Grace. All is Grace.

A couple of weeks ago I read Brennan Manning’s memoir, All Is Grace. It’s had me thinking a lot about the grace of God, and I’ve come to realize that his grace is somewhat inappropriate – it has no requirements nor restrictions. God is perfect, his people are far from perfect, and yet he still LOVES us and ACCEPTS us just as we are, with ALL our FLAWS and FAILURES. God’s grace covers everything no matter how ugly it is. The fact that he loves me and is using me for his work blows my mind.

I understand that I’m not what most people would call a dirty sinner, but I am in so many ways. I may have followed God’s calling to live in Chad for a year, but I have grumbled and complained so much since I’ve been here. I’ve told God that I’m not the right person to do this job, that someone else could teach better and not complain about missing home so much. I can be a selfish American who doesn’t want to live without her western conveniences, and I remind God of how bad I have it here every day. But his grace covers me.

I make harsh judgements about other missionaries and their work, I make harsh judgements about Chadians and their culture, I make harsh judgements about non-missionaries and their lives. I can be judgmental and self-righteous and think poorly of others to think better of myself. But his grace covers me.

I have days when I fall into the pit of my mental illness. Days when I can see the pit in front of me and I can also see a path around it. I really want to follow the path around it, but there seems to be a magnet in the pit that pulls me into it. I fall in, and I struggle to get out. Sometimes I don’t want to get out. But his grace covers me. (And I’m thankful his grace includes Prozac! Everybody say “Amen!”)

I often ask, “can he really love me and accept me no matter my failure…even the one I repeat on a daily basis?” The answer is yes. He can and he does.

I strive to be better and to do better. I try, but I fail – again and again. Then I see his grace. God’s inappropriate, unrestricted grace. It’s always here. No matter what. Forgiving me. Restoring me. Reminding me that I am sitting in the middle of his calling doing his work even though I am a just dirty sinner.

His grace reminds me that my life, my story, is not really mine at all. My life is a part of his story. His plan. To show his love. To be his hands and feet. Even with all my fears and all my failures, he chooses me to be a part of his story. Wow!

I feel humbled. I feel overjoyed. I feel equipped. I feel inadequate. I feel encouraged. I feel afraid. Lots of emotions to process.

So I keep moving forward thankful for his grace that allows this sinner to be a part of his big, beautiful story that tells the world how much he loves us…no matter what.

Ephesians 2:1-10 in The Message says:

It wasn’t so long ago that you were mired in that old stagnant life of sin. You let the world, which doesn’t know the first thing about living, tell you how to live. You filled your lungs with polluted unbelief, and then exhaled disobedience. We all did it, all of us doing what we felt like doing, when we felt like doing it, all of us in the same boat. It’s a wonder God didn’t lose his temper and do away with the whole lot of us. Instead, immense in mercy and with an incredible love, he embraced us. He took our sin-dead lives and made us alive in Christ. He did all this on his own, with no help from us! Then he picked us up and set us down in highest heaven in company with Jesus, our Messiah.

Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish! We don’t play the major role. If we did, we’d probably go around bragging that we’d done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing.

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Be Strong and Courageous

Last Wednesday, Robert came home telling me there were two deaths in the village where the school we work with is located, and he would like to join a group of men driving up there for the funeral this weekend. He would be gone for 3-4 days up in the desert where he may not have any cell service. I agreed he should go of course, but the thought made me a bit nervous.

I’m no stranger to him traveling for days or weeks at a time while I stay home with the kids. But this is the first time I’ve had to experience it while in a country where I don’t drive or speak the language. To say I was a bit nervous is an understatement. I was anxious to the point of needing a Xanax. Not only anxious for him driving up into the desert, but also for myself and the kids staying here alone. I would have to call a taxi if we needed to go anywhere, but I don’t speak French. I would have to go buy bread at the corner store, but I don’t speak French. My anxieties were getting the best of me.

Then Thursday night, the night before he was to leave, I sat down on my yoga mat, pulled out my Holy Listening book, and opened it where I last left off. The title for the day was “BOLD.”

Coincidence? I think not. I believe God was sending me a message.

The yoga pose was Warrior and the scripture reference was Deuteronomy 31:6. This verse makes me smile. I memorized this verse when I was in 7th grade. I made up a little song to help me remember it. I have sung this song to myself many, many times over the years when I’ve needed strength.

Again, a coincidence? No! This was God speaking to me in a powerful way.

There I was, warrior-ing on my yoga mat, in a mess of tears, singing Deuteronomy 31:6 to myself in the quiet of my bedroom. A bold faith washed over me. God’s peace and assurance engulfed me. I knew in that moment that I was not alone and that I would conquer this weekend while Robert was away. (Spoiler: the kids and I are having a great weekend!)

I’ve stayed on this prayer and pose for a few days now, not ready to move on to the next. Boldness is something I struggle to find. This may be shocking for a lot of my friends and family to hear, but it’s the truth.

I’ve had to be bold and warrior through a lot of hard situations in my life, and I’ve struggled to stay strong. I like to think of myself as being strong, but I am truly a weak woman. Any strength I find to warrior through my life is found in Jesus. It’s his Spirit and his word that pulls me through. The grace and love and forgiveness he gives me when all I do is struggle, is what keeps my faith in him.

I’ve had people ask me before how I know God is real. My answer is always “it’s in the ways he responds to my faith.” When I reach out to him, he shows up. It’s not always right when I want it or in the way I expect it, but he never fails.

Just like this weekend – I was scared and anxious, but God showed up with peace and strength, and I’ve been completely calm all weekend. The kids and I have had a great time, I’ve handled a couple of meltdowns without having one myself, the house is clean, and I’ve actually been serving up healthy meals. All miracles!

I must throw some shout outs to Shiloh’s teacher who reminded our taxi guy that she needed to be picked up Saturday for her youth group meeting and to my neighbors who helped me get bread. Thank you, God, for putting a great missionary community here to help me out…just another way of him showing up in my life!

An Ode to This Old House

This old house has seen me through more than half of my adult life.

We moved in when Shiloh was 4 years old and Huck was 4 months old (2008).

We have so many heartwarming memories in this house.

The kids and I sent Robert off on many travels and adventures from this house and joyfully welcomed him home when they were over.

I taught Shiloh to read in this living room. I think I also taught her to dislike math here too. Whoops!

The kids learned to ride bikes on these sidewalks, learned what being neighborly looks like from our kind neighbors, and developed life long friendships with some of the greatest people right here on this street.

They experienced the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus here. Built forts, obstacle courses, fairy houses and leprechaun traps in this yard. Had late night conversations and tenderhearted prayer times in their bedrooms.

Their dirty little fingerprints are on every doorknob, door, door frame, window, window pane, windowsill, wall, corner, baseboard, countertop, cabinet…you get the idea.

The hours of snow shoveling done here will not be missed, but jumping in the giant piles of snow will be.

This house is where I planted my first garden. I experienced life coming from my hands. I also experienced death coming from my hands as this is where I learned that I am not a good gardener.

We named our giant maple tree in this front yard Mr. Bark. He hosted many squirrels, birds, fairies and gnomes. He had canopies, tents, faces, and fairy doors hung from his trunk.

Mr. Bark was also the home to our joy-filled tire swing. Our kids and many neighbors spent hours swinging here. The swing became an airplane, a pirate ship, a boredom-buster, and a friend gatherer.

We brought Louis and Bowdrie home to this house. We will miss watching them view the outside world from our living room bay window, but we have fond memories of cuddle and play time with them here.

It was in this house that my marriage died and, by the grace of God, was resurrected. This is the house we separated in and the house where we reunited.

This house hosted many counseling sessions, crying sessions, yelling sessions, and making up sessions.

This is where I was when I received the news of my dad’s death. This is where my friends came around me and helped carry me through that loss.

I had a late term miscarriage in this home. We said goodbye to a little life in our upstairs bathroom.

Then I gave birth to Weslee in this home. We said hello to her in that same upstairs bathroom.

This house hosted birthday parties, halloween parties, dance parties, bonfires, christmas concerts, bible studies, and neighborhood soup nights.

It’s been the holder of happy times and sad times, and it has held my family well.

I’m so thankful God saw fit for this house to be a part of who we are.

722 Palace St, you are a wonderful piece in our story.

722Palace

A New Purpose

This quote from Rebekah Lyons “Freefall to Fly” hits me right between the eyes:

“…we walk the streets of our cities with appointments and responsibilities but lack a sense that God intended purpose for our days.”

I knew my purpose and destiny in life was in missions/humanitarian work since I was 15 years old. God confirmed that calling multiple times throughout high school and college. Because of that desire and pull on my life, I traveled quite a bit. I signed up for every mission trip I could. I raised support from family, friends, and churches. I remember living in Sweden for 3 months after college and knowing that my purpose in life was to leave the US and show God’s love around the world.

Even when Robert and I got married, we talked about traveling together and raising our family overseas. We satisfied this desire for a while through Robert’s travels with TEAM. I even accompanied him on a trip to Guatemala once. Then God called us to Chad.

We visited Chad for one month in 2014 and fell in love with the people and the mission. After that trip, we knew we were supposed to go back at some point. Our whole family was excited to plan a year-long excursion as missionaries in Chad. We began praying about when and how.

God had a slight detour for us though. He opened doors for both us to start new jobs here in Chicagoland. This seemed to take us away from missionary life. We walked through those doors and did well. We put the kids in a great school, got a cat and a dog, began to fix up our old home and develop deep friendships. We were becoming settled and comfortable and not really thinking much about life as missionaries.

Then God brought along a Facebook post that changed everything.

I saw that TEAM was looking for a teacher for a homeschool kindergarten class in Chad. I immediately emailed Robert saying, “I can do this.” The wheels started turning. We sent emails, Facetimed friends in Chad, and prayed continually about this opportunity. Every door we knocked on opened. It was like God was flashing a neon sign saying, “Now is the time for the Johnsons to return to Chad!”

So here we are in the middle of packing up our home, raising a budget, and planning on leaving in September for a mission that calls us to fulfill the purpose for our days. The plan right now is to go for a year, but I know if God opens the door for us to stay longer, we will walk through it. We’re nervous but excited to see what this next step in our faith will bring.

You can connect with us and hear more about what we will be doing in Chad at www.wearethejohnsons.com. You can contribute to our mission by clicking here.

 

Turn. Set your journey. Go.

Deut 1:6-7

The Israelites camped in the wilderness for 38 years. They didn’t know God’s where, what, or why. They had so many questions and doubts during this time.

Finally, after they grew and learned a lot about themselves and God, he gave them a direction. Turn, set your journey, and go toward the promise land.

I feel like I’ve been wandering the wilderness for the last 7 years. Although, the last couple of years have been a peaceful wandering – my peace pocket. Now, I feel the Lord shaking things up again. I’m not sure what’s in store.

Door 1 – I see the Lord growing Robert and me in our current jobs and the kids’ school. I see the opportunities for us to be settled here, growing in our work and ministries. Challenging but comfortable.

Door 2 – I see the same as door 1, but Robert and I digging into our writing and being challenged by it. Exciting but nerve-racking.

Door 3 – I see the opportunity to go back to Chad, which would require giving up our comfortable life in the suburbs and immersing ourselves into Chadian culture. Scary but exciting.

I honestly can say that I don’t know which of the 3 lies ahead. There’s a part of me that wants each option.

I’m praying over them and trusting God will guide us into the right path.

Why I March

I had a few people ask me why I participated in the Women’s March on January 21. I gave them the short answer, but I decided to try and organize my thoughts to give a longer answer. I know not everyone will agree and some may not even understand, but this is why I march.

First of all, let me answer the question, “why would I, a peace-seeking Christian, take part in a loud, showy protest?”

Honestly, I feel it’s my God-given duty to stand up for what is right. We see many examples of this in the Bible. For instance, Stephen did not sit silently. The Book of Acts tells us he preached what he believed until he died. When the Sanhedrin began stoning him, he continued to preach. That’s quite a protest.

We read about Paul and Peter and the other apostles who preached when it was against the law. They stood up in the streets and proclaimed the truth. They did not sit silently. They went against the religious leaders and government of their day. They were thrown in jail, they were beaten, they were killed for what they believed in. They were preaching love. They were preaching the gospel of Jesus, that he came to seek and save the lost. That he loves the disenfranchised. He loves the minorities. He loves everyone. The apostles were going to make sure everyone knew that.

In the Old Testament, Esther protested. She illegally went before her king and could have died because of that choice. She did it anyway because she knew she had to stand up for her people. She did not sit silently. She protested, and her people survived!

So I protest by marching.

I march for equal rights. It should not matter who you are, where you’re from, or what you look like, you deserve to be treated equally and justly. If people meet the same requirements and have the same qualifications, they deserve to get hired for the same job and paid the same wages. Children deserve a quality education no matter where they live or how much or how little money their family has. All people, whether black or white, rich or poor, should receive the same punishment if they commit similar crimes. Paul tells us in Galatians 3:38, “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” If we seek to be like Jesus, then we will treat everyone with equality.

I march for refugees. I march because people of this world need to be loved. People of this world need to know that someone is for them. That they are not alone nor forgotten. If we as free Christians do not tell them, who will? If we do not show them they are valued, who will?

I march so women are not sexually exploited. I march to see an end to sex trafficking and rape culture. I march so my son knows to treat women respectfully and that they are not sexual objects.

I march because God gave us the freedom to choose how we want to live. I believe living according to the Bible is the right way, but it’s still a person’s choice. I’m thankful I am not persecuted for my beliefs. I don’t want anyone else to be persecuted for theirs.

I march for gun control. I don’t have a solution, but seeing a graph like this shows me America needs to do something now!

screen-shot-2017-01-30-at-10-51-38-pm

I march for our environment. I believe God has called us to care for his creation. He created this amazing world for us to live in, and we are destroying it. The science about climate change is fact not theory. We must tend to this beautiful creation.

I march because I live in a democracy and I can. The law allows me to speak out and speak up for what I believe.

To be honest, it’s hard for me not to have bitterness in my heart toward our new president and his staff. I don’t understand why God allowed him to be a presidential candidate or to get elected. (I think it goes back to God giving us free choice.) But I know that God is in control no matter our choices. I know that his plan will eventually unfold. So I choose to pray for our government leaders. I know they are people in need of a Savior. We all need Jesus and each other.

Our Vow Renewal

Last February, I posted a short photo story of the vow renewal we had on our 9th wedding anniversary, August 16, 2012. I love looking back at those images. It was such a beautiful day celebrating the grace of God and the hard work that goes into mending a completely broken marriage.

We asked our mentors, Elmer and Lynn, to officiate the ceremony. They are some of the wisest and most caring people I know. They walked through the darkest parts of our brokenness with us, held our hands, and helped lead us back into the light. We are so blessed to have them in our lives.

We began our ceremony with the kids walking me down the aisle to the song “I Want You to be my Love” by Over the Rhine. This song has been “our song” for a long time and means so much more to us now. Elmer led us in prayer and Robert led us in singing “Be Thou My Vision.” We sang this hymn in our wedding in 2003. It’s message is something we strive for, but unfortunately we stray from it quite often. Following our own paths, doing things our own way, not seeking the Lord or wise counsel caused us and our marriage to fall apart. Our vow renewal wasn’t just a recommitment to each other, it was also a recommitment to God and his plan for our family.

Lynn read Shakespeare’s Sonnet 116, which is such a beautiful depiction of true love. Love is why we fought so hard to help our marriage survive, and it’s the unbending, unwavering love of God that pulled us through.

Sonnet 116
Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no; it is an ever-fixed mark,
That looks on tempests, and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved. 


We said new vows for our recommitment, and we read two passages of scripture that mean so much to us:

Robert: On our wedding day, we pledged to love each other for better or worse. This past year has tested those vows, but by the grace of God, our love for one another has prevailed.

Cheyenne: We will wipe clean the old canvases of our lives and let God, with His amazing artistic talent, fill them with new colors, harmony and beauty. Today, we are on the other side of the mountain.

Robert: We evolve and transform together. We endure together, laugh and cry together. We raise a beautiful family together.

Both: I am so ecstatic that I get to continue life’s journey by your side. I believe in this marriage more than ever, and I reaffirm my love and commitment to you. I come here today to make a fresh start, to renew our vows of love, honor, and fidelity, and to reaffirm my love for you.

Robert: ‘Arise, my love, my beautiful one, and come
For behold, the winter is past, 
The rain is over and gone. 
Arise, my love, my beautiful one, 
And come away!’ 
Song of Songs 2:10,11,13 ESV

Cheyenne: For where you go I will go,
Where you lodge I will lodge. 
Your people shall be my people, 
And your God my God.
Ruth 1:16-17 ESV

The passage from Song of Solomon describes the winter and rain God helped us survive. The passage from Ruth was read in our wedding, and I thought it was fitting to say it again, to verbally accept Robert as the spiritual leader in our home after all we’ve been through.

We bought each other new rings to symbolize a fresh start. I still wear my engagement band, but now I put it on my right hand. Every time I look at my new ring on my left hand, I’m reminded of what we’ve come through and what we’re fighting for.

We found a beautiful description of what wedding rings symbolize on a vow renewal website (I don’t remember which one). Elmer read it when he handed us our rings.

Elmer: These rings have a beginning. Rock is dug up from the earth. Metal is liquefied in a furnace at a thousand degrees, then molded, cooled, and painstakingly polished. Something beautiful is made from raw elements. Love is like that. It’s hard work. It comes from humble beginnings, made by imperfect beings. It’s the process of making something beautiful where there was once nothing at all. When you look at these rings, remember your commitment to love each other.

As we put the rings on each other’s finger, we said, “This ring is my promise to accept your imperfections and recognize your beauty.” 

This was such an important promise for us to make. The previous year, we learned so many ugly things about one another. But on our 9th anniversary, we promised to accept the ugly and search for and focus on the beauty. 

We took communion to start our new commitment by focusing on Christ and his love, mercy, and grace. Without him our marriage would not have lasted. It’s by his grace, love, and forgiveness that we were able to survive.

Our friend, Kristen, led us all in singing the hymn “Tis So Sweet.” We chose this hymn to signify how our marriage was truly saved by trusting in the Lord and relying on his love and grace to sustain us.

Elmer led us in another prayer, we kissed, and walked out as a family to another Over the Rhine song, “I’m on a Roll.” I loved involving the kids in this because they suffered right along with us. They experienced the sadness and hurt by watching us experience it. Our home wasn’t the happiest place to be even when we tried to keep our emotional stuff away from the kids. They saw me cry and unfortunately, they also felt the brunt of some of my anger leading up to and during our separation. Walking back down the aisle as a happy and whole family brought so much joy!

We finished the evening by celebrating with good food and great drinks – our favorite way to celebrate. Ha! It was so fun to laugh and enjoy our friends’ company after such a precious ceremony. We are so blessed to be surrounded with such encouraging family and friends. They listened to us when we were angry, sad, hurt, and broken. These men and women let us vent to them and never judged us. They cared for our children when we had nothing left to give. They prayed with us, challenged us, cried with us and on that summer evening, they celebrated with us.

Peace

I logged onto facebook yesterday and was met with this quote by Anne Lamott: “When God is going to do wonders, He starts with a big problem. When He is going to blow your mind, He starts with an impossibility.” This pretty much sums up my life. 

I have lived through many big problems and even some impossibilities, and God has faithfully blown my mind with how he’s worked through each of them. He has always looked out for me, provided for, guided, and sheltered me, he’s even gently told me off a time or to. He has been a perfect Father.

Last week, I mentioned that 2011 was focused on learning how to appropriately trust and hope in God. Impossibility came my way, and God blew my mind with how it all worked out.
So this year, my focus is going to be on resting in his faithfulness and peace. Knowing that no matter what comes my way, He is with me. I can just rest. No worry, no fear, no anxiety…just peace and rest.

This is something I have been working on for a very long time. I’ve felt his peace and have rested in it from time to time, but I have never fully let go of my anxieties and worries to steadily rest in his peace. This is my year to do just that!

This morning, Jesus Calling encouraged me with this:
CONTINUE ON THIS PATH WITH ME, enjoying My Presence even in adversity. I am always before you, as well as alongside you. See Me beckoning to you: Come! Follow Me. The One who goes ahead of you, opening up the way, is the same One who stays close and never lets go of your hand. I am not subject to limitations of time or space. I am everywhere at every time, ceaselessly working on your behalf. That is why your best efforts are trusting Me and living close to Me.

This scripture really spoke to me today as well: Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” Matthew 11:28

Wow! God is so good. He knows just when I need that little nudge of encouragement. I love that he is the one who goes ahead of me, and at the same time, he is the one who never lets go of my hand! He doesn’t want life to be overwhelming for me, and it won’t be if I can just rest in his presence and know that he is always with me working things out.
 
I’m focusing on this prayer (by Melody Beattie): “I will cultivate peace and trust that timely solutions and goodness will arise naturally and harmoniously out of the wellspring of peace. I will consciously let go and let God.”

Weeds Revisited

This morning I filled the last page of this journal. When I finished writing, I felt the urge to flip through it and read some of my past entries. Some pages were very sobering, but I felt a great sense of peace when I closed the book and put it away. This journal represents an incredible journey that I began 10 months ago. 
 
Last May, I blogged about some weeds that Robert and I discovered in our marriage. I am so thankful to write that we have located all of those weeds, and over the last 10 months we have dug them up and have taken numerous steps to make sure they never come back. We have had 41 counseling sessions (some individual and some together) and around 20 meetings with our spiritual care team (a mentor/accountability group made up of 2 amazing couples). The people we are surrounded with have spoken so much truth and healing into our lives. They’ve prayed with, encouraged, reprimanded, supported, and helped carry us through these difficult 10 months. I am so grateful for them!
 
We still have a journey ahead us, but I believe we are on the downhill side of this massive mountain. That’s why there was such a peace about closing my journal and putting it away. I remember the climb up was filled feelings of despair and hopelessness. I remember when I reached my point of powerlessness and handed it all over to God. This journal represents his power, healing, loyalty, and love. I have no doubts about the rest of this journey because I know he is with me. I have truly learned to trust him, to put my mind at rest and know that he is ordering my steps…even when I can’t see in front of me.
 
I wrote this morning that closing this journal felt like closing one chapter of my life and starting a new one. I had hoped that the beginning of 2012 would have started my new chapter, but I never felt like the old one was quite closed. I wrestled with the fact that I didn’t feel comfortable finding a name, scripture and resolution for this new year. But now that this journal is finished, I feel like I’m ready to take that step.
 
Here is an excerpt of what I wrote about 2011: 
 

I wrote down that this year my goal would be to learn how to truly trust God. To completely surrender to him. To put my complete hope in him and his ways. I wrote goals down of becoming more supportive, selfless and patient with my family and goals of learning self-control and perseverance.

I even gave this year a few scripture verses to encourage me on my journey. Job 13:15 – God might kill me, but I have no other hope. Jeremiah 29:11 – For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Zephaniah 3:17 – The Lord your God is with you, the mighty Warrior who saves, he will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.

 

It’s exciting to look back and see that I have learned how to truly trust God and to completely surrender to him. I’ve learned to hope in him. The 3 verses I chose were a constant strength to me last year. It’s nice closing that chapter and knowing how far I’ve come.

I’m ready to focus on what this year will hold. How will I grow in my relationship with the Lord and with my family? What will I learn about myself? Who will I be and what will I have accomplished when this year is over? Things to ponder and pray about.

Breathing Again

God made me the way he wants me. He wants to use me the way that I am. My personality. My life. My experiences. They may not be the way I want them to be, but they are the way, the path, the Lord has for me. The path that he has chosen me to walk.

I can find strength in that. If he wants me here, then he will give me the strength and the ability to walk this road. I can’t do it without him!

At church on Sunday, we sang the song “Our God is Greater.” I felt the Lord telling me, reminding me, that he is in me and that he is greater than what I am facing and feeling right now. I can just let go and let him shoulder the burden. Yes, it hurts that he has allowed me to go through so much heartache in my 31 years. Yes, I wish he would have prevented some of my sufferings. But he is still greater than my sufferings. His ways are still better than my ways.

“God might kill me, but I have no other hope.” Job 13:15

Sunday night, I told the Lord that I was ready to truly let go. To truly surrender. To quit trying to go through this process on my own just because I was disappointed in his path. Even if God’s path seems to suck right now, it’s still better than me trying to do my own thing. My way and my plan have been causing anxiety, fear, doubt, and a whole bunch of other crap that just binds me and takes me to a dark and barren place.

Letting go and trusting the Lord, even when it’s hard and confusing, brings me to freedom. I no longer feel alone or heavy. I no longer feel like I am drowning. I finally feel like I can breathe again!

The song Fall Apart has been on mind the last couple of days. The line,Our heartbreak brings us back to You,” rocks me. When I hold on to my heartbreak, it smothers me, but when I let it go and trust God with it, my head comes above water and breath fills my lungs!