Monday, October 8, 2012

Words that speak to me

I could not have said it better myself! Thanks to Holley Gerth's blog, I know I'm not alone. 

She posted today:

"The reason why I write the way I do is because I need to hear it too.

Because sometimes I forget I’m loved.

Some nights it’s hard to wait for dawn.

Some moments I struggle to be strong.

I write what I need to remember. Words are the trail markers I leave on the journey of life so I can say, “Oh, yes, I’ve passed this way before. Now I know how to move past this place again.”

I’ve struggled with depression.

I was once diagnosed with social anxiety.

I’ve walked the valleys.

It’s not where I live now. But I’ve been there. And sometimes I go back.

Don’t we all?

I forget to tell you that sometimes–to say that if you ever get the idea I have it all together that you shouldn’t believe it. That I sweat and cry the ugly cry and have dust bunnies and bad hair days and I whine and I sometimes completely forget that I’m already amazing.

I write to find my way home.

I write to reconnect with Love.

I write to know I’m not alone. And because of you, I’m not.

Thanks for sharing the journey with me. In case you didn’t know, I appreciate you even more than words can convey. I’m glad we’re in this together.

Just as we are.

And not yet all we will be.

Our best is still ahead."

Goodness! It sounds just like what I wrote some ways. God is funny...the way He works is always surprising me and making me shake my head in awe....and then I smile, laugh, and say to myself, "I should have known He'd answer me!"


God is GOOD.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Isaiah 41:10

This is probably my favorite and most inspirational Bible verse: 

"Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand." 

If you know me well, you know that I tend to suffer from depression. It sucks. I'd like to say that it's something I can control; something that I can just stop from happening. But if you have ever been diagnosed with depression, you know that's not how it works. Things just happen - you get depressed about it - you say things you shouldn't - you feel things you don't want to feel - you think things you don't want to admit. 

I take medicine for it - I call them my "crazy drugs". I've been to see doctors - I call them my "crazy doctors". I'm ashamed of my depression and I am embarrassed about it. Why? I ask myself. Why me? Why God, am I like this?!?! 

Sometimes it overcomes me. It truly does take over. And for no reason at all. For once in my life, I'd like to say that I am happy. I have someone who loves me more than anything; and I can honestly say the same about him. I have a great job. My family is healthy, my friends are doing well, Autumn is here - my favorite season. Realistically, my life is GREAT.  

Yet, last night, I took out all my anger, frustrations, and annoyance on the one person who loves me the most. I cried myself to sleep. I said things like, "I hate my life", "Why can't I know how to be happy?", "I need to go to church and pray for hope and patience that my life with turn around". I know I hurt the person who loves me most by saying these things because in reality - he has made my life better. Oh, and I didn't even go to church this morning. Strike. 

How come, out of nowhere, I just get sad? How is God working in my life? My mind? My heart and spirit? Is He working at all? If so, why then, do I get like this??! Where's the Holy Spirit when I need it most? I realize He is there all the time - I'm just not "seeing" Him or hearing Him.

The sad thing is - I don't even know why I was crying last night. I don't even know what I was sad about. What I was depressed about. What is so bad with my life? Nothing. My life is really fantastic! 

I hate depression. Why does it exist? Why can't I just BE HAPPY? Why isn't it easy for me to smile, let go of worry, and just BE?  Be in love. Be in the moment. Be thankful. Why can't I just feel those things - always? I've realized that I can - but I may just need to work on it.

That's when this verse, (as always, God works in mysterious ways), came into my thoughts. I am falling backwards. Into a pit that I've been in before, and I don't want to go back there. And I don't have to go back there - if I have any say in the matter - I won't go back there. 

I need to TRUST in HIM. I need to ASK HIM for HELP. I need to LISTEN to HIM. 

I cried last night, out loud, "Why God? Why am I like this? Why does this happen to me?" Of course, I didn't get an answer right away - and not an obvious answer of course. Instead I got two answers in unexpected ways: 

1. Texts from my love stating things along the lines of: "You can push me away all you want, but I am not going anywhere. We will work on this together. All I want to do is to try to understand and if you'll let me, help." 

2. This verse from the book of Isaiah.

I always say this: My life is always better when I am going to church, studying His word, blogging on this site,  doing Bible studies, etc. Yet, as always, I seem to not do all those things - I get too wrapped up in "other" stuff. 

I like to think that in a strange way, God is using my depression as a way to get me to turn TO Him, instead of turning away from Him. So, I've decided to really focus, once and for all, on turning TO Him - for strength, guidance, hope. At least, this is what I am telling myself. 

Ironically while Autumn is my favorite time of year and my favorite season, it's also the time in which my depression really kicks in. Originally I was first diagnosed with seasonal depression - so now's the time in which I really begin to feel it. 

I need to let others help me. I need to realize that it's ok to have help - especially from those who want to help and those who love me.  And well, duh - isn't that God? Duh. What's wrong with me? He doesn't want me to feel like this. He doesn't want me crying myself to sleep at night. He doesn't want me to suffer with thoughts of hating my life. 

Ha, it's amazing what blogging / writing your thoughts out can really do for the soul. As I sit here (tears streaming down, in a public coffee shop, feeling embarrassed that everyone is looking at me cry...) and reflect, it all seems so easy. So simple. And maybe it all really is - simple. 

Trust in the Lord - for He will guide me. 
Pray to the Lord - and He will answer me. 

What am I afraid of? It can't hurt to try, right? 

"Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand." 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Simply Stated: I "heart" MY JOB.

Today was the second day of my 7th year as a teacher. I have 180 7th graders. I am a teacher.

I could go on and on about all that we do, the days we spend planning and grading lessons and homework, the nasty emails we sometimes get from parents, the amount we get paid, how much money I spend out of pocket.... And sure I can boast that I have summers off and holiday breaks, and only "work" from 7-3. 

But sure enough, what I'd rather tell you is...
  • how I make it a goal of mine to know EACH of my students' names by day three - and I usually succeed. Shows them I VALUE each and every one of them as their own.
  • that every once in a while a parent email comes through that is POSITIVE and tells me how I make a difference or help their student - and it resonates for weeks. Makes all the bad emails worth it for just ONE awesome one. 
  • that I cannot explain the JOY I have when the students and I get completely off the subject and instead share stories of our personal lives - and I can remember that they are only 12/13 and still just KIDS. I can relive my own MEMORIES through them. 
  • it's a BLESSING to go to work for 180 days and know that each day will be different and fun and unexpected. FLEXIBILITY is key. 
  • that my job may not supply me with the best technology but that it does supply me with joy, freedom to teach, respect, gratitude, and the chance to meet 180 UNIQUE individuals. Everyone brings something DIFFERENT to the class. 
  • that you don't become a teacher to get RICH with money. But that you end up so much richer in ways that really matter because of the STUDENTS.
  • it's so cool to be able to create unique lessons that represent US and show our students who WE are as individuals. Let us be their ROLE MODEL. 
  • that over the summer I only HOPE to bump into students because I miss them. They make my life BRIGHTER. 
  • that I ADMIRE and look up to my students. I only hope I TEACH them as much as they teach me. 
I found this prayer for teachers online - no one claims to have written it - but it really stuck with me. It pretty much sums up what I want from this school year. 

Lord, guide me to be a teacher who impacts my students in a positive, loving way. Let them look at me and have them find your glory. 

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Freedom, Liberties, and Independence...Day

With July 4th being tomorrow, there is so much hype in this country. Sales are right around the corner at tons of stores, families and neighbors and friends all gathering for bbq's, grills are being gassed up and lit, bottle rockets are flying, and [hopefully] somewhere fireworks are being set off (I say "hopefully" because most counties in the state of IN have placed firework bans because of the extreme dry conditions).

We, as Americans, take this one day specifically as a time to celebrate our freedoms and liberties of living in the United States. I understand the importance of having one day to focus on such a right and gather to celebrate. There's something to say about the unity of all coming together to honor the same principle. In no way am I saying that having a specific day to celebrate is wrong! But, I started thinking today how many of us probably take those freedoms and liberties for granted. Why do we only pause this one specific day to recognize all that we have as Americans? We should do it more often! And why not? Who doesn't like a good party with family and friends?

Then I began thinking some more...about freedoms, liberties, and independence...and being a Christian. We have July 4th as a day to celebrate these ideals as Americans, but what about having one specific day in which we take time and focus on our freedoms, liberties, and independence that we receive by becoming a Christian?  There is no day for that - no day in which we all gather together and grill out or light up the sky with dynamite to show our honor and appreciation towards Christ. Sure, some would say we do that every week at church - but I'm talking about a celebration; a party! How many of us take these values of being a Christian for granted?

  • Freedom: Jesus died for us so that we could be free - free of sin and free to live in an eternal life with Him. 
  • Liberty: Just believing in Christ is a liberty we choose. 
  • Independence: Well, those of us who are believers all got to that point at different times and stages of our lives. It was an independent experience, and will continue to be. Each of has a unique journey.
What better way to celebrate independence, than that of the day each of us chose to surrender our lives over to Him? Wouldn't it be cool if we each had our own Independence Day? We would celebrate the day we submitted our lives to Christ and let Him lead. It would be the day we admitted to ourselves, to Him, and to others that He has control of our lives and we don't. Light up the fireworks - draw words in the air with sparklers - and eat a lot of hot dogs and brownies - Let freedom ring! For I am declaring myself a Christian! Doesn't that sound awesome?!?! (Now, I'm still on my path to getting to this point, but let me tell you - I cannot wait for that day, and surely, I should probably throw a party when that day comes!) 

When it comes down to being a Christian and what's truly important in our lives, where is the focus usually at between these two "Independence Days"? What do we celebrate more? Being a free and independent nation? Or being a free and independent Christian? For which one do we throw a big party and gather and celebrate with loved ones? 

I don't want to underestimate or downplay the independence of our country - it surely deserves much celebration and recognition. It is important for us as Americans to honor our country and the freedoms we have! I'm simply proposing something to think about. 

I think it's safe to say that our Founding Fathers had something in mind when they decided on the sayings, "In God We Trust" and "One Nation Under God," to be present in and on so many important pieces of American history and literature. 

With that, I will leave you with this prayer: 

Lord, thank you for allowing us the rights and liberties we have as Americans in this country. Thank you for all those who have fought to protect us over the years and continue to do so. Please watch over all those celebrating the 4th of July and keep everyone safe. Lord, please help myself and others to recognize the importance of our own, personal independence days and help us each to see that day should also be one of celebration. In all, I pray that each American and Christian take time out not only tomorrow, but throughout the year, to be thankful for and appreciate all the freedoms, liberties, and independence we have as both living in this great country and being a believer in You. Amen. 

Monday, June 18, 2012


I came across this website today. I really wanted to do my day-by-day devotional book, but as I was reading - nothing jumped out at me. I just couldn't get into it. So, I did a little searching and found two awesome sites. One is devotions just for teachers (I plan on looking more at this one once the school year starts, but the lady who posts is taking some time off for the summer), and the other is this one:

Girlfriends in God

How awesome is this site?? Just go look for yourself!! What I love about it is that it gives a brief message,  a prayer, and then some questions on which to reflect. Perfect for me! It's just what I was looking for. And lo and behold - even more perfect - today's message was about my favorite place in the world: the beach. I think God had a role having me stumble upon this today! :)

As Sharon, the blogger who wrote this post says, the beach is one of God's greatest and special treasures. There is so much in every grain of sand, in every wave that rolls in and then out again, in each shell. Her post is beautiful - she paints an amazing picture of the coastline in the morning. I can only wait in anticipation until I can enjoy a cup of coffee while listening to the songs of the sea. Hopefully I will get a chance to do that this summer! But what astounded me, something that I have not put much thought into, is His [REALLY] greatest gift - the Cross.

Sure, it's simple - two wooden beams. It's plain - nothing but wood and a few nails. Yet at the same time, it's strong and sturdy. It's more than just wood and nails. It's a symbol of who Jesus was and what Jesus did for us. What a beautiful symbol?!

The prayer taken from the post is as follows. I wouldn't normally post someone else's entire prayer, but I want to because I don't think I could say it any better for my thoughts as I read this post:

"Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the cross. Through the finished work of Jesus on those two simple beams of wood, You have given me eternal life. I pray I will never forget Jesus’ incredible sacrifice. Yes, the world may think the cross is foolish, but it represents the power of God through the gospel of Christ.
In Jesus’ Name,Amen." 

Now, what's even more awesome about this site are the questions for reflection - this is the part that I love most about devotions - it gives me time and forces me to think about the message...
  1. What does the Cross mean to you?  You know, I have a tattoo of a cross on my left wrist. I purposely got the cross on my left wrist for the same reason they say you wear a wedding band on your left ring finger - because there is a vein there that goes straight to your heart. I got this tattoo as a constant reminder that God is always. He is constant. He is in my blood. He is in my heart. Along with the cross on my wrist, I have three small dots. To me the dots mean a myriad of things: of course, the Trinity. My siblings - my sister, brother, and me. Faith, hope, and love. I've heard that Jesus had to walk up three stairs to get to the cross - not sure if that is accurate, but I like the symbolism of it. So, there you have it - what the Cross means to me - it means a lot. It is a reminder of God and who He is and who He is in my life. I've never once regretted getting that tattoo. 
  2. How would I explain the Cross to someone who doesn't know Christ? Besides what I said above, I would also explain the Cross to someone as the bridge from our mortal life to that of an eternal life with Christ. A good friend, Beth, I think - showed me an analogy once that described the Cross as a bridge. How do we "get" to the Lord - we use the Cross - the bridge. Once we understand what Jesus did for us, and symbolism of the Cross - it makes the idea of it being a bridge so much easier to "get". 
  3. Why is the message of the Cross called the Power of God? I believe this is because everything is God's doing - He is always ten steps ahead of us. He knows what we will do, think, say, before it even crosses our minds. He knew the Cross would hold special meaning. The Cross is a symbol of Jesus and what He did for us, of God, of the Holy Spirit. With the Cross, the bridge, COMES the Power of God. In order to understand the Power of God, we must first accept the Cross and cross that bridge. 
  4. Have you ever felt that God placed something right before you as a gift or reminder of His presence? Ha, this cracks me up because if you've read my previous posts you know that I see these signs that God gives me at the most random places and times and situations! Just like today - He placed something as cheesy as this website before me. But oh! How thankful I am! 
Thank you Lord for constantly showing me little signs! From the Cross, to the beauty of a beach, to a simple website - it's always a great reminder that You are here with me. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Not one of my normal posts - much shorter!

I read this and it sounded like it could be an awesome lyric to a great song....

"Lord, Break my heart when I even think of doing what is dishonorable..."

Beautiful, huh? Mark 12:30

Monday, May 21, 2012

When in doubt - turn to Him

"The enemy's hope for Christians is that we will either be so ineffective we have no testimony, or we'll ruin the one we have." 

Ah! How often does it happen that you pick up your Bible, or hear a message in church - and it's like God is right there whispering in your ear? It happens to me quite often - including today. This quote above form Beth Moore's book, as usual, hits home with me tonight.

Lately, I have been sinking further down to the enemy's level. I haven't gone out and lied, steal, cheated, killed, or anything like that! No, but I have given up hope and lost faith in a lot of stuff. Isn't that just as bad? I've given in to the enemy. I've thrown my hands up in the air and simply said, "I'm done".

Unfortunately I seem to think that the enemy is working harder and in more ways in my life at the moment than He is. And I know that's not true, but lately, I just cannot see the silver lining. A few nights ago - my last post - I felt stronger than I had felt in a long time. It was paradoxical in a way - I was vulnerable and weak - letting out all of my emotions, and yet, I found some hidden strength that made me sit down, type a post, and scream out to God for help, support, and guidance.

Sometimes it appears that I have no "testimony" yet - and maybe that's ok because I'm still "getting to that place."

Often times I do feel as though my journey with Christ is ineffective - and maybe the enemy is right? I try and try - and always seem to fail. I just can't "get there." But, no! Sure, that could be enemy's hope - for us to fall, to fail, and give up hope. No testimony = no belief. No hope. No faith.

I'm not there yet. While I don't feel as though I yet to have a strong testimony to my faith - I still do have belief that I can get there. I still have hope. I still have faith. Sure, sometimes it's a lot weaker and less apparent as others. But it's still there. Faith. Hope. Belief.

Now, "ruining the one [testimony] we have" - well, if I don't have one yet, I guess I can't ruin it, right?

Part of me feels like I do have some testimonies - there are the ladies whom I worked with at TK - Jo, Lu, Mar, Stephanie, and of course Mary. Mary's family and Jo's daughter Lindsay - they all touched my life in a spiritual way and opened my eyes in different ways to the kindness, strength, honest and truthfulness, and love of Christians. They all brought me back to wanting to go to church and wanting to be a better Christian. Now, here in Indiana, I have met some of the kindest, strongest ladies again through the school in which I work. Through some male co-workers who introduced me to their wives (Jamie and Jess) - I now have some more guidance when it comes to this "stuff". On a different level, they have gotten to know me at probably one of my most vulnerable times of my life.  A girl from my sorority, Beth - I can turn to her for strength and guidance even I haven't talked to her in a few months. I know she will always be willing to listen and be there for me just to give me some words to help me through. Deb and Chuck - they showed me what it's like to have true happiness and true love.

Can all of those instances, those times, be considered my testimonies? When those around me show me a new, better, path? When those around me help me to see the good, the strength of prayer, the hope in Christ? If that counts, then I guess I've had quite a few "testimonies"!!!!

How embarrassing, that I meet new people, turn to people at times when I'm at my weakest and struggling? And while I say that - I know all of the above mentioned people would not judge me at those low times.

It's so refreshing to type that and know that I can turn to them. Why then, is it, that I only seem to go to them when I am having problems? I really need to be a better friend. Those are the people I need to surround myself with. I honestly KNOW God has brought me to these places, introduced me to these people, all in His name. His work. His doing. And I hope he sees all the good deeds His believers are doing, and all the work they are accomplishing in His name - just in my life alone.

So, to close, to hell - literally - to the enemy. The enemy can hope all it wants that I will fail and have an ineffective testimony, or ruin the one I do have. But throughout this post, I have realized that while I am still on my search and path with Christ, and maybe my testimonies aren't that strong, I do have my own. Mine. It's what's worked for ME. They are my stories, my testimonies, my witness to how He, You, has/have worked in my life - especially through some great friends brought upon by moves, new jobs, etc.

Thank you Lord for putting those people into my life who have made a difference to ME in Your name. While they may not all see it in themselves, I know You are using them to spread Your Word - and they are making a change in at least one person's life. Mine. Please help me to reach out to them more - to remember them in times of strength and not just weakness. Please encourage me to surround myself with people who are strong in their beliefs of the Christian faith. I pray for all of those who have been a part of my testimonies that they continue their work in Your name. Give them support, strength, and guidance. Please help me to be that person who does Your work, spreads Your word, for someone else in my lifetime.

To the enemy - suck it.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Yeah, I know it's been a while. I'm embarrassed at how miserably I failed at my New Year's Resolution. I regret that I did not stay true to myself - and God - with my daily prayer blog. It's been a long, eventful, 2012 already. And while so much of it is/was for the better, I am beginning to struggle...all over again.

Tonight, out of nowhere, I had a major meltdown.

I need you God. More than I have needed you in a long time.

I have this ever-struggling feeling that I don't want to live my life anymore. One day I am happy - the next I am just plain sad. I've started pushing people away and out of my life - not wanting to get close to anyone for fear that I will lose them, hurt them, they will hurt me, or just because I want to be alone.

It's times like these that if I am ever alone - I need You more than ever.

I'm not sure if it's all that's happened this year. I'm not sure if it's looking through old photos of my past. Or looking through current photos of my friends' lives. Memories are the death of me. To me, everyone else seems so happy. Marriages - that are working out. Babies. Families together. Doing things, getting things done. Going places.

Me. I'm just stuck here. In this world of.....this world of....having everything - a job, healthy family, a place to live, great dog, a few close friends - and yet I feel as though my life is completely empty. My heart is empty of joy. Empty of everything, it seems. Except feelings of failure, sadness, regret, and hopelessness.

Why can't I be truly happy for the happiness of others. Sure, I am happy for them. But in my heart, I am envious. I wish I could feel that same happiness as they all appear to have.

People know - they've "heard" about my recent life-changes and I am still embarrassed about it all. Look, I can't even type the word.  Just my "life changes".  It really bothers me that no one - not ONE person - has asked ME about it - about anything. (ok, maybe like two of my friends.) It's as if no one cares about all that I am going through. Maybe they're nervous, or scared they might say the wrong thing. Maybe they don't know how to bring it up. I guess I get that. But it still makes it feel as though no one really cares. Maybe I've just done a good job at hiding the fact that all this IS a big deal. Everything that has happened DOES hurt, and DOES make me upset. Maybe I am good at covering it all up - making it look easy. Again, guess I brought this all on myself.

I'm just so embarrassed about it - about what my life has become. What I've turned it into. I want to run away. Get away from it all. Start a new life where no one knows who I am, or my past, and start all over again. Fresh. New. That's impossible though.

I guess maybe it's my fault. Maybe I should have asked for more help along the way.

With all this that has happened to my life - what I've done to myself - it has taken a toll on me. Sure, I brought it all on myself. I did this. But I never thought it would have caused me to want this -to just go away. Just run.

I want to cancel plans. To turn people down who I have made plans with. I'd rather be alone than suck someone else into my pit of childishness and blackness. No one deserves to be brought into my living sadness.

Sometimes all I can think about is how appealing my dreams are when I sleep...and how I would love to just sleep forever. To get away from real life. Forever.

I feel like I am a miserable failure. Sure, people tell me all the time I'm not - that I've accomplished so much. But if I don't think that or believe it - it really doesn't matter.  I've failed at one of the most important aspects of life - happiness.

Sometimes I'm not even sure if it's lack of happiness in my life. Or rather, the completeness of feeling nothing. Or the fullness of lacking joy. Or entirely being consumed by feeling unworthy.

I feel that I am always on this path of trying to find happiness. And at the moment I think I've reached it, some dark dark fuse lights up within me. And it drags me back to the depths of sadness.

Why is it that everyone else in the world seems to be happy?

Maybe it's true. Maybe we're not brought here on this earth to be happy - but instead to be Holy. Maybe all along, my true happiness is IN holiness. What a concept, right? Sounds so simple.

I need to turn to Him.

And so I am.

God, this is where I need You. Now. Here. I need help. I need Your guidance and support. Give me the strength to get on with my life. Give me the strength to be happy - with my life and with myself.  I'm not looking for just being content. Help me to find the gift of always searching for more - for being happy with the present, but always wanting to gain more - in YOUR name. Give me the strength to fight this depression, the devil, who seems to be so heavy on my heart.

Before I give in and it's too late.

And then I can just dream...

See, doesn't that sound so appealing....just dream.

Monday, January 9, 2012

"January 8th": God really is The Man.

This is powerful: God can do what He says He can do precisely because He is who He says He is.

Ok, so I know we are not God. We cannot do all that God can do. But I do believe that we can do what we set our minds and hearts to. And asking for God's help and guidance along the way - we can get it done. Now, on to the main point of this take...

God is GOD.
The beginning.
The end.
He's a no BS kinda guy.
He is who He says He is.

We need to accept that and take it all in! Recognize it! Rejoice in it! We owe it to Him!

Lord, I pray that You guide me in Your ways. Help me to see your unfailing love. You are all. And you know the path of my life. Help me to have full trust in who You are.

"January 7th": Uh Oh...

Well, I knew it was bound to happen more than once. You know what I read something and you know it's just calling out to you. And sometimes it's in such a great way...and others it forces you to recognize your shamefulness. Yep...tonight it's shame...

Like Eve, we want to feel smart, but nothing is more ignorant than choosing man's intelligence over God's.

Well, what's funny about this is that lately I have been on this huge kick about, well honestly, stupid people. My ignorant mind simply can't handle stupid people. And even just writing this, I see the fault and the sin in my way of thinking.

(Wow, these devotions are making me feel awful about myself...but that's why I think this is so great. NOW I see. NOW I can start making those changes.)

So, I read this the first time through and was like, "Duh, yes. We all want to feel smart. Good job messed it up for all of us, but at least you were trying to feel smart. Free will. Go for it." And so what, right? I thrive on being educated, and learning new stuff, and being like a sponge just soaking it all in...and then I realized that is not at all what this passage is saying.


I don't think it's talking about worldly knowledge in the sense of simply just "knowing stuff." It's talking about knowing what is right in the eyes and heart of God and listening to THAT. Doing THAT what is right. Being educated on God and His ways and what we should be doing to live a life like Him. It's simply listening to your inner voice; your spirit - THE spirit that lives inside us all. The Holy Spirit lives within us; if only we looked deep inside ourselves more often and listened to it.

I always thought Eve was such an amazing character in the Bible. I have such a mixed image of her; I think she is beautiful, young. Graceful and innocent. All the "good". And then a part of me gets annoyed with her. She was so naive. Like come on Eve! Why didn't you just trust God? Why didn't you just believe? Why didn't you just listen to your voice? Really? You couldn't have just said,"No," to taking the apple?!

And there it is again. THAT's the main message. We are all like Eve in that sense - we make mistakes. We are faced every single day with hard choices and easy ones. And yet we still mess up. But just think if each time we were faced with a choice - a decision - we stopped for just a little bit longer and took a second to listen to our spirit, the voice inside.

Imagine the difference our world would be if Eve had just stopped and listened to the spirit within.

We, now, have the power to learn from her mistakes.

We can't just listen to "the man" - whatever or whomever that may be. To some it may be sports radio, to some it may be a politician, a celebrity. We can't choose to have false idols who we worship - that is man's intelligence.

We must listen to man upstairs. We should trust in Him more. We should listen to Him more. We should ask more of Him - He wants to help us. He wants us to turn to Him in times of praise and in need. God is all-knowing, so why wouldn't we turn to him; our spirit within ourselves - when looking for answers?

You know...lately in my life and all the drama that's been surrounding me, I got one piece of advice from a few different people. In fact, one of them said to me, "Steph, I cannot offer any advice except for this: As long as you are listening to your heart, and you know what your heart is telling you, then just listen to it. Go with what your heart is saying." And honestly, that was the best piece of advice. I'm listening to my heart. From here on out...God's intelligence. Duh. He knows best.

Imagine the difference our world would be if Eve had just stopped and listened to the spirit within.

Imagine the difference our world would be if Eve had just stopped and listened to the spirit within.

Imagine the difference our world would be if Eve had just stopped and listened to the spirit within.

"January 6th": Reminders

Ah....I always love to be reminded of things...NOT. My stubborn pride keeps me from admitting I'm wrong...even if I truly forgot something. Yes, I know - it's something I need to work on. A lot. What a sin it is to hold on to stubbornness and pride.

(Lord, I pray that you help me to overcome my need to always be right. Help me to open my heart and my eyes to my faults so that I can work on correcting my ways.)

"We are wise to remind one another never to forget who we are and never to forget who we're not."

Sheesh. Beth Moore makes everything sound so easy. :)

Well, I'm going to take this message and go ahead and just do it. I'd love for anyone out there to do the same. As it's up to us to remind one another!

Who we ARE:
we are God's children
we are sinners
we are sinners who have been given another chance
we are perfect in His eyes
we are loved
we are indebted
we are life
we are usually wrong more often than we are right
we are the past, present, and future
we are forgiven
we are given choice

Who we are NOT:
we are not God
we are not perfect
we are not humbled
we are not forced
we are not the way
we are not the answer
we are not defeated

(What's interesting is that it was so easy for me to list all that we ARE, and I had a harder time coming up with things we are NOT. Just sayin'...) God is good.

dang....that didn't go so well...

January 9th - so I'm behind. No excuses Steph...I need to do much better with this. However, in my defense I had an awesome weekend and honestly spent so much time with a great person that my mind was on other enjoying my happiness...Still, though, no excuses...I should have taken the time to do this....Since I have a few days to catch up on, I will probably keep these somewhat short...

January 5th states: "Nothing on Earth compares to the strength God is willing to interject into the lives caught in the act of believing."

I feel like this is simple: Believe - truly believe - and see the good God will do in your life. I have seen the good He does in my life when I fully immersed in my time with the Lord. I have witnessed a positive change in my attitude, actions, thoughts, behaviors, etc. when I am fully conscious of prayer and God. So, why then do I always put this second? Why is it so hard for me to put this - prayer, devotion, church - to put it first on my to-do list...instead of, "if I get to it"?

I do think, however, that it takes a lot for people to recognize the good God has given us in our lives. So often do we shout out in prayer when we are in need, or angry. But God also gives us minute signs and "interjections" when we are not even looking. THAT's what we need to realize...

..."Please help me overcome my own unbelief, Lord, so I can start taking You at Your word. ...I pray that the eyes of my heart may be enlightened in order that I may know the hope to which you have called me..."

I pray for you all that you also strive each day to simply believe

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Still on schedule - in a HUGE way - January 4, 2012

Today was a rough began as one of those mornings where everything just seemed to not go your way...and to top it off, once I got to work I realized I stepped in dog poop. Yay. The day continued to get worse and worse with feelings of sadness and worry with the major life changes that I soon will face. Throughout the day, however, I received many "pick-me-ups" from co-workers and friends. While I felt reassurance and some hope, the fears and sadness kept haunting me.

And then I read my devotional for the day.

My God is huge and my God is able. If I don't get what I ask Him for, I know I'll get something bigger.

Steph. Snap out of it. Trust in Him. So you had a bad day. We all do. Get over it.

I know that is much easier said than done and I know that what I realized by reading today's message has really nothing to do with what the message means...but...even just seeing, reading, hearing those words in my mind, a sense of calmness came over me.

I know God is huge. I know God is able of anything and everything. However, once again, I need to trust Him. I may not get what I ask for, but God knows my plan. And His plan is much better than I can even imagine; it's so much bigger than me.

....I'm really finding the good in doing these devotions. After a rough day, a sad day, reading this truly eases my mind. I'm considering doing them in the morning so I can hope / try to carry the message with me throughout the day. I love this sense of peace I have been gaining.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

On schedule - January 3 - Exactly what I needed tonight!

Can't say much on tonight's message other than WOW. I love times like these when I know God is hearing me and answering my prayers.

Patience to wait does not come from suffering long for what we lack but from sitting long in what we have.


I was just telling a good friend last night how badly I need to learn patience. I am the most impatient person - ever!

My life has been on a rocky road lately - and without boring you all with those details - you just need to know the following: I've been faced with a hard choice to make. Two roads. One road will be very hard, but will lead to sharing with someone in my faith, happiness and love. The other road, well, that will lead me nowhere, but keep my stable life. It will be right where I am currently; not happy, not fulfilled, and not sharing the joy of Christ with anyone close to me, but "ok". So, I've decided to take the harder road - that will reap more benefit in the long run. But I'll tell you what - it took me a long time to decide which road to take.

For a long time I thought I was being patient in my suffering for what I lacked - in my unhappy home life, I lacked love and joy and God. I thought if I just waited it out and see what would just fall into place. It's "good enough" so just let it be. I was being patient in my suffering for what I did not have.

But wow. WOW. I totally see this, my situation, in a different light now. A light that is shining down on me with warmth and love and arms wide open welcoming me. I've been patiently waiting, sitting long in what I DO have. What I DO have is a mediocre life. There is no abuse, no lies, a new house, a great job. But I've realized all that I am missing...after a year of unhappiness, I've realized that it's all been worth it to sit here patiently in what I DO have, what I AM living...if the end result is what I think is going to come to fruition. Waiting patiently (at the time, I was not patient, but I see now that I had to let it run its own course), unhappily, sad, scared,'s all worth it. Because I trust that in the end God will lead me down the correct path. And I know He is already working His magic because He has brought someone into my life who shares the same desires in growing with Christ as I do. This is something that I have never had before in my life - and something that I have realized over the last few years - that I must have, that I need in my life.

Thank you God. Thank you for letting me open this book tonight and read this. Thank you for speaking to my heart tonight. Thank you for being YOU and working in mysterious ways in my life. :)

I'm doing exactly what I said I was not going to do and type out some of the prayer for today's devotion. It's just that these words spoke to me and I could not say it better if I tried.

The Lord will do great things for me, and I will be filled with joy. I will sow in tears, then I will reap with songs of joy...

...Please help me be willing to sow the seed of Your Word and to water it with my tears, believing You in the midst of my pain. If I do, You will be faithful to fill me with joy again. You will faithfully bring a harvest forth from my life. My suffering will not be in vain.

...You will restore me and make me strong, firm, and steadfast after I have suffered a little while.

I'm so ready to shed tears, to weep, to hurt.

Because I trust that in end, God will restore me and make me strong, firm, and steadfast.

I pray that anyone reading this who is going through a rough time right now...put all your trust in Him. Lay it on Him. He wants us to. He wants to be there for us and do good things in our lives. I know it's hard to trust someone whom we cannot physically see, or talk to, or touch...believe me, I know that! It takes time...I'm not even completely there yet...I'm still striving for put everything in God's hands instead of trying to figure it out on my own...but know this: Rough times comes. We will all hurt. Cry. Be mad. Get angry. Cry some more. Ask, "why", or "why me", or "why now"?

...But in the end...God makes it work. It will all work out. In time. Just trust Him. Be patient in what you have.

January 2; Conquerors

Well, I'm not doing so well with my resolution seeing as though I'm already a day behind. However, I think I found my new favorite way to relax, pray, and think. I filled up my bathtub with sea salt and bubble bath. I lit a candle, had a nice glass of red wine, and just relaxed. was my own little spa...

Best of all, I was alone in a relaxing setting and I began reading my devotions for the last two days. I had no other distractions around me so I was really able to think and pray about what was given to me today.

He who is unconvinced of God's forgiving love is unconvinced that He is more than a conqueror. here's my take on this...if you don't believe all of God's glory; all that He is, you don't fully understand or "get" God and who He is. Now, after my initial thoughts, I knew there had to be more to this. So, being the English major that I am and loving the etymology of words, I looked up the word conqueror.

My computer dictionary states the following definitions of the word:
successfully overcome (a problem or weakness) climb (a mountain) successfully gain the love, admiration, or respect of (a person or group of people)
It's this last definition, the one that I usually don't consider the word to mean, that makes the most sense. When I think of a person who conquers something - I think of them defeating something. When I think of something that can be conquered - I think of something that can be defeated. I never considered the last definition!
Wow, how much more the above phrase hits me now! He who is unconvinced of God's forgiving love is unconvinced that He is more than a conqueror.
We cannot just think of God as sending his one and only son to us in order to gain love, admiration, and respect. Of course that was part of it - duh. But it is so much more. SO much more. What God does and who God something unconceivable. We as mere humans cannot understand Him. We can try - and that's what He wants us to do. We can believe - and that's what He wants us to do. But we will never be able to fully understand or get the multitude of who God is. But we do need to convince ourselves that He is All.
We must know, believe, and trust God's forgiveness. For all that we do. We are so far from being perfect; we sin even we don't think we are sinning. If we do not believe that God is all forgiving, we will never believe that He is more. If we do not convince ourselves that God is everything; we will never even begin to win that battle.
Tonight, I pray that I can learn to accept this. It's hard to imagine something - someone - so omnipotent, so omniscient, who is all-forgiving...and yet He is even more than that. While it's hard to imagine that, I need to know that it does exist.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

January 1st - A New Year, a new journey

I've decided to really focus on my faith this year and so I'm using a book by Beth Moore to help me along the way. I received this book as a gift a few years ago when I lived in Michigan and I turn to it every now and then. My goal is that this year I will use it every day and allow it to become not just something on my "to-do" list, but rather a necessity in my life. The book is called, Praying God's Word Day by Day; a Year of Devotional Prayer. Each day has a thoughtful little quote or phrase at the top of the page, followed by a prayer for that day. I've decided to type out whatever is written at the top of the page, and reflect on it. The prayers, while they are great, are sometimes long - and I feel like reflecting on what the prayer is about will be more meaningful.

Please pray that this new endeavor is successful for me!

Today's "top of the page" reads: "The giant step in the walk of faith is the one we take when we decide God no longer is a part of our lives. He is our life."

Goodness this sounds so easy. "Just make God your life." It's one of the hardest concepts and ideas that I have had to realize and learn on my journey with Christ. I pray each day that I can find the will to do this. I mean, let's face it, real life takes over our lives! Jobs, family, friends, other obligations we make for ourselves. But what about the REAL obligation we have in our lives? The REAL obligation we have to God? Why is it that we don't make God our entire life? Why is it so hard? I feel that it's because if it were easy to make God our life - well, then what would be the point? Easy things are just that...easy! They don't take effort, and will power. Easy things in life are simple; not complex. They are sometimes shallow and boring.

God is everything BUT those things: He isn't easy to understand. He wants us to WANT to know and understand Him. Knowing God takes effort! Knowing God takes time and will. God is NOT simple - he is totally complex! He is ALL; everything. God is the last one to be considered shallow! And above all, God isn't boring!

So, looking back....this first year passage is perfect. What a way to start this new year; by taking that giant step. I declare today, January 1, 2012 MY day. MY day when I have decided to do all that I can to make God my life - not just a part of it - but all of it.

I pray that each of you reading this has a great new year full of love, joy, peace, and above all - full of His presence.