Stand Your Ground

Lately I keep being reminded to stand my ground. Every time I cannot help but think of The Princess Bride. You know the scene I am talking about:

“I am the dread pirate Roberts. There will be no survivors…”

Only it sounds like, ” I am the dwread piwate woberts.” I smile every time I think about it which is probably one of the reasons why I keep being reminded to stand my ground.

There is much to be said when you can laugh in the face of your circumstances because you know victory is on the horizon. Victory does not come without a battle. Opposition will come and there will be moments that stretch you and break your heart.

Stand your ground.

When the darkness surrounds you and the ones that you love, it can get easy to lose focus. Keep your eyes on Jesus. Do not look to the right or to the left. The enemy is a liar and a cheat. He takes cheap shots. He does not play by the rules.

But God is bigger, grander, and the ultimate judge.

God has already had the final word.

Advertisements

Pregnant With (full of) Hope!

There has been an immense amount of love and support since I shared my last blog post. Thank you!

I wanted to video a message of what has been on my heart recently. I am so full of hope. I know how good, how faithful and how mighty my God is. He is not limited by test results, bad news, diseases, addictions, or any mountain in the path of life. Rocks are thrown into the depths of the sea. Mountains crumble. He is mighty. He is faithful.

It is because of what He has done already and who He is that I know He loves and cares for me. No matter what happens He is what matters the most. He is my hope. He is my joy. He is the reason I am pregnant with hope!

Celebrate Michael

Let me introduce you to someone so precious. He was a miracle. He was a gift.

The first part of November I was having strange symptoms. At first I thought my body was responding to an amazing but extremely busy season of ministry & was protesting. I had also been battling colds for a month & a half. There was a strange fatigue that had settled in my body. So time went on & I remember feeling “pregnant”. I cast it aside as wishful thinking.

It had been impossible for me to conceive. I had already had a previous miscarriage that did not last past the first month early on in our marriage in 2011. I had already grieved through not being able to give birth to one of my own flesh. Hope was on the horizon to foster or adopt and continue loving my daughter (SD). I was content. 

In November a pregnancy test confirmed what was once deemed impossible. Our world was turning upside down and landed a bit lopsided in the most precious and beautiful way. 

I told my husband that I was battling against fear and could only believe life. I felt like I had already lost too much to handle any alternative. Every day I placed my hands on my belly and declared life. I prayed for every organ, for every tissue formation, ten toes, ten fingers and that all would go smoothly. At night I wept with thankfulness because of this beautiful miracle. I fell asleep embracing my baby and told him how much he was loved. The journey felt like a dream.

We had talked in detail about how we wanted to tell the good news and when to do it. Even though I wanted to shout and celebrate his life right away we both agreed that telling family in person would be the best way. 

(Week 6 pregnancy picture)

Week 6 went by and I was so sick & tired. I was so happy because it was the only way that I knew that he was doing well. Week 7, and 8 slipped by without any issues. By week 9 I was able to get into the Dr. and all my test results came back without any signs of complications. He was really coming! He was really real! By this time my belly was starting to grow & I felt pregnant for real for the first time.

Week 10 was the week we were going to tell our daughter & begin the journey to family for Christmas. Our daughter was beyond excited. She was already making plans. She was the best big sister ever!

The next day she could hardly contain her excitement as we were going to tell my husbands parents. Tears, smiles, hugs and congratulations were in order after breaking the good news. But a couple hours later I started to have slight cramping and instead of getting better my heart & body went on a journey I never thought it could handle.

The details into that night are too much for me to write out. The ER visit was horrific. What I was going through was unstoppable medically speaking and those working there did not acknowledge my sons life. With that perspective I know why I was treated as if what I was going through was not a big deal. 

Instead of a proper burial my baby is swimming in sewage because he was flushed down the toilet in the ER. Losing life and not being able to control what your body is doing is horrifying. 

Because of our miracle I have this need for people to know our son. He was important. He was not a blob of cells. His heart beat like yours and like mine. God still did a miracle in my body to be able to conceive and carry for 10 weeks. Those weeks I will cherish for the rest of my life. Our son helped my faith to grow. Impossible is fading out of my life. God is good and He never changes. 

Please meet our son. 

(Drawing by artist Brynna Hosszu)

His name is Michael which means, “Who is like God?”. It is a name passed down in my husbands family. When I give birth to my rainbow baby, Michael will be their middle name just like his Daddy and in remembrance of his big brother who prepared the way.

Michael you were and continue to be loved. It was a fun adventure while we had you with us, tiny as you were! 

Here are some of my favorite memories with you:

(We didn’t even know that we were a family of 4 during these fun moments in October)

(My first big ministry event knowing you were growing in my belly. It was a miracle I didn’t faint on stage due to sickness & fatigue. I remember telling you, “Okay baby, time to go worship God together! Let’s slay the enemy!” Photo Cred: Austin Groskopf, @agroskopf33)

(Family Thanksgiving 2017 two weeks early)

(Together for Thanksgiving at Long Beach)

(Our last full day together at Heritage Kids Family Christmas)

(This was our announcement photo. I bought 4 large stockings expecting your first Christmas with us would have been in 2018)

Enjoy time with Jesus & with my Mom sweet child. 

We love you Michael! 

Working For It!

I have to be honest for a moment. There are so many things that I want to write about but I am hesitant to because there are some things better kept quiet for this season. Eventually there will be a time when I can write about all sorts of triumphs & victories after mighty battles. If you sense that I am being vague, it is to honor certain people I hold dear as well as protect those that are innocent. Our words can cause so much pain even if the truth is being told. I want to write words that speak life, and encourage readers in times of great struggles yet address great difficulties at the right time.

In church today I realized how much my mind is changing. Getting rid of toxic thoughts and surrounding myself with non-toxic people have led me to a place of such joy & freedom. I still have a lot of work to do but I can honestly say that I have noticed a change in my life. Praise is on my lips even amidst trials. Truth is in the front of my mind rather than lies. Because I know whose I am and He is good & mighty & powerfully loving, not wanting any sin to taint me, or someone to mess with me, I am able to rest. No matter what happens I rest without fear of tomorrow.

Life can be hard but my joy does not depend on my circumstances. My joy comes from the One that never changes. He is always faithful, is always good & never gives up on me. He is my constant one. He is the only one I need to look to for my worth. He is always there when I am alone. He understands every tear & speaks life into my identity so that I can slay the enemy once my feet hit the ground every morning. 

Grace is extended during imperfect moments when my emotions are on overload & pain is expressed outwardly. Every time I invite him into the mess, healing occurs.  A new level of confidence grows and new levels of joy flood my soul after failure or heartache is turned to victory.

Surrender and healing is worth the hard work. Just like others work hard for that hot body, I am working on my soul. 

Waterfall

When you have hiked the trails to a big waterfall have you just stood there and marveled at its beauty? 

I love the smell of the water in the air. Even if I stand a fair distance away I can even feel the mist upon my face. It makes me feel close to the Creator. I long for closeness. It is what drives me everyday.

Life right now reminds me of a waterfall and I am standing in awe. Many circumstances that often cause an ache in my heart still remain the same. I have much hope that these things will turn into good. Why? Because God has literally made impossible things possible.

For so many years whenever something good started to occur an intense season soon followed. It occurred like this so often that I used to live my life flinching, waiting for the next negative and hurtful thing to happen. Instead of enjoying the waterfall up close I was content just feeling the mist on my face. 

I have chosen to live differently. Fear is gone and I am getting drenched under the waterfall.

This Joyful Journey

Lies are falling to the floor. Like drops of rain lies hit the ground with a gentle splash. I stomp over every single one. Joy rolls out from deep within me.

Laughter fills my belly. New wrinkles appear on my face from joy filling up my face.

My new declaration has been,

“Thank you Lord for the lies that are crumbling and falling to the ground. Thank you for filling the gaps with your truth.” 

Everyday I say this declaration. I say it even if nothing has occurred. I say it when I feel defeated or lonely. I say it after having conquered and won. I say it believing every word. 

This journey is like dancing in the rain and sleet. It is not an easy task but it is a joyful one. 

I know who my God is. He is mighty. He is powerful. He breathes life into my lungs. He is joy. He is love. I would not trade this life with him for anything else. Freedom feels good; it feels like the wind against my face running in fields of wildflowers. The sweet scent drifting up from the petals reaching towards the son fill my lungs and heal deep wounds that once made it hard to breathe. Now I breathe holy fire as if nothing had ever happened.

God is good.

He is my one-and-only. 

WOW!

“Why are you stuck in how you have always known it when I have set you free? Just walk in my freedom! Dance in my freedom. Joy is yours. Pick it up and live the way that I intended for you.”

2017 has been described to me as my “Wow” year.

Since January 2017 I have stepped foot from one victory to another. For the first time in a very long time my mind feels like it has been set free from cobwebs and tight fascia that once felt like it restricted freedom, joy and truth to reign. It is the reason for my lack in writing on this blog.

Perhaps I should not have kept my journey to myself? The reason why I question my silence is because God has literally done so much the past several months. I did not realize how long time had gone by since I last posted in any format. For this I am sorry because I am a writer and intend to share in order to encourage and help others.

There have been many freedom moments or “aha” moments since January. I found myself one day realizing that God had set me free and I did not change my thought process or habit. How often do we do this? We scream or yell, “I want to be free!” and instantly forget that God just walked us into victory. We have never needed to fight for it because it was already given to us.

Lies have been crumbling, and dropping to the floor like rain drops. In place of those lies God’s truth has filled in all of the gaps and holes. As this continues to take place on a weekly basis, toxic thoughts continue to die and a beautiful tree full of gorgeous blooms grows in its place. Freedom from bondage and heartache from holding on for too long is truly enabling me to soak up revelation of the truth that has always been right before me. It is a fun adventure!

2017 is my “Wow” year and I continue to walk in miracles and joy! I look forward to sharing more with you soon.

I am back! 😉

 

Working Through Scar Tissue

img_4122

(Hannah Hope Photography)

Last week I tore some scar tissue in my wrist from an injury dating back to middle school. I heard a pop and had immediate pain. Like many times in the past where I had inflamed the same injury I instantly was worried. I soon realized that this pain was different and minor soreness occurred. I now have better movement and range of motion than I have ever had in years.

When God is allowed into our lives deeper and deeper, he starts to break up our scar tissue.

Scar tissue is an amazing thing as it is our body’s way of repairing and protecting the damaged area. Sometimes it can build up too much and we need it to be worked out in order for proper blood flow to return to the area and life can return back as it should be.

Our hearts, minds, and souls are very much the same. We do things to repair and protect ourselves when we have been hurt. But too often we can either run or see it as a bad thing when our inner scar tissue begins to break up and be worked out. It feels uncomfortable. It can be extremely painful at the time. It leaves us feeling vulnerable. Sometimes it can even feel too intrusive. This is a good thing!

I have seen too many people in my life run from these moments. Just when God is getting to the root of the cause of so much of our pain, we run. Just when God is getting to the root of our sin issue, we run. No one really likes pain but when there is pain with a purpose, a purpose to bring healing and life back so that we can be free, that is pain well worth experiencing.

Too many times I have seen people decide to run away from this process when the purpose is to bring them into a greater level of freedom and joy.

I will be blunt honest on here this time. I am tired of seeing so many people who were once on fire with passion for God slowly fade into the background when things got too intense inside of them and when the painful process of working out scar tissue didn’t feel good. It got too uncomfortable for them.

What is the point of having a relationship with a loving, all knowing, faithful God when we are only willing to give him our scraps or a piece of our heart?  When he desires more of us, some just sit back allowing themselves to turn into an apathetic Sunday or once a month Christian. If my husband did that to me, we would have major issues. I would know that he had lost interest in loving me and might even be hiding something from me. I am no longer friends with people who have treated me in similar ways because there was no longer a healthy relationship that was growing.

God knows all of our junk. He knows all of our secrets. He knows that what we go to often creates more agony and pain. His ways are always best because he is good. He is love.

Let him work through the scar tissue.

It is worth it.

Freedom. Overflowing joy. Love reigns where fear once had a stronghold. Addictions are gone. Trauma is healed. Life in Christ is a life lived from victory!

DSC01650

 

 

 

 

Favorite Things

me

(photo: Hannah Hope Photography)

The year two wave of grief hit and it caught me a bit off guard. I found myself crying more than I had intended. The intense heartache returned with a vengeance.

Grief is never an enjoyable experience but it does change. The heartache did not last as long this time but it reminded me how long I had lived feeling that way every day, all day for months. If you are still going through that cycle of grief, please know that it does lesson ever so slowly.

Just the other day, I had been weeping over so many different things that made my heart ache. I was struggling with not only my Mom but also so many family details and seeing the solution without any way of being able to change one thing. So much of being a Step Mom has shown me how true love is a love that has grit. I want to be a woman that has grit but the process hurts!

As I was weeping I opened my Bible to Luke 19 and read verse 41, “And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it”.

This post is by no means an exegetical description of this chapter. But this spoke volumes to me that Jesus wept over the hearts of people in the city of Jerusalem. He knew the answer to all of their heart issues. He knew everything about them, their pain, and the depravity of their hearts. Jesus wept. Jesus knew grief.

As I listened in the quiet, allowing tears to fall rather than get stuck, God spoke such tender words. He said, “My own Son felt strongly. He wept. He loved deeply. Why should you feel wrong for feeling so strongly for people, for weeping? This is one of my favorite things about you. I made you this way!”

In that moment, in the acceptance of my Lord, I experienced healing. Inner turmoil I experienced for years for feeling wrong for how I felt so deeply and often ached for others began to release. Did you know that the very things that you may dislike about yourself could very well be Gods favorite things about you? When you realize this truth you will find yourself closer to Father God. You will realize that you do not need to do things to protect yourself from getting hurt because you will realize that God continually heals your heart and soul. God desires freedom for you. He wants to help you conquer everything that distances you from him. He loves you!

glory and i

(Hannah Hope Photography)