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.
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.
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.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.-Psalm 34:18
As the days have drawn near to Christmas, my emotions have been like a rollercoaster. I have felt the ups and definitely the downs. Today was just not the same.
My day started with going to service. Today was actually the Christmas service; although it was a great one and I saw a friend who I hadn’t seen in a long time & my heart was filled with so much joy when I saw him, but it was just not the same.
I am not the only one who felt my husband’s absence. I am not the only one who knew it wasn’t the same.
To top it off it was my mother in-laws birthday today.
Looking at her face while a little boy was playing his violin in front of the congregation, I knew we were both feeling the exact same thing. We were missing him. I just kept thinking about her and what she must have been feeling; her son no longer here and it being the first birthday that she was not greeted by him.
With tears running down my face, I write this blog.
No one knows the emptiness we carry in our hearts… one that only God can fill.
I Know The Plans…
When I look back at all this and begin to doubt or not understand, all I hear is; “I know the plans I have for you.” I hear it in my heart. I hear it in a preaching… I just hear it over and over; like today.
Slowly I am starting to see it. I am starting to understand things after having confronted them. I have had to stare my husband’s death in the face and allow God to heal me. I had to relive those painful memories over and over until they no longer tormented me.
The other day I had to relive that painful moment where I was texting everybody to let them know that; “Freddy just passed away.” I remembered and felt how I did that very moment. I just started crying and immediately tried to think of something else, but I couldn’t. I had to replay that over and over until it no longer hurt me.
That’s what I mean when I say I have had to confront a lot of things…
From my experience, it is necessary to relive such things in order for healing to come into your life. We make the mistake of thinking that it’s not necessary. Some people can’t handle it and choose to bury it deep down inside, not realizing that it’s causing them harm. To not confront something head on, is to leave a door open for something to get worse. Nothing ever gets better by avoiding the problem.
There were so many things I was running away from. I was running away from all this pain, instead of allowing God help me through it. I was becoming like the Prodigal Son. I ran away from home to do what I thought was best for me:
Hanging out with new people. Going to a new church. Doing things that I normally didn’t do… and so on. It was a lie trying to keep me from dealing with the real problem inside.
Me running away only lasted so long until I felt God tell me to “come” back home. (My home church.) I had been visiting another church after thinking it was what I was led to do. I was wrong.
Slowly depression was creeping in. It was on a Monday; during prayer at my home church that I felt God tell me this:
“The only way you are going to win this battle is under your covering.”-God
I knew exactly what He meant. The week before I had been feeling so drained and so unprotected against everything I was going through. I was feeling so alone I was becoming vulnerable and spiritually weak. After prayer I left feeling covered; protected by God.
I no longer felt alone, but that I was in my right place. I was with the right, “army,” for this battle.
I have been noticing a complete change in my life; my attitude and mentality. I am maturing; I am growing. I have surrendered everything to God and have been allowing Him into my life, to be that friend I am longing for; that friend I lost when my husband passed away.
For someone to hold on to this promise: “I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord. “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you; plans to give you hope and a future…” requires so much faith. It’s like I have jumped off the cliff with the assurance that He will catch me. And He has been.
The Ultimate Promise
I have made God so many promises and not kept most of them; but this one I have even though it’s been so hard!!! Since day one of my walk with Him, I promised God over and over that:
No matter what I faced or no matter what came against me; I wouldn’t give up or let go.That I was willing to go through whatever it took to be where He wanted me to be and have all that He had planned for me.
It has not been easy and He knows there have been times I wanted to walk away.. but it was because of my relationship with my husband that kept me there.
No matter what I have faced or will face, I know I am the house that has been built on the Rock and not the sand.
Therefore these storms that have been coming at my life… cannot knock me down.
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
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
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.
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
Reach out to God and He will take you by the hand. -Stephanie
The holidays have arrived, I don’t think I was ready like I assumed I was. The week came and sadness grew. All I wanted was to have my love here again. With sadness in my heart; depression tried to make it’s way in. The power of God within me, immediately the door shut. I grew strong, I was able to stand. Thankful I became, for God has always been…
The Week of Thanksgiving
Of course, the week didn’t start off well. Monday came and I didn’t want to get out of bed for work. There was something going on inside of me; a battle. I was becoming sad and depression tried to come in. I was becoming very unhappy about the holidays. All I wanted was my husband back.
The thought of my first one without him in seven years, it was hard. Immediately I was thinking of not doing anything. I just wanted to stay home. I wanted to revert and be alone. I wanted to just sulk and be miserable; without anybody seeing me…
On days when I miss my husband so much, I feel him. There are times I feel that he is going to walk through the door or that I am going to hear him tell me something I need to hear. I still feel him so close; and that’s what’s hard… knowing that he isn’t.
Always Something To Be Thankful For
To be honest, at the beginning of the week it became kind of hard to see the what I was truly thankful for. My emotions were all over the place and the last thing I felt was thankful. I couldn’t see the good because I was starting to focus of the who was missing from my life, now.
God always has a way to open our eyes and cause us to see what we cannot see on our own. When we believe that there is no way, He makes a way; for whatever circumstance it may be.
“Enter His gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to Him and praise His name.
-Psalms 100: 4
In the most difficult seasons there is always something to be thankful for.
“Today I am thankful. Though there is sadness in my heart; I can smile and say, ‘Thank You, God.’ I say thank you because for the last seven years I was blessed with having my love with me during the holidays. Today marks the first Thanksgiving without him. I am not bitter. I am not angry. I am thankful because though he isn’t here anymore, God and my family/friends are. I honestly wondered how I would feel today and in all honesty, I’m ok. There are certain things that I am going to stay away from because they just remind me so much of babe. Earlier this week I broke down and the thought of everybody else moving on while I’m still here grieving. I told myself that I was going to stay home and do nothing…I didn’t feel like celebrating at the time. I woke up feeling the same way, but I told God how much I needed Him and I asked for His help. He answered. I am thankful for everyone in my life and who has made the effort. Words cannot express the gratitude and how much it’s helped me in this season. There is just so much to be thankful for, especially when you can’t feel or see it. I am thankful that my husband is home and happy! I am thankful to have my dad here another year. I am thankful for my family and friends. I am thankful.”
“There are no words that can express the longing in my heart to have you here with me. I miss you everyday and I often wish I could hold you again. I miss your voice and the soothing words you often spoke. My heart aches, but at the same time, it rejoices. I know you’re happy. Because of that I will be too. Oh, how I love you.-Stephanie
Avoiding The Familiar
Yesterday, it being Thanksgiving I broke away from something that was familiar. I went to my sisters house rather than my mother in-laws house like I had originally planned. Deep down I felt bad for not going over to visit.
Though I felt bad, a part of me honestly felt relief. I didn’t want to be reminded that my husband was no longer here. I didn’t want to talk about him like he isn’t here anymore; though he’s not. I was a coward, honestly. Little by little I have been avoiding familiar things because I don’t want to experience the way it will make me feel. I don’t like crying knowing I cannot bring him back. I don’t like feeling heartbroken and desperate to have him back again… so I’ve tried to avoid it.
It’s so easy to stay away from things that will make us feel uncomfortable, but we can only do that for so long, until God places us in a place where we have no choice but to face those things. I have been there many times.
I Don’t Want To Be The Same
I enjoyed myself with my family. I let loose and had a drink, or two, or… I didn’t care. I was laughing, I was having fun; I was being someone that I no longer am. It felt good to be around my family and cracking jokes and making fun of the things they said and did. I had missed that.
I left feeling relaxed, but at the same time thinking about how I didn’t do that when my husband was around, so why now? I know there’s a void there that I am still trying to fill with things other than God. A void of loneliness; companionship. Lately I have been desiring another man in my life; so much so that I have been looking. I have been wondering if that man would love me as much as my husband did or would he even accept me how my husband did.
It’s been such torment.
I don’t want to be that woman who longs for men. I don’t want to be that woman who cannot be single. I don’t want to need relationships to make me feel complete.
I want God to be ENOUGH and all I need. My Confession: I am no longer afraid of being single.
For The Woman Who Struggles
I am not perfect. The mistake I make is continuing to see myself as a widow; through the eyes of paid and loss. The mistakes I make; the sins I commit open doors to lies that get me to doubt. Each day I need more and more of God and less of what my flesh desires. I need to start opening up my life to God so that I can be used.
If all I did was pretend that everything was ok and not share the ugly and the real; it would help no one. I cry. I often doubt that God is all I need; therefore having the desire for a man. I often doubt that I will have another man who loved me and accepted me like my husband did. I am scared that I won’t be able to open up they way I did with my husband… I see it now all this is because I haven’t allowed Him to fill me completely and I have not fully trusted him.
For The Widow
In the midst of what I was feeling and going through, I couldn’t help but feel for other women going through the same thing. Understanding their pain, yet knowing that there is someone who could comfort them…I was led to share this:
🌸For the woman who grieves; you’re not alone. In these days as sadness comes to you, know that there is hope beyond the pain. There is strength for the weakness and joy for the sadness.-Stephanie
My prayer: Father, cover every woman who is struggling. Protect them from the lies that try to bring confusion and anger. May You, the God of all comfort, wrap them in Yours arms and fill them with a peace that surpasses all understanding. May their hearts be filled with joy in Your company and the company of loved ones. On days of celebration I pray that they are touched by Your love and reminded that they are valued and cherished by You. I pray that the days become easier and they grow stronger. I pray for blessings over them and that all things fall into place; just as it’s been done for me. I declare courage over every widow. I declare protection for their hearts and minds; that nothing will harm them.
You are protected by God and covered by the blood of Jesus. No weapon formed against you will prevail. I pray that you have the revelation of how special you are and that this is not the end, but only the beginning of something great. You are loved. In Jesus name, Amen. 🌸
✨”He heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds.” Psalms 147:3 NLT
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
freedom from adulteration or contamination.
cleanness, clearness, clarity, freshness;
sterility, healthiness, safety
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.
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.
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.
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.
It’s almost been two months since my husband passed away and there are things I still find myself hiding from because of guilt and also fear. There are days when I am so happy, filled with joy and excitement for the new things I am doing, and there are days like today when I just feel so sad; that’s when these kinds of feelings rush in.
Guilt; you’re not my friend.
I cancelled on a friend. I was scared. I felt guilty, like I was doing something wrong. I kept playing the scenario over and over in my head. The more I thought about it, the more I just wanted to hide away. I often wonder when I will be ready to be able to do those things without feeling guilty. I wonder how long it will take until I fully have the freedom to live without guilt because he isn’t here anymore.
I have been so impatient with myself and this whole grieving process. It’s so new to me. Who knew that someone who was always emotional is now having a hard time expressing her emotions and knowing that it’s ACTUALLY OK TO?
It’s like I am trying to hide behind this fake persona at times. (But I know I’m not.) There really are days when I feel so happy. I guess in “hiding” how I really feel at times helps me from falling into that victim trap and keeps me from shutting everyone and everything out. I can’t help it at times.
There are things that I am excited for, for it’s bringing my life freedom. There are things that I still fear, for it makes me feel uncomfortable. There are things that I am ready for, and things I find myself shying away from because I am just not ready… I wonder when it will be.-Stephanie
The days are getting better. I am getting stronger.
I take a good look at my life. Though so many things have change, I still find myself holding on to the past; to my husband. I find that I am ready to move forward, yet there are certain things I am not yet ready for. Something so small, yet a big deal it is to me. God knows my heart and sees it all. He is my shield.
God is my shield; my protector
When I needed You, You showed Yourself. You revealed Yourself to me in a mighty way. You reminded me that a shield You are for me. In my heart You placed this word, a true revelation it was. I was in awe; for what You revealed to me is what I needed at that very time. You amaze me; it never fails. You show up in my life, the very thing I need. I have everything in You. This is true.
I did something a little different with my blog. I just wrote without having a plan of what to write. I just let out what I had so heavy on my heart lately. You know what, it actually felt good.
I feel like I have been breaking free from patters and routines. I have been learning that my relationship with God is more than being inside four walls. I have been breaking so many barriers off my life that it is leading me to fully and fully trust that God is always with me and not just waiting inside a church building. It’s been so refreshing.
My life has been taking on some amazing changes; I like to call it renovations. I am doing things not on “script,” but things I am feeling led to do. I have been praying. I have been seeking His wisdom and guidance.
My life is NOT THE SAME, ANYMORE. I am not the same person.
I woke up this morning; thinking of this, thinking of that. I sat it all aside to find You here. Before I opened my eyes You were here; preparing our time together. So many things to do, but only one is worth it to me. Meeting You in our place, so much joy it brings my anxious heart. You see everything within me; I cast my cares on You. Everything that attempts to drown me. You’re the only One I desire. I cried out to You this morning and I gave You ever desire and all things I yearn for. I know that in Your hands they are safe. I know You review all things and put in order what is of You and remove what’s not. My heart I open to You. Lead me and Your will be done. You are mine and I am Yours. It’s because of you that I do not sink when storms come my way.
Like A Waterlily
They float above the water. They do not sink. God created them to float and manifest their beauty. So are we when we learn to trust God and step out of the boat. We will not sink, but we will radiate the beauty that so entangles us. His beauty within us will shine forth for all to see. We will not sink. We will not drown when the storms come our way. -Stephanie
Learning To Live Righteously
Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you the desires of your heart.-Matthew 6:33
It’s been almost two months since my husband went to be with God. Everyday since it all happened I have been struggling to walk, “humbly” with my God. I have been anxious about which path to take. I have been worried about what others would think of me about my decisions I am feeling Papa leading me to make and so on.
Living righteously? There have been times where I felt like I wasn’t. After reading about Abraham and how God led him and how he just believed, showed me that there is where I currently find myself.
The word says that Abraham just believed God and God counted him as righteous.
It shows me that being righteous in God’s eyes has nothing to do with what you do or don’t do, it’s about surrendering and choosing to believe God even when you do not see. It’s saying, “Lord I trust you even though I don’t understand. It’s pushing past what you feel to believe God and His ways.”
That is me…
Seek first; Seek God first in everything you do. Seek out His will, choose to believe Him and everything that you desire; according to His will, will be given.
I was speaking to a friend two days ago about how I had to learn to fight. I was thrown into the front line and I had to defend myself against the attacks of the enemy. When I say defend myself, I mean I had to trust God completely for help to get through the death of my husband and even while he was in the hospital, dying.
I was attacked with anxiety, panic, depression and so many other things. In the midst of the hardest moments of my husband dying in the hospital, I had no choice but to learn how to fight back against the enemy.
I had no choice, because I wasn’t going to allow depression or anxiety take over my life. It’s been a spiritual fight ever since. I know it had to happen that way or else I would have never learned how to fight, the way I have learned to. I wouldn’t be experiencing this kind of growth if none of this happened.
Everyday it’s about trusting God even when I can’t see and even when I don’t understand what He is doing out of all this.
It’s hard, but the outcome of trusting Him has been such a beautiful blessing in my life. I am not the same woman. I am stronger. I am wiser. I am more courageous than ever. I am learning to step out of the boat and onto the water, knowing that I will not sink. His love surrounds me and embraces me. I will never fall.
My Friday Night
Last night was a blessing for both my spiritual life and life in general. I stepped out of my comfort zone and visited a church for Worship Night.
Friday nights have been my “girls night.” I started joining my friend and her group of women from her Life Group. It’s been so refreshing to be surrounded by new people and hearing their stories. It’s been such a blessing for me and it’s been helping me get through all that I have been facing.
It’s allowed me to open up and share my experiences and what I have been going through.
Back to Worship Night; I wasn’t going to go because guilt had been forming in my mind. I was worrying about well, what would “they say or think about me coming here and worshipping with a different church…?” I was slowly backing down from the thought of going and enjoying God’s presence.
But towards the end of the day, I just felt to go. I am so glad I did. It wasn’t a coincidence that the songs they sang were ones that God used to comfort me during my husbands passing. It wasn’t a coincidence that God prepared something for me there.
I walked out blessed and feeling so much peace. A peace that I haven’t felt in such a long time. He spoke words of love into my heart all over again and He reminded me that I am not alone.
There was a time towards the end of the night that we all participated in communion. Before taking of the bread and juice, I received a beautiful vision of Jesus…
It was one I haven’t had before. It was a revelation that I needed in this time of my life. It was powerful and a tremendous blessing for my life and what I am being led to do.
I saw Jesus standing before me taking on Him the beatings; the criticism and all the judgement so I wouldn’t have to. It spoke to me in such a profound way and encouraged me not to worry about those things anymore, because He endured it all FOR ME.
It was God’s way of saying; “Do not worry about what they will say about you. Do not worry about the criticism you will go through. Do not worry about the stones people may throw at you with their words…”
“Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but trusting the Lord means safety.”
He was showing me that He is my defender. He is my protector. He is my SHIELD.
I just left that place so blessed. So refreshed and so at peace. I left there with courage. I traded my fear for courage and that’s what I received.
I will step out of the boat and on to the water. I will not sink, because He is with me.
Changes are inevitable. They happen whether we want them to or not. I was one who never dealt well with change. I was always used to having things a certain way because it was my source of comfort and if anything was out of order I didn’t know how to handle it. Even more so, now. My life, shaken. My world, broken. I didn’t know what to do or how to feel. I now find myself purposely making little changes to things around me; removing all familiarity that my husband and I knew. I began in our bedroom…-Stephanie
Changes Bring Healing
Today, my day off I had a hard time studying. My mind all over the place. I spent time with Papa and read my devotional of the day, but I kept feeling antsy to get up and do something. I couldn’t stay still.
I had ordered curtains for the room, to divide my bathroom/closet area from the rest of the room, but when I went to order the curtains I didn’t pay any attention to the length. HA! So when they came in I was disappointed, they were too short.
This morning I kept staring at them because I knew I still wanted to do something with them, I just didn’t know what. I asked God for wisdom. I ended up using them as a backdrop for my bed. (I ended up rearranging my bedroom.) I needed to.
The way the bedroom was, is how my husband and I left it the day before we went off on our “weekend getaway…” The very weekend where he NEVER CAME BACK HOME. So, this change was helpful for me.
It was like a new start for me.
Though I have been making all these kinds of changes, I still can’t touch his things; clothes, cologne and stuff like that. I just can’t. The thought of doing so just makes me so sad. There are days I stand at the closet, stare at his clothes, touch them and just start crying. I begin to remember how he looked in them.
There have been times where I’ve laid my head on his clothes, the ones still hanging and just cried. It’s not time for me to let go.
This Wasn’t A Breakup
I have been thinking about how things used to be before I met my husband… how it was so easy for me to throw out anything that reminded me of an old boyfriend or friend that hurt me in attempts to heal and forget all the memories and feelings.
Back then it was so helpful to get rid of anything that reminded me of pain, hurt or anything that made me uncomfortable; sadness, anger, etc. I was able to just push it away and forget about it.
It’s not like that, now. I can’t do that anymore.
He wasn’t just some guy.
He was my husband. He was my best friend.
God is allowing me to go through all of this; this process to bring healing to my heart. I can’t just push it to the side and pretend that it didn’t happen or pretend that I was never married or anything like that. I can’t throw out the memories that my husband and I had. They are still apart of me and who I have become. He was a big part of my life, and the person I am today.
I am still trying to hold on to him and his things, anything that reminds me of him because it brings me comfort! It makes me feel like he is still here. There have been times where I can feel him or I can hear him talking to me and telling me everything is going to be ok.
One Step At A Time
All these changes I have been making have helped me in my healing process. It’s been just one step in front of the other. I have mentioned before that I have been learning how to walk, again. I have been learning my place as a widow and who I now am without my husband.
It’s been hard. I didn’t want to get up from where the enemy knocked me down, but I knew I needed to. I knew I had to. Each day has had a challenge of it’s own, that’s why I no longer worry about tomorrow.
I have learned to take life one day at a time, trust God with my tomorrow and be absolutely grateful that He’s allowed me to see it.
If there is one thing I have learned in ALL OF THIS it’s this: not taking life or any one for granted. Things happen in a blink of an eye and you never know if it’s your last day or someone you care about.
I Am Not Ready
I mean this in a few aspects.
I am not ready to let my husband go. You know how I know? Because I still yearn for that companionship. It may sound backwards, but it’s not. To let my husband fully go, is me looking to someone else to fill that emptiness. If that were the case then I would be the same old person I was before I met my husband and allowed Jesus into my life.
Instead I have been looking to God and his word for that wholeness. The very fact that I am still struggling to let my husband go is the very fact that I am in so much need of God and deliverance of this trauma I experienced almost two months ago.
The last place I will find that “cure,” is in another relationship.
I hold on because I am scared to let go. I don’t want anybody else, though the flesh screams and wishes there was someone else to talk to and have here with me.
I am not looking for that and I am thankful that it hasn’t found me.
Like those who are addicted to something; I was addicted to being in relationships. Back then, they were the very thing I turned to, to fill voids in my life… the only thing that God had the ability to do.
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!
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.
Greek: Lupeó (loo-peh-o)
to distress, to grieve
to experience deep, emotional pain (sadness), i.e. severe sorrow (grief).
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
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
I just want to hold you. I ran to you like the little girl I am, in your eyes. I threw myself in your arms and tightly I held you. That’s all I want to do; expressing my gratitude for all You have done for me. I am thankful. Though my heart still hurts, You give me strength to wake up each morning and get through the day. Papa I am stepping out of my comfort zone; I can hear how proud You are of me. My story coming forth; a beautiful masterpiece it’s becoming.
I am a giggly child excited about what is coming. I jump up and down clapping my hands at the thought of Your goodness in my life. There is no love like Yours; there is no love like Yours. I adore you, I love you. ❤
Learning To Walk
In my time with Papa, I felt this urge to just hug him. I saw myself like a little girl running to my Father and just wrapping my arms around Him. I am thankful and I am beyond blessed by what He has been doing in my life these past few weeks; since my husband’s death.
I see Him moving around me, I see Him moving in my life… in every thing regarding me. I see how He is using my life to inspire others and at certain times I think to myself… how can it make such an impact on others? When I think something is small, God magnifies it for others to see; to see Him through my life and circumstance.
Lately I have been stepping out of my comfort zone like never before. I am learning to walk on my own with God. I am learning to open myself up to new and exciting things that He is leading me to and the people He is now placing in my life. It’s a season where I cannot stay quiet about what has been going on in my life.
Sometimes I take a small step back to acknowledge everything that is happening in my life and I am in awe. I just think; “Lord, it’s all you!” It really is because I have no idea how I am able to walk with so much peace, strength, courage and confidence, especially since it’s been only a month that my husband went HOME.
I give God all the glory. ❤
It’s A New Day
I found myself reflecting on my life and how I have been given a unique opportunity. A new beginning in my walk with God. I was telling my pastora (pastor’s wife) that I have been given a new opportunity to serve Him.
I have said this before, but the way it sounds is not how I mean it. Now that I have become a widow, I feel free. Free to do what I am supposed to do. I don’t mean that in a bad way. It’s just something that I can’t really explain.
I am free to move. I am free to go where God is leading me. I am free to serve.
That’s the unique thing about it, especially since I never thought I would be a widow at my age.
I stepped out of my comfort zone and said “yes,” to God. I said, “take my broken and put me together the way You see fit.” I said, “here I am, Your will be done.” He took me at my word and has begun His perfect work in my life.
When I Cannot See
In this season of my life, I am like Abram, before he was named Abraham. I find myself tuning my ear into God’s frequency and saying, “yes.” I am slowly stepping out of all that has been so familiar and comfortable for me, into the unknown that He is leading me into.
It’s has been such a struggle. My faith has been tested, but even then I surrendered my life. I have known that God doesn’t need much from us to do something big. He says if we only have faith as small as a mustard seed He can do amazing things.
He has taken my mustard seed and has begun a good work. The biggest struggle has been not knowing where, how or why.
Abram was told to leave his native land, his family; basically everything that hindered him. That’s where I find myself. What I learned is, those places of “comfort,” are not just physical places or things… it can also be emotional things.
For example: I always hid behind isolation. For a long time that was my comfort place; a distorted way of thinking from the enemy. I thought that pushing others or myself way was a safe place. It was a comfort for me so that I wouldn’t confront those difficult things.
In this season God is challenging so many other women to confront such things that they think are comfortable. He is wanting to lead them into the unknown, but where it will be a blessing for them. He is wanting to expand their faith and do great and mighty things in their life, but only if they have that faith to trust Him even when they can’t see the outcome yet.
God will never ask us to leave something that is so familiar to us only to abandon us in the wilderness. On the contrary, He is leading us into something prosperous, something wonderful and that is going to be a huge blessing to us and those around us.
In this season, God is taking all that I thought was insignificant and turning it into something beautiful that He is starting to manifest to others around me. He has been taking me through this unknown and revealing to me so many wonderful things.
Through the death of my husband, God has been calling me out and telling me to get up and walk. Well, walk where? I don’t know. I still don’t know what is going to come out of all that has happened to me. I don’t have all the answers and I definitely do not know where I will end up. I trust Him.
Like Abram, I am being tested. God’s promises cannot come to pass in my life until I fully trust and obey God. Abram would eventually become the “Father of many nations,” but first God has to test him and Abram had to have that faith to obey and go into the unknown.
The Lord said to Abram, “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you.” -Genesis 12:1
I was sharing with a group of women how I used to be. I was opening up about how I used to need to know every single detail before I jumped into it. I needed to know who was going to be there, how to get from here to there and so on.
I needed to plan out everything before doing it. I hid behind my husband. He was my shield in those moments I felt so uncomfortable. But now I felt like I have been pushed to the front line, where I cannot hide behind anything anymore.
I have been fully exposed, but for a reason. I had been such a timid person for so long that God had no choice but to remove that shield in order for me to not have the opportunity to hide. In the midst of this exposure I have had to learn how to trust God. I have also learned how to fight on my own, with Him.
I have had to confront a lot of things that I always just pushed to the side. I am a stronger woman now, I am learning how to stand in the gaps for others and be that fighter God called me to be. I am not a timid woman anymore. I am not an easy target for my enemy anymore.
What God allows to happen is for a reason. It’s never to harm us, but to help us grow.
To this day, I still don’t know why things have happened, but what I do see is that I am growing from it and being used to reach women around me. I am fighting for those who are still trapped and chained by what life has thrown at them.-Stephanie
I am standing in the gap for them and I am not backing down or giving up.
Talking To My Husband
A part of the healing process of my current grieving has been, “talking to my husband,” as if he was here. I know that he isn’t and I don’t do it in a way that isn’t biblical. I am fully aware that he is gone and his spirit isn’t lingering around. I know where he is.
But the thing that has been so hard for me was bot being able to text him or tell him about my day, especially now that I have been working. Last night I was asked to speak at the women’s life group. It was such a blessing for me and a step into what God is leading me to do.
On the drive home I was feeling that urge to talk to him and tell him how it went, so I did. I spoke as if I was directly talking to him and all of a sudden, I felt that he was telling me, “I am proud of you.” In my mind I heard his voice and tears began to form in my eyes.
I know it is God. God is proud of me. I know my husband would be so proud of me and all that I am doing and especially about the woman I am transforming into. There’s still apart of me that hurts and wishes I was more like this when he was still here. Sometimes I am hard on myself and think why did I have to wait until this happen for me to open up to God?
The answer is, some of us are so stubborn and hard headed that we need to go through something like this for God to finally get ahold of us. Even them, some people just rebel. I didn’t want to. I didn’t give myself a choice. I chose to surrender and trust God with my life.
In all honesty, that has helped me in my time of grieving. That’s why others are able to see me go through life with strength, courage, peace and so much more, that it leaves them in awe.
I have heard so many times, “I don’t think I would be as strong as you if I went through something like that…” My response is, what you’re facing might not be as big as what I am going through, but at the moment it’s big in your life… and if you’re able to remain strong in that, then you will be able to stand when something harder comes at you. Everything is just a moment of strengthening for something greater.
In God’s eyes, it’s a big deal. He cares for you and your circumstances.
So am learning how to walk this road of faith; of trust. I am walking into the unknown and I am no longer afraid of it because I know the One who goes before me. The verses below have been such a blessing for my life in this season. I have been learning how good He is how He is the good Shepherd. He leads us on the right path. He protects us from harm and cares for us.
Applying it to my life, I am the lamb, He is my life’s shepherd. He has been leading me into new and exciting things, BECAUSE I HAVE ALLOWED HIM TO. I am not fighting Him anymore because I have fully understood that He is for me and not against me.