No Longer Looking Back

“Just go, and no longer look back;” is all I can hear in my soul. There is a feeling within I never had before. A desire to go… where? I do not know. I just want to go, with You. There is a freedom I feel, one I cannot contain. Lead me; I will go. I cannot just stay when there is so much to explore. I have no one holding me back, anymore. I just want to, go.

Time To Move

I have always felt like I was not meant to stay in one single place. I always felt like God would lead me to travel/explore. I feel that desire so much more, now. I am single. I am no longer married. I am no longer tied down. God has allowed it to be this way. I still yet to fully understand why and I still have my moments of doubt.

Last night was one of those moments. I finally started to clear out the closet and remove some of my husband’s things. I feel like it’s time to change things up around here. I need a change. The familiar is only hurting me. It’s time to let go of the past, though it still hurts!

Touching his clothes was the hardest thing. I wasn’t able to get rid of everything. I just can’t yet. I stood at the closet holding his clothes and I let out something that I was holding in for so long. It was this anger, hurt and deep sadness that I had finally let out. I cried and at the same time I asked, “Why aren’t you here with me?! Why?! Why did you have to leave me?!” I was demanding an answer. I needed to know why he was no longer with me anymore.

I stood there for a moment just crying and allowing God to take away what I was feeling at that moment. I opened my heart to Him and allowed Him that part of my heart.

It was the beginning to a new and deep kind of healing for me. 

A post on my facebook blog page:

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“I cried out “why?!” This time I was asking him.
After letting it out, I am feeling better. I feel peace. I know it’s time and I know this is necessary. 🌸
🌸Everyday is getting better and I am getting stronger.”

This journey of widowhood and singleness has been a lonely and painful one, but I am starting to trust that He is always here with me as I begin this journey of healing and restoration.

Today

I left service feeling so unsatisfied, not because the word wasn’t good or anything like that, it was because of my desire. For some reason I cannot see myself, “just there.” Maybe it’s the culture, the atmosphere, but for someone reason I don’t fit in. There is something within me I cannot explain, nor am I going to try to. I just know what I feel and what I am meant to do. 

I continue to ask God what it means and all I can hear is, “just go.” But where?! That is still unknown to me. I know when it’s time He will make all things clear. The last thing I want to do is be rebellious, again. 

On the way home from service I had this conversation with my dad. I told him how I felt and all he said was, “just be led by God and know you do not have to explain anything to anyone.” He is right.

Singleness

      …is a gift.

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It’s a gift that not very many people are able to see it as. I was one of them, but now I am beginning to get to the point where I am wanting to explore so many things, alone with God. My ultimate companion. Especially after what I have gone through recently.  This last relationship I was in and how it ended, only left me not wanting to be in another relationship until the right one comes along; in God’s timing.

This new season I am in, I get excited at the thought of just going without the need to worry about who will agree or not agree or the need to share it all on social media; to be able to disconnect from everything and simply enjoy where I am going and where I end up. 

That is what I need. 

This season of singleness is allowing me to see so many things that I wasn’t able to before. I have the freedom to get up and go whenever God says to. That alone is a blessing. I never saw that before until I went to see my best friend. I felt led to take a road trip to see her and her family. I hadn’t seen them in years. It was a getaway that I needed. 

God used her to show me something. She made me see how much of a blessing it was to be able to take road trips and just get up and go whenever I wanted. She said that she wished she was able to do the same, but can’t because she has a family.

She has what I have always desired; children. Yet, for some reason God has not allowed that in my life at the moment. As much as it hurts and there are times I become bitter at the site of others having what I so desire, I am finally understanding that it’s not His time yet. I am finally accepting it.

I want to fall in love with God on my own. I mean, I want to encounter Him like never before and be able to travel with the utmost assurance that He is there with me and that I am not alone.

I want to truly experience what it’s like to be single. I don’t want to depend on a man to make me feel whole or wait for someone in order to do what I am supposed to do or to get up and go somewhere. I want to experience that kind of freedom. I want that kind of independence, while fully depending on Him. 

It’s my time. 

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All A Blur

My emotions fade away like a gush of wind, here one second and gone the next. Days have been a blur and my mind has been in a slumber. I finally come to, all I am reminded of is, what I no longer have. Nothing is like it was… nothing feels familiar anymore. I have stepped into new territory and honestly it scares me. I am afraid. I am no longer sheltered the way I once was. I find myself doing things I never imagined…  I still ask why. I still often wonder what the good of all this will be. I am still waiting.

I Am Not The Same Person

I cannot say this enough, I am not who I once was. Whether I like it or not, my life has taken on a huge blow… and it has changed the course of things. A sure path I once believed was the one I would be on for the rest of my life, no longer exists.

A new path was placed before me.. and I began to walk. Along the way I have encountered things and have done things I never thought I would do.

Most of them good and some… the acts of the flesh, but none regretted. I am finding who I am, though I know a few don’t agree with it. God loves me anyway.

I can feel the prayers of those who think I am in the wrong and who are scared for me. I feel the hypocrisy… I hate it. 

“I feel like screaming such things. Yes, it’s only been five months since my husband died… what? Did you want to see me depressed and miserable, still?”

There is no time limit for grieving. People move on faster than others; I still have my days. To say that I don’t would be a lie.

He Knows

Now a days, God seems to be the only one who I can truly talk to.. the very reason I have not felt alone. He knows what I have done; I tell him as if He didn’t know. I am honest and I haven’t hid a thing from Him. I know for a fact that He will never throw what I tell Him back in my face… and I know He isn’t condemning me.

“I have given God so many reasons not to love me, but none of them have changed His mind.”

These past few days I have been carrying a lot inside. I finally let it out. People haven’t spoken to me since they found something out. I feel people judging me and I feel people are not in agreement with the changes I have been making in my life.

All I can say is, you’re not me and don’t know what I am going through. You don’t know my heart. Unless you’ve walked in my shoes, you have no idea what it’s like. I really am doing my best. I am just not going to be what you expect of me. I am going to be who I need to be.

I Am Scared

I am scared!! I am scared to embrace what is right in front of me because I continue to look back and all I see is his face. I know others are still holding on to my husband. I know it’s gonna take time, but I want to move on already.

When is the right time?

I compare the what was to what is now and there are many differences, but I don’t want to back away. The uncertainty of it draws me in. I have fallen in love with the changes and the differences. It’s changing me and helping me to accept things I never thought I would… I truly believe it is helping me be a better person.

To accept what others may reject, is what is in my heart. To be there for someone who someone might have rejected, is what is in my heart. That’s where I am at right now. Let me.

It’s been proving to be a blessing, to know that nothing is a coincidence. 

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The Ugly Side

“There are days I feel so good and happy and there are days like today when emotions and sadness come over me like a flood.
I walked out of Subway feeling so alone. I was missing him. Walking to my car tears began to fall down my cheeks. It was like I was watching myself from afar. I was seeing myself feel what I felt and I saw myself going through what I’m going through… I just sat in my car and just started crying. I couldn’t hold it in.
Guilt has come again, but in a different way. I have been reliving how things were and I’ve been feeling like maybe if I had been different with my husband he would still be here. If I took better care of him. Or if I didn’t push him so hard…
This was my day.
I wanted to leave work early and just hide away. I wanted to be alone and to push everything/everyone away.
I didn’t let depression win. I didn’t let isolation win.
I will have my best days and I will also have my worst days… eventually things will balance out and stronger I will be. 🌸
God is the God of comfort. This helps me through.”-Stephanie (January 9th)

The Ugly Side of Grieving

I have been walking into the deepest parts of grieving; that moment when all things are being completely stripped away; when all that I new is starting to become nothing more than a memory. I have been experiencing break downs, lash outs and moments of just me wanting to run away and go. Where? I don’t know… at the moment any place sounds better than here.

It was a Wednesday, I broke down at work while on my lunch. I had a moment where I felt like I was watching myself there in that moment. I was by myself.

I saw myself feeling how I felt and I felt what I was feeling… tears just fell down my cheeks. I couldn’t help it.. and at that very moment, I just felt so alone. 

I sat in my car and began to cry. I let everything out. I felt so weak that I didn’t want to go on with my day. It was that moment I wanted to revert, isolate myself and be alone. But I couldn’t.

I am going through these changes that no one else understands. I cannot be like everyone who is moving on like nothing has happened or like those who are ok because, “they know where he is.” I just can’t!

Of course, there life wasn’t affected like mine. He was my husband, the better part of me. I knew who I was with him, now I am not so sure. 

I am breaking cycles. I am breaking patterns. I am breaking routines. I have begun doing things that I never did before. I am re-finding myself and figuring out who I now am without my husband.

A Breakdown

In the last few days I have had multiple breakdowns. None like before. These have been from deep down; from the places that are still hurting. Confusion comes in; fear, doubt and the worst of all, the wondering of, “Why?!” 

I have been constantly tormented by that question. Why has this happened? I didn’t ask for it.

I have been completely honest with God. I have cried out to Him and I have yelled my frustration at Him. He continues to hear me.

This past Thursday I didn’t go to work.  I just couldn’t. I needed time alone to clear my head. I needed God.

A lot has been coming at me and temptations from every which way; my weakness and vulnerability have been used against me as though I am going to cave in… I am not.

I spent that early morning alone with God at the church. There I was able to just let everything out and cry without being heard. These past few times, all I have been wanting is to cry without someone asking me, “are you ok? or what’s wrong?” I just wanted to be able to without being asked. To know that it was ok to just cry.

Being in God’s presence, completely transparent helped to expose what was buried.

I yelled at God. I felt so much hurt and like as though He let me down. I told him, “Everything that I have ever asked from You have given me and You have always helped me in everything, but I didn’t ask to be a widow.” 

When those words were released from my mouth, I felt this “ahhh!!” moment. Like God was saying, “There, that’s it.” I have been so angry, but have pushed it aside trying to pretend that I am ok.

It’s just been so hard. I can’t move on the way everybody else is. I just can’t. I can’t avoid these steps of this grieving process. Like I said, no one else was affected the way I am.

This has been my reality…

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Random moments of sadness and breakdowns. I can’t avoid them… I am going through them though I don’t want to. I feel broken; waiting for God to put me back together. To pick up with pieces and turn me into something beautiful.

 

See the source imageThe meaning of the word everything: “the current situation; life in general.”

God causes (the current situation; of life in general) to work together for the good of those who’ve been called…

Reading the definition of the word “everything,” this verse made more sense to me. He takes my current situation and then uses it to benefit me in the long run. Though I cannot see it yet, He is working.

 

It’s Healing

“It’s  not a storm, it’s healing.”-Mimi

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I am no longer seeing this as a storm, but a way for healing; a way for restoration. 

 

You Know

You Know
Written by Stephanie Ann
October 21, 2018

You know the plans you have for me; plans to prosper me and not to harm me. Plans to give me hope and a future. I cried out to you. I heard you tell me You love me. I inclined my heart to You and showers of your love came over me. I know You love me; tears running down my face. Before I speak, You already know what aches my heart. As I draw closer, You are there drawing closer to me. You meet me here. Already knowing what I need, You swing Your arms wide open. I run into them. How I need you so much. I need You so much, for You know the plans You have for me; plans to prosper me and not to harm me. Plans to give me hope and a future. I believe You. I really believe you. You reminded me of this, for You knew what I carried in my heart. Every tear You see, not one goes unnoticed. You have a plan for every tear. You save them for the proper time. To spring forth something great; watered with the tears I’ve shed. The pain; the hurt, the soil for Your promises in my life. For You know the plans You have for me; plans to prosper and not to harm me. Plans to give me hope and a future.

-Jeremiah 29:11

From My Heart

Nothing makes me feel more at ease than to know that God is near me; the broken hearted. On days like today; where I can have a great day and all of a sudden feel as though the rug was pulled from under me.

I am hurting. 

Every single time I feel like I do right now, I am reminded of Jeremiah 29:11. It seems to be God’s anthem for my life and season I am in. It’s as though He is say, “Trust me, I have something planned for you. All this has a purpose. Be patient.” It never fails… I hear that promise over and over.

I have grown to learn that when God says something over and over, it’s for a reason. He repeats Himself until we finally get it.

Papa, I get it.

I know that in this very season of my life, God is having me wait. He isn’t letting me settle for what I think I need at the moment. He is teaching me to walk confidently in knowing that He has something better for me. I do believe Him.

He sees my heart and knows the very thing that has been causing tears to flow from my eyes; like right now. The thought that I will not be able to have again what I had with my husband still torments me.

God is a God who restores and returns back to us 100 fold what the enemy has stolen from us. We just need to be still and trust Him and His timing.

New Year

A part of me is happy about the new year, yet another part of me still wants to hold on. I am about to leave behind a year that I still had with my husband to begin a new one without him.

I don’t want to. (My heart screams!)

It’s as though I am standing before a grave not wanting to leave something that is no longer there; the life I knew. 

The life I knew is gone and before me is one that seems so foreign to me.

I am afraid; afraid of moving on in all aspects of my life.

 

 

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The Lord is close to the brokenhearted;
he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.-Psalm 34:18

Something Different

It’s almost been two months since my husband passed away and there are things I still find myself hiding from because of guilt and also fear. There are days when I am so happy, filled with joy and excitement for the new things I am doing, and there are days like today when I just feel so sad; that’s when these kinds of feelings rush in.

Guilt; you’re not my friend.

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I cancelled on a friend. I was scared. I felt guilty, like I was doing something wrong. I kept playing the scenario over and over in my head. The more I thought about it, the more I just wanted to hide away. I often wonder when I will be ready to be able to do those things without feeling guilty. I wonder how long it will take until I fully have the freedom to live without guilt because he isn’t here anymore.


 

I have been so impatient with myself and this whole grieving process. It’s so new to me. Who knew that someone who was always emotional is now having a hard time expressing her emotions and knowing that it’s ACTUALLY OK TO? 

It’s like I am trying to hide behind this fake persona at times. (But I know I’m not.) There really are days when I feel so happy. I guess in “hiding” how I really feel at times helps me from falling into that victim trap and keeps me from shutting everyone and everything out. I can’t help it at times.

There are things that I am excited for, for it’s bringing my life freedom. There are things that I still fear, for it makes me feel uncomfortable. There are things that I am ready for, and things I find myself shying away from because I am just not ready… I wonder when it will be.-Stephanie


The days are getting better. I am getting stronger.

I take a good look at my life. Though so many things have change, I still find myself holding on to the past; to my husband. I find that I am ready to move forward, yet there are certain things I am not yet ready for. Something so small, yet a big deal it is to me. God knows my heart and sees it all. He is my shield. 

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Jehovah Magen:

God is my shield; my protector


When I needed You, You showed Yourself. You revealed Yourself to me in a mighty way. You reminded me that a shield You are for me. In my heart You placed this word, a true revelation it was. I was in awe; for what You revealed to me is what I needed at that very time. You amaze me; it never fails. You show up in my life, the very thing I need. I have everything in You. This is true. 

Something Different

I did something a little different with my blog. I just wrote without having a plan of what to write. I just let out what I had so heavy on my heart lately. You know what, it actually felt good.

I feel like I have been breaking free from patters and routines. I have been learning that my relationship with God is more than being inside four walls. I have been breaking so many barriers off my life that it is leading me to fully and fully trust that God is always with me and not just waiting inside a church building. It’s been so refreshing.

My life has been taking on some amazing changes; I like to call it renovations. I am doing things not on “script,” but things I am feeling led to do. I have been praying. I have been seeking His wisdom and guidance.

My life is NOT THE SAME, ANYMORE. I am not the same person. 

To be continued…

…Breaking the cyle. 

On To The Water

I woke up this morning; thinking of this, thinking of that. I sat it all aside to find You here. Before I opened my eyes You were here; preparing our time together. So many things to do, but only one is worth it to me. Meeting You in our place, so much joy it brings my anxious heart. You see everything within me; I cast my cares on You. Everything that attempts to drown me. You’re the only One I desire. I cried out to You this morning and I gave You ever desire and all things I yearn for. I know that in Your hands they are safe. I know You review all things and put in order what is of You and remove what’s not. My heart I open to You. Lead me and Your will be done. You are mine and I am Yours. It’s because of you that I do not sink when storms come my way. 


Like A Waterlily

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They float above the water. They do not sink. God created them to float and manifest their beauty. So are we when we learn to trust God and step out of the boat. We will not sink, but we will radiate the beauty that so entangles us. His beauty within us will shine forth for all to see. We will not sink. We will not drown when the storms come our way. -Stephanie


Learning To Live Righteously

Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you the desires of your heart.-Matthew 6:33

It’s been almost two months since my husband went to be with God. Everyday since it all happened I have been struggling to walk, “humbly” with my God. I have been anxious about which path to take. I have been worried about what others would think of me about my decisions I am feeling Papa leading me to make and so on.

Living righteously? There have been times where I felt like I wasn’t. After reading about Abraham and how God led him and how he just believed, showed me that there is where I currently find myself.

The word says that Abraham just believed God and God counted him as righteous.

It shows me that being righteous in God’s eyes has nothing to do with what you do or don’t do, it’s about surrendering and choosing to believe God even when you do not see. It’s saying, “Lord I trust you even though I don’t understand. It’s pushing past what you feel to believe God and His ways.” 

That is me… 


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Trusting God

Seek first; Seek God first in everything you do. Seek out His will, choose to believe Him and everything that you desire; according to His will, will be given.

I was speaking to a friend two days ago about how I had to learn to fight. I was thrown into the front line and I had to defend myself against the attacks of the enemy. When I say defend myself, I mean I had to trust God completely for help to get through the death of my husband and even while he was in the hospital, dying.

I was attacked with anxiety, panic, depression and so many other things. In the midst of the hardest moments of my husband dying in the hospital, I had no choice but to learn how to fight back against the enemy.

I had no choice, because I wasn’t going to allow depression or anxiety take over my life. It’s been a spiritual fight ever since. I know it had to happen that way or else I would have never learned how to fight, the way I have learned to. I wouldn’t be experiencing this kind of growth if none of this happened. 

Everyday it’s about trusting God even when I can’t see and even when I don’t understand what He is doing out of all this.

It’s hard, but the outcome of trusting Him has been such a beautiful blessing in my life. I am not the same woman. I am stronger. I am wiser. I am more courageous than ever. I am learning to step out of the boat and onto the water, knowing that I will not sink. His love surrounds me and embraces me. I will never fall. 


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My Friday Night

Last night was a blessing for both my spiritual life and life in general. I stepped out of my comfort zone and visited a church for Worship Night.

Friday nights have been my “girls night.” I started joining my friend and her group of women from her Life Group. It’s been so refreshing to be surrounded by new people and hearing their stories. It’s been such a blessing for me and it’s been helping me get through all that I have been facing.

It’s allowed me to open up and share my experiences and what I have been going through.

Back to Worship Night; I wasn’t going to go because guilt had been forming in my mind. I was worrying about well, what would “they say or think about me coming here and worshipping with a different church…?” I was slowly backing down from the thought of going and enjoying God’s presence.

But towards the end of the day, I just felt to go. I am so glad I did. It wasn’t a coincidence that the songs they sang were ones that God used to comfort me during my husbands passing. It wasn’t a coincidence that God prepared something for me there.

I walked out blessed and feeling so much peace. A peace that I haven’t felt in such a long time. He spoke words of love into my heart all over again and He reminded me that I am not alone.

There was a time towards the end of the night that we all participated in communion. Before taking of the bread and juice, I received a beautiful vision of Jesus…

It was one I haven’t had before. It was a revelation that I needed in this time of my life. It was powerful and a tremendous blessing for my life and what I am being led to do.

I saw Jesus standing before me taking on Him the beatings; the criticism and all the judgement so I wouldn’t have to. It spoke to me in such a profound way and encouraged me not to worry about those things anymore, because He endured it all FOR ME. 

It was God’s way of saying; “Do not worry about what they will say about you. Do not worry about the criticism you will go through. Do not worry about the stones people may throw at you with their words…”

“Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but trusting the Lord means safety.”

-Proverbs 29:25

He was showing me that He is my defender. He is my protector. He is my SHIELD. 

I just left that place so blessed. So refreshed and so at peace. I left there with courage. I traded my fear for courage and that’s what I received.

 

I will step out of the boat and on to the water. I will not sink, because He is with me.

Like A Waterlily

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<3

On days like today, I miss you. When emotions rise I turn around and realize you are no longer there. Tears fall from my eyes and I am reminded of the pain I still have within. A lot has changed. A lot has been taken. A lot, I am still adjusting to. I miss you. How I wish to express to you all that I am going through; the excitements, the joys, the ups, the downs. Lonely it can feel, but I know I am not.

I missed you yesterday, I miss you today and I will miss you tomorrow.

Story Behind The Poem

Today was an emotional day, if I am being completely honest. I was feeling really alone, down about mistakes I have been making (on my first two days in my new job) and I had been missing my husband.

Yesterday, I had such a good time at my new job, that on my lunch break, as soon as I got into my car, my first thought was; “I am going to text babe and tell him how my day is going.” I immediately remembered how I can no longer do that. It made me so sad.

For the past eight years, he had been the one I would go to, telling him about the kind of day I had. On days like today, I was reminded of what he would be telling me. I was sitting in my car at lunch and tears just began to fall down my face. God reminded me of what He would place in my husband’s heart to tell me.

Things like:

“You are an amazing woman. You’re smart and you will figure things out. I know things will get better. You can do this. I am so proud of you!”  

I couldn’t help but cry. I needed to let what I was feeling out. I went back from lunch feeling so better and stronger. I needed that encouragement from God at that moment.

A Lot To Get Used To

There is still a lot that I am learning to do on my own. There are a lot of things I am now doing on my own, and sometimes it scares me, but God has shown me that I have been more than capable to handle everything I am now going through.

I have been blessed with a job that I am really enjoying. He put everything into place for me. His promises for me are manifesting, without me having to do anything, but absolutely trust Him and continue to seek Him. I am truly grateful for all He is doing and has been doing for me and around me.

I am now learning to run to God, the way I used to run to my husband. I am learning to express to Him how my day has been, what I am feeling and allowing Him to speak words of encouragement into me, the way my husband would. He is my everything and I need to begin really opening myself up to Him. After all, He is ALWAYS here with me.

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I Am Growing

As a seed is planted and the plant begins to break ground spring forth, so am I at the moment. God’s promises of who I am meant to be are beginning to spring forth, breaking ground; breaking through old ways, habits, old characteristics, etc.

Because it has to do with the flesh, it hurts. God is springing forth new things; courage, strength, boldness, confidence, new identity, new capabilities… a brand new me. It’s the season of growth.

Embracing Widowhood

I have been learning to embrace widowhood and allow God to use me in this area. I have been learning how to cope with grief and what’s been happening. I have been clinging to God like never before, and I have been seeing Him in my life, like never before. I have been encountering God in a brand new way, in ways that proves He is so real. (I have already known that.) It’s been a revelation in a whole new way.

After my husbands death, God manifested Himself. He become more real than ever.

Love Notes

What I have been truly missing are the little love notes my husband used to randomly place around the house. It was so special to me when I would find a note that had been sitting in that spot for days until I finally found it. Things like that meant so much to me. It was such a loving gesture from my husband to remind me of how much he loved me and how he felt about me.

Lately, God has been doing the same thing, but in a different way. He has been randomly sending me “Love Notes,” when I need them most. He has been using people to send me scriptures, cards and notes. He has been reminding me of how much He loves me, how He is always here with me and for me. He has also reminded me that things will get better and how He is watching over me.

This was the recent “love note,” He sent me through someone.

“Fear not; you will no longer live in shame.
Don’t be afraid; there is no more disgrace for you.
You will no longer remember the shame of your youth
and the sorrows of widowhood.

For your Creator will be your husband;
the Lord of Heaven’s Armies is his name!
He is your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel,
the God of all the earth.

– Isaiah 54:4-5

Like I didn’t have to work for my husband’s love and affection, I don’t have to work for God’s perfect love and affection. It has taken me a really long time to accept that, but recently it’s been a lot easier. I guess it’s because my heart first had to be broken and made new, in order to receive all that He is doing in my life right now.

Whatever He is doing in my life, I have accepted it. I have learned to back down and just surrender. With all this, I lost my fight; fighting for my own ways, fighting for what I think is right for my life. Only God knows what I need and the best ways for me to go. I’ve surrendered.

 

Self-Love

self-love
noun: self-love
regard for one’s own well-being and happiness

 

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Self-love is important to overcoming grief.

Be patient with yourself.

Love yourself. -Stephanie

 

I wrote that today.

It was a reminder that it’s going to take some time. It’s going to take me being patient with myself and knowing that it’s ok for me to feel what I feel, when I feel it in order to fully heal. It’s knowing that I don’t have to stay in what I feel and that I have a way out of it. My way out is, God.  

It’s a reminder that I need to love myself how I am, the brokenness and all. Because that’s how He loves me.  It’s a reminder that I am human and I don’t have it all together.

God never expects any of us to have it all together, that’s why there is a need for Him. 

COME TO ME AS YOU ARE. -GOD

 

No Other Choice

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I have always liked this quote, but now it has a more profound meaning to my life. Life has thrown me out of my comfort zone with NO choice, but to fight through the storms of: anxiety, depression, sadness, loneliness, fear, isolation and so much more.

When I say fight, I don’t mean on my own. I mean, not allowing myself to stay stuck in those places. I mean dealing with them without my husband around anymore. Without him comforting me like he used to. I had to learn to do it alone, with God.

Going backwards and falling into those traps was NOT an option for me, so strong is what I had to be an honestly, how I am handling things… I am manifesting a strength I never knew I had. I am doing things I never though I could or would ever do.

That takes special strength; that comes from God. Only God.

 

Song of The Season

Give Me Faith by Elevation Worship

 

 

Proverbs 31:25

She is clothed with strength and dignity,
and she laughs without fear of the future.

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On the Rock I stand. For God has placed me there and there is where I want to stay. A wise decision it is; the storm has hit, but I have not fallen. The storm raged, yet I’ve stood my ground. He upheld me with His righteous right hand, still I stand.

As days pass, the pain begins to fade and transform into joy. This hit was hard, I stumbled. Yet I did not fall. Like a child learning how to walk, so am I; learning to live this life alone, with Him.

Fear, a close companion in this storm, but deep inside is breaking free.

On the Rock I stand. For God has placed me there and there is where I want to stay. A wise decision it is; the storm has hit, but I have not fallen. The storm raged, yet I’ve stood my ground. He upheld me with His righteous right hand, still I stand.

Not The World’s Strength

It’s been a week and a day since my husband’s passing. Each day is getting better, but I have my days. I have been grieving in my own way. Keeping myself and my mind busy has been helping me a lot. Many people told me that I would experience “this” and “that”, but I told God I didn’t want to go through them. I am not going to experience depression. I am not going to deal with anymore anxiety attacks. I’m just not, because I am determining myself to trust God and cast all my cares. God is FAITHFUL.

Yesterday was a rough day. All week I have been up and down with no time to sit and just “grieve”, and after yesterday I think it’s a good thing. I stayed in bed until after 3pm. I woke up really missing my husband, I felt down and I didn’t feel like doing a thing. I had allowed those emotions get the best of me.

I had no appetite, but I made sure I had something to eat. I just felt weak…

God is good and I can’t say that enough. During this storm that began almost two months ago, He has been teaching me about what real strength is. He has sent so many people to tell me how strong I am or have been, on days where I feel the complete opposite, leaving me to think; how??? 

When we think of strength we think of someone who has it all together and isn’t fazed by what they face or that one person who is physically strong, but in God’s eyes it’s not it.

To be strong, is to be strong in the Lord. What I mean is, someone who clings to God without letting go in the middle of the storm. It’s someone who truly trusts Him even when all you feel is confusion, fear, doubt and so many other things. It’s knowing that you can rise up from the stumble, because you know God isn’t letting you fall. 

That’s where I am right now. I was hit hard. I was blindsided,  but not once has God let me fall. I stumbled, but I did not fall. I clung to God’s outstretched hand and allowed Him to lift me up. I am not backing down and I am not giving up. I trust Him. 

The last thing I want to do is let go of God.

Each Day is Getting Better and I Am Getting Stronger.

This has been my confession, especially when I haven’t felt it. Yesterday, again, was one of those days. The enemy had been telling me, “you’re going to have an anxiety attack at night. You’re husband isn’t here anymore. Why isn’t he here?” In all honesty it was getting to me and I felt such a heaviness on me, until I made a decision to change my thoughts and put the enemy in his place. 

I found myself saying, “each day is getting better and I am getting stronger.” It helped and I began to feel that oppression fall away. After everything I have been through in my life, I am seeing how each and everything has added up to prepare me for this season.

I am stronger. I am wiser. I clearly know who I am and how I am no longer an easy target for the enemy. I have gained more discernment that helps with distinguishing God’s voice from the lies. 

“I am the good shepherd, I know my own sheep, and they know me…”-John 10:14

He is the good shepherd. I am the sheep. I know my father’s voice. 

Proverbs 31:25

I have prayed this over my life. I am drawing courage from this verse. When my husband went to be with God, I immediately felt scared. I thought to myself, what do I do now? I am alone. 

Looking back, I can see how dependent I was on my husband. We did everything together. I hid behind him when I felt scared or when I felt uncomfortable around other people. I just simply hid… 

God has broken me free from that. 

In the past week, I have been pushed out of my comfort zone. I have learned to be around others, alone. I have learned to solely depend on God, alone. The day before yesterday, I was surrounded by a group of women I did not know and I felt so much peace and comfort; something I never experienced before. It was liberating. It was true freedom.

I have come to the point of being myself and no longer caring about what others think of me. It’s something that God has done down deep within my heart. I am now walking with my head held high because I am God’s daughter and He is with me. I am not alone.

I am learning:

 To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.-Micah 6:8

My entire walk with God, I never once felt that comfortable being alone. Each day I am getting to the point of true confidence where I feel I can do anything because He is with me. Each day I am growing into that courageous woman He needs me to be, because I am coming into who I truly am.

I don’t need anything but Him to feel whole, secure and confident. It’s an unexplainable feeling, one I never felt before. I know who I am without my husband, now. 

“You are the light of the world–like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house.”-Matthew 5:14-15

Now that my husband is Home (Heaven) I can no longer hide myself; my defense mechanism, my comfort zone…is gone. I made a choice: I now need to be bold. I now need to be courageous. I now need to be that Warrior; the Daughter of God. 

Front Line

I am now on the front line, a place I have desired for so many years. There are so many other women and young girls who need to know they are loved and cherished by a real God. Even before my husband’s passing, my heart was always for women and young girls; even more so now.

Like I said, I am not backing down or giving up just because of what has happened, on the contrary, I am putting on my armor and preparing to fight this good fight, the way my husband did his whole life.

I want God to use me. I want the things God has for me. Every hardship I have experienced in my life, I always said: “I am not backing down and I am not giving up.” I thank God for keeping me at my word.

 

Do not call to mind the former things; pay no attention to things of old. For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.-Isaiah 43:18-19

 

 

Though you are gone, it still feels like you’re here with me. I can still feel your love for me. I loved you then, I still love you now. You’re my best friend. God’s love through you for me changed my life, I am no longer the same. You loved me at my worst and more so at my best. The woman I am now becoming, your prayers are coming true. I know you would be proud of me. You’ve looked out for me from the beginning, it still feels like you are, now. I love you now and forever. 

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April 16, 2016

 

 

Confia En Mi (Trust In Me)

The days have been rough. News after news, but none of it good. My heart so heavy with pain, all I could do was cry out to you. Sitting at his side, I pleaded for good news, you lifted my head and said; “I have already given it to you.” My heart felt comfort, how right You were. Your word is true and Your promises are sure.

It’s Been Two Weeks

These past couple weeks have been the longest and most painful weeks of my life. I have felt so many different things, things I have never felt before. From anxiety to panic attacks; from fear to hope; from sadness to absolute peace. My life has taken on a dramatic change and I know without a doubt it’s for the better.

I have been broken to my lowest and I have been able to see how far I was beginning to wander off track. God revealed to me how I have been lately, it broke me and humbled me. I saw myself through His eyes and I did not like what I was seeing. “I am so sorry,” has been my cry, for days.

From thinking I had a relationship with God these past couple months, to what I am experiencing now… night and day. I haven’t felt this connected to Him since I gave my life to Him, eight years ago. 

It’s sad to say, but it’s taken all this for me to recognize it.

My Reality Is Not My Ending

A few years ago at a women’s conference, a guest speaker shared her story about a promise God gave her. She shared how God promised her a son. When she became pregnant and up until she gave birth to him, there had been complications and a fear of losing him. It was then she cried out to God and reminded Him that her child was a promise from Him. Because she believed and trusted God’s promise, she knew that wasn’t the end. She knew her baby would be fine, because God promised him to her. At that time, the baby was already a couple years old.

She went on to share the story of Jesus on the boat, in the middle of the storm:

Jesus Calms the Storm

As evening came, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s cross to the other side of the lake.” So they took Jesus in the boat and started out, leaving the crowds behind (although other boats followed). But soon a fierce storm came up. High waves were breaking into the boat, and it began to fill with water. Jesus was sleeping at the back of the boat with his head on a cushion. The disciples woke him up, shouting, “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to drown?” When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Silence! Be still!” Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm. Then he asked them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?” The disciples were absolutely terrified. “Who is this man?” they asked each other. “Even the wind and waves obey him!”-Mark 4:34-41

Jesus, the savior of the world. The One who died on the cross for the world. 

This story impacted my life in ways I cannot explain, and up until recently I have been holding on to that word, what that woman shared. The reason Jesus was sleeping on the boat in the midst of the storm was, because He knew that wasn’t His end. God’s promises and will hadn’t been fulfilled yet, on His life.

Jesus knew that there was so much more He still needed to do and that place, on that boat, wasn’t going to keep him from completing what He was meant to. God’s promises are always fulfilled. 

Which leads me to my, “reality.” I have been contemplating sharing this, here. The thought of re-thinking about it, reminded me of the pain and everything else I have felt. I have been going back and forth and asking God whether to share it or not. Yesterday at service I was given the opportunity to share a bit with the congregation about what’s been going on and what the doctors have been saying. It was the first time I have spoken about it publicly. While sharing it, I noticed it had a few people reflecting on things. One even told me that it blessed them.

The Stroke That Change Our Life

On July 21, 18- a day that I never saw coming. It was supposed to be a nice and relaxing get away. My husband and I stayed out of town for the weekend, it was the first time since before his heart surgery. We were both excited about it and were having a good time until that Saturday night.

We had just gotten back to our hotel from the baseball game. Things got a little intense and all of a sudden my husband began acting strange. He wasn’t himself and I began feeling so emotional. He wasn’t responding to me. He would mumble.

While sitting on the bed, he looked at me and began to cry. He wasn’t acting like himself at all. He then said something that caught me off guard… “I don’t want to go.” I didn’t know what he was talking about. A few seconds later, he grabbed his head and let out a cry. I was beginning to freak out. I texted his LVAD nurse and told her what was going on. I was messaging his mom, and both told me to call 911.

After that moment with my husband, he got up from the bed and stood right in front of me. He starred at me, blankly. He couldn’t speak. When he tried, nothing came out. He kept focused on what he had in his hand. I was scared. I didn’t know what was going on.

I called 911 and a few minutes later, the ambulance came and took him to the hospital. From my understanding, my husband was having a stroke. They ended up taking him to the nearest hospital.

Panicking and so anxious, I didn’t know what to do. I stayed at the hotel to pack up and check out from the hotel, to be with my husband. It was dark out. I didn’t know the area. I don’t like driving in places I am not familiar with. I had no choice.

So Much Fear

Driving to the hospital and trying to remain calm, didn’t prepare me for what I was about to find out once I got there. I was led to where my husband was. Immediately the EMT shared with me the news, assuming I knew what was going on. The only thing I new was that my husband was having a stroke. What I did not know was, it caused bleeding in his brain. I didn’t know a blood vessel had burst. I didn’t know that he had thrown up in the ambulance…

At hearing that, my heart sunk. I started crying and a huge sense of fear flooded my mind. At that very moment I felt so alone. I felt so scared. The first thing I did was call his mom and tell her what had happened.

When I had finally made it to the hospital, they had been preparing to take him to Stanford Hospital. I was so emotional, there was no way I could have been able to drive up there, let alone be there alone. My brother and sister in-law drove to where I was and from there we went to Stanford.

Confia En Mi, Trust In Me

It’s been two weeks, and my husband hasn’t been “responding.” It’s been two weeks and every single time I speak with the doctors, it’s more bad news than good; especially this last meeting we had with the doctors.  In these two weeks, God has been doing so much more than what anybody can see, let alone understand in their own minds.

After days of tears of guilt and regret, God has been restoring me. God has been remolding my life and has been teaching me how to trust Him, even when I cannot see. I have been learning to walk solely by faith and not by sight, or what is being said.

We have had encounters with God’s faithfulness, His presence and Him just confirming thing after thing, that proves to us that my husband is going to be OK.

My faith has been tested. I have finally been able to tell God, “Your WILL be done,” and actually mean it.

How many can actually make such a statement and actually mean it? How many can say; “God, your will be done,” but underneath really mean, “but what I want.” That was definitely me, before all of this.

That moment I told God that, was the very moment I meant: “Papa, your will be done, no matter what it means. Your will be done even if it means you taking him home or lifting him up from that bed. Your will be done, I surrender my best friend into your hands.”

At that moment I stepped aside, let God intervene and gave Him is rightful place. 

Before leaving the hospital, this last Saturday one of the doctors mentioned something with my husbands condition and if in any case things got worse through the night, they’d be calling me. I was like, “ok”.  That entire day, God told me to not fight what they would tell me. He told me not to say anything. I listened. I felt peace and a huge sense of calm. I haven’t gotten any phone calls, which means everything is ok. There is only God to thank. ❤

Learning to leave the life of my husband in my Papas hands has helped me be at peace. Though everything right in front of me screams, “give up!” My hearts says everything is going to be ok. He is going to rise from this, stronger and on fire for God. God has told me, to trust in Him. That’s exactly what I am doing. He isn’t a God that lies. He has made us promises and I know they will be fulfilled in my husband’s life, as well as our marriage, because this isn’t our end!

My husband is a worship leader at our congregation. It wasn’t a coincidence that this stroke attacked my husbands speech, voice and his right hand. (He worships with a guitar and happens to be right handed.) 

People may think we are crazy, but we know the God we serve. Even now, there are doctors that think we are, “fooling” ourselves. Why? Because they are only believing what they see and what they have seen.

God’s Ways Are Not Our Own

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord.
    “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.
 For just as the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so my ways are higher than your ways
    and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.-Isaiah 55:8-9

I still don’t know why this happened to us; to me or my husband. I have not thought about asking God, why. I know better. I also know that everything happens for a reason, even the most difficult things. I know that in the midst of the storm, He is always there. I know that in the middle of the fire, He is doing something in us.

In all of this, He has been removing certain things from my life; habits, fleshly habits, attitudes, etc. This “fire” has been purifying me and cleansing me from all things that have not been pleasing to Him, at all.

In the midst of all this pain, fear, anxiety… I have learned what true peace is. That peace that surpasses all understanding. In the midst of the bad news and the things I see, I have peace and have that unwavering assurance, that everything is going to be, FINE. God will be glorified and others will see that He is real. ❤ In all of this, all I can say is, “THANK YOU! Gracias, Papa!”

I waited patiently for the Lord to help me,
and he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the pit of despair,
out of the mud and the mire.
He set my feet on solid ground
and steadied me as I walked along.
He has given me a new song to sing,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see what he has done and be amazed.
They will put their trust in the Lord.-Psalm 40:1-3

Another verse that has brought my heart so much comfort and peace through out these couple weeks is:

He will cover you with his feathers.
    He will shelter you with his wings.
    His faithful promises are your armor and protection.-Psalm 91:4

God’s promises are your assurance that you will make it through whatever life throws at you. Trust in Him, even when you cannot see the why.-Stephanie 

 

 

I Still Believe- Jeremy Camp

 

I have been given the courage to share what’s been going on. I have been given the courage to “relive” that painful moment, because I know God will use it for His glory. My deepest heart’s cry has been, “Lord use my pain for your Glory.” It will be done, I know my will bless someone else.  Out of all this, God has proven to me that He is holding me up in his righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)

While I Wait

While I wait, I trust in You. You see all things and know my anxious heart. There is so much I long to do, yet I feel like my feet cannot move. When did my desires outweigh the want to be there where You have placed me? When did I become so eager to get up and walk out? While I wait, I ask for Your guidance. While I wait, humble my heart and let no pride overtake me. While I wait, change my attitude to accept my current place. Help me to love those around me and give me the patience to wait for Your leading.

Is It Time For Something New?

Happy Monday, loves! I wanted to share something that has been on my heart for quite some time now. It’s been something that I have not been able to shake and have only kept to myself until, now. I just want to open up and be transparent, for I know that others are struggling with the same thing. It’s regarding your place and how you can start feeling as though it’s time for something new, but waiting on God to confirm and move you first.-Stephanie

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Ever felt like you no longer belong where you’re at? Like the time has come for you to move on to something better? I am currently in that season, but I have been praying for guidance regarding that.

There is so much I desire to do, but I feel where I am at, is not the place for that to happen. I have been feeling like this for some time. It hurts to feel this. Maybe it’s guilt. Maybe it’s God leading us to something better. I am still unsure. The last thing I want it to be is, emotion. 

Yesterday, service was good. It felt so good to finally be there after missing a couple weeks, due to my husbands knees. I felt connected. I felt so much joy to be able to praise and worship God in His house. But the last few times, I have left service feeling the same thing.

There was this one time, during worship where I heard these words; “Not here.” (It was in regards to me wanting to do so much more than what I am currently doing. It was regarding my deep desire to share my story and help other women.)  To this day, I am still asking God to reveal to me what that meant. I am asking for clarity and revelation, because the last thing I want is to make a move, without Him.

When something is meant to happen, God opens doors and shuts those doors that no longer pertain to you. The key is to wait patiently for Him to lead. Something out of order and out of it’s right time will only fall apart.-Stephanie

It’s liberating to finally let this out. It’s liberating finally learning how not to hold back. Yesterday, I wrote something to God. I wrote my deepest desire and how I want Him to prepare me for it. It was a bold request. Those are the kind of prayers He likes.

While I Wait

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We all know that there are times when we must make changes for our lives. It can be switching jobs, moving to a new city/state… etc. But while waiting we are still expected to do our best where we are for the time being.

God has us there for a reason, but we believe that there will be a time when He will ask us to go. I want to do more. I desire to do more and I don’t see myself doing it there. ((Of course, I can be so wrong, that’s why I continue to ask God for wisdom.)) For the mean time, I need to continue to seek God; allowing Him to change me.

It’s no coincidence that during this season with my husbands health, things have been changing. We have seen who is really there and who isn’t. But it doesn’t surprise me, this time. I have been accepting such things as God shifting things around and protecting us. It has taught us both to rely solely on Him and each other. It has broken us free from the dependency on people.

I used to see that as there was something wrong with me, that people were being removed from my life. I used to wonder what was so wrong with me that they no longer want to be around me.

I have understood there are seasons in which people are there and aren’t.  

Moving Before It’s Time

I was just reminded of a story in the bible where a family packed up and left due to the famine in their land. They weren’t seeing what they needed, so they got up and left, thinking it was the right thing to do. They left the place God had them, for something they were lacking. God didn’t send them. God didn’t instruct them to move. In doing so, life turned upside down and the men in the family died. Things went horribly wrong for them, because they left without God’s guidance. -Ruth 1

What “famine” are you currently facing in your life? What are you currently lacking in your life, that you think you will find in a new job or in a new city? I ask myself that same question. I guess my answer would be: fulfillment. The feeling and assurance that I am doing what God has called me to do and no longer sitting on the, “sidelines.” I don’t like that feeling at all.

I am like that player who is eager to play; the one who cannot just sit still and watch things happen; or like that student who has the right answer, but is never called on. That’s how I feel, where I am at. I am being honest.-Stephanie

I am not perfect, of course I still have a lot to learn… but no one is perfect. I just keep waiting for my time and for the right place, to be set free.

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Wait patiently for the Lord.
Be brave and courageous. 
Yes, wait patiently for the Lord. -Psalm 27:14

My Vulnerability

It hurts. I get angry. I grow impatient. There are times I wish I could just do what I feel, but I know first hand that things don’t go well when I do. Patience has never been my strong quality. It’s always being tested and there are times I really do fall short.

But it’s in giving God full control of my life, that I have been able to see blessings and things fall into place without me doing a thing.

I see a lot of things. I don’t agree with a few things. My job isn’t to criticize, judge, or rebel; it’s simply to pray. That is still my home. That is still the place where I am being strengthened and molded.

You want to be blessed in all you do? Remain humble and submissive, where you’re at. Continue to do your best, even when you don’t agree with how things are going or with the people. Being led my Him, rather than emotions, keeps you under his covering of protection and blessings. Never move from where you are because of what you lack, see or feel. Let it be Him who directs your steps.-Stephanie

Truth

You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail.

-Proverbs 21:19

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We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.

-Proverbs 16:9

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Commit your actions to the Lord, and your plans will succeed.

-Proverbs 16:3

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Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. 

Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.

-Proverbs 3:5-6

 

Final Thoughts

When I write, my mind is at ease. There have been times when God reveals to me many things as I type. A few of my questions have been answered through my blog posts. I think that is amazing. In this case, I am still waiting for God to reveal to me His plan for me and my marriage; what He wants us to do and where He wants us to go, if He does.

While I wait, I want to remain humble. While I wait, I want to remain full of love for my neighbors. While I wait, I want to become a better version of myself and be molded into who I need to be. While I wait, I want to be prepared for what’s to come. While I wait…-Stephanie