1800 Peanuts

I had been so worried about being safe, yet here I was with two guys I had never met, waiting for my college pastors to show up to what was Todd and I’s first date.

Never would have imagined.

Looking back now I am astounded at how peaceful and confident I felt.

Todd introduced me to his broken armed friend and we waited for my two to arrive. From the get go I noticed two things, 1. Todd looked straight into my eyes when we talked. He was a man of eye contact, and I didn’t feel weird looking back at him. and 2. He was straight forward.

“Are you done?” Todd asked

“Uhh yeah. I’ll take the rest home.” I replied.

“Ok good. Let’s get out of here,” Todd got up and threw our trash away.

I looked over. Our friends were still eating.

“Let’s walk outside.” He saw me hesitate, “Oh they can catch up. I just want to walk.”

I didn’t look for permission, I just went and followed him.

Our friends ended up catching up but it was obvious that Todd’s focus was on me.

We walked and Todd and I talked about all types of things. We were open. Friends. It was nice.

Like any good date we ended up at an ice cream shop.

“What kind of ice cream do you want?” Todd asked.

I looked around. “I’ll take the chocolate one, but you should know I’m extremely allergic to peanuts. Like I can’t be around them.”

Todd looked at me. “Really? Like how allergic?”

“Like I’ll stop breathing if I’m even around it. I have an Epi-pen in my bag.”

“Oh ok.” He looked really serious. “So no peanuts. Ok”

He paid for my ice cream and we sat near our friends. Naturally peanut reaction stories came up. We talked. Laughed.

“So,” Todd looked over at me. “I had a lot of fun. I’d like to hang out with you again. Would you like that?”

“Yeah, that’d be great.” I responded.

“Yeah? Ok great!”

Todd looked over at our friends, “guys, we decided we want to see each other again!”

Our friends were excited. We took a selfie and said our good byes.

Our next few dates Todd came to my area. We’d go to dinner hang and talk. A few weeks after our first date I decided to drive down to his area for the day. I was welcomed into his home with open arms. Met his family.

Todd went to grab something from his room before we were heading to lunch.

His mom looked at me with a smile and said, “You know Todd told me about your allergy. I got took out all of the peanut candy from our dish.”

“Aww thanks,” I smiled. “I really appreciate it.”

His mom looked back at me and said, “He hasn’t eaten peanuts since he came back from you guys’ first date.”

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Through the Darkness

Two years ago I️ woke up to what would intensify an incredibly hard season. Trying to formulate the words of see you later to my dad was difficult. Seeing the pain from my brother was heartbreaking. The anxiety and grief was becoming a beast I️ couldn’t face alone.

I️ remember hoping that I’d never lose a close family member or friend until I was married, so that I️ could be comforted by my spouse. Yet 2 years ago I️ was single and faced 2 great deaths. This is something I’m thankful for. The road I️ was on seemed to head to more sadness, but the hand that held mine was sure.

It may sound crazy but there are days I️ miss that season. When you trust God and can’t find even a hint of satisfaction on anything else but Him His presence and faithfulness are so evident.

People often say I’m strong yet I️ feel so weak. The strength they see is something that is beyond me. When I️ chose to forgive my dad I️ had to rely on God. When I️ hasn’t seen my dad in 9 years and I️ chose to go see him because he was dying, I️ had to rely on God. When I️ had to see not only him but my grandpa die in the same week, I️ had to rely on God.

Even in the darkest seasons. The ones where anxiety seems to rule and depression greets you in the morning. In seasons where bitterness encases your heart. When it’s hard to forgive. The secret is found in going through those valid feelings with God. The natural thing we do is try to fix it ourselves. Yet God wants us to go with and through.

I️ know I️ wouldn’t have made it through all of the without Him. Every prayer from every person doesn’t go unnoticed. Even today I’m thankful for each prayer for my family during that season. I️ know there are more times than I️ can count that they carried me through.

Dear Sojourners,

Forgiveness is possible. Redemption is real. Guidance from Our Daddy is necessary.

Dad I️ know you’re enjoying heaven. I️ miss you but thankfully one day, we will be united again.

Joy for the Season

The desires of our heart have a way of making us impatient. Waiting can be so hard, so what do we do while we wait? This past year I’ve found my self I desiring things, some silly, yet they represented so much of my heart. And when I couldn’t get it, I did what ever mature 26 year old Christian does, I threw fits. I’ve told God I was done talking to him, was angry at the people around me, and bitter towards the ones I serve. This past year has been a mess. And I was ok with staying that way.

My mind goes back to one particular moment. In the midst of this cycle, I knew I should do one thing. Text my best friend and ask for prayer. Though I didn’t want to talk to God, I also knew my perspective was skewed.

As I talked to her I realized the lie I was believing.

Sometimes God’s protection feels more like a prison than provision. Sometimes His will feels horrible.

As I asked to her about this Jesus started talking to me about the time He was in the garden.

“Then Jesus went with them to a garden called Gethsemane and told his disciples, “Stay here while I go over there and pray.” Taking along Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he plunged into an agonizing sorrow. Then he said, “This sorrow is crushing my life out. Stay here and keep vigil with me.”

Going a little ahead, he fell on his face, praying, “My Father, if there is any way, get me out of this. But please, not what I want. You, what do you want?””

Matthew 26:36-39 MSG

Jesus didn’t want to die on the cross. He plunged in agonizing sorrow. He said, “This sorrow is crushing the life out.” He desperately sought God, hoping to find another way to save us. I’m sure thoughts and temptations invaded His mind, making it hard to think yet He pursued. He knew there was no escaping this. The promise in a sense was a prison. In order to save the human race, He must die a unthinkable death. Jesus was messed up.

In this situation I stayed grumpy for a few days. Realizing the lie I believed wasn’t enough this time, because it didn’t change. I know that no matter what, if I want to remain in God’s will I must go through this season that I am in. The constant going. The grading. The testing. The writing, work that I frankly didn’t care about. I was in it. I have avoided it, but He’s always brought me back.

Plowing through life emotionless is never worth it. To be alive is to be engaged. To be able to offer hope to those around you you must be alive. Choosing to do what you’ve been called to isn’t about simply doing it while you let your heart die. It’s about answering the call and finding ways to allow your heart to live deeper. Wider. Expand. Let more people in. Give more love out. To live this way is not possible when your perspective is to trudge through life not connecting.

When I finally let go of what I believed my life should look like and held onto the hand of the one guiding is when I found love for the calling. To be in the same physical place yet an eternity away from where I was spiritually astounds me. My mindset was bratty last year, yet God still blessed me. He still called me. And He gave me the joy for the season.

Emmanuel 

First featured on ourwordscollaborativ.com day 19 💛

Christmas movies are my favorite. I love to sit down and put on a movie full or festive times, snowy days, and holiday cheer. 

As I’m writing this I am watching the movie the Nativity. There’s this part in the movie when a woman that Mary was working for had several children around and she is talking about the time when Elijah was hiding in the cave in 1 Kings 19. Though Elijah had just faced a great victory; lies and threats reached his ears that made him feel alone. Threatened. Scared. So what did he do? The same thing most of us do when we feel like the world, even God, is against us. He hid. He went in a cave and hid. God tried to get Elijah to stop hiding and remember that He was on his side and what He’s done for Elijah. He called Elijah out of the cave. While Elijah was on the mountain side huge winds began to whip around him. If I was Elijah I would have thought that maybe the winds were God. Maybe He was trying to physically pick me up and put me back where He wanted. Forcing me to face my fears. But the Lord was not in the wind. A fire began to fall around Elijah. If I was him I would have thought God was trying to scare me away from where I was hiding. Maybe I would choose to move back to where God wanted me, out of fear. But the Lord was not in the fire. Lastly, the earth began to shake. The ground opened up and rocks cracked all around Elijah. If I was Elijah I would have thought that God was done. That He was just going to allow the Earth to swallow me up and move onto the next person that would obey Him. But the Lord was not in the earthquake. So where was He? He said He was going to come. 
I can picture Elijah being weary. Tired. Emotionally drained. The dust around him settles. Things come to a calm. Just then a small, gentle voice speaks. It was Him. 
Isn’t that beautiful. The stillness. The small. God loves to be unconventional. 
This past November we as a family made it through the first anniversary without my dad and grandpa. They both were taken from us by cancer within days of each other the year before. It was hard. People often ask how I got through it. Truth is the threats and lies are all too familiar for me. The winds have whipped, the fire has scorched, and the earth has shaken. The answer is found in a simple identity. 
Emmanuel 
Jesus has many names to describe all that He is. Emmanuel means God with us. When Jesus came down He was with us. He walked with us, yes but He went through life as a human. Meaning He knows what we are facing and He knows how to get through it; successfully! This is huge when we are facing the grief and corruption that life brings. When our close people die; He is with us. When our families are being torn apart; He’s with us. When life hands you lies, threats, and accusations; He knows what is feels like and He knows how to get out of it. Even when the anxieties and depression hits; He hasn’t left. He’s right there with you, guiding you. 
Too often we choose to look to God like the people in the Old Testament. Questioning if it’s God that is in the winds that whip around us. Questioning if He is in the fire that burns all around. Wondering if He’s shaking the earth to get your attention. But forgetting He’s in that still small voice in you. Forgetting He’s in the gift of the Word He gave us. 
Through all of the hustle and bustle take a moment and sit. I don’t know what memories you have of Christmas time or what this past year alone has brought you, but you have made it. A friend of mine recently sent me a picture that said, “You have survived 100% of your worse days.” How true is that? You are here, right now reading this blog. You are breathing. That means you are meant for something grand. I know the feeling of not knowing how or if I would make it through the end of the day. I know the feeling of anxiety and depression holding me down, creating a whirlwind around me. But I made it. Not through the worlds remedies, but through my God. He led me through. Dear friend, God is with you. I don’t know why life has handed you the things it has or hasn’t handed you what you want but I know that He is with you. He has you. And you’re not going to just get through these times but you’ll get through them victoriously because He is with you. 

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

When Hopes Get Shattered 

I wrote this, this past summer after realizing that I had to let of a relationship. I hope that if you’re single that this posts give you hope and reminds you to trust our God. Love you friends 💛


After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.” 2But Abram said, “O Lord God, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” 3And Abram said, “Behold, you have given me no offspring, and a member of my household will be my heir.” 4And behold, the word of the Lord came to him: “This man shall not be your heir; your very own son shall be your heir.” 5And he brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” 6And he believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness. Genesis 15:1-6

A few years back I found myself in the face of yet another moment of rejection. I remember just feeling like hopes were once again shattered and dreams would never come true. It was utterly depressing.

I walked into my friend’s office  and he looked at me and said, “Monique you need to go somewhere and just be with God.”

And he was right.

He told me that he didn’t want to see me until the weekend was over.  So the next day I hopped in my little Hyundai and drove 45 minutes to this  State Park. I didn’t really have a plan except for to read my Bible and journal. When I got there it was cold and I was alone in the middle of trees and lizards and bugs.

So I wrote and I talked to God I gave my heart and my desires.

God met me there.

I asked Him how I was going to get through this. I asked Him why there were things that I believed that He was giving me only to take them away. Why people chose to be passive with my heart?  Why relationships weren’t the way that I wanted them? I got down to the root of even questioning why I had to constantly face rejection and why this is something that I was born into.

He reminded me of Abraham and Isaac. Abraham had been promised a son and even in the moments of him questioning if God was going to fulfill that promise there were times when he decided to take it into his own hands, like I had also done.

“2And Sarai said to Abram, “Behold now, the Lord has prevented me from bearing children. Go in to my servant; it may be that I shall obtain children by her.” And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai. 3So, after Abram had lived ten years in the land of Canaan, Sarai, Abram’s wife, took Hagar the Egyptian, her servant, and gave her to Abram her husband as a wife. 4And he went in to Hagar, and she conceived. And when she saw that she had conceived, she looked with contempt on her mistress.” Genesis 16:2-4

But God was still faithful.

God still is faithful.

“1The Lord visited Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did to Sarah as he had promised. 2And Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age at the time of which God had spoken to him.” Genesis 21:1-2

God still gave him his son Isaac.

He fulfilled his promises.

But later He asked Abraham to do the unthinkable.

 “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” 2He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” Genesis22:1-2

To sacrifice the very thing that He had promised him. To let go of the very thing that Abraham wanted the most.

I felt like God was asking me to do the same thing. To bind the very thing I have desired since I was a little girl and offer it as a sacrifice to Him.

So I picked up a stick. And for the longest time that stick stayed in my car.  I chose to believe that if God asked me to sacrifice and to let go of the very thing that I wanted most; not only that I wanted but the very thing that I believed He had promised , that I would choose to do that because I love God more.

Today I found myself at almost the same exact situation.  Projected hopes shattered, dreams and expectations not met, falling in love with the idea of a relationship but turning a blind eye to the reality of the relationship. To be honest it was a place where I put myself. 

No one to blame. 

Just me running ahead of God.

And so I went to go clear my mind. I went and traveled. I chose to do something that I love and hopefully get close to God.

As I was heading home I decided that I would stop at that park again and sit down and journal. I didn’t expect God to give me anything about this season that I’m in but more so I chose to work on dreams that were in my control right now.

But He still met me there.

As I was walking to my car I felt like I should go back to the spot where I had sat down and picked up a stick. 

So I did.

I felt a gentle prompting to remember what I did then and to do it again. So I  picked up a stick and once again He reminded me of Abraham and Isaac.

I rolled my eyes and told Him, “I know God. I need to sacrifice this desire again.”

Before I could continue, a different question hit my soul. 

 What happens when your Isaac?

 What happens when it feels like he’s binding you to sticks and raising a knife over your heart? What happens and it feels like He’s killing everything inside of you? What happens when you don’t feel like He’s being good to you yet everyone else is getting the very thing you desire?  Do you trust him?

 I’ve  never realized the perspective of Isaac before today. There are so many moments  when He’s doing things that feel like rejection but in those moments we have to choose to trust the heart of the Father. Isaac knew that his father loved him very much. Yet I wonder what questions ran through his head as he was being laid on the altar. I wonder what things he started to  remember about his father.  I wonder if he questioned  his father’s love for him. Why would he sit there and sacrifice his son to a God? But in Abraham’s trust in God and Isaac’s trust in his father God provided. The promise was still fulfilled. Isaac didn’t die that day.

So here I am driving home realizing that I can trust the heart of my Father. Realizing that even in the seasons where it feels like He has ripped everything away and the promise still hasn’t come, I can surrender myself to Him. I can choose to lay myself on the altar knowing that there are going to be things that He cuts away from me to make me better. Even while I’m in the fire He’s not allowing me to be burned but He’s allowing me to be refined.  To be able to scrape away the impurities that have settled in my heart for too long.

Dear Sojourner,

I know that when promises aren’t fulfilled the enemy is right there to speak lies of rejection. I know that sometimes it feels like God doesn’t care. But even in rejection, even in praying for unfulfilled promises choose to look back. To see how far He has brought you. And with that perspective you can choose to trust Him no matter what. Know that even in rejection God is thinking about your protection. 

💛

Mo 

A New Days Rise

Intentions. 

He carefully walked towards the edge of the ship. His legs reminded him that he wasn’t as steady as he used to be. The frigid air stiffened his nostrils. He steadied himself with the railing in front of him. The cold air quickly proved  he wasn’t dreaming. The majestic glacier that seemed so close was really there. Not wanted to miss a moment his hands felt for his camera. Slowly he raised it up to his eye. Looking through the peep hole the massive glacier perfectly fit through his camera lens. To think that the lense could make something that big small enough to capture was mind blowing. These things are really nifty he thought. Click. He couldn’t help but grin. Proud that he captured a moment.

Perspective. 

Writing has been hard lately. More like creating has been hard.  Its been hard writing blogs because I feel like nothing is changing yet everything has changed. It’s hard to continue to live life when death has come so close. The stories I want to share seem too personal. Too fresh. It hurts sharing because sharing this seasons leaves proof that it happened. My dad and grandpa are gone. I can’t call them. I won’t see them. The last memory of them both is nothing but breathing. The anxiety and depression thickened the air daily. The dark thoughts stayed too long. The beliefs were grim. The hope was hard to find. It’s a season I don’t want to remember yet I dare not forget. 

Intentional

The season leading up to losing them I remember telling God that I was refusing to have one perspective on both of their situations. I knew that God could heal them in an instant but I also knew that healing could come through being released from this earth. I didn’t want to lose either of them and be bitter because of my own perspective so I intentionally believed whatever happened would be for the best. 

Sometimes I forget that I’m not the only intentional one in my relationship with God. I think a lot of times I look at Him as removed from my life. I mean I was lucky enough to be created but I’m not the next presidential candidate or anything big so He can just allow life to happen to me, right?

At the beginning of this year my grandma was discussing with my mom and aunt that she would like to go on a cruise. Late last year we were supposed to go as a family but with my grandpa getting sick we decided to cancel it. As they talked about destinations and costs my imagination went wild with the possibilities. Mountains, greenery, and somewhere cold. Hmm Alaska! I immediately told them that we should go to Alaska. After some talk and phone calls we decided that we would go to Alaska this June. Excitement is an understatement. I am stoked! It was cool to see that God knew that desire of my heart and he gave it to me. 

Shifting Perspective

A few months back my grandma gave me one of my grandpas old cameras. I went out and got a battery for it and started to take a few pictures. Having a camera that my grandpa once looked throu was like looking through his eyes. I took a few shots before the camera stopped working and made this long sound. I knew that sound. I hadn’t heard it in years but it was the sound of the film running out. That meant there were pictures on the film before I snapped the 3 I took. Which meant the pictures on the camera were pictures my grandpa took. 

I have never been so nervous to send something off. As I stood in line at Walmart I thought about the possibilities of what was on the film. Not wanting to get my hopes up I told myself that it could be anything. Even tons of pictures of his thumb or something silly. But regardless of what it was it would be from his perspective. I walked up to the register and filled out the paperwork to send the film in. As I slipped it in the enveloped I prayed that it wouldn’t get lost in the mail. The lady kindly told me that it would take 7 days before I would get it back. A whole week. 

I know the plans I have for you says the Lord. Plans of good and not evil. Plans to give you a future and a hope. 

Jeremiah 29:11

In June of 2008 my grandpa and grandma went to Alaska. They enjoyed their trip to the fullest. And because of the mystery film I got to see pictures that had been waiting 8 years to be developed!

To ever believe that God isn’t intentional and I am not worth His love and time, is to not know God. To think that God cares about me to the point that he would inspire my grandpa on his vacation to take pictures and not develop the film knowing that he would pass away later, put it on my heart to want to go to Alaska, speak to me about perspective while prompting my grandma to give me a camera full of my grandpas actual captured perspective on Alaska is absolutely astounding! 
Dear Soujourners,

The bible says that God cares about the sparrows and cares about you even more (Matthew 6). It says that He withholds no good thing  from those who love Him. He loves us so much that his son died for us, went to hell, and rose again. Jesus went through the pressure of living a perfect life to pay a price he didn’t deserve. No matter if it’s a good season or a rough one know that God is intentionally setting you up to see His faithfulness. Allow Him to prompt you to live this abundant life. Go on walks. Snap pictures. Write songs and sing them. Speak kindly. SMILE. In hard seasons be vulnerable. Journal. Confront lies. No matter what. In life in death choose to be confidently covered by His great love. He is for you. He loves you. You literally complete Him. He’s nothing but intentionally working things for your good even when you mess up…on purpose! 

There’s a song called Stay Alive. I’ve probably wrote about it. But there’s a verse in that song that says,”There is a truth and it’s on our side Dawn is coming Open your eyes Look into the sun as the new days rise And I will wait for you tonight You’re here forever and you’re by my side I’ve been waiting all my life To feel your heart as it’s keeping time We’ll do whatever just to stay alive”

Know that the Truth is on your side. Listen to Him. Open your eyes and look at the new days rise. 

Until next time stay alive 

❤️ mo

  

Graced Grief 

It’s been two months. Two months of chaotic thinking, anxiety, grief, darkness. Two months since I said goodbye. Two months since grief has been an everyday process. Two months of learning how to live without a father and grandfather. Two months of battles. Two months of hugs. Two months of waking up randomly and crying. Two months of talking and trusting and relying. Two long months. 

2015 was the hardest year of my life. The last 2 months wrapped it up in one giant word. GRIEF. there was so much grieving in the last year. And to be completely honest it is continuing. Losing two people has been enough but even before all of this there was grieving that I didn’t know what to do with from my own lack of trust in God and seeing others close to me go through hard times. The death of my dad and grandpa were just the cherry on top. 

This last week God has challenged me to start looking at grief through His eyes. In this season I am learning how to not see God as a being who has a stiff arm and soured look on His face when I come into His presence. He’s taught me that He is embracing me in this season. In the grief of realizing the unbelief I’ve cuddled up next to through out my life. In the grief of losing relationships, saying goodbye to passions and communities, and holding my grandpas hand as he took his last breath. He is embracing me. 

One of my favorite stories in scripture is found in Matthew chapter 14. 

“Herod had arrested John, put him in chains, and sent him to prison to placate Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife. John had provoked Herod by naming his relationship with Herodias “adultery.” Herod wanted to kill him, but he was afraid because so many people revered John as a prophet of God. But at his birthday celebration, he got his chance. Herodias’s daughter provided the entertainment, dancing for the guests. She swept Herod away. In his drunken enthusiasm, he promised her on oath anything she wanted. Already coached by her mother, she was ready: “Give me, served up on a platter, the head of John the Baptizer.” That sobered the king up fast. Unwilling to lose face with his guests, he did it—ordered John’s head cut off and presented to the girl on a platter. She in turn gave it to her mother. Later, John’s disciples got the body, gave it a reverent burial, and reported to Jesus. When Jesus got the news, he slipped away by boat to an out-of-the-way place by himself. But unsuccessfully—someone saw him and the word got around. Soon a lot of people from the nearby villages walked around the lake to where he was. When he saw them coming, he was overcome with pity and healed their sick.”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭14:3-14‬ ‭MSG‬‬

When people say that God knows how we feel they truly mean it. Jesus walked this earth and had a real life human experience. He experienced loss and pain. He experienced grief. But this part of His life shows me more than just His grief but it also reminds me of God’s Grace. 



“When Jesus got the news, he slipped away by boat to an out-of-the-way place by himself. But unsuccessfully—someone saw him and the word got around. Soon a lot of people from the nearby villages walked around the lake to where he was. When he saw them coming, he was overcome with pity and healed their sick. Toward evening the disciples approached him. “We’re out in the country and it’s getting late. Dismiss the people so they can go to the villages and get some supper.” But Jesus said, “There is no need to dismiss them. You give them supper.” “All we have are five loaves of bread and two fish,” they said. Jesus said, “Bring them here.” Then he had the people sit on the grass. He took the five loaves and two fish, lifted his face to heaven in prayer, blessed, broke, and gave the bread to the disciples. The disciples then gave the food to the congregation. They all ate their fill. They gathered twelve baskets of leftovers. About five thousand were fed.”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭14:13-21‬ ‭MSG‬‬

Jesus just found out that His cousin died. Not only was this a part of His earthly family but John was the one that prepared the way for Jesus. Out of everyone Jesus was around John the baptize understood what Jesus was going through to some degree. He too had been looked down upon and was responsible with a very high calling. I’m sure when Jesus heard that John had died, it hit him in the core of his body. Though the Bible doesn’t give us details of Jesus’ pain it does say that He tried to get by Himself but was met by a crowd of needy people. Many times in life I’ve tried to deal with a sudden set of emotions while dealing with others.

 This summer I said goodbye to a part of my life that I loved. Within hours of saying goodbye to an amazing set of people I was woken up with news that my grandpa had fallen. With a head full of questions I had to push through the crowd of circumstances that now encompassed me. Chaos. I’m sure Jesus felt chaotic. there were so many things out of control yet He was able to address the needs of the crowds around Him. How? Grace. Jesus stayed focused on the Father and He knew that if the Father was calling Him to heal the crowds that His Father would provide rest. 

Though this last year was full of grief I have to say it was fuller of God’s grace. I don’t deserve to have a faithful God. A God who believes in me when I don’t believe Him. A God that’s so gentle and patient when I want to hold on to old ways of thinking. I don’t deserve His peace of mind or strength but that’s the grace of God. I don’t deserve it and can’t arrive so that I do.  He freely gives His grace to those who love Him and for that I am forever grateful. 

Dear Soujourners,

I don’t know where you are in your journey as you read this but I pray that if you need to experience God’s grace that your eyes would be open to it. And if things are brighter for you today I pray that you would rely on God to help you extend grace to those around you. I pray that no matter what 2016 holds we would reach the end and see God’s graceful hand guiding us along the way and our steps becoming more secure on His path because His grace has found us just as we are. 

Until next time,

Monique❤️

 

His and Hers

I’ve always heard the saying there are plenty of fish in the sea. But what happens when the sea water becomes murky and toxic because of the litter in the filth that the outside world is pouring into it? The fish have to become affected by it right? In this dirty world there’s so much toxicity that is poured into the minds of young adults. Both men and women. People who are trying to maintain purity. Did you get that? People who are trying to maintain purity. There are still people who are trying. There are still men are choosing not to take advantage of women; who are choosing to have standards above what the world is telling them to be. There are still women, insecure as they may be, that choose not to cave in to what the world is telling them they have to obtain so that they can have a good guy. I pray that this blog helps you understand how you can choose to have character in the midst of a toxic world. Purity is so much more than virginity. Purity is of the mind and of the heart. You can physically be a virgin but have the dirtiest mind in the world. You can not think about sexual things but have a mouth that spews toxicity. So how do we become people of character? Let’s look back on this beautiful relationship between Solomon and the woman whom his soul loved. 
His Name

“Because of the fragrance of your good ointments, Your name is ointment poured forth; Therefore the virgins love you.”
‭‭Song of Solomon‬ ‭1:3‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

From the beginning this woman says that Solomon has a name. When I first read this it was kind a like of course he has a name. What kind of person doesn’t have a name? But I came across a podcast about how this woman wasn’t saying that he had a name but she saying that he had character. He was a good man. Though Solomon was extremely handsome what truly attracted this woman was the fact that his character outshined his physical appearance. 

Regardless of what people of told you about your appearance in your masculinity, the thing that is going to keep a good woman is character. Choosing to be man of God. What does that really mean? A man of truth, a  man of honor, a man of your word, a man who is faithful and loyal, a man who listens he doesn’t want to just fix everyone but allows others to journey through the process of healing and chooses to love and have grace through the rough times. The truth is you don’t need a girl to become this man. Start with yourself. You and God. Allow Him to love you like the perfect Daddy He is. Then allow Him to bring brothers in your life that you can love too. That’s how you choose character over culture. 

Her Standards

“I am very dark, but lovely, O daughters of Jerusalem, like the tents of Kedar, like the curtains of Solomon. Do not gaze at me because I am dark, because the sun has looked upon me. My mother’s sons were angry with me; they made me keeper of the vineyards, but my own vineyard I have not kept! 

  To be lovely

Do you have a favorite word that describes beauty? A lot of times people use the word pretty to describe something that is appealing to the eyes. But what about when it’s simply breathtakingly gorgeous? I think if we could have a heart to heart over coffee with this woman in Song of Solomon we would find that the word she loved to describe beautiful things would’ve been lovely. 

How was she able to boldly say to the man that she liked a lot that she had insecurities but she was lovely? This woman knew that though there were things about her outer appearance that she wasn’t fond of but her character on the inside was stunning. Because she chose to be a woman of character she knew that there were things she should and should not do. She knew that she must not only protect herself but also the one who her soul loved. 

His Pursuit

The book of Song of Solomon begins with the woman speaking. She is pouring out her soul in regards to how she feels about Solomon. Though this book doesn’t start with how Solomon pursued this woman, we can clearly see that he did. There is a relationship that has been ongoing and as the book progresses we see that Solomon is everything but a passive player. In fact, who Solomon was, was like medicine to her soul. Did you catch that earlier? 

The Bible says, “Because of the fragrance of your good ointments, Your name is ointment poured forth;” Wow! And the other thing is that Solomon was known for this. He was a good brother BUT when he pursued the one He was attracted too he made it known that his affection was for her. He didn’t leave things hidden and uncertain. He made sure she knew that there was more than brotherly love for her. He pursued her heart to the point where she was able to trust him enough to say, “Here are my insecurities!” 

This isn’t meant to be taken as you are supposed to fix the girl you’re interested in, instead it shows that a man of character who pursues a girl in the right way can help ease those insecurities by reminding them of truth. 

You’re never meant save any one but you can always swim with them towards the Savior. 

Her Pursuit

“Tell me, you whom my soul loves, where you pasture your flock, where you make it lie down at noon; for why should I be like one who veils herself beside the flocks of your companions?”

I know I’ve written a blog about this before but once again I see the fact that a woman in a Bible chose to pursue man. It may not be the way that we think of pursuing but I think it’s smart to mention that after this relationship has built up a respect and a trust the woman has to start taking steps towards the man too. 

She wanted to be where he was. To see him even if it was in the middle of the most insecure days. She set it all aside and asked, “where will you be at noon?” Not at midnight when the sun isn’t shining and it’s easy to hide things but at noon. She even says, “for why should I be like one who veils herself beside the flocks of your companions?” The veiled women were prostitutes in those days. She chose to say that she wanted to be far from a woman that seduced him to get him to stay. Though there were insecurities she was very secure in two truths. 1. This was a man of character and she could trust him. 2. She could not trust her insecurities. 

Trusting your insecurities will always make you do things that you never wanted to do to earn a love that was never there. 



If you’re in the talks of dating and you keep finding yourself holding back from this guy that has proven to you that he is a good guy (and trusted mature Christians in your life agree) and that you can trust him I would take a minute and ask yourself why is it that you keep holding back? Pray about it. Choose not to trust your insecurities and hide. Go boldly into the light with your character and ask, “where will you be at noon?”

His Response 

If you do not know, O most beautiful among women, follow in the tracks of the flock, and pasture your young goats beside the shepherds’ tents. I compare you, my love, to a mare among Pharaoh’s chariots. Your cheeks are lovely with ornaments, your neck with strings of jewels.”
‭‭Song of Solomon‬ ‭1:5-10‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I feel like Solomon is kinda saying, “I know you know where I’ll be, but I will tell you how to find me because I want to spend time with you too.” He knows that she’s seen him with his flock but he chooses to be intentional with what she’s asking because he doesn’t want to play games. He doesn’t want her to wonder if he thinks about her, or likes her. He wants her to know that she can follow his flock! Then he addresses her insecurities about her appearance and says, “I think you’re the most beautiful creature on earth!” He continues to pursue her through it all. 

To be honest sometimes us girls get a little crazy. Our tendency to overthink can make us not even know what’s going on. But sometimes we just need to talk and process. We have fears because of past experiences. We don’t think we are enough because we’ve fallen. As we continue to learn how to renew our minds and get new perspectives, we know we can trust the relationships that let us be vulnerable. Knowing that we can go to you as a brother or if the relationship is deeper as a boyfriend or husband means that we know you won’t judge us but you’ll remind us that we have Christ, is so assuring. But also knowing that you desire our relationship, honor us as people, and think our insecurities are junk cultivates more and more trust and honor. 

If you’re in a relationship with a girl and you realize she assumes or goes back to fear take a moment and ask her why and then listen and respond. Responding means telling her truth that God says. Pray for her and encourage her to continue on this journey of healing and restoration of those insecurities. 

Dear Soujorner

As you journey through singleness or dating I would challenge you to choose to be a person of character. 
As women we are told that we should be completely independent or overly dependent on a man. When we have these mindsets it shuts down the purpose of relationships. We have to find the balance. The balance is found in character. Choosing to be a woman who says, “yeah I’m insecure in these areas, but I am not only working on it through vulnerability and exchanging lies for truth but I am also choosing to still do what it right.” Choose to not be like the veiled women of our culture, hiding in shame and covering up their insecurities in sex and vanity. Choose to say yes to the future you will have with your husband one day by saying no to cheap insecurity fixes that only last a moment but leave wounds a lot longer. Choose to wait. To not be bored with singleness and accept this season. Choose to become the one you’re looking for is looking for, as Andy Stanley would say. 
Guys, we need men of character. Our world needs you to be a brother to the brotherless, a protector, and leader. But above all our world needs you to know that you are a Son of God and that is all that matters. From that realization God will form your character and you will slowly but surely become who He’s always known was in there. Keep choosing character over culture. 

Keep journeying dear friends

❤️ Mo

  

Good Guys are Extinct

I was recently at the gym and put on  Apple radio as I was getting ready to run. For those of you who don’t know me I am probably the worst person to keep up with music. Songs can be on the radio for months and I will have just discovered it anywhere from six months to a year later. The only exception is with Taylor Swift 😆. Anyways I am running to a pumped station only to find my heart was extremely sad by a message that is constantly asking for my attention. In no way is this post meant to condemn single ladies for feeling this way or is this post meant to give single gents an excuse. In fact I hope that God shows you through this post, and the ones to follow,  that the pressure is off. The pressure of finding the spouse to fill lacks that only God can, so that you can have healthy relationships.

As a single lady (que Beyoncé, if that’s still relevant haha)  I can’t tell you how many times I have been caught in the conversation, said it myself, read articles,  and combatted the lie that there are no good guys in the world. Though there are facts that seem to back up this statement, truth is it breaks my heart and I believe it breaks God’s heart too.

“I am very dark, but lovely, O daughters of Jerusalem, like the tents of Kedar, like the curtains of Solomon. Do not gaze at me because I am dark, because the sun has looked upon me. My mother’s sons were angry with me; they made me keeper of the vineyards, but my own vineyard I have not kept! Tell me, you whom my soul loves, where you pasture your flock, where you make it lie down at noon; for why should I be like one who veils herself beside the flocks of your companions?”

‭‭Song of Solomon‬ ‭1:5-7‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Song of Solomon is a beautiful love story of two people. From the beginning of this book both the man and the woman are people of character. I have studied this book countless times and am always blown away by the fact that this relationship was everything but perfect. Even though these were both people of character they had insecurities conflict messy moments and a whole lot of unconditional love. I think we can draw a lot from this book as we approach our relationships and the pursuit of the marriage that we want to have one day.

The facts are the facts. <<<
he facts are that there are alarming numbers of men are incarcerated, haven't grown up with a positive male figure in their lives, or living other lifestyles that get rid of the desire to be in a relationship with a woman. Those are the facts but my question to you is since when did God ever work based on facts?  When was he ever limited based on what the circumstances were in the world? The answer is never. He has never been limited by the things that are going on in the world. He has never been limited by your circumstances or my circumstances. So to say that God has run out of godly man is kind of an insult to our Daddy and our brothers in Christ who are trying.

Ladies<<<
he times that I have heard or said the statement that "there are no good guys in the world" usually comes from one of two states of the heart.  1.) a heart that is afraid  or 2.) a heart that has been hurt. In fact all of the times that I can think of that have come from one of those two roots, which tells me that the issue isn’t that there are no good men in the world but that the perspective of your heart needs to be challenged.  In Song of Solomon the woman speaks about both of these.

“I am very dark, but lovely, O daughters of Jerusalem, like the tents of Kedar, like the curtains of Solomon. Do not gaze at me because I am dark, because the sun has looked upon me. “<<<
uring this time and in this culture having dark skin was something that wasn't beautiful; pale and white was what was considered beautiful. As the Woman speaks she's very honest with the fact that she doesn't even like people to look at her. I know that we can all relate to days like this; when our insecurities are so high that we don't even want to get out of bed let alone be around people. It feels like her insecurities are oozing out of her and are plain to see just like the color of her skin.  It's clear to see that this woman is facing the same questions that we face today. Am I enough? Am I beautiful? Do people see me the way that I see myself? Will I ever captivate a man's heart? She gets it! But we can learn so much from how she deals with her insecurities. Before we get to that though we still need to address the fact that sometimes our hearts speak out mean things because were hurting.

"My mother’s sons were angry with me; they made me keeper of the vineyards, but my own vineyard I have not kept!"

This woman also knew what it was to be hurt by people. She expresses how her brothers (whether literal brothers or men of the town) made her keep their vineyards. She was left to do what men were called to do at that time and it marked her.

Some times we say that there's a lack of something because we've put ourselves in relationships  and positions where we should've never been in the first place. We choose to date guys that our friends don't approve of and instead of letting go of the unhealthy relationship we let go of the healthy relationships, only to find ourselves wallowing back to our healthy friends letting them know that they were right. Sometimes we’re in a relationship and then realize that things are not as good as we thought  and instead of choosing to talk about those things we choose to ignore the warnings because we don’t want to be alone. I mean relationships take a lot of work and a lot of time and who wants to throwaway months or even years of work when we can either fix them or adjust and compromise our standards to become lower, right?

Truth is if we truly took time to get to know the guy we dated and chose not to leave community but allow people into our relationships more than we probably would be able to walk away from the wrong person a lot sooner and embrace the healthy person when the time comes.

Sometimes you’re hurting because all of your friends have dates and you’re stuck at home on a Friday night.  You put yourself around people, and do all the right things but you just haven’t met the one whom your soul loves yet.  It’s OK to know that you haven’t been on a date since you were in high school or maybe you’ve never been on one but that never makes you worthless. The hope I would hold onto is that you’re hidden for purpose. God has someone specifically for you. Never feel sorry for protecting your heart  and becoming the woman of God that He has intended you to become.

Being honest whatever the hurt is sometimes it is rooted in the facts that men haven’t lived up to be who we believe they are supposed to be to us. They haven’t protected, led, fixed, been patient. We have daddy wounds, but this woman responds in two ways first she doesn’t end her sentence with, “I’m dark.” She ends it with ” I’m lovely.” Where did she come to the conclusion? That she was lovely but she didn’t measure up to the world’s standards of beauty? She found that truth in Truth Himself. God.

In order to deal with the very real hurts from our dads, ex boyfriends, uncles, abusers, brothers, or fill in the _____________ we HAVE TO BRING THEM BEFORE GOD. He is the only one who will forever heal, restore, protect, and love our hearts. Everyone else is simply learning how to. <<<
have so much to say on this topic but ladies start here. Let's start with ourselves. Dealing with the hurt and fear from life. Truth is no man will ever be able to fix you. They can help pray for you, guide you to resources, and help you process but even your husband will fail you at times. God is the only one who remains. He is good and oh so faithful to heal even if the healing hurts trust Him right now.

Gents<<

I hoped to write more but post will end up being a series. At this point though I want you to know that those of you that are trying in pursuing God you’re doing a good job. Sometimes us girls can overreact and say things because we are hurting. In fact I think just as human beings when we’re hurting we make these huge general statements. Have Grace on us please? When you hear one of your sisters in Christ say that there’s no good guys know that it’s coming from the heart that is broken. The best thing you can do is choose to be a man of character.

Dear Sojourner,

I want to challenge you in this next week to take some time and examine your heart. Regardless of where you are on your walk with God and where you are on the desiring scale of being married, sit deal with things that feel like they’re lacking or hurting still. Allow Jesus to fill those voids. Be completely honest. He can handle the things you think you feel. He’s not scared. Thoough it feels like it sometimes the end all goal is not marriage but the end all goal is to love Jesus fully and finish this race called life with character that was birthed through faith, perseverance  and a hope in Jesus Christ that doesn’t ever disappoint. Let’s choose to go after the life He intends us to live.

Until next time keep journeying.

Mo< a href=”https://wheremogoes.files.wordpress.com/2015/10/img_0726-0.jpg”&gt;<<
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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: Who Are You Waiting For?

“Our soul’s history with God is frequently the history of the “passing of the hero.” Over and over again God has to remove our friends in order to bring Himself in their place, and that is where we faint and fail and get discouraged. Take it personally: In the year that the one who stood to me for all that God was worth died—I gave up on everything? I became ill? I got disheartened? Or—I saw the Lord?

It must be God first, God second, and God third, until the life is faced steadily with God and no one else is of any account whatever. ‘In all the world there is none but thee, my God, there is none but thee.’ Keep paying the price. Let God see that you are willing to live up to the vision.”

-Oswald Chambers

For those who are waiting for that dream position who is it that you envision will “give” you that? Who is the hero you are ever so patiently waiting for? A specific person? A company? A ministry? Or are you envisioning your Creator giving it to you?

This last week I received an email that I have been waiting on regarding an opportunity to go and work at one of the churches that I look up to. Since I have been on this journey of discovering God’s greatness inside of me, I have envisioned that in order for me to be back in full time ministry I have to get the training that I need. This specific ministry and Pastor had helped me through books and podcasts. The future looked promising if I went there. But the email was being sent to let me know that I wasn’t accepted to the program I had thought would save me from this wilderness.

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith,because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

We are so tempted to take our lives into our own hands. To make everything happen without waiting on God. Too often we knock doors down that were closed so that we can have what we want when we want it. There is a balance. We don’t need to sit around expecting God to bring every little thing to use and at times have to move or even continue where we are at in faith, but we also need to learn to allow Him to bring our contentment in the season of waiting.

He is the One who will ultimately bring the vision.

Today as I was reading I came across this quote by Oswald Chambers and was convicted. As I thought about who would one day give me the opportunity to be in full time ministry, to be a wife, a mom, amazing writer etc. I realized all of those dreams were reliant on a person instead of the One who gave me the dreams to begin with.

Here’s the challenge that I have found; if for some reason you lost the most important person in your life, would you still be able to dream? Would you believe that you are still called? Or would you go through a season, like I did in the last 2 months, of believing that your calling is invalid because someone is no longer by your side?

We must get to the belief that regardless of the people, companies, or ministries that accept us we are great simply because we are made in God’s image. When we believe we are accepted by the Creator of the Universe and He has huge plans for us, we don’t have to strive to prove people wrong. We also don’t have to put pressure on people to stay in our lives. We can simply enjoy a real relationship with those that God has gifted us with. Sure there may be grieving when someone leaves which is healthy but devastation doesn’t need to pour down.

When you have a chance look up Elisabeth Elliot. Her story of finding love in her 1st husband the missionary Jim Elliot is how I want to live my life. To be so anchored in love for God to see the love of your life be murdered by tribal people and then go back to those same people, not for revenge but to share the gospel with them is astounding. May we love each other with honor and grace knowing that seasons may make our relationships look different. May we be thankful to God for the moments we have working in areas that we’ve dreamed of knowing that they may be memories one day. And may we look to our Father  as our hero,” 10  the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong,firm and steadfast. 11 To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.”

P.s. It’s so funny how God will show you something that adds to something you just experienced! Check out this bloggers devotions on the same subject. I just got more freedom. :] When Uzziah Died over at the amazing Two Rivers Blog. 

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The Journey: Trading Blame for Belief

“Then Moses and Aaron went and gathered together all the elders of the people of Israel. Aaron spoke all the words that the Lord had spoken to Moses and did the signs in the sight of the people. And the people believed; and when they heard that the Lord had visited the people of Israel and that he had seen their affliction, they bowed their heads and worshiped.”

‭‭Exodus‬ ‭4:29-31‬ ‭

Have you ever experienced a moment where God made himself extremely clear? Whether you heard a sermon, the book was exactly what your soul needed, or you received word from someone that was perfectly on point with the season that you were currently going through. Whatever God spoke to you that caused freedom in your mind and heart allowed belief to take root. The belief seems to be so deep that you never understand how you could never believe God again. But then something happens and it seems like there was never any roots from that seed at all. Doubt seems deeper than any belief that you ever thought that you had and fear and anger creep back in. 

Unbelief can be such a vicious cycle but I realized a new trigger that if we are aware of we can dodge so that we may keep our belief. 

You don’t have to go very far in the book of Exodus to see the Israelites lose the very belief that God was with them. In fact you just have to go to the next chapter. Right after they realize that God has heard their cry and they believe that they will soon be set free from the oppression of the Egyptians, pharaoh gives a word telling his servants to no longer give straw, a vital ingredient in the bricks they were required to make, to the Israelites. 

Truth is opposition hits often but the question is how will you choose to respond to it?

““We are given no straw, but the slave drivers still demand, ‘Make bricks!’ We are being beaten, but it isn’t our fault! Your own people are to blame!”

As they left Pharaoh’s court, they confronted Moses and Aaron, who were waiting outside for them. The foremen said to them, “May the LORD judge and punish you for making us stink before Pharaoh and his officials. You have put a sword into their hands, an excuse to kill us!” Then Moses went back to the LORD and protested, “Why have you brought all this trouble on your own people, Lord? Why did you send me? Ever since I came to Pharaoh as your spokesman, he has been even more brutal to your people. And you have done nothing to rescue them!””‭‭Exodus‬ ‭5:16, 20-23‬ ‭NLT‬‬
Too often when opposition hits we find ourselves reacting the way the Isrealites did. Looking for someone or something to point a finger at. Like the Isrealites when something hard happens we forget that God just sent an answer to our deepest cries.  We choose to look at our situation and try to figure out who is to blame. Like Moses we go to God and point the finger at Him. We forget that when God called us to freedom, the new job, relationship, etc, He told us that there would be opposition BUT that He would use us to prevail in the end (see chapter 3). We tell God that He doesn’t know what is best for the people around us. 

Lastly we blame ourselves. In our blaming God we often remind Him of our weaknesses or past sins and tell Him he was wrong for using us. We take our focus off of the fact that He says that we are great because He is in us. The problem with blame is that when we choose to put the blame on any of these three parties (people,God, or ourselves) we open the door for unbelief to take root. 

Because of the curse, bad things happen in this world.  We will always run into trials that just happen. Jobs lost for no real reason, people making bad choices, sicknesses strike, the list goes on but we must quiet our souls long enough to not overthink the issues and instead say, “I don’t understand why this has come up God but I trust you.”

A few weeks ago I woke up with this thought in my head, “Your authority diminishes when you start believing that you are less than forgetting that you serve a God who is more than.” I felt the Holy Spirit show me that when we believe that we aren’t _____________ enough to do what He called us to do, we aren’t being humble or dying to ourselves instead we choose the mindset of being disqualified we are choosing to forget that even though we may not be enough He is. 

Dear Soujourners,

I pray that as freedom comes you would also hold onto the belief that God has you always. No matter what opposition the enemy throws at you, he can never take your freedom unless you give it to him. Put down the pointing fingers. God doesn’t need you to blame anyone to free you. He doesn’t need you to forfeit your beliefs so He can prove you wrong. He wants you to remember that His Son left you with all authority (Luke 10:19 “Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you.”)  and that because of Him you are greater than the one that’s in the world (1 John 4:4) so you can and will get through whatever opposition that’s thrown your way. Don’t forget all He’s said and done. 

He is in you therefore you are enough to overcome this opposition. 

Choose to believe it.  He has you. He’s promised. 

Mo ❤️