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

You are mine

When reading. Replace with your name. ❤️

You Are Mine!
(YOUR NAME)
I love you!
I love you in every-way. (Psalms 36:7)
I know you!
I know you by name. (Isaiah 4:16)
When In darkness you fall.
I am there shining my light. (Micah 7:8)
So that you can see
To make it through the night.
I see you! (Genesis 16:13)
I see you when You’re fighting.
Fighting to find your way;
Through the pain, through the fear, through the shame,
I am near –
near to your heart! (Psalms 34:18)
I know the desires of your heart. (Psalms 37:4)
Do not wonder from my voice.
From my word May you never part.
(YOUR NAME)
I see you
And I say…
You are mine (2 Corinthians 6:18)
And I am here with you to stay. (Joshua 1:9)
Trust me.
Trust me in the waiting. (Psalm 31:14-15)
Trust me. Let me lead you.
I’m leading the way! (Proverbs 20:24)

The Swing

The Swing! Co-written by @jessierayos

A few months ago we took a walk to a nearby swing set. On the walk there our minds were filled with such worry. We pushed the kids and then I (Helena)took a turn. There was something about the feeling of the breeze as I swung back and forth. That feeling was calming and God suddenly filled me with so much peace. It was a reminder that despite what trials I am currently facing in the season that this isn’t my final destination, I have so many more good moments in life left to experience. Life does that sometimes. It tries to make you feel that a hard season is now something permanent. It tries to put the problem right in front of you so close to your face that you can’t seem to see anything else. When life seems dark and you feel as if the life is being sucked out of you, take a turn on the swing and feel the breeze and remember that the storms will come but the rain can’t last forever. There are better days ahead. Seasons of sunshine and laughter. There are great memories left to be made. God has more good in store for you regardless of what you’re going through and even if you are the one who caused the problem in the first place. Take your eyes off the problem and put your eyes on Him. Stop focusing on how hopeless your situation is and start focusing on the God who makes all things possible. When we are hurting, our heart is broken and We are wounded deeply our hope can still be in Jesus.

Be encouraged that the little things in life such as a turn on the swing can lift your spirits and give you a new perspective on Gods unending love and plan for you.

“Now may the Lord of peace himself give you his peace at all times and in every situation. The Lord be with you all.” 2 Thessalonians 3:16

The school Bus!

The School Bus!
Ellie had the best morning ever getting on the school bus for the first time. She begged to ride it last year in kinder but I told her my emotions could hardly handle sending her to school for the first time, the bus would have to wait a year. She was ready to ride in kinder and she’s definitely ready to ride now.
Ellie is growing up so fast and I’m trying to slowly let her spread her wings. Every morning I tell her “you can always come to us when you need help!” We want her to know that she can come to us no matter how old she grows and no matter how big she might have messed up. Jesus is the same with you and I. Figuratively speaking, He gives us the freedom to get on the school bus. He loves each of us so much and His sacrifice on the cross reminds us that we can always run to Him when we need help or are in trouble. More importantly, I was encouraged as I watched Ellie confidently get on the bus this morning. Jesus doesn’t just watch her walk on but he goes with her. Today I put Ellie on the school bus and didn’t get on with her. I sent her off but I didn’t send her off alone. I know Jesus is on that bus, in that class, on the playground, in the cafeteria and walking in the halls with her. He is in her heart! The school bus will drop her back off today after school and I will be waiting. I will watch her excitedly walk off the bus and in my heart I know Jesus will still be walking with her.

“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff,
they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.” Psalms 23:1-6

No Longer Contained

We set Jay in a booster seat with straps at a restaurant recently. He is a ball of energy and will disappear on you in less then a second. Next thing we know he is crawling across the table with the booster seat still attached to his bottom. He has always been full of energy. When I was pregnant with him I tried on explain to my OB that Jay would kick and move so much until it was too much for me to handle and I would throw up. She said that wasn’t possible but I’m telling you these Covid babies are different and I’m positive this is what was causing my continuous puking episodes.

If Jay wants something he is going to get it regardless of whether or not it is a good thing to go after. While this can be a bit frustrating in these toddler days, I find myself praying that as he grows and finds his trust in Jesus that nothing in the world will keep him from going after the calling God has placed on his life. I pray that nothing will contain Jay from all God wants to do in him and through him.

In life it can be easy to allow fear, frustrations, rejection, disappointment, mistakes and so on to keep us restrained and confined. We are too scared to go after that God calling. We are afraid we will be disappointed. We fear we might fail. We believe our sins are too great for God to still use us. These are not words from God. These are tactics from the enemy that keep us isolated and confined from all God is calling us to.

Daniel didn’t stop praying when in the den with the lions. (Daniel 6)

Sarah didn’t lose hope when God promised her a baby. (Genesis 17)

Job didn’t stop trusting God when he lost everything and everyone he loved. (Book of Job)

Esther stayed brave when God called her to something bigger then herself. (Book of Esther)

And you are not going to stop following God even in the storm that you are standing in right now.

When you feel restrained and unable to push past the fear, shame and rejection know that God has called you to something great even in your pain and shame. You no longer have to live contained.

“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” Philippians 2:6 NLT

Maria

While in Mexico a few years ago (2013), I remember seeing these two little girls. You can see one holding the other. For the purpose of the story I’ll call them Maria and Veronica. I remember for hours Maria set holding Veronica while she slept. Even during all the fun games, upbeat songs and dancing Maria patiently sat holding Veronica. I took a picture because the love of Jesus was reflected so greatly and I didn’t want to forget. I am reminded of how much God loves each of us. He loves us so much He will never let us go. He will never leave us. Hebrews 13:5 is the verse that comes to mind when I see this picture.

“I will never leave you or forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5

Jesus loves us so much and like Maria holding a tired child, Jesus will hold you through every trial, every victory and every moment of life. Not only will He hold you but He will never let you go.