There is something to be said for letting something or a few something's go for the sake of getting re-focused, centered, and finding an all encompassing wholeness and healing in the mind, body and soul. A couple weeks ago I hit a low point, some things I can't share in specific detail because it is too raw, too personal and I am likely to do more harm than good to put it into words at this point and time. There will come a day when I can verbalize it, and do it in a way that reflects how far I've come, lessons learned, healing well underway. I am choosing to dive deeply into a meditative state, lose the distractions of this life that may hinder my ability to find peace and wellness in my being. I want to be in a better place mentally, spiritually, physically and I have put so much of what I need to deal with internally for the sake of getting so much handled, taken care of externally. I have found for a long time now that there is comfort in avoiding losing it by launching myself fully into work, or just the busyiness of life. There is to a degree comfort in the non stop chaos that is life for me and so many of you. I am finding the result of that is my time with God is not as deep and fulfilling as it should be. I spend time with him, but not as much as I need to, and I know I need it because the hurt and heartaches of life are starting to get in the way of the peace that He gives when we are all out surrendered to Him. The stresses and disapponitments of life and the pressures of keeping so many people "happy" have caused me to become somewhat bitter, more angry than I've ever been, and certainly very cynical. I am starting to feel it physically with more headaches, more aches and pains than I've had in my entire life. It has manifested itself in me both mentally and physically. I have known how to deal with all of this from a very early age, because I know God is by my side, ready to help and heal me, loving me unconditionally, providing all I need. I am finding there are wounds in my heart and soul too deep to overcome in a short amount of time. I am choosing to immerse myself in a state of meditation and in my searching today I found some great comforts.

I listened today to Christy Nockels "You Revive Me", and oh, it was just what I needed to hear. I also found precious reminders in the Word:

Phillipians 4:13 The peace of God...guards our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus

I know I have so much to learn yet, so much to understand, so for this moment I will choose to linger and love His presence. I will choose to let some things go for the sake of healing that must take place in my mind, my heart, my soul.
Life is an opportunity, benefit from it.
Life is beauty, admire it.
Life is a dream, realize it.
Life is a challenge, meet it.
Life is a duty, complete it.
Life is a game, play it.
Life is a promise, fulfill it.
Life is sorrow, overcome it.
Life is a song, sing it.
Life is a struggle, accept it.
Life is a tragedy, confront it.
Life is an adventure, dare it.
Life is luck, make it.
Life is too precious, do not destroy it.
Life is life, fight for it.”
― Mother Teresa

We are just a week away from another move. Thankfully it is one of our easiest moves, but as I get a little older and because we've moved several times now, I am just plain tired of and do not enjoy it at all. As we are staring down the year ahead and see our one year anniversary in Missouri coming ever closer, I find myself reflecting on what we have faced and what we have yet to accomplish. I love the quote I found by Mother Theresa which is noted above. I believe wholeheartedly that God does not expect us to sit and wait for Him to magically orchestrate our lives without our faithful action. When a door opens, which can be interpreted many ways, I hit the pavement in hot pursuit until the door slams in my face. An open door can be in many forms, but this is just my opinion. First question we have to ask ourselves after a difficult time in our lives, is "Am I making an effort?" Are you setting any goals for yourself? Are you looking into any and every opportunity in the area you are most passionate about? Are you connecting and nurturing relationships with your family, friends, pastors, mentors, etc. who can help the process continue to move forward? We all have key people in our lives, people who can help connect the dots, keep the motion moving forward. The action we take to pursue these open doors will boost our confidence and enable us to keep moving forward if one thing doesn't happen, well, then something else may very well come along. In our most stressful days when Ryan had more than one worship ministry job lead and none of them came through, do you know what I said to him? "I know it isn't the answer you may have hoped for, but it is an answer." Don't give up, and don't lose momentum in the waiting, but actively continue your pursuit, dig deeply into Your time with God and absorbing His Word, and trust that another door is going to open. Mother Theresa's words are a great way to help me get refocused, because bottom line is when life hands us something good or bad, we have the choice to act on it or not. We can draw from the confidence inspired by Christ within us and keep moving forward, inching our way toward the next chapter of our lives. Be inspired today and embrace His Truth. Here's hope!

So what should we say about all of this? If God is on our side, then tell me: whom should we fear? If He did not spare His own Son, but handed Him over on our account, then don’t you think that He will graciously give us all things with Him? Can anyone be so bold as to level a charge against God’s chosen? Especially since God’s “not guilty” verdict is already declared. Who has the authority to condemn? Jesus the Anointed who died, but more importantly, conquered death when He was raised to sit at the right hand of God where He pleads on our behalf. So who can separate us? What can come between us and the love of God’s Anointed? Can troubles, hardships, persecution, hunger, poverty, danger, or even death? The answer is, absolutely nothing. As the psalm says,

On Your behalf, our lives are endangered constantly;
we are like sheep awaiting slaughter.

But no matter what comes, we will always taste victory through Him who loved us. For I have every confidence that nothing—not death, life, heavenly messengers, dark spirits, the present, the future, spiritual powers, height, depth, nor any created thing—can come between us and the love of God revealed in the Anointed, Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:31-39 The Voice Translation)

Some decisions made, some will come later...

It has been an eventful week since my last blog entry so here's a brief summary.

After a lot of prayer, searching, stress in the house hunt, whether we should buy or rent, we have decided to rent a 4 bedroom apartment and stay in our same community. It was really an easy decision to make after we considered all the options before us and where we stand in our "recovery". We are not quite a year out from our move to Missouri. Recovery from a significant job/income loss takes a long time, and we knew going into this recovery that nothing would be fixed overnight! We are thankful to have good jobs and that we are making slow but steady progress. Some additional factors as to why we chose to rent rather than buy:

1. Down payment-we simply don't have the funds saved to put down 3-5% for a home purchase.
2. Credit score/history-we have not built enough longevity into our improved credit scores/history.
3. Home ownership/added costs-With home ownership comes additional responsiblities not expected when renting. We would have to pay property taxes, and the added expenses that come with owning a home: repairs and maintenance, lawn care, etc.
4. Consolidated monthly costs-Unlike home ownership, our rent includes utilities, internet, cable and trash services as well as the use of on site amenities like a fitness center, game room, pool, and movie theater.

We are blessed to have this option because it keeps our costs down and more manageable, and it gives us time to continue recovering, building and growing our finances with time. The bottom line for us: we are not in a hurry to invest in a home. We want to wait until we are fully prepared to invest in a home we can enjoy and live in for a very long time. Every move, every life experience for us this far has taught us how important it truly is to wait and be patient, God's timing is perfect!

Ryan has continued to find additional sources of income to fill the gaps still existing in our budget. It is hard to lose a job, lose that income that you thought would be there and that you've worked so hard for, and face having to take on multiple jobs to make up for it. This is the reality many people are facing even today, so it is a comfort to know we are not alone. We know God is not finished with Ryan and that only good things lay ahead, and as the doors of opportunity open we will wholeheartedly seek after God's will for our lives and embrace what He blesses for us to do.

I believe somehow God makes good of every life experience we have, but I battle daily with my need to understand it. At some point in my search for understanding, after I've released my frustration and anxiety to God, I am able to rest in knowing He has my best in mind and He loves me deeply. That should be all that matters, but my OCD-control-freak nature doesn't fully grasp it. Like I said, it is a daily battle and all too often I feel like I am losing. It only gets harder as I get older, so I must choose to trust and rely on Him, let go of my grip on life and let His love and grace be sufficient for my needs.

Don’t you know? Haven’t you heard?
The Eternal, the Everlasting God,
The Creator of the whole world, never gets tired or weary.
His wisdom is beyond understanding.
God strengthens the weary
and gives vitality to those worn down by age and care.
Young people will get tired;
strapping young men will stumble and fall.
But those who trust in the Eternal One will regain their strength.
They will soar on wings as eagles.
They will run—never winded, never weary.
They will walk—never tired, never faint. Isaiah 40:28-31 The Voice Translation

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...