Tag Archive | friends

The Beautiful Challenge

I’m in Arizona right now visiting friends. The same friend I was maid of honor to just last year. The same friend who has relentlessly pursued me in the course of my grief and devastation.

When I learned my mom passed away she flew in from Haiti within days. 1,633 miles. She was on a business trip and instead of returning home to be with her new husband she came to be with me.

I’ve known this woman for several years and knew that her heart was of a rare purity, one that those who have it, also have a promise to see the Father (Matt 5:8).

During a time of recovery and healing my emotions have been everywhere, my thoughts equally as such. Her understanding and loyalty have been a great comfort.

These last few days we lived. We went on a Gondola ride with her hubby. We climbed the bear willow canyon on a fierce Jeep excursion. We laid out by the pool they have in their own back yard.

In addition to that I was treated to deep pools of bubble baths, wine and delicious meals. I have been catered to. And all in the name of my birthday.

E told me a while ago that when he has a difficult day, instead of using the word difficult, he says, “It was beautifully challenging”. I can look at my life and see that same theme. So many unexpected difficult hard parts. So many amazingly beautiful ones.

Yesterday while we made our way up the mountains my breath was taken away with the deep red browns, sharp rich greens and picture perfect blue skies. If I didn’t know it before, I know it now.

God is an Artist.

I knew what I was experiencing was something my mother and grandmother never did and maybe only dreamed of. I knew that my life was touched with beauty and that beauty was connected with the people He had sent to me when I didn’t know that I would need them.

I previously asked a question, “Lord, why did you take away Your presence when I would need it most?” But now I see He provided me people when I didn’t know that I would need them. And that now is when I would need them the most.

The Father places the solitary in families. I remember reading that passage of scripture years ago. I remember back then appreciating it, but still my heart yearned for my own.

It still does.

I’m realizing this life is “both and”. It is both the highs and the lows. It is both the light and the darkness. It is both the cross and the resurrection.

I have been in a season of recovery and therefore am more sensitive than normal (who knew that was possible?). My heart is tender and I need to be handled with care. God is so good at that, handling us with care and putting us around people who get our journey. Even if they don’t understand it, they love us enough to try.

I can look back on my life and see His intent towards me. He made His call clear from day 1. The call was to die. He is intimately acquainted with all of our ways. He knows those things that are near and dear. He knows when we are truly sacrificing.

I haven’t experienced this amount of pain ever, at least not without His presence.

But even that isn’t true.

His presence is everywhere…

I am grateful for these people who call me family. I am grateful to be adopted into the Father’s household of faith.

To have Sunday dinner and eat birthday cake and hear loved ones celebrate me. Like family. That is the care and tenderness of Him.

My heart is still aching every moment of every day. But part of that I know is good. It means I’m feeling when for so long I wasn’t.

It means I’m closer to healing.

My counselor has been so great and my friends have been so great and even though I don’t know when my healing will come I know He is surrounding me with His care.

At 36 my life doesn’t look at all the way I anticipated. Still, there is beauty in the midst of brokenness.

There is love in the midst of pain.

There is hope.

SHALOM

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Christmas 2016

The year has flown by though some days seemed endless.  I wonder how we got here often.  How did we bustle through Thanksgiving and now Christmas is quickly approaching?  Every year I struggle with the lack of family around this time and even though that is still a struggle I am grateful that God has given me something a little unique this year.  He has given me community in my home (ironically as I typed that last sentence the cat busted through the door, into my room and is now doing “cat things” in it).  My roommate has been such a joy and I love laughing with her.  I’m certain she makes the Father laugh all the time.  And then there’s Benny (the cat).  Benny who acts more like a person and a dog most of the time than an actual cat.  My roommate and I have had so many nutty things happen in this house with this cat we often joke about writing a book about them!  Yes, God knew what I needed in this season, even if it wasn’t what I thought.

Often it is not what I think.

Yesterday we had our first holiday party.  We combined communities and enjoyed the company of our friends, family and loved ones.  It was a close intimate group which was about all our little upstairs duplex could hold but it was just enough.  My roommate shared on her recent trip to Africa and that was beautiful and powerful all by itself.  I am so blessed to see God move so greatly with her and bring to pass a long awaited desire of her heart.

Friday night she and I attended a holiday dance performance.  There was lovely singing about Christ and salvation and hope and love.  And beautiful dancing to compliment.  There was food and people and fellowship and smiles.  It has been a very full holiday indeed and there are 7 days left to celebrate!  I got most of my shopping done but will have to fight the crowds for a few last items.  I’m nervous to get on the scale these days because I know all the cookies and treats I’ve been consuming will eventually reveal themselves on it.  It seems every other day a client is dropping off their “thank you” at work in the form of boxes of goodies and sweetness.  And then of course we had an overload at our party last night. I’ll be taking the left overs with me to work on Monday!

Life is interesting.  It’s not something you can plan for or control and that has probably been my most surprising and difficult lesson.  Things I never could have imagined have happened, both good and bad.  And yet by most people’s standards I am still “young”.  Surely I am on the older end of the young adult spectrum but by next year I will have tipped over.

As unorthodox as this path has been, I know God has taught me that He is in control even when I am not.  He is ordering my steps even when they seem disorganized.  And He is surrounding me with people full of love, fun and laughter to make the journey a little more enjoyable.

In other news, if you or someone you know is struggling with the holiday blues as a single check out my latest Youtube video!

Also, recently I had a conference call to review the HTOHB study guide.  The study guide is available as a FREE download!  Just click here for the replay of the call!

Merry Christmas to you and yours!


Fun things lately…


SHALOM

Great News 😊

Yesterday something fantastic happened.  I got asked to be a regular contributor for a blog I highly esteem.  I have followed this blog for YEARS and in all honesty I felt their writers were “out of my league”.  They were (in my opinion) the cool kids of writing.  I actually was very nervous about the guest blog post I submitted and kept doubting that they would accept it.  Well, not only did they accept it but raved about it and offered me a spot on their team!  Amazing.

There have been SO MANY things like that that have happened this year.  This past weekend I had a FABULOUS time being me.  Hanging with new friends, dancing, enjoying good music and company.  Not to mention selling my book!  Sometimes God’s favor and blessings can be OVERWHELMING.

My roomie and I have been saying that a lot as we take joy in our new cat (he is quite the character) and marvel at God’s hand.  There are so many things happening I am just trying to keep up with Him.  Selah.

Friend, if you are in a rough season I just want to encourage you.  It is just a season.  And He is still God.  No matter what.

In other news I just took the next step in publishing my new book!  More details to come on that note!

Here are a few pics from the fabulousness of this season:


SHALOM 

This Is Us


Hi guys! Check out my guest post “This Is Us” on authorofmyfaith.com! This is my first guest post on Afi’s site and I’m so honored to have this opportunity! I met her through a fellow blogger and mutual friend.

The connections writing has created has been overwhelming in the BEST way!

Thanks for your support!!
SHALOM