Broken

Do you feel broken? Have you been hurt in a way you could have never imagined? Maybe you lost someone you truly cared for, experienced deceitfulness from a person who called themselves a friend , made a mistake you feel you can’t be forgiven for, distress at work, a significant life change, parenting struggles or health issues? There are so many circumstances that leave us broken and lost.
Whatever the circumstance might be, Jesus is walking with you through your deepest sorrows. You are not alone. Jesus reminds us that we will be ok even when our circumstances say differently. Today, allow yourself to be rescued by Him. Allow Jesus to mend the shattered pieces of your heart. Trust Him to heal you from whatever hurt that has consumed your heart and mind. Rest in Him and wait
For your heart and mind to be restored in Him. ❤️

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.” Psalms 34:18 NLT

Come as you are

Come As You Are

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

My family is in love with dressing up for Halloween. Okay! I’ll tell the truth. I’m in love with dressing up for Halloween. Most Halloween’s involve more then one costume and the fun starts the first day of October.
The day after Halloween I am already dreaming about the following years costume. It’s fun to get to pretend to be someone else for a time. It’s exciting to see who everyone chooses to dress like. Its interesting to see what each family decides to be. It’s all around my kind of fun.

While getting this years costumes together I had a thought. We don’t have to dress up for God. We don’t have to pretend to be someone we are not. We don’t have to have it all together before we can run to Him. God loves you so much and He wants to help you right where you are.

I was a junior in high school. I ran to the altar after a heart changing sermon with tears flooding my face and my heart a mess. I held my wrist out to my pastor showing him the fresh marks and old scars. I stood there weak from starving my body out of fear of gaining weight. I had no idea how to stop all the self destruction. I had no idea how it all began. I was so spiritualy tired knowing I was going down the wrong path. I was emotionally and mentally a wreck. I wanted to disappear! I wanted to die! I didn’t know what to do other than ask God to fix the mess I had created. When I left church that day I do believe my whole life took another turn. A better turn! No! I wasn’t completely better. I still for a time struggled with self harm and anorexia. I struggled finding Gods purpose for me! I still struggle daily to keep this part of my life behind me. However, there was something about running to God that pointed me in His direction. Me simply acknowledging that I needed Him changed my direction in life entirely. Choosing Him pointed me toward the help I needed. My point is that I went to God that Sunday morning a mess and He loved me in all my brokenness. He didn’t tell me to fix my problems before coming back but he walked with me through those challenging moments. More importantly he loved me enough to help me through all the pain that was causing this self destruction. Can I just tell you this, when I found His love, His forgiveness and His purpose for my life I have never been the same.

There are still moments everyday that I have to run to God as I am and pray the following verse over myself!

“Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me.” Psalms 51:10

There is so much more He wants to break and mold in me and YOU! I encourage you to write this verse down and memorize it. Pray it over yourself daily. Yes! It’s ok to pray for yourself (another devotional for another time).

I get that I tend to be very transparent in my writing. It’s possible it makes some uncomfortable. The truth is it’s real. If I can share parts of my story that are not proud moments. Moments that really hurt but moments that shaped me. If I can share these moments to relate with my readers then I will. I truly believe that writing is part of Gods purpose for me and sharing it is another part of His purpose.

There are some of you who are completely a mess. Maybe not the same mess I was in but you are in a mess. There are some of you who are in more of a mess than I could ever even begin to imagine. Some of you are in a mess that you didn’t even create for yourself. Some of You see no way out. You feel completely wrecked and powerless. You don’t know what to do. Maybe you want to give up like I once did. Don’t! Hold on! (BTW you have to listen to the song “Hold On” By TobyMac) Regardless of the size of your mess just breathe!!! It’s ok. God loves you. Don’t think for a second that He wants you to clean your mess up alone. While he doesn’t want you to stay the same He does want to wrap his arms around you and hold you through the pain. He wants to help you out of the mess. Will you let Him?

As October kicks off and all the fun of the season starts remember that God wants you to come to His door as you are so that He can mold you into all that He has created you to be.

Tragedy Redefined!

Redefined Tragedy!

My mind is free.  This storm will pass. I feel at peace where I am at. 

I pray the storm will stay away. Oh lord! Quiet my soul. 

Faith says we can win this race. I imagine the day we are complete and whole. 

Victory? Can you sense it like me? The day we overcome? Do you see it close?

Freedom! There will be freedom to hold! 

When emptiness is what we feel it is your spirit that comforts. 

Our wounds will soon heal and Your glory will be revealed. 

There is beauty for tomorrow and purpose in your plan. There is hope in every sorrow. 

The broken pieces of our heart are held in the palm of Your hands. 

Our hearts will be transformed. Our lives are defined by you. 

This tragedy has been redefined by your love. It’s all because of you!!!  

I wrote this poem after my stepdad passed away. It popped up on my feed and resignated

deeply again but for an entirely different purpose. I love how Jesus can use a past encouragement for a present moment. I pray it encourages you.

Seasons

The seasons in Illinois literally change over night. It can be sunny and miserably hot one day and the next morning you wake up to the chilly weather. You suddenly go from wearing shirts and sunscreen to hats and jackets. You are no longer in summer but you are now in fall.

The seasons of our life are quite the same. You can be going through a really good season and suddenly you wake up to disaster. However, the disastrous season can quickly change for the better too.

If you feel that the difficult season you are in will never change, remember that with just a few days and degrees difference you can be standing in a whole new season.

No matter the season…

1. God is with you. (Isaiah 41:10)

2. There is hope in Him. (John 16:33)

3. He is working behind the scenes for you. (Habakkuk 2:3)

Keep your head up. Trust Him. He will bring you though this season!

Ecclesiastes 3:1 “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.”

A Gift

Talking with a friend the other day and she wanted to know where I get my writing prompts for my inspirational or encouraging post. Do I search for ideas online? Do I take a poll of what readers want to read? Do I just use generic prompts? Word jars? A memory that I want to share? Am I constantly daydreaming what I will write next? (That last one is 100% accurate.) 😂

Sure, I do some of those things but if I’m being sincerely honest I don’t do anything other then watch for the good in my life and remember who made it possible. I KNOW that I KNOW that He is the reason for every good part of my life and He is working in every difficult moment. I have no doubt. Oddly enough, I often wake in the early morning with a thought or understanding from God and I go with it. I pull out my phone and I start typing it all in. I look up relatable scripture and I dig in. Everything He says I write it down. My writing comes straight from what God is doing in my everyday life and what He is teaching me. It comes from my joy filled days and my pain filled days because He is in every moment of everyday. All that I am, all that I do, all that I have and all that I write comes from Him. I’ve been told my writing is a gift. This is true. It’s a gift sent from Him.

“Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.” James 1-17 NLT

A beautiful fall!

A Beautiful Fall!

Though I have fallen, I will rise. Though I sit in darkness the lord will be my light. Micah 7:8

(Photography by Tricia Dameron)

Ellie falls all the time. She has scrapes on her knees, bruises on her legs and marks on her hands from catching herself. However, no matter how many times she falls down she always gets back up. I can count on one hand (and not use all my fingers) the number of times Ellie has fallen and we’ve had to go pick her up and wipe her tears away. It doesn’t happen often.
Honestly, she almost always rises with a big smile and a loud laugh. Watching Ellie continue to rise again and again brings this mama heart such joy. However, my heart breaks a little too. My heart breaks because I know the day will come, as she grows older and life happens that a hard fall might take place. A hard fall that she will have to fight hard to rise up from. I’m always praying For God’s protection, guidance and wisdom to keep Ellie from the falls in life but I’m not oblivious to the sad truth that the world we live in is messed up. Hearing Ellie talk to Jesus, I know no matter what life brings she will rise with His help. I know because of Him she will be ok because she knows in her heart that if she waits patiently He will show up to help her stand again. She demonstrates this knowledge each time she says “I’m waiting for Jesus to heal my boo boo cause I prayed”. PAUSE There are times in life when we need to ACT while we pray. For example, you don’t have a job. Praying that God will find you a job while sitting on your couch eating potato chips might not be the best way to find a job. I’m not judging, Potato chips are life. Well actually I prefer cheeto puffs. Point: Pray that God places you in the right job interview and then go look for a job interview. End Pause: No one is exempt from the falls of life and no mom wants to see their child take a hard fall in life. However, the amazing and beautiful thing about the terrible falls that we experience in life is that God is always right there ready to bring beauty from them. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 NIV He has a plan for each of us that no fall can break. When we choose Jesus and His way, the enemy never wins! We just have to be patient as he picks up the broken pieces of our hearts and puts them back together. Each time I watch Ellie rise from a fall to the ground, I thank God for all the moments she will continue to rise when she feels that she can’t. In the meantime, I’ll continue to remind Ellie And you that Jesus will make every fall beautiful if we just continue to trust Him.

Be Still

Be Still!

Be still!

Wait on me!

I am your God!

I am the key! (John 14:6)

Be still!

Rejoice!

I’ll direct you!

Listen for my voice!

I’m making all things new! (Isaiah 43:19)

Be still!

Don’t make a move!

Right where you are

I’m working in you (Philippians 1:6)

Be still!

Your hand is in mine!

I created you

My beautiful design. (Ephesians 2:10)

Be still!

You walk not alone!

I am walking with you

And making my presence known. (Joshua 1:9)

Be still!

I’m for you!

I am your rock!

I’ll see you through! (psalms 18:2)

Be still!

My child!

Rest in me!

Every promise I make

Is a guarantee (2 Corinthians 1:20)

Be still!

I will prevail!

Not one promise I made

Has ever failed. (Joshua 21:45)

Be still!

Wait on me!

In my time!

My plan will be seen! Jeremiah 29:11)

Be still

My child

Be still and

Wait on me!

The Hand of Jesus

Have you ever tried to take hold of a child’s hand and they pull it away? They act like you are trying to keep them from something good when really you are trying to protect them while crossing the street or keep them close. There was a season in life when I pulled my hand away from Jesus. I didn’t want His help. His help meant I would have to follow Him and trust that He had good for me. I wanted to walk a different direction and taking His hand would not allow me to do that.
I’ve struggled with food issues my whole life to be honest. Always picky, food was scarce growing up and at 14 the fear of “getting fat” creeped in. In my early twenties I was doing well. Then at some point it snuck back in. Just ten pounds led to too much. It’s never just ten pounds with someone with distorted eating and body dysmorphia. It always becomes too much. The truth is that I wanted to take up as little room in the world as possible. I didn’t want to be in the way, a burden or too visible. So, losing weight made me feel as if I could hide and it had me entangled tightly.

Have you ever tried to get free from something or someone you know is toxic but it has gripped you so tight you can’t free yourself? You know it makes no sense but still you continue in the same toxic lifestyle. That was me with the eating disorder. I knew it was unhealthy. Everyone around me didn’t understand it but for me I felt entangled up in a sin I could see no way free from. I couldn’t even admit that I was entangled up to begin with.

A few years ago we moved to Washington Illinois for ministry. A lady attending our church at the time asked Jessie Rayos if I had an issue with food. She said she was praying for that part of my life to break. Suddenly it became less enticing. Suddenly I wanted free but I just didn’t know freedom would be possible. Suddenly the power this issue had over me for years was no longer strong enough to fight against what someone had taken hold of in prayer. When I say I could not pick it up and continue on with it I really couldn’t. The war in my mind ended. It felt like something or someone was standing in the gap. It felt as if my hand was being held and I was being told I could walk away from the scale, the diets and the obsession. God was standing in between me and the enemy and they were both fighting hard but guess whose hand I reached for?

Jesus….
Shut the mouth of the Lions for Daniel. (Daniel 6)
Protected Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego from burning in the fire. ( Daniel 3:16-40)
Parted the Red Sea for Moses. (Exodus 14:19-31)
Fed the 5000. (Matthew 14:13-21)
Healed a blind man. (Mark 10:46-52)

And He wants to do the same for you.

Here is the thing though…
Daniel had to remain faithful and continue trusting Jesus while in the lions den.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego trusted Jesus while standing in the fire.
Moses had to trust Jesus as he held out his staff.
The little boy had to trust Jesus with the little he had.
The blind man had to trust Jesus and open his eyes.

Each of these individuals reached out with trust for the hand of Jesus. Jesus walked through the valley with them and He will walk through whatever valley you are walking in. Jesus WILL show up. He will help you out of the whatever it is that has you entangled but you have to first take His hand.

At some point, I took the hand of Jesus and he has held it tightly since.

I still wake up, look in the mirror and I don’t always like what I see. The difference now is that I don’t let that feeling control me. There are times in life when it’s more difficult to fight this area. When I feel I’m losing control in an area of life I immediately begin to think about calorie restricting, obsessive exercise and weighing myself several times a day. It’s a fight I’ll always be in but I’ll never be in it alone. Jesus doesn’t wish I were less visible. He doesn’t view me as a burden. He loves me and He love you so much. Are you entangled and out of control in a specific area in your life? Just reach up, grab His hand and watch how He pulls you free.

“For I hold you by your right hand— I, the Lord your God.And I say to you, ‘Don’t be afraid. I am here to help you.” Isaiah 41:13 NLT

Look Up

When I was in highschool my step dad called me into the livingroom and informed me that I had written a bad check to the church for my tithe. He said “we have to make this right!” So he gave me the money to pay it and let me pay him back then he showed me how to balance a checkbook.

I looked up to my stepdad in many ways. This is just one example of how I knew if I looked to him for help he would show up to walk beside me in anyway humanly possible.

The truth is that my stepdad couldn’t fix everything. He wasn’t perfect. He was only human. Not every situation could be fixed with a loan and life skills lesson on finances. As much as Mike loved me and wanted good for my life he couldn’t make everything ok. He wasn’t perfect.

At the park Jay will occasionally point up at the sky saying bird, sky or tree. It is always a simple yet beautiful reminder to where we should be looking in all times of life….. Up! We should be looking up toward Jesus.

“fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2 NIV

The difference between my stepdad and God is while they both love me only one can ALWAYS make all things new again. Only one sacrificed His life so that I can walk in His freedom and grace. No one other then Jesus could do that.

When God says He will come through for you then you can count on Him. He will

Fix whatever the circumstance it is that you are in. He will make all things new again in His time and His way. We only have to patiently wait and be willing to allow God to transform our hearts and do a new thing in our life. There is no “if he is able, if he has the time, if he is willing!”

He can and He will. So, wherever you are right now look up and wait patiently for His help.

“I look up to the mountains—
    does my help come from there?

My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth!” Psalms 121:1-2 NLT

Stay Put!

Listening to a podcast the other day and the speaker said, “Just because the door is open doesn’t mean it’s mine to walk through.” That woke me up!

Sometimes we walk through the wrong door because we are walking in the direction of our feelings. Don’t allow your feelings to dictate the path you take. Our peace and next steps should always come from God. The door that is open might be filled with a lot of Good things but not every good thing is a God thing. This season you are walking in is not the end. It is just the beginning.

Recently we made the decision to make a big move. We started packing boxes. We started getting ready. I was making a big move based on my feelings and lack of trust in God. Jessie never had peace with the move but was waiting on God to lead my heart. One morning I awoke suddenly and in my spirit I head the words “stay and wait on me. I’m not finished.” I knew this was God because everything in me wanted our family to pack up and run away. So here we are unpacking lots of boxes and trusting that He has all the answers and can see the bigger picture. Truth be told, I’ve never had more peace. Sometimes when your lost the best thing to do is to stay put and wait patiently for Him.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13