Joy Comes in the Morning…

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Joy.

I have joy down in my heart.

Not because I have my life figured out. Not because my life is where it needs to be. And not because anything has changed.

But I have joy, because of Love.

God’s Love.

A love that never fails. A love that never gives up. A love that never runs out.

Even though I still make mistakes and there are still mountains in front of me to overcome. Even though I ran away and feel like I am in the eye of the storm.

I don’t have to be afraid.

Because I know that my Father loves me and nothing can separate me from the love of God.

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38

In the midst of my trial and pain, when I am too weak to fight –

My God fights for me.

He is fighting on my behalf and working to ensure that all things work together for my good.

God takes my sin and failures.

He takes the things that could destroy my life and He works them all together for my good and for His glory.

How can that not bring Joy?

I am covered and protected –

By the power of my Father’s great Love.

I have spent the last few months in darkness. I was lost and wandering. I got tired of waiting on God and grew impatient. I took my life into my own hands and made a mess of things.

Today, I realize, that although I felt lost and alone, God knew right where I was the whole time. He was watching after me. He was picking up after me like a loving Father does. He has been patiently waiting for me to come back to Him.

Waiting for me to run back  into His open arms.

And so today I run.

I run into His arms where I met by His love. And surrounded by His love I find…

Joy.

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“Where am I going?”

For the past several years, when summer rolls around, I have seemed to find myself in a position where I have big decisions to make. Decisions that will alter the course I am on by requiring me to step away from some opportunities to take a hold of others.

For the past few months, I have known that the decision train was fast approaching and I would have some big choices to make, but no matter how many lists I made, minutes hours I spent thinking about it, or the number of prayers I spoke, the decision was not becoming any easier.

Last night, I came to a startling and honestly painful realization – I have lost my vision for where I am headed in life. I began asking myself the questions:  “What am I doing with my life? What am I aiming for? Where am I going?…. Who am I?” Once upon a time, I could see clearly the path I was on. I knew exactly where I was headed, why I was headed there and I had a plan to execute it, but that vision has become blurred.

While trying to answer those questions, I began to see that because my focus has been on my current circumstances, desires and needs.  In the craziness of life, I lost sight of where I was headed.  I began to listen to well intentioned and loving voices, more than seeking out the voice of God. I took great opportunities without weighing whether or not they would help me reach my goals.

When I first started driving I would swerve and not drive in a straight line despite my best effort. I remember my dad telling me not to focus on the road right in front of me but to look down the road to where I was going. When I focused my attention on where I was headed I drove a straight line. I think the same is true in life; when we loose sight of where we are headed, it is easy to get off course without even realizing it and then end up in a place asking “Where am I?”

While I still have decisions to make, because I have the end in mind, I have confidence that the choices I need to make are going to become clear. Although I know some of the decisions I need to make won’t be easy, I know  it will be worth it, and I am willing to make sacrifices and do hard things, in order to fulfil the calling God has placed on my life.

If you are finding yourself with a difficult decision to make, check to see where your focus is. Is your focus on the problem or on God? Are you thinking more about what people expect from you or what God expects from you? Is your focus on your past mistakes believing that you cannot move forward because of them or is your focus on using those experiences motivate you to make better choices?

I have faith that as I shift my focus to God and the calling He has placed on my life, my vision will once again be clear and I will know and be willing to make the right decisions to get me to that place where God is calling me forward to.

 

Snow Day!

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: the old has gone, the new is here!  2 Corinthians 5:17

No matter how old I get, I still LOVE snow.

There is just something about those tiny, glistening, white snowflakes that get me excited the same way it did when I was a child.

One of my co-workers who just moved here from Florida and who has not seen snow since she was a little girl sent me a text message that read: Everything is all white and pretty. It’s like all nice and brand-new.

Maybe part of the excitement of snow is that it makes everything look brand-new. I love looking out over a field after it has just snowed and is covered with a fresh blanket of flawless beauty.  It makes me think of – New Beginnings. Purity. Possibilities.

As I was reminiscing this morning about my childhood snow-days and how excited I got (and still do) this thought occurred to me: What would happen if people got just as excited about Jesus as they do about snow?

What if people prepared for Jesus coming, the same way they prepare for the threat of possible snow?

Snow can teach us a lot about Jesus. The blood of Jesus makes us new again. It makes us flawless and pure. The blood of Jesus erases our mistakes and brings new beginnings. With Jesus anything is possible. The realization of who Jesus is and what He can do is something to get truly get excited about. Unlike snow that melts away, Jesus is always there to cleanse us, forgive us, and make us new. His love never changes.

I am reminded of a song this morning that says:

I hear the Savior say, Thy strength indeed is small;

Child of weakness, watch and pray, Find in Me thine all in all.

‘Cause Jesus paid it all, All to Him I owe;

Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow.

Lord, now indeed I find Thy power and Thine alone,

Can change the leper’s spots and melt the heart of stone.

Thank-you Jesus for dying on the cross for me so that I could become spotless. Thank you for forgiving me so that I can experience what it feels like to be free from my past and have a spotless, clean slate as I move forward. Thank you for bearing the weight of my sin so that I can experience peace. Thank you for the snow that reminds me of how great your love is. I praise you, Jesus, for paying my debt and making me as white as snow.

I Am Enough

I am guilty of “When-ing and Then-ing” my life away.

When (fill in the blank) happens …Then I will be happy, successful, diligent, organized, content,  qualified, ready …

I am always trying to better myself so that I will be “enough” – so that I will have what it takes. I often feel like there is always one more step to take, one more thing to learn, one more goal to accomplish BEFORE I will be qualified to do something. Yet, no matter how much I change I still feel I don’t measure up. Today, I realized that by playing this when and then game that I am taking my life into my own hands. I am relying on myself and my strength to accomplish the purpose God has for me.

I am wasting time trying to be what I think I should be. God is ready to use me *and you* NOW. While we should always strive to be more like Him, He can use us just as we are. Jesus said, “My grace is sufficient for you, my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9

I can stop this mental battle of feeling like there is so much I have to do before I measure up because I am already enough. I am enough not because of anything I did or have done, but because the Holy Spirit lives in side of me, and His divine power has given me everything I need.

It’s time to stop when-ing and then-ing and start doing because…

I AM ENOUGH

A Night to Remember

Day: Monday, October 10th
Time: 9:45pm
Place: My bedroom 
Mood: loved and fully loaded
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I have a million things to do to prepare for my job tomorrow and I don’t want to do it . Don’t get me wrong I love my new job, BUT, I wish I could just soak up the love of my Father tonight. There is not a lot I am going to write but I have to take a moment to record what happened at church tonight.

I am so overcome with emotion… and with pure PEACE.

I just have to breathe it in. Inhale. Exhale. Inhale.

ahhhhhh….. God is good, folks, God is good.
Okay, so on with the story….

Matt Shull spoke at church on Sunday about destiny and that is when I realized I was finally “Planted”. Well, he spoke again tonight continuing preaching about destiny and how God needs us full and fully loaded to accomplish His destiny for our life.

Tonight…
I was filled.
I was re-loaded.
I was restored.

“God’s annointing is on you.All that you have lost will be given back to you and your life will have a 180 turn around this year. it is all coming together.”

Big things are coming. Watch out world!

Tonight I am filled with peace and joy. I want to bottle this feeling up so I never forget how I felt on this day.

THANK YOU JESUS!

God is Good

Day: Sunday, October 9th
Time: 9:00pm
Place: My bedroom 
Mood: Recharged
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Well……

The last I wrote I had just taken a leap of faith by trusting God’s voice,  declaring His plan, and letting go of my own. Since taking that leap, it has been simply amazing and encouraging to watch God work in my life. Here are just a few of the things that have happened……

#1 – – The same Friday that I leaped of the edge (the day of my last bog) I was told of a job a couple of hours later by the mom of two of my Beautiful You girls and it far exceeded my wildest dreams. Then, on Monday morning, I got a phone call asking  if I could interview at 3:45 that day. I wondered if I was qualified, but I guess I was because they hired me on the spot!!! I am now the newest Behavioral Health Rehabilitation Specialist at Hartsell Psychological Services. I am working with students one-on-one to help them build skills in areas that will help them be successful both in academics and in life. Skills such as: managing anxiety, coping skills, self-esteem, anger, and school performance. I believe that this job is a spring-board for me to pursue a career in counseling and if that is not exciting enough to top it all off the pay is fantastic. God is my provider! I had been looking into a different position that I thought was amazing but I found out the job had been filled. I was disappointed but God had an even bigger and better plan in mind!!

#2 -– A verse that God gave me a year ago for Beautiful You was clarified in its’ meaning.

 I’ll call nobodies and make them somebodies;
      I’ll call the unloved and make them beloved.
   In the place where they yelled out, “You’re nobody!”
    they’re calling you “God’s living children.”  – Romans 9:25 The Message

When God first gave me this verse I thought it was geared towards the Beautiful You girls. But over the last two days in multiple forms God showed me that it was not for the girls but for the board and the staff of Beautiful You. This is what I wrote in church today:

Beautiful You, Inc. is going to use “no-bodies”, those that the world has discarded as yesterday’s trash because of their past choices and circumstances, to fulfill our mission. I am going to help women uncover and develop their God –given purpose and strengths and provide them with a place to shine. I am going to give them a place to belong and to flourish. Beautiful You will be successful because Christ will be the strength in our weakness NOT because we are the best at what we do, know it all, or have all the answers. God will get all of the glory for our success because without Him we know we are nothing. I have learned that you don’t have to be the best you just have to care the most, and with God as our source nothing will get in our way. Beautiful You is going to prove that God can and will take broken people who feel as though they are nothing but a wasted mess and turn their lives into something beautiful.

And all I have to say about that is AMEN!

#3 -– When I first started this journey a lady whom I had never met gave this word…
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“Erin, you are in a soil that is being tilled up and you are going to be uprooted spiritually from where you are and replanted in ground near running waters. You are going to get stronger “fertilizer” and constant watering. This will make you strong rooted and able to withstand anything, because the tree that is planted by the water is firmly rooted.”
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“Then he showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb……” – Revelation 22:1
Today’’s church service was titled ““Planted”” and talked about God’s destiny for our life. I had this peace in my heart with the realization that I was uprooted and I have now been planted where God wants me. God often calls us to a “”land”” aka our destiny, but often we get discouraged way too quickly and leave the land that God called us to. Recent heartache has made me question if I had made the right choice in going on this journey. But our guest speaker, evangelist Matt Scull, said at church today, “”God says, stay where I planted you and I will visit you there. A tsunami of success will come behind you if you stay where I told you to stay.”” Sometimes we feel like giving up or quitting because of discouragement. But the Holy Spirit is saying “”Don’t you dare leave my voice!””

I am not leaving the voice. I know I have been planted in Tahlequah for a reason and I know that what God has revealed to me is just the beginning. I am thankful to serve a faithful God – a God who always delivers on His word.

God is Good All The Time and All the time God is Good.

Pointillism

Day: Wednesday, September 28th Time: 8:00pm Place: In Beautiful Green Country Mood: clean and clear… and under control ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I am no art expert, but I do remember pointillism from my high school art class. In case you are not familiar with pointillism here is my simplistic way of explaining it. It is a work of art that is made up of tons of little dots. From a distance the image looks blurry, but the closer you get to the picture the sharper the image becomes.

When I started this journey and looked at my life it was fuzzy. In fact it was probably worse than fuzzy, it was a mess. But as I have searched God and asked Him to reveal to me where I am supposed to go, day-by-day and step-by-step the image has started to become more clear. I said I believed God was going to reveal to me in the second phase of my journey what He wants me to do. He had given me bits and pieces, but I did not know how it was all going to come together. Well, today the image has started to emerge.

 I still cannot see the details, but the picture has sprung to life! The Closer I Get to God. The More Vivid His Plans for Me Become. The puzzle pieces are starting to come together and the picture is coming into focus. I don’t know why I am always so shocked when God delivers!!! I mean I know He is going to, but I always stand in awe of His plans. It is true that His thoughts are greater than our thoughts and His ways are greater than our ways. I am a planner and I am enthusiastic. Put the two together and you get someone who jumps the gun with a great idea. I have had to move slowly and it was no picnic for me. It has been difficult to be still. I had to peel the layers. I had to gain wisdom. I had to face some cold hard truths. I had to be willing to wait on God and boy I know it is going to more than worth the wait.

Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary. ~Isaiah 40:31~