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.

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Why 2014 Ruined my Life

The beginning of this year I was challenged at my young adults small groups to pick a word that I wanted to cling to and make my year about. That’s where the journey of my word believe started. I started this year simply telling God that I wanted to believe something different about myself and Him by the end of the year. In January I had an idea of what December would look like. Relationships would be great, jobs would be secure, I would be doing exactly what I wanted because simply believed God would give these things to me. Sounds like bliss right? Little did I know 2014 would forever ruin the way I lived life.

This is what the LORD says: “Babylon will be powerful for seventy years. After that time I will come to you, and I will keep my promise to bring you back to Jerusalem. I say this because I know what I am planning for you,” says the LORD. “I have good plans for you, not plans to hurt you. I will give you hope and a good future. Then you will call my name. You will come to me and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will search for me. And when you search for me with all your heart, you will find me! I will let you find me,” says the LORD. “And I will bring you back from your captivity. I forced you to leave this place, but I will gather you from all the nations, from the places I have sent you as captives,” says the LORD. “And I will bring you back to this place.” (‭Jeremiah‬ ‭29‬:‭10-14‬ NCV)

This past week my mom took me to Sylmar to see this owl that I read about on the Internet. His name is Zeus and was in some type of an accident that left him blind. The incredible thing about his blindness is that the cataracts in his eyes left these white dots that look like stars in his eyes. When I heard of this owl I kinda flipped out. Stars and owls are two of my favorite things. Not because they are a trend but because they symbolize so much more.

When I saw Zeus this past week, it left me with so many thoughts. Zeus has had some sucky cards dealt to him. I know your probably thinking, why are we talking about an owl? It’s an animal. But just track with me. Owls need their sight to live. They rely on their sight to see food and to see if predators are coming after them. But now Zeus is blind. Sucks right. But to me Zeus is a huge symbol for choosing to be blinded not by circumstances but instead by God’s promises.

If I look back this years circumstances it was hard. Lots of tears, lies, broken promises, having to pour out beyond measure, being exhausted. But that’s why 2014 has ruined the way I will forever live. It has taught me that I don’t have to be blinded by the circumstances but instead I’ve chosen to be blinded by the promises He has made me. When I choose to look at the strength and courage that came from hard situations I see God’s faithfulness. When I choose to look at the love and relationships that came from places of fear I see God’s faithfulness. When I look at the grueling hard times of pouring out and feeling empty continually I see God’s faithfulness.

I’m sure the Israelites didn’t like when God said they’d be in captive for 70 years. That sounds super horrible but I know there were ones that held onto the promise that he had great plans for them. I was listening to a sermon by Steven Furtick and he said,” the plans may change but the promise still stands.”

2014 has completely killed every excuse to say I was handed a bad year. It has taught me that I can be blinded by circumstances or I can be blinded by His promises for my life knowing that He has GREAT plans for my life. I hope that as you look back on this year you will see the faithfulness of God and that it will propel you choose to respond to the hard times in the future instead of react out of hopelessness. He has you even when it’s chaotic.

So let yourself dream in 2015. Let your plans be pliable in the hands of the greatest planner. And hold on to His promises with hands of availability.

I have to say I’m sad to say goodbye to 2014. It has changed my life for the better but I know the great is just getting started. Here’s to a grand year.