Make America Great Again?

I wasnt going to post anything about the recent election, but I found myself in a church in LA today and what the pastor said really got me thinking. Before you stop reading, know that you will not find who I voted for and how you should have done the same thing. You wont find my opinion on the rising issues and what I “know” will fix them.
What you will find is a view that I have not seen before and it starts years ago. It starts in a nation that was in turmoil. One of their advisors were dying and the two that were the potentials of taking his place were corrupt. The nation had lost it’s hope. The ones they were supposed to  trust in were corrupt.
They were lost and abandoned.
Or was that just their perspective?
Yet his sons did not walk in his ways but turned aside after gain. They took bribes and perverted justice. 4Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah 5and said to him, “Behold, you are old and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appoint for us a king to judge us like all the nations.” 6But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” And Samuel prayed to the Lord. 1 Samuel 8:3-6
There are 2 sides to every coin and two parts to every story.
“7And the Lord said to Samuel, “Obey the voice of the people in all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them8According to all the deeds that they have done, from the day I brought them up out of Egypt even to this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are also doing to you. 9Now then, obey their voice; only you shall solemnly warn them and show them the ways of the king who shall reign over them.” 1 Samuel 8:7-9
Why was God upset? Everyone else had a leader to trust in and be guided by.
God was upset because He was supposed to be their leader. The one they trusted in. The one that guided them. But God, being a God of love and allowing His people to make choices even if it will hurt themselves and Him, He gave them their way.
10So Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who were asking for a king from him. 11He said, “These will be the ways of the king who will reign over you: he will take your sons and appoint them to his chariots and to be his horsemen and to run before his chariots. 12And he will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and some to plow his ground and to reap his harvest, and to make his implements of war and the equipment of his chariots. 13He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. 14He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive orchards and give them to his servants. 15He will take the tenth of your grain and of your vineyards and give it to his officers and to his servants. 16He will take your male servants and female servants and the best of your young men and your donkeys, and put them to his work. 17He will take the tenth of your flocks, and you shall be his slaves18And in that day you will cry out because of your king, whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the Lord will not answer you in that day.” 1 Samuel 8:10-18
Hmm sound familiar?
Just in case let’s break it down:
Take your sons and appoint them to his chariots and to be his horseman and to run before his chariots. Didn’t the Israelites want a king so that the king would go before them and fight for them? Another question. Isn’t that what God says He does for us?  Ok, I am going back. God is telling them this king will make them fight for him. He won’t protect them but he will use their sons to fight for him.
he will appoint for himself commanders. The king is the one that will pick the commanders, not  you.
some to plow his ground and to reap his harvest, and to make his implements of war and the equipment of his chariots.; He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. You will work for his government and will give to him what you work for.
will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive orchards and give them to his servants. 15He will take the tenth of your grain and of your vineyards and give it to his officers and to his servants…The king will also take a part of your earnings. In modern day terms TAXES. Also, it’s important to remember that God already asked for a tenth, so now we are to tithe and give the leadership what they demand. Just tithing would’ve been better huh?
Here’s my point:
I find it odd that we celebrate and argue until we break down the souls of people over a human leader when God didn’t want a human leader at all. The original design EVEN after the fall was that God would lead the people, yet the people demanded a king.  God wanted to go before His people, protect them. He wanted to guide them. To judge them with His truth and mercy. But even after being warned of all this would bring they chose a person over the creator.
And here we are today.
 
I think we are still doing the same thing when we put our hope and fears in the Oval Office. The true fix to our problems is not found on this side of Heaven. In fact, the problems we so often complain about are a result of us wanting a human leader. They are the result of trusting in a man over God. So maybe just maybe our problem is humanity and our need to ignore God and pursue our ways. Maybe we don’t need to put our hope, fear, trust, or anything in people. But in God. Be hopeful because the cliche is true, the best leader is still on the throne and while we will continue to live through the repercussions of demanding a human leader we won’t have to stay here for eternity. There is better. 
Just a thought.

8:28 

When people hear about what 2015 looked like for me and my family I usually get one response. “Oh my gosh. You lost both of them? So close to each other. I’m sorry.” The shock of all that I’ve been through is one thing but the thing that continues to shock me is that I am still here. Today has officially been a year since my dad left this world. 
When I was younger I remember sitting in the various apartments that my mom brother and I shared. Every night my mom would come home tired from working. We would get our homework done as she would make dinner for us. After eating together at the table, yes we had nightly family meals, we would get ready for bed and my mom would read us a devotional. Before we prayed she would pull out these different color cards that had verses on them that we memorized as a family. 
“Ok guys,” she would start, “what does Romans 8:28 say?” 
“For we know that all things work together for good, for those who love God.”
Those who love God. 
Do I love Him? Like really love Him?
Last year has taught me that I do. Beyond the cute go to church with your family, post worship lyrics, and read the latest christian books type of love; I have found that my roots go deep. I have found that they go farther than the “if I don’t get my way then I am leaving.” Nothing in 2015 went my way. My favorite job, I lost. my best friend; she moved. my mind couldn’t be trusted. Anxiety attacks, nightmares, depression, the whole nine yards. And then November 9th, 2015 hit and boom my dad; dead. 54 hours later my grandpa died too. 
Life was winning 2,000 to 0. I was losing and it felt like I was constantly being kicked in the teeth. but something within me, something peered from the deep sorrows of depression and the chaos of anxiety and told me, there is something more. 
All things Work together for good
All things.
Not just some things. 
All.
Before my dad passed away I remember telling my mom that I knew without a doubt that God could heal him on this earth but I also wasn’t going to put all of my eggs in that basket. For some that may sound like I did not fully trust in God’s ability to heal my dad. Some may look at me and say, Shame on you, you should of prayed harder, agreed with the Bible more, fasted more etc. But truth be told I did fully believe God could and would heal him. In fact I believe my dad got the ultimate healing. The healing of the body soul and mind. The healing that never gets re injured or reminded about the reasons they felt hurt in the first place. I knew that even in the hurt and pain, that this situation fell under the umbrella of all things. All things in my life would make me better if I allowed them. All things that happen to me can positively affect the world around me if I spoke from the right perspective. All things would be made good because I loved Him and more importantly, He loves me. All things. 

When my mom was having us remember verses as children she may not have realized the full picture of what would spark in my life, but as I look back I see that this verse has been a core belief in my mind. Even in the hardest days I have known that God would work something good out of it for me. One of the good things that sparked from losing my dad and my grandpa was me seeking help with anxiety that I faced on a daily basis. From those hard dark months I became so hopeless that I couldn’t hide the fears that paralyzed me anymore. grief has a way of knocking your hands off of the things you tirelessly try to suppress. So I gave in. I chose to be weak, but in reality I found how strong God in me was. 
For we know.
How do you know something? 

How do you really truly know? 

Through reading? maybe. 

But the things you truly know are the things you have experienced or keep experiencing.

 I kept experiencing grief last year, but by some miracle I made it through. Was it my strength? Not at all. It couldn’t have been. I felt like an unpredictable ball of fear and turmoil. One night I woke up out of a dead sleep because my heart was racing so fast. I put on my Apple Watch to check my pulse and the numbers read 187 bmp. 187. I rarely reach that when I am running. But this was a regular thing for me during this time. Anxiety attacks and lack of motivation were real demons that I fought relentlessly. Why? During this time I didn’t know. But as I look back I see that everyday I didn’t think I would make it to the next day, I would pray begging God to just take me too. Yet I was still on Earth. Because of Him. He is the one that orders my footsteps. And He stayed with me through it all. He brought friends to my side, songs to my mind, and pictures to my eyes. He was constantly reminded me of His presence. And because of this dark time I can now say I know. 
My story about my dad has been something that has gone beyond me. It has carefully found it’s way to other ears of sons and daughters hurting with pain from the choices their parents have made. It has found it’s way into the hearts and minds of those wondering if things will ever change. It has found it’s way and nestled a seed of hope for those hurting souls. Not because of me, but because of God. He has made the good come through this mess. He will continue to make good come from the messes we humans make. That’s why I can not be paralyzed because of an election, diagnoses, lost job or relationship. 
2015 was a hard year. But even in the lose I have found the things I gained. An even closer relationship with my best friend. Freedom to think and speak up and work and live without anxiety. Happiness in life. Joy in the mourning. And most importantly hope for the future where I will get to praise my God with my dad by my side.
Dear Sojourner,
Come to know that all things will work together for the good of those who love God. He has you. He loves you. Trust Him. 
Love Mo

Dear Dad, 

I remember sitting on the phone with you and thinking, this is it. This is the last time I’ll hear your voice. I took a screen shot of our call. And when we were done the empty feeling became bigger. 

A year later I regret not calling more. I wish I called later that day and the next day and the days to follow. But you were taken so fast. While you were slipping away grandpa was too. Going from care home back to our home. Seeing him so lively and almost normal one day to sleeping all day the next was hard. But I wish I made time in those 18days to still talk. To still call. I never knew that I’d miss your voice so much. 

I look back and see how hard it was to simply breathe. While my own anxieties consumed me and the grief of so much tried to destroy me there was a hope I held onto. Thank you for reminding me of that hope. Thank you for choosing life in the midst of death. Thank you for giving me something to look forward to beyond this life. Dad I always thank mom for introducing me to Jesus, now I can thank you for helping me to keep following Him no matter what. I thank you for showing me that it’s the right thing to love family even when it feels hopeless. You taught me how to love unconditionally. How to do hard things even when people don’t deserve it. To stay close to God even when the promise hasn’t happened. 

I went to counseling for a while after you passed. I learned how to give my anxiety to God. This past week I went back and just talked. I asked my counselor why I don’t miss you more. I feel like I should still be crying and mourning your loss. But He said something that I’ll hold onto. He reminded me that I worked through the bad feelings I still had towards you. But now the good is left. And to enjoy those memories. 

So I will. 
I’ll enjoy remembering the nicknames you called me. I’ll enjoy remembering us talking about ducks and turtles. I’ll enjoy remembering you introducing us to your boss and taking us to that Amish place with the good desserts. I’ll remember us walking and finding the Peter Pan dolphin and seeing king Neptune. I’ll remember the hugs and the tears that we shared when we saw each other. I’ll remember you telling me how you pray for me and how you told me you love Jesus. I’ll remember you dad. 

So for those days that have passed know that I love you. Know that I’m proud to be your daughter. Know that I wouldn’t trade our story for the world. Know that what you left behind is and will be carried on. Know that you’ve helped make my heart into a garden of trust and love. I’ll keep tending to it. 

I love you Dad. 

Perfectly Imperfect: God Wants More than Your Messy Bun

Messy buns are one of the best trends out there but at the same time they are the worse. I was recently waiting in line to go to the bathroom at a theme park and there were two young ladies in front of me. They were the epitome of grunge hipsters. Messy buns and all. They carried a confidence about them that I found myself wishing I had yet when they turned the corner and saw the mirror I saw that they too care about what their “mess” looked like. Eyes glued to the mirror, arms up quickly fixing and pulling and fluffing their buns until one says to the other,”ehh it’ll do,” while she still fixed her hair. 

There are times when God calls you into the dark valley. Into the mess you’ve made. The days, months, years of fear have piled up by the time you choose to take that next step, you’re facing a giant of irrational possibilities. For so long you’ve fixed, pulled, and fluffed your mess by trying to do the fix your mess yourself. Doing everything but the thing that tugs your heart and makes you afraid.  You’ve been told that this would be the thing that defeats you. The thing that makes you lose everything. Your reputation, your dreams, your friends, yourself. It could be a conversation, choosing to stay in a job, go back to school, getting out of habits, letting go of unhealthy people. Letting go of control. Things that hurt yet you feel the hurt isn’t that bad. You start finding yourself saying, “ehh it’ll do” yet still hope for a change in your mindset or situation. 

When God calls us to walk through the dark valley know that it’s always to show us and our enemies the truth of who He is and who He made us to be. He’s tired of us walking around scared of the what if. The things the enemy has played over and over in our minds relentlessly until we start to believe his voice is in congruent of our Father’s voice. 

What if I’m honest and get rejected, what if I leave the job to pursue my dreams and I fail, what if I stay in this place and get stuck, the list goes on. 

This time last year I was reading the book Crash the Chatterbox by Steven Furtick. One of the chapters dealt with the fear of what if. I walked away from reading that book with a new way to challenge fears. Take a moment and think about what you fear the most. Now ask yourself if that thing you fear happened would God still be God? Would that thing knock Him off of His throne? Would His hands be tied and not have a way to save you?

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death” ‭‭Psalm‬ ‭23:4‬ ‭ESV‬‬

To be completely honest I’ve been stuck in fear to the point that I have believed that my fears were bigger than my God. Fear has taken over my mind to the point that I haven’t known the difference between God’s voice and the enemies voice. Nights had become the time where my heart would race and sweat would pour. Fear kept me up. Fear stole hours on end that I can never get back. Fear of things that never happened. 

I will not fear. 

I’ve wasted too much time believing I’m too messy for God to handle. I’ve tried saying that I will not fear yet fear is what consumed me, making the darkness a whole lot darker. Sometimes to the point of believing all I could be was hopeless. That is until I remembered I’m not alone in the darkness. 

“for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”

‭‭Psalm‬ ‭23:4‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I’ve been told by numerous people to imagine the thing you fear the most and see where Jesus is. For me the fear has been that I would wake up and be a horrible person one day. That I wouldn’t be good. Though I intentionally make specific choices this fear has messed with me majority of my life in many different ways. But one day I was so tired of the enemy using my imagination as his personal horror film festival. So I sat in my room and imagined my fear and said, “Jesus where are you?” That’s when Jesus showed me that the irrational fear wasn’t the true fear. The fear was greater. 

“How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I would count them, they are more than the sand. I awake, and I am still with you.” ‭‭Psalm‬ ‭139:17-18‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I was afraid of Him leaving me. 

One night I woke up terrified and I texted my accountability partners and simply told them I was fighting. They replied “where is Jesus?” Like a light beaming in the darkness I realized that He was still there.  

In the dark valley He is with me. When I awake He is with me. When I walk away from Him even then He knows exactly where I am. 

In Isaiah 41 it says “you whom I took from the ends of the earth, and called from its farthest corners, saying to you, “You are my servant, I have chosen you and not cast you off”; fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” ‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭41:9-10‬ ‭ESV‬‬

When I realized that God would not abandon me I realized I didn’t have to walk around with a mindset of hating the way I looked spiritually yet saying hopelessly, “it’ll do.” People always say to embrace your mess; accept it. But I’ve realized that stopping at embracing my mess is stopping short. Truth is we must continue and embrace not only our mess but true restoration and change happens when we embrace what He has done even in the midst of our mess.

Dear Soujorner,

Take a second and think about this, God went to the ends of the earth, to the part where you were banished to save you. Jesus went to great lengths to save you. He was forsaken by His Father so you wouldn’t have to be. He went to hell so you wouldn’t have to. He loved you enough to be the one God turned from. I pray that as you embrace your mess you don’t stop there, but you continue until you embrace what He has done in spite of you mess. No matter how dark, how messy, ugly, scary, hopeless, or hurt you are know that God has already has the solution to heal and grow you, Jesus. 

Like it says in Philippians 3:9 Our goal is not to gain righteousness based on the law, that’s too much pressure. We will never obtain perfection. But our goal is that we obtain righteousness that comes through faith. A righteousness that depends on God. 

God wants more than a confidence found in you proven by wearing your hair in a messy bun; He wants you to have a confidence in Him that He can take even your messiest of beliefs and still hold onto you like the precious child you are to Him. 

  

The Journey: Comforting Yet Crushing  

To lose things that are precious to you is a hard thing. I once bought a $2.50 deer head necklace from forever 21 and ended up losing it. When I realized I lost it I was so sad. You would’ve thought that necklace cost me $250. I never did find that necklace…

In the Christian world you often hear people say that God takes things away because He wants to give you something better, but what happens when the something better doesn’t come? What happens in the in between moments. The waiting for the better to finally arrive. Most times our mindset is against God. We look at whatever it is we lost; a job, a possession, someone you loved, and we believe that God took it from us because He is against us. That He’s crushing our hearts. 

That mentality is wrong in so many ways.

Instead of believing that God is against us, we should take on the mindset that He is with us.

He guides me along the right paths
    for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk
    through the darkest valley,[a]
I will fear no evil,
    for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
    they comfort me. 

Psalm 23:3-4

In Psalm 23 is says that God is our guide through right paths. Have you ever had to play those ice breaker games where you and another person have to get through a course but one of you is blindfolded? Those games are the worse! You have to truly listen. Usually the “guide” is far and the blind partner has to follow their voice. It would be so much easier if the guide was right next to the blind person. The Bible states that we are going through an obstacle course called life, but as God’s children we have been given a guide who isn’t on the other side of our circumstances but is walking through them with us!!!! He walks with us through the valleys. He never leaves us to journey through it alone. Because He is with us we don’t have to fear the darkest days.

I was recently at a service where they were talking about the rod and the staff. I have heard this verse repeated and talked about numerous times but I had never realized how contradicting the verse, “Your rod and staff, they comfort me” was. If you ponder on this thought for a moment you realize that a rod and staff aren’t exactly soft sweats, homemade mac n cheese, warm vanilla comfort. A rod was something used to count and protect sheep from predators. A staff was used for the shepherd to not only lean on but also to help guide them back if they veered off. Psalm 23 paints a picture of a God that not only disciplines us but protects and guides us to where we need to be. We can no longer believe in good times or hard times that God is against us. We must fight the temptation to accuse Him of leaving us.

Leaving is the last thing He would ever want to do, and He can’t because He is connected to us.

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.

John 15:1-2

I got messed up by two simple truths this week: 1. We are connected to Jesus and 2. God prunes us to make us grow more.

The fact that we are connected to Jesus is a HUGE thing especially when we are in a wilderness season. Think about it, if you were a vine and one of your branches was cut off, would you feel it? I believe you totally would. Think about when you get the smallest paper cut on one of your fingers, it can be the worse pain. I have been blown away by the fact that I am connected to Jesus, and He took the pain that I feel. He took that pain in the fullness and died for it. In the moments where consequences are facing you because of choices you made or when the darkness of life feels like it’s consuming you, lift up your head dear friend, Jesus knows how you feel. He is with you and most importantly He is connected to you. Because of the cross He has experienced the ultimate pain for our sin and circumstances. Thank God! Sometimes the pain of life is so bad, I cannot imagine another ounce of pain being added. I am so thankful for a Savior that took all of it and chooses to still walk through life with me!

That is only half of John 15. The second half is that sometimes God doesn’t cut things out of our lives because we were doing a bad job, but He prunes us so that we can GROW more!!!! We cannot believe that God just wants to take everything away so He can be entertained. He prunes us back, knowing that it may hurt, but it’s to make us more. When we are cut back from our resources we have to rely on the source of life, when we rely on the source we are able to grow and be more fruitful. What an amazing God we have!

Dear Sojourners,

I pray that God shifts your mindset on Him everyday. There is so much that we learn as we grow up, but life with God is found in the undoing of the knowledge we’ve learned and embracing the  beautiful relationship that Jesus came to die for. He wanted you that bad. If you’re going through a rough season I want to challenge you to do a few things, read Psalm 23 and John 15. Be honest with God (If you need help I included a prayer at the bottom). Your honesty doesn’t scare Him. And lastly check out this song that has helped me through the last two weeks of life. I hope it ministers to you. Yes seasons like this hurt but know that He’s crushing things out of you that hinder you and He’s comforting you all the way. Take comfort it that truth. 

Valleys and Mountains by Lauren Estrada

Keep journeying dear friends

Dear God,

I don’t understand a lot of things but in this season I don’t understand why you would allow so much to happen at once. I don’t understand why you would allow my world to fall apart. I don’t understand why you would strip away all that I hold dear in a matter of a moment. I don’t understand why such extreme brokenness had to hit your servant, but I will not walk away. I refuse to believe that you are anything less than faithful. I choose to believe that tomorrow will always prove that today was worth it. That this season is necessary. That You never left or abandoned me. Instead of focusing on my circumstances I choose to say, “For who is God, but the Lord? And who is a rock, except our God?— the God who equipped me with strength and made my way blameless. He made my feet like the feet of a deer and set me secure on the heights. He trains my hands for war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze. You have given me the shield of your salvation, and your right hand supported me, and your gentleness made me great. You gave a wide place for my steps under me, and my feet did not slip.”‭‭Psalm‬ ‭18:31-36‬ ‭ESV‬‬ You have walked me through valleys before and I know that you are walking me through one now.

I love you and I trust you,

your child
  

The Journey: No One Else 

Sustain. Sufficient. Enough.

Have you ever had a strong craving for a food and tried to fulfill it with other foods only to find yourself stuffed but still wanting the food you originally craved? I’m really bad with craving specific foods. One of my biggest cravings is usually for chocolate chip cookies, but not like chips ahoy, more like home made soft but crunchy on the edges. Yes it’s that bad.

 Years ago I went to San Francisco for the first time and experienced the Gheridelli Factory. I was in HEAVEN. at Gheridelli they have colossal chocolate chip cookies. The first time I was there I bought one. For the next month no other cookie would do and driving 6 hours just to fulfill a craving wasn’t logical. By the end of summer I had been back and stocked up, ok I bought a few, because I knew I wouldn’t be back for a while. 

As I look back on this week I have noticed that this isn’t just a pattern physically but a lot of times this is a pattern spiritually too. 

“Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge. I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.”” ‭‭Psalm‬ ‭16:1-2‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I’ve come to realized that my soul tends to crave certain things; I long to hear affirming words, I long to have intimacy with people and see that they still choose me, I long to be loved unconditionally. But unfortunately I’ve gotten used to seeking to get those needs met through friends, parents, mentors etc.  For a long time I thought there was nothing wrong with that, until this week came and I found myself extremely sad and wanting to run away. Going to my phone I typed out a text to a friend asking her to pray for me. Then I realized, I hadn’t even prayed myself. 

“The sorrows of those who run after another god shall multiply; their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out or take their names on my lips.” ‭‭Psalm‬ ‭16:4‬ ‭ESV‬‬

As I sat in my room looking at the text I was convicted. I realized that I was trying to satisfy a soul craving with a human encounter. I’ve done this many times. 

I find it’s interesting that the word sacrifice means to surrender possession to a god or another divine being. Though most of us no longer sacrifice things physically I found that I often surrender parts of my heart to beings. Like the author of Psalm 16 I found that my sorrows were multiplying. Why? Because I had people set up as other gods in my life. God gently reminded me of the purpose of this wilderness season, “To believe that you are great simply because I made you, not because of anything that you do or anyone that you’re associated with. Just because I made you.” 

In this season I’m finding that Life is made up of many moments. Those moments have been given to us so we can make choices, choices that either fill our soul cravings or allow them to stay unfilled. 

“The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance. I bless the Lord who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me. I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.” Psalm‬ ‭16:5-8‬ ‭ESV‬‬

In no way am I saying that friends, godly counsel, asking for help etc is wrong but when we are stressed out and our desire to talk to a person is constantly stronger than our desire is to talk to God we are trying to eat something that won’t fully satisfy the craving. When we feel unloved, unworthy, and not important and choose to allow likes on social media to fill a craving that God’s truth and love are supposed to fill, we aren’t fully satisfying the craving. 

Toward the end of summer, the year that I discovered those amazing cookies, I was talking to a friend who was working on getting healthy. We got into this talk about sugar and he challenged me to give up chocolate chip cookies for 2 months and choose a better alternative. Though I didn’t want to I chose to accept his challenge. Those 2 months were tough but as I chose other things I found that the desire for chocolate chip cookies subsided and I started to desire healthier foods. 

Just like my body craved sugar but later was craving healthy things, sometimes we are so used to satisfying our soul cravings with things that aren’t enough and we have to choose to allow Him to satisfy those cravings. Over time as we continue to run to him we realize we are deficient of something, our desires will change because we will see that He knows the best way to fill those needs. Allow Him to become the one you desire. 

Dear Sojourner,

As you go along your journey I pray that God would show you areas that He wants to be your portion. Areas that have been surrendered to others in your life. Areas where you’ve tried to satisfy the craving with doing things or talking to other people and finding that it helped momentarily but you weren’t satisfied. As you choose to allow the One who created you to satisfy those cravings may you find yourself saying,“Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption. You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”‭Psalm‬ ‭16:9-11‬ ‭ESV‬‬ 

Keep journeying dear friends 

❤️Mo

  

The Joureny: Cloudy with a Chance of…Meatballs?!

To be totally honest my biggest fear is that I won’t be the person God created me to be. From a young age I have been scared of messing up. Not in the way that a perfectionist wants things to be perfect but in the way of believing that I could only have conditional love. I remember times when I was a kid wondering if I had sinned that day. I have had a mindset that God loved me because He happened to have created me and He has to love what He creates. I remember getting to the point this year realizing that I 100% believe the gospel for everyone else, but when it came to me… I didn’t believe it was enough. 

Sad right?

But before you click off and go back to facebook or something the story doesn’t end that hopeless. I am still a work in progress. 

On my journey of truly believing that I am who God says I am and He is who He says He is and I can be fully satisfied with Him, I kept coming against resistance. They always say that breakthrough comes right after the hardest seasons, this season has definitely been a hard one. But God reminded me, I’ve been here before.  

Take a minute and read this verse slowly. 

“I have called you back from the ends of the earth, saying, ‘You are my servant.’ For I have chosen you and will not throw you away. Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. ”Isaiah‬ ‭41:9-10NLT‬‬

When someone calls you they are calling you with an intention of communicating something. They want to talk to you. In this case God is calling to tell you that you are His! Don’t stop here though it gets better!!! He goes on to say that He has chosen you!

Imagine this with me. You are on your way to pick a puppy to join your family. When you go to the pound there are several puppies. Soft fluffy puppies (I like dogs a lot lol) but you walk in do you pick the first puppy you see? No. You would take your time. Looking at them. Maybe even petting and holding some. Your goal is to take home the best puppy for your family. 

God did the same thing to you. He saw you bound up in sin, shame, guilt and darkness. It says He CALLED YOU FROM THE ENDS OF THE EARTH! It goes on to say that He CHOSE YOU. 

And here’s the part that messed me up. He will not throw you away. Did you catch that? He doesn’t believe that you are junk! This verse first found me about 5 years ago in a season that is very similar to the one I’m in right now. It made me fall in love with God. Most days it was what helped me get out of bed. To know that I wouldn’t be thrown away was a beautiful thing. Then one day I went to see the animated movie, based on one of my favorite childhood books, Cloudy With Chance of Meatballs. The movie was great. Towards the end the main character, Flint, messes up big time. Flint gets to the point where he takes himself, lays down in the fetal position inside of a trash can full of failed inventions. His dad goes out to look for him and finds him there. He asks Flint why he’s in there and Flint goes on to tell him that he is junk just like the the inventions that failed. At this point I am bawling like a baby. Flint’s dad then says to Flint, “When it rains put on a coat.” And gives him his lab coat. 

What an amazing picture of what we do. After we’ve messed up we go and hide telling ourselves that we are too dirty, messed up, nasty etc to be near God so we throw ourselves away. But God never allows us to stay there. Just like Flint’s dad God comes looking for us. 

He’s done this since the first fall. 

“When the cool evening breezes were blowing, the man and his wife heard the LORD God walking about in the garden. So they hid from the LORD God among the trees. Then the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?” He replied, “I heard you walking in the garden, so I hid. I was afraid because I was naked.” “Who told you that you were naked?” the LORD God asked. “Have you eaten from the tree whose fruit I commanded you not to eat?””‭‭Genesis‬ ‭3:8-11‬ ‭NLT‬‬

God was on His way to see Adam and Eve when He found them hiding. Can I tell you something Sojourner? He’s on His way to see you too. He doesn’t want you to stay in shame, guilt, darkness and sin. No matter how ugly the sin is, no matter how far gone people have told you you are GOD NEVER THREW YOU AWAY and He NEVER will. 

Instead of a lecture I think God would say something kind of like What Flint’s dad said to Him. He’s saying to you, to me, to us “when you’ve messed up put your coat back on.” What coat am I talking about? 

“I am overwhelmed with joy in the LORD my God! For he has dressed me with the clothing of salvation and draped me in a robe of righteousness. I am like a bridegroom dressed for his wedding or a bride with her jewels.”‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭61:10‬ ‭NLT‬‬

“I put on righteousness, and it clothed me; My justice was like a robe and a turban.” Job 29:14

“But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.” Romans 13:14

“you put on the new self, the one created according to God’s likeness in righteousness and purity of the truth.” Ephesians 4:24

In case you didn’t catch it when we go to God He has a coat for us to put back on. The coat of righteousness.  The coat of our new nature given to us through salvation. Put back on the truth of who you are. God will never throw us away. As long as we have air in our lungs we can choose to putthe right  perspective back on. Will you go to Him today?

Take a minute and pray this with me. 

Dear God,

I see areas in my life that I have thrown myself away. Areas where I have given up all hope of becoming better. Can you forgive me? Your word says that you chose me. That you are for me and hold up my hand. I choose not to be afraid and give you all of me. Help me to believe You more and more. And help me to stop throwing myself away. I choose to put on the robe of righteousness again. Remind me to put it on when I take it off. I need you. I love you. 

Amen. 

 

The Journey: The Dirtiest 

There is something so freeing about walking around without shoes on. But can you imagine walking everywhere without shoes? Imagine for a minute with me that you decided to walk around barefoot for a week. It’s a pretty good week not too hot not too cold and you’re walking where there are sidewalks and not a ton of trash, but one day it rains. On this particular rainy day without shoes you are on your way to the house of someone you respect a lot. This person is someone you love dearly and don’t get to see very often. When you drive up to there you realize they don’t have any concrete leading up to their house. There is only grass which has become mud since it started raining. You have no choice but to trek through the mud and ring the door bell. The door opens. Your friend meets you with a smile as you notice their plush white carpet that may get ruined by your muddy feet. They look down to see your muddy dirty feet and say, “don’t worry about it. I’ll help clean you right up!”

I doubt many of us have been in this exact physical situation but this week I was shown how many times I’ve been here spiritually.

“Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, do you wash my feet?” Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.” 

Vulnerability is one of the hardest things to do. Our world teaches us that vulnerability equals weakness. They try to tell us to have intimacy but not to allow people to see you in a vulnerable light. Vulnerability means that you have more of a chance to be hurt or betrayed. Vulnerability means that whatever you show can and will be used against you, but I have to ask, is this a true depiction of what vulnerability is supposed to be? And even more so can you have intimacy without vulnerability? 

Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.”

Dirty smelly nasty feet. 

In this time the feet were one of the dirtiest parts of the body. The disciples walked everywhere with sandals. There were no cars or bikes and the roads weren’t clear and clean. Feet were so gross that the normal servants didn’t even wash them. For Jesus, the King of kings, to even think about washing His disciples feet was a shocker to them. What is an even bigger deal is the fact that He told Peter that if He doesn’t wash his feet than Peter can have no part of Him. 

Have you allowed Jesus to wash your feet?

This week I found myself dealing with a lot of shame from past mistakes. Tuesday before I went to bible study I stood in my bathroom and invited God into those memories. I’ve been working on taking every thought captive and making them surrender to Christ’s thoughts about me. This specific day I felt like God was telling me to capture the memories and make them surrender to Christ’s thoughts. As I sat in my bathroom I could feel the Holy Spirit say, “daughter I want even the dark moments”. Tears of repentance for holding onto guilt and shame fell as I gave my God the pain and fear that I had held onto for too long. 

Dear Sojourners, 

Have you allowed Jesus to wash all of the parts of you? I can tell you from experience that He wants even the dirtiest darkest sins. The ones that you are scared to even talk about. He wants the ones that continue to taunt you. The ones that you regret. Maybe you’ve experienced freedom from these specific sins or maybe these are things that you still struggle with. Can I tell you something? Regardless of if its still a struggle or if it’s a scar you bare and it is tender with pain still, Jesus wants it. He wants the dirt of the dirtiest. He wants the pain that is still intertwined with the scars you bare. He wants it and actually requires you to give it to Him. Will you give it to Him? Vulnerability with Jesus will never backfire on you. He isn’t going to use these things against you. In fact He wants to do the exact opposite and use these things for you. He will bring the people that you can confess to and get guidance from but until that happens take it all to the lover of your soul. He wants you to be whole and He will always love you through it.   

May we walk with understanding that there is grace that is sufficient for the dirt we encounter. May we allow Jesus to sanctify us and guide us. May we allow people to be vulnerable and cultivate an atmosphere of love and truth and may we encounter the same when it’s our turn. 

Keep journeying dear friends. 

Mo 

  

The Journey: Passive Plans 

Take a moment and imagine it’s your birthday and one of your good friends call you up and they tell you that they want to plan a surprise for you. They assure you that all you have to do is be ready at a specific time and they will take care of everything. From the way that they are talking this surprise is going to be huge. (Think meet and greet passes to see Taylor Swift huge , or another favorite singer of yours). You’re excited to spend time with them and excited to see the surprise. 

You start questioning what you should wear. Will it be cold wherever you’re going? Should you dress up? Dress down? Do you need to give them gas money? What time will you be back? Never mind all the questions you trust this person. At least you think to yourself “I think I do.  No I totally trust them.” The day arrives and you’re ready at the exact time. A few minutes go by and there is NO sign of them. You assure yourself that they are on their way. I mean everyone is a little late sometimes. A half of an hour goes by you think about sending them a text making sure they are okay when they finally pull up. 

Excitement comes back as you think about all of the possibilities that this surprise can be but your friend seems off. You ask them if things are ok and they nonchalantly say “sure”. They don’t seem in a rush to leave town. You finally say, “I’m so excited for this surprise!!!! I couldn’t sleep last night! Can you give me a hint of what we are doing?” Oblivious by your super surprised tone you friend looks at you and says, “oh well I was just going to drive around and just see whatever happens to us. There’s not really a plan I just thought we’d drive around and maybe get something to eat if we get hungry or something…”

A total let down right?

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.”

‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭29:11-14‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I want to first say as someone who has learned from various types of disappointment that I am sorry if it feels like you’re constantly being disappointed but there is super good news!

This last year I realized that I have been absolutely terrified of my future. Fear has been something that I’ve struggled through and the thing fear seemed to attach to the last few years was my future. The enemy used people to speak carelessly mean things over dreams, I allowed those things spoken to create nightmares out of dreams I always longed for. I allowed others choices to tell me what I would one day fall into instead of looking to God for the plans and the purpose He had for my life. 

Believing I was doomed was a constant thought. 

This summer God made it very clear that He wanted my mind to align with His about my future but first I had to start believing that He was who He said He was. The absolute biggest way He has taught me how to have a mind like Christ has been to read verses that speak directly to the lies and accusations I was believing. 

“The steps of a man are established by the Lord, when he delights in his way; though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the Lord upholds his hand.” ‭‭Psalm‬ ‭37:23-24‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Last night one of my friends was praying for me and he said, “that Monique would know that your plans for her are not passive plans.” This has been stuck in my mind all day. How often do we believe and perceive God as the friend that gets your hopes up and let’s them down with passivity? For me I’ve looked at Him like that way too often. To think that God doesn’t have plans for us or to believe that He carries a whatever happens happens mindset is to believe God is a liar. I know that one stings. But it’s truth. We can no longer believe the voices that say that we are going to be just like our dysfunctional parent(s), siblings, or worse. We can no longer believe that God is just going to cast us off; that He sits back frustrated at us and approaches us with a hands off mentality. Constantly over thinking how we’ve disappointed Him doesn’t make things right in our relationship with Him. Only running to His presence seeking Him and believing He is who He says and we are who HE says we are will do that. 

Jeremiah 29:11 says that He knows the plans He has for us and they are plans of welfare NOT evil. We can trust that. 

Dear Sojourner,

Think about your wildest dream. Think about the relationship you want to have with your spouse or your children. Think about the way you want help love people and show them the love of your Heavenly Father. Those desires were put in your heart by Him because He plans to do those things through you! He doesn’t have passive plans for you because He doesn’t have passive love for you. He is the most intentional being on this earth. So intentional that even if you don’t do things 100% right (which none of us will) He has a plan to still get you to point B! It doesn’t matter what happens to you or what chaos you create, if you relentlessly go back to Him and surrender your plans for His He will continue to guide you. He knows the things that hurt you, but trust that He did not like that those things were said or done BUT He knows EXACTLY how to use them. Don’t live with a passive mind. You’re so much better than that. 

Keep journeying,

❤️ Mo

  

The Journey: The Words that Still Wreck 

Words are one of my favorite things. To be able to write and create a world that began as a simple imagination and then allow someone else to recreate that world simply by reading and imagining is a beautiful thing to me. But too often it too can be a horrific nightmare. My love for words has created both worlds many times during my life. For many seasons I have found myself in this hurricane of words bouncing off the walls of my brain. Words that were spoken out of careless joking that stuck. Words that were spoken out of spite that stabbed. Words that were spoke out of another persons theology that robbed. 

Words that wrecked me. 
“A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.” ‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭15:4‬ ‭

The words that have wrecked me the absolute most didn’t come from a mean spirited person. If you have read my previous blogs you know that my relationship with my dad (click to read more) has been everything but perfect. I grew up with out him. He chose a life of drugs alcohol and other women instead of being with his wife and kids. There was a ton of pain that came from that. A lot of times our relationship was as on again off again as Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez. We would have a good year and then I would call one time when he had too much to drink or was under the influence of something and would end the conversation with shame and guilt hanging around my neck because of words he spoke. 

Through the years I found myself writing letters of how I felt hoping to release unforgivness for the things he had done and said. I always feared that he would get sick and last year he did. Very sick in fact. 

Love covers a multitude of sins (click to read more about my trip to VA)

Last year I found my self on a plane a few days before my 24th birthday to go see my dad. I remember hoping and praying that while I was in Virginia I would get to see my dad delivered and get to pray with him and see him accept Jesus in his heart. I had huge expectations, but I also knew that regardless I was there to love him, so when I came home and the conversation about God didn’t happen I patiently waited. I tried to keep the relationship on great terms but it was still hard. In June my dad had several more surgeries and different medical things arrive. One day after a surgery my aunt called to tell us that the doctors weren’t expecting him to make it through the the summer. I sobbed that night. To know that death was so close to my dad and he still hadn’t accepted Jesus into his heart seems childish but truth is I know there is life after this and more than anything I want to see my dad after we both pass. I had my doubts though. Some were simply doubting that my dad could change but some went deeper than that. I doubted that God could change him. I doubted that God cared that much about him or me to change his heart. But I prayed. 

I begged God not to take his life until he surrendered it to him. I didn’t talk to my dad for a few weeks because I was scared. 

June 14th, 2015 I was driving, with one of my closest friends, when I called my dad to see how he was doing. His hello was sweeter than it had previously been. As he was telling me that the doctors lifted the previous statement that he would not make it through the summer I could feel the joy through the phone. He continued to tell me that he had a surgery coming up the next week and for the first time he didn’t have fear or worry. “I just can’t be afraid anymore Monique, not when I have Jesus living in my heart.” 

My heart stopped

Did I just hear what I thought?

All I could say was, “that’s cool dad.” He went on to explain how the Chaplin at the hospital came to see him because he heard about how he was close to death and had an amazing amount of joy. The doctors and nurses kept making comments about how much joy he had. His answer was simply, “Jesus is inside of me”. I was completely baffled. Holding back tears I listened to my dad apologize for it taking him so long to get his life together and how he was just so happy that he didn’t die without surrendering his life. 

God is so good. 

Ending the conversation I asked if I could pray with him and he said of course. I was so thankful that God answered my prayers but He wasn’t done. 

Have you ever read that verse in Ephesians that says that God will do more than we could ever think to ask for? It’s found in Ephesians 3

“19and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. 20Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, 21to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.”

I simply asked that my dad would see the love that Jesus has for him and would accept it but God knew that I needed more than that. That’s when I got wrecked in the most beautiful way possible. 

“Monique, before you go I want to pray for you.” I heard these words coming through the other end of my phone. As my dad prayed tears rolled down my face. I don’t remember all that he said but I know that my life was forever changed by those simple words. I’ve heard those words from several people in my life but when the one person you have been praying for your whole life speaks those words… It messes you up

God is faithful

The last month I’ve had countless conversations with my dad. I’ve also had countless conversations with my Heavenly Daddy. He reminds me that if He has my ex alcoholic, drug addict, cancer ridden father than he too has me. He’s shown me that through the last 24 years of my life He knew the longing I had as a baby for a father, he saw the tears that fell because all the other kids brought their dads to Father’s Day picnics at school, he knew the pain that stabbed me when I felt I wasn’t good enough to have a dad. He saw it all. Even the seasons of anger and bitterness towards Him and my dad for this life and complications I felt because I didn’t have a dad at home. 

This past Saturday I woke up early to update my dad on my grandpa, who is also in the hospital. I didn’t have a great week mentally. I felt the enemies accusations heavily on my mind. And though I kept running to God it was still hard. My dad could tell. Before I hung up he asked, “Can I pray for you?” Once again I found myself sobbing. Half because of the pain and hurt of the chaotic world around me and half because I was overwhelmed with joy that this was once again happening. 

Dear Sojourners,

First if you don’t have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ but you’ve happened to come across this blog and have read it to the end I want to tell you without having a religious debate there’s something more. There is a God who created you and loves you more than anything. Regardless of what you’ve done, thought, believed, the questions you have, He wants to take all of those things and answer them, redeem them and make your life have more meaning than you’ve ever had. It’s not childish it’s truth. I know people that have claimed to love God have made it look like He is this tyrant that hates people because of their sin but truth is he hates sin because it hurts his children. I can’t give you the answers of why certain things happened or didn’t happen in your life but I know one thing, He will take the ugliest most horrific things and turn them into something beautiful. Will you let Him? Simply believe in your heart that Jesus is Lord confess with your mouth that He rose from the grave and accept His love. That’s it. Let him do the fixing. 

Secondly dear friend that is hurt because it seems like your prayers are never heard. Maybe you found a different outcome to your circumstance and it doesn’t seem fair. Can I encourage you to keep praying. Don’t close that communication with God. Allow Him to heal you as you pour out the anger, sadness, bitterness, and just plain hurt. He can handle you and your emotions. He won’t cast you off. In fact he will kneel beside you and weep too. Then he will stand you up holding your hand and keep journeying forward until one day, whether on earth or in Heaven, you will get the answers you need. 

No matter where you are in your journey know that His love leads you to a hope that doesn’t disappoint. 

Keep journeying dear friends.

Mo Go

PS if you accepting Christ, have any questions, or would like prayer feel free to leave them in the comment section. If you don’t want them public simply put a * and I won’t publicize them but I will pray for you. ☺️
  

The Journey: The Perserverence in ReClaiming

​”but it’s so dark, are you sure it’s in there?” she said as her body shook with fear of what was beyond the thick darkness. He looked at her with love in his eyes and said, ” Just remember who you are. You won’t have to fight. Just go and reclaim what’s yours.”  “Wait, you’re not co-” he quickly interrupted her,”You know I’m always with you. It just looks different. You can do this.” She knew this meant she had to trust him. Just like the previous times where though he didn’t walk beside her he seemed to always give her the strength in a way that was almost better than having him right beside her. So she took her first step into the darkness. It seemed to enclose her. It was hard to breathe. She felt overwhelmed. What did he say? How is it I was just with him and already forgot what he told me, I am so- “Remember who you are” his voice interrupted her thoughts breathing peace into chaos just like before. “But who am I?” she thought for a minute. “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.” Light. I am the light because he is in me.” she exclaimed. Just like that fear left. The darkness seemed to back away. Her mind cleared and she focused on what she came for.

Going into this year I knew that God was calling me to reclaim things that I had let go of. Reclaim ideas, loves, dreams, parts of my relationship with him that I felt like the enemy had stolen. Two of those things were dreams and worship. Fear and nightmares have been apart of my life for such a long time. Daydreams that created false expectations were ways to escape. But real dreams seemed hard to conjure up. Worship became something that was redundant or an experience where I felt shame because my worth was a lot less than others based on what I could see. 

During worship earlier this year Daddy took me on this grand adventure that you read at the beginning of this blog. He took me to a place that challenged my mindset that said that the enemy is the one that takes ( which is true) BUT what He challenged was, how often do I allow the enemy to take these things?

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Proverbs 4:23

He led me to a valley where I had to remember that I had the light and that the battle wasn’t won in my strength. In my serving in ministry or doing all of the cute Christian stuff but the battle would be won in the strength of Him and who He is in my life. As the adventure continued I remember seeing a jewel sitting in the midst of the darkness. Nothing guarding it, I simply had to pick it up if I wanted it to be back in my possession. So that’s what I did.

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:21

I picked up a jewel that I had originally left unguarded because the treasure I focused on was the things that looked valuable. You see when we treasure the wrong things we guard the wrong things. When we begin to treasure our reputation above our standing with God we leave our standing with God unguarded. When we value our daydreams above God’s dreams for us we leave His dreams unguarded. We treasure our will above His.

This year I found that the battle is not just in what the enemy has tried to take but the battle is also in my flesh. A situation came a few months ago that directly attacked my dream of being married. I found myself giving up on a dream that I’ve wanted for so long. I remember standing in the aisle of Target crying as I told my mom that I don’t want to get married any more because of the hurt and pain that this situation brought up. That scared me. That’s when I realized that I had to reclaim that dream. Partly because I had allowed a bad situation to steal kill and destroy that dream but also because I had the perspective of how I thought my future marriage should look over how God wants it to look. My perspective was filled with fear of it becoming something horrible, while God was speaking that even in the face of something bad happening, He could take care of it so there was no need to worry about the future of things.

He has continued to tell me to reclaim and re guard the treasures in my heart. The reclaiming looks like going and taking back what I allowed the enemy to steal and giving it back to God. Allowing Him to change my perspective.

Dear Sojourners,

Do you feel like there are parts of your life where the enemy keeps stealing killing and destroying? It feels like he keeps gaining ground? Well take heart. The truth is that through God’s word you can reclaim what has been stolen from you. In reclaiming you have also choose to guard what you want to be important to you. In Matthew 6 Jesus says, “”But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal;21for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Choose to allow your treasure to be found in Heaven. The things of this world will one day fade but when Jesus is your joy and treasure you will protect your relationship with Him and what He is doing in your life. No matter how many times it feels like you’ve tried to find peace, receive joy, worship Him in spirit and in truth, will you try again? Get up, dust yourself off, and start treasuring the jewels that will truly last. 

Keep journeying dear friends.

The Journey: Oh How He Loves…

how has God shown you He loves you In the last year? Month? today? What about the last hour? 

Too often we have this idea that God is constantly disgruntled at the human race. Our picture of what the Bible calls “Our first love” (John 17) is so far from loving it’s no wonder we have problems with shame, guilt, condemnation, and fear. 

A huge part of my current journey is choosing to see Jesus as the loving groom I’ve heard about. To allow the one who first loved me to be the one I fearlessly love. 

“He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love.” Song of Solomon 2:4

This verse has led me into a question that I hope you too ask yourself. But first think about this, what is a banner? What does it do? Is it something big? Small, unnoticeable? 

One version of the verse above says, “..it’s obvious how much he loves me.”

When I think of a banner I think of a huge covering. Something that is not missed. Something that people know what it symbolizes. A flag. 

So the question I challenge myself to answer every time I see a flag is simply, “How has Jesus shown me His love today?” 

On days like today when it’s hard to count the ways of His love because I cloud my view with unworthy things He sends me treats. 

Treats like a sunset or a reminder of how far He’s brought me. 

Today after going on an unexpected adventure with a dear friend of mine I went on Instagram and found this little gem. 

  
My senior year in high school I met this spunky adorable freshman that I had the honor of walking with through a hard time in her life. This was the beginning of my heart for discipleship. 

7 years later I have found God take what I thought was a hobby and turn it into a full on calling. As I have been on this journey of transition and finding the love that God has for me as His daughter and nothing more I found the fear of losing my identity if I “took a break from my calling”. 

This simple post reminding me of the lengths God called me to take when there was no position gives me assurance that I will be who I’ve been called to be with or without a position in ministry. 

How has He shown me His love today? He’s reminded me of who I am and have been for the last 7 years. 

Dear Sojourner,

You never know what influence you make when you simply do small things with great love. Allow the “small” talents you have be used by His great love and watch lives be changed. Even if you don’t know the impact you make He knows, and He will remind you when you need it most. He loves you. Start counting the ways. 

Dear Andrea, 

You were the first girl that ever had a part of my heart that made me want someone else to be better than I ever was. To see where you are now makes me so happy. Know that God used you to spark a fire in my heart for discipleship and pushing people to be the best. I know God has huge things for you. You’ve come so far and I’m honored to have been used by our Father. It’s all grace. 

Continue on your journey 

Mo Go

  

The Journey: Separation Anxiety

“Mom?”

“Monique? What’s wrong?!”

“I-my stomach hurts. I need to come home.”

” It’s just your nerves. You can’t miss the first day of school.”

“But mom I can’t-I- I need to come home. It’s -it’s more than nerves. I think I’m sick”

“Sigh. You have to stay. You can’t keep doing this.”

“I’m not trying to..I just can’t stay today…”

Up until high school this was a all too normal  phone call my mom would recieve every first day of school. It would start the night before and would end with me in tears not wanting to stay at school. I would be excited for school all summer but for some reason walking into the first class after being outside in the crisp morning air would make me realize that I was stuck. But more than stuck I was away from my MOM. My mind would flood with anxious thoughts of anything and everything ranging from what if I never see her again because something happens to her or what if she chooses not to pick me up. As a child I was scared that I would lose the one who I loved more than myself. This thought plagued haunted me constantly. Going to friends’ houses to spend the night weren’t a norm because I simply missed my mom. There were several times I would go to my aunts house for the summer and within a couple of days I was too sick to stay and she’d have to take me home days early. When I got home it was like my stomach got a dose of the right medicine and things were fine. 

Fear of Separation. To be apart. 

Looking back now I realize that a huge part of why I was so anxious when I wasn’t around my mom for long period of time was a combination of being a mommas girl and fear of being abandoned. Though I was very young when I lived near my dad I believe that a part of me emotionally knew that I had already lost one parent and I had to hold on for dear life or else the other one could be snatched from me too. This caused anxiety that leaked into so many other relationships besides the one with my mom. 

I was listening to Pastor Steven Furticks message, You Had to Be There. He was talking about 1 Kings 17 and how there was a drought sent but God sent Elijah to a brook where He sustained him for a time. God even sent Ravens to feed him, pretty cool right?! I would encourage you to read it. As you read it you will see that God allows the brook that He provided for Elijah to dry up. Pastor Steven then says that  God allowed the brook to dry up because Elijah was obedient to what God had for him and it was time for God to move him to the next step. 

Anxiety: a feeling of worry, fear, nervousness. Anxiety is something that plagues so many people. It can come in small doses that most people can relate to or it can come in dooming mind sets that you can’t shake. Do you think people in the Bible dealt with anxiety? Fear?

Two chapters later we find Elijah in a very different light. 

So Jezebel sent this message to Elijah: “May the gods strike me and even kill me if by this time tomorrow I have not killed you just as you killed them.” Elijah was afraid and fled for his life. He went to Beersheba, a town in Judah, and he left his servant there. Then he went on alone into the wilderness, traveling all day. He sat down under a solitary broom tree and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, LORD,” he said. “Take my life, for I am no better than my ancestors who have already died.” (‭1 Kings‬ ‭19‬:‭2-4‬ NLT)

What happened? What happened to the obedient prophet who saw God’s provision. I didn’t even mention but in chapter 18 we find Elijah totally obliterating the idols that the people were believing in. So he was victorious, saw God’s provision more than once but ran.  away. 

Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love. (‭1 John‬ ‭4‬:‭18‬ NLT)
Too often we lose sight of our sustainer. We forget that God is not a human and believe that He separates himself from us if a circumstance arises that is hard, challenging, or scary. We forget. We believe that because we can’t feel Him, He has separated himself from us, thus creating anxiety that we are alone, abandoned, neglected, punished. We believe the lies that tell us we are worthless, always a mess, too much to handle and God has punished us by separating His love from our hearts. 

But I found a truth that blew my mind. 

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. (‭Romans‬ ‭8‬:‭38-39‬ NLT)

I will end with this. In the book Breaking Free by Beth Moore she talks about how one of the definitions of God’s unfailing  love is a love that is evoked by small babies. She goes on to talk about how when she became a mother her children unlocked a love in her she never experienced. This next truth sealed the fact that I never have to be anxious about the one who loves me more than I will ever fully know will never abandon me. She says, “I once heard a Christian child psychologist explain then necessity of some conflict and power struggle with teenagers. He explained that a certain amount of difficulty most naturally arise as children began to become young adults and parents would never be able to help them out of the nest and onto independence. He commented if the bond we had with them as infants did not change we would never be able to let them go. All our lives God retains the strong feelings towards us that infant evoke and their parents because he never has to let us go! He’s not rearing us to leave home! God is ruining us to come home!”

This journey of choosing to see ourselves the way God does has already proven to be hard but when we choose to align our minds with the truth that He will not leave us we no longer have to believe that from punishment separation will come. We can believe that He is with us every step of the way. 

Dear sojourners,

Don’t give up. You are great. You are loved. You are worth it. Simply because you are alive and breathing. That means there’s still a good purpose for you here on the Earth and God is with you. He wants you to accomplish all that He has for you so that you can finally go home and be with Him. What a beautiful picture of our amazing Daddy. 

Keep traveling friends 

Mo Go