmy and Rosie out back. Because of Emmy’s broken paw, David or I have been going out with them to keep an eye on her.

I was busy looking at the trees, when I heard Emmy digging and burrowing her face into a hole in the ground.

I kept yelling at her to stop, but she wouldn’t let up. So I walked over and she moved away. I decided, since, I was over there that I should take a look and see what was bothering her. I imagined it was most likely a lizard or chipmunk. Instead, staring back at me was a snake with a head the size of a large egg. It’s eye alone was the size of a dime.

I walked away and thought, maybe I’m just seeing things, I do have bad eyes. Maybe it’s some giant breed of chipmunk or something (I know, I’m ridiculous). I walked back over, no it’s shiny. Mammals aren’t shiny. I’d walk away, and walk back again. It never moved, never blinked.

“Maybe it’s dead,” I thought. I walked back again, nope, it moved deeper into the hole. I called the girls inside and called David. David, of course, wanted to call animal control, but I was thinking its probably nothing. Again, maybe I’m just seeing things.

David called an animal removal service. The guy came. He looked around, pulled out the leaves from the hole, poked into the tree base (where the hole was), and said, “It’s in the tree.”

I stepped back, “It’s in the tree? It’s nest is in the tree?”

“Oh yeah. Great place for her.”

Her? I immediately began to think about baby snakes all over my yard.

“So, it is a snake?”

He nodded, “Definitely.” He then began to ask me questions about what it looked like. I’d only seen the side of it’s head, so my description wasn’t great.

“Did it have a cat eye?”

“Yes,” there was no hesitation there. That was my first clue that it was a snake to begin with.

“Okay, you have a copperhead.” I took another step back from the tree.

“Great, are there more in the yard then?”

“Most likely.”

He laid out the options for me, and I chose the get the snakes out of my yard option.

I’d planned on finishing the raised garden beds today. I’d planned on raking the leaves today. Not anymore. It’s crazy how life works and how God looks after us.

If Emmy hadn’t broken her paw, I wouldn’t have been out there to see the snake. If Emmy hadn’t seen the snake and tried to kill it, I would have continued to work in my yard with a bunch of venomous snakes.

And the most amazing part of all this is that the snake never tried to hurt Emmy. It never bit her or came after me. And Emmy was openly antagonizing the copperhead. God is good. He is really, really good. Awesome, He’s totally awesome.