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

 

 

Beauty Lies Within

It’s amazing to me how just one thought can send me back to a place I hoped to never return, again. I woke up, with joy I looked at myself in the mirror; my progress I could clearly see. As the clock ticked and time passed, I began thinking things that are no longer true. I tried this on, I tried that on… I didn’t like. I started to lose sight of the progress I have made and I became miserable. Oh how my eyes deceive. Oh how my thoughts taunt me. By Your strength and truth I pushed through, though deep down, comparing myself I was. Oh, that lie!

It’s Amazing

What a day it has been…

This morning I got out of bed and the first thing I did, like every morning, was look at myself in the mirror. I liked how I looked and the shape my body is taking. I felt happy; until it was time for me to get dressed for the day.

I went ahead and tried on a few things, some new pieces. I wasn’t surprised that those were still a little snug-I see that as motivation. So I was ok with that. I went on to search for a pair of pants that I wore awhile ago. I was excited. Trying them on I realized they didn’t fit like they used to. (This is where the lies began leaking in.) First, I was like ok these just shrunk when my husband accidently threw them into the dryer, but then it just kept picking at me when I was looking for a top to match. Long story short, I wasn’t happy with how I was looking.

The entire time we were out I felt so bloated. The enemy in my ear telling me, “You’re still fat!” I was feeling so uncomfortable and almost self-conscious, again. I was beginning to compare myself with every woman passing by and comparing my outfit to theirs. It was literally making me unhappy about myself. I was getting angry at myself because I didn’t “look” like them. I was getting upset because my progress wasn’t fast enough. 

I was telling my husband that, it’s amazing to me to how one minute I was so happy about my body and the next, because of something that didn’t fit right, I felt sad and almost bad about myself.

It happens a lot! We can feel so good about ourselves and see so much progress we’ve made, but when it comes to something that isn’t flattering to our figures, we lose sight of the good.

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I’m Flattered

When it comes to my body, it’s taken me years to finally accept myself and be happy in my own skin. It’s taken me so much time to finally accept that my beauty isn’t what is seen on the outside. It’s what I carry on the inside that radiates outward. I finally understood that I have been, “fearfully and wonderfully” made. So have you. ❤

I have been there; thinking something looks good, then trying it on to only realize that it wasn’t right for by body, like it was for “hers.” I have also been that girl to criticize myself because of one piece of clothing. How much value and power we give such things over how we feel and see ourselves. That needs to stop because it’s not the clothing that give us worth, value or our beauty. It’s God.-Stephanie 

I have learned this, the hard way.

So many tears. So many self-critiques. So much self-hate.

I wasted a lot of time allowing material dictate how I see and feel about myself. Today, I broke free from that lie. I determined myself to believe what my Father says about me. I determined myself to reflect on the progress I have made and remember how I was, this time last year. I am not the same. 

When I talk about how clothes and such aren’t what makes us important, I don’t mean that we shouldn’t look our best or wear what we like, because I do it. What I mean is, we shouldn’t depend on such things to give us worth or make us “feel” beautiful. ((I am so guilty of this and I have asked God to help me with it. )) That’s something we should already know, regardless of what doesn’t fit or look right.

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I Ate, I Enjoyed

To really break free from the, “you’re fat” torment, I ate what I wanted and enjoyed it. Yes, I enjoyed my Mexican food, with my husband and dad. I didn’t pick at myself for eating that, because one “treat” meal isn’t going to bring all the weight I have lost, back. I simply enjoyed the food.

I had a delicious chocolate chip cookie. I had a yummy Caramel Macchiato with almond milk, too. Guess what, I am not fat. I am not huge. I am not anything the enemy was yelling in my ear.

So, about my clothes not fitting how I want them too, well it’s my GOAL. Instead of picking at myself, I will work harder. Instead of beating myself up about it, I will make better choices. That’s, that.

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Encouragement

I know I am not the only one who goes through this. I am not the only who has tried something on and completely hated how they looked and felt in it. I am not the only one.

For those who are struggling with this, I say this:

“You are so beautiful. There is no amount of clothing that can take away what God has already said about you. You are his masterpiece and what is the most beautiful about you is, your heart. Your smile. Your personality. You are a gorgeous GEM. Your worth doesn’t come from the size you are, or what didn’t look good on you. Your worth comes from a loving Father who created you in His image and says, ‘I take delight in you.’ He looks at you with so much love and awe. That’s how you should see yourself.”

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 “You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you.”-Song of Songs 4:7

Those words are for me too. I take them and I hold them close to my heart, because I know, when Gods looks at me He sees nothing wrong with me. He calls me beautiful. He calls me worthy. He calls be his delight. He says this about you, too.  I say this with so much love; If someone continues to tell you, you are beautiful, believe them. 

After years of being self-conscious, I literally just started accepting those compliments from my husband. I know he loves me. I know he tells me the truth. Knowing that I am beautiful in my Fathers eyes and his, is all I need. ❤

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.-1 Peter 3:3-4

He sees the heart, not what’s on the outside. Always know that true beauty doesn’t come from what you wear, but from the attitude of which you carry inside about yourself, and those around you. It’s a lie to think that having the latest fashions or a new haircut considers you beautiful or helps make you feel better about yourself. Though it may, it’s only temporary. One who chases such things is never satisfied and is always searching for something else to fill that void. 

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Quotes

“You’re beautiful. 🌸

It’s not about what’s on the outside. It’s about what’s on the inside. Your heart manifests and radiates a beauty that no amount of looks can. Attitude of the heart goes further than how you look.”-Stephanie

🌸-“True beauty emanates from a woman who boldly and unabashedly know who she is in Christ”-Unknown

🌸-“Beauty isn’t about having a pretty face. It’s about having a pretty mind, a pretty heart and a pretty soul.”-Unknown

🌸-“Nothing makes a woman more BEAUTIFUL than the belief that she is BEAUTIFUL.”-Uknown

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“True beauty of a woman is not a facial mode, but the true beauty in a woman reflected in her soul. It is the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she shows. The beauty of a woman grows with the passing years.”-Audrey Hepburn

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Weight & Confidence

When I look into the mirror I desire to see myself the way You see me. I have fallen away, my eyes have been deceiving. What I see, I have not liked. What I have seen, I have not loved. My self-image, distorted it has been and feeling down, has risen. Tempted to lash out about my body, but You have held my tongue and are helping me get back on track. You line things up perfectly, today is a new day. I see things differently. I acknowledge that alone I cannot do this, it was proven when I first began…

To Feel Confidence

…when I feel otherwise. This last week, I did not workout. I let my body have its way… not to mention it also had what it wanted to eat. It’s like my mindset was reverting back to how it was last year. Something was taking over and bad habits were returning.

The bad habit of lashing out about how I look and about my body. To be honest I was feeling, “fat.” I was starting to see myself that way and I was beginning to feel how I used to… angry and disgusted.

Such attitude and so much self-hatred doesn’t come from God, it comes from the enemy whos sole purpose is to steal, kill and destroy the creation of God; which is you and me. Now a days it’s through body image. Through food.

It’s A Spiritual Battle

Yes. You may be wondering, how?!

Last year, in March, I was the heaviest I have ever been. I was depressed. I was so self-conscious and very insecure about my body. When I looked into the mirror I saw nothing but bad things and I spoke nothing but bad things about my body. The way I felt was bad. I felt fat. I felt gross. I felt so uncomfortable. I had no confidence, what so ever. I felt like I was in some kind of trans. Inside I felt angry. I felt disgusted every time I looked into the mirror.

It was like I was in bondage. I was enslaved to food. I was enslaved to bad habits. I couldn’t break free from it. That’s why I had gained so much weight and had so much hatred towards my body.

I had no energy to do anything. I wasn’t enjoying my husband and all I wanted to do was stay in bed because of feeling sick and always in pain.

I once heard a testimony of a woman who had so much trouble losing weight. She said that she felt like demons were keeping her bondage. Until one day she cried to God and those chains broke and once they did she started losing weight. 

That’s what happened to me. It wasn’t until I cried to God for help that I started being consistent and finally losing weight. I had tried so many “diets,” but none worked. It wasn’t until I learned that it’s a lifestyle…

“Diets only last as long as your motivation to do it is, but a lifestyle is what lasts.”

-Stephanie

So when I say it’s a Spiritual Battle, it is. There is an enemy that is trying to destroy people. And if you look closely, it’s by the food the people are consuming. More processed food. More sugar added. More preservatives…etc.

We wonder why we can’t lose weight. We wonder why there is a huge outbreak of child obesity… it’s what we have been putting into our bodies.

It’s An Addiction

Just like drugs, food can be an addiction. Junk food can be an addiction… I know that very well. Sweets. Salty foods. The very things I still struggle with. This past year, in eating healthy I have learned so much about my body.

I learned that I have a gluten intolerance. That’s the reason I was always bloated. The very reason why I always felt tired.  I am slightly lactose intolerant. That’s the reason why I always had stomach problems and always felt nauseous. Recognizing these things have helped me lose weight and take better care of my body. I have learned how to better nurture it, LOVE it and give it what it needs.

Of course, habits had to be broken. It wasn’t easy, because I had been used to certain foods for so long. I was “addicted.” -Stephanie

Last week, when my friend David Lugo was here, we were talking about his transformation. He was sharing that it was hard for him to let go of what he was used to eating. His body was going through withdrawals and that his body would shake and tremble, like a drug addicted getting cleaned. I believe it.

He also shared that he had gained a lot of weight and that his health was starting to fall. He changed his lifestyle. It is a Spiritual thing. It’s a battle. 

I say that because, our bodies are temples of the Spirit. Our bodies are used for God’s purposes. So if the enemy can keep our body sluggish, sick and so on, we cannot fulfill what we have been called to do; jobs, ministry, etc.

QUESTION: Have you ever felt like you didn’t want to do anything, especially after the food you ate?

Choosing Not To Eat The Kings Food

The story of Daniel and the three men. I was reminded of this story because it confirms what I have been saying. Nowadays the “kings food,” is the junk we eat. It’s the rich foods, the processed foods, the salty and sugary foods. The very foods that are harming the people, rather than strengthening them.

The king of this world is Satan, whether you want to believe it or not. His foods are fast foods, junk foods, processed foods, salty, sweet… etc. 

Daniel 1:8-17 New Living Translation (NLT)
But Daniel was determined not to defile himself by eating the food and wine given to them by the king. He asked the chief of staff for permission not to eat these unacceptable foods. Now God had given the chief of staff both respect and affection for Daniel. But he responded, “I am afraid of my lord the king, who has ordered that you eat this food and wine. If you become pale and thin compared to the other youths your age, I am afraid the king will have me beheaded.”
Daniel spoke with the attendant who had been appointed by the chief of staff to look after Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. “Please test us for ten days on a diet of vegetables and water,” Daniel said. “At the end of the ten days, see how we look compared to the other young men who are eating the king’s food. Then make your decision in light of what you see.” The attendant agreed to Daniel’s suggestion and tested them for ten days.
At the end of the ten days, Daniel and his three friends looked healthier and better nourished than the young men who had been eating the food assigned by the king. So after that, the attendant fed them only vegetables instead of the food and wine provided for the others.
God gave these four young men an unusual aptitude for understanding every aspect of literature and wisdom. And God gave Daniel the special ability to interpret the meanings of visions and dreams.

It’s not about being vegan or vegetarian, but about choosing to nurture your body with healthier options. These four men, chose to do just that. Filling their bodies with vegetables and water, rather than the delicacies of the King, everybody was able to see the difference. They were stronger, they were healthier. They too needed God’s help.

People wonder why they are “fat.” People wonder why they can’t go day without feeling pain in their body. People wonder why they feel tired all the time… It has to do with that they are filling their bodies up with.  

It wasn’t until I started nurturing my body that I no longer felt pain in my joints. My knees have gotten better. My back and ankles have gotten better.

Receiving More Than You Let Go Of

Going back to the story of Daniel; After the ten days of eating healthy they saw the difference, and started having the other men eat healthier too. Stronger is better for fighting battles. Stronger is better for fulfilling the daily tasks. Stronger is better for supporting your family. Stronger is better for living life. 

What’s a few broken habits compared to great overall health and endurance? Which one is more important to you?

In verse 17 you can see that ridding themselves of such foods opened up their hearts for what God had for them. Those four men were given favor and a place in the royal service.

In other words, when you are freeing yourself of all things that are harming you, you are given so much more. Health. Life. Motivation. Wisdom and so much more. To me that means more than what my flesh craves. 

The Choice

Ultimately the choice is ours. Sometimes it comes when we have had enough. Tired of being tired. Tired of feeling sick all the time. Tired of being overweight. Just tired. It was my breaking point that led me to asking God for help. I haven’t regretted it.

I am determined to not go back to how I was. I am determined to nurturing my body with healthy foods. I have goals. I have dreams and I want to be healthy to achieve them. Especially when it comes to what God has for my life and marriage.

I know that I want to be a mother. I am preparing my body for that day. I plan on being there for them. I plan on having a lot of energy for them… (I am smiling as I type that.) Thinking of that just makes me so happy.

 

What or who in your life deserves a better and healthier version of you?  

All you have to do is ask for help and chains will begin to fall off and you will begin to see your life transform before your eyes. 

 

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“You can have confidence in the midst of the transition. You can look at yourself in the mirror and finally love the person staring back at you.”

-Stephanie

When I Feel Off

Everything within me cries out for you. This I know, how? I feel off, out of order.

On days like this, it is you I want; the preferred parent that a child runs to for the nurture and comfort.

I run to you with arms up, crying inside… Papa!

I jump into your arms, ready you are to catch me and hold me close.

As I lay my head on your shoulder, I cry.

Holding me tightly, you tell me, “It’s ok. Everything will be ok…”

I believe you, papa. I believe you.

On Days Like This

It’s been days that I have been feeling a little, “out of order.” There are things that I am currently going through that no one knows about… things that have me feeling a little emotional.

My life is undergoing a transition from living the way I have wanted to, to following through with what I need to do. Things are being removed, people are being removed… but nonetheless things are being placed back in order in my life. I feel it.

Ever felt like you were “off” and not the real you? Yup, that’s how I have been feeling and the reason I am allowing God rearrange my life for the better.

A Season For Everything

“I am a firm believer that things happen for a reason and for a certain amount of time. The things we pray for or ask for are given, but then comes a time when it  no longer has the same meaning in our life…I mean it’s no longer how it used to be or what we need.” -Stephanie

That’s where I am at. I am currently at that point where I want more, but more of what He wants for me. For I know that those things are continuously fulfilling and so much more rewarding than what I think I want or need.

When it comes to relationships and people that were in my life for a season and the next they aren’t meant to be there anymore… that’s where it gets hard for me. So many people have come into my life for various reasons, purposes. Some have taught me a lot, while others were just used to strengthen me.

There comes a time when you’re being moved to a higher level, or a new chapter in your life; when you have to decide whether you want to hold on to what is being asked of you to let go of and remain in the same place, or when you finally decide you’re ready to let go of the past and advance.

To be honest, a lot of people remain in the same place because they aren’t willing to let go of the comfort or what they are used to. I can’t be like that, no matter how much it hurts to let go of things or people.

“Where God is taking you, such things cannot follow.” 

Where I Am Going Is Not Where They Are Going

This part of my life is like when we are walking alongside someone, talking and chitchatting, but then are met by a crossroad, they both say bye and go their own ways. Where I am going is not where a lot of people are going. Meaning, my journey is far different than a lot of peoples. 

Their priorities are not my own. My calling is not their own. That’s ok. I am slowly learning to accept this and just look forward & let go. People will never truly understand the things you do…especially when it comes to being obedient to what God is calling you to do.

Am I being judged? Maybe. Am I being criticized? Maybe. Should I care? No. Should I worry about opinions? No. For the only one I am looking to please is, God. 

Being Bold, Being Courageous

Eeek, thinking about those two words can sometimes intimidate me. Me? Being those things… slowly.

The bad thing about it is, I am only those things when I feel backed into a corner, or when I am feeling a little down or hurt by something or someone. It’s like it comes from an inner anger that shoots up and moving me into the right direction. It becomes a confidence that no one can take away.

I know that I am a strong person, but sometimes I back down. I know that I am courageous, but sometimes I become afraid.

Ever feel like that? Especially when you’re being asked to manifest those things through a big decision? Yessss! I have, too. I laugh a little, because we tend to manifest those things when we shouldn’t, but when we should we become like, “I don’t know how to be courageous, strong or bold.” haha (I speak for myself, here.)

Why can’t I just manifest that attitude, always?! That’s something that will change, soon.

Encouragement

I may joke around a bit when it comes to what I go through, it is just a way that I cope. I am able to laugh at things like this because I know they won’t last forever. Laughter has been my remedy for healing.

But the best thing has been listening to podcasts by Steven Furtick

The word has been bringing me new life. It has been encouraging and confirming so many things in my life. It’s been reminding me that through all the chaos in my life or all the problems and so on, that He turns all that into something beautifully amazing. Everything I am going through is not in vain, but about to be turned into something better than I can imagine.

The same can and will happen for you. You just need to be obedient to what He is saying…putting Him first. ❤

 

“It’s ok. Everything will be ok.”

-God

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2018 Is My Year

I said goodbye to another year. A year filled with joy, but also filled with pain, sorrow and sadness. A year that left me wanting more, more of You. I walked that road of self discovery, brokenness, only to find myself stronger. I am brand new, I am not the same. I stood tall until the end of year. The clock counted down and struck midnight, I couldn’t hold back the tears. We walked into victory. We walked into new beginnings, into new identities. We left behind the sorrow, to only embrace the joy. We left behind the old, to embrace the new. Tears ran down my face, gratitude filled my heart; tightly I held the man You have given me. We are walking out of the desert, into our promised land. I only have You to thank for that. This is my year. This is our year. This is the year for abundance and restoration.-…Heart of Grace

2018

Words cannot express my excitement for this new year. I literally feel like I stepped into something brand new. Like an old garment has been taken off and replaced with a brand new one; a clean one.

 

He will provide for those who grieve in Zion- to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.- Isaiah 61:3 (NIV)

 

Last year was a year that challenged me the most and really tested my faith. I found myself in situations that pushed me to step out of my comfort zone and led me to jump in without knowing what would come of it. My faith definitely grew and my trust in God has grown. From this, I cannot go back. For I have seen how real He is.

Last night, as we celebrated with our Spiritual Family, I felt so happy and content. I had one of the best times. The interaction, the freedom I now have to be around people… is a great feeling. I have really grown in that area of my life. I am no longer closed off, for I have learned to open myself up, but at the same time guard my heart. I have learned to allow people into my life, because I have wholeheartedly allowed God in first. Learning to trust Him and the people He’s placed in my life has been liberating. I have learned to depend on their support, prayers and company. I broke free from the shell that kept them away and me locked alone.

I walked into 2018: mature, confident, strong and ready.- Stephanie

I left It All Behind

The last months of 2017, were some of the toughest ones, but that’s when I decided to jump in deeper into God. I jumped like a child who is assured that their father will catch them. I was caught.

I am leaving behind the past. 

I am leaving behind the struggles.

I am leaving behind the insecurities and doubt.

I am leaving behind guilt and shame. 

I am embracing this new life with my God and my husband. 

God Has Restored

Through all that we have been through, God has restored something that I didn’t really know needed restoration, until all this happened with my husband’s health. I have a love for him that I didn’t have before. I have this closeness with my husband that I didn’t have before. It’s all because of God. It’s his love that I now have in my heart for my husband. I was corrected, my mind was renewed and my eyes were opened, allowing me to see the man that God has blessed me with.

This journey has been an exciting one, as well as a challenging one, but nonetheless it has been the most rewarding one.

From This:

November 22, 17-the say he had surgery on his heart. He has the LVAD implanted into his heart. That day as we sat in the waiting room, I felt nothing but peace as God assured me that things were ok. The surgery took four and half hours. We waited about an hour to hear from the Dr. When I got the phone call, I felt a little anxious, as I wanted to hear that things were ok, already. The Dr. had told me that everything had gone very well, just as expected. My heart rejoiced and I immediately told God, “thank you.”

He stayed in ICU for about a week then a couple more weeks in the hospital. They have been so amazed at how quickly he was starting to recover. (It’s a God thing.)

To This:

His life was restored through this surgery. God chose to bring healing to his life in this way. Until God completely heals his heart, my husband has to carry around that pack. It’s connected to his heart and that pack is acting as his heart. I mean, it’s pumping for his heart, allowing it to rest. So we constantly have to make sure he is connected to power. Yes, it has been overwhelming for him, but I have told him it’s a small sacrifice so that he could be alive and feel as good as he does. He sleeps with it. He walks with it. He showers with it. It’s temporarily a part of him.

Seeing him so happy and enjoying life brings me so much happiness. I honestly feel like I have my husband back. The husband I have always desired. He amazes me, daily. I see him pushing hard to recover and I see how dedicated to doing so. It inspires me

What he lost passion for, he is now gaining it back, and that’s playing guitar. He was born to worship God. Before the surgery, his health was taking a tole on him to the point where he couldn’t play or lacked the desire to do so. I am so grateful that he plays again, it makes my heart happy. I believe that’s what he is meant to do. (He loves his Christmas gift. We named it Soul Fire. ) Only greater things are ahead.

This Is Us

26165413_322109958309246_4239540591672644910_nThe last selfie of 2017. My best friend. My love. My everything. ❤

I am excited to see what God has for us this year and how much more we will be growing together and individually. -Stephanie 

 

God chooses to use the toughest parts of your life;  marriage, so that He can be glorified by how strong he’s kept you, by how much your faith has grown, by how high you can lift your hands in praise in the middle of the storm, by continuing to walk when the enemy has tried to knock you down . -Stephanie

Nothing is ever in vain.

He Loves Me

Feeling emotional and wide awake, I come to you. I hear you calling me, out of bed I am. I desire to be with you, to hear your voice and see where you’re leading me to. There is a new season around me, inside me. It’s something I cannot comprehend, but I know in the right time I will. You’re calling me; with all my heart I say, “Here I am.” Expanding my horizons You are; bringing me out of the shell I had wasted so much time in. You’ve opened doors I never imagined. I am overwhelmed by You. Lord, you’ve seen all, you know all. I have recognized it’s because of you, I have endured and made it through. Your unfailing love, no one can take that revelation, that conviction away from me. For I have experienced it many times; you’ve made your love known to me. You Love Me.- …The Heart of Grace

Wide Awake

Lately I have been spending more time with God in prayer and study time. I have been learning so much about who I am in Him and how much His love is true, in my life. With every obstacle, every situation has come His unfailing love.

The love that never fails. The love that is always there, when nothing or no one else is. He is love. In this season I have been in with my husband, all I could feel is His love and support. Things have been falling into place so effortlessly. It’s as if we are walking and things are just falling into place as we continue forward in the way God has for us.

We have been trusting God through this entire journey. Not once have we, or have I doubted Him, on the contrary. I have learned to step deeper into His truth, his word. I have learned to trust Him like never before, and He has not let me down. Trusting wholeheartedly in God has opened many doors and has set so many things into place. We are being taken care of by our good, good Father.

This New Year

In this new year, I believe with all my heart that it will not be like any other year. It will be a year of restoration, a year where God will finally make all things new. In this case, restore what the enemy has stolen from my marriage; what the enemy has stolen from my husband.

Intimacy. Health. Determination. Purpose. Life. 

We have been faithful, acknowledgment from God himself. We have received a word from Him telling us that a lot of things are about to change, and we believe it. More than ever, we are determined to stand strong together and walk into the new things God has in store for us. (This year of restoration, I believe is for ALL who have been faithful and who have been trusting in Him, especially through the difficult times.)

What wins the battles is our obedience to Him. 

What Was Once Lost…

Intimacy. God has begun restoring that area in my marriage. Not only sexually, but also reconnecting me with my husband and him with me. We have this new affection for each other that had been lost in everything that has happened with his health & the selfishness I had carried in my heart during that time.

These past few weeks, God has been correcting, removing things and remolding me, as well as him. Our minds are not like they were. Our eyes are not seeing the bad like before. We have this joy in our hearts that has given us the strength to fight this good fight, together. I don’t feel alone anymore. I have the spiritual support from my husband, because I know he is reconnected to God; now more than ever. We are walking in order.

God blesses when things are in His order. 

His Joy Has Been My Strength
The LORD is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.-Psalm 28:7

It’s something I cannot explain, for it’s something that is meant to be experienced. It’s a peace in the middle of the storm that assures you that everything will be ok, when all that is around you is a chaotic mess. It’s being able to stand tall when everything or everyone around you is trying to pull you down. It’s being able to say to God, “I love you and I trust you,” when all your flesh wants to do is scream out, “I give up!” It’s being able to sing songs of praise; gratitude to Him when all you want to do is cry and break down in defeat.

Many times have I wanted to walk away, not being able to handle the pressure. Not wanting to deal with the inconveniences of the problems. It was because I didn’t know how to deal with those things. Though I have wanted to walk away so many times, it has been God’s love that has kept me where I am . It’s been His love for me that has disciplined me and corrected me. It’s His love for me that kept me from falling into the pit that was waiting for me the moment I decided to walk away. It was Him, He is love. 

I Am Not The Same

It’s evident in my face. It’s evident in my speech. It’s evident in how I now carry myself. I know who I am and whos I am. I know who is for me and not against me. I know who has watched out for me and my husband; our marriage this entire time. The things we have experienced and witnessed, nothing or no one can tell me that God isn’t real, because only He could have set all those things in place, protected us from harm and opened doors that were desperately needed.

“I have made Him a promise, I will not stay silent and keep to myself all that He has done us, me, in my marriage; in my husband’s life. These things are too great to keep to myself. What God has done for us, He desires to do for everyone else, everyone who will humble themselves and acknowledge that they need Him, His help.”-Stephanie

 

Lord, I Am Grateful

Here I sit, reflecting on the goodness of my Father. As I stare into the trees, I am reminded of all that we have overcome; all that we have endured. Not once were we alone, not once were we facing this trial alone. “I am grateful,” my heart joyously proclaims. I am grateful for the battles you have won.-Wife, You’re Not Alone

A Heart Of Gratitude

I find myself drawing my strength from a song. It’s been one my husband and I have been clinging to these past few weeks. When listening to it we can’t help but be grateful for the good and especially the bad; (this journey.)

Gratitude has helped us maintain an open heart to everything going on and has allowed us to really see God’s goodness manifest in our lives. 

We have understood that some things we face are unavoidable. They are things we must face in order to strengthen us and prepare us for something greater God has in store for our marriage. The perfect example of this is found in the life of Jesus. He faced the ultimate trial for you and for me. (Going to the cross for us.)

During this journey; the road to restoration, God has been opening my eyes and heart to understand His plan for me and my marriage. It’s been difficult, as my flesh has kicked and screamed; saying, “I can’t handle this anymore.” It’s been a lie.

God has never given me more than I can handle, and has not led me to a place where He didn’t provide a way to overcome it. -Stephanie

That’s what I have been seeing. Especially in my husband, the one who’s literally going through all these changes, in his health and body. I see how God is faithful in my husband. I am encouraged and daily given the understanding I need to be there for him and no longer see this as, “overwhelming.” I now see it as a growing opportunity and a change to mature. (That, I have been doing.)

All this has been a blessing for my marriage. It has brought my husband and I closer. Especially since we have been living away from home since his surgery. We have learned to truly rely on each other and be there for one another. It’s what we needed; unity, the sense of oneness.

His Way Is Not Our Way

“My ways are nothing like your ways.” says God.

“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

How true that is and how much we have been seeing that recently. I have had it in my mind how I expected things to go, how my husbands healing would manifest. I prayed so hard for things to turn out how I wanted them to, or how we wanted them to. That’s not what God has done. For our prayers, mine especially were selfish. I prayed for things to happen a certain way, because deep down in my heart I wasn’t willing to face certain things. I wasn’t willing to endure the hardships that would come along.

(November 21, 2017)

I am now a firm believer that God chooses not to reveal certain things to us for this very reason. I told my husband the other day that if I knew what our marriage would be like right when we started dating and the things we would be facing now, I might have walked away. (In all honesty.) I would have seen it as “hard.”

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Top Pic: (When we first started dating) Bottom Pic: (November 23, 17)

Because His ways are higher; He chose to allow us to go through it, instead.

It takes a strong woman to go through what I am going through. I do not say that with arrogance, but with humility. I have been humbled by all of this. I have been disciplined and corrected. I have said this before, the last thing my mind wanted to do, during all this was walk away. My heart has been opened in many ways. Ways I thought were already opened.

I have grown to love and appreciate my husband more and trust God’s timing. My heart desires so many things, but during this season all I can hear God say is, “nothing is in vain and I have given life and life in abundance.” -Stephanie

All I can do is continue to praise Him through all of this. All I can do is wait on His perfect timing. All I can do is stand by my husband’s side during this time and see God manifest in ways we never imagined. Lord, I am grateful.-Stephanie

 

Grateful

by Elevation Worship

This is the day, that You have made
Whatever comes, I won’t complain
For all my hope, is in Your name
And now Your joy, awaits my praise

I give thanks, for all You have done
And I will sing, of Your mercy and Your love
Your love is unfailing
Lord, I am grateful!

When I was down, You brought me out
You set my feet, on higher ground
So here I stand, You are my God
Your faithfulness, my Solid Rock

I give thanks, for all You have done
And I will sing, of Your mercy and Your love
Your love is unfailing
Lord, I am grateful
I give thanks, for all You have done
I won’t forget, all the battles You have won
Your love is unfailing
Lord, I am grateful!

And as we lift our hands up
The heavens open, heavens open
So let our lives declare the love
Our God has spoken over us
And as we lift our hands up
The heavens open, heavens open
So let our lives declare the love
Our God has spoken over us!

I give thanks, for all You have done
And I will sing, of Your mercy and Your love
Your love is unfailing
Lord, I am grateful
I give thanks, for all You have done
I won’t forget, all the battles You have won
Your love is unfailing
Lord, I am grateful!..

Wife, You’re Not Alone

I have wandered this road alone with no one else to know. It’s been a journey filled with tears, a journey filled with joy; a journey filled with hope. A wife, I am. On this road, alone I am not. -“Wife, You’re Not Alone”

I recently started a support group called, “Wife, You’re Not Alone,” specifically for wives who are struggling in their marriage due to illnesses of their spouses, or who just need some encouragement. I felt in my heart to share my story and what I am currently facing with my husband, in my marriage and my own life.

The Word Coming To Life

Two are better than one. For if they fall, one will lift up the other. -Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

When I started this group, I myself, was feeling alone and felt like there was no one around me who could help me along this journey; no who was going through the same things. It then dawned on me that I could be there for other women who are facing similar things.

Wife, You’re Not Alone, was birthed from God’s word, from His heart for the wives and marriages. To bring healing, strength and restoration in the hearts of His daughters and restore the unity within the marriages. It was inspired by:

Romans 5:3-5
We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they will help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. 

In the beginning of this road to restoration for my husband, I felt so alone. I felt like I couldn’t talk to anybody else about what I was feeling or going through, because they wouldn’t understand. It’s been a season where I had to depend and lean on God. I learned to lean on Him for courage to overcome fears, I learned to trust Him with my husband’s life and setting all things into place.

I have grown so much and my faith has expanded all the more. I am in the process of sharing this journey that I have been on with my husband. I just wanted to introduce my page on Instagram; “Wife, You’re Not Alone” There I will be sharing my story and other things, God places on my heart.

I also have a group in the app called “First Five App” also called, “Wife, You’re Not Alone.”

Wife, You’re Not Alone

Stand firm against him(enemy), and be strong in your faith. Remember that your family of believers all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are…

– 1 Peter 5:9

I pray that this support group brings together wives from all over the place. So that we can uplift each other through God’s word. My desire is to learn more about others and see how God has moved in their lives. I pray that our testimonies will bring hope and encourage us to seek and trust in God that much more.

Together we are stronger, together we can get through what ever comes our way. ❤

“I have had this support group for almost three weeks, and I have already been blessed by the wives I have met and their stories. I am not alone. The moment I let my guard down and took the step of faith to reach out, I realized there were other wives going through the same things. It’s made this journey easier.”
– Stephanie