When Healing Doesn’t Come…

“I pray for your healing
That circumstances would change
I pray that the fear inside would flee
In Jesus name
I pray that a breakthrough would happen today
I pray miracles over your life. in Jesus name”

~ In Jesus Name (God of the Possible) by Katy Nichole

Have you heard this song before?

I keep hearing it everywhere and I want to be honest with you all… every time I listen to this song, I feel a little check in my spirit.  There is just something in it that doesn’t sit well with me and I’ve been trying to figure out what it is.

I think a huge part of it is the fact that this song is a direct prayer specifically for healing and good things from God.

Sometimes when we pray for healing, we can get so caught up in wanting the outcome and believing that healing is going to come that our whole world revolves around God bringing us that healing. But what if healing does not come. Because, I hate to break it to you, sometimes it doesn’t.

Yes, we do have a God who heals, we do have a God who does miracles.  But we also have a God who uses suffering and calls us to walk through hard trials simply for the purpose of His glory being shown in our weakness. And more often than not, the path of suffering is the path that God chooses for His children.

What if God is asking you to remain in your suffering for His good purposes.  When you pray desperately for healing and are not open to God’s answer being no, then, when God’s answer is no, it shatters you and brings you to a place of dissatisfaction with who God is.

Whoever you are reading this, as you listen to this song and send it to your friends and pray those words for healing over whatever situation you find yourself in, I simply want to call out to you to be careful.  Check your heart and come to God with a heart that is fully submitted to whatever outcome God deems best for your life.

Yes, pray for healing, but also pray that he will give you the strength to endure if the answer is no.  Don’t just pray for healing.  Pray also for God to be glorified even if healing doesn’t come.

Here is a thought for you; If God is going to be more glorified in our suffering, then may our prayer be that God will sustain us and help us to see Him in the midst of our pain.

As I end this post, I want to share one more thing. When I was reflecting on this song I decided to take the chorus and re-write it a way that I believe will reflect what a heart submitted to God’s plan would be.  To close this post, here is my simple rewrite of the chorus.  If you have found yourself enjoying singing this song, may you also remember these simple truths and hold them all dear to your heart:

I pray for your healing, but I also pray for you to endure.
I pray for you to understand that even when the circumstances don’t change, He is still faithful.
I pray that the fear inside you would leave you, but when it doesn’t, that it will bring you closer to the one who is love and who can cast out all fear.
I pray for breakthrough, but also for faithful obedience on the days it’s hard, that you might have His peace for however long He has you in this hard season.
I pray for miracles so that God’s glory might be shown, but if miracles aren’t God’s chosen plan for you, I pray you will still seek his name and let him be glorified in your suffering. In Jesus name

Surrender *Repost*

Reposting this today because…

It’s been one whole year since this day that changed my life. A day I’ll remember forever. The day I decided in my heart to follow God even when it took me away from the thing I wanted most.

Looking back on this post from a year ago I wish I could go back in time and tell this scared girl that it would be okay. That even though God wouldn’t bring back to her what she walked away from, God would give her so much more. I wish I could tell her that trusting God would lead to so much peace and joy and a newfound love and passion for the gospel. I would tell her that even though it would also lead to a long and hard season of loneliness, the new nearness to God will make each day worth it.

So below are my thoughts from a year ago when my hurting heart decided to take that path of surrender. All I can say when I look back and relive that day is; I’m thankful for my God who has graciously led me and has stayed with me each step of the way.

Surrender (post from January 25, 2021)

What does true surrender look like?

It looks like tears falling down your face. It looks like standing at a crossroads, knowing only one way is the right path to take. It looks like defeat. But it is not defeat. It is something beautiful. It is letting go of the things we hold onto so tightly and giving them to God. It is saying that what we want is not as important as what God has for us. It’s opening up the door for God to lead us to what’s next.

I wonder sometimes if I’ll ever be done learning my lesson of surrender. I’ve always partially surrendered things to God. I’ve said that I love God more but I only would walk away if I had too. I see now that it never really was surrender because I was still holding tightly onto what I wanted. I was saying I was surrendering while being ready to jump back as soon as God gave me the slightest sign.

But today I found myself at a crossroads. I had a choice to make. Two obvious choices were before me. Never in my life have I felt so torn between such a choice. One choice would keep me closer to the thing my heart desired most, holding onto my relationship. The other choice felt like a leap of faith because it took me away from that hope. Today an opportunity to stay do what I wanted most was placed right in my lap. All I had to do was say yes and I could keep holding on tightly to the thing I wanted most. But when I checked my heart something wasn’t right.

I have never before felt such strong resistance between making a decision than I felt today. I have been fighting to have my way but deep down I had this gut feeling about what was right. After much distress in my soul and a prodding question from a dear friend, I went on a walk to clear my head. I cried most of the way. I had a “hard” conversation with God. I begged him to speak to me and show me what to do. I even sat down and waited, hoping to hear a physical voice speak to me and tell me what to do. I didn’t hear anything. Probably because I already knew what God was asking me to do. The rebellious spirit in me just wouldn’t stop fighting.

I know that today was a defining moment in my life. I came back from that walk with a heart that was decided on what to do. I made a choice. I chose to choose the path of faith. The path of surrender. I gave the outcome of this relationship to God and I will leave it in his hands. Then I cried in my closet.

I wish I could tell you that once you surrender to God, the pain will all finally go away. I’m sorry, but it won’t. I’m still hurting immensely. I am choosing the path that is hard and everything that is within in me is screaming to go the other way. But I can tell you that surrender does bring peace. I know that if I chose the other way, I would never have peace. I would not be truly trusting God to work in this area of my life. There is much pain in my heart still, but it’s okay. It’s alright because I know God is with me.

I’m overwhelmed when I think about the possibilities that this choice may lead to and the hard days to come. But today I made the choice to surrender and that’s where I’ll start. I’ll take it one day at a time and follow God in this life because I know that in life that is what matters most. Living a life completely surrendered to God is what I am called to do.

"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." Matthew 6:33

In Due Time…

Driving back home after a fun and full day, my eye’s just about welled up with tears.

My heart felt like it was about to burst with sweet feelings of joy and thankfulness to God. For so long, I’ve waited and prayed. For so long I’ve asked God for friends and company on this lonely walk and driving home, the realization hit me, God heard me. And I am literally in the process of watching God is answering my prayers! This day is proof of that!

But, let me start back at the beginning.

A year ago I felt so alone. I ended my engagement with my fiance, my best friend of five years, after learning he had been lying to me. I then moved with my family to a new town, four hours away from the place that had become my home. I knew God was directing my steps as I made these decisions, but what I was not anticipating, was the fact that this would propel me into a long season of loneliness as my hurting heart healed.

Soon after moving, two things were at war inside me. I was anxious to find a community and meet new people but also scared to really open up and tell people about my past. So I prayed. I prayed that God would bring people into my life, new friends to start making new memories with. I was tired of being lonely for so long but reaching out and making new friends in a new area is not a skill God has blessed me with.

I attend an amazing church with my family that is solid on the scriptures and has helped my growth in the Lord so much, but the church does not have many other young adults my age which didn’t help me in my struggle of feeling lonely and longing for community.

Weeks turned into months, Summer came and was over before I knew it. I packed my summer so full of serving and traveling that I had no time to really feel lonely. But after Summer I was again back on my knees, praying to God, asking him for a friend. I prayed but when God said nothing, I still got up each day and kept going, not knowing when or how God would answer my prayer. And let me tell you all, it can be so hard and discouraging when you pray so hard for something you want and know is good, but God doesn’t seem to be doing anything.

But suddenly, just in these last few weeks, God has been working! The first thing God did was bring my sister back into my life. She moved back in with the family during the Holiday season and it has truly been an answer to my prayer having her back and going on outings and adventures with her. And then, God brought another new friend into my life. It happened so fast and out of the blue. I’m honestly still just in shock and amazement of how fast God can work sometimes!

This new friend was a girl my age, in a similar place in life, who has so many similar interests. It’s really quite a neat story how we met. We just happened to cross paths a few times a few months ago. We found out we had many common interests but didn’t actually get together until just recently. I have traced back all the ways and things that had to happen in my life in order to make meeting this girl happen, and let me just say, wow. God is a God who works in all of the tiny and random details of life. God truly does use everything, even the things we deem as a waste, for his good purposes. The fact that God was doing stuff in my life months ago that would make meeting this girl happen just blows my mind.

But back to my story, and this weekend. My new friend invited me to go Skiing on the weekend with some of her friends. It was the most fun and sweet time I’ve had in a long time. I honestly didn’t feel like I had to try hard to connect. It was so easy and natural meeting the two other girls that came with us. God was bringing more friends into my life through this new freind. On the last run of the day, while riding on the ski lift with one of the girls, I had very heartfelt conversation and learned that she had also gone through the pain of bringing her engagement to an end. What are the odds that God would bring another girl into my life, who has a similar story to mine. A girl whose is a couple more years down the road of healing which gives me so much hope to know that I’m not alone.

God is so good!

This is why I almost cried driving home from the skiing trip. I’ve been praying for so long to not be lonely and for a friend, and God has heard me. I am once again reminded that all of our times are truly in God’s hands. Everything we go through has a purpose in Gods’ plan. Even when it feels like we hit a dead end or our life takes an unexpected detour, God uses all of it.

The other day this verse kept running through my head from psalm 16 – “The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places. Surely I have a beautiful inheritance.” I am beginning to see the lines falling around me, and they show me that God is good and has good things planned for me. God may ask us to walk through hard seasons and long seasons of waiting or loneliness. But we must remember this; He does hear each and every one of our cries to him. In due time God will bring us out. In due time God will bring his plans for us to completion.

“But I trust in you, Lord; I say, “You are my God.” My times are in your hands;”

Psalm 31:14-15

Looking Back

It’s 2022! What happened to the time!  Where did it all go! 

I can’t believe we are here again at the start of a new year. I wish I could tell you I am confidently going into this new year with purpose and direction.  This is not been the case for me.  But to be honest with you all, I don’t have any clear ideas or directions for this year.  I’ve been struggling with feeling directionless and unsure about this new year. And, again, to keep being honest with you all, I keep thinking about where I was last year and where I was hoping I’d be by the end of this year.

A lot happened right at the beginning of my 2021 and it feels like it has taken me this entire year and more just to recover. But I know this one thing, and I hold onto it dearly; that God is faithful.  Even though my year didn’t go as planned it was not wasted. God has shown me that even when I don’t have direction, He is with me still and leading me in the day by day. 

Seasons of uncertainty are still seasons of growth.  This is definitely something I’ve been seeing ring true in my life.

“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”

Philippians 1:6

I’ve been seeing everyone posting their resolutions and plans for 2022. I’m not in the mood the create some “on-the-spot” resolution, so I figured today it would be a nice change to look back on the year that is past and all the ways God has been with me and guiding me. 

January 

January… The month my world felt like it had ended. I think can truthfully say that I’m not lying when I say that this was the hardest month of my life. When I had to walk through the raw pain of heartbreak.  I remember the days leading up to the break-up. I felt like I was walking on a tight rope, convincing myself things were going to work out if we kept the balancing game up just a little longer. I was happily planning our wedding and being in love was bliss, but there was a dark shadow that was slowly beginning to show. I was slowly discovering my perfect dream was actually a lie and when the pieces all finally started to come together it was shattering. January was the month I officially ended the relationship and returned the ring and that’s all the reminiscing I want to do about that hard day.

But I also want to say that in the midst of my greatest heartache, God was with me. God met me in new ways and comforted my heart during the early stages of my hurt. I remember having an overwhelming peace as I began walking the long road towards healing.

February 

February came with lots of change which was soothing to my hurting heart. The month started with a trip to Arizona to visit my grandparents for a few days. Then, as soon as I flew back to California I moved with my family from Sacramento to Redding. The last change that began in February was starting a new job (preschool teacher/aid at a headstart).

Looking back now, it makes me smile to think how God was caring for me during the early stages of my broken heart. Distance and busyness is what I needed to keep my heart from falling into despair and that is what God brought into my life.

March 

March was filled with the exciting adventure of exploring a new town! I visited all the coffee shops in Redding and picked out a few to become a regular at. I drove around exploring my “new” town and got lost more times than I can count. March was also full of many hikes exploring all the beautiful waterfalls and mountains that are pretty much in our backyard up here! I may or may not have also jumped into an icy cold river for a polar plunge challenge…

I also began to see my faith growing in great ways as I continued seeking God with my hurt heart. With a heart that was still hurting, my dependency on God grew. I learned more and more to find my source of comfort in God and daily surrender to Him.

April

 In April I made my first trip back down to the Sacramento area to visit a few friends and go rafting on the American River again. Then towards the end of April I traveled back down to the Sacramento area to work a week at my camp’s living history program.

Time was doing it’s work on my heart and I was starting to feel the healing happening in my heart. I began writing more and more about God and I even started a new blog and Instagram account to encourage others – More of Thee Co. Inside my soul was a growing passion to live for God and share God’s truth.

May 

May was filled with more hikes and exploring the beautiful mountains. The highlight of May was hiking Caslt Crags with my Dad. In May I also chopped my hair the shortest I’ve ever gone, along with adding highlights. It took me awhile to get used to my new summer look, lol

In May my preschool job came to an end and I prayerfully began looking for a summer job to keep me busy. May ended with one more trip down to Sacramento to work at my camp. This was a very hard trip for me and it triggered a lot of hard feelings. But God comforted my heart like only He can. God gave my hurting heart a verse in Ecclesiastes to hold onto and a message of encouragement from the group I was serving.

June

In June I began a new job working at the local rock climbing gym during their summer camps. I also drove down again to Sacramento to work a week at my camp. It was a week full of cooking, rafting, rock climbing, and more rafting! I also learned that Redding summers are no joke and the heat is insane. I invested in a new toy to help me stay cool – A paddleboard!

July

Probably my favorite month and busiest month of 2021. July started with an epic backpacking trip with my Dad in the Trinities. We hiked a total of 28 miles in three days and camped at a beautiful meadow. We saw many deer, one rattlesnake, and three bears (only one of the bear sightings was a close encounter).

I also balanced my new summer job at the rock climbing gym with driving down to the Sacramento area to work at my camp again. And then in the middle of all of that back and forth driving I flew to Florida to visit my sister and go to the Epcot center (not to mention a car issue happening right in the middle of all of that craziness). Last but not least, and right after getting home from Florida, July ended with my church’s family camp.

The trip to Florida and all the sweet times I had with my sister is a trip I’ll always remember. God used my sister to encourage my hurting heart and all the laughs we shared were good medicine to my soul.

It was also during July that God began reminding me of the simple truth that He is my shepherd. So many times I found myself feeling lost and I kept crying out to God for direction. God kept bringing the idea and message of Him being a shepherd to my heart and it gave me so much peace. I read Psalm 23 while sitting in the beautiful lush green meadow we camped at. And then our church’s family camp theme was the Lord as our shepherd. God was so good to me.

August

In August I drove up to Oregon for a week to volunteer at a Joni and Freinds Family camp. This was my first time volunteering at a camp other than my camp in the Sacramento area. It was an experience I’ll always treasure. I met new friends and served God alongside other Christians. God’s love was displayed in so many amazing ways at this camp and I felt God’s power and presence was very present at this camp as we served all the families affected by disabilities.

September

September began with one last adventure up to Oregon. We had a mini family vacation up in Sun River Oregon. My family and I hiked, biked, and paddle boarded up in the beautiful area near Bend. The rest of September was bittersweet as summer was over again. Many things came to an end but many new things also started. In September my family finally caught Covid and it ran its course through the house. Covid for me was mild. I was out sick and exhausted for few weeks but in the long run thankful to finally have Covid over with.

I did not return to my preschool job in the fall and instead, I continued working part-time at the rock climbing gym. I also began leading a bible study for the first time. Being the leader of a group has been a humbling and growing experience for me in so many ways. I’m so humbled and thankful for God calling me to this new way to serve Him.

October

October was full of once again searching for direction and crying out to God for answers. A growing interest in rekindling an old passion for sewing was beginning to grow in me. I started working part-time at Joann fabric while I began planning my own sewing business on the side (My sewing shop on Etsy is officially up and running now and it’s called – RosenThreads).

November

In November I turned 26 and once again had to grapple with the idea that I’m not living my life according to my timetable, but God’s. And that God’s plans for me are always better, even when I don’t know yet what Hes’ doing. My family played mini golf for my birthday and I finally did something I’ve always wanted to do; buy huge number balloons for your age and take pictures with them.

We had a simple thanksgiving and I survived working my first black Friday in retail. November ended with my sister and brother arriving home after their time Flordia proved to not be successful.

December

December was full of Holiday fun and hard feelings resurfacing again. The Holiday fun included driving up to the forest and finding a tree, Going to a very impressive lighted garden tour in our town, and my sister and I driving down to Sacramento to visit a bunch of our dear friends before Christmas. But amidst all the business of the season, my heart was hurting a bit more than normal. This was a hard Christmas season for my healing heart. The highlight of this month was our Church’s Christmas eve Service and singing Christmas hymns. Singing worships songs to God has truly been the only way I’ve been able to completely escape all of the pain that still lingers in my soul and fully find Joy in God. During the Christmas Eve service, I was truly able to grasp the amazing beauty of Christmas and the gospel.

We had a very simple family Christmas, which was just what my soul needed. Then, on New Years Eve, to close out the year was drive up to Lassen National Park to see all the snow and go snowshoeing. The best way to end out the year in my opinion.

And there you go. There is the “kinda long” summary of my year. Though my heart still hurts at times, I’m grateful to be able to look back and see the progress. The pain comes and goes still, but it’s not constant anymore like it was at the beginning of the year. God has shown me so much and taken me to many new places this year that would never have happened if things went how I initially planned it to go at the beginning of 2021. But most importantly, looking back reminds me that God has been with me every step of the way and He will continue to be with me as I move forward into the New Year.

So here’s to 2022! Whatever God has for me, I want to be ready to follow.

Today

Hey all! Long time no see right.

It’s been a while since I’ve written on here. The Holidays came and well, I’ve been busy. I’ve been writing consistently on my other blog – More of Thee Co. So if you’re not following me there please go check it out! I try my best to have an encouraging post for you all on that site once a week.

But, I also have to be honest with you all. The Holidays this year have been hard. I’ve had such a sweet time with family, but I feel like behind the laughs and smiles is a deep shadow. Memories of last year and grieving still flood my mind. I keep telling everyone that I simply just want the Holidays to be over.

But God is good. This year God really made it clear to me the beauty of the true reason for celebrating this season – Jesus Christ. Never has the reality of the gift of Jesus Christ been so dear to my heart as it has been this Holiday season. I felt true peace and joy the day before Christmas when I was singing hymns about Christ’s advent at my church’s Christmas Ee service.

My heart still hurts, but I have God’s peace and that’s all I need. Today as I was praying, I realized something. For so long I’ve struggled with being okay with being single. As I was praying, I told God, I can’t be at peace when I think about being single forever. But I also told God that I can be single for Him today and rest in His joy today.

For some reason, thinking so far into the future is crippling. It’s scary to think that maybe God’s plan for me is never get married and never have children. I don’t like going there. But when I simply focus on the day ahead of me I realize that today God’s called me to this walk and I’m right where I need to be.

Whatever it is you are going through, this is true for you. Maybe you are single like me, still hurting over a broken heart and thinking you’ll be single forever. Maybe you have been trying and trying to have a child but for some reason, God hasn’t allowed it to happen yet. Or maybe, you know God is calling you somewhere and you’re ready to follow Him with all your heart, but He just hasn’t told you where yet. It’s okay to be there. But we must not let these unfulfilled longings become our focus. When they become our focus, they become our identity, and when they become our identity we begin to say to ourselves we will be this way forever and then we feel crushed.

Instead, ask yourself this; Can you be single one more day? Yes. Can you be childless one more day? yes. Can you be content waiting for the Lord’s timing and direction one more day? yes. Can you live for Jesus just one more day in whatever it is he asks you to do? Yes.

More and more I’m realizing this life is meant to be lived in the day to day. It’s about seeking Jesus each day and asking Him for the strength for today, not for tomorrow, and not for the future. God simply wants us to trust Him and be willing to follow His lead moment by moment, day by day.

As I head into this new year, this is my prayer. That I will be able to take it one day at a time. I hope and pray that I will find someone someday who I can share my life with and my love with the Lord with. I pray that one day my broken heart will be healed and won’t hurt so much anymore. But for today God has asked me to be single. And for today I can do that. Today Jesus is enough for me.

"So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today." Matthew 6:34

Holding onto What isn’t Mine

“Lord, help me to let go of what isn’t mine to hold.” ~ November 16, 2021

I found myself there again. Holding onto the things that aren’t mine. My hands were gripped tightly. The past kept coming up to haunt me. I felt so trapped in my mind and sleep was not easy. Somehow I have been going through life and getting really good at this suppressing game. I focus so hard on staying busy with everything but on the inside, I’m crumbling.

I’m ready again, to give all to God again, to let go of the tight grip I’ve had on things. It all came to a point the other day. I rode my bike to the spot. I wrote in my journal. I prayed to God. I didn’t know what to say, but I know He could read my mind. I surrendered again.

I’m tired, tired of holding onto my past like it’s a secret. There are so many in my life that I haven’t told about my painful past and how it still haunts me. Is it wrong to keep it all in? It’s almost been a full year, is it time to share? Will sharing be another step in the healing? But how do I share my hurts without putting myself in the spotlight and making it look like I’m asking for pity? So many questions. But I know that God sees and God hears.

These are just thoughts. I don’t have much of a purpose for this post other than to let out some of the thoughts that have been circling in my mind. I’ve been asking those in my life to pray for God to give me peace. I have been guilty of dwelling on the past too much and it’s been a struggle to take every thought captive. I know that I need His strength each day and I want to have His peace again.

So here I am, simply asking that God would help me as I surrender again to Him. I want to hold my life again with open hands.

Ebb and Flow

Reposting this post today because it still applies and it’s a good reminder 🙂

You wanna know the honest truth about life in the hard seasons?

One day you may feel amazing and so happy. You reach these highs and have the fullest sense of peace and joy. And then the next day you are back in the valley. Feelings of hurt, sadness, disappointment, and grief are back. A few days ago I knew I was right in the will of God. I felt so much peace and joy in Christ. I knew exactly what God was leading me to do and I did it. Now as the gravity of what I did sinks in, I’m somewhat surprised to find myself feeling kinda sad again.

This idea has been in my head the past few days. Feelings Ebb and flow. They come and they go. We feel good and happy one day and then we feel sad again and that’s normal. The more I walk down this long path of uncertainty and surrendered desires, I’m realizing that I can’t always trust any of my feelings. My feelings would have lead me down a dark and hard road if I followed them.

I’m not saying it’s wrong to feel certain ways. I can’t always stop myself from feeling happy or sad. I can’t change my circumstances either. But I find this to be helpful. When I’m in the valley, there is one thing I can change. I can change my view. I choose to acknowledge my feelings and then I take them to God. I remind myself that God is with me and He is the one who lead me to this valley. When I look to God instead of my feelings I find peace in knowing that God has a purpose for each and every hard season I walk through. I find strength in the unchanging nature of God that gives me clarity over all of my changing feelings.

So all I’m trying to say in this post is that feelings ebb and they flow. If you felt so happy and content in God one day and then your down in the dumps again the next day, don’t stress yourself out. God is still with you even though your feelings may have changed. Choose to set your eye’s back on God when the days get hard again. Find comfort in God who is your Rock. Don’t forget all the ways he is leading you and caring for you and choose to trust that he will keep leading you and caring for you. The place your at and even the feelings you experience all have a good and perfect place in God’s plan for your life. Choose to walk with God through the good feelings and the bad ones, understanding that they will ebb and flow, and that’s okay.

Another Year

Another year has come and gone. 

I can’t believe that November is here again and today (Nov. 8) is my *ahem* *ahem* birthday.  I’m another year older and another year wiser, right?   I have officially crossed over the halfway through my twenties mark.  And I thought twenty-five was a hard number to swallow, now I have to get used to saying twenty-six.  I’m officially in my late twenties, and I don’t know how I feel about this.

But if there is anything I’ve learned about getting older it is that you can’t do anything about it. You can’t freeze time and stay the same age.  You can’t go back in time and change the choices you made.  The only thing you can do is move forward.

Looking back at my life there are a lot of things I wish I could change.  A lot of choices I made that led to heartache and heartbreak. This past year particularly was not an easy one for me. Exactly one year ago I was in pure bliss. I was newly engaged and life was just… perfect. My phone keeps showing me pictures from last year and it’s pictures of my smiling face, my beautiful ring (but none of him because I deleted all of those ones).

I had no idea that when I celebrated my birthday and engagement last year how it was going to end. I had no idea that in just a few months it would all fall apart. I was oblivious to the deep darkness and hurt that was soon to follow. But I can say this. All the pain that I walked through led to something that was unexpected.  The closeness I have found with Jesus this year is a gift I never imagined would be mine.  Jesus has walked with me so closely this year and I wouldn’t go back and change anything because all of it lead me closer to my sweet savior.

Just the other day I was chatting with my mom saying that so much has happened this year that never would have happened if things went as planned. All of my writings were a direct result of the pain I was walking through. God spoke to me so clearly about what to write about during my hurt. I began serving and following Christ with a new boldness and fervor than I had before. I’m not the same naive Christian I was when I turned twenty-five. No, I am growing and maturing more and more in my walk. God is becoming dearer and dearer to me and I’m beginning to want only Him more and more.

Even though this past year was one of the hardest seasons of my life, it was also filled with so much joy.  I found purpose and passion in writing this year.  I made many new friends and I reconnected with many old friends which has brought so much joy to my life.  I had one of the busiest summers of my life packed full of serving opportunities, including spending a week up in Oregon serving my first time at a Joni and Freinds Family Camp.  I flew by myself for the first time this year and also planned a successful Disney trip with my sister (huge adulting points for this one!).  I explored many new hiking trails, including an amazing backpacking trip in the Trinities for the first time.  And that just briefly touches on a few of the many good things that came out of this year.

Now, as I stand at the end of this year, and after seeing all the good things that came out of this year, if you were to tell me that twenty-five would be the hardest year of my life, it would be hard to believe you.  But there is a saying I believe I’ve heard somewhere.  “Out of great pain comes great joy.”  Or at least I think that’s how the saying goes.  This has been my beauty from ashes year.  My year where through great pain I have found the greatest joy.

And now as I look forward to twenty-six, I’m excited to see where God will lead me.  God has captured my heart in new ways this year!  What will he teach me next?  What new things will this next year have for me? How will God grow me and change me?

Another year older.  It’s not that scary anymore.  Not when you realize that God is the one directing our steps and leading us on.  Here’s to Twenty Six!

Next Steps

Healing is a process.

Sometimes it seems as if it is a never-ending process. You take one step, you have peace. Then you have unrest again and the hurts return. You realize there is another step you must now take. So you take that step and the peace comes back. And on and on this cycle goes. Each step making the heart hurt a little less. Each step bringing new clarity and direction into your life.

I’m still in this cycle. Still healing and learning how to move on with my life. This week God showed me the next step – forgiveness.

In my Bible study, we have been going through the book of Matthew and this week I have been reading the Sermon on the Mount. The other day as I was reading the notes for chapter 5 when I felt a huge sense of conviction fall on my soul. The verses in Matthew where Jesus tells us to make right and reconcile with our brother before we worship God stared blazingly at me.

“So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar. First, go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.” Matthew 6:23-24

I knew what God was telling me. In that moment, I knew it was God whispering the words into my soul that this was the next step. For the longest time I have been telling myself when the time is right, I’ll seek some sort of reconciliation for the way things ended, but not now, not yet. But Jesus’ word hit me deep. He says in order to have pure worship we need to make amends and we need to not wait. Oh how much I desire to have a pure heart before God. I knew I couldn’t wait any longer.

So I took the next step. I sought out forgiveness for any wrongs I have done in the breaking up of the relationship. As a sister in Christ, I wanted to seek forgiveness for any way I didn’t act in line with God. I know in my hurt I hurt him and I don’t want to be held accountable on judgment day for doing nothing about it. I also felt the need to tell him that I truly do forgive him for all the hurt and pain that his sin caused me. This has been a hard step, but a freeing one. I do not want to hold onto any anger and bitterness in my heart for the way things ended.

And just like that, I had peace again. I had joy again. I felt a new freedom and lightness in my soul. Because I did it. I took the next step. I heard God speak to and tell me what to do and I obeyed. My heart is moving forward again in this long and hard journey of healing. And I’m thankful for God who keeps being faithful to show me the way and when to take each step.

(just a note that because this was a difficult situation and I know that it would not be wise to do this in person or have him back in my life in any way, it was done by a letter, not in person. My seeking forgiveness is not changing any of the decisions I have had made about ending our relationship, but I believe it is a necessary step for my conscience to have peace before God.)

Re-direction

I am learning something.

Sometimes it takes a huge setback or life change to get us back to God and onto His path again.

Last week I felt lost, so lost. A lot of stuff was suddenly ending in my life and I felt so confused. I cried out to God because I didn’t know what else to do. And do you know what’s amazing! It’s amazing what a week can do when you decide to trust God and seek him in everything. I still am unsure about a lot of things in my life, but I feel like God’s been showing me each day what steps to take. My feelings of confusion have been replaced by God’s peace.

This past week I’ve been noticing that God has slowly been guiding me down a new path, in a new direction. I still don’t know where this is all going, but I feel God’s peace again. There is a sense of contentment again in my soul and I don’t feel the sense of despair and confusion anymore. This is a such a beautiful blessing from God to have this peace and I’m just so thankful.

Anyway though, I just wanted to say that I find it interesting how I suddenly have this overwhelming sense of redirection in my life right after going through another season of confusion and hurting. It seems to me that it is during the times in life, when we are at our lowest, that God really speaks to us and shows us what to do. When my life is good and full it’s hard to know what God is telling me. But when I’m hurting or feeling lost, God always makes the next steps clear to me. Break-ups, cancelled plans, broken dreams… these are quite often the means that God uses to bring re-direction into our lives.

I hope and pray that whatever it is you are walking through, will also lead you to a new sense of trusting God and following Him down the new path He is laying out for you. Redirection is not a bad thing when it is from the Lord. It may take some hard times and unwanted circumstances to get us back on the right path. But our God is faithful and He use’s everything we go through for His good purposes in our lives.

“The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”

Proverbs 16:9