When all seems hopeless and you feel like a freak

“That’s a lofty dream.” My Grandmother nearly whispered it, almost hesitant, I think somewhat saddened by what she’d say next. “Just remember. You’re only one person and it’s hard to change the world.”

My heart sank for her. That isn’t my Jesus at all, I thought.

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Sensitive to not invite another eye roll from that evenings family dinner with my “Jesus freak talk”, I quietly shared…

“Well for me, it’s not about numbers or quantity. If I can help save even one person from the pain and hardship- change the trajectory of even one life or one marriage- then I want to. And that’s success in my eyes.”

I was quiet for a moment. Unsettled. That wasn’t the full truth. So I finished, no longer caring how I looked, or sounded.

“Jesus cared about the one life- the one sheep. He invested in the lives of twelve, which eventually changed the entire world. He is the perfect example of love, because God is love. Who am I then to think that modelling exactly that is a waste of time or not worth spending my life on?”

I could feel the weight of decades worth of broken dreams piling at her feet- the armour she wears , the result of a hard life lived- deflecting my words at lightening speed.

She said nothing.

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I remember the day that would have broke me- her silence throwing me into a tizzy of “I’m different dispare,”; and for days I would fight for the ones I love most to hear the Gospel and not reject it – wanting desperately for my family to understand me, to not think i’m wierd or that this is just another phase, “a Jesus phase,” that will too, soon pass.

But instead, my heart ached for the things that break His; here,  a women, so beautiful, so loved, so treasured and CHOSEN and she doesn’t even know it! Or maybe she does, yet continues to choose darkness and live with clenched fists raised high, rather than open palms receiving grace.

So I did the only thing I could think of – the one thing that can soften that heart and open it to the rhythums of his ways with thanks – I prayed.

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Lord, sometimes life feels so broken and people appear hopeless. On many days, it feels like we’re a one man army, standing against ten thousand troops of darkness. But let us not bow down in defeat, for we have victory at our fingertips- The Lord of all triumph at our side and the greatest weapon on our lips.

Let us live a life of prayer, asking in your Name for what is only possible by your power- your works…. that changes us first, so that we may be used by you for your kingdom good.

Help us to remember that it is not our duty, but yours to change lives and soften hearts toward you. And that you are always at work, watering seeds, even when it feels like ground is dry and barren and the seeds we plant have been snatched just as quickly as we’ve sown them.

Because with you, nothing is impossible, only possible.

A few loaves fed five thousand, mere morals have walked the water, the lame have been healed and the dead have been raised to life again!

Those who pillaged your people have come to save them and those who’ve denied you, now preach your word! For your Kingdom is made of outcasts and sinners now redeemed and the sick and broken, healed and spared….

including me. 

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But we mustn’t forget the key to such power; Giving thanks for what may seem impossible, but is possible, only through Christ.

Let my thanksgiving precede the miracle, each and every day, in every circumstance – big and small – hard or joyful.

For it is all a gift and it will all be used for good, if we’ll simply give it to you in thanks.

Leaving room for miracles

When The Lord saw that Leah was not loved, he enabled her to conceive. Genesis 29:31

Our Father is a gracious father, who loves us unconditionally. His heart breaks for the things that break ours no matter how big or small. He grieves when we grieve, he rejoices when we praise and his desires to see us prosper in a hopeful future.

But by proposer, I don’t necessarily mean financially. I mean to flourish in the places he has put us; to have hope and joy beyond circumstance.

Leah was given to a man that did not want her and The Lord saw her. He wanted her to be loved and appreciated, so He blessed her with Child.

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She gave him praise, but like us, far too often, she worshiped God while clinging to her earthly desires- expecting him to answer her prayers and heal her wounds in the way she felt was right and just.

“The Lord has seen my misery. Surely my husband will love me now.” Genesis 29:32 B

Three more times would Leah conceive, each time thanking God while focusing on her plans and making clear her expectations of Him… God that is.

Hear that. Expectations.

Oh how I have expectations for my life. And make them very clear to my Father. So often I dawn a Leah mindset, making known and clinging to my hopes and expectations for this life, like he owes me something for my “allegiance” to him.

But heres the thing; our hopes and expectations are so small! Compared to what God is capable of, our plans are akin to making sand castles in the mud slums because the idea of white sand at the beach is incomprhensible.

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The problem isn’t that our expectations are too high – it’s that we are far too easily satisfied.

Keeping our fists clenched, clinging to hopes for a “pretty little life,” we stifle space for God in our plans…

We don’t leave room for miracles!

Because that’s what he is capable of if we’ll simply make room and let him!

Miracles. Glory.

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Yes, that’s what I desire to see in my life, more than the fulfillment of my demands and expectations. They never satisfy anyway… for long.

I know. I chased achievement after achievement; always raising the bar and never satisfied. 

Why? Because theres a hole in each of a us; one that God artfully created for a purpose and that purpose is him. It’s a void that only he can fill.

But so often, we try and stuff it full of the things of this world- distractions, busyness, influence, significance, accomplishment, possession, control- even good things, like service and loving others - and allow our actions to blink a no vacancy sign to the baby looking for an inn.

And when the sign flashes, God moves on.
No he doesn’t leave us. No he doesn’t disown us and not love us.

He simply knows how we’ll respond. He searches for an open hole- a willing and longing heart that desires to know him- to hear him…

to live for him, rather than ourselves.

It wasn’t until her fourth child, that Leah would mature enough and let Go of her expectations, simply giving God praise and surrendering her need to be loved by a man.

“This time I will praise the Lord.” Genesis 29:35

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What heart ache could God have spared her if she had simply run to him from the start? How powerfully could he have revealed himself to her and comforted her, if she would have trusted him for the answer? How many laps around the mountain and years wandering in the desert of despair could he have saved her from, giving her joy and contentment in its place? How could he have used her to relate to others in similar situations and bring him glory?

We’ll never know. But if his promises are true, and I know they are, it would have been something to write home about!

Because when we seek him with our whole heart, there we will find him. And when we ask for what we need to do his will, he will give it to us abundately. And when we trust him with our lives, he will finish what he has started in us, taking our threads to weave a masterpiece.

A life that shines of his Glory and goodness.

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Let’s not be like Leah or the Israelites wandering in the desert.

Lord help us to trust you with our lives, beyond our feelings and our circumstance, clinging to your promises and running to your for our every need. Because you are our best friend, our confidant, our healer, our comforter, our forgiver, our only hope and security! Help us to love you with our whole hearts and desire to know you unlike anyone one. Because the more we seek your face, the more we’ll taste glory and live the life we were made for!

Symphony of the Creator

I woke to gentle light pouring in on the first day of spring.
Pulling the curtains back, I am still not yet accustomed to the dancing of sun on the inlet below.

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A symphony of song birds bid me good morning and the gentle tune my mother would sing me as a child lingers…

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Good Morning to you. Good morning to you. Good morning, good morning. it’s lovely to see you!

With the window cracked, I can smell the great outdoors.
Spring is coming.

People walk the wooden water path.
I smile.

Goodness I love where I live.

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For far too long, I’ve praised the creation of my tiny inlet village, rather than the one who’s hand brought it into existance.

And it wasn’t until I read those words that my ignorance struck me.

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Every time you feel in God’s creatures something pleasing and attractive, do not let your attention be arrested by them alone, but, passing them by, transfer your thought to God and say: “O my God, if Thy creations are so full of beauty, delight and joy, how infinitely more full of beauty, delight and joy art Thou thyself, Creator of all!” –  Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain

As I’ve counted my gifts, my mind has awed at the mundane graces before me. My body has bowed to the luxuries of everyday ordinary. My soul has found solace in a thanksgiving harvest of simple.

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But it’s stopped there most days.

Sure I can acknowledge The One behind these hidden gems- can recognize the need for orchestration in the treasure hunt of creation. But have I truly pondered it each time I’ve discovered my next prize?

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Like the song birds… do I truly consider that their chorus resembles the way He sings over me, in anticipation of my waking?

The wind rustling through the forest trees and the dandelions swaying in the fields…they, the way He dances over me in joy and celebration of simply who. I am. not. what. I’ve. done.

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The reflection off the waters edge too striking to simply pass by – the vary nature of my own reflection in Him.

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After all, I too was created in his imagine and am being refined more and more each day into the likeness of His precious Son!

I see it now, as the scales of ingratitude chip off my eyes.
My heart feels full. Almost radiant.. what is that?

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Hope, He whispers, Longing for me.

A deep desire for the wholeness only I can give. .
Your heart knows it; it feels it.

You’ve entered my gates with thanksgiving, my child, and you’ve feasted your eyes on glory- looked straight into the eyes of your very creator.

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I taste my miracle. Eucharisteo in flesh and real life.

This is the art of joy, of gratitude and praise!

Praise of The Creator, not the created.

Abiding in the Wait

Over and over the bible teaches what it means to abide in God. Over and Over I’ve brushed past it. Until last night.

To Abide: to wait on, to rest in, to simply be with The Lord.

Like a ton of bricks it hit me…

Do not let anyone rush you into anything. He said. You need this time to get to know me to prepare for what’s ahead.

I remember his words that were spoken over me last year and the not so gentle reminder he gave this past fall, as I retraced my dictation and wrote his words out again, placing them somewhere I’d see daily.

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You see, this go getter likes to run a head. She most days feels jostled with a hunger to run and “take on.” Change has never sacred me. In fact I crave it.

The words of my mother still cut like a sword. “The queen of re-invention.”

But the truth of the matter is He made me this way, built restless and eager to sprint, for Him- to build and cast vision for his name sake.

Heavens, he’s showed me my future in many ways. I recount. I recount the ways he has.

But like Joseph, I’m so impatient. And immaturely wave the vision prematurely. It would be 25 years before he’d see his brothers bow before him.

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And then theres Abram, oh Abram. My father indeed.. God promised him an heir of his own blood to take possession of his estate, despite his old age. In fact he promised him more descendents that the stars in the sky.

And then the chapter ends. 15. and rolls into 16….

Ten years have passed. TEN YEARS.. of what? I ask. Waiting? Oh gracious Lord help me.

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Ten years of abiding before another word is penned in his story. And he is the Father of our faith?! What does that mean for my story.

My pride sulks and my ego feels bruised. This girl would rather cling to the notion that big is better and theres no time to sit on the sidelines. After all we have a race to run. People to save. A God to glorify.

Hush child. Just sit with me. And learn the rhythyms of grace. Give your heart time to catch up with your mind or your gifts will overtake you…. away from me.

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Remember, salvation is a gift. Love is an overflow. No act of doing, achieving and winning will change that.

Oh, I know. really I do. I just sometimes get ahead of myself. It’s this restlessness you’ve put inside me. I never knew what it was before and I used it for all the wrong things. But you gave me it for you! For your namesake.

Indeed. But learn from your father Abram. 10 years may pass, but my promises are still good. Don’t run ahead and try to force my ways in your own strength. Your understanding is futile and small. You’ll see. What I have planned is way better than you could ever, ever imagine.

For now, lets simply sit together and be still. Draw close and let me love on you. I want you to see me for who I truly am, in the darkest of nights, away from the crowds, in the closet of your suffering and the boredom of ordinary.

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This is where faith is tested and your character strengthened. Give me your threads and I promise to make a masterpiece.

and like a dazed child, I oblige, trusting what daddy says is best.

Invisible crossroads

Theres something about the dark I find exhilerating…

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The way it calls me to cozy down and cuddle to what feels comfortable. The way it slows me still and my ears attune to quite nothing.

And then theres other parts of it that terrify me..

the loneliness that closes in. The lies that circle my heart. The doubt and unknown that whisper hope is fleeting.

A juxtaposition of fear and hope…

and like the true light that knows no darkness, my hope in him glimmers in darkest hours.

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When I run to everything that lies it fills… books. food. relationships. busy. work. never ending lists of mundane that promise to distract… I hear his voice whisper gently to stop and come to him.

My heart hears it. It tells me to stop and turn to him. To run with open arms to the one who’s comfort’s complete.

But my defiance wins far too often. Far too stubborn and self reliant. Still I run to the temporary comforts that leave me emptier and more desperate for him.

‘Till I’m face down on the floor in defeat. Till I’ve pushed in my own strength and theres nothing left. Till my soul feels parched for the water that will never leave me thirsty…

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Why, oh why do I do this, time and time again Lord?

The battle of flesh and soul that leaves me marred – invisibly beaten and battered.

In the quiet of my suffering, He speaks truth to a heart that’s ready to recieve.

You doubt me, my child. That what I have is enough. You love the gifts more than your giver and know the works of religion, more than the knowing and pursuit of me.

Now wait. Before you beat yourself up and listen to the lies. I know your heart. You love me. Oh, you desire me. But your expectations get in the way. Your fears rip my grip from your hand. And your doubt suffocates my promises.

Oh, how I know this to be true. How I live passionately for my time here on earth. How I deep down think He owes me a nice life and the fulfilment of my every pursuit and desire. That he’ll make my name great. For his sake, of course. Yah right…

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That somehow I’m privy to exemption of pain, because I’ve been dealt enough suffering for one life, thanks.

In the silence I hear the prays of a 6 year old kailey that asks the unthinkable of him. And he answers. Me believing my prayers caused such horrific pain. The pain that would rip my family to pieces and would close my heart to grace for decades.

But we’ve all been dealt pain- a full house of suffering.
And it’s that exact pain that produces perseverance, character and hope…

IF! I remind myself….

..IF we’ll give it to the One who promises to make good of it! To use it for his glory.

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Give it to me. He begs gently. Unclasp your hands for just a moment and let me show you. My burden is easy and my yoke light.

We all face this choice.

Today I have a choice. To continue running from my pain – the past I’ve put into boxes and shoved in the back of my closet and “forgot” about. The boxes that spring cleaning has dug up and sit heaped upon my bedroom floor waiting to be dealt with…

Will I stuff them back away, to only resurface again or will I take the time to carefully unpack them, sift through the useful and the junk thats taking up precious space and make room for something better?

Do you trust me, He whispers?

I stare into the darkness, face to face with my invisible cross road.

All it takes is 20 second of insane courage, I repeat.

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And without words, I breath deep, nod and fix my eyes on the glimmer of light ahead.

She lived to give it away

It was a dismal day, and by most’s standards, not the optimal day to celebrate anything…

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But the morning was pregnant with light and hope. One that radiates only from a grateful heart. One that counts it all as grace, lavished abundantly upon her by the one who gives… and give.. and gives.

Love. Mercy. Grace. Forgiveness. Confort. Joy. Peace. Even trials.

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That day was her 28th birthday.

And while many would choose to celebrate with gifts and soirees and pampered “me” time, she wanted to give it away..

love that is.

Because she knew she had been blessed to be a blessing.
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But first, we could eat cake!

And like he knew her beautiful selfless acts that would follow, he gifted her with a birthday brownie on the house.

Like that. Things like that… gifts from above. No thing too small.

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She strolled the market aisles in search of gifts to give away.

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And breathing in the sent of peace and pure delight.. joy in bloom…DSC_0730DSC_0744

She picked the perfect bouquet to give away.DSC_0746 DSC_0735DSC_0737

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Then, like the divine appointment it was, another opportunity shone bright.

You’re latte, it’s on me, please.

Stunned. Shocked. Both her and the baristas.. not quite sure how to handle, let alone accept her gift of grace.

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She knew her day was special, because she was made in His image.

Beautiful. Loved. Acceptance.

Danced over and died for willingly.
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And like the day she was born, He looked down at her and said “It was good.” DSC_0763Happy Birthday to my beautiful friend, Chervelle. Thank you for being a light in his name and for sharing your grace and love with others, include me. xo

What your heart knows

I knew it was there hidden deep in my heart.

Unbelief. Doubt. Distrust.

And it causes me on many days to stumble in my stance of faith.

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Does he really forgive me, becuase I sure can’t understand why…. Are his plans for my life truly good, becuase I recount over and over again the pain in my past and i’m still struggling to see how it’s been used for good….. Can he truly change me and refine me into likeness of a perfect man? Me? Ya right…

Like Sarah, I chuckle to myself, not in delight at how great my God is, but at him, in unbelief.

My head might know these things – sure I can recite the scripture I’ve so carefully studied in attempt to know God’s word. But my heart doesn’t know it, truly know it.  Somewhere in the midst of the learning and doing “for God” – in my pursuit to check off every boxes in my “this makes me a good christian” list – I haven’t stopped long enough to just be still with him and let my heart catch up with my mind.

The truth hasn’t seeped into the crevices of the darkest recesses of my soul.

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“I need to know these things,” I shared, “with my heart not just my head. Im afraid that if I don’t,  I won’t be able to weather whats ahead. Life is hard and I’ve somehow tricked myself for years into thinking it should be easy. I read story after story after story and I’m moved by peoples faith and deliberate choice to see the good, count blessings and give God glory, regardless of circumstance. And if it were me, I’m afraid I’ll fail. I’ll fall away. I’ll run from him in ungratefulness and the “old me” will resurface.”

“Thats a lot of fear.” He said

Right. I thought… fear is not of The Lord.

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“Sounds to me like you’re not standing on God’s promises.

Bam. There it was; the one thing I’ve been trying to do but can’t seem to master. [which frustrates this A-type more than anything else]

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I know these things alright. When temptation and attacks surround you and lies of the dark saturate your thoughts, speak truth over them! Shine light into the darkness and the darkness will have no hold.

But the trouble is, everytime I try to do that, my mind runs blank…. what truth rebukes this, I think?

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God’s word isn’t stamped in my mind like it should be. It doesn’t permiate my being like a resounding gong.

As Ann says “What you really know by heart is what your heart really knows — and what you really live.”

We arrive at the place where my longing soul feels at home. We take our seats.

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Within minutes, I’m laughing out loud, but this time with him, in pure delight…. answers to every unformed prayer and wrestle of my heart from the 3 minute drive to church.

“I want you to know God’s promises,” our Pastor spoke, “To without question, know who you are in him, who he is in you-  who it is that is with you! Because in that, there is no room for fear. No option of unbelief and a trust that laughs with God, not at him, in the face of darkness.”

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Out poured a list of promises, the very ones He’d been calling me to stand on…

  • Matthew 5:48
  • 1 John 1:9
  • 2 Corinthians 5:17
  • John 3:16
  • Ephesians 2:8,9
  • Romans 10:9
  • Matthew 11:28
  • Jude 24
  • Proverbs 3:5
  • Psalm 34:7
  • Joshua 1:9
  • Isaiah 41:10
  • Psalm 23:4
  • Jeremiah 29:11

I smiled and mouthed a silent thank you.

 

Join me friends as I embark on a journey to memorize God's promises each week and unpack the truth of what they mean for me- for you- right now in our everyday ordinary lives. 

I would encourage to print off one each week and hang it somewhere you'll see it frequently. For me, thats the bathroom mirror, my car visor (flip down at each stop light to recite) , my purse and sometimes the inside of our fridge! 

God willing, I'll be sharing how he is using these truths to shape, refine and stretch me, bringing me closer to him. 

Join me, won't you?  #whatyouknowbyheartyourheartknows

Blanket of Hiding

“Hair” He said.

Hair? What did He mean by that?

In a time of asking The Lord to open my eyes to that which I have loved and chased after more than He, He was faithful to reveal things, starting with small and running deep.

This must be a deep thing, I thought, because “Hair” made absolutely no sense to me at all.

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I prayed over it for days and like a gust of wind He brought revelation that overcame me.

For years I have toyed with cutting my hair. I only grew it out for my wedding after discovering my dream chignon was not possible without longer locks, even with extensions. So out it grew, leaving behind the spunky pixie that so beautifully embodied my extroverted personality.

And with the length, came confessions of me being, “easier to handle,” “less in your face,” “prettier” and “more graceful looking” with longer hair. From friends and family alike, the remarks flocked in.

My ever present shield of armour guarded my emotions but the wounds ran deep. The words forever swarmed my head and I hid – beneath a blanket of golden locks I didn’t want.

In the quiet of my revelation, my sin unsurfaced…

“You crave the approval of others more than me, child and the acceptance of man your every pursuit.”

I fell to my knees in repentence. Lord forgive me. Change me, please.

With His gentle comfort, He showed me grace and a renewed bravery to fearlessly be me. To stop conforming to this word, seeking their acceptance to the detriment of who I’ve been made to be in Him.

And as with all grate feats it would start with a single step – a simple one of obedience.
For me, it would be the chair of my hairdresser.

Manna for the Moment

In the storm I saw his goodness and the ways in which he’s changed me – in the manner I dealt with people, the grace I gave myself, the humility I wore in servitude, the stress I kept at bay- all by his power and grace at work in and through me.

I claimed his promises. I counted 1000 gifts. I worshiped in the hail storm of circumstance.

He is good and he is finishing the work he’s started in me…

It took opportunity to show me, just how much he’s done. But sometimes when opportunity knocks, it comes dressed like Goliath or a crowd of righteous Pharisees, and you their servant slave.

Religiosity and Egos at their finest.

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But He gave me everything I needed to simply take the next lit step, one foot at a time – my manna for that moment. [nothing more, I might add. Just enough to get through that situation, before moving to the next]

I clung to him with fiercely clutched palms, awaiting the break in weather or my arrival to the other side.

Not a minute before, the clouds broke and rays of sunshine flood down. My weary, tired soul found for rest- a rest he promised and deemed good.

Raised to NEW life

I’ve known Jesus long enough to know that becoming a Christian doesn’t make all your problems go away, or that the minute you decide to follow him your life suddenly becomes easy.

But it wasn’t until this year that God turned me on my head, shook me around a bit [in love and gentleness, of course ;)] and unscaled my eyes to what it really means to be a Christian. He took my complacent, comfortable faith that looked more like a “Christian spin on the American Dream,” and showed me what is truly means to Follow Jesus… to know him, love him and be his disciple.

Discipleship comes at a cost, as with all good things!  Scripture is clear that following Jesus is a narrow road and trials can be guaranteed on this journey. But consider the cost of non-discipleship.  As Dallas Willard writes…

“Non-discipleship costs abiding peace, a life penetrated by love, faith that sees everything in the light of God’s overriding governance for good, hopefulness that stands firm in the most discouraging of circumstances, power to do what is right and withstand evil.  In short, it costs exactly that abundance of life Jesus said he came to bring—that is life lived on its highest plane.”

For me, Baptism was an outward sign of this inward transformation. It was a public declaration that not only do I believe in Jesus, I choose to follow him… wherever he may lead me and in obedience to where he will call me.

And as I descended into the water, my old self- my ambitions, my expectations, my priorities, my past, my insecurities, my idols, everything- was buried with him and raised to new life…

… Not just a revamped version of my old self, but completely new! His love, His Mission, His purposes become my own; His strength, His victory, His wholeness now mine!

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As you move, I'm right beside you
Lord, I'm running after you
 I wanna be where you are
I'm chasing you, I'm so in love
 captivated, I just can't get enough
 I'll spend my days running after your heart
This life, this love
 Was always meant to be
 A wild crazy adventure
 Discovering, the thrill, the rush
 The more of you I see,
 The more it leaves me wanting your everything
you've won me heart and soul And where you lead I'll go
 Bethel Music - Chasing You 

While my journey’s been a windy road, I know this is just the beginning. Baptism was just an another step in surrendering and letting Go to a God who can be trusted and is worth far more than I could ever hope for on this earth.

I’ve merely tasted His love and goodness and I want more…. all of Him and less of me!

Read Kailey-Michelle’s full length personal testimony HERE