O my soul, bless God.
From head to toe, I’ll bless his holy name!
O my soul, bless God,
don’t forget a single blessing! Psalm 103:1-3 (MSG)

The end of 2012 is near, and I am thankful to have some extra time today to reflect on it. I am thankful for how far we have come, I am still learning to understand the turns our lives took, and I know through it all God is good and has provided much. My greatest joy in life is my family, what God has given me. My greatest dream has been to find a man of God whom I can share my life with, to be blessed with the amazing and extremely challenging role of motherhood, and to know with greater certainty that no matter what direction my life should take--I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. I have many reasons to praise my God every single day, but the greatest is to know I have a Savior, that Jesus loves me, that I am saved and God will not forget me and will always take care of me. Life is always going to hand us disappointment, but God never disappoints!

We are looking forward to 2013, to seeing where God leads us next in ministry, in meeting new goals, and in continuing to live our lives as He intends. We will continue to walk the road of life with confidence in knowing God is not finished with us and the best is yet to come! I am praying for each of you, family and friends, near and far, that God richly blesses you, that you will seek to be a better you than you have ever been, and that you will know each and every day how blessed and loved you are!

Blessings to you from the Freeman family!
My heart is heavy today, not just because of the school shooting in Connecticut, but because I am very much aware of how our nation, our world needs a Savior. How do we make sense of this, any of this and a number of other tragedies that has occurred and unfolded in our communities? And then, how do we help our children deal with this? I have seen some of the coverage today and I am rocked to my core by how very short life can be. What is most difficult to swallow--God knew this was going to happen today and He did not intervene to stop it. How do we make sense of it? You and I may not want to swallow this in the raw state of emotion and grief, but here it is.

He makes all things work together for my good!

Check it:

Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good. Romans 8:26-28 MSG

It doesn't compute right now, because so many of us are outraged and brokenhearted. How will these families move forward? The families of those killed--oh, my word, the loss, the sorrow cannot be contained in words and I cannot fathom what they are experiencing right now. The children, the teachers, all those who were witness to and survived--how will they move forward with this experience marking their lives? It is incomprehendable, unimaginable and no words can provide them with absolute comfort. I have shed tears more than once today as I have tried to put myself in their shoes, and watched as this tragedy has continued to unfold. What can we do? How can we contribute toward their comfort and healing? Pray. God must be weeping with us today, because as certain as this day was to happen He is certain to be grieving right alongside us as well. I hope that out of this, we should each take more time to appreciate the time we have with each other every single day. Whatever you are doing today, every day of your life, choose to move forward cherishing more of what you have rather than running around like a chicken with its head cut off trying to do this, get that, keep up with the insane pace of our current society. Perhaps part of God's good to come out of this is to do just that-stop and appreciate this life He has given us! I know there is so much more to understand, that I cannot understand because my mind and my heart can't take it. Certainly God will make sense of it and explain it to me one day when I stand before Him. Until then, instead of wallowing in the senselessness of the tragic occurrences in our world, I will choose to keep loving others as Jesus did, counting my blessings every single day and open my heart to what more I can be doing to give back to my community. There is always something more that we can do. Maybe that is part of the good God intends to come out of this too.

Christmas is just a few short weeks away, and while I am looking forward to it and enjoying the season and all the festivities leading up to it, I am also mindful today in particular of those who are struggling, hurting, in a very dark time. It probably feels as if there is no solution, and it may even seem as if there's no way to climb out of the hole you are in. As Ryan and I are coming to the end of 2012 and looking back at what we have experienced, I find myself asking more questions than finding answers. In fact, there are questions I have no answer for at all. I am quite frankly dumbfounded, at a loss for words to describe, to understand. I think I am finding on this journey of faith, as I continue to talk with God about it, and explore what the Word has to say about it, study a number of resources, find any source for answers---some of them may not come until I stand before Him. I don't like that. I don't like that I can't figure it out, that I can't get a full grasp on it, that it is not meant for my tiny human brain to comprehend. How many times have any one of us wished we could have the answer for someone we know who is in pain? We have all been touched personally by something that has occurred close to us, to someone we love and would do anything for. If only we had a magic wand in our back pocket to whip out and make it instantly better, right? Well, there's a reason for it and believe it or not, God intends it for our good. I think it is remarkable to consider ourselves at our best when we are broken. When we are broken, when we find ourselves finally in this place of complete and utter helplessness, when it seems all hope is lost and we've hit the dark and dirty bottom, that's when it happens. He begins to make us into precisely who we are intended to be from the beginning.

A great song came back to me today and I had to look it up and listen on you tube today. Crystal Lewis, oh my word the girl can sing and has such a gift. This one stuck to me years ago and has come back around. It fits with where I am at right now. This is just the place He intends for each of us to be, and although we can't make sense of the hurt, the struggle, why it seems like it will never end, the truth is He is there with us, all along, and ready to make us new. You will heal, you will come through this, my friend, and He will provide for you.

When sorrow seems to surround you
When suffering hangs heavy o'er you head
Know that tomorrow brings wholeness and healing
God knows your need, just believe what He said

When what you've done keeps you from moving on
When fear wants to make itself at home in your heart
Know that forgiveness brings wholeness and healing
God knows your need just believe what He said

I once was lost but God has found me
Though I was bound I've been set free
I've been made righteous in His sight
A display of His splendor all can see

He gives beauty for ashes
Strength for fear
Gladness for mourning
Peace for despair

(Crystal Lewis/Ron Kenoly, from the album "Beauty for Ashes")

Trust and obey..small but powerful words

I found myself digging deeply in my spirit this morning during my devotional. Something caught my attention, grabbed me and made me stop and think about the condition of my heart. Faith is hard, trusting God is hard, and all too often I find myself feeling a draw to plant my feet equally in both courts—God’s and mine. At what point in our lives and after experiencing a hand full of difficult times, do we suddenly find ourselves so skeptical of God, of everyone, of everything we have known for so long? Is this a step in our growth as Christ-followers? Is this precisely the point God wants us? So in the midst of my devotional this morning the words suddenly became tangible, I could picture the description and myself fully in it. It starts out by defining believing as a decision, that faith does not come from hearing the Word of God alone, but it involves the active decision. As we begin our relationship with Christ, we begin this journey toward a stronger, greater faith in Him. As we trust Him with more, our faith grows more. Next comes the part that grabbed me—
“…the Spirit keeps reaching for your hands so He can pull you forward. That’s when you must decide to believe—or you resist and stay exactly where you are in your Christian experience.” (Joyce Meyer Ministries, joycemeyer.org, “Battlefield of the Mind” Devotional)
What stopped me when I read this, was my own realization that I think there have been too many moments the last year or so when I’ve expected God to do something for me, and when it didn’t happen the way I’d thought it should, I found myself struggling to believe, and my faith wounded. Instead of trusting God to have His purpose for the worst moments of my life when I perceived He was not moving or speaking, I became frustrated and impatient, trying desperately to understand why.
It is in those moments that I realize I have a choice, to dig my heels into my frustration and disappointment, or reach for the Spirit so He can help me move forward, make the decision to believe and as a result grow in my faith in Christ. I can choose to be stuck in my need to understand why God does what He does and let that determine my obedience to Him, or I can choose to simply believe. I am still not comfortable with this but I am learning to say it, “I don’t understand You and Your ways, Lord, but that’s okay. I will trust You anyway!” “I am angry, I do not understand why You would allow any of this to happen, but I will choose to get over it, give it up to You and trust that Your ways are better than mine.”
Ananias was called by God to go and anoint Saul, who would later be known as Paul the Apostle, and can you imagine being in his shoes?! The fear, the lack of understanding, and how could this possibly be a man God would call? Why would I have any part in doing this after all he has done to Christians? I can’t honestly say I would have followed through, I don’t know. How extraordinary it was when he did choose to follow God’s call, and God used him to change Saul’s life and prepare him for the ministry God had for him. (Acts 9:10-19)
This is a difficult journey, life. God didn’t promise us it would be easy, but He does promise to be with us, to encourage and inspire us, to lead us. So, the question for me and for you is…will we follow through? Or will we choose to be stuck in a place of our own making? I hope you’ll join me in choosing to obey, even when it doesn’t make sense and is hard to understand.

my Ebenezer...

“…Thus far the Lord has helped us.”-1 Samuel 7:12 There are moments in my life when I look back and can see how God in His perfect yet my...