Alone

I take a look at where I am right now. Tears fill my eyes and my heart with gratitude. I am feeling brand new; free. This journey of being alone, with you, a challenging one it’s been. I have fought. I have cried. I have questioned Your motives for my life, yet you continue to prove Yourself faithful in my life. This road ahead of me, I cannot see the finish line; the destination I so desire. I am moving forward with You by my side fully trusting Your lead. As we walk, I look up at You trying to understand where it is You are leading me to. I am afraid. I am scared of what I do not know. You stand there holding my hand, reminding me that with You by my side good things will come.

Road Trip

This weekend has been a big deal for me. I embarked on my first solo road trip. Months ago plans were made, but God being a good God chose to break the plans I, myself had made.

There was something about going on a trip that sat so well with my soul. It as if God was telling me to, “go.” I made the plans and followed through. I was nervous, I was scared. Of course, I was already beginning to overthink everything.

How am I going to do that? How is the road going to be? What if this? What if that?

Time and time again I have learned that I am able to do a lot of things once I am in the process of doing them. I mean, no one knows what they are capable of doing until they finally get up and do it. They then realize it wasn’t as bad as the lies were telling them. 

I have always been afraid of driving in unfamiliar places, because I never wanted to get lost, alone. Thank God for GPS.

But that’s not what made this trip a pleasant one. It was the very fact that I was alone with God. It was our very first road trip alone, together. I invited Him along and asked Him to watch over me in the process. I felt confident. I felt a new kind of freedom. A new sense of independency.

On the drive to where I was going, I spoke to Him. I opened my heart and shared with Him everything that was still hurting. I let out emotions, feelings, offenses and so on. I cried, I smiled… I had peace. I was happy that I was doing this alone. I needed that one on one time with my Papa.

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Never Alone

While away, I was sharing with my best friend how I have never really been alone. When I met my husband, I had just gotten out of a bad relationship. Soon after that break up, me and Freddy started our friendship. We hung out together and with mutual friends. It was him that helped me overcome what I was facing at the time.

We then got closer and it grew into a relationship. I never really had a season of singleness. At that time, God knew I needed Freddy. God used him in a big way, in my life.

Singleness

After awhile of being in a new relationship, I am back at being single. This time it has left me feeling so broken, so pressed down. It’s definitely not what I wanted (being broken up), but needed. God has been showing me who I am, single.

I am being broken from the need of being dependent on someone. He is teaching me how much more I am capable of on my own, with Him. He is giving me this new sense of freedom, that I have never had in my life.

I went from one relationship to the other because of the fear of being alone. 

For the past 8 years and 4 months, I never went anywhere alone. If I didn’t have someone to go with, I wouldn’t go. I missed out on a lot of opportunities because of fear.

So, me being so willing and determined to go on this trip by myself, was a huge deal for me and who I am now becoming.

Autophobia

  • the fear of being alone. (Click on the word fear.)

I never knew it was so bad until my husband passed away and this recent break up. I didn’t realize how much I depended on the company of someone to feel safe, whole, secure and so on, until it was no longer there.

The harder I tried to have someone around, the more empty and insecure I would feel. Anxiety was becoming a problem again. I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t enjoy anything. It was starting to hurt being around people. Depression was already making itself in, again.

It wasn’t until God finally had me alone, that I was able to finally see how big the problem was.

We cannot overcome something until we clearly see what the root of it is.

So many tears have been shed. So many silent screams have been released to finally be where I am at right now. Yes, I still have a long ways to go. I still struggle with being alone, without a physical companion. I get frustrated because I want what I want and don’t have it.

God Withholds What We Want

… to give us what we need.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord.

What we want and what God desires for us, will never go hand in hand. They will always collide and either we surrender to God’s perfect and pleasing will (Romans 12:2), or our own fleshly desires. Truth is, only one leads to blessings, while the other just leads to destruction.

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I have a lot of experience with this, than I want to admit. So many “lessons learned,” so many, “Lord, I finally get it,” and many, many of these; “never again!” 

All the things that have happened recently have all been things that were consequences of me following my own desires…

A New Kind of Loss

In the month of March, I experienced my very first miscarriage. It’s something that I am still going through and grieving. For awhile I was trying to push it to the side as if it didn’t happen, because of the break up that happen not too long after.

That’s where the sense of abandonment & loneliness started taking a toll on me.

That’s where the road of brokenness began to lead to the road of a whole new kind of freedom for my life.

This pregnancy came as a huge surprise. It was unexpected. When I found out that I was, it was so exciting and we were so happy, but then something changed. So many negative emotions came in like a flood and I was feeling afraid of what people would think.

I wasn’t married. My husband had just passed away…I was afraid.

There is something about the words, “You’re having a miscarriage,” that brings in a whole new kind of grief; especially since being a mom has always been my greatest desire. All this literally left me questioning God’s goodness for my life. The joy of finding out that I was going to be a mom, to devastating reality that there was no longer a baby. I have to accept that it was not a part of God’s plan for my life, yet.

No one knows what that is like, unless they’ve been through it. Women and men handle these things differently, it showed in my case.

I felt alone. I felt like I couldn’t be upset about it. I was made to feel like I couldn’t really show my emotions, so I didn’t really grieve until after the breakup. I was dealing with both at the same time, along with the loss of my husband.

It hit me like a ton of bricks. I am just now standing back up. 

Road Trip and Miscarriage?

Without one, there wouldn’t be the other. It was because of everything that has happened, that I went away for a couple days. It was the push I needed to step out of my comfort zone.

I needed to get away from the familiar and do something new. Even in this, God led me to confront a part of my past. On this road trip, I had to pass a town where I once lived and experienced a lot of pain and brokenness.

It was the relationship there, that led me to God. I guess I still had some hidden anxiety about passing through and this time alone. On the way back, it wasn’t so bad. I passed through with a new sense of confidence.

It’s something that I know God will lead me to do regarding Stanford!! I’ve pleaded with Him and have said, “NO.” God is having me “pass” through places I have felt the most pain, the most abandoned and where I have experienced the most loss, to set me free. 

As much as I don’t want to, I know it’s necessary. I know I will not be going through it alone. Here is why:

When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. -Isaiah 43:2

This is my reality right now. This is the road to my healing and restoration. It’s been hard to surrender to God and his plan for my life. I have been fighting and been so determined to not allow what I feel or going through to overtake me anymore.

Everybody’s journey is different. God deals with everyone differently; in ways that are right for them. Some are more harsh than others, but it’s because He knows how to get through to the hardest of hearts. 

God does not cause bad things to happen, but He does allow them. Most of the time it’s the misuse of our free will that opens doors to things to happen…then we blame God. 

I can’t blame God for what has happened, because I knew better, but I have anyway because I was avoiding the reality of my actions.

Even then God is merciful and still loving. I have been seeing it in my life. Not a day has gone by that He has not loved me or not wanted the best for my life. I finally see that.

Prodigal Daughter

I ran away from God to do what I thought was the best for me. I opened doors to things that He had already set me free from to make things happen in my own time. It left me broken. It left me confused. It left me not knowing who I was anymore.

I was humbled. Returning to the Father wasn’t easy. First I had to recognize my condition, my reality. I had to open up to people I trusted and confess what was going on. That, itself was hard. It was people who I thought were going to judge me, and because of that I went some time feeling so alone and isolated.  I needed that support and the help so badly that I no longer cared. I needed the help.

It was because of my transparency with them that has allowed me to run into the Father’s arms, again. 

He was waiting for me. When I returned, He was there to greet me and dress me in new garments of: purity, worth, and identity. It was then that I realized that His love for me never stopped regardless of the things I did or how I walked away from Him, rebelliously.

He was the first to greet me. He will always be the first one. 

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I Say This To You

God loves you. There is nothing  you have done or could ever do that will get Him to stop loving you. When God sees you, He never sees the impurities, or mistakes. He sees the blood of His son that was shed for you.

He wants you to know that it’s ok. Come to Him as you are. Never will He push you away, leave you or abandone you. That’s a promise. You’re the apple of His eye and His best creation. You’re His child…

… and YOU ARE SO LOVED!

 

COMPLETLEY BY LEDGER

You are the One
You are the One I need
You are the One who loves me completely
I don’t have to hide when Your with me
The best, the worst
I know You never leave
It steals my breath away
When You lift my face and say
Who I was, who I am, and who I’ll be
Has been claimed I am Your eternally
You are the One
You are the One I need
You are the One who loves me completely
In a world that’s full of mysteries
One thing is simple as can be
You are the One who loves me completely
Your the One
Your the One
You have called new life up from the dust
Faithful even though I’ve given up
You take the chaos that’s in me
And You create a symphony
From who I was, who I am, and who I’ll be
I am changed, I am Yours eternally
You are the One
You are the One I need
You are the One who loves me completely
In a world that’s full of mysteries
One thing is simple as can be
You are the One who loves me completely
Your the One
Your the One
Your the One
Your the One
All I am is forever Yours
Everything I’ve been living for
All I am is forever Yours
You have my heart, my soul
You are the One
You are the One I need
You are the One who loves me completely
In a world that’s full of mysteries
One thing is simple as can be
You are the One who loves me completely
Your the One
Your the One
Your the One
Your the One

To The Cutter Inside…

I see you. I know you. I get it. Life has thrown at you things you had no control over. It has even left you believing that it was your fault. Deep down inside you wanted to take it out the only way you’ve always known how; on yourself. Life has knocked you down, but still, I see something in you that desires to get up and rise. 

You thought you had no choice but to fight; as though there was no one there to defend you or protect you from what you felt inside. It’s your defense mechanism. I get it, but still, there is a way out. A place to cast your burdens; your cares.

You take a look at your life and wonder if things will ever get back to normal. What is normal, now? Nothing about what you’re going through is normal to you. What scares you the most is that you know deep down inside, nothing will ever be normal. I see it.

You often wonder if someone else will accept you and love you as much as the last one; such thoughts bring you torment. I can see it. I know it, but still, there is someone who does.

You look around and all you see is loneliness and you feel as though there is no escape. Your eyes, stuck on the problem in front of you and desperation runs through your body. You panic because you don’t know how to handle it. I know what that feels like, but still, you’re never alone.

Your emotions rage and you don’t care. This is your normal, but still, there is someone who desires to show you another way.

You ask, “How do you know!?”

My answer is simple; “I know because, I was you.” 

 

Thoughts of pain I can control tempting it has always been; the twisted lie that says things will be better if I did. All it was, was a temporary relief that only caused more pain, but in my mind it was ok because it was the only pain I was able to control. Though the scars remain, who I was, is gone.-Stephanie

 

Poem Inspiration

The poem, “To The Cutter Inside,” was inspired by my recent thoughts about cutting. It literally came to me on the way to Salinas with my dad, niece and brother. I was feeling a bit bitter, because today was supposed to be mine and my husband’s eight year anniversary.

It’s been a couple days since thoughts of cutting have came to my mind. Especially because of the mistakes I have made recently. I was feeling angry inside. I wanted to lash out, but in a way that “no one else would know about.” 

In the midst of what I was feeling earlier this morning; all I could think about was what other girls or guys are going through. That’s why I wrote the poem the way I did. As if I was talking to someone. I am; I am talking to those who cut themselves as an escape and who have been truly hurt by things they couldn’t control; whatever that may be…I really do get it. 

And there really is a God who cares about you; who loves you and desires to set you free, the way He did for me. You’re not alone. 

 

A Part of My Story

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This is my tattoo; my left wrist. For years I used cutting as a way to deal with the hidden pain and problems I had at home. In eighth grade I began seeing a counselor to help with the depression and cutting, but that didn’t help. There was a root that no one or nothing was able to remove…

Self-pain was the only thing that I could control when everything around me changed in ways that hurt me… it went on through my teen years and a few of my adult years.

Though the temptations still come, I have been set free. The root that no one or nothing was able to remove, was finally uprooted by God, the one who can reach down deep into the hidden chambers of the heart to bring freedom to our lives. 

Psalm 139: 23-24

 

The Cross

The cross represents: salvation, freedom, healing, restoration, protection and so much more; but those few were the very reasons why I got it over my scars. It was something symbolic that I was led to do for me. When Jesus came into my life the first thing He did was make me new, covering my with His blood; giving me a new life and erasing my past. In His eyes I am no longer a cutter, but His beloved. 

God’s word says in 2 Corinthians 5: 17 that anybody who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone (forgotten; never to be remembered by God) and given new life; identity.

 

My Safe Place

He gave me a safe place to open up and finally let go of the things that I had so buried deep in my heart and began restoring my life. I found that there was freedom in finally opening up and confessing to God what I was going through.

When we release a secret or whatever it is we are feeling inside, it makes room for God’s perfect love to flow in and start doing the good work in our lives. You were meant to carry heavy burdens. You weren’t meant to carry shame. You weren’t meant to carry guilt or blame.

God sees you and stretches out His loving arms and asks you to place on Him your heavy burdens so He can give you rest. –Matthew 11:28

 

What’s Helped Me…

Having the revelation/ understanding that God knows me better than I know myself. That He sees all things. He understands me and gets me. He knows my thoughts; He knows what I carry in my heart. He knows my every move, nothing surprises Him or catches Him off guard. To me that is important. To me is means that when I run to Him and confess what I have done, He is prepared to hear it and just hold me in His arms and help me through it.

He knew me before I was born; nothing I ever did surprised Him.

“I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb.
Before you were born I set you apart…”- Jeremiah 1:5

God knows you. He has known your every move, every mistake, every thought… and still LOVES you. He says,

“My love, come to me as you are. Nothing you have done or do will surprise me. I loved you then, I love you now. Cast your cares up on me because I am the one cares for you. Rest in the knowing that I am never too far away. Find peace in knowing that I am the one who fights your battles. I am your defender, so you don’t have to fight anymore. Here my child, give to me everything that is causing you pain, so that I may heal you. Let me wipe away every tear and turn your sorrow into joy. Let me show you the life that was meant for you from the start. I love you.”

 


 

“You, you’re not alone
We’ve all been there
Scars come with livin’
You, you’re not alone
We’ve all been there
So, lift your head, lift your head
Lift your head to where your help comes from
You, you’re are not alone
We’ve all been there
Scars come with livin’

It doesn’t matter who you are
This world gon’ leave some battle scars.”-Scars by Toby Mac

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Reach out to God and He will take you by the hand. -Stephanie

A Woman; Her Body

A marvelous creation; a woman is. Created in God’s image, the splendor of His beauty. She is clothed in dignity and crowned with grace. The apple of God’s eye is she. He looks at her and a smile appears on His face. You are lovely. You are delicate, you’re made beautifully and wonderfully. The wonders of her body; so much it can do; what a masterpiece it is. 

Lately…

I have been thinking about what it is to be a woman. I have been learning things about myself and my body that I never really noticed or paid attention to before.

Sometimes I think it’s backwards, but I am now learning how to take better care of myself; my skin, my hair and so on. I am learning to take better care about my body and really learning to love myself, especially during this season of my life.

A part of me is gone; my husband. All that is left is… me. 

I have been led to share and open up about a part of my life that I used to think was unholy and shameful to talk about. I have realized that I am not the only one who has gone through or who is struggling with it.

I am a sexual being; with real temptations, but who now has self-control.

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It begins with Love and is all held together by Self-Control. You cannot manifest self-control in the midst of temptations if you do not love yourself enough to know that you and your body are worth so much more. ❤ -Stephanie 

A revelation I just received as I wrote that; the Fruit of the Spirit is also meant to be manifested to ourselves as well as towards others. How we treat ourselves, how we respect ourselves… it all paves the way for the way others treat and respect us.


 

Innocence of A Child

A couple weeks ago I had the opportunity to open up about something I had been dealing with. I was able to share with a group of women in the Life Group I started attending on Fridays. It was actually the very first time I spoke about it to anybody. It was nice to know that I wasn’t the only one who struggled in this area as a woman. (But first, the seed that was planted…)

Something I want to admit; (Gosh, it’s not easy, but here it goes…) For a long part of my life I had been addicted to sex. There had been a root in my life that was planted when I was a little girl, which led to the kind of lifestyle I lived.

As a little girl I was molested by a family member. I didn’t know it was wrong. I thought it was something normal because it happened more than once. I grew up and again I found myself being molested by a family friend’s son… again I didn’t know it was wrong.

At a young age, the enemy had placed this lie in my head… that if they chose me to do things like that to me, it meant that they liked me. That’s where the root of “people pleasing,” became a thing of my life.

I know for a lot of people it has a different affect on them.

Growing up I tried so hard to be liked and gain attention, and like most women and young girls I did it in a lot of wrong ways. I had no respect for myself and didn’t care that I was attracting the wrong kind of attention, as long as I was getting it.

One thing led to another and I found myself having a hard time saying, “no,” especially when I felt like saying no.  I just wanted to be liked. I didn’t want to be rejected.

That was a fear I had.

 


 

Purity

Void After Void– I am sure many know what that means. After the body and mind saying it’s a good idea, later to wake up and feel so empty and filled with regret… this is why:

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Our bodies were meant to be loved, cherished and remain pure; even in marriage. I allowed my past to move in my marriage. If I saw myself then how I am starting to now, things would have been a lot better. What God has removed from your life, it’s because it cannot go where He is leading you. Impurity cannot be where Purity and blessing reside.

pu·ri·ty
noun
  1. freedom from adulteration or contamination.
    synonyms: cleanness, clearness, clarity, freshness;

That is part of the definition of purity. We have the mentality that to be pure is to be free from sexual immorality, never having done anything wrong or things like that; although it is true, it’s not the only aspect of purity. It can also be in the form of restoration, the form of being set free from that kind of life style. It was for me.

Purity isn’t the state of never having done anything impure, it’s what has already been done for us on the cross. 

“This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!”- 2 Corinthians 5:17

This is His promise. 

Giving your body away and not loving it the way it was meant to leaves you feeling so empty and feeling worthless at the end of it all. What is meant to be cherished and respected only becomes a tool that one uses for fleshly gain. I say this because that is exactly how I felt after so long of doing the same thing.

 


 

Opening Up

Ok, back to what I shared with my lady loves:

I openly shared that one day God showed me something about myself…

I don’t know how to put this in words on this screen.. it was easier to say in person. (Ironic) At that very moment in my life I learned that I was like a guy who looks at women only as objects to satisfy a need. It got so bad that one day I had seen a good looking guy and began thinking so many things… I was never like that before!

All this sprung up after my husband’s passing. I realized that I even used my marriage to satisfy that need… and now that it was gone I began struggling, but this time it hit harder.

I had literally heard the enemy telling me, “now you’re free to do whatever you want with whoever.” The enemy knew where to hit me. He knew my weaknesses and even more so at a very debilitating time of my life; my husband passing away. 

I knew in my heart I didn’t want to be like that anymore. I knew that God wanted to change me and heal that part of my life for what is to come. I surrendered my sexuality to God. I surrendered those temptations and my sexual drive to God. I let Him make me whole and pure again. I allowed Him to fill that void in my life. That very void, I kept Him far away from for years.

I later found out that me being open and transparent was a blessing to someone in the group. That’s when I felt that it was time to share this part of my life with more people. It’s been a struggle for majority of my life and I am just now being able to walk in that freedom, healing and true purity.

It can be done for anybody who desires that change.


Be Restored

When I surrendered my sexual desires to God, when I surrendered my body to God, when I surrendered my impurity to God, He restored me. 

 

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What the world calls dirty and impure, God makes and sees pure. 

Woman, you are dearly loved. Created with special care. So delicate, so unique. When lies begin to make their way in, know that they are just that; lies. When God sees you, He doesn’t see your past. When you give Him your heart, all He sees is the perfect blood of His son. You are a new creation in Him and no longer the same. The world says that when purity is lost it can never be restored, yes it can. He is the God who restores. He is the God who heals. He is the God that makes all things new. He loves you. He values you. He cherishes you and calles you His own. 

 

Sometimes the way we choose to live are only manifestations of the wrong kind of seeds that were planted in us at a young age that we were not aware of, until we met Him.

Never judge. Never criticize. 

What was lost can always be found in Him. 

It’s Not All Roses

The steps of grieving differ from person to person. I have had good days and I have had bad days. I have felt peace, I have felt joy. Then I have felt sadness, and I have felt angry. I often wonder why this has happened. I wonder why my husband had to go. To say that I don’t feel every single emotion would be a lie. They come in spurs. They come all of a sudden; sometimes not at all. Days when it comes, I am hit hard. I cry. I throw a flesh fit and I confront God. I am in pain. I feel so alone. No one understands what I feel; if they haven’t lost a spouse, even then it’s different. I just want to run away, to a place I don’t know. I don’t want to be reminded anymore! I need to escape. I feel so trapped and I feel so isolated. Just leave me alone and keep your, “I am sorry for loss,” to yourself!

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I Am Angry (Ugly Side of Grieving)

Today was a rough day. I felt so closed off from everyone and angry that I couldn’t escape the place that is familiar. I am reminded of what I no longer have anymore and it makes me angry that it has happened this way.

Every single part of me wants to run away and avoid the memories that are being thrown in my face. I want to forget everything that has happened; yet people come up to me and say insensitive things; like leave me alone already. It already happened!

I want to lash out. I want to take what I feel out on every single person that crosses my path. I am angry at God; to say that I am not would be a lie. I cried out to Him asking Him why He took my husband only to leave me alone here. Why did He take him only to not let me leave the place where all I am is reminded of him and the pain I feel. I keep questioning Him out of the hurt and pain I still carry within.

I want to scream. I want to throw things around… I slammed the door and it made me feel better. I am human. An imperfect human. 

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Grieving

Greek: Lupeó (loo-peh-o)

  • to distress, to grieve
  • to experience deep, emotional pain (sadness), i.e. severe sorrow (grief).
  • hurt

I often look up specific words in their Greek or Hebrew meanings. I find that it adds a deeper meaning to scripture or anything that I want to understand more. Grieving; there is no wrong or right way to grieve or go through a death of a loved one. Everybody is different and the way people react is different. Feel how you need to feel, but don’t let it keep you stuck there or cause you to make wrong decisions. 

For me, it started with peace, joy and strength and all of a sudden the last few days I have felt nothing but anger, and the want to isolate and lash out. The anger and everything else I have been feeling has left me to question God. Something that I didn’t want to do.

It just hurts me more because I don’t understand why this happened. Or why I am now alone without my best friend. Or why I am now alone in the very place I met my husband and I cannot just leave and start over. It makes me angry feeling that I am trapped and cant just go.

While everybody is going on with their life, mine has been hit hard and I don’t know where to go from here or what to do!! It’s not fair. I hate it. I want to do what is best for me!! I don’t care if nobody agrees with it. They aren’t the ones feeling what I feel. (All I can do is cry out tears of frustration, pain and sadness, because I know that running away wouldn’t solve anything.

The enemy is trying so hard to knock me down and get me to walk away from God and what I am meant to do. I am tempted to just walk away, but yet that still small voice is evident in my life. That’s the very reason why I feel frustrated. I want to do what I feel, but God isn’t letting me and keeping me in where my flesh doesn’t want to be.

It’s a battle within. It’s a battle between what my emotions say is best for me and what God says is best for me. What is best for me, doesn’t feel like it. It just feels like pain and all  I see are reminders.-Stephanie

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The Outcome

If you were to ask me, “what are you going to do?” My answer would be, be where God wants me to be. Even though it hurts so much, I don’t want to rebel. I don’t want to lose everything that God has already been doing in my life and I don’t want to start all over.

It’s taken me eight years to be given the opportunities I now have. It’s taken so many tears, breakdowns and moments where I needed to learn to trust God. It’s my time, now. I feel what I feel, but God still loves me and knows my heart.

Though I may have my moments, this remains true:

Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me
all the days of my life,
and I will live in the house of the Lord
forever.- Psalm 23:6

I have been meditating on this verse since early this morning. Papa reminded me of it and remainder me how good He’s been and will always be with me. Now I need to be good with Him and humble myself before His plans for my life.

I want “to come back home,” and no longer be like the prodigal son who ran away and hit rock bottom. I want to do what He needs me to do and I want to surrender my will and what I don’t want. Because everything that I have not wanted has been hindering everything He has been wanting.

 

It’s just so hard. 

 

“For I hold you by your right hand—
    I, the Lord your God.
And I say to you,
    ‘Don’t be afraid. I am here to help you.”- Isaiah 41:13

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An Open Road-I Still Believe

I look at myself, not in the physical; in the spiritual. I see myself standing before an open road. I look to the left, I look to the right; even straight ahead. I am filled with confusion, I don’t know which path to take. I cry out to You, You’re the only one who can help me. Alone to decide, I am and I am not sure what to do. You see my heart and know every desire; lead me in the way I am to go so I will not wander in the direction of my own wants. I am anxious, I just want to move. I am scared, too, at the thought of doing it alone. Every tear I have cried, not in vain they are. Lead me, I want to go where You are.

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Not Like Lot

Yesterday, being Monday, marked the finale of a three day conference at our mother church. It was a powerful service which ended in God moving and reigniting the passion in our hearts for what He has for us; for serving Him.

I stood there in the back crying out to God. Ever since all this happened with my husband, I have been more certain that I want to serve God. I want to be used to help women and young girls. It was so evident in my heart that I am meant to, but I am just not sure which path to take or where to start.

As I was standing there, I cried to God and this flowed from my heart without me even thinking about it: “I don’t want to be like Lot. I want to be like Abraham

I was surprised that I said that, let alone thought about it. But I knew it was God, because He knows EVERYTHING; even my thoughts. Lately I had been thinking of where my place is. I have been thinking if I should go, or if I should stay. The things that had me considering moving were things like: “They have it all together. Things are already established there… it will be easy to serve in where you want to serve. Or they are in need of servants/people to help out, surely they will accept you.” 

The things that were making me consider staying were like: “You have the opportunity to begin something new here and establish it… though there is nothing here, there can be.” 

Both had seemed appealing to me, but the last thing I have wanted was to move without God’s guidance and only because of what I don’t or do want to work for; if that makes sense. I want it to be all God and His timing, not me or mine.

The very fact that I cried out those words, that I didn’t want to be like Lot, and wanted to be like Abraham already gives me the answer I am needing; I just need the faith to walk it out… like Abraham did. 

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I Don’t Want The Greener Grass

Lot chose what was appealing to him, out of the selfishness and greed in his heart. He chose the beautiful, the very thing that he didn’t have to work for; everything was set and established. The very place he chose was a place that was filled with so much evil and things not of God; instead of being a blessing to him it actually brought evil upon him… he was influenced.

On the other hand, Abraham chose the overlooked. There was nothing there and it took him faith to be able to see the blessing of the plains. God spoke to him and promised him that he would be tremendously blessed because of his faith, his humility and obedience.

He wanted what God wanted for him even though he couldn’t see it yet and not what he was able to see. That’s where I find myself right now, in this very season of my life. 

Like Abraham, I believe and trust God even though I cannot see where He is leading me to or the blessings yet to come. I don’t even know what to expect, except that I know it’s going to be a blessing for my life.

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I Still Believe

I haven’t felt so connected to this song, like I do at this very moment. Though I have gone through so much and though it HURTS SO BAD, I can lift my arms and say to God, “I still believe.”  I would be lying if I said I didn’t have questions. I have a lot of questions and still I don’t seem to understand why my husband was taken. Pain and confusion still blur my vision of the bigger picture. I still cry for my husband, because I miss him so much. But through it all, I know God is still good and He is still faithful.

I know that He didn’t allow this to hurt me. I know that for a fact. Like Abraham, I can’t see the blessing, but I have faith that it’s coming they very way He promised it. 

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My heart’s song in this season. (Jeremy Camp lost his first wife years ago. That is where the song was birthed. I have also heard another testimony of Danny Gokey-Tell My Heart To Beat Again who also lost his first wife and how it affected his life. They show me how God restores and how He blesses even when they couldn’t see His plan.) It encourages me. I know this isn’t the end for me. ❤

 

“I Still Believe” by Jeremy Camp

Scattered words and empty thoughts
Seem to pour from my heart
I’ve never felt so torn before
Seems I don’t know where to start
But it’s now that I feel Your grace falls like rain
From every fingertip, washing away my pain
I still believe in Your faithfulness
I still believe in Your truth
I still believe in Your holy word
Even when I don’t see, I still believe
Though the questions still fog up my mind
With promises I still seem to bear
Even when answers slowly unwind
It’s my heart I see You prepare
But its now that I feel Your grace fall like rain
From every finger tip, washing away my pain
I still believe in Your faithfulness
I still believe in Your truth
I still believe in Your holy word
Even when I don’t see, I still believe
The only place I can go is into your arms
Where I throw to you my feeble prayers
In brokenness I can see that this was your will for me
Help me to know Your near

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There was a time when I was crying out to God and all I could tell him was help my heart to beat again. This song came to mind and after listening to it, it touched me in a way that allowed me to encounter God like never before. He reminds me:

He is near to the broken hearted. He’s near to those who call on His name. 

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Tell Your Heart To Beat Again by Danny Gokey

You’re shattered
Like you’ve never been before
The life you knew
In a thousand pieces on the floor
And words fall short in times like these
When this world drives you to your knees
You think you’re never gonna get back
To the you that used to be
Tell your heart to beat again
Close your eyes and breathe it in
Let the shadows fall away
Step into the light of grace
Yesterday’s a closing door
You don’t live there anymore
Say goodbye to where you’ve been
And tell your heart to beat again
Beginning
Just let that word wash over you
It’s alright now
Love’s healing hands have pulled you through
So get back up, take step one
Leave the darkness, feel the sun
‘Cause your story’s far from over
And your journey’s just begun
Tell your heart to beat again
Close your eyes and breathe it in
Let the shadows fall away
Step into the light of grace
Yesterday’s a closing door
You don’t live there anymore
Say goodbye to where you’ve been
And tell your heart to beat again
Let every heartbreak
And every scar
Be a picture that reminds you
Who has carried you this far
‘Cause love sees farther than you ever could
In this moment heaven’s working
Everything for your good
Tell your heart to beat again
Close your eyes and breathe it in
Let the shadows fall away
Step into the light of grace
Yesterday’s a closing door
You don’t live there anymore
Say goodbye to where you’ve been
And tell your heart to beat again
Your heart to beat again
Beat again
Oh, so tell your heart to beat again

IMG_3546 WHAT YOU ARE FACING; THE LOSS THAT YOU HAVE ENDURED ISN’T WITHOUT PURPOSE. IT WAS NEVER MEANT TO HARM YOU. GOD HAS A PURPOSE FOR IT, YOU ONLY NEED TO BELIEVE. YOU ARE NOT ALONE. YOU ARE LOVED AND THERE IS A NEW BEGINNING COMING FORTH FOR YOUR LIFE. 

-Love,

Stephanie Ann ❤

 

The Life I Knew

When I close my eyes all I can see is the chaos around me. I am reminded of the pain I feel and the brokenness within. I cried out to You; all I could say was, “I am broken.” Emotions going wild, feeling so many things at once. You have been my stability. You have been my comfort. You have been the only safe place for me to run. It hurts. How long will it last? My life at the moment is me here and You on the other side of this current hell. I am scared. I am alone. One step in front of the other; You’ve given me the courage to move. As I step on this narrow road, there are no safe rails. The only sure thing is You. One step after another I draw closer to you. Things rise up attempting to keep my eyes off of you. Anxiety attacks, but You shield me and I am no longer afraid. I am walking towards You alone, apart of me has gone. My breakthrough is coming. I know You will see it through. I trust You.

Life Alone

The last thing I want to be doing is writing. The last thing I want to be doing is planning a Celebration Service. Lately I have found myself doing things I don’t want to me doing, or I never thought I would be doing.

I have been sharing my journey about my husband stroke and believing for God to manifest a miracle. He did, just not how we prayed for. My husband went to be with God almost a week ago and I can’t begin to express what I have been feeling.

I have felt shocked. I have felt scared. I have felt alone and I have felt angry. I have cried out to God telling Him this isn’t how things should be! I never expected to be a widow, now. I didn’t expect for my life to be broken this way.

As days go by I am getting stronger, still it stings. My life partner taken away, when all my faith and hope was in him getting better here. Doubt began creeping in and I felt myself having a hard time believing what God said or has been saying. I felt cheated out of so much, especially out of a marriage. I guess I still feel angry, but I am surrendering it to God. I don’t want a bitter heart towards Him. He is the only one who has been strengthening me during this difficult time.

The Shock

My husband going to be with the Lord, left us all in shock. Some of us taking it harder than others. I am definitely one of them. He was my best friend. The one person I had been able to open up to and who had been there for me for the past eight years! Taken! The one who helped me walk with God. The one who was a big part of my spiritual growth… simply… my BEST FRIEND. I felt lost. I still do, to be honest.

Last Sunday, I felt myself in a state of panic. I was crying and felt as though I was going insane. The enemy has been using the reality of it all to torment me. It wasn’t until I heard God lead me to say certain things out loud; helping me to accept the reality.

“He is no longer here, he is now in Heaven. I am no longer going to see him here at home. I won’t see him when I go to bed and when I wake up. I will do things without him and there will be things that will remind me of him. There will be moments when I will think about him, but he will not be here. I am planning his service and I will be ok.”

These are some of the things God led me to say out loud. Once I did, I felt a peace come over me and an acceptance of my current reality. The enemy had me in a faze, keeping me from accepting it and every time I would snap out of it, I would remember and just breakdown.

I had to disappear a few times while my family was over to just cry and pray. Loss, especially of your spouse is HARD. My supposed to be life partner. We were supposed to do life together. We were supposed to serve God together. We were supposed to do so much more than we did!! That makes me angry, and it hurts. 

Writing

The very thing that brought me joy and the very thing that I have loved to do, had now become the very thing I didn’t want to do. It was my husbands joy to read my blogs and anything I wrote. I can still here his words of affirmation and how my blog blessed him. This is the first blog, where I now know he is no longer here. I won’t be able to ask him, “Babe did you read my blog? What did you think?”

I still remember the first time I showed him a writing of mine. He was the only person I had ever shown. I trust him with everything. He was my truest best friend, in my entire life. That’s what hurts me the most, not having that anymore.

Writing reminds me of him, but all my writings for God. More than ever, I know I need to keep writing and share what I am going through, because I am not the only one going through such things. It hurts. Again, it’s the last thing I want to be doing, among a few other things.

I want to write and let out everything I feel, until I am no longer broken, until I am no longer hurting, until I no longer shed a tear; until I can finally think of my love and just smile.

His Heart & Life

My husband always had a heart for God and for people. His character, his personality… there isn’t a person who wasn’t impacted by the person he was. He gave his life to serve God and others.

He helped me in  many ways. I didn’t know until recently, that when he and I met, he was determined to help me and help me walk and grow in God. He literally did. He was my first real friend there, when I began attending the church. He knew all my secrets. He knew my past. He knew everything about me, yet he still loved me; unconditionally. Through him, God poured out his real love into my life. I knew acceptance, and I knew worth.

My husband has been used by God to bring healing and restoration and to show me that a woman could be respected, loved and truly cherished. I have been thinking about that lately and I have realized that through my husband, God set a standard for me on how I should be treated and see myself. He has shown me who I am and my worth. It has taught me to no longer feel the need to depend on another man, like I used to.

He has given me the courage to want only Him. He has healed that part of my life. He has strengthened me and set my true identity into motion. I don’t need another relationship to feel whole. I just need God.

I was my love’s first love. He waited on God for me. That I will always cherish. There is a quote I recently seen and it made me think of him. He would tell me how God told him I was the one. He was and will always be that special man to me.

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A Widow, But Not

The first thing that hit me hard was, “I am a widow. I am alone.” I took that pretty hard. I lost my best friend. The life I knew, immediately shaken and broken… until I received a revelation.

Jesus is the ultimate GROOM. I am His bride. I am not alone. 

I made a promise to myself that I want to live with the same kind of heart my husband had. I want a heart after God’s and for people. I want to honor my husband like that. That’s something he taught me. That’s something he imparted to me. That’s something that helped me grow in God and find that healing and restoration. I want to be able to do that for others. To be able to love them past their flaws, their past and help them see who they are in God and how God sees them.

He would always tell me how God sees me and he would live it out until I started believing it. Love was the hardest thing to accept, yet he was always patient with me. That’s what helped me open up more and more.

That’s how God is with us.

His love is patient… it never ceases and never gives up. 

 

 

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Best Friends since 2010. Love of my life since then.        Alfredo Hernandez Jr. April 16, 1979-August 31, 2018          I love you babe. See you later! 

God looked around his garden
And found and empty place.
He then looked down upon the earth,
and he saw your tired face.
He put his arms around you
And lifted you to rest.
God’s garden must be beautiful,
He always takes the best.
He knew that you were suffering,
He knew that you would never get
well on earth again.
He saw the road was getting rough,
And the hills were hard to climb.
So He closed your weary eyelids,
and whispered “Peace be thine.”
It broke our hearts to lose you,
But you didn’t go alone
For part of us went with you
The day God called you home.

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He is rejoicing with God, now. He is healed and free from sickness. He is finally worshipping God with so much freedom. That makes me happy. I know as days go by I will be stronger and ready to face new adventures, together with God.-Stephanie

Forgiveness, a powerful tool it is. It sets a prisoner free, later to discover that the prisoner was me. I have made mistakes, I know that full well. I am human. I am not perfect, and I do not claim to be. I have hurt the ones closest to me with words; with actions. I have looked back, tears I have cried. “I am sorry”, I cried out to You. I have asked for forgiveness, but do I really believe that I am? For it is easier to forgive those who hurt me, but why is it hard to set myself free from torment and guilt? The past days have not been kind, my stomach in chaos; I need to be set free. I am not the bad person the enemy makes me out to be. I am yours. I am your Daughter. I have been forgiven. Help me to believe it’s true. Help me to live in this truth;

“Whom the Son sets free, is free indeed.” -John 8:36

The Days Have Been Hard

Words cannot express how this past week has been. Tears have been cried. Things have happened that I never imagined would happen to us. My husbands health has been a storm! I have been dealing with anxiety, stress and panic attacks.

Never have I experienced such “anguish,” before. I have been in this place in the past, but this time it’s been hard. Waves of regret, waves of guilt, waves of condemnation have flooded my mind trying to get me to surrender.

But nonetheless, God has manifested in mighty ways. What He has been doing in my life hasn’t been easy. It’s been a rough encounter; one of discipline and of freedom. One of them being; seeing the wrong of my ways, attitudes and so on. It all came to me like a flood when things happened with my husband’s health.

We Want What We Want…

…but when it comes down to it actually happening, we automatically feel regret. That was me this last week. In my heart I have grown an attitude towards the situation in my marriage, which only came from selfishness. I had grown a callused heart towards God for how things have been going. Telling Him, “This is not what I imagined, or what I wanted.”

How quickly that changed when He allowed this storm to take place. When the thought of losing my husband became reality. I started to see where I was so wrong and began pleading to God for help; for changes.-Stephanie

One thing I have been struggling hard to do is, forgive myself. Everything that I had done wrong and was doing wrong came to my mind. Tears fell from my eyes and I began thinking, “How could I have been like that?! How could I have acted like that and treated him like that?” I felt so much guilt. I felt so much regret. It broke me. 

Forgiven

As soon as your request to God to be forgiven is released from your lips, you are. God is not a God who holds on to offenses or wishes to “punish” you, the way the world portrays Him to be. It’s our lack of belief because of what we feel, that causes us to feel unforgiven. We think, to be forgiven means we no longer feel the pain or some kind of guilt. We have to remember that guilt doesn’t come from God. I am not going to sit here and say that it doesn’t take time for you to start believing it, because it does. It’s been almost two weeks since everything happened and I have yet to fully believe that I am forgiven.

The reason being; I haven’t been able to forgive myself, fully. God already forgave me. I need to forgive myself and let go of all the wrong I have said and done. It’s been a slow process, but I am getting there. Each day it gets easier.

What brings me comfort is what His word says:

Where is another God like you, who pardons the guilt of the remnant, overlooking the sins of his special people? You will not stay angry with your people forever, because you delight in showing unfailing love. Once again you will have compassion on us. You will trample our sins under your feet and throw them into the depths of the ocean!- Micah 7:18-19

Learning From The Circumstance

In life, we will always go through problems. It’s been promised.

“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”-John 16:15

God has not withheld anything that will help us and equip us for what life throws at us. There are signs and warnings that we seem to overlook because we think we, “know it all.” When things come suddenly and we are caught off guard, we question God’s existence or whether or not He is really for us. 

Everything that we go through is never in vain. I have said that over and over, because it’s true. There has always been a lesson to learn in every experience I have had. This one being no exception. It’s been a huge learning experience. I saw that with the utmost humility.

I have been learning how to be a better wife and what God expects from me during this season. I have been seeing where I can improve and allowing Him to remold me into the woman He needs me to be. I have been learning that life doesn’t just stop in the midst of the storm. I have been taken out of my comfort zone to continue doing things as the helper to my husband.

I wrote something last night. I shared it on Instagram and as I wrote it, it was a revelation to me and what God has been doing in my life these past few days.

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  • “In Darkness He Is My Light.” It’s been a rough few days, today being one. I honestly find myself still struggling to trust God, fully. I know He is asking me to let go and let Him. I know He is wanting me to do something here, while my heart wants to be there. As a wife, we tend to have this nurturing spirit when it comes to our spouse (family) when they aren’t feeling well. It becomes a feeling that things would be better if you were by their side. What if you can’t always be right there? 
    I have been learning recently that life doesn’t just stop in the midst of the storm. I have been learning that as wives, we need to keep moving forward for our home, for our marriages, for our life & relationship with God. It’s in these moments that we have to trust God is there when we can’t be. It’s in those moments when we have to trust God to do what we can’t. It’s in those moments when we have to trust that God is there and working all things for our good. Wife, you are the helper. I have been learning that. I have been learning that being my husbands helper means I take care of things when he can’t. It means keeping my home in order when he can’t. It means staying connected to God for both of us when he can’t. My husbands health has taken a tole on him and what he’s been able to do. Soon I will be able to share what’s been happening, but in the mean time I stand strong and continue to trust God.
    🌸Wives, I pray for strength over your life. Those who are struggling with their spouses health, I pray for peace and comfort. I pray that no matter what your storm looks like, that you will find strength in God’s truth. I pray that God will guide you and show you what you are to do in the now. I pray for restoration and that God’s will be done. In Jesus Name. Amen. ✨Wife, You’re Not Alone. 

My Husbands Helper

After writing that, I finally got it. It finally clicked in my heart. It’s not easy to let go and let God. It’s not easy not being there 24/7, but it’s true. It’s POSSIBLE. (Luke 1:37) Life doesn’t just stop in the midst of the storm.

What I have being learning is, when our husbands can’t, we pick up the slack; spiritually, physically and in all aspects.  We seek God for guidance to do what we need to do. We take up the responsibilities, making sure things do not just fall apart. Wife, I get it. I know. You’re not alone in this.

You’re stronger than you feel. You’re stronger than the obstacles you’re currently facing. I am still waiting for things to get better, but in the midst of all this, I am trusting God. I am learning to let go of things I cannot change, and change the things I can. I am learning to pick up the slack for my home, for my marriage and for my family.

I am not doing it alone. I can assure you that. I have had to humble myself before Him and ask for forgiveness and for help.

Again and again, and again I have heard these words: “God is more interested in healing your inside, than He is at healing your circumstances.” 

A hard pill to swallow, but what good is it for Him to change our circumstances, when our hearts are the same and most likely will not appreciate what He does? This is for me. This is for you.

In order to fully trust God in the storms, is acknowledging that He did NOT cause the storm. The enemy paints a pretty picture that tries to turn us against God. All the bad things in life are caused by our enemy, not God, but He does allow them. The reasons are often unknown, but in all my experiences I have seen victory after victory. The sooner we recognize that the enemy only comes to: steal, kill and destroy, the sooner we are able to cling to God for help and see Him at work in our life and circumstances; giving life and life in abundance.-Stephanie

 

The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.-John 10:10 (NLT)

Song On My Heart

Who You Say I Am by Hillsong Worship