“Seasons.”

Well, another year is coming to a close. Twelve whole months have just rolled by in an instant. This may come off cliche, but something about this year has been different. I remember each physical as well as spiritual season vividly. I remember each feeling, each lesson, and each verse God put forth in my sight. I would love to write to you just how the seasons we have experienced naturally affected me.

Spring: The flowers were beginning to bloom. The grass surrounding me beamed a bright green color. Each bird flying above me in the baby blue sky chirped different types of melodies. Yet, with all these new, positive changes I felt the sting of my pain. I was lonely, confused, and felt forgotten. I thought I had mended a relationship that was on the verge of “ship-wrecked.” I am here. I am out in the open, ready to receive God. Ready for His nature design to speak into my deaf ears and cracking soul. I am here. Raising my hands to the Holy One, awaiting His presence to pour down on me like a cool rain shower. I am here. Seeking His heart first, knowing all things will be added to me. Verse: “I will seek His kingdom, then everything else will be added to me.” Matthew 6:33

Summer: The day had arrived. The summer heat was not the only thing burning today. I felt my soul igniting like a flame, keeping my insides warm and alive. I opened the door to my new future; a new hope. I was greeted with many hugs and bright smiles. I heard a dull roar of applause in the huge auditorium, filling my heart with love and eyes with salty tears. I was ready. God had lead me here. I sat into the small pool, feeling the embrace of a kind hand. I closed my eyes, feeling God close in on me. I submerged into the water, as if God and I were intertwined, becoming one. I arose from the water feeling a different feeling. I felt like a bride who just kissed her husband. I became a lily among the thistles, never shriveled or losing color. Verse: “Like a lily among thorns is my darling among the young women.” Song of Songs 2:2

Fall: I watched the dead leaves fall from the huge oak trees as if I were staring at a reflection. I had let my flame dim. I began to develop hard emotions: guilt, shame, fear. My sadness consumed me like a tidal wave, crashing against my aching bones and pulling me into the deep, dark waters. I was losing grip of the light. I saw God’s hand reach out for me, but I kept getting distracted by the shininess of sin. My eyes began to grow heavy; the color of my skin pale. I turned to many things to fill this empty void, but I was only creating a bigger gaping hole in my soul. Yet through it all… God was with me. Verse: “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?” Psalms 139:7. 

“Spiritual Wounds: Cleansing.”

I remember being a kid. Yeah, I know I’m technically still a kid (just a bit taller, and more developed). But the days where I woke up with massive “bed head syndrome” and wore the same pair of shorts and play T-shirt 3 days in a row, excited to discover some new grand adventure just awaiting for me in my own back yard. I can recall always grabbing the nearest rugged bag and packing a few snacks, a flash light, and a book. I would then venture out the old tree house and camp out for the most of the day, creating some sort of story and escaping my own little reality for awhile. I also can recall in my so called “adventures” I ended up getting scraped up by falling, jumping, or climbing onto our “Climbing Tree” that was just outside my window. My mom or dad would have to examine my wound, disinfect it so all the damaging bacteria would be cleansed out, and bandage it right up. I felt so comforted and healed after each wound I developed was properly taken care of.

But sadly, here I am. An actual adult facing my reality adventures. Whether it’s going to work and being yelled at by a rude customer or getting onto for not executing my job properly, or to many broken end relationships. I have dealt with many wounds. The sad thing is, not each one did I properly clean. Each one I would face the pain very briefly, and cover it up with temporary, sinful pleasures or another relationship. I just reached a climax into these “uncleaned wounds” pattern and it broke me entirely. I discovered that God has been trying to tell me something all along: “Covering up infected wounds won’t provide any healing, just more collateral damage for the next wound.”

I have always been the kind of girl who HATES pain. I try to avoid it at any cost. I stay away from dangerous sports or drinking parties because I am afraid my life will be in fatal danger. Which, that is a good mind set to have. But when it comes to facing our wounds developed into a broken relationships, secret sins, or self loathing, I have been even more eager to avoid facing pain. Instead of living in fear, God DESIRES us to face our pain and work through it. I know He understands everyone’s healing process varies, but through God’s grace and the strength He provides, we can persevere and gain in what is called a “once-and-for-all-healing.”

“If we confess out sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us for our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9

I am not saying at all this is easy. It took me YEARS to finally accept that pain is apart of our lives, especially in the walk of Christ. Jesus endured all of this kind of pain, and was incredibly faithful. Why? Because He trusted in the One who knows all, sees all, loves all. Our cleansing starts when we reach the end of ourselves. When the wound grows deep into our veins, throbbing deep and we feel our souls dying. Jesus wants you to be healed. Will you do the very hard thing and just letting go and trusting?

“He heals those who have a broken heart. He heals their sorrows.” Psalms 147:3

“Designed for Gratitude.”

We are vastly again, entering the holiday season. When I was a wee bit younger, this time of the year brought me so much joy. The cooler weather (well, the minimum cool air we get here in Florida), the songs about being jolly and bright, and being surrounded by loved ones and most of all, GIFTS. Yet, as I have gotten older and now the age 22, my “holiday perspective” I will call it, has drastically changed. I no longer desire to receive, I desire to give. I desire to be full of gratitude. Which displays while I am calling this blog post ” Designed for Gratitude.” God is a vast, mysterious God. But he is also welcoming and full of love. So, it is no wonder he designed our hearts to be full of praise, worship, and gratitude. So the question you may ask is, “why are we designed for gratitude?”

1) Being grateful makes you happier and healthier.

  • It is easy for all of us to be ungrateful. Magnitudes of bad things happen constantly. It is easy to fall in the trap of fear, doubt, and bitterness. In Psalms 7, David was faced with this very thing. He was in a dangerous pursuit against King Saul. Many acquisitions were made against David about him overthrowing Saul by killing him so he could have the thrown himself. David could have easily become hateful and full of vengeance, but he instead did something spectacular. He decided to give thanks to God instead.
  • The proper response when facing adversity is prayer. Remembering that God is just, loving, kind. He is there in the darkest hour. Your broken praises are heard, and He loves you.
  • 2) Being grateful helps you see more blessings.
  • When we all feel our lowest or our problems seem endless, it is important to take heart.
  • When we choose to seek gratitude above our troubles, we begin to see God’s work. In Psalms 33, David reminds us that because God is our Creator, everything we seek needs to be aligned with His perfect will. He is worthy of our praise. Because God is forever faithful and his word is dependable, we can rejoice, sing, and give thanks.
  • “Always give thanks for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Ephesians 5:20
  • “Be full of joy all the time. Never stop praying. In everything give thanks. This is what God wants you to do because of Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.
  • 3) Because there are sad consequences of ingratitude.
  • Webster’s Dictionary defines “Ingratitude” as: “Forgetfulness of, or poor return for, kindness received.” It can also be defined as not appreciating or valuing what you have, or have been given. Unexpressed gratitude is also ingratitude!
  • When we get caught up in our worldly obligations, we begin to develop a worldly perspective. We take our eyes off the cross, and our hearts begin to harden. Daily we face hardships and it is easy to want “more stuff.”
  • Paul wrote to us in the book of Colossians Ch. 2 verse 7 about the importance of being rooted in Christ. He uses the analogy of plants receiving nourishment while being rooted into the soil, so should our own souls be rooted in the Word, so that no enemy can uproot us and let us wither. Have your roots planted deep in Christ. Grow in Him. Get your strength from Him. Let Him make you strong.

So this holiday season, you may be dreading it or excited. But one thing is for certain no matter what circumstance: “We are designed for gratitude towards our Holy God.”

Growing Your Soul Garden.

I have not written in almost a month, which that does bring a sting of sadness to my heart. I read a quote today that said, “our hearts wither when we love ourselves more than we love God.” Now, I am not stating that we should not love or focus on ourselves. That is vital. What I am saying is when we withdraw ourselves from a daily dosage of precious time with Jesus and we focus on our own plight, we begin to lose sight of the bigger picture. I have been in the pit of the valley my friend. It has been emotionally challenging and painful, but seeds have to root up out of the dirt before they can become beautiful flowers.

Today I want us to focus on this amazing Proverb. It is found in Chapter 8 of this book and the whole topic is on the word wisdom. I am going to go backwards just a tad bit to Proverbs 7. This chapter is all about the “Immoral Woman”. It depicts a woman who is seductive and full of sin and lures a married man into the darkness, knowing well the consequences and the damage he is leaving behind him. (All at once he follows her, as an ox goes into the slaughter or as a stag is caught fast. Proverbs 7:22). I was this man. I was attracted to the lust sin creates. I craved the taste of deception. My heart raced with the adrenaline of enticement. It was blinding and I slowly drifted into the wilderness. I searched and searched for ways to fill the void and pain I felt in my heart. I was reluctantly surprised that I let myself fall that hard. So here I am, laying on the cold, damp soil. But the goodness out of all of this, I am beginning to grow.

Now, back to Proverbs 8. This chapter is labeled in my New Living Translation bible as “Wisdom Calls for Hearing”. What a profound title! Wisdom calls for absolute quietness, seeking, and openness that God does provide. Wisdom in this chapter is portrayed as a woman who was present at the creation and works with the Creator. God is close to those who desire wisdom in their daily lives. Those who loathe wisdom are filled with deception and only crave death. Wisdom should affect every aspect of our entire life, beginning to end. Be sure to open corners of your life to God’s never ending direction and guidance.

The more a individual, especially a follower of Christ, fears and respects God, the more they will despise evil. Here is an important statement to keep close: “Love for God and sin CANNOT co-exist.” This is called a lukewarm faith. I fell deep into this entrapment. I picked up my bible, I rose my hands in prayer, but my mind was filled with lustful thoughts. My eyes were dimmed by the darkness sin instills. The hard thing I had to do was make a clean break with sin and commit myself completely to God. God states that wisdom has to be primary and fundamental in our present souls.

Jesus says, “Happy are those who listen to me, waiting for me outside my home. For whoever finds me finds life and wins approval from the Lord. Today, if you are examining your soul garden and all you see is weeds, do not rip them out. Weeds need proper digging and pruning. It is painful, tedious, and a long process. Just remember though, a seed starts out small. With the proper watering and fertilizing of wisdom, love, joy, self control, and perseverance, your seeds with sprout into your life. Every person you encounter will become attracted to your soul garden, and you can help re-plant their’s as well.

“Thrive.”

The enemy is nigh, my brothers and sisters.

He lurks in the darkness, using swaying language and taunting actions to dim our lights.

He wants us all to falter. To take our heavy eyes off the cross. Off the truth.

We cannot let this happen. We have to keep fighting. We all know the truth. We know we are all deeply loved. Deeply wanted. Deeply desired by our Abba.

Yet, we keep dimming our lights. We keep letting the darkness overshadow.

We press into the world, forgetting all we know.

We list after false hope. We crave desires of man. We use up all its resources until we are like a hollow, dark cave; caked with dirt and grime.

Alas. Abba is there. Outstretching his arms to us; inviting us back in. Let us keep going my brothers and sisters. Let us never stop thriving for greatness.

Dark Valleys.

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”” John‬ ‭16:33‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I’ve been venturing through a dark valley my friends. Kind of why I have not been writing on here. Sometimes I forget the things I do have to face while being a Christ follower. I feel sequestered; bounded by sin forever. I have gotten in the deep pit of depression, just clawing my way out. The “roots” I try to grab onto are only dead and frail, instantly snapping as I fall back deep down into the pit. I just lie there, pondering my existence while dirt and grime cover me. I am sorry for this dark visual, but it is important to understand my meaning of this.

Have you been at this place? Have you been facing a valley or multiple ones and just lost at which is the way out? I just read this sentence this evening and it perfectly describes the journeys we are forced to endure: “But be encouraged that valleys are temporary; they do have an end. And valleys have a purpose. God never wastes our pain.”

When Jesus took his last breath on the cross at Calvary and released his spirit to heaven, He warned us that as a believer and cross carrier, we will always endure trials and hardship. Being as of Christ, we will suffer as of Christ. I’m telling you now daily I have to forgive, love, and be kind to people who give absolutely nothing back. But I won’t ever stop. Because that is true meaning of the calling of Christ. You see my friends, the world doesn’t understand Christ. It doesn’t understand the complexity of which Jesus displayed: Forgive your persecutors. Love your enemies. Die to the world every waking day. So many factors are involved as a Christian. We don’t have to face any of this alone! Once we accept Christ, he is forever with us. His spirit is entwined with your soul. How wonderful!So, for you and I. As we face these forced valleys that cross our paths, remember we have the choice to fall, or to walk through it.

Stars.

The sky lights up the world,
Twinkling with lights that dance for me.
I lay here, on this forest green meadow; surrounded by the chirping of crickets and light bugs.
I just keep my eyes set on the arrangement of the night.

All I can think of is you.
The way your smile makes my insides ignite like an orange flame. Your gentle touch upon my skin is always comforting.

I look up at the sky and see an array of constellations. Each star burning millions of miles away, but yet the imagery is all to amazing. Just how your soft, emerald eyes looked into mine, beaming with color and life.

The stars I gaze upon remind me that each one is made differently. But when brought together, the creation that is made is what matters most. The night painting I am always so fascinated to see reminds me that even when their is darkness, there is always light. I just have to seek it. That is why I will always seek you in the darkness, My Star.