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

An Aching Heart

My heart hurts

My heart hurts, but it doesn’t hurt for me, it hurts for this world. Oh how it aches. I feel as if all of sudden there is so much pain and injustice in this world. One by one things are happening that are causing my heart to break. My heart hurts for all that is happening in Afghanistan, for a fire that is raging near my old hometown, for a dear friend recovering in the hospital, and for a young innocent life that was suddenly taken away too soon.

I don’t understand why God allows all these things that are going on. I know that there is nothing new under the sun and today’s evils are no different than yesterday’s evils. But so many of these things seem to happening all at once and so many the things that are happening are hitting so close to my heart.

I have been on my knees in prayer because honestly, there is nothing else I can do. All I want to do is pray for God’s justice to be done, for God’s peace to be given, and for God’s kingdom to come. Each hard thing is a reminder that this place is not our home. This world we live in is broken. Not only does my heart ache in pain over all the things happening in this world and all the evil, but it aches for that better place. That place where there will no longer be any of this pain. The place where a friend of mine is now residing. A place where day and night we will get to worship our King and be in His presence.

More and more I am finding myself longing for more of Him and for that day when we get to be with Him. If the evils of this world cause your heart to hurt, you are not the only one. It’s okay to let our hearts ache and hurt rightfully at all the evil in this world. But may it cause us to pray and long more for the day when we will be with our God forever.

Blind Trust

Something is happening.

I don’t know what it is.

I was overwhelmed with feeling.

I was crying out to God.

I distinctly told him that I felt so lost.

But I decided to keep on trusting in Him and hold onto the fact that He is good, even when I feel this way.

And then while I was feeling lost and crying out to God he started to do something. God brought a couple of new things into my life suddenly. It’s quite strange how suddenly it happened and I honestly don’t know what to do or where this is going.

But I’m learning to simply trust that God is at work in all things, even the things that I don’t understand. I’m learning that sometime God asks us to trust Him blindly. To put aside all our insecurities and have a heart that is open to new possibilities, new ideas, and new directions.

To trust God blindly doesn’t mean we throw wisdom out the door, it just means that we follow God even when we don’t completely understand what is at work.

Trusting God blindly is what he is asking me to do right now. It’s scary and exciting at the same time. But I know God will be with me and reveal to me what I am to do.

Oh how thankful I am that when I truly choose to trust in Him and follow Him, I don’t ever have to worry about Him leading me down the wrong path. God is faithful. I will trust Him 🙂

A Desire to be Held

I have a ache in my heart

I long to be loved, and cherished and held. For awhile now I’ve praying each day that God would bring a guy into my life, in His timing of course, who will show me true Godly love and who will cherish everything about me. I desire a man who truly loves God first above all other things and who will be open and honest instead of hiding things. A man who won’t hurt me, but will hold me.

And as I’ve been thinking about all these things I remembered that a few years ago I wrote a few things down on my phone about this desire I have to be held. So I thought I’d share the reflections and scripture verses I wrote down with you today:

“Hold me up, that I may be safe and have regard for your statutes continually!”

Psalm 119:117

I read this psalm the other day and all I can think about are the words “hold me”. They just stood out to me. The psalmist is experiencing a season of hardship and here he is crying out to God saying “hold me, that I may be safe.”

I find that there are times in my life where I want to be held. I don’t have a man in my life to hold me and let me just be honest with you all, it can be hard some days. There is a strong ache in my heart for someone to hold me and tell me it’s gonna be okay. I want to be re-assured everything will be okay, that I’ll be safe, and that I don’t have to worry. To simply have strong arms wrap around me tightly and promise to never let me go. To often I find myself getting sad, because, as a single girl, I feel left out.

But, I saw something as I read this psalm. I realized that God will hold me when I am feeling sad. When I cry out to God in my need He comes and comforts me. He cradles me with his love and says he will never leave me.

“It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”

Deuteronomy 31:8

When God holds me, I know I’m safe. The safest place for me to be is in His arms. God’s arms are strong and He can protect me from all my troubles and all the evils of the world.

“Cast all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.”

1 Peter 5:7

So, I just wanna say, that it’s okay to desire to be held. It’s actually quite normal. We were created to have this desire in us. But we must be careful so that we don’t end up looking for it in the wrong places. My desire to be held should lead me to God – my loving heavenly father who will never stop lavishing me in His love.

Do you desire to be held? Even if you have someone to hold you on your hard days, you will never be able to find perfect rest in anyone other than God. When that desire comes, take it to God. Ask him to hold you and then rest in his great love for you.

Oh, what a beautiful thing, that our great God holds us! He will sustain us through whatever season we face. I’m gonna cry out to him just like the psalmist did in this passage. Will you do so too?

“Cast your burden on the Lord , and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.”

Psalm 55:22

In God’s timing and in God’s way, I still pray that God will bring me a Godly man to love me. But as I wait I want to find my worth in God. God cherishes me like no man here on earth can. God loves me better than any human could. God will never hurt me like the relationships here on earth do. God is the one who holds me and I’m so thankful for this truth.

Another in the Fire

I believe that God’s timing is in everything, even the days we read certain stories in the Bible.

The other day I read the story in the bible where Shadrach, Meschach, and Abednego were thrown in the fiery furnace. I have been reading through the prophets one chapter a day and this was where I was that day; Daniel 3. I have been feeling a bit sad and lonely and as I read the story I found so much encouragement for my heart. The story wasn’t new to me, I’ve heard this story so many times in my life. I grew up watching the classic veggie tales rendition of this story too many times to count. But after reading it afresh, the story hit me in a new way. What stood out to me the most in this passage was actually not the bold and fearless faith these three men had, but how they responded when they were in the furnace and that there was a fourth man with them.

Then King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his advisers, “Weren’t there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?” They replied, “Certainly, Your Majesty.” He said, “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.”

Daniel 3:24-25

A song instantly popped into my head as I read this story (I have the song attached at the bottom e of this page). Maybe you know the song already. It’s “Another in the Fire” by Hillsong. I kept thinking about how amazing of a truth it is that there is another in the fire with us! Each trial and hardship we face, we are not alone. There is another with us, and that person is Jesus Christ.

I listened to this song in my room and let my heart worship God. Suddenly I felt so overwhelmed just thinking about all my hurt and pain that I had walked through and the realization struck me that God was there with me through all of it. There was not a single day of my heartbreak where God was distant from me and I know that there will not be a single day moving forward where He will leave me. Oh how thankful my heart is that God has been with me every step of the way through this fire.

But There is also one more thing that really stood out to me in this story. Not only was God with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego when they were in the fire, but they were unbound and unharmed the entire time they were in the fire. When they came out of the furnace there was not even a single trace of fire on them;

Nebuchadnezzar then approached the opening of the blazing furnace and shouted, “Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!” So Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego came out of the fire, and the satraps, prefects, governors and royal advisers crowded around them. They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them.

Daniel 3:26-27

I think that this is such an amazing thing that these three men were not hurt in any way. In a sense, you could say they were thriving while in the fire. I can’t help but have this picture in my head of them laughing and having the best of time while in the fire with Jesus. And this can be so true of us too! I have had people tell me that I am doing so well considering how much of an emotional hardship I experienced. It’s really only been few months but I have been receiving so much healing that it is hard to believe how short of an amount of time truly has passed. My relationship with God has been on an upward climb ever since I entered into this fire. I’m not saying this trial in my life has been easy, but I can say with all my heart that this trial has been the sweetest time I’ve ever had with Jesus.

You guys, this is truth; the fires in our life are good. God has a reason and purpose for all the fires we must walk through in life. Sometimes He doesn’t tell us the reason why, but we can always trust Him. The fires grow us closer to God and allow others to see God’s glory. Whatever your fire, I hope this Bible story can encourage you too! God is always with you and he gives you everything you need to not just survive, but to thrive while you are in the fire.

When the trials come, always remember that there is another in the fire.

Healing Happens

I have a message for you, healing happens, that’s all, thank you.

Truly that is all I want to get on here and say, but I’ll elaborate a little more. A few days ago (last Saturday to be exact) I was driving into town. Not even two minutes into driving down the road I was suddenly overwhelmed by a feeling of healing. I almost began crying, it was that powerful. I honestly don’t know how to describe it to you. It was like something broke down in my heart and my heart felt normal again. For that moment I felt like my pain wasn’t there. It was gone and all I could think about was God’s love covering me.

I’ve been hurting for so long and I think when you hurt for a long time sometimes you just get used to pain always being a part of your life. You have good days where you feel better, but there is still hurt hiding under the surface. I feel like I’ve kinda just accepted the fact that this was gonna be my life. I was going to have to learn how to live with the pain always being a part of me. But in one amazing, God filled moment, I felt healing touch my heart in such an amazing way. I truly believe God’s spirit had come down and filled up my car.

I’m not saying that all my pain is miraculously all gone after that moment. But I can tell you that something changed. I feel like I’m viewing my life now with healing eyes. If that makes any sense? The hurt and regrets are still there but it doesn’t hurt as much. In a way it’s like the wound on my heart is finally not bleeding anymore. It’s healed up, I can finally take the band-aid off, but there is still a scar left.

God put these words in my heart while I was driving – “healing happens”. And then God made it clear that I needed to share those words. Not exactly sure what to do or how to share those words, I grabbed my phone began sharing this message through my instagram account and by texting a close friend. And here I am writing this message and sharing it with you now.

Guys, I am going to say it again, healing happens! It takes time, but it happens. It’s been almost four months of hurting for my heart to get here and I know that as time continues I’ll continue to heal. Whatever you are going through, keep on trusting in God. Keep on following God and choosing to obey Him down every path had puts before you. There will be hard days but the hard days won’t compare to the overwhelming feeling of love that surrounds your heart when healing finally comes. As you are walking through your storm, let this be the anthem that keeps you strong – healing is going to happen. If you have experienced His amazing and supernatural healing then let us praise our God who loves us so much and gives us healing!

A Loving God

I am just overwhelmed by how good God is!

Guys, I can’t believe how much God loves me. I had a hard but also very wonderful past few days. I drove down to an outdoor adventure camp I work at to spend a few days cooking and rafting. I was happy to be at this place, but it was also so hard. This was the place where I met him. Just being at camp makes me think of all the memories I’ve had with him. It made my heart hurt so much. Not only were the memories hard, but many of the staff that I was working with had their significant other with them and it made me feel so lonely. Seeing couples doing what couples do at a place where I use to hang out with him really made my heart ache.

So, as you might guess, I got really sad. I was doing great, serving the campers that came and loving on them as I worked in the kitchen. But after one long day when I was done working I layed down and I couldn’t hide the pain anymore. I let the tears fall down. I just had this overwhelming sense of needing to feel loved. I didn’t know what to do. I was to unsure about seeking out love from the other staff so I took my Bible and found a quiet place to read. In a very raw and scratchy voice (my voice is always a bit scratchy after crying), I said “God, I just need you to comfort me and bring me the right passage from you word that will comfort me.” I then randomly opened up my Bible to chapter 3 in Ecclesiastes. And my heart just about burst.

This was the chapter where it talks about there being a time for everything. My eyes fixated on the parts of the passage that said “there is a time for mourning, a time for healing, a time to weep, a time for lose, a time to to break down.” All these things reminded me that it’s okay to feel the hurt still. That just like there is a time to be happy and joyful and a time to love, there is also a time for healing and all the painful emotions. I kept on reading to verse 11 where it says “He has made everything beautiful in His time.” I prayed and thanked God for this beautiful reminder from His word that he is working in my life and I read that passage out loud over and over again until I felt better.

I know that God loves me so much because I was broken, I came to Him in my hurt and simply asked Him to give me what I needed. I wasn’t expecting anything big. Maybe just a Psalm that I could relate to. But my heart is overwhelmed because God heard me and he cared for me in my time of hurting. He gave me what I needed and it encouraged my heart so much.

And there is more! God is just so good, you guys. That same night, after I began to feel better I went to campfire with the group that we were serving at the camp. One of the leaders shared a message that night. In his message he shared about a hard experience he witnessed and the peace of God. His main point in his message was that in life we will face hard times but throughout each hard time we go through God is able to give us peace and joy. The fact that he said peace and joy was just amazing. Every single day when I pray, I have been specifically asking for peace and joy in my life. I haven’t been praying for just peace, but peace and joy. The fact that he paired both those things together and shared how they can be ours during hard times really touched my heart. I knew without a doubt God was looking down on me and covering me in His love. I’m also thankful that the next day I had a chance to personally thank the man who shared his story and tell him that I was going through a hard time and his message was such an encouragement to me.

I’m back home now and enjoying some rest after a fun trip on the river (which may and may not have included me falling out of the boat during one of the big rapids and taking a little swim). I’m still a bit sad because memories are something I can’t easily forget. But I’m also just in awe at how God came through and gave me what I needed. Oh how much our God loves us! It’s these little moments when we are at our end, when our darkest hurts feel so real, that God gives us just what we need to keep going. God loves us enough to say keep following me and here is what you need to keep going.

I’m ready to keep trusting Him and keep following Him because I know that God loves me so much. We truly have such a loving God!

A New Change

Hey all!

I feel like it’s been awhile. Honestly, I’ve been doing really good. I’m realizing that if you don’t hear much from me on this blog it probably means I’m staying busy and I’m thriving because most of my writings are the product of strong feelings of hurt and pain. But, even though I’m doing good, I thought I’d still pop back in and say hi and give a little update.

I’m realizing now, when I look back, that a lot of things in my life have changed. I have this new feeling, like I’m at the beginning of a new season. I feel like I’m starting again, starting fresh. My hurt and pain is beginning to become less and less consuming. It’s not gone, but most of the time I have so much joy from the Lord and depression only comes if it gets triggered by some experience or memory. After having days where I couldn’t think without crying, it feels so good to be in this place.

Also, you may have noticed in the picture above, I decided to do a “physical change” too and change up my hair a bit. Welcome summer hair cut! This is the shortest I’ve ever cut my hair and it’s also the first time I’ve done this much highlights.

I’ve been wanting to do this to my hair for awhile but once I got home from the salon I honestly was shocked. I was not used to the person I kept seeing in the mirror. Initially I wanted the highlights to be a little more subtle. Somehow what ended up happening was close, but not exactly what I pictured in my head. It’s still the style I want and I’m learning how to rock it. I’ve gotten so many compliments on it from everyone. But for me, it has been taking me awhile to really ‘love’ it because I have always seen myself with long and dark hair.

As I think about this experience I had with having to get used to my new haircut and not instantly ‘loving‘ it right away, it kinda makes me think about life. Life is actually a lot like my haircut experience. We all have plans for how we want our life to go. But when things don’t go as planned, when you get home from the salon and realize the haircut looks a bit different than we had hoped. It can be hard to accept the sudden change. After the rough break-up, it took me three months to get to this place here; finally content and happy with the new direction God is bringing into my life. And even after these three months, I’m still healing.

It’s good to remember that the change isn’t bad. Just like how my haircut wasn’t a bad haircut. After a few days of learning how to style it and seeing myself with the highlights I have come to really love it. When drastic change happens to our life, we need to take time to evaluate it. We need to soak in what is happening. We have to look in the mirror and get used to the new person that God is calling us to be. We also may need to learn how to style our life again. A huge reason I didn’t instantly like my haircut was because I didn’t have much experience with styling short hair. When change happens in our life the unknown can be scary. Accepting the change is going to require us to learn new learn skills and rely deeper on God.

And somedays, as you probably have experienced, we will have bad hair days. We will see the new path our life is taking and desperately want the old life back. But in the end, it really is just a bad hair day and it can be fixed with a little bit of effort. When I get overwhelmed by my emotions, I’m encouraged that it’s just my emotions and when the next day comes, I feel better. When we fix our eyes back on God, He reminds us that He has such good plans for us. God shows us how to fix up our life again so we can keep following after Him.

Whatever change God is bringing into your life, maybe your first reaction is to cringe. Maybe it’s to hide. When God throws you a huge, unexpected curveball in life, it’s going to take time for you to truly grasp what God is doing. But you can trust that in time, you’ll see that God truly is doing something beautiful. Over time you’ll learn how to, not just walk, but thrive in the new season God has called you too. It time you’ll see that change, when it is from God, is oh so good.

So are you ready to accept the change in your life. I sure am! I feel so ready and confident that God has great plans for me. He was with me through the dark season and now as I begin to see light again, all I can do is rejoice.

(Also, I hope you enjoyed my little haircut story. I find it strange how well it applies to what I’ve been learning about God and my life)

Unlocking Doors

I was realizing something today

I’ve noticed that in these last few months my walk with God has really changed… a lot. I have experienced I closeness with God that feels more real than all the other times in the past. I was even sharing with my mom that I suddenly felt like I had this new boldness in my faith and strange and wonderful joy in the Lord.

I’ve been thinking about the last few months and all the times that God has brought me to surrender something to Him. I feel like after each act of surrender I made my relationship with God took on a new level. It’s as if taking the step of surrender is a key opening a door that leads to a deeper closeness to God. But just one time isn’t enough. Surrender is something we have to keep doing. Once we open one door, we will find another one behind that. Each door taking us closer to Jesus and his love for us.

I really like this idea of a key unlocking doors. As we live this life and choose to follow Jesus down the paths He has for us there will be doors we face. These doors are a vital step in our walk. They appear when we reach a point where we have to surrender something that we have been focusing too much on and choose to follow God. It’s not easy to to make these decisions of surrender and sometimes we see the door and we think it’s a dead end. But when we take the step, insert the key, and unlock the door by giving our desires to God, the most beautiful thing happens. The door opens up and we find ourselves on new ground with our Lord and Savior. He fills our heart with a new love and closeness to Him and gives us the strength we need to keep on following Him.

I pray that on my journey, each time I reach a new door I’ll be able to take the step of surrender and choose to follow Jesus through it because I know that there is deeper joy on the other side. And I hope that this idea can help you too as you keep on following Jesus through your doors and grow closer to him in your walk. Each door and act of surrender we walk through will bring us closer to our dear Savior and that is the most beautiful place to be.