He Will Lead You

“He Will Lead You”

 

Follow your hopes and dreams

As you walk beside your Lord

Don’t discount your abilities

In Him, you’re so much more

 

He knows your wants and wishes

He knows His plans for you

He will work it all together

Just know his promises are true

 

The hopelessness and despair

They are going to flee

Because our God is greater

Greater than you and me

 

Your heart may have a wish list

And the logic may not quite fit

But the will of God is stronger

You don’t control the outcome

He is in charge of it

 

The Lord will never leave you

He will never walk away

He’ll be right by your side

As this life comes your way

 

Put your faith in Him

Trust Him to hold you close

For His love for you is stronger

Than you will ever know

 

Give the Lord your gratitude

Sing his glorious praise

He will lead you through this

In the most amazing ways

 

He has it all handled

He has a detailed plan

He is the loving God

His plans are all for good

Forever He will stand

Be Still….

This morning was a rough one. Fresh off a virtually sleepless night, my mind was working overtime. I was angry and I wanted to make sure that I came up with an appropriate retaliatory plan before I let go of my anger and tossed the plan. Maybe not “toss it”, per se, but put it on a shelf until my next round of anger at this situation. Any time an innocent child is impacted by selfish actions, while not surprising to me, it totally infuriates me. I fell asleep (briefly) with that anger.

Full disclosure: lack of sleep does so many things to me. If I’m upset, it’ll make me overthink and rethink and plot. If I’m happy, it’ll make me slap happy. If I miss enough sleep, my body starts freaking out in the form of migraines and roller coaster blood sugar readings. #goodtimes

So I was not only mentally exhausted, I was angry and exhausted….. Cue the turmoil. I launched into my daily activities and was still mumbling under my breath. Then I start overthinking everything because, well, why not?! I asked for my friends to send me their favorite verses, memes, and quotes to help me recenter my thoughts. Why was I still angry? I honestly had no clue.

In the midst of the memes and quotes, a simple – yet powerful – statement was posted: “Be still and know that I am God.” It hit me. Gut punched me, actually. I couldn’t believe that I had forgotten to start my day with the Lord because I was still so upset. I allowed my emotions to derail my walk because I wanted to fix a situation that I cannot possibly fix. It’s truly out of my hands.

In that moment, I prayed for forgiveness for attempting to handle the issue myself and offered a prayer of gratitude for all of my blessings. Isn’t it amazing how one little misstep – I mean, it seems minor enough, right? – can impact your day so deeply?

Once I prayed and recentered myself on what was important, the anger dissipated and the rest of the day improved. Note to self: don’t skip prayer time. Not only does He walk beside you, He takes away the hurts and pains that YOU cannot fix. His restoration was immediate and complete this afternoon. #grateful

 

 

 

An Epiphany

Soooo…. Funny story…. (Not haha-funny; timing funny). And an epiphany.

I’m divorced. Duh. Single mom of two amazing offspring, who may sometimes push me over the edge, but I love them. Really. Truly. I do. Like, beyond all reason, I love my kids. Even when they are plotting my death. Anywhoooo….

My focus has always been the kids. There is no secret there. It’s been a given. My son has told me he wants me to date and my daughter has indirectly mentioned it as well. That being said, I sort of need to like the dude as well, and – well – I’m a bad chooser. Baaaaad chooser.

At any rate, I have always blamed myself for lack of a significant other. It’s my fault I’m single. It’s my fault I choose poorly. It’s my fault, it’s my fault, it’s my fault. Blah-blah-blah. Hashtag: blameStef. Whatever.

So over the past week or so, the Lord has been working through a lot of healing that needed to happen in my sleep. As I told a friend, I wake up in the morning with something to ponder rather than something to beat myself up about. I found this meme as I was scrolling across the interwebzzzz:

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So, also as I asked a friend, what IF:

  • I am not single because I am a horrible person?
  • I am single because someone needs me to be single?
  • I am single because God is working within us both to make us BOTH worthy of a relationship?

These questions are vastly different from the timid answers to the other questions I have harbored in my mind over the past several years. I asked, “What did I do to remain single?”, “What man would ever want me?”. and “Why does it even matter?” Never once did I consider that maybe God was waiting for me and my future significant other to be ready at the same time. That kind of floors me, actually.

So many changes have occurred over the past couple of years, especially over the past year. Changes that have shaped me and changed me. What an incredible journey, and it isn’t over yet.

Say a Little Prayer for Me….

This year has been tough. There have been so many significant health issues to work through along with the other challenges of daily life. I am not a person who likes to sit idly, but I’ve had no choice because of the pains, aches, and other illnesses that have been part of my life this year. The idleness allows me to spend more time in my own head. Translation: not good.

I thought an emergency surgery in February would have been the end of my medical troubles for the year. Ya know: get it out of the way early in the year and healthfully sail through the rest of ’17 like a boss. After all, that surgery was significant, it was painful, and it was expensive in so many ways. It not only cost a lot of money, it also cost me my confidence, my independence for some time, and, honestly, nearly my faith. Thankfully, though, I had the prayerful backing of my amazing church and friends, so my faith remained. Shaken, not stirred. But intact. At least I remembered whose I was.

After the surgery, I got back on track. I handled my healing – physical and spiritual – the way I handle everything: jump all in and push harder. Some may call it impatient. However, I say I’m simply embracing my continuous improvement mindset in a rather efficient manner…… At breakneck pace, actually, since I always have a to-do list a mile long and only a small window in which to accomplish those tasks. In hindsight, too quickly.

Confession: I am not one to ask for help often. I try to help others as I can, but “I don’t need no stinkin’ help”, thank you very much. I’ve always been independent, but being a single mom for so many years has made me even more self-sufficient. And, perhaps, even prideful at times. The I-can-do-it-myself mentality is, at times, isolating and lonely. Yet, my sense of accomplishment has always been greater when I could do something on my own. Surgery and healing altered that mindset (for a while).

During the healing process, I learned several things. I don’t believe I could have learned these things in any other way than by having my independence revoked, if only temporarily:

  • I learned that other people like to help just as much as I enjoy helping others. Weird, right? I took people up on their offers to help and I was shocked to find that I was grateful for rather than embarrassed of the help.
  • I learned that it’s not always easy to hand our troubles over to God in our prayers, but it’s vitally important. Only when I surrendered my fears was I able to rest. 
  • I learned that sometimes the pain isn’t the worst part of healing. Sometimes it’s the numbness, other times it’s feeling alone. At times, the tears roll down your cheeks and you don’t know why. You can’t put your reasons into words. When I reached out to friends to pray for me, the tears stopped and I felt surrounded by love.

Despite the fact that the surgical wounds have {finally} healed, the random illnesses have continued, some easy fixes and others not-so-much. In my mind, I know that I am blessed because I have friends and family who care for me, a heavenly Father who loves me, and a church to steady my faith when it’s shaky. Still, I find myself asking “why me?“, and then immediately feeling guilty for asking the question.

This week was a new illness. Not life-threatening, #thankyouJesus, but still debilitating, mysterious, and frustrating. Partial diagnoses are becoming my “thing”. I’m finally starting to feel better, but am still struggling with the “why” part of this latest adventure.

I’m trying to find solace in the truth of God’s word, but sometimes the comfort doesn’t come, which creates a new set of questions. What am I doing wrong? Why can’t I understand? Is He trying to tell me something that I am not hearing? I have been angry, frustrated, lonely, and depressed this week. Well, this year, actually. I know deep down that these feelings are the work of the enemy.

Why, then, is it still so hard to remember the lessons I learned earlier this year? 

I’m not dealing with these issues because God doesn’t love me. Quite the opposite, actually. I know that He does love me and is protecting me. I know that I need to lean into Him during these trials and remember to ask Him for help. I know that I need to focus constantly on my faith through prayer and surrender my anger, frustration, depression, and loneliness at the cross.

So, here I am, asking for help: Please pray for me. That I may find peace and comfort, that I can let go of all of my feelings that serve no good purpose, and for protection from all things that mean me harm.

 

 

 

Growth and Blooms

I think the willingness to step out of our comfort zones impacts us in so many ways, but all of them result in growth if we are honest with ourselves. We can’t grow by being stagnant in our faith, our life, our love, our career. We have to be willing to take the extra steps in order to succeed.  But – man, oh man – taking that first step is so difficult that we are often intimidated to even try.

When we plant seeds, we water them, tend to them, and shelter them. Finally, a sprout peeks through the soil if we are able to keep nurturing the seeds. Once the flower has secure roots, it flourishes with continuous care. As the flower grows stronger, it needs less and less care – it just continues to grow (we even call it “hearty”). The flower blooms and survives the rain, the winds, the storms. In fact, the storms help water the flower. One day, however, the plant outgrows it’s initial flower pot and must be moved to either the ground or placed in a larger pot. Otherwise, the plant ceases to grow. For a period of time after repotting a plant, the plant may even require more care as it secures its roots in its new home. Soon, though, the plant resumes its growth and blooms once again.

The plant grows because it has room to grow. Growth stops when it reaches the limit of its container. Repotting the flower causes a temporary disruption, but then the soil settles, the plant adjusts, and growth begins again.

As I look back on where I began, I realize that there have been many times where I have bloomed and been settled, but also many times where my life has been temporarily disrupted as I’ve been challenged and encouraged. Sometimes the disruptions are shorter than others, but they are ALWAYS temporary. There’s always something just around the corner. Some growth I need to experience. Some nugget of information that I need to learn, often about myself.

Though the disruptions can be painful and terrifying, I am never alone. I have my blessings (my family and friends), caffeine, and Jesus. The coffee may come and go, but Jesus is forever. When I reflect on these times, I can often see the hand of God at work in the orchestration of events, in things that happened that were more than a “coincidence”. Each even was a reminder was guiding me on my way to where I needed to be replanted in order to grow and bloom.

Never in my youth did I expect to be a single mom of two amazing kids, yet here I am. I’m a strong, independent woman and am (hopefully) instilling good things in my children so that they can be amazing members of society and fulfill their goals. I am the woman I am today because I have been allowed to flourish after multiple upheavals. However, there are no longer many traces of the woman I was years ago.

While certainly not all of my “growth opportunities” were pleasant or enjoyable (some were downright tough to endure, honestly), they all worked together to mold me into the person I am today, which is not the person I will be in the future.

Growth is continuous if we allow ourselves to be replanted into unfamiliar soil. God will always challenge our boundaries. He will nurture us, prune us, and replant us many times in our lives. We, in turn, will bloom repeatedly and growth will continue.