Count Your Blessings

Have you ever noticed that we really hold God to the big things and forget all the essential “little” things He does for us on a daily basis?

Or that maybe, we think the bigger the blessing the less likely God will oblige our wants/dreams.

As Christians we often settle for less and call it humility instead of believing God truly does want to bless us—His children!

“If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:11)

Love at its core is sacrificial. When you love someone you sacrifice your time, energy, and resources ($$). That is why we have so many ‘giving’ holidays—we love to bless those we love!

How much more does God want to bless us? Hasn’t He already given His only Son? That is the greatest blessing He could give and He did so freely when we were still lost! So is it really so wrong to ask Him for things?

There are circumstances when God’s answer is “not yet.” But understand that He cares about what you care about—and He also knows what’s best for you.

Some blessings can easily become a curse if they are given prematurely. Sometimes we aren’t ready to receive them. And if we aren’t ready to receive how can we hope to keep them?

A job promotion (at work or church)…A winning lottery ticket…A new house/car…A inheritance…all things that can backfire if mishandled.

“…70 percent of lotto winners lose or spend all that money in five years or less.” (Readers Digest)

I don’t know about you, but there have been many times in my life I thought I was ready for something, was forced to wait, and then realized that it was God’s timing that saved me from a world of heartache.

I remember falling in love with boy and asking God to be able to marry him—turns out He had someone far better in mind for me. And I can remember the first time I tried to serve in our old church Kids ministry and just wasn’t cut out for it. Turns out God wanted me to learn and grow, gaining experience until one day I was “cut out” and even anointed to do it excellently.

God’s blessings and promotions have always been right on time. And He has even given me things just to show how good and invested in our lives and interests He really is.

He’s spontaneous like a lover after His Bride’s heart. It has always been these little blessings that amaze me most because they prove God is personal, thoughtful, and involved in our lives.

I’ll give you one of many examples of how God drops these little blessings into my day-to-day:

I’m a big Star Trek fan, and I’ve been longing for some more books to read. In fact, I’ve had a list saved on Amazon for some time—just sitting there because I didn’t want to selfishly spend so much on them new.

Our local library started a book market and I figured I’d stop in and find some books for my son (secretly hoping to find at least one good Star Trek novel). When I got there I gravitated toward the sci-fi section and gaped at the huge row of donated Star Trek novels, hardback, and many of the ones I wanted to read.

I came home with a huge box full as well as a few books for my son (one is is favorite right now) all dirt cheap.

Little blessings or divine appointments like this happen all the time. The moment I think of something I need or really want—it suddenly becomes available to me in ways that make me smile to the heavens in thanks.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that God knows you. He wants to give you good gifts and pour out His love upon you. All you need to do is believe, position yourself to receive, and wait.

And remember that you are blessed by God already. He gave you His own Son. The breath of life. And so much more….

Many of the gifts God gives me, such as my stash of Star Trek books, will fade away to dust. But the everlasting gift of salvation through His Son, will never fade and cannot be stolen from you.

Only you can give that away.

So count your blessings, no matter how dark this world gets, no matter what you see happening in the world around you during these uncertain times…count your blessings. Remember who you are, what you are here to do, and the everlasting home you will return to someday.

Praise Him, our Good Father, day and night…let your first and last prayer be that of praise and thanksgiving. Amen!


Take Up Your Cross

“What but a supernatural power could have preserved them [the Jewish people] in such a manner as none other nation upon earth hath been preserved.”
—Thomas Newton

Since the beginning of humanity, God’s people have been attacked, killed, and led astray. If one were to find themselves in doubt over the legitimacy of the Bible, he/she need only look at how this world still hates the Jewish nation and Christianity.

No other religion is hated/targeted worldwide. And in fact, the most violent of beliefs (Islam), which exists to purge the world of Jewish/Christian followers (infidels), manages to do so widely unchallenged. It would seem that no amount of violence could solicit the same hate that “we” get by merely breathing.

I say this not with an “us against them” mentality, but to shed light on the fact that the devil is still the ruler of this world. He is our enemy whose deception fails to mask his hatred and “mission” to destroy men and women of God.

This proves that the Word of God is true. Especially, when you take into account the resiliency of our Faith. Withstanding the hate of the world for centuries—and still growing!

The Jewish nation of Israel, for example—is still standing and growing in number/advancement, even when attack wages against it from every side and its allies fail to assist them.

The devil may run the world, but God is ultimately in control.

Our faith is not for the faint of heart. In the picture above, we see the final act of hatred. Genocide. Beginning with the Egyptians, Philistines, Assyrians, and in this picture, the Romans…who destroyed the great temple (a second time) and crucified many Jews.

No one knows the exact number of crucifixions. At one point, entire forests were leveled in the making of crosses, and 500 Jews a day were killed…

After Roman rule, the land of Jerusalem continues to be captured, conquered, ruled, and dismantled, and even today is under constant attack from Palestine and Islamic terrorists.

Jerusalem isn’t the only place of long suffering. As we know from WWII, the Holocaust (over 6 million Jews were tortured and killed). Christian genocide is also happening throughout the world, but not gaining the same public recognition/outrage. It would seem that the Holocaust was the last time the world cared about the lives of Jews and Gentile alike.

Based on the yearly findings of the Center for the Study of Global Christianity (CSGC), an estimated 100,000 Christians are martyred each year.

Other sites agree that this equates to a Christian being killed roughly every 5 minutes.

Burma, China, Eritrea, India, Iran, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Vietnam are listed as “countries of particular concern” for Christian persecution by the US Commission on International Religious Freedom’s 2020 report.

That of course doesn’t take into account the latest developments in Afghanistan this year and how that has effected the region’s Christians and underground churches.

Here in America, there is also a hatred, and that hatred is being fanned into an ever growing inferno against the Christian morals and churches in this country.

Suddenly, we’re being labeled as evil, close-minded, uncaring, judgmental, racist, and hateful…and sadly, there are some religious spirit filled churches and people who haven’t exactly loved like Jesus.

It is up to us to break the stigma, to love like Christ, and stand firm on the Word of God and it’s moral truths.

Why? Because sin =destruction (death)

And as for our faith?

“Then Jesus said to his disciples, “whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.”’ —Matthew 16:24-25

It’s all or nothing…when you become a Christian you are openly siding against this world and it’s leader. You are in many ways painting a target on your back, taking the road less traveled, and welcoming persecution in every form.

You are choosing self sacrifice. Selfless love, and surrender. You are declaring that truth, what is right, should be upheld regardless of how the world flees from it. Your offering up your life, your talents, your time, and your treasure onto God saying, “do as you will.”

In the years to come, you will be forced to decide between what is right and what is easy. You will either make a stand or bow, fight or flee, stand on God’s Word or conform to this world’s “truth.”

The age of American Christianity is (more than likely) nearing its end. And it will give way to real Christianity…the kind that doesn’t bend, can’t be contained, and isn’t easily extinguished. The kind that martyrs are made from.

Are you ready to pick up your cross? To follow Jesus to the very ends of the earth?

I’m not declaring that we will all perish as martyrs. My goal with this post is merely to awaken us to action, and to reflect upon our faith.

Regardless of what happens in America, it cannot be denied that times are changing and the church must react before that right is taken away. We need to ditch our fear of man, fear of dislike, and understand that if we wanted to be liked we wouldn’t be here, doing the ministry of Christ.

When does it become real? What side will you stand on when persecution knocks on your door?

Is Jesus really enough?

A Thief in the Night

It’s been three years.

I only just met you, but already knew so much about you from my church family. They told me story after story as we painted and cleaned up the home you would be moving into.

God called you all to do ministry with us in Marion, Oh. You sold your home in Virginia, left your job and packed up your little two year old for the long trip towards a new beginning.

The church rejoiced. I’d never seen our pastor and his family so excited (they watched you grow and saw you as their own daughter).

I honestly felt overshadowed by your brilliant light. That you would very quickly replace me in their hearts because of your history, your love, and your faith. But it was a selfish fear and I drove it away by pouring myself into servitude. Helping prepare the way for you to come and settle here.

I wanted to know you. To be your friend.

You were here only a short while. I met and played with your beautiful son. I laughed with your amazing husband. And I hugged you, in passing, as we hurried about one Sunday. I hope to get to know you more—there will be plenty of time for that. I thought as we smiled and went our own ways.

Things were looking up. God was with us and nothing could stop our momentum as a family of believers….until…

I climbed into my car after work, and heard my cell ring. I answered and it was my husband Aaron. With a heavy voice he told me that Rachel Sullivan was gone.

What? Who?

I couldn’t believe it. The world stopped, and I saw Isaac’s precious face and her husband Jared’s smile flash across my conscious.

“There was a car accident…” Aaron didn’t say much more because he had our pastor’s son with him.

I hung up the phone and for the first time in my life I screamed and punched the dash, cursing God. “F**! F**!” I yelled with everything inside of me.

I had to pull myself together, after all…I didn’t lose Rachel…my church family did. Those who knew her since she was a small child, those who laughed with her and spent hours in her company.

Our pastor’s kids wanted us, needed us…

They came over and we hugged for a long time, and we took them for a long walk. And I vowed I would try to fill the bottomless void Rachel left behind.

I never did come close.

The next few days were slow, and shock filled. Isaac didn’t know and didn’t understand.

My mom had him and the pastor’s daughters over to swim and we all smiled and played with him while I balled inside. “THIS IS NOT FAIR!”

God why did you allow this to happen? You called them here!! Are you not our protector? I thought you were good! That I could trust in you!

My resentment and distrust grew. My rage and brokenness remained even as everyone else picked up their lives and tried to move on in faith.

I comforted, I cried, I prayed…and Rachel still remained gone.

We drove all the way to Virginia to attend the funeral. It felt so wrong…Isaac was turning three…and his mommy was going to miss it, and all the birthdays after that.

I remember the happy pictures on the slideshows…I remember Jared. Alone and crying. Living the worst nightmare. And I remember sitting in silence with my church family as they played the song, “Oceans (Where Feet May Fall).”

Rachel always wanted to have a baby and Isaac was a dream come true. She loved being his mommy. She loved coffee and people (working at Starbucks-where she was headed before the car accident).

She was gentle and fun loving. She was faithful and a good friend. I know this because of all those her life touched. She had ministry dreams which her husband is now pursuing.

It was this that put a wedge between me and God. I pulled away from Him and began to doubt He was who He said He was.

I wish I could say that I have fully overcome or that I have the answer as to why this happened to those I love with all my heart. But I haven’t and I don’t.

Honestly, I have to learn to accept that I probably will never know the answer. I have to chose (just like with any tragedy, loss, hardship, and attack of the enemy) to still trust and to still believe regardless of what I see or feel.

The reality of God and His Word have to be more important than my own feelings and this world’s realities. Death is coming for all of us someday…young or old it will find us. This is a temporary plane—and so we must fix our eyes on eternal matters.

We’ll all see Rachel again. And what a glorious reunion that will be for everyone her life touched here.

The devil’s sole purpose is to make us forget who God is, who we are, and our authority to change our lives and those around us. I know that if we were to ask Rachel whom she loves and trusts—her answer would not have changed, even now.

If I don’t trust Him…who will I trust? Who has the power to save? Who is our only hope of salvation and restoration?

I’m beginning to realize how much I need God. Whether I live or die (to live is Christ to die is gain), I choose to believe in Him and trust Him to make all things new.

He is still my protector and shield. His plans for me are good. What happened to Rachel was not His will or His plan for her. But He has brought beauty from ashes…and her legacy lives on (still transforming lives and bringing hope).

Our church is as strong and united as ever! In our pressing onward God has poured out His goodness and blessings.

Life goes on.

I say all this because I know that we share this brokenness. Some hurt dealt us by the enemy. He is the one who robbed you like a thief in the night, he took from you what was not his to take.

Please hold on. Don’t give up on God or fall into the trap that says; “He isn’t good!” What do I know of goodness? What do I know of fairness? Fairness would have been for all of us to die for our sin instead of Jesus.

Doesn’t God deserve the chance to explain and answer your questions in Heaven someday? Hasn’t He done enough for you to deserve at least this?

Rachel may have died, but God blessed her with so much all the years before her death. Look at her son, her husband, the thousands who knew and loved her. I refuse to let her life be summed up into this one accident. Her memory deserves so much more.

I’ve made the decision to keep climbing. Keep pressing. Even if I’m bloodied and broken I am going to finish my race! And the devil can push, torment, and beat me all he wants, I’m not letting go of this ladder! I’m going to stand back up every time! Because I can’t go back to not knowing the truth. I can’t deny who I am and who God is! No one can rip this from me!

If I made a list of all the good things God had done for me, it would go on and on endlessly…and my list of all the bad things that seem to fill my mind so easily would be very very small.

Fight the good fight, run your race. Don’t be afraid of death but of a life/eternity without God. That is the final death the “real” death we can all easily avoid.

Love God and love people, and when it’s time to die—you won’t die. And your legacy of love will live on long after, paving the way to Christ’s return.

You, my brothers and sisters, have a bright future. Don’t ever forget it! Rachel was a window into the brightness of Heaven. Surround yourself with others who share that same Jesus light so you never forget what is waiting in Heaven and what you can release now.

Our time is short…make it count.

God bless each and every one of you. ❤️

Eye of the Beholder

On a daily basis we subconsciously ascribe worth and beauty to what we see around us. From the roses in our garden to the new girl on the block.

As I remodel my home and simultaneously search for a literary agent who will take on my first novel, I am left to wonder whether others will value my hard work as much as I do.

As I stated once before, no one will know the blood, sweat, and tears I shed, the time I spent, and nights I burned the midnight oil working. The truth is, the more we work/sacrifice for something—the greater it’s worth (personally).

Take a child, for example, who was freely given a toy. And another who worked hard, completing chores, picking up small jobs in their free time for weeks in order to buy that same toy.

Who do you think will value it more?

I tied beauty with value in this post because often what we value we also find beautiful in some way. There is an inward pull, an appreciation we feel toward it or them.

We are creatures of worship who also crave beauty (I speak of course, of a beauty that transcends what we outwardly see).

When I worked at a window factory, with its drab walls and machinery, I found myself starving for beauty. Those things crafted by the hand of God instead of by man. Sometimes, I would look up from my station and try and snatch a glimpse of the green trees through the high vents. And I would even smile when I caught a whiff of rain, or saw a dandelion seed float past.

Once home, I would immediately head outdoors to my hammock and just soak up the surroundings. Feeling rejuvenated and content.

Of course, to another, perhaps beauty is in the simplicity, instead of in the complex. What I found distasteful, another may find appealing.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder…

Do you see how different we are? Driving through town I often catch people picking through garbage cans and curbside boxes (dumpster diving) the night before trash day. Apparently finding worth in that which another found worthless.

Do you see how wrong we can be? “Oo-ing” and “awing” over celebrities (many of which are quite ugly underneath) while we turn away from those who have a heart of gold beneath their average appearances, wrinkled faces, and plain clothes.

That is why I am glad that God is the one who ascribes our worth. That He is the one who calls us each beautiful, looking purely at the heart beneath our temporary shells.

Jesus died for both the sinner and the saint. He loved us at our worst, at our ugliest moments. He looked at us “mere dust” and called us “priceless!”

If you find yourself staring in the mirror lately, noticing all too quickly the scars, weight gain, stretch marks, wrinkles/blemishes etc. It is time for you say, “I don’t have the power to define my worth—God does, and He calls me beautiful.”

Particularly us women always try to live up to the standards of men. We want to impress them with our looks and personalities—when really all we should care about is pleasing God (which in turn would open the door for the right man to come into your life). Our identity is found in Christ—placing it in anything or anyone else will always lead to disappointment and depression.

I really hope this speaks to someone out there. “You are more precious than rubies…” (Proverbs 3:15)

Your beauty is in the eyes of The Beholder!

Who He Is

Way Maker

I’ve had this song on my heart this year, and I really believe it was written for such a time as this to remind us of who God is.

The devil is trying is best to make us forget and believe all that God isn’t. In all the fear and uncertainty surrounding us, we must be sure of this one thing—God is Good—and He is a way maker, miracle worker, promise keeper, and light in the darkness (hope) to this hurting world.

I want to break down this chorus phrase by phrase and back up these titles with biblical truth. Please feel free to listen to Way Maker while you read.

You are…

Way Maker

“Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” (Isaiah 43:19)

“…God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13)

“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
(John 14:6)

“Thus says the Lord, who makes a way in the sea, a path in the mighty waters.” (Isaiah 43:16)

Miracle Worker

“You are the God who performs miracles; you display your power among the peoples.” (Psalm 77:14)

“Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”’ (Mark 10:27)

“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” (Mark 11:24)

“The disciples saw Jesus do many other miraculous signs in addition to the ones recorded in this book.” (John 20:30)

Promise Keeper

“Not one of the good promises which the Lord had made to the house of Israel failed; all came to pass.” (Joshua 21:45)

“For as many as are the promises of God, in Him they are yes; therefore also through Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us.” (2 Corinthians 1:20)

“…Who by faith conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions…” (Hebrews 11:33)

“The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)

Light in the Darkness

“This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.” (1 John 1:5)

“His radiance is like the sunlight;
He has rays flashing from His hand,
And there is the hiding of His power.”
(Habakkuk 3:4)

“From the brightness before Him
Coals of fire were kindled.”
(2 Samuel 22:13)

“And his appearance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow.” (Matthew 28:3)

“Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

“For it is you who light my lamp; the Lord my God lightens my darkness.”
(Psalm 18:28)

My God, that is who you are…


Thanks to bizarre circumstances the housing market has never been higher. Everywhere you go people are listing their homes in the hopes of scoring big…we’re one of those hopefuls.

But our home’s been a work in progress for over 5 years now. The ugly carpeted four-layered linoleum kitchen, super glued wallpapered dining room, and heavily wood paneled walls are all gone. More work remains, and now, that work has a timetable.

In order to sell we have to finish remodeling and do it as soon as possible (since the market prices will likely drop back down within this year—or even in a few months!).

And so these days you will find me chipping away at our grand list, alongside chores, caring for our son, working on my novels, and fulfilling church obligations…I’m tired, I’m sore, but I’m also excited.

My blood, sweat, and tears will pay off—whether we end up selling or not. Our home will finally be finished! But no one will know how much work it took to get it that way.

The more work that goes into something the better it is. Take paintings for example…if you go to a gallery you’ll get to appreciate beautiful works of art, but what you won’t see is the hours and frustrations behind the finished works.

Aren’t we the same way? Each of us are (hopefully) under construction. Everyone is at varying levels of completeness (but no one is really complete). When you see an athlete perform or even a world renown person of Faith like Billy Graham preach, you are merely seeing a small piece of an unfinished masterpiece.

Oftentimes, as a Christian, I feel people look at me and think, “life has been easy for her.” They see the smiling faces in my picture frames and on Facebook and think they’ve got me figured out. As if anyone’s life is picture perfect.

A person’s character or faith isn’t something handed to them, but something earned/forged through the overcoming of life’s difficulties. That is the measure of a good man or woman—their perseverance despite the devil’s attacks—to do what is right and to become something more.

I’ve been watching the TV series, Smallville, lately and couldn’t help but understand/sympathize with the lead villain, Lex Luthor. No matter how hard he tries to do the right thing, his plans always backfire. His father doesn’t love him, the town he’s trying to help recover financially isn’t respecting him, and even his best friend (Clark Kent) is lying to him…

“The road to darkness is a journey, not a light switch.” —Lex

I found myself believing that he’d somehow earned the right to retaliate—to give up on being good because the “do-gooders” around him weren’t what they appeared to be.

In many ways they painted him as a man of character and integrity, fighting his way out from under his evil father’s thumb. Now…I realize that it wasn’t “righteousness” that he sought after. But what came with it.

As much as he loathed a father who placed greed and wealth above him, he was no different in that he envied what the townspeople, particularly Clark and his family, possessed.

Clark’s father was a good man, his mother was alive, he had friends who trusted him, and (outwardly) wasn’t burdened by wealth or responsibilities. Lex wanted to be a part of all that, but couldn’t escape his father’s shadow.

This envy is what leads to the fall of many “good” people because inwardly they never really wanted to do the right thing. Just as many give their lives to God simply to avoid hell—missing out on the real reward which is a relationship with Christ.

This world is full of Lex Luthors. People who are selfish and prideful, chasing after their own lusts and desires. Such people lack character and sacrifice. Instead of allowing God to transform their scars they take each failure as another reason to trust in their own misconceptions of reality or morality.

In other words, they are proud of their disheveled home, where cobwebs are forming upon unfinished projects and scattered tools. “There’s nothing wrong with my house,” they say as they judge their neighbors from the porch—unwilling to surrender and admit to themselves that the state of their home is in shambles.

If you seek righteousness for righteousness’ sake, it will not matter how many people oppose you or how many times you face hardships. Why? Because you aren’t doing it in vain or for selfish reasons—your doing it because it’s the right thing to do and nothing the devil throws at you from within or without can change that.

As I remodel my home, I surely hope that I am also under construction. That I remain humble and willing to allow God into my heart to do only what He can do.

I don’t want my heart in shambles, or collecting cobwebs in neglect. I want to constantly be in a state of remodeling until the good Lord says I’m complete.

Is your heart under construction?

The Best is Yet to Come

My little boy is one!

As many of you have read from my previous posts. This year and last have been particularly difficult. With COVID, pregnancy/and birth of our first child, James. As well as our spiritual struggles as we sought to remain Faith-filled and close to each other and God in a world torn and warped by fear.

Now, we finally have climbed and clawed from the valley and, standing on the peak of God’s goodness, we see that the valley really wasn’t so deep and treacherous. It was our own mind, our disconnection from God that made a canyon out of it.

I keep discovering that my fears were pointless, over and over. From COVID, to health issues with myself and James, and financial hurtles. Everything I worked myself up over, giving away my joy and peace, never amounted to anything worth fearing.

God was with me and my family/friends.

COVID -my family and I caught it in October and the symptoms were very mild. God actually brought a blessing from it in that my husband (who was working 70 hrs a week) got to stay home with us for two weeks!

My health- since the birth of my son I had struggled with dizziness/lightheadedness as well as some other concerns which have all disappeared!

My son’s health-from breathing issues (strider), to acid reflux, illnesses, and chronic constipation have all disappeared. He just saw a GI specialist Friday and she gave him a clean bill of health saying that the constipation issues will right themselves out and Miralax will keep him regular til then.

Finances-The pregnancy and birth expenses, unexpected house expenses and struggles from COVID have all been covered one way or another. Aaron has been blessed with a great, stable, job and has so much favor there! He also was able to get a new position which allowed him to not only be home more but to pursue teaching music lessons (currently he is booked!).

God has also surrounded us with people who love us more than we can imagine. Their prayers and support has kept us from backsliding more than we realize.

Our marriage was also greatly tested during all this and God has brought us through, stronger and more in love. As love is ultimately a choice, an offering of sacrifice.

My son celebrated his first birthday on my birthday (he was born May 30th and I was born the 29th), and it was honestly a rough day but everyone came and it was so refreshing to see a mask-less room of smiles.

James has really grown into a beautiful, funny, strong willed, smart, and loving soul. He is very tall for his age, has 8+ teeth, and is always on the move. He loves sweet things, meat and potatoes, and chipotle with guacamole. Food lifts his spirit like nothing else 😂 but he also adores music.

Smash cake time!

He keeps me on my toes and I often go from stressed out of my mind to laughing and wanting nothing more than to hold him close. He’s the greatest blessing of God I could ever receive or “borrow” for this short time…

11 month picture

There is nothing more difficult or rewarding as being a parent. Life is just all the more sweeter, and imagining the days and years before I new James really gives me perspective of how much fuller my life is because he’s in it.

So, standing on this peak of God’s goodness I am in awe at the view.

Difficult times will find us all. And our minds will go through battles that leave us feeling alone and even cursed. In the middle of your pain you might lose sight of the mountain, the promises of God. But just remember that He is the God of the valleys and of the mountains. And He is working all things out for your good. Fighting your battles when you are unaware.

And so long as He is victorious, you will be too. Allow your valleys to mold you and grow your faith. And when you reach those peak moments, don’t forget to thank God and look at all He has done for you.

It’s time we stop asking, “what else could possibly go wrong?” And start saying instead, “the best is yet to come!”

How has God blessed you this year/last year?

What valleys has he helped you through?

My Shelter in the Storm

“Yahweh, you’re the bedrock beneath my feet, my faithfortress, my wonderful deliverer, my God, my rock of rescue where none can reach me. You’re the shield around me, the mighty power that saves me, and my high place.” -Psalms 18:2

The constant battering of life can very easily leave one asking, “where is God?” Especially during times of endless storms, late nights, and stress filled days that seem to drag on and on. In those moments it takes extra strength to acknowledge truth and to count blessings.

Sometimes we get this grande idea that as Christians we can literally calm the storm, like Jesus did on the boat. Only, was not His original plan to ride it out? He was even sleeping! All the while everyone else was in a panic, believing they were going to drown.

The storm they faced that day was a literal one. But Jesus would go on to face many spiritual storms that He was destined to face and surrender to. The greatest of which, His arrest, beating, persecution, and crucifixion.

Yet even in His darkest moment God never abandoned Him. Even though Jesus felt cut off because of His pain, God never left His side and the power of God still rested upon Him. Jesus chose surrender, He chose to die, when in reality He could’ve easily called fire from heaven and ordered angels to rescue Him from the cross.

There will be times in which you will tell the storm to stop and it stops, and other times in which the storm rages on despite your longing for the sun. It’s in those moments we either choose to remain the same or allow God to mold us into something that can withstand any storm.

The devil wants you to become blinded by fear. Storms are powerful, loud, chaotic, and destructive. Spiritual storms are even more so. He wants you to lose control, to become distracted by his attacks that you lose sight of God and His presence amidst the storm.

When you lose sight of God, only then do you start to sink. Giving the devil authority to harm you and your family in ways he wouldn’t have had the authority to do before.

Soon all you will see is what the devil wants you to see, and you’ll start doing his dirty work by seeking out those things for yourself. You’ll turn your anger and resentment off of him and unto God, forgetting yourself and your true enemy.

I’m guilty of this. But thank God that today (in the midst of one of those never ending storms) He gave me a new perspective.

I’m laying in bed, my son, who turns 1 in just a couple days has been battling an illness after being sick off an on for a couple months and dealing with chronic constipation since 6 months.

I’ve waited for hours in waiting rooms, gone through doctor switches, have even played doctor myself more often than not, trying to help my son. But every time I’ve reached out to doctors I’ve hit dead end walls. I’ve often felt the same with prayers.

The stress these last few months from constant turmoil has really taken a toll on me and my marriage. And today, on the brink of having to cancel my sons birthday I’ve looked forward to like an anchor all this time I’ve come to realize that God still has been good to me.

He’s the real reason I want to have a celebration. Without Him I wouldn’t be where I am today, holding my albeit sick little boy, but my greatest blessing nonetheless. I’d go through hell and back for him, and let me tell you sometimes it feels like I have.

Celebration or not, I choose to thank God anyway and to be thankful. We are so blessed to have access to medicine, income, a home, and beautiful property. To be healthy overall and my son as well! We are blessed to have family and friends wanting to celebrate and bless us in return at James party. Those blessings remain regardless of the devils schemes.

And as I shook my head earlier today, thinking, “what could possibly happen next,” as my husband went to mow and found a flat tire I realized I was going about it all wrong. The devil might be making jabs at our property, peace, unity, and joy. But ultimately they were merely jabs and not devastating blows.

God is with us.

What I’d forgotten was that the same God who calms the storms is also the shelter amidst the storms. He gives you the tools you need to overcome every attack from the enemy.

Sure it would be easier and less painful if God never let the devil take a shot at us. But then we would have no reason to grow, no reason to rely on God, no chance to taste the victory He paid for in blood.

I really don’t know what tomorrow holds, but I do know God will be there. Providing and protecting in ways I don’t always see until after I’ve had the time to reflect.

What is God doing for you amidst your storms?

Does your list of blessings still far outweigh your list of woes?

No matter what day you’ve had, thank Him for it. For every good thing comes from Him, and He is your shelter in the storm.

Play it Safe or Lack of Faith?

“You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.” -Psalm 91:5-6

After the birth of our son last May, we quickly realized how expensive medical care can be. Fortunately, we were part of a Christian sharing organization which covered all our expenses.

With COVID and the added monthly cost of baby James to our “insurance”, we began to question whether it was worth paying since neither of us planned on having another child anytime soon and any “what if’s” pointed toward a lack of Faith. Or at least, that is what some Christians were saying.

I surely didn’t want our money to be sowed into our fear. Nor did I want to plan for scenarios that, in Faith, I prayed would never occur. Things like debilitating injuries, severe illness, or some other calamity of the devil. And so I wondered, was it a lack of Faith to play it safe?

In the general sense even the most radical Christians wear seatbelts, wash their hands, lock their doors, carry a gun, have smoke alarms or emergency protocols in case of fire or tornado. Of course by law we must pay certain insurances and follow safety and precautionary rules, whether on the road or at work. Isn’t that just being smart?

As I sat at church, I noticed a fire extinguisher wasn’t far from the entrance door. And it made me realize that there really isn’t a definitive line to cross when it comes to protecting yourself, your property, and those under your care. God doesn’t hate the material, otherwise He wouldn’t have placed us in a material plane of existence where quite often we rely on the material to survive and thrive.

As with everything, God cares most about your heart behind it. He cares about the spiritual, the everlasting. Do you have health insurance out of fear? Or is it merely something that felt like the right thing to do for your family?

If in your heart God is the supreme provider and protector, and you have no fear of the future and trust in Him, then any action on your part to “thicken” the hedge, so to speak, is of no concern to God.

We too are called to stewardship and to protect that which God has entrusted to us. And carelessness on our end can lead to destruction. It’s like stepping out in traffic thinking God will save you. Or jumping out of a plane without a parachute. We are called to be reasonable and wise, to partner with material things in order to bring about the Will of God on the Earth.

That being said, there will be times in your life that the Holy Spirit will direct you to take a leap of Faith into the unknown, without any foreseeable help. It will feel very much like stepping out in traffic blindfolded or out of a plane, free falling.

Jesus sent out His followers, the 12, without provision at times, and yet that wasn’t always the case as we read in Luke 22:36:

“‘But now”, he said, “take your money and a travelers bag. And if you don’t have a sword sell your cloak and buy one.”’

If you find yourself in need, God will provide. If you have all that you need, God has already provided. You see, everything belongs to Him and will someday return to Him. And so I leave you with this;

Seek the Lord.

Peer into your heart and determine why you take actions to protect your property, your self, and your family. Whatever you’re bound to by law is biblically lawful to obey (ex. Using seatbelts), anything that is purely choice, look at closely. Let the Holy Spirit either confirm or convict you on each matter and ultimately accept the peace of the Lord over all these things, because He loves you.

It is not God’s Will that any harm befall you, your household, or your church. But you should always be positioned to say, “Lord I give it all to you,” if He ever asks. He is your treasure, and heaven is your storehouse.

As for me, until I have perfect faith. I am going to do everything I can do to protect my family and friends. And trust God with all the things I can’t control. Because even with the best protections I still need God.

What Remains

“But the Word of the Lord remains forever.” -1 Peter 1:25

I was blessed enough to take this shot overlooking my parents neighborhood after a spring storm. I knew a rainbow was going to appear, everything was right; the sun was bright and the rain was falling beyond it, God’s promise was going to manifest and I didn’t want to miss it.

As I type this I realize that we often do “miss” it. We don’t walk in His promises and the farther we walk away from them the harder it is to find them again.

For months now I’ve been faced with a mountain. A, what should be, simple problem to fix has made me furious with God and confused beyond reason as to why I can’t seem to overcome it.

My problem is just one example. I know many people who’ve struggled their whole lives looking for the answer, whether that’s healing of the body, restoration of a relationship, or a dream come true.

I want more than anything to answer that deep seated question of “why?” And I know the response is always the same and never satisfying: “we live in a broken world and Jesus promised us we’d have trouble.”

But what did He mean by trouble? Didn’t He demonstrate with His own life what He meant? Trouble existed solely in the devil’s schemes, in the persecution of Christians and those who believe in Jesus.

He said the world wouldn’t accept us because it didn’t accept Him. That we may just have to face (and turn the other cheek) to verbal/physical abuse all in the name of Jesus. Many believers even suffer death at the hands of unbelievers weekly.

As far as I know and from what we’ve seen Jesus do. He never suffered illness, nor deformity. Never turned away someone asking for healing of such. And never dealt someone an ailment or injury in return.

No one can fully understand exactly what took place when Jesus died, what He did in death, and what it really signified when He arose from the grave. Likewise, no one can fully walk in all that He paid for.

You see He gave us back what was stolen from us in the garden. He bathed us and washed us white as snow, and He tore the veil, opened the symbolic gates of Eden and called us His new Holy temples!

Despite this, our minds are still caught up in the past. We spent so long as lost sheep, as slaves to sin, separated from God that we can’t readily/easily believe the Truth of the New Covenant.

We live our lives in the “in-between”, feeling broken and sinful and looking forward to eternity free of it. God wants you to live in the now and experience the freedom and gifts that Jesus has ALREADY given us.

Yes, Heaven and the new Earth will be amazing! But we are called to bring Heaven down today. To release the Holy Spirit to move through us in the Earth. What a privilege it is that we get to serve and demonstrate the love of God.

His love remains. Whether I am angry, confused, broken, and when I’m not seeing Breakthroughs. God is the same. I am the one who changes, the one who fails to get it right and see clearly the things of God.

For the first time in my life I began to experience what it felt like to pull away from God. And let me tell you that in pulling away I never felt so alone. Demons didn’t wait to torment me with thoughts and feelings that I used to never entertain.

I felt like Peter, taking his eyes off Jesus as he stepped out of the boat and stood upon the water. In no time at all he was sinking and afraid. Alone.

I’m still angry, I’m still hurting. And I still don’t have the answers I seek. But I know that pulling away from God isn’t the answer but the final blow. I won’t find my answer outside of Him, and so if I really want to have my answer I must do the opposite and run to Him.

Thank God He remains. He waits for us to return with open arms and forgiveness. I saw myself for what I am apart from Him and I really am nothing. If He isn’t the core of my being I don’t want this life, nor do I deserve it. I don’t even deserve the answer that I seek.

The rainbow in the sky signifies more than anything how lost we are. How God could very easily and rightfully have destroyed all of us. But instead He chose for us to continue. He wanted us to continue and to someday be reunited with Him.

Show Him that you aren’t done yet. That He can rely on you. That you love Him regardless of what you see and experience. Thank Him for all He has done and all the things He does that you don’t see. Thank Him for your life, your time here to fulfill your destiny and call. And know that you can never get “too” close to Him. There is always more, so much more.