Wanted

This blog post was written back in April. I have finally felt led to share it, as my new "perspective" on my journey fits in. I have come a long way since this post and I am truly thankful to God. My experiences have led me to truly wait on God and his timing for everything, especially when it comes to Him brining the right person and people in my life. It was said, "God sees the heart of the people. When we wait on God, we are set up for success."- Marcela Page 
She was referring to relationships founded on God. That word was for me. -Stephanie

The Truth

I don’t know where to begin. I don’t know what to say… for the first time I feel a block, as if something within me doesn’t want me to share what has been happening in my life. Loss. I seem to be familiar with this lately. I have cried out to God and asked Him why He has allowed me to go through so much loss and different types at that. I don’t understand.

I have been an emotional mess, trying to go in every direction; away from God. It’s left me broken.

Abandoned

I have been feeling this for awhile now. I have cried for my husband and even wondered why he would want to leave me. Anger arose within me and I just lashed out at him as if he could hear me. I couldn’t understand why he didn’t want to come back to me.

That’s something I haven’t felt until recently. These past few months I realized just how much my husband loved me, cherished me and appreciated me and it only made me miss him even more. It made me wish he was still here, so that I could appreciate him that much more.

Every loss I have experienced in my life has left me feeling abandoned or unwanted. Why? Because I have always placed my dependency on them. I made them my source of happiness, comfort and companionship and when they were gone, it always left me wandering: “What am I going to do now?”

Being abandoned, pushed to the side or enduring a type of loss does not mean you’re unwanted or not good enough.

Lies

The feeling of not being good enough can shrink you so low. I know this, well. Since my husband passed away I have been struggling with my identity; who I am without him. I was the one he cherished, encouraged and reminded who they were, constantly. He was my affirmation…

August 29, 2019

…Being without him made me feel lost, because when he was still here I knew where we were heading and I knew my place. After he left, I wasn’t so sure anymore… until the past couple months when I left the place that was “familiar.”

I am seeing God move in my life in so many ways, ways that I was beginning to think would not happen anymore. I had to step out in faith and allow Him to lead me to, “the land that He would show me.” I didn’t know what the outcome would be. I didn’t have all the details. I just knew it was time to go, and I went. 

 

A New Perspective

Referring back to the beginning of this blog; feeling abandoned, feeling not wanted… the enemy painted a picture in my head that had me depressed for awhile. I was beginning to believe that I was abandoned by my husband. That he wanted to leave me, that he chose to leave me alone. I felt not good enough, all over again. I was beginning wonder what was so wrong about me that I continued to lose people.

How wrong and twisted my thinking had been.

I Feel To Share This:

I know so many others feel this way. Especially those who have lost loved ones due to suicide. (Though I don’t know what that feels like, I wanted to tell you… it wasn’t your fault. You are wanted. You are loved. You are someone that others want to be around.)

As someone who suffered with suicidal thoughts, it was more about how low, unworthy, not good enough I felt, than it was to hurt those who cared about me. It was about how I no longer wanted to feel the way I did. 

God knows who needed to read that. He loves you!

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Things have been happening around me that has allowed me to see something new. I once heard a pastor say that it’s easier to lose (to death) a spouse than it is to be separated from them and constantly seeing them. When my husband passed away it wasn’t his choice. I know that he didn’t want to leave me; as he said it right before the stroke happened. Believing that has been making the healing process that much easier, though it hurts and I still have my moments. (I find myself right here, this week.) 

I have been a witness and have experienced being on the other side of the disrespect and someone choosing to hurt me, push me to the side and abandon me at my lowest. I believe things like that hurt so much more because they choose to do it and because it was in their minds; hearts to do such things.

Healing is coming to my heart because I am understanding that my husband didn’t have a choice to leave me. It was God’s will for it to happen the way it did. We had no choice. 

Knowing this truth, is brining comfort while removing the doubt, anger and the “whys.” I am beginning to move on and slowly feeling less and less guilty for it. It was not my choice, either. It was something that had to be done, though.

Knowing this truth is allowing me to accept God’s love. It’s helping me believe that I am good enough and that I am wanted. It’s allowing me to believe that His goodness for my life is true and that in due time I will see His promises finally unfold.

I no longer wonder, “why?!”

I no longer look at where I was and say, “I can’t believe…”

I no longer look at myself through eyes of widowhood, but of a single woman who has been blessed with a brand new start. 

I will be enjoying this journey and wait for God’s timing for a new a blessed relationship… I am worthy of every good thing. 

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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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

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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

 

 

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)

Bloom Into You

Blooming into who you are really are, difficult it can be when all around you is what they expect you to be. Standing out, a beautiful flower you are. Thorns and thistles try to hinder, but the Creator prepares the way for you to not stay; in the same place. For there is room in this world for your full bloom.

I Am Such An Introvert

It’s been awhile since I have felt this tug on my heart about opening myself up and no longer hiding who I really am. There is something about me that I really dislike; I am an introvert.

All my life I have been one who kept to myself and kept people at a distance. I was sharing with some friends last night, that I avoid certain places because I don’t want to run into people. (That is not freedom.) 

“Like a turtle hiding in its shell, so am I. I hide behind insecurities. I hide behind not wanting to be seen. I hide behind all things that are not of Him. In doing so I am not blooming into who I really am.”-Stephanie

I have not been given a spirit of timidity, God has promised. For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.-2 Timothy 1:7

Doing What I Have Been Called To Do

Like a flower created to bloom and manifest the splendor of God, so are we; so am I. We were created to stand out and not fit it or coward behind what’s not of Him. This world needs so much more uniqueness and less, “being just like everyone else.”

“I know I am not like someone else. I know that I can’t do what others can do. In all honesty, I spent so much time trying to copy and imitate, that I had lost sight of who I really was and what my unique qualities were. It hasn’t been until recently that I have been tapping into my gifts, my capabilities… those very things that make me, me.”-Stephanie

What makes you, unique? Have you really thought about it? Or have you been going with the flow, rather than against the current?

These can be hard to acknowledge. Like I mentioned in my last blog, it’s spiritual. We live in a time where it’s normal to all be the same and wrong to stand out and be different.

God Sees You As Special

When you were designed in your mother’s womb, God had amazing plans for your life. He engraved in you; potential, talents, gifts, identity and so much more. You’re His masterpiece; made ready to bloom at the perfect time.

Times are changing, things are shifting and it’s getting time for God’s people to rise up and be who they were really meant to be.

We were given life, but not just to exist… but to fulfill our purpose. To bloom where we are.

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…declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.-Jeremiah 29:11

It’s Not Just For The Introverted

Even those who are so outgoing can be hiding behind some kind of insecurity. Being who you are isn’t just about what people are seeing. It’s about what kind of heart you have and whether or not it aligns with His will.

So many people do what they think they should be doing, but don’t really bloom.

People aren’t happy with their life. People aren’t happy with what they are doing. People look everywhere for that sense of completeness, purpose and so on. They are in need of the right “food” to help them bloom.

Living Life To The Fullest

I shared this with the youth a few years ago. I shared with them that, to “live life to the fullest” had nothing to do with how much you partied in your life or all the things the world shows us is, “living life.”

Living life to the fullest is living out the life you were meant to live out. Accomplishing goals. Fulfilling your purpose; walking in your identity and not hiding behind insecurities or the masks of the world. 

I would rather bloom, showcasing all I can do and be criticized, then to remain in a mold and be just like everybody else who never blooms and shows the world who they are and what they are capable of.

 

Negativity. Hate. Rebelliousness against authority. No respect for others… that’s not what I mean. That doesn’t come from God, at all.  He will never lead people to act that way. He will never tell someone to mistreat others. What is not in His word, is not of Him.

All those things are distorted images of ones self and the way we see others; it comes from the enemy.

  The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.-John 10:10

More To Life

It has been days since I have heard You tell me this, “there is more to life.” More to this life than what I feel I should be doing, in my own flesh. I have been so focused on my own thing that I have ignored your presence and your direction for my life. Time and time you send your messengers to speak into my heart. Papa, I am ready. For there is more to life than money. There is more to life than trying to fit in. There is more to life than worldly recognition. There is more to my life. -Heart of Grace

“Todo Va A Estar Bien” (Everything Will Be Ok)

Through a worship song by a dear friend David Lugo, God spoke directly to my heart. It was during a time where my husband and I were overwhelmed with things pertaining to his health. (I will be sharing the journey, soon.) A few weeks ago, we were driving and were led to listen to his new album. As the songs played, we came across a song that was birthed at our church… we knew which one it was as soon as we heard it. We immediately felt Gods presence fill the car and tears began to fall down our cheeks.

It was then that we felt Gods assurance and comfort. He reminded us that everything will be ok. He reminded us that He has not left us and that He is doing a new thing in us and in my husbands life (health.)

“Last night He reminded us again. It’s been a theme these past few weeks. Things have been hard, but His love has sustained us through it all. My heart had been closing little by little and other things I was beginning to pick up, in place of Him. I was overburdening myself with things I felt I needed to do because I wasn’t seeing what I needed, when I needed it. I was losing faith.”-Stephanie

More To My Life

Though it is hard to explain to others, the important thing is that I know what is being asked of me. My heart has been taking on a transition, from what I want, to what my Father wants. When I envision my life, I see myself doing what He has called me to do. And it’s powerful.

I have been listening to music from Blake Whiteley. He raps about answering God’s call and doing what he is supposed to be doing, to reach the lost.  It has been challenging me. It’s been re-shifting my thoughts, desires and my will. Last night was confirmation of that, and the words God spoke directly to me were the right ones to remind me of my identity in Him.

I know I was meant for more. I know I was called to do more. I know that I have been given visions, desires and specific gifts for a reason; to serve Him, to do what I have been called to do.

I Want To Be Called And To Be Chosen

“For many are called, but few are chosen.”-Matthew 22:14

When it comes to purpose, we all have one. We were all born with a purpose, but so many fail to live it out. I am not saying that everyone is called to be in “ministry.” God has doctors. God has athletes. God has lawyers. God has so many people doing different things, but they do it for Him. They are where they should be. 

So many people fail to do all they are meant to do, because they do not answer His call. In all honesty it’s because they are afraid of what it will require. I don’t want to be like that. I have so many desires and so many things I would like to do, to reach out to so many people. To share with them what’s been done in my life.

I was found. I was healed. I was restored. I was loved when I felt unlovable.

How many people are still out there feeling hopelessness? How many people are still feeling broken? How many people are still in need of saving? So many!

 

I want to answer His call. I want to be chosen, because of my willingness to serve Him.

 

On Replay

These songs have been on my replay list. They have been encouraging me and helping through this season. I want to share them.

If you understand Spanish: Todo Va A Estar Bien by David Lugo

 

More Than A Conqueror by Blake Whiteley

Fly by Blake Whiteley

 

 

A Girl and Her Journal

My passion for writing started from a place of desperation. It was during the time in my teen life where I felt so lost and alone. With so much to say, I didn’t know how to express it. Depression crept in, cutting began. I was only a teen, a girl who felt unloved. Blade to my wrist, the only pain I could control. I sought help, to a counselor I was taken to, but nothing seem to help. Every Monday, science class I would miss. It was in that moment, my love for writing began. What I couldn’t express with my counselor, I was able to share in my journal. I have always said, I say it again, the paper always knew me better than any person could.

Being Transparent

It’s time. Time to share my story. Depression comes like a thief in the night. The signs are there, but few recognize. It was so with me. I have always dealt with depression, like many have and continue to.

There are many things that can cause it, but it’s mostly formed in the mind. That’s where it begins. The thoughts of being unloved, unworthy, unaccepted, no good and so on were what sparked it in my life, not to mention the way things were at home. Less than perfect, I am sure I am not the only one.

With all honesty and transparency, I have felt this way a couple days ago. Things in my life and being so disconnected has left me feeling so helpless and desperate; feeling like nothing is going to get better. It’s suffocating. It’s made me feel anxious…

Crying Out To God

because he says… “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”- Matthew 11:28

Yes, with tears down my cheeks and ready to throw in the towel… I have cried out. I have thrown myself at His feet, questioning His reasons as to why things are the way they are. But all I can hear Him say is, “So I can be glorified.” It may seem unfair for Him to say that, but I know exactly what He means. All I can do is say, “Ok.” I cannot fight His plans.

In my walk with God, there have been many obstacles. There have been many times I have felt tempted to lash out, but because I knew I was loved it shielded me from any kind of lies trying to get me to fall back into that self harming life.

He has taken upon him all my worries. He has taken upon Him all my pain because He cares for me…all so that I may find rest and strength in Him.-Stephanie

Freedom Comes By Humbling Yourself

is what I have learned.

So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.-1 Peter 5:7-10

“We can read these verses and then wonder why things are allowed in our life, the things that hurt us and leave us wondering what’s going on, but we are only seeing it through our own eyes, our eyes of pain and desperation. We forget to see things through His eyes. After all, He is the one who sees things from the beginning all the way to the end.”-Stephanie

Only God knows why we go through what we do, and the reasons for it.

Maybe it’s to bring you closer to Him. To set you free from the things that keeps you in bondage. To strengthen you because there is something greater He is wanting to give you. There are many reasons as to why…

To be honest, I still struggle with fully trusting Him and what is being done in my life. I am human and far from perfect. We all are.

Let me tell you this: You’re not alone in your suffering. You’re not the only one who is going through it. I have been there, I know what it’s like. But there is someone who has seen every single tear, every single cut; all your pain and wants nothing more than to set you free.

Let Go Of Pride

To receive the freedom you need, starts by first acknowledging you need help. It’s humbling yourself to admit it. Pride takes many forms, and the most popular one is the,

“I am ok.”

If that were the case, you wouldn’t be isolated, feeling the way you feel and so on. 

This kind of pride, “denial,” comes from a place of insecurity; it keeps people at a distance because we are afraid to let others in and see the “mess” we are in. I learned this from a friend, we are not a mess when were are going through something.

We are human created to lean on and need God. We definitely have feelings and emotions. While it’s ok to feel what we feel, we shouldn’t stay there. Remember this:

There is freedom in humility. There is freedom in surrender. There is freedom, together. 

 

This Is Me

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“I have always been one to build up a wall and push people out. It has always been my so called “safe place,” until the day God opened my eyes and revealed to me the damage I was doing and the danger of it. All I was doing was enclosing myself alone, with all the torment and struggles and at the same time I was keeping people out; the very people who could help me overcome depression & isolation. I was so worried about them seeing me as not capable or inadequate. It was pride. It was insecurity.  I didn’t want to admit and confess my struggles. With opening up, I have learned there are many caring people who are there for me. I have learned to trust God and others with my pain and hurt, instead of trying to do it alone. In doing so, I have gained the strength to get back up and keep going. In doing so I have not had to fight alone. In doing so I have been the best version of me… and in doing so, my life is not like how it used to be and those temptations are gone.”-Stephanie

My name is Stephanie and I am no longer a slave to depression or self harm .

I am free. 

 

My Heart’s Song

Staring Insecurity In The Face

Days passed, days lost. I was surrounded by a fog, it slowly began to blind me. Blinding me from seeing Your truth, I was becoming vulnerable. Vulnerable to the things that once hurt me, those things that had caused me to wander so far away from you and how You see me. Approval from others, I was beginning to think I needed. I was putting myself in a place where I didn’t belong. I was trying to be someone I am not; as if who You made me to be, isn’t enough. I dragged my head so low as to think that who You created, wasn’t good enough for the world to see. So, imitation was becoming my limitation. I have gone through so much for such things still be an issue, but still deep down there are things hidden; things that still need Your freeing light. I am grateful for that still small voice. For clearly you speak into my heart and remind me of who I am, in You. -Heart of Grace

It All Starts With A Seed

I was laying in bed, (after all it is 1:08 am) of course I couldn’t sleep. Tossing and turning, things were just running through my mind. The baseball game tomorrow, that exciting live I did with a friend on Facebook, etc.

But deep down, I knew there was something wrong, something I needed to acknowledge. I knew exactly what it was, because as soon as I recognized it, tears flowed down my cheeks. It’s an insecurity that has remained hidden, until recently.

The insecurity of not being liked, or not being that one person everybody wants to be friends with.

It’s always been about trying to be “popular.” It makes me wonder how many young girls now a days still struggle with things like this. What they have had to do just to “fit” in.

The Cause

I have always been the one to take offenses so personally to the point where I would start doubting myself and always wonder what was wrong with me. Why don’t they like me? Why don’t they want to be friends with me? What did I do so wrong?

I have always tried to be likeable because the moment I did something that someone didn’t like, was the moment I was pushed to the side and no longer, “liked,” or talked about.-Stephanie

Not knowing then, that there was a greater plan for my life. I wasn’t meant to fit in, but stand out. It literally took years for me to finally understand that… at times it’s still hard, especially when I see certain things.

The truest friend is the one who remains your friend when everyone else is trying to make you look bad, to them. They will also be the one to accept you for you, regardless of your flaws, that everyone else seems to highlight. 

God is always that friend. 

The Past Is just That, The Past

There will be moments in life when you find yourself in similar situations; situations that will make you think, “this is just like last time.” Or “it’s going to happen again!”

‘That hurt teenager, screams those words, now. That teenager who put everything in their friendships only to be easily pushed to the side is feeling that all over again. That hurt teenager… 

…is me.”-Stephanie

 

My Hearts Cry

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.-Psalm 139:23

The light of God illuminates deep within our hearts and exposes those things that we never knew were there, those things that we have tried so hard to hide and those things we never wanted to “relive” again… but it’s all for a beautiful purpose.

For me it was one of those things that I didn’t realize I still had. There are so many layers when it comes to forgiveness.

The truest way to know you’ve forgiven someone, is by what flows from your heart the moment you’re in a similar situation, with the same person. 

God has been restoring so many of my relationships, because I have first allowed Him to change me. There are specific people in my life that I thought I had completely forgiven, until recently.

Flashbacks have come of things that were done in the past; trying to get me to believe that it’s going to happen all over again. I have felt afraid. I have felt insecurity. I have felt like that teenager who just wants to go run and hide in a cave.

The verse in Psalm 139 is one of my favorites. It’s my hearts cry, constantly. At times I am a little hesitant to ask Him, because I know I don’t always like the process. It’s been because of that, that I have changed. It’s been because of that, that I have been healed from so many other things and insecurities.

“What I have found time and time again is, when God is about to do something great in my life, or about to use me in a big way, something tries to intimidate me and cause me to run, hide and shrink back like a scared little girl.”-Stephanie

“The actions or behaviors of others is never a reflection of you, but reflection of who they still are.”-Stephanie

Everything You’ve Gone Through Is Used For You

In the heat of the moment, it’s so hard to see. It’s so hard to understand. It’s so hard to believe that, “What the enemy means to harm you, God will use it for good.” Being completely honest, I have asked God, “when???” I have asked Him, “Why?!” I have even asked Him, “Why do I have to go through this?”

I didn’t always like the answer, but I knew He was always right. Everything that I have gone through in my entire life, has made me the person I am today. The strong willed woman. The courageous woman. The angry woman. The wiser woman.

I am being taught to use those things for Him. Being strong willed enough to not settle for less than His best, less than His truths. Being the courageous woman, to go out and do what I am supposed to do, regardless. Being that angry woman that fights back against the enemy and against the attacks that come to my mind; those things that try to get me to shrink back. Being that wiser woman, knowing and discerning what’s going on around me so I will no longer fall into the trap that is set before me. 

It was during worship on Wednesday that those questions flowed from my heart, into His ears. His response was simple. “You’re more mature than that to be affected by this, again.”

It only takes a small answer from God to break us free from a big lie.  

Because of being in similar situations in the past, dealing with insecurity and unforgiveness and so on, I have been strengthened and given wisdom to overcome the next “encounters.” Sometimes I need to be reminded of that.

Nothing you go through is in vain. Nothing you suffered is in vain…if it’s been given to God, to be used as a tool against the enemy. 

Attacks will always come. Instead of seeing them as such, I now see them as tests; testing my maturity, testing my strength, testing my trust and faith in Him, testing me to see if I am ready for the next level He is wanting to take me to.

 

I am no longer that hurt teenager. I am now a warrior and daughter of God.-Stephanie

 

One Body

I see clearly now. When this began, I had dread, I had doubt, I had fear. I was afraid of opening up and letting people in. The thought of “unity,” scared me and the thoughts of, “how would I be able to work well with others,’ came into my mind to torment me. I wanted to run the other way, I wanted to close myself off. You didn’t let me. Instead, You strengthened me, you renewed my way of thinking, helping me see the good that You have begun doing. The beauty of unity, I see it now. The power of a single team, with one purpose and one goal; I finally get it. You make us stronger, together. As a single body works in unison for one purpose, so do we; your children.-Heart of Grace

New Year

Last month, January, we started 18 days of Fasting & Prayer. I can honestly say I was hesitant, I was in dread. I was afraid of what God would begin in my life. I was worried about learning to work with others, I was worried that I would fall into the cycle of feeling insecure and overlooked. I was also dealing with the lies that were telling me that I was incapable and inadequate.

It almost got to the point where I didn’t want to show up each day. My flesh, my emotions were in dread of the word that would be given each day for 18 days. I was so focused on what God would ask me to let go of, as if it meant more to me, than Him.

Everything He has done up to now, in my life, has been just what I’ve needed and has helped me grow.

 

As A Single Team

For the first time in eight years I have felt like a part of a team; like really. My mind has been so renewed that it’s helped me see the bigger picture. One body, one purpose, one goal.

Each day since we have started, a different person has given a word on a topic that was assigned to them. I have seen so much growth in each one of them so far, especially in how they’ve allowed God to use them.

We are a group of people with a heart willing to be used by God. I see that now. For the first time I feel privileged to be among that group. It’s like I can look at them and think, “yes, we have something great in common.” It’s something that we all need to experience.

One Body

When I think about being one body, I think of this verse. I think about how our physical body has so many different parts/members that make up our body. It’s amazing that each part of our body have special and specific duties that benefit and help our body function properly and helps fulfil their purpose.

Our legs and feet may lead us to places, but it’s our arms and hands that open the door allowing us to enter. -Stephanie

We can’t have one without the other, for the body wasn’t created to be that way. We were made to depend and rely on the other members doing their part.

As children of God, we have all been given our unique graces, gifts and talents. Though we are different and can do things differently than someone else, it all ties in, in the things of God.

We, without our different capabilities build up the body of Christ; He is the head.

Vision Restored

For the first time, I finally get it.

Recently, God has been using me to minister His word, something I love to do, with a passion. I have been called to it. To be a teacher of His word. The more I have been given the privilege of doing it, I am realizing this is my calling, this is my ministry.

It has helped keep me from focusing on what others are doing and wanting to do what they do. So much time I have wasted with that mentality. I spent so much time focusing on what others were doing and wanted to be like them.

Nothing worked and frustrated I was left. But now that I am walking in my own calling and purpose, I am able to celebrate with others as they walk in theirs. It’s a joyous feeling; because we are finally walking in unison and in one flow… into God’s order.

Where there is order, there is blessings. God cannot bless something or someone out of order.

2018, I know is going to be a blessed year, especially for those who allow themselves to be renewed and restored.

Monday, I gave a word on the Restoration of God and I shared about how much God has done in my life… I will share that in a different post. But that is the key to seeing new and better things in our lives; allowing our minds being renewed. I am living proof.