An Untypically Bad Day

I am fully aware that we all have bad days. Days that just are stressful, a struggle and frankly we are glad with the sun goes down on them. For tomorrow, we can start again. Yesterday was not that bad day. It was an unearthing day, a day that hit me like a 2×4 and what was really weird, it wasn’t from devastating news, it was an internal mind battle.

A few days ago my husband and I got into a confrontation over something I had said awhile ago. To me it didn’t seem like that big of a deal, to him it was something that needed to be address. And the wise man that he is, is smart enough to wait, think on it and come up with a way to have a conversation about the moment. It’s a part of him I struggle with understanding. I’m the ‘call it out’, ‘let’s fix it now’ person. For him it take a lot of courage to speak out. He’s got more grace than any person I know and sometimes his massive grace keeps him silent when someone is in the wrong. But when he chooses to speak, it always throws me for a loop as it rarely happens.

When he brought the situation to my attention I was confused and immediately began defending my word choices for that day. I went on and on, and my voice got louder and louder and when he asked me why I was getting so aggressive with my tone, I flipped. Have you ever flipped? The switch just goes off and it’s real hard to dial anything back in. I ended the conversation, and it hurt him. For the next day I reeled over my ‘valid’ reactions, my ‘valid’ responses and then this horrible darkness fell over me. I must be worthless. I must be unwanted. I’m unlovable.

The thoughts that flooded into my mind the next day were somewhere I hadn’t been in over 20 years. The darkness of self loathing, self pity, shame, guilt and all the ugly that goes with it. I contemplated leaving, as I figured no one would miss me anyway, I contemplated a life of divorce, a life secluded, a life with my children taken from me, a life of being hated, unloved, I contemplated suicide for the first time in 20 years . Like I said, it was dark, ugly and felt like I was being pushed down in a black hole by a 400 lb weight.

For the past 2-3 weeks I’ve been working on a new way to study the Bible. It’s called Inductive Bible studying. It’s deep and dives into understanding the character of God and the specifics of; who, what, when, where, how and why. I have loved it and God has been faithful in revealing much through the first 17 books of Genesis. I’ve also been praying daily for my children, for God to do an amazing work in them. I’ve been journalizing the Word of God faithfully. I’ve been diving in, seeking to know Him more.

At one point in my black hole, I began contemplating running away, and I started packing my bag. As I was packing it up, I felt a whisper, “Your called to stay Emily.” So I began putting my things back, a bit forcefully and with a fair amount of attitude. I decided through the tears of the day that something deeper was happening here and I just stated, “My God is bigger than this!” and I said it quite a few times. I got in my jeep and decided maybe going for a drive might calm my mind, I’d put some worship music on and see what happens. I just started going east. Because east is good, right?! As I drove I felt a nudge to go to my home town as a child. This is where my dad is buried. For the remainder of the hour and a half drive and cried through the music and had so many memories flood back. This wasn’t running away, this was going back. As I approached the cemetery, (by the way, I’m NOT a cemetery person. I rarely go because they aren’t really there. Just their body, their spirit has gone on.) There wasn’t a person in sight. It was cloudy, chilly and it was just me and my tears. As I processed through the time there, I said things that needed to be said to my dad, my brother, my grandparents. And I came to a grand realization, cemeteries are NOT for the dead, they are for the living. I expressed my frustrations to my dad, to my brother and to my grandparents and it was so different this time. I felt them there, I felt their understanding and I felt their peace. You see THEY are no longer battling like I am. They are free from all this junk that I’m fighting, yet some of the junk I’m fighting I believe was passed from them, on down the line, the generational junk that we all have a choice to either let it consume us or we choose to give it to God and put it to an end, and that my friends it what I did in that historical beginning for me, but not the end of me.

I got in my car, and drove back home. When I got home my husband and I were able to talk this junk out. I was also able to actually listen to him, hear his heart and have peace in knowing he wasn’t trying to make me feel unwanted, he was challenging me to become a better person. For that I am grateful. After our conversation the blackness was gone. Peace settled in and the rush of the battle was dust in the wind.

A dear friend of mine made a statement to me this morning that has rattled me, it’s giving me quite a new perspective on battles. When I told her of my horrible day, she said she was excited, because she knew REDEMPTION was coming for me. So these bad days we have, really bad, unearthing bad days are signs of tides are about to change. When the waters are rough, when we are called to get out of the boat and walk on water, as Peter did, we must remember that our God is not only going to provide the way, He is the Creator of the water, the boat, the person walking and the Protector and Guide of it all.

Be brave friends.

Blessings.

Broken Examples=HOPE

I’ve thought over the years about my journey, this crazy roller coaster of a ride, with definite highs and ridiculous lows. When I was younger, in the core of my lows(drugs, alcohol, sex, lying, stealing), I struggled seeing hope, feeling hope, desiring hope, and even know what I would do with it if it found it’s way to me. At one of my lowest points in my life I recall being drawn to the Word of God. It made no sense. This broken hot mess who was making one bad choice after the other, and really was less than impressed with the church, felt compelled to open a Bible in which I had very little understanding about. It just didn’t make sense. What I can tell you is this: Over the years this book has unveiled misunderstanding after misunderstanding about my own beliefs of God and who He is.

I always thought it was a story about a bunch of perfect people. How could “I” relate to any of that… That’s when the transition started. It wasn’t about perfect people, it was about misfits, broken hearts, sinners, people who made a million mistakes and yet God loved them still. Why? How? They were horrible! The old testament was the one I struggled to connect with the most, until recent years. War, killings, murderers, betrayal, wiping out nations and tribes, these crazy rules that we could never keep… all pointing to one thing… we needed what was coming, a Savior. We couldn’t follow the rules, they were meant as a guide, we struggled in this fallen world seeking approval of man and acceptance in our stupidity. Yet God still offered us hope.

You see caricatures like David and Daniel, who were not caricatures but real people, showed us broken hearts, sacrifice, risking everything, loyalty, how a broken choice can be redeemed, how a situation as crazy as you could imagine was an opportunity to trust. It’s all so relevant, it’s been relevant from the beginning. Testimonies shared bring hope. David shared his heart, his betrayal, his broken pieces, his dumb choices all to cry out to a God who could heal his broken heart(Psalm 51 is my favorite). This book is a guide, something that lets us know that life is no black and white story. That we all have stuff and we all have an opportunity to make peace with our stuff. These people show us how real life is and how brokenness can be used to help others, and how life is about so much more than us, our situation, our hurt.

So I was drawn into the Word to heal. At the time I didn’t always understand what I was reading, and sometimes I became mad at what I was reading, frustrated with God and frustrated with people. It wasn’t until I realized that God loved me in my worst the same as in my best, that I decided this God was worth pursuing. Because frankly my worst days were embarrassing and humiliating, yet He still loved me.

I searched for love and acceptance from many people in my life, I felt judged and ashamed for a good part of my life. Afraid of my skeletons showing up when I least expected them. I started facing my choices and owning the lesson, not fixating on the choice. I started seeing my life as an opportunity to relate to others’ pain, brokenness and helping them find peace in those areas through nothing more than sharing where I was, and where I am, carrying hope within me. If all I have went through is never used to help another then what is the point of hard stuff? God is close to the brokenhearted, he wants to heal all brokenness within us, whether it was my choices or someones else’s choices that hurt me.

Psalm 34:18, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit”

So this Jesus guy, do I believe?… Yes, yes I do. God loved each and everyone of us knowing full well what we would do in our lives, and He thought we were still worth saving. THAT is love. God coming down in man form to live a limited life in flesh with us. It sounds far fetch doesn’t it? We’ve all heard about the parting seas, the ark, crumbling cities with music, and one man dying and coming alive again to save us all. You see faith is no easy thing, for it is believing the unbelievable, believing in something we do not see… or do we? I think about my life and the many times I should have died, I should have never made it through, I should have ended up less than who I am today due to circumstances. The miracles of our child born with abnormal kidneys and at 12 years old they were perfect. The child with a broken foot that 2 weeks later was no longer broken, the ‘hunch’ I had that something just wasn’t right and I drove my car to be looked at only to discover the radiator had broken, the daughter that was in a car wreck and a police officer that tells me with a pale white face, “She shouldn’t be alive.” I could go on and on over the things that are impossible in my life that God made possible. There is no dismissing miracles when you experience them yourself.

I was delivered, I was redeemed, I was brought out of a dark place. A story of attempted suicide, saved by a phone call from a stranger. I story of a drug house I should have never gotten out of, a story of violation, of betrayal, and a broken heart that learned to love again. It’s my story, my journey and only by the grace of God have I came out of any of it. It’s really a redemptive story.. a relatable story, a God story. God did this amazing thing, He gave me peace over my life. My story has allowed me ample opportunities to share hope, some parts harder than others, yet the end result is always, He brings peace, love and hope to press on.

I have limited days, as we all do. Goodness and love are hard to come by these days and even as I sit in this little office, in my home in the middle of the Midwest in a small town of 6000 people I know this is where I’m to be now. It’s my healing place, it’s where I’ve made peace with my past, and what God does next I have no idea. I trust, I wait, and when it’s time to move on I will be open to whatever that looks like. He’s used me to help people heal broken parts of their lives, to bring hope, to encourage people and most importantly, shine His light to others. That’s my call. The concern of what others ‘think’ of my past plagues me no more. I am who I am and my journey is my journey.

Some days I think, “Am I doing enough, am I working enough, am I really in the right place?” Then I remember as scripture shows, God is specific. He gives instructions to those who seek Him. David was called on because of his music and in turn he became a King, He didn’t seek it out, he trusted in the process, jail and all. Peter was called to leave everything behind Him, he wasn’t asked to go get a 40 hr a week job and make lots of money. He was called to disciple people, but only after he himself was taught. Broken people called to do great things in God’s timing. How relatable would David and Peter be had they not made any mistakes?

So I ask you, what are you being called to and what are you avoiding because of your past? May you have ears to hear the direction God is leading you into or away from. All I know is our brokenness is for a reason and that reason is to help others find hope.

Blessings.

ARTIST

The value of art.

In the beginning it was talent, recognition and the ability to do something others couldn’t easily do. It was about making what I saw and putting it to paper. A realist to the max. I started still life drawings at age 10, flowers in vases, barbie horses or perfectly colored pages. Every year I was developing my talent more and more. Always copying what I saw, or copying someone’s idea. I was always striving to be better at it than another, and I missed the boat. Art was never about being good at what I drew, it was about expression. All I was expressing was others ideas or documenting something I saw to the letter. I remember my college professors pushing technique and details. I remember them dawdling over other kids talents, so I tried to be like them, I tried to draw, paint, design and create like them. But I never found my own ‘style’. My senior year at college I remember a professor telling me, “You are a much better illustrator than graphic designer.” My degree was mainly in Graphic Design, which by the way I hated, but my brain told me it would make me more money.

My art was never about heart expression, although glimpses would creep in, a flowing line in a still life that didn’t belong… I’d erase it, or a splash of color that didn’t belong… I’d cover it up, or a bold black showing emotion of the day, and I’d lighten it making all things uniform and perfect for the normal eye.

I just wasn’t ready to be vulnerable with my art, I didn’t know how, I didn’t want to deal with my emotions, for goodness sake I was a single mom, going to school full time and working night shift. I was surviving. Who has time for self improvement or reflection when you are just trying to survive?

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20 years later, art has finally came full circle for me and what it is truly about. 3 years ago, after a hard situation at home, I had the desire to paint with nothing to look at, no details just expressing emotion, because frankly, I was pissed.  I needed an outlet and color was screaming at me in my head. My dark reds and blacks filled the canvas with a hint of yellow. And I felt so much better after I did it. It was the first time I had cried through painting my feelings out. Expression painting, it’s funny, I was always drawn to Expressionists, I just didn’t see myself as one.

Over the past 3 years I have painted from the heart, not details and realism, still life’s or technique. I’ve painted to heal some broken parts in my life, to help me on my journey. It wasn’t for money, it was for healing and it feels really good to finally get here. It isn’t about approval or accolades, it’a about expressing my heart and it’s part of healing.

And then God threw me a curve ball.  It’s my “sweet spot”, as my sister said. It’s the thing I don’t want to put a price on or do for praise, it’s what my talent was all about from the beginning. A journey of expression and healing. A way to get emotions out, a way to release my hurt or my joy. It is art therapy, I just didn’t know it.

So now I’m on a new journey and wondering what God will do with this desire He has planted in me. Not keeping it to myself, but to teach others, guide others on their emotional healing and help them do what I have done, heal with art.

God has a funny way of patiently waiting for us to see the talent He has given us and how it is meant for His glory, for good for others. I never saw art as something to use for healing, I only saw it as a raw talent that somehow was only selfishly for me. It’s not, it’s really not.

So my question to you is this: What’s your talent? What are you willing to surrender so God might breathe a new perspective into it, and what might He have in store for your talent?

I’ve been on quite a journey in self discovery. As my children grow and I search to find my identity separate from them. Seeing and expressing my value in this world apart from title: mom, wife, daughter, friend… And then I see artist. Not artist in self, artist in helping others heal. Healing arts for healing hearts. Only God can do that. May I be a vessel worthy of such a call. Yet the only title that carries any true weight is child of God, Princess of the King of Kings. So I wait for the next step from the King of Kings.

I’m excited about this next chapter in my story. How about you?

Blessings.

Let GO(D)…

We all have things that we need to let go of. Some easier than others.

Maybe it’s drinking too much soda or letting go of an idea of a perfect person, or maybe it’s letting go of a dream, or maybe it’s letting go of a loved one.

Letting go is an easy 2 word combo “LET GO”. Seems simple, yet so complex and wrapped up in emotional ties, work, expectations, relationships, etc…

My current “let go” is a soon to graduate senior daughter of mine. 18 years of mentoring, teaching, loving, disciplining, encouraging…. and now…. let go. How a mother bird can push her baby out of the nest to fly is beyond me. The PROTECTOR in me gets in the way, my internal “don’t let anything happen to your kid or you’re a bad person” protector. Anyone have that? If not, good for you. If so, I feel you. It’s a tug of war like none other. This is where the “I care about what people think of ME” comes into play. Oh if I could bury this thing and be done with it. Why do I care so much about what other parents think of me? It’s ridiculous. I’m sure it stems from the beginning of parenting…

I started out my parenting journey as a “single mom”. I felt the judgement of the world on my shoulders in the 90s. Goodness there were Dateline shows and 60 Minute specials on the “single mom” epidemic. You would have thought I was a virus. So the judgement hung over my head and apparently still does, even though I’ve been married for 20 years and have 3 kids and should be sooooo past this.

So what do I really need to let go of? My daughter or my idea of being a perfect mom? Maybe I hit a cord as my eyes are welling up a bit.  Will she be ok without me protecting her? There really is no guarantee. But I wonder…. this “perfect mom syndrome”… it sure might be getting in the way of her flying. So if letting go can be seen differently… seen as a releasing her to be who God created her to be, then maybe perfect mom syndrome can be done and be healed, so I can just be a mom.

Step 1: Admit I am not a perfect mom and be ok with failing my kids at times.

Step 2: Forgive myself for all the mistakes I’ve made over the last 22 years of motherhood.

Step 3: See my kids as separate people from me.

Step 4: One finger at a time… start letting go.

Step 5: Hold tight to this: God knew her before I did. He is never letting her go(even if she leaves this earth, He is not letting go of her). He is her protector and He does not fail her. Her will is in His hands, not mine and if something does happen, as hard as it may be, I have to trust God’s plan, His ways, His will… That’s easy to type, not easy to live. The one thing we can hold tight to and never let go of is Him.

Step 6: Realize I am not a good God, and let God do His job.

Step 7: Accept that she will go through struggles, just like everyone else. It is part of her story, her God story.

Step 8: Repeat step 1-8.

This is hard, I know it seems impossible. The risk is great, yet the risk is greater if I don’t let go… how long will I battle and hold her down. NO, I will not, NO I will NOT.

Regardless of what you’re working on letting go of, I want you to know this, if we don’t let go of our dream, our idea, our expectation, or whatever it might be, how will we ever know what might be re-birthed in our life? What might God have for us that is being reborn in our own journey? For me I have to realize that God has plans for my daughter, yet I believe he also had plans for me. How might I ever see the new plan if I can’t let go of what needs to be let go of? So I encourage you to hope for what is next. Trust that the a dying dream just might be reborn into an even better one.

To the moms and dads out there… regardless of WHAT you are letting go of… take off one finger at a time, little by little, step by step, know that the risk of holding on is greater than the risk of letting go. Trust the God of everything, He gave up His own son, He knows what it’s like to let go, and His letting go saved you and me.

Be blessed.

Fatherless

As many of you know I have recently been to Africa, and though you may be tired of hearing about it, I’m quite certain the revelations from this trip will continue well into the next 365 days.

Straight up, Ethiopia rocked my world. It rocked my world in many ways, hard and good. My brain and my heart have been reset and have been opened in a way I never would have expected.

Leading up to this trip I felt like the Lord gave me a “heads up” that my father would somehow be part of this trip. It didn’t make sense to me at the time, yet it sure does now.

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The first full day we spent in Ethiopia was with Glory to Glory church. They worshiped in a tiny concrete building with plastic chairs on a broken concrete floor. I remember looking at the stained walls and the open building to the outside world. People were gathered inside the building and outside the building. Some awaiting food afterwards as we were to serve the people. It was a very humbling experience to face famine head on. Poverty here was so much more than the material positions we think of, this was famine of the heart, the spirit, which is what poverty truly is for each of us. They were starving inside, I saw eyes of emptiness, and it was hard. Though there were empty eyes, I also saw and heard beautiful praise, beautiful hope and beautiful faith, and eyes that shined. I had to let the good out weigh the hard, it was unlike anything I had ever experienced. The praise and worship wasn’t in english, yet I felt the Spirit moving so heavy, He surpasses language barriers, that’s for sure!!

After church we went to a local soccer tournament that was started up by ManUp and Go many years ago(this is the organization I went with). To see the kids playing and so many children watching was beautiful. Many of the kids came up to our team, immediately wanting to communicate with us and also asking for gifts or money. Big gulp, NOT giving to them was difficult and thinking of “what do I have to offer them that would be lasting” was a challenge. Many of them went to a local school around the area and some did not. I spoke with them the best I could. Language was a barrier, but the Spirit was not.

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One young boy followed me around speaking to me, laughing at how different I was, and playing hand clapping games with me. I thought the one thing I can do is teach them a simple game of different handshakes, and they loved it. Finally this young boy approached me along with another person on our team. We began asking this young boy where he lived and about his family. He explained that He was fatherless and lived with his mother. “No papa.”, he said. My heart immediately connected with him.

This was the first time dad showed up on the trip.

I explained to him that I to didn’t have a papa. I offered to pray with him and he accepted. This was what I had to offer, something much more lasting than a handout. I was able to point him to his Heavenly Father who will always be with him. For the remainder of the time he followed me around the soccer area. Every once in a while he would say, “Me, No papa, You, No papa.” There was a sparkle in his eyes when we would lock eyes. We had a connection in suffering, and somehow, my suffering gave him hope, hope that he can get through this.

That day in Ethiopia was Father’s Day. I dreaded that day for many years. I learned how to celebrate my husband and avoid being titled “fatherless”, but with my husband not there I had to face it head on. I was given a moment to use my hurt to help. Only God can do that.

That evening I dove into the Word. My daily devotion said this:

Psalms 68:5 Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in His holy habitation.

This is His holy habitation, to be a father to the fatherless! I was able to point this young man to Abba. We are all sons and daughters of the one true King, Abba. How beautiful that the Lord took a broken place within me and gave a child hope through it.

Today is my father’s birthday. So this is a present for him. In my loss, I was able to connect with this young child and give him hope in his Heavenly Father. Without my loss, I would never have been able to. God is so much bigger, so much smarter, and so much more everything.

Happy Birthday Dad, I miss you, I love you, be seeing you.

Blessings.

Miracles

I wonder if you’ve experienced a miracle. I also wonder how many unseen miracles happen in a day? I look back over my life for the last 42 years and can name many, some involving my own life, some involving healing miracles, some involving redirection to safety and so on. This last one, it’s hit me hard. It was my child’s life.

Over the past few months I have felt an urgency to pray protection over my children, asking the Lord to send legions of angels to protect them. I didn’t understand the urgency, in fact I felt it was weird that I was asking for angels, this isn’t something I’ve done much of in the past, yet I listened to the whisper and I requested just that.

Don’t you realize that I could ask my Father for thousands of angels to protect us, and he would send them instantly? Matthew 26:53

This past Saturday I was eating continental breakfast at a hotel with a friend talking about life, softball and my recent trip to Africa as we were preparing to take on day two of our softball tournament. My daughter was unable to play the night before as she was working. It’s a battle with coaching 18U, the kids are at an age where many have jobs and other responsibilities to balance it all out. My daughter was driving up Saturday morning to meet us at the fields for the tournament. While I was eating breakfast one of her friends said, “Abby’s trying to get ahold of you.” I explained I had left my phone in the hotel room and her friend offered her phone to me and said I should call her.

When Abby answered I could tell she was rattled and crying. She said, “Mom, I’ve been in an accident, I’m okay, it’s not big, just can you come get me?” I grabbed my things and rushed out the door driving to the location she sent me from her phone. She was less than 15 minutes away from me. So I sped to her as fast as I could. As I approached the location spot I saw 1 police car with lights on and my daughters car out on the edge of a field. She was standing in her softball uniform by the car talking to the officer. As I walked to the car I notice the tires were destroyed, the window was cracked and the passenger airbag was deployed. I ran to her and wrapped her up in my arms to insure she was ok, this was NOT a small accident.

Abby had fallen asleep at the wheel. She explained to me that she knew she should have pulled over because she was struggling staying awake and felt bad she didn’t listen to her instincts. All I cared about was she was ok. She had no visible markings, no scratches, no bruises, not even a sore muscle.

The police officer asked me to come with him away from her. He directed me to the back of the car. He pointed out to me her path. What I could see from the ending point was first she missed a tree, then she missed a sign. He informed me that I needed to recognize the path she took and how ‘lucky’ she was to not have rolled the car. He said, “She should have rolled it at least in 3 different places. But it didn’t.” He looked like he saw a ghost. He then informed me, “THIS doesn’t happen, I’ve seen this too many times where the end result was not good.” I took it in the best I could, then called dad to take care of the towing and such. Abby and I then headed to town for the softball tournament. I was rattled, yet I had to put my coaching hat on for the rest of the day. After the tournament was over I felt like we should go back to the site of the accident. I encouraged Abby, her sister, dad and I to go see the path, that was the one part the officer said that stuck out to me. I had to see the path, all of it.

I decided to start from the beginning this time. Abby fell asleep at the wheel, her car left the road and first missed a tree, then the sign I saw early from a distance was much more than a sign. it was a sign marking a culvert. Her car went OVER the culvert, not around it, over it. There were rubber marks on the concrete from her tires. After driving over the culvert her car then road along the edge of the ditch. At one point we noticed there were only 1 set of tire tracks. Her car didn’t roll. From start to finish her car traveled almost 300m-400m off the road. She didn’t wake up until she was at the last 100m.

How does a car drive OVER a culvert? How does a car drive on one side without rolling? How does a car drive along a ditch and not flip over? How did she sleep through it all? And why didn’t her airbag deploy?

Miracles. Plan a simple miracles. A friend and I were recently discussing what this had to have looked like in the spiritual realm. The amount of angels, the amount of protection, the amount of redirection, the amount of peace she was in to NOT wake up and try to course correct! As insignificant as the driver side airbag not deploying seems, it in and of itself is a miracle. Abby has had numerous concussions. I’m not sure where we would be if that airbag opened. Her last concussion that happened over 2 years ago affected her for 6 months, recovery was awful and she really struggled to get back to normal life.

The miracle rattled me, the path rattled me, the sheer greatness of God rattled me. He saved her. Why? I look to the parents that have lost children, I look to the friends who have lost loved ones in accidents. Why? I don’t know why. I don’t know why he takes some and leaves others. I don’t know why my own father died suddenly at 53 and my daughter was saved. I don’t know, but I trust. I have to. I have to believe His reasons, His plan, His purpose for her life, for my life, and for the lives lost.

She has been given a story. She has been given another chance and for that I am forever grateful. I choose to sit in His plans for all things. I could lose someone tomorrow, I could also see a miracle tomorrow. I am choosing to look for the miracles, small and big and find comfort in a God who saves all of his children, some are saved here and some are saved to His ultimate protection in heaven.

As I contemplate the sheer path it reminds me of our path in life. So many times we coast through life and sometimes we go off the road, sometimes we fall asleep and sometimes we manage to ride on one side of the car not knowing if it might roll and sometimes we drive over an impossible culvert.

I challenge us to REST in his abilities on our path, in His saving grace, in his protection and trust in all He has for us even when it seems impossible.

in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

Proverbs 3:6

Blessings.

 He is the one who saved us and called us with a holy calling, not based on our works but on his own purpose and grace, granted to us in Christ Jesus before time began, 

– 2 Timothy 1:9

Unhindered Prayers: Part 2

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There are certain parts of our past, our story, that we struggle letting go of, we hold on to them too tight. There are certain things that we see in our daily lives that cause us to be hardened because of our past. One of the most difficult ‘things’ for me has been unfaithful men and alcoholism. I’ve seen it destroy families, I’ve seen it sever relationships with parents and children. 

This past month I went on a mission trip with ManUp & Go to Ethiopia and Uganda. What a blessing this trip has been. So much revelation, so much love, and wonderful connections with the beautiful people of Africa.

The last few days in Uganda we visited the Masese Community. A middle age man approached me on the street asking for money. In preparation for this trip we were educated on the importance of giving a hand ‘up’ not a hand ‘out’. Giving a hand out many times causes more harm than good, when what is needed is to be empowered with opportunities to create ways to provide for themselves and their family in a more permanent way instead of a one time hand out. We were called to encourage them in their walk with Christ. Believe me, this was so hard, I wanted to give to everyone. Yet God laid it on my heart to offer prayers instead of money. Talk about taking me out of my comfort zone, I struggle praying in my own church in front of people! So here is my experience of praying with this man pictured above.

I offered to pray with him instead of giving him money and he accepted. In the prayer I asked God to protect him and his family, I asked God to bless him with income, to bless him with abundance, I asked God to give him guidance and for him to know his Savior better, and much more, yet I can’t recall everything I offered up. After I was finished praying with him we parted ways.

One of my friends on the trip asked me if I saw what he had set down before we began to pray? I didn’t see anything. What he sat down was a small bag of alcohol. Somehow I didn’t see it AND I didn’t smell it! Considering my own history with alcohol I was pretty amazing I didn’t recognize it. A few minutes went by and the man came back over to me, and a translator came with him, she explained to me that he didn’t have a family(he wanted me to know this part) and he had many children with many women. At this point I was starting to see him stumbling as well, he was drunk.

My brain, my heart were reeling! “Wait! I just prayed for a man who represents the exact thing I despise!?” He represented what had hurt me so badly in my past. God showed me a very hardened part of my heart, that I “thought” I had let go of. Part of my unsettlement, I believe, came from my own struggles with drinking and promiscuity. I have judged myself as well, and maybe, just maybe, I saw my darkest places in this man and it unhinged me.

In the moment, somehow the Lord blinded me from this man’s failures and from judgement so I could pray unhindered prayers for someone my flesh would have judged otherwise. God showed me His abilities through me when my flesh was out-of-the-way. He showed me his love, for ALL is people, the broken, and the ones I have struggled with forgiving the most.

This is a journal from the day after this event as I was reeling, this is what I felt God was telling me, “Love abides, love is for all children, the lost and the seeking. Find peace in my Spirit. Know that I have a plan for all lives. Even the ones who hurt you. Make peace with it and release them to me.”

But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. Romans 5:8

All deserve his love, he came for the broken. I should know this because of my own brokenness he has restored. So I rejoice in His abilities through me, when my flesh was blinded and I was able to see broken through His eyes. Judgement is not mine to have. All are loved. All are his children, none more valuable than another. HE HAS A PLAN FOR ALL LIVES!

So here I sit processing all this moment had to offer me, releasing yet other layer to find true freedom and resting in His ever-loving arms. What I was able to offer this man was unhindered prayers, and THAT is the best gift I could have given him, ONLY by the grace of God.

Who do you need to pray unhindered for?

Blessings.

“I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.” Heb 13:5