Dark World

Today I’ve been a little sad.  I’ve been thinking about some people in my life who do not understand grace.  It is has left me thinking a lot.  If we do not understand grace or cannot extend it to others, what does that say about our heart? What does it say about the gospel? What does it say about Christ’s work upon the cross.  All my thinking led me back to something I wrote on April 23, 2011 and so I’m going to repost it today.  It is not some of the best writing but it came at a time in my life when I was really hurting and seeking out Truth and God answered.  

Article first published as The Dark of Legalism on Blogcritics.

this man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.”
Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
John 3:2-3
  Throughout my journey, I have discovered the Pharisees of my time.  I guess I always thought that the Pharisees were only men that existed back in the time of the Bible but I am learning that they walk the earth even today.
Pharisees are those that know all about rules and regulations. They believe that faith is a job.  They believe that how you act and what you wear are sure signs of your spiritual maturity. They focus on technique.
In the dark of night, a particular Pharisee, by the name of Nicodemus, approaches Jesus because he cannot be seen with Him. Nicodemus is curious about the ways of this simple carpenter.  He recognizes something within Jesus, a passion that he once knew but has lost.  I found that Nicodemus goes to Jesus in the dark of night fitting because I am learning that legalism, the way of the Pharisees, offers no true light. 
There are those that believe that grace is a job. It is about works and it has to be earned.  Jesus tells us that grace is a gift from the Father.  You believe one of two things about salvation; that it is based on the work you perform meaning our salvation becomes our responsibility or you accept it as a gift from God.  Do you know what that means if you believe that salvation comes from works?   It is saying that Christ was beaten and crucified for nothing.  That He was tortured and cursed for no reason.  It is such dark thinking but legalism is a dark world.
Those Pharisees of today know how to talk a good talk and walk a great walk.  From the outside, they sparkle and shine but something on the inside is missing.  They lack the joy of the Lord because they live in fear.  It is the fear that they will never be able to do enough and will continue to makes mistakes.
Legalism can be compared to that of a slow torture.  If you have never known the strike of legalism, be incredibly thankful that you have been spared.  Legalism will crush your dreams and smother your spirit.  It is just enough religion to keep you hungry but lacks real nourishment leaving you to starve.  You don’t starve alone though.  Your pastors do not know where to find the food that you crave either and so together, you all starve.  Your diet consists of rules that are bland and lack the vitamins needed to survive.  You are then left feeling that if you want to be a part of “this fellowship”, you had better follow the rules. 
That is the darkness of legalism.  It is rigid and lonely.  It does not need God.  There is no room for forgiveness.  It is a search for only those that are innocent.  You are constantly left defending and explaining yourself.  Legalists are fixated on themselves and not God. 
I found this description of Legalism:
It makes my opinion, your burden.  There is only room for one opinion, which makes me wrong.
My opinion opposes yours, which makes you question not only my right to have fellowship with you, but you question my salvation as well.
That Christians must toe the company line.  We are not to think but instead to follow.
Legalism places the fear of man within us and we become people pleasers.  I became a people pleaser.  Always worried what others were thinking.  Trying to follow all of the rules in order to be accepted.  Scared to death to speak my mind or share my opinion for fear of rejection.  Though I was uncomfortable, I stayed because it felt safe.  Though things did not always feel right, I knew better than to question those in leadership and chose to stay in step and march down the path of least resistance until God changed me.
To be honest, I did not really have a choice in the matter.  I shared my heart, which questioned a leader and whether his actions were Christ-like and was told that I no longer had the right to fellowship within the walls of the church.  My salvation was questioned as well.  That is legalism but I did not recognize it at first.  I truly believed what they were saying about me. In addition, it was not just the leaders saying these things. There were friends and family that made me feel the same way. 
Slowly God has been peeling away the film that has covered my eyes for so many years.  I began to see people, (friends, family, church people) in a completely new light.  Those who judge, condemn and have critical spirits are not spiritual.  They are legalistic.  Jesus reveals to us “our human life comes from human parents, but spiritual life comes from the Spirit.” (John 3:6) Our parents, our families, pass down our beliefs and traditions but it is up to us to choose what we will believe. Our spiritual life is not an endeavor we work for or an inheritance but instead it is rooted in the Holy Spirit.  Our achievements are created by God.  
Spirituality does not come because we attend church three times a week or do good deeds for others.  Salvation is Gods to give.  Grace was His idea and His sacrifice (His Son). He offers it to those that He chooses and when He chooses.   Our job then becomes to share with others.  NOT to screen people.
“The wind blows where it wants to and you hear the sound of it, but you don’t know where the wind comes from or where it is going.  It is the same with every person who is born from the Spirit.” (John 3:8)  The wind does not seek after our help in doing its work.  It is silent and invisible just like the Holy Spirit. Religious leaders like to control and manage.  Structure is a friend to the pastor but that does not mean that it is always the practice of God. 
Grace is God’s gift and legalistic thinking removes His gift.  God gives us salvation out of love.  He loves us so much that He gave up His One and Only Son so that whoever believes in Him will not be lost but have eternal life.  (John 3:16) There is no system, no rules or ritual.  It is about a relationship with the creator of the universe.  It is about a generous God who offers eternal life, not by what we achieve, succeed in or agree with but instead, by what we believe. 

My mountaintop!

I am on the mountaintop.  After many years in the valley, with too many trials to list, I have made it to the top.  Today in church, I sat and really pondered life over the last few years and realized that God has been working and preparing me for what He has in store for me next.  About five years ago, He gave me a vision.  He placed a desire in my heart.  I was ready.  I was eager.  I wanted to forge ahead and do what He wanted me to do.  Little did I know, I was not ready.  He had to prepare me.  I had a lot of growing to do.  My faith needed stretching.

After trudging through the last four years of my life, I had given up and pretty much thrown out the vision.  Holding fast to the legalistic view of those around me that I could not be used now because I’m “divorced”,  I all but gave up.  Today I realized how untrue that statement is and that God has something great in store for me.  The valley I had to go through was part of His plan for me, to prepare me for what lies ahead. I realized that there were a lot of “grace killers” in my life.  Today I decided it is time to let them go and accept grace as it is clearly given because of my relationship with Christ.  Today I am going to embrace my mountaintop. Today I am going to embrace that God has a purpose and plan for me!
God placed Matthew in my life.  He is my mountaintop.  He is my best friend. He is my blessing.  He is my gift.  Our marriage is something I did not see coming.  God gave me an incredible man who loves and honors me in a way that reflects His love and idea for marriage.  It is something that I cannot fully describe.  We have a love like I have never known and each day is better than the last.  Each day I love him more than I did the day before.  Life is amazing.  I know a joy right now that cannot be put into words.  I know it is a gift from God and for this moment, I will spend every moment soaking in every second we have together.  

God has placed me in a season of rest for now.  This is my time “to enjoy the view.” This is my time to enjoy my husband and my children as well as all that He has given to me.  That is what I am going to do.  This mountaintop will not last forever.  There will be another valley and I am sure it will be coming a lot sooner than later because God has great plans for us both.  However, I know I am ready this time.  I have an amazing husband who walks with me.  The valleys do not seem as scary as they did before now that I have someone walking with me.  The vision God gave me is still very clear but now that vision feels closer to coming to fruition.  God has prepared me and has now given me a partner with the same desires to fulfill the plan He has for my life.

Thank you Matthew for your unconditional love and support. Thank You God for giving me a such an amazing gift!  I am beyond blessed!

What You Should Say to a Woman in an Abusive Marriage

For those who are hurting and need help, seek out those who are there to help and offer you support. There is hope. 

Throughout the course of the past several years, many women have been placed in my path who have shared similar stories in regards to dealing with abuse and seeking help.  Throughout the course of my situation, I did not have a group of people to turn to for support.  Friends, leaders and even close family members who I looked to for godly guidance left me abandoned and confused.  Dealing with the issue of abuse as a Christian is a difficult area.  There is not a specific scripture that offers black and white counsel in regards to abuse.  As I have been told, if you are dealing with any form of abuse, a pastor is not who needs to be offering you counsel.  It is imperative that you seek direction from a trained professional who can offer true guidance in dealing with the wounds caused by abuse as well as offer you stable advice as to which way to go and how to deal with the abuser.  

There are so many scared and hurting women out there.  I have met many and we have shared stories.  If you know someone who is dealing with abuse or you have seen things in their home that lead you to believe that something is “just not quite right”, be there for them.  Offer them your ear.  Love on them and encourage them.  It is lonely and scary trying to navigate the road alone.  Understand that getting involved in these types of situations can be messy but as women who want to be obedient to God’s call, we have no choice than to stand for what is right.  

To ignore evil is to become an accomplice to it.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important.

Galatians 6:2-3

What You Should Say to a Woman in an Abusive Marriage 

Elisabeth Corcoran 

You must picture working with an abused woman as if you’re putting together a puzzle, while walking through a field of landmines. Say the wrong thing and you can set her back five years in her healing. Say the right thing and you can help set her free. This is not a one-size-fits all situation. Each marriage is unique. Each pain needs to be heard and taken in and empathized with.

Here are some of the kind words that were like healing balms to the women in the Facebook groups I moderate. Some are from the women, some were told to these women. Are these the kinds of words you use?

“I have a dear friend, a much older woman who had a challenging marriage and is now a widow, who I turn to at times. She is great at reminding me that God is faithful and He has never abandoned me.”

“That I would survive and that it is difficult but it will not kill me. God is in control and He won’t let me down.”

One woman was told: “You don’t have to make any quick decisions.”

“God does not ask you to live in bondage.”

“You are not responsible for the outcome of your marriage, only for your attitude, actions and relationship with God.”

“Regarding whether to file or not, my pastor counseled, “Let the bad guy be the bad guy,” believing my now ex-husband would show his true colors and divorce me.”

“No one person can fix a marriage by themselves. It always takes two regardless of how the issues started because there are actions and there are reactions.”

“My pastor and his wife came over the day I found proof of my now ex-husband’s affair. He sat with us all my kids and supported me while I ask my ex-husband to leave the home and told kids we need a break from each other. My pastor looked at me and said, ‘You are free of this marriage if you want to be…how can I help you?’”

“This is your church home. I will do everything in my power to make sure you are safe. You can go to another church if you feel like you need to heal, but this is your home.”

“My pastor was supportive and told me it was good I did what I had to for our safety.”

“When I told my pastor I decided to divorce my husband, I had been singing on the worship team. I said I knew I would need to step down and he said it was important for me to do what God called me to do. He said I was not in sin, so there was no “punishment” for me.”

“You gotta know…I’m on your side.”

“You are an honorable woman who desperately seeks His will and His way.”

“I love you, and I’m going to be with you every step.”

My pastor looked me in the eye and said, with conviction, “This is not your fault.”

“During a counseling session with just me, a Godly minister looked me in the eyes, and gently, but steadfastly, told me my husband had broken his marriage vows to me, the ones he made before God, by his continuing disrespectful, emotionally abusive behavior. He said to me, “Through no fault of yours, you are living in a marriage that is not God-honoring. Your husband has broken his vows. You may stay, or you may go, but it is your decision. You are not powerless, and you have choices. They are yours to make.” From that point on, I no longer felt helpless.”

My heart swells over these words. Being in an abusive or addiction-filled marriage can be terrifying and emotionally paralyzing. It can take years and a multitude of incidents to even acknowledge and begin to believe your reality is as difficult and sad as it is. So to read the words of people who heard and understood and stood up for these women in their most vulnerable time brings me great hope.

And now, here are a few things that the sweet girls I get to share community with wished they would have heard along their difficult journeys…

“We love you and we support you.”

“I wish when the abuse was the worst that someone had helped me to leave. I wish that the bruises had prompted someone to ask if we were safe.”

“I’m coming over Saturday to mow your lawn and put air in your tires. You are not alone.”

“You continue to be in my thoughts and prayers.”

“How are you doing as a single mom?”

“Even if you mess up everything – which I don’t think you’re doing, by the way – I’m not going anywhere.”

“I secretly wish the church would have forced him out of church leadership when they witnessed his behavior instead of ignoring it. They were too afraid to punish him because they needed his musical skills – they admitted that to me.”

“I know he had to make his own decisions, but I wish the male leaders in my church would have contacted my husband to try to get him into fellowship with them and pray for him. Some of our problems may have been worked out. Instead they waited for him to come and ask for help (which he never did). I know they prayed for him, but I wish someone would have reached out to him.”

“I wished my pastor would look at my husband and demand that he be totally and completely up front with me and be a little more forceful about it.”

“I wish I had been told it was not all my fault. My husband blames me for everything and that feeling of blame and being unworthy kept me stuck for far longer than it should have.”

“Honestly I think I just wish someone would say, ‘It’s okay; I believe you!’”

Our words can wound and our words can heal. You probably know someone in your life who is in a difficult Christian marriage. And you have the power to help keep her in her current state of pain and shame or to help move her to a place of healing and renewal and peace.

What is it going to be?

Elisabeth K. Corcoran

What Matters Most?

For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.

Proverbs 23:7

We know that we are to take our thoughts captive and think on truth but we also have to be careful about what we focus on because wherever we focus our attention or energy, those things can and will develop in our words or actions.  Basically, whatever we focus on, we become.

When I get a craving for cheesecake, it does not take long for me to pursue that desire where I end up at Target picking up a yummy cheesecake.  Our thoughts stir our desires and emotions and lead us to make choices, good or bad, where we must decide whether we will follow through with them.  If we find ourselves only focusing on the negative in our situations, lives or relationships then we become negative and develop a critical spirit.  Our conversations and actions become negative and it begins to consume us to the point that we lose the joy that God has placed in our lives.  To think that we can lose our joy based on one negative thought is not appealing to me.

 When trouble arise in life it is important to evaluate where it came from because most of the time, we create our own drama based on our focus and thought life. When we feel depressed or discouraged and cannot quite put a finger on where it is coming from, we should examine our thoughts and find what it is that is fueling our emotions.  It is important that we keep a reign on our minds and feelings.  We can choose whether to think the worst or best in our life and in our relationships.  Scripture says that we are always to think on what is true, right, good, lovely, noble and pure which means we are to think the best in our lives and of people.  We should focus on God’s grace, mercy and love and not on the things we do not have.   I saw a quote once that said, “As you wander through life, brother, whatever be your goal, keep your eye upon the donut and not upon the hole.”  It is somewhat corny but there is a lot of truth to it.  Too many of us focus on what is not there, what we do not have or what is not right or fair. 

How often do we talk negative about the things God has given us? How often do we focus on the negative and allow Satan to devalue what God has so graciously given to each of us.  These are the very things that shape our character and speak to the condition of our heart. 

Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.  
Proverbs 4:23 

What is it that really matters in our lives?  Is it Him?  I cannot help but hear the words to this hymn while writing this post.
O soul are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s light for a look at the Savior,
And life more abundant and free!
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace.
Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus
Helen H. Lemmel-1922
Our happiness and direction in life are decided by our thought life and this is a powerful thing because our thoughts are not just things that pass through our minds and are then gone. We have to remember that our mind is like a battlefield.  Satan is always looking for the opportunity to find his way in and take our focus off Christ.  It does not matter how well we live our life if our thoughts are not true or right and especially if they are not pure.  We must focus on the things that have eternal value and stay clear of those things that will lead us down a path of discouragement and unhappiness because are we truly happy when we’re complaining?

A Heart that Listens

“If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.”
Mark 4:23

Those words are repeated throughout the gospels and Revelations.  A reminder that it is not enough to have ears but that we use them as well.  So many times, we hear the Word spoken but we do not truly hear and allow it to take root in our hearts.  However our hearts cannot be ready if there are those things, hearts that have become hardened, shallow lives or fretful minds, that are keeping us from missing the ultimate message He wants us to hear.  

How long has it been or have you ever let God actually have you? Have you ever given Him the opportunity to have uninterrupted time with you to speak where you were actually listening? Even Jesus knew that it was important to spend time with God.

“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed”.
Mark 1:35

So the obvious question is simply this, if Jesus, the Son of God, the sinless One thought it important to put everything else aside and spend time in prayer with His Father, why is it that we do not find it imperative to do the same?  Jesus not only spent time praying but He also spent time in His Father’s Word.  He found it important to not only spend time talking with God but studying the Word as well. Why do we not also find those things important?

Here is where this gets a bit personal.  Many tune out when the suggestion of a quiet time is mentioned.  Most of us spend time trying to find time to squeeze God into our busy schedules instead of making Him the priority.  We check Him off of our to-do list. Some avoid spending time alone with God because they become  frustrated from a lack of understanding with what they are reading and others avoid time alone all together because they believe that they will gain what they need from a Sunday morning sermon or the reading of some Christian book. The problem with all of this is that it is coming second hand.  When you rely on those things, you are experiencing someone else’s personal time with God.  You have missed your own special encounter with Him.  God wants each of us to have our own first-hand experience with Him not a substitute because He longs to be with each of us every day.  Our desire should be that He be the highlight of our life every day.  God give us ears that want to hear and hearts that long for time spent with You!

California here we come…

I am a little behind in posting these pictures but Matthew and I took our first trip together back in December.  Last September on my birthday I received a phone call from my sister informing me that she was flying me and Matthew out to LA for a visit.  It was quite the birthday gift and for the next couple of months we eagerly awaited our trip to CA.  Let me just say…we had a blast! It was amazing to get away but even  more fun spending time with my sister and TJ.  We are incredibly thankful for the trip and the time spent together!   
Our last day in LA we had lunch with long time friend Charlie!
He introduced me to food trucks!
We sat on the curb and had lunch together!

Before our delicious lunch, Charlie drove us through the Universal lot.
Pretty cool having friends with such special connections 🙂
On this trip to LA I paid my first visit to Pinks.
In case you cannot tell from this pic, it’s a hot dog place.

This happened to be Jen’s first visit as well.

Matthew and I shared a chili and cole slaw dog.
I thought it was fabulous.

Jen and TJ shared a cheese dog.
It was smothered in liquid cheese.

Waiting in line for our first taste of Pinks.

We paid a visit to Big Boy AKA Shoneys. 


If anyone has followed any of my blogs at one time or another you have read from my previous CA visits that I think Burbank CA has the best Krispy Kreme doughnuts EVER!  Well on this trip I got to share my love of Burbank Krispy Kreme with my love.  He thought they were pretty amazing too! However, TJ does NOT share my love for these doughnuts.  He prefers…wait for it….Dunkin Doughnuts.  UGH
Jen seemed happy with her doughnut selection

Matthew really didn’t care about the doughnuts.
He was just happy to be with me :-p
Yeah right 🙂

I was in heaven!  These are my favorite doughnuts!
All kinds of happiness!!

Running Scared

Even when the way goes through

    Death Valley,

I’m not afraid

    when you walk at my side.

Your trusty shepherd’s crook

    makes me feel secure.

You serve me a six-course dinner

    right in front of my enemies.

You revive my drooping head;

    my cup brims with blessing.

Your beauty and love chase after me

    every day of my life.

I’m back home in the house of God

    for the rest of my life.

Psalm 23:4-6 The Message

The enemy is running scared.  He is attempting to dodge the darts of consequences that will come. After a year of trusting and waiting, not always patiently, God answered a prayer.  
This time last year so many things in life were up in the air.  The new year began with such uncertainty.  There were many unanswered questions.  From the outside looking in it appeared that darkness had won and the enemy took the final victory.  I will admit that at times, I felt that way but my support system was strong.  I had the constant reminder that God is in control and that He had/has a plan.   
This time last year, I specifically asked God for something.  I needed something.  From my standpoint, it was not something I could accomplish on my own as I did not have the authority or the knowledge to know how to make it happen and so I prayed.
Long story short, without the use of manipulation or lying, my prayer was answered this week.  I waited an entire year for the Lord to answer my prayer.  I trusted His sovereign hand and instead of using my own method, which truthfully would have required some form of finagling the system, I waited and He answered
Sitting back now as I have read my writings over the past year; it is incredible to see how God has moved in my life.  He has provided some unbelievable things.  He has removed some much-needed things and people from my life.  He has sustained me and been my strength through troubling times.  He never left my side.  It has been an amazing journey. 
My dad said it best…the enemy is running scared.  My grandmother‘s words were, you do not continue to do wrong without having to face the consequences.  The hole is only getting bigger and the best part is that I have done nothing to dig the hole for the enemy.  I have trusted God completely.  I have patiently waited on His hand to move.  The story has been written and it is finished.  In the end, everything will be ok. 
My faith is growing. What used to be worry and fear in my life has now turned into joy from learning how to trust my Heavenly Father.  His ways are so much greater and far better than ours are.  Allowing Him to move instead of manipulating and lying to get our way, we reap the abundance of His blessings and live a life full of joy and contentment.  

God IS good ALL the time! 

Grace killers

We all know them. They are family members, church family and even friends. They can be found  anywhere.

Grace killers squash the work done on the cross. They stomp on the gospel. They turn people away from Christ.

I love the way in which Charles Swindoll speaks to this topic. What or whom does our self righteous attitude truly reflect?

Swindoll states that grace killers…

“leave no room for any gray areas. Everything is either black or white, right or wrong. And as a result, the leader maintains strict control over the followers. Fellowship is based on whether there is full agreement. Herein lies the tragedy. This self-righteous, rigid standard becomes more important than relationships with individuals. We first check out where people stand on the issues, and then we determine whether we will spend much time with them. The bottom line is this: We want to be right (as we see it, of course) more than we want to love our neighbors as ourselves. At that point our personal preferences eclipse any evidence of love. I am of the firm conviction that where grace exists, so must various areas of gray.

I can cultivate a judgmental attitude toward those who may not agree or cooperate with my plan. Grace killers are notorious for a judgmental attitude. It is perhaps the single most un-Christlike characteristic in evangelical circles today.”

Charles Swindoll
The Grace Awakening Devotional

The end is near…

For once I’m feeling empowered and not overwhelmed.  I have endured and am waiting patiently on the Lord while trusting that His plan is perfect.  Today a long awaited prayer request was answered.  The tide is turning. The end is near.
This morning I woke up unsure of how the day would end.  As anxious thoughts flooded my mind, my sweet husband sat beside me and prayed a prayer that reminded me of WHO is in control of all things.  That God’s plan is in fact perfect.  As we made our way to our destination Philippians 4:4-7 played through my mind over and over. 
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!  Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.  Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
As the scripture replayed in my head I heard that I am to rejoice in all things. The good, the bad and the ugly. All of it!  I am to be confident that God is in control and that He is near.  Because of that confidence I have no need to be anxious about my circumstances or the outcome of my situation.  Instead of being anxious I am to submit my fears, my apprehensions, and my doubts to the Lord and allow Him to fill me with His peace. By doing so my heart and mind are then protected in Christ Jesus.  God has gone before me.  My entire situation has been written and it is finished.  God knows the outcome and so now I can sit back knowing that He has the victory.  I do not have to worry or fear what happens next because it is finished.  With that, the outcome of today was AMAZING!  It falls right in line with His plan.  How exciting.  My life has taken such an incredible turn and each day brings about more and more of His rich blessings.  Today we are still waiting but now we are waiting with anticipation to what new and exciting things are yet to come. 
God is good.  He is faithful to protect His children and to provide our every need.  I am confident in His plan and for whatever is waiting around the next corner.  What a great day!


“Hope deferred makes the heart sick” 
Prov. 13:12

To live a life without hope sounds incredibly scary to me.  I cannot imagine facing the hard times of life without knowing that my God is in control and is working all things out for a greater plan.  I have really been working through this lately as a friend of mine recently had a miscarriage.  Now this is not something I have ever had to endure but as a mom of five, I can begin to imagine the pain and hurt that comes with losing your precious baby.  What has been so hard to watch her deal with is the lack of hope.  She does not believe in heaven.  She believes in God but she does not profess to follow Christ.  I have watched her struggle with the hurt and anger and it has been incredibly painful because I cannot comfort her with truth.

As Christians hope plays an important role in our lives. Hope brings us comfort.  It puts our heart and minds at rest during troubling times.  On the other hand, when our lives lack hope, we become overwhelmed with the uncertainty of what will happen next.  During the course of the past few years of my own life there were days when I felt hopeless.  I wanted to give up.  I doubted God’s goodness and presence.  It was as if I were standing at the end of a very dark tunnel with no glimpse of light in sight.  I felt trapped and my entire situation felt overwhelmingly bleak but thankfully deep inside my heart there was a small light attempting to penetrate the darkness that wanted to swallow me whole.  That small light was shining drawing me close. That small light was Christ.  He was there offering me hope and wanting me to trust Him through that dark tunnel.  He was asking me to place all of my cares down and trust Him with it all.  He became my strength when I was too tired to move ahead any further.  He became my peace when the enemy worked so hard to create turmoil within my life.  He became my comfort when the pain was too much to endure.  He WAS my light in that incredibly dark tunnel, He gave me a hope to keep on moving no matter how dark and ugly the battle became.

How does one move through hard times without hope? Without Christ?  I am so incredibly thankful that I do not have to live life without knowing. I wish I could give my friend the hope that I have but all I can do is offer her the Truth of His word and pray that God use my words to penetrate her heart so that she can see the light in her darkness. I will strive to live a life that is a reflection of His love, grace and hope. God is sovereign and He knew that I would one day be able to share my story and help someone else know Him.  He knew I would have this friend and He placed me in her path for this very season. My prayer is that I successfully live out a life that draws her to Him so that she will not have to live a life without hope. 

“So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us.

 This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls.”

Hebrews 6:18-19b