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A4821D0F-284A-445D-B6B3-756D831B945FOkay, so you all know how much I love music and most of my feelings come from the songs I hear on the radio, mainly, Way FM, sometimes Klove. I was recently in the car and heard “Oh My Soul” by Casting Crowns and the song literally made me cry. I didn’t realize how much I hold in and internalize at times because I take on other’s people’s burdens, along with carrying my own!

This past year has made my entire being weary! Not in a bad way because all things are good and all situations are meant as a life lesson.

As we all know, my prodigal daughter came home last April and it’s been a whirlwind of activity and a flurry of emotions on any given day!! She returned “home” so to speak and in May my husband was ordained so he could perform the wedding of Olivia and Nick. Then in July Olivia was having some issues and had surgery, then in August Olivia announced she was expecting her first baby! In December, I “retired” from a job I adored and we (my husband and I) helped Olivia and Nick buy a home. Around the first of 2017 Olivia was experiencing some complications with her pregnancy and after a small scare of “her leukemia may be back” we found she has multi-factorial anemia and will seek treatment lifelong. Thank God it is something we can maintain – but the months and treatments that followed were a bit scary. She had one bad reaction to the iron – which sent a team of nurses running her way – and I was shocked at how calm I remained during this episode. In April, our Little Man (as I call him) arrived and I am over the moon with the love I feel for these three kids – along with my wonderful husband. And, in all this activity, my parents and I have take HUGE steps in reconciling our relationship. All good things, and all wonderful joys of life.

So why doI feel weary and worry? Why do I feel physically drained and almost empty at times? All through Olivia’s turmoil I was continuing to take care of my house, my husband, finish up my two year Bible course on Monday nights, Bible Study with the ladies on Tuesday morning, lunches with friends, trying to establish a new career for myself….I was feeling completely exhausted, couldn’t really focus on anything.  I went to the doctor in April as I felt maybe my auto-immune disorder was manifesting itself into ANOTHER auto-immune disorder – as these diseases tend to do.  It was during these tests and doc visits I learned I need to slow down.

I graduated from my two-year Discipleship Class in May and the day after that class was over (or at least one day during that week) I slept almost all day. Just exhausted.  And then I just stopped.

In the last six weeks I began to wonder as I felt my spiritual life was suffering from all the stress, commotion, joys – just life in general if I was becoming someone I didn’t want to be. Was I letting God down, and I was almost embarrassed to ask my accountability partners about this situation I felt. Instead of asking anyone, I began the countdown to my Annual Beach Babes Vacation of 2017!!! This vacation would be the renewal I needed. The time to Rest, Reflect, Renew!!

Then, the guilt started to kick in. My husband is awesome, my kids are doing well, Little Man is completely adorable! Why do I need to get away? Why am I wanting to escape? Then it all hit me like a ton of bricks. The reasons – if I am to be honest – fear of Olivia and Nick walking away from me because they “don’t like something I say or do”, maybe messing up and my husband wanting a divorce, losing friends because I’m not good enough, just giving up because of something from my past creeping in and Satan creating doubt! (It’s a daily cross I pick up). Being “there” for everyone and everything, never wanting to tell anyone “no”…it’s exhausting at times and taking a toll on my mental state!

I get worried, weary, fearful, I may quit reading my Bible, or doing a Bible study, but I keep listening to my music and praying – sometimes hourly, sometimes, moment to moment. I pray for strength, comfort, guidance, patience, empathy, heart softening, discernment, self-control, etc. On one of my many traveling sessions from here to there to everywhere, I heard this song…

Oh, my soul, Oh, how you worry (daily)
Oh, how you’re weary, from fearing you lost control (have I lost it yet??)
This was the one thing, you didn’t see coming
And no one would blame you, though
If you cried in private (in the shower always), if you tried to hide it away, so no one knows (my husband always does know)
No one will see, if you stop believing (my heart will know though)

Oh, my soul
You are not alone
There’s a place where fear has to face the God you know (I’m so glad for HIM!)
One more day, He will make a way (He always leads my way!)
Let Him show you how, you can lay this down (and not pick it up again?)
‘Cause you’re not alone

Here and now
You can be honest
I won’t try to promise that someday it all works out
‘Cause this is the valley
And even now, He is breathing on your dry bones
And there will be dancing
There will be beauty where beauty was ash and stone
This much I know
(thank you for this promise of renewal)

Oh, my soul
You are not alone
There’s a place where fear has to face the God you know
One more day, He will make a way
Let Him show you how, you can lay this down
I’m not strong enough, I can’t take anymore
(You can lay it down, you can lay it down)
And my shipwrecked faith will never get me to shore
(You can lay it down, you can lay it down)
Can He find me here
Can He keep me from going under

Oh, my soul
You’re not alone
There’s a place where fear has to face the God you know
One more day, He will make a way
Let Him show you how, you can lay this down
‘Cause you’re not alone
Oh, my soul, you’re not alone

I have a hard time, even now, remembering I’m not alone. Even in my prayer corner I’m not alone. He is always with me. Such a comfort to know that God knows when I’ve been worrying, anxious, stubborn, ungrateful, too emotional to get out of bed at times.

In the weeks since my beach vacation, I haven’t had a day of rest yet, I am plugging along meeting the demands of life but, I’m learning even when I am feeling this way, and beating up on myself, first and foremost God sees me and knows my heart. My heart is always with Him first, my husband second, and everyone else comes in third, fourth, fifth, etc. I don’t need to feel guilty for feeling tired, for feeling weary, for worrying.   So I take a deep breath, pray for strength and keep moving.  And when I look at photos of the Little Man, or read the note my husband leaves on the fridge every morning, I am refreshed.  I don’t feel so weary.  I know I have a future with a husband who loves me, and a chance to be a great Mom and Mimsey to the kids.  I get to see a better part of me for who God gave me to bless.

Isaiah 41:10 Don’t be afraid, because I’m with you; don’t be anxious, because I am your God. I keep on strengthening you; I’m truly helping you. I’m surely upholding you with my victorious right hand.

I need to let go of my fears, God does tell me not to borrow trouble, I need to let it all go and rest in Him first. My thoughts need to be in Him and Him alone and all else will be revealed in His time. My life, my worries, my weariness, it’s all in His hands. Therefore, I am not alone and can pray my fears away. He’s got this. I can be weary.  He’s got me.   I can be renewed.  He is my Provider. I can be restored.  He is my Protector. He will always show me the way. Oh, my soul, I am not alone.

Matthew 28:20 …And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.

What a difference a year makes! This time last year I was basking in the glow of celebrating my first New Year’s with my then fiancé. I was hoping for that phone call from my daughter and I was wishing my family could see they HURT people and apologize for specific things that had transpired over the 2014-2015 year.
Well, now I sit looking out my home office window and thinking about the past year. I was married in January of 2016 and it was the one of the most WONDERFUL days of my life. We had our closest friends and family there – minus my daughter – which was the only sadness to the day. My Matron of Honor – or Best Gal, as I prefer to call her – picked me up, we got out hair done, picked up lunch and got ready together watching the Hallmark channel. When we were both dressed, we stepped out onto the balcony of our room and watched people come to the mansion, the snow making a fresh blanket in the sunlight.
Our honeymoon in Colorado was awesome, and I enjoyed every moment of every day – fresh snow, the real fireplace, visiting the hot springs, the train ride to the top of a mountain with a picnic lunch in the snow, and lastly, a beautiful sleigh ride to a cabin in the woods with dinner and another sleigh ride back to the car.
We celebrated Easter together and one week the later, the most amazing phone call from my daughter and her then fiancé. Fast forward to one month later and I’m watching my daughter come down a staircase and marry her guy with my husband performing the ceremony.
Fast forward four months later and we find out we are going to be grandparents. Our grandson should be here in late April and I couldn’t be more excited to step into this new role as Mimsy and Opa (personally the names grandma and grandpa were ruined for me, so we looked for Scottish and German names for this honor).
Then, in July I took a trip to the beach with my Best Gal and it was awesome. I didn’t realize how tired I was, or emotionally spent, from the emotional roller coaster I had been on! We ate, slept, read, sat by the pool and floated in the pool, watched the Hallmark channel, and my favorite part was our dinners and walks on the beach every night -talking about our families, past, present and future! I had never taken a trip with a friend, and we agreed – this is a definite annual event! Our trip this year is in June!!!
Fast forward to our mission trip to the Dominican Republic and what a trip that was – my heart was not prepared for the whirlwind of emotions I would experience – while on the trip and since.
Six weeks later I left a job I had for 11.5 years and I’ve spent the past month sleeping, cleaning out closets, rearranging our home office and taking care of me for a while.
Now, here I am looking back over this past year and my heart feels like it could explode! I am blessed beyond belief with a husband, kids, three great friends and a future grandson I cannot wait to meet! I watch my daughter and her pregnant belly and she does things I did when I was pregnant, her mannerisms are so me, and I can’t help but smile that she is getting through her emotional roller coaster of past hurts and healing before her son gets here.
While this year has been full of happiness and wonderful blessings, it’s also been full of sadness at times. I recently talked to a friend and learned you can be full of joy but still sad.
I’m sad at times because I see other women don’t need or want good, Christian friends like I do. I would love more women friends to talk about life with – what’s going on in my marriage, with my kids, my family – when I was in a table group it was so nice to talk about life and have others validate how you feel, or question your motives. I see my daughter struggling – and a friend’s daughter struggling with the same issues. I wonder why we aren’t trying harder to bond.
I’m sad because I see my daughter and son-in-law struggling with issues I had as a young married person, and I wish I could solve their problems for them, but know I can’t. Their journey is their journey but I can certainly be here to love, support and listen.
I’m sad at times because sometimes I feel totally invisible to the universe. I’ve been gone from a volunteer program for three months and only one person has called to ask if I was o.k. No, I didn’t leave the program to see if anyone would call, I knew no one would, I left because I needed time to think, to grow myself and really take a spiritual break. I just think it’s weird you can be “so loved” and “needed” yet you are gone and no one notices.
So, I took these issues a Christian Sister and we talked and I learned I’m not the only one who feels this way! So, if we ARE the church and we are to BE the church, why oh why would people feel lonely?
At times, I think it’s because people are so wrapped up in their own “stuff” they do not take time to reach out. I know my own conscious is clear because I am a follow upper! If I know you are hurt, scared, ill, down, having a struggle I follow up with you – text, call or email and make sure life is okay!
I know no two people are exactly alike, and I know I am way more sensitive than most people. My friend told me I am “sensitive to the spirit” which makes me feel more deeply and it was okay to question the who, what, why and how’s of life.
So, I look to 2017 as a new opportunity waiting to grow me. I know I want to serve in different areas of church – ones that will grow me and give me an opportunity to meet new people and maybe make a new friend or two! My daughter, a mutual friend, and I are going to start a new adventure of attending a women’s Bible study at church and I’m excited about the people we may meet and the new friendships we all three may be blessed with. I am excited about my first wedding anniversary with my dear, sweet husband who shows me every day what true, Godly love is all about! I am excited to meet my grandson in April or May, whenever He decides the little guy needs to arrive, celebrating Mother’s Day with my daughter, celebrating the first wedding anniversary of her and her husband in May and I am so looking forward to the beach trip to relax, reflect and renew!
I am ending this year by letting go of the hurts of 2016 and taking what I have learned about different personalities, and the why’s of others and will use that knowledge to form new relationships!
I am ending this year by asking my Lord and Savior to lead me down the right path and be the wife, mother, friend He calls me to be through His word and with His hands guiding all I say and do.
I am ending this year being grateful and thankful to a Savior who loves me with mercy, grace, unconditionally and always reaches His arms to me when I am sad, or need a renewing of the spirit. I am ending this year thanking Him for the husband, kids and friends I have in my life who show me love, compassion, rejoice in the good times and support in the trying times.
I end this year being so full of love and blessings…
To my faithful wordpress readers and friends, I wish you all a blessed new year, thank you for your words of encouragement…

Happy New Year…
In His love and grace,
Teresa
Romans 5:1-5

Today was day one of being a warrior for God in the DR. We traveled to a school and played with the kids. What was great was hearing and seeing the kids yell hola, hola…the teachers didn’t seem thrilled we were there but the kids, they were amazing!!…one girl saw the cross tattoo on my arm and the drawing began. I must have drawn 60 of them in all shapes, sizes and color. We ate lunch at camp, practiced our skit and headed to the church for our princess camp. When we pulled up to the church, there was an older gentleman standing in his doorway and waved and shouted “hola, dios te ama”!! I waved and said it back to him…We had 32 girls and some of their moms stayed. We played a game “juegos” had a historia biblical and started our boxes. What I noticed most is that the moms seemed just as thrilled as the kids. The moms wanted to play the games and listened intently to our skit and lesson.

The language barrier is slightly annoying. The kids – well you can’t tell if they speak English or not. But a sweet girl named Natalie speaks English well and wants to be a doctor. It’s pretty awesome so far, especially having her interpret and teach Spanish to me.

Day 2 was rough. We visited a hospital and the conditions are sad. When you go to the hospital you take your own linens, towels, toilet paper, and if you need it, blood. There is no air conditioning and no ceiling fans. We visited with several families and I was blessed to pray for a young man with dengue virus, a whole room full of ill men and their families. Each man was happy we were there to pray. One of our leaders was praying for a man whose wife was in surgery and he, in turn, started praying for us! What’s truly awesome about the Dominicans is that they truly have a heart for Jesus…more heart then what I’ve personally witnessed in America.

Day 3
What makes me sad, is that it seems, the women here are so repressed. We saw a 14 year old girl who was married with two kids. The women seem to have one job in most of the villages…raising their kids and sweeping. I wonder how many of these young girls had dreams of something more. Or is this the life they are completely happy with? Would I be happy raising kids and grandkids…if that was all I knew would I wish for something more? I’m not 100% sure. Everyone here seems so happy and they care for each other like a “Leave it Beaver” society. I adore it. I definitely want to expand my Spanish so I can have a better, non broken type of conversation!!!

Day 4

Today we visited the children’s hospital. While there is no air conditioning there are ceiling fans. There are 6-8 beds in every room. Again, the same, you bring your own linens, towels, blood…no hospital gowns in either hospital.

I got to pray with Ganiel broken leg surgery today. Had a car accident and broke his leg below the knee. Mother and father with him.
Met a young girl named Elliana with a broken leg due to boy at school pushing her down.
Met a man whose son Mike was in a car accident with his baby. His baby died. Mike critical.
Met another young girl in a car accident and hurt her leg, shoulder and arm.
Yosayiti is 7 with leukemia. Needs bone marrow transplant. Been three months since she found out she needs the transplant. Hoping to come to America, but has to apply for a visa, then figure out if she will go to Miami or Boston. Her parents bought her blood, but it went bad, so they bought more. Transplant from her sister. While I was observing and listening to other stories, there was a lady looking in our room holding a young girl, maybe 9 months old. She motioned for me to come over. I asked me, just to be sure and she vehemently shook her head yes. I walked over and she started speaking, I said, “lo siento no ha lo espanol”. She waved her hands and shook her head and put her hands together in prayer and bowed her head. I spoke and put my hands together and said “you want me to pray?” “Si,Si”. She said. So I took her hand and put my hand on her child and prayed. After I gave her some color sheets and crayons and asked if I could look at her daughters x-ray to see if I could “entender” and she said “Si” so I looked and I see that her daughter has a blockages not her intestines. I told her I would pray from America. She squeezed my hand. I turned and let the tears roll. No language barrier when you go to Dios in love and prayer.

I keep wondering what I learned from.this trip. First and foremost, i didn’t come thinking I would be a blessing, I came knowing I’d be blessed. The girls in our princess camp were awesome but the moms even more so. Doing the skits and lessons and watching the moms and grandmas I wonder if anyone ever told them of their worth. I saw the looks on their faces and the tears in their eyes…they certainly know Jesus and His love for them. But do their husbands treat them like Christ does? From what I observed, no.
The girls in the hospital with babies…no older then 18, some as young as 14. Their life is now raising children, cooking, sweeping and caring for their family. The hospital is over populated with doctors and nurses, what is their other option for work?
The government here tells you where to live and can take your property at any time. The police don’t seem fair or to care if something is stolen.
The families in the hospital will break your heart. They take their own linens, blood, toilet paper and there is no hospital gown. The one family with their father, who was probably dying, touched my heart. The daughter with big tears in her eyes, well, you don’t always see love like that. And that is huge with the Dominican people…the love they have for one another. Not only for their family, but for each other. The love is huge. And extended to us daily. Americans can learn a lot about love for one another.
Americans have so much stuff, but do we always have love!? Not just love for Christ love for one another. In my own family I know the answer is no, because most of my family is self serving and care only about their feelings.
My little Berleny not only wanted to do crafts for herself, but also for her sisters. My sister only thinks about herself and how things effect her. Certainly not Christ-like.
This trip was 14 months in the making. I was honored I was asked to go in the midst of huge heartache. I was blessed to be a part of a team of women to love on these young girls and the family…I was blessed to sing “He’s got the whole world in His Hands” in English yet the motions to the song had no difference. The girls understood, the mothers even more and the last night singing I looked at my leader with tears streaming down my face and our eyes met and our hearts knew what the other was thinking…Our lives have been blessed beyond measure, our lives have been changed by crafts, songs, skits and a lesson about God’s love for us. It doesn’t matter if we are rich, poor, fat, thin, ugly, beautiful…God loves us for us. He made us to show His love! Not just to those whose language we speak, but love from hearts.
My life has been changed. A huge piece of my heart is staying in this country I may never see again. My heart has been turned upside down by the kids at the schools, hospitals, and churches we visited. My thoughts are full of the stories from each place and I’ll wonder daily how the people are. I’ll picture their smiling faces every hour, and my heart will beat for them every minute.
I’m headed back to the states now, to see my family, to love on my animals and to fall back into the routine of work and home. It’s not easy to leave, I’ll wander every day if the people I encountered will think of me. If they do, I hope they know, I’m thinking of them, praying them up, and loving them from here.
In the weeks since I’ve been home, I haven’t shared my thoughts about this trip with very many people, mainly because no one has really asked, and it’s not something I feel I should just say “hey, let me tell you about this trip I went on”. That isn’t really my personality. I’ve found my girls on facebook and I’m having fun fun talking to them. I’m learning more and more Spanish by talking to them, and I miss all of them. I especially miss the evening worship service with my husband and our evenings talking about the day. I miss the hourly focus on Christ and Christ alone. I miss the Dominican people and the team work they always display. Can Americans ever be this way?
So, I’m loving 9 girls from afar and praying for them daily. I am waiting for God to answer the question…should I go back to the DR? And I’m watching my girls on Facebook and reminding them they are God’s, I am God’s, and we will someday be together again…always joined in this life by heart and spirit…

I’m so confused (I stay confused at times)
I know I heard you loud and clear (I hear God speaking, and I know what I am supposed to do…)
So, I followed through (I pray, go to church, stay in His word, build my relationship with HIM)
Somehow I ended up here (so, why at times in my life have I ended up not knowing how I ended up where I was…)

I don’t wanna think, I may never understand, that my broken heart is a part of your plan (But then I remember your heart hurts when I hurt)
When I try to pray, all I’ve got is hurt and these four words
(sometimes four words is truly all we need to say, thank you for hearing what we cannot speak)

Thy will be done. Thy will be done! Thy will be done!!

I know you’re good, but this don’t feel good right now
(when I hurt, when I am at a loss for words, when nothing comforts, when I lost a child, when my child was diagnosed with disease, when I divorced, when my daughter ran away, when my family slammed doors…)
And I know you think, of things I could never think about
(you are all powerful, all knowing, and understand all…you give, you take away, you know what’s best for us and when it is best)

It’s hard to count it all joy
(I should rejoice in pain, in sorrow, when I am in the deepest despair)

Distracted by the noise, just trying to make sense, of all your promises
(you did not promise me life would be easy, you promised you’d be with me in the storms)

Sometimes I gotta stop, remember that you’re God, and I am not
(no, I am not God, I am not all powerful, all knowing, I can’t even tie my shoes without your strength giving me the power and knowledge to breath!)

So, Thy will be done, Thy will be done, Thy will be done
Like a child on my knees all that comes to me is
They Will be done…
I know you see me, I know you hear me, Lord
Your plans are for me, goodness you have in store

So I promised a blog about this song, and it is a very powerful song, one I keep singing over and over again, as I see those around me struggling, hurting, trying to find you in them midst of pain…it’s an acknowledgment to our Lord no matter what we want for us, HIS will is always better…always best…HIS will is the only will we need to think about.

This song makes me think about my soft-hearted, kind, loving son-in-law and the wounds he has felt from a very young age. Wounds from his parents, his friends, his siblings (I see your pain, I understand your pain, I will walk you through this storm my son) I pray God will give him the answers he needs, the answers his heart longs to hear, and I know God’s will and God’s time is the best…my prayers are heard. God’s will be done.

I think about my beautiful daughter and the wounds in her heart. Wounds I have caused and acknowledged and for which I have apologized. I think about the restoration and acknowledgment she wants and needs in her life, for her heart to be softened and I pray knowing what she wishes, but know that God’s will and timing is best. I know she sees and feels my apologies, my validation of her feelings at all times. I know my prayers are heard. God’s will be done.

I think about my friends who have struggled for years with infertility, who lost a pregnancy and now who are awaiting their first children. Their strength, their acknowledgement that God’s will is what they long for, and they will raise their children knowing who gave them these precious gifts. God heard their prayers. His will be done.

I think about my beautiful friend and the singer in David and my wedding – who is currently at the hospital with her very ill husband. My wishes, as I am sure all our wishes, are for him to recover and wake up and say “thanks Becca for taking care of me” and go back to sleep and we will know God is healing him…of course, deep down, I know God is healing him, but will that healing be so he is on this earth for another 20-30 years, or will God call him home to live with him? I know my prayers are heard. **

I think about my own wishes for my own life. I think about my marriage, my children, my future grandchildren, my friends, my beautiful family in Christ and I know my wishes are heard, but it is certainly God’s will that will prevail over all.

I think about the wounds of my own life and how He has restored them in His way, not the way, I originally wished for them to be, but His will was done, and His will was WAY better than anything I could have wished or prayed…His answer to some relationships is for me to remain silent and continue to watch the actions and words of others. Those who believe they have never done wrong, those who stand in judgment of me, of my child, my husband, and I will remain in His will – staying silent.

I think about the future and what His will is…I know what doors He has closed and told me to rest easy, He would take care of opening those doors in His time, I can rest, and know I’ve done my part.

I think about my sisters in Christ Jesus and why He brought them to my life and how His will has empowered me with friends, family and relationships in His name.

I find myself on my knees, wondering what His will is, praying for healing, restoration, and I find myself at a loss for words in times of sadness, sorrow…and I know all I need to know and say is “your will be done Lord” and my prayer is answered.

I hope when others look into my life and hear my story, and learn what areas of my life I asked for God for His will to be done, and sat and waited for His will and what God did in my life, well, I hope it helps. I hope they see the mistakes, the faith, the waiting, the hope and know God’s will is for us to be happy, and He has not left us when we make a mistake, when we are wounded, He carries us, He feels our pain, I understand now my mistakes, my hurt, my wounds, my sorrow, were a way to bring me closer to God, to be vulnerable and give HIM my life, not my parents, my ex’s, not my child. But God. He had my life from the very moment He knit me together. Now I understand, His promises, I understand I have to stop and remember HE is GOD…I need to remember HE is in control. I need to remember HIS WILL will always be done, and the sooner we succumb, the sooner we give ourself to HIM we will experience a joy, a goodness, only HE has in store for us…it’s always, always, always better God’s way. He will give you what you need at just the right time. I can definitely attest to this goodness.

Are you ready to to give your life to Him?
Are you ready for His will to be done in your heart?
Are you like a child on your knees?
Are you ready for the joy and goodness He has for your life?
Do you understand His plans are always for YOU?

I encourage you, no matter what your life is like right now, no matter your walk with others or with Christ, no matter the mistakes, the hurt, the sorrow, the joys…get on your knees, and just say the four words…Thy Will Be Done. Say them over and over again, share your story of faith and hope…His will be done…

Romans 8:1-5

**As of the this posting, my friend’s husband passed away. One more son has gone to sleep, to rest in the Father’s arms, until we all meet in heaven to rejoice.

Hannah Kerr – I Stand Here –
“My desperate feet Come running to you from shaky ground facing defeat I am holding onto Your promise now raise me up on eagle’s wrings give my soul your bigger dreams breathe your life into me a battle cry is in my lungs singing out “Your kingdom come” fall in us pour out your love I stand here at you feet I’m laying down the fear in me And as your child claiming peace Oh give this heart your victory I stand here, I stand here…

My weary bones they come alive with the sound of you restoring hope in my anxious spirit forever new raise me up on eagle’s wrings give my soul your bigger dreams breathe your life into me a battle cry is in my lungs singing out “Your kingdom come” fall in us pour out your love…I stand here at you feet I’m laying down the fear in me and as your child claiming peace oh give this heart your victory I stand here, I stand here…

Away from brokenness into your promises Lord I’m standing, i’m standing here Away from brokenness into your promises Lord I’m standing, i’m standing here
I stand here at you feet I’m laying down the fear in me and as your child claiming peace oh give this heart your victory I stand here I stand here, oh Lord I stand here”

Funny, I was just speaking to my husband last night about fear and love. I told him I truly realize for the first time in my life I’m not afraid of someone. He knows all my “junk” and doesn’t hold it against me, or bring it up in conversation, I’m the only one who does that, and that’s when I let Satan have control of my thoughts. I’m learning how to stop those thoughts, though, and first it’s with prayer, and second by telling myself, “I’m standing before God and HE sees my heart and my life, I fear no evil” I repeat this process about 100 times a day, if not more.

I realize after reading 1 John, specifically,

1 John 4:18 “there is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love”.

WOW…I grew up in fear and knew if I did one thing wrong the love would be taken away and it was proven to me over and over again – if my family’s love was perfect I would have them today. This carried into my marriages, friendships and sometimes other personal relationships – and everyone has proven this to be true – love was used to gain something from me, they knew if I felt the threat of the love going away, I would be under their control. If I am fearing, however, that is not love.

Now I know the difference between real, perfect love and imperfect love. Now I understand why I spent years searching for love and acceptance for no reason,and a lot of time in the wrong places with the wrong people. Last year, I had an epiphany of sorts, I had a realization, I gained knowledge and took a deep look at my life and what was wrong with it…what I was striving for, and not only was I hurting myself, I was hurting others in the process. I had someone tell me to be completely honest with them at all times, and I finally found the honesty, and thought I was living fearfully, but I soon learned that being honest and stating how you see the world, how you see your life, how you see their life, was not going to work with someone who wasn’t living in and with Christ. Now I truly understand that love, and started to embrace it last April, when I was baptized I made a promise to myself to never go back to what broke me, and I’m not. I see God’s love, I feel God’s love and all I can continue to say is how great is His love? How great is my relationship with Him? How great is knowing I am made new, perfect and He sees me as flawless.

It is funny to me that I met and knew my husband was the one for me in less than two weeks, I know he felt the same because not only was he walking with God, he was searching for a woman growing and seeking God’s heart. It wasn’t that we “fell in love” as people say, I’ve learned through my marriage class through my church people who “fall in love” will also “fall out of love” and this too has proven to be true. If you can’t share you love and knowledge of God in relationships, they will not work. They won’t. No matter how hard we try. It’s broken from the start and it can only be healed through God’s grace and mercy.

So yes, this love thing is new for me…the perfect, fearless love. I don’t fear anyone or anything anymore and when I do, my husband reminds me, the evil one will try to steal our joy and make us feel less than that perfect love, but I stand here before God every morning and know I have to lay down the fear because if I don’t, I’m not letting love win. I have come to realize people use threats, chaos, past mistakes you have made, and their own assumptions to cast fear in your path and to bring you back to the person you once were before you found your life in Christ. I have found people don’t see the transformation you have made, the caterpillar becoming the butterfly and hold you captive in their cocoon of anger, hurt, and they feel justified in what they are doing because they refuse to see. Last night, after our night of worship at church, I had several of my husband’s friends tell me to stay strong and don’t let anyone rob my joy, God’s got it all, and I can rest in their prayers and God’s promises…I also realize now I need to pray for these people who try to attack, for they are not experiencing perfect, fearless love. I have a cloud of witnesses surrounding me and bringing peace and fearless love…

I will continue to claim peace as God’s child and I will continue to stand before God and let all fear go, I am not broken, He breathes His life into me, I am continuing to exclaim, “your kingdom come”, I am His Child He surrounds me, He protects me, He gave me victory.

Romans 5:1-5

“In our own case, we accept excuses far too easily, in other people’s, we do not accept them enough. As regards my own sins, it is a safe bet that the excuses are not really so good as I think; as regards other men’s sins, it is a safe bet, that the excuses are better than I think…to excuse what can really produce good excuses is not Christian charity; it is only fairness. To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the excusable in you.” C.S. Lewis.

What a beautiful quote I read tonight as I was doing my D.C. homework. Funny, I’ve had trouble writing lately because I’ve had too many thoughts wrapping around my brain – mainly because I’m fighting Satan at every angle of my life. I do not want to go back to my old life, and one tiny slip will spin me spiraling out of control into the dark again. I’ve had trouble writing too because I keep thinking about a text I received from – what I thought – was one of my best friends and someone I loved dearly, although she recently told me I did not love her – I guess because I chose a different path than what even I expected. Her text read “you are right, I do not know you. The person I know is gone. Very sad.”

Really? You prefer the broken me over the newly healed me? You prefer the person who would let everyone walk all over her and not give her any respect? You prefer the person who was sad all the time? You prefer the person who strove for perfection at all times, yet received no thanks, no praise, no recognition? You prefer the person who was spiraling down to a depression no one could save her from?

This same “friend” then went on to tell me how I had lied to her, to my therapist and yet doesn’t want to be put into the same category as my earthly family who also doesn’t see the new me, the free me, the saved me!

I’ve shown several people who know my story the text about the old me being gone and they all say the same thing “hallelujah”! Yes, my therapist may have just been – as my earthly mom pointed out – a licensed clinical social worker – but she helped saved me. Weekly visits followed by biweekly visits – finally ending in “hey, Teresa, you got this, you are where you are supposed to be, you can keep coming here, but I really have nothing else to offer” – What? I’m cured? Why, how can you say that? She could say that because I did the work, I did the homework, I did the resting, reflecting and repenting! Not only was I seeing her, but I was meeting twice a week with my Christian family who drove me towards God’s word so I could see that I was worth something to my Lord and Savior. He sees me. He knows my worth, more importantly, He knows my name!

I also recently saw a Facebook post that read “Never run back to what broke you” Toby Mac…

Never run back to what broke you…hmmm…to me that explains a lot. I’ve spent 46 almost 47 years running back to what broke me. I’ve tried to live up to everyone’s expectations and not given too much thought as to what God thought of me, or what I even think of me. Last March it hit so hard and in April even harder, and in May when I decided to give my life to Christ, it wasn’t a whim, or just a “oh hey, let’s try this for a while” it was a “I’m all in this and need to do better and need to really focus on the one man who gave HIS one and ONLY Son for my undying, undivided, 100% attentive love!”

Being accused of lying, cheating, no fully disclosing who I am to people and being accused of having mental instability, bipolar disorder, multiple personality disorder, hearing my earthly parents say to my therapist “do you know what we’ve been through with this one?” Really? Do these same people know what God has gone through waiting for us? What we have done to disrespect God? To run from Him and try to live on our own? To try to prove to GOD that “I got this, I don’t need you?” It’s okay, go ahead and view me as you want. I know the truth, God certainly knows the truth, and if you opened you eyes, listened, saw, heard, watched me, you’d see too…

So, yes, in the past, I have accepted excuses for what I have done too easily, I’ve been too hard on others and not accepted their excuses for what I believed has wronged me and I have forgiven because Christ forgave me. But that does not mean I’ll go running back to what broke me. No way, no how. I see me FINALLY for what God sees. And that’s a very valuable, lovable, grace-filled creation. I am worthy – and I will not be broken – not again. Not as long as God is with me and I plan to remain in Him forever.

Romans 5:1-5

Christmas day came and went, without my daughter, Olivia.  It’s the second one without her, and never something I dreamed I would endure.  And as I was talking to a friend about my earthly family on Christmas Eve, and realized they do not see me as Christ does (and probably never will) and they certainly don’t love as Christ does, that’s not a healthy relationship to be in.  I thought about if my salvation depends on whether or not I continue on a path to continue to let them verbally berate me, and the answer is no.  I do forgive all their trespasses, and I have a pure heart when it comes to how I love them, because I see them as Christ does.  Forgiven, imperfect, flawless and I can extend grace.  

I miss Olivia.  I miss her smile, I miss her laugh, I miss her perspective on life, and I wonder, if she could and would see me now, what her thoughts would be on all I’ve been through since 2004.  How I know this is where she wanted me to be, and how she wanted me to see how I can be loved, and I believe in my heart she would be so incredibly happy and proud.  Because her mom, finally gets it.

I think about all the bad relationships I have been in – with those who cannot love as Christ does – and how this past year was a true transformation for me, and I want to encourage all of you out there who are struggling with relationships where you are not loved as Christ loves – get out.  Do not continue on the path I was for so long…my normal was if someone wasn’t being mean or telling me how wrong I am about life, not fully respecting me or my beliefs, they weren’t fully loving me.  Now I realize how unhealthy a path that was – and while it’s difficult at times to realize I deserve to be loved, it’s a true honor to be in healthy, loving, compassionate, grace-filled relationships, I am learning to accept them.  It’s not easy to let the good, positive, love in, but I will eventually learn that I am worth every ounce that is pouring in…

I heard a Christmas song the other night, and it’s been a long time since I heard it but the words state:

God is in us, God is for us, God is with us Immanuel.

God is in us.  Yes, He is.  He is in our hearts all we have to do is embrace it.

God is for us.  Yes, God is for us in every situation.  He doesn’t leave us – even we we stray – He doesn’t keep records of our wrong, and when we turn to Him, He wraps His arms around us and holds on tight.

God is with us.  Immanuel.  God is with us.  Immanuel.  Every step we take, every situation we endure, every harsh word spoken, every tear we cry, every joy we experience, God is with us.

So as I reflected on the day, and all I was blessed with from the start of the day, to very end, I realized how loved I really am, and how many people out there I genuinely love.  This past year of resting, repenting, reflecting…how blessed I am.  I was given a gift years ago, of forgiveness, salvation, and genuine pure love when God sent His son to save the world.  God was literally with us then, and He is certainly with us now.  It doesn’t matter if it’s Christmas Day, Easter, or any other religious holiday we choose to celebrate, God is with us daily, hourly, moment to moment…

A friend said to me the other day, “you are very important to a lot of people”…I never realized I was important, I mattered, my heart meant something to people…now I see it.  Now I get it.  Now I want all that love, I want to matter, I’m finding my way to “home”.  My heart feels at peace, my steps are lighter, my mornings brighter, and I wake up and pray and thank God for all He has given me for the day – before the day even begins.

It used to be – when I was in a relationship, I still felt lonely.  The loneliness never really went away.  Now, even when I am by myself, I am not lonely.  I know someone is with me every moment of every day.  It could be a friend, a co-worker, a brother or sister in Christ, but for the first time, I know when no one else is around, God surrounds me with His arms, His love, His grace.

Michael W. Smith has a song, entitled “When Love Take You In” and it so true.  You can search your entire life and seek for a home to call your own, you can cry yourself  to sleep, drift off, dream, but when love takes you in, everything truly changes… a miracle truly starts with the beat of a heart that knows and, and more importantly, feels it belongs…my heart is so full right now…I feel like crying happy tears and continuously thanking those around me for believing in me, accepting me, pushing me to become all I should become…all I could become.  There is nothing like fully coming into your own and realizing your potential in what God has made you to become.  And then to know those around you are loving you as God made you…well, this is the type of love that never lets go…and frankly, I don’t plan on letting it go.

I encourage everyone to let love take you in, let God wrap His arms around your heart, and your entire being…let God show you WHO you are and WHAT you are and you’ll learn HOW to love yourself…and when you love yourself, it’s so easy to let others love you too…so I’ll leave you with this…

“When love takes you in, and everything changes, a miracle starts, with the beat of a heart, when love takes you home, and says you belong here, a loneliness ends, and a new life begins, when love takes you in…”

Find love people…

Matthew 1:22-23