This year has not started off on the best foot for me. From day 1 (literally, not figuratively) I have experienced trial after trial. It seems as though everything I had carefully and perfectly and intentionally planned is one by one falling apart. This is the place in my life that I am known to run. My whole life, I have been a "runner" (now that on IS figurative! ha!). As soon as a trial faces my way, I fight until I am weak and then I run.
I can't tell you how many people have said that to me. This has cost me many cherished relationships in the past...
Recently, someone reached out to me regarding my process of finding self-forgiveness during my time of becoming an unwed mother.
When I began pouring out some of my heart on that matter, I realized that during that struggle, I reached a point where I could no longer run. The option to continue running from God, my family, my past, and my present was swept out from under me because I now had someone else's life to consider.
Flash forward a few years.
I could give you an Excel sheet of all of the trials I have faced since then. I could tell you how difficult marriage, motherhood, and business ownership can be. I can tell you about the loss of pregnancies. I can tell you about the broken relationships. I could tell you about the death my family has faced over the last four years. I could tell you about each and every heartbreak and all of the mistakes (both mine and others) that led to them.
But the truth is- I have been immensely blessed. I have a marriage that has overcome deep and dark battles. We have learned that every day is a war for our marriage and family and that it is a war worth fighting for. I have been BLESSED with two children who from the moment of their conception have shaped me and molded me in order to prepare me for the next season of my life. I have the opportunity to work hard at something I love and help cultivate a community of fellow entrepreneurs and teach them to live with intention.
I am so richly blessed.
So- why is it then that it seems as if these seasons of wilderness and trouble come and seem to linger with no end in sight?
Well- today, I found an answer to that question.
During the trouble that 2018 has brought I made an intentional commitment to do two things this year: 1) REST and 2) Speak Life.
The first is because I am by nature a busy person. I live for the hustle. I am drawn to the adrenaline and stress. BUT- it is incredibly unhealthy. I realized during the two wrecks I was in on New Years Day that perhaps God was trying to get my attention and draw me to a spirit of Rest.
Since then, I have also decided that I want this year to be a year where I am careful of what I say. I want to be intentional and speak love and life into my own life and the lives of others. I am THE WORST at this as I am a pessimist in my head but I have sensed such a change in my spirit since choosing to try to see the "life" in each circumstance and acknowledge it.
Because of these two decisions, I have also feeling a stirring to get back into intentional time in the Bible. I will be the first to admit that because I live for the hustle I almost never take time to read. Anything. Let alone my bible.
This morning was my very first day back in the scriptures and I started it by going to SHE READS TRUTH and reading their devotion for today. It was on Matthew 9:1-38 and was discussing Forgiveness. The study in and of itself was wonderful and powerful. At the top of the page they give scriptures to read in junction with the devotion they have written for the day. The last scripture was Hosea 2: 19-20 which reads:
"I will take you to be my wife forever.
I will take you to be my wife in righteousness,
justice, love, and compassion.
I will take you to be my wife in faithfulness,
and you will know the Lord."
As I read this, I was instantly drawn to the beauty of the wording. As a wedding photographer, I hear wedding vows almost weekly. I myself have spoken them. But there was something so delicate, beautiful, and sweet about the way this was written. I wanted some backstory. So- I went up to the start of the "section" of this chapter that read "ISRAEL'S ADULTERY FORGIVEN". That title alone should tell you that God is a god of love and forgiveness. Adultery is not an easy sin to forgive.
The very first verse was what I needed to read. It read:
"Therefore I am going to persuade her,
lead her to the wilderness,
and speak tenderly to her.
There I will give her vineyards back to her
and make the Valley of *Trouble
into a Gateway of Hope."
Now, obviously this is talking about the Israelite wondering in the wilderness for over a month. But- read those words and imagine that is YOU that He is saying this about.
(Pretend this is what God is saying about me) A bit of backstory: Abigail has been an imperfect person. She has done terrible things, she has been unfaithful. She has tested boundaries and walked in darkness. She is a runs from her problems and she runs from Me.
"Therefore, I am going to persuade her, lead her to the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her. There I will give her vineyards back to her and make her Valley of Trouble into a Gateway of Hope."
---- LIKE WHOA.----
It is my hope that sharing this here on my blog will allow someone else to see themselves and their situation in the light of love. Not in the darkness of the valley of trouble. That they will find comfort in the wilderness and know that the gateway of hope is coming.
I am a music person so for me, it's important to have music that fits my moment. If you're the same way-- I suggest listening to "Seasons" by Hillsong. It fits especially well with this cold weather too.
I hope to share more of my soul here in the future. Let me know if you even want to hear it.