Momma, How Did Daddy Cody Go To Heaven?

“Momma, can I ask you a question?” I heard my five-year-old say. I closed my eyes and patiently replied, “yes.” This had to have been the 27th question in the last ten minutes.

“Okay, momma, can you turn the music off and come sit with me.” Her tone changed. I put my makeup brush down, paused my worship playlist on my phone and turned my attention to my daughter who sat on the bathroom floor drawing. (disclaimer—she likes to be right next to me in the mornings getting ready for school and work, so I let her draw or color on the bathroom floor while I get ready.) Her eyes were curious. She pointed to the small area in front of her, silently asking me to sit with her again. I sat.

“Momma, how did my Daddy Cody go to heaven?”

Silence.

I had known this was coming. I had been preparing myself for this conversation for about two years. Heaven is not a new topic for us. She knows Heaven is our forever home. She’s asked many questions about her Daddy Cody who went to Heaven when she was 8-months old. She understands he’s not here and he is in Heaven with Jesus. But she hadn’t put together that there has to be a physical aspect of dying to get to Heaven.

I hesitated. She’s five. I don’t want to tell her too much. But I want to tell her truth. I asked what exactly she meant? “What happened for him to go to Heaven?” she repeated. “Jesus just came down and got him, and poof, he’s gone?” she questioned.

I almost giggled at her detailed analysis. “Didn’t something happen to him for him not to be here?” she asked again.

“Yes,” I replied. “Do you think you’re ready for this conversation?” She immediately nodded her head, yes.

As tears formed in my eyes, I grabbed her hand and asked the Holy Spirit for help before beginning the toughest conversation of her five years.

“Daddy Cody went fishing one night on the lake we lived on. We had a small boat he would use when he went fishing. He texted me to let me know he was almost done and going to be headed in soon. Momma fell asleep with you and woke up hours later and he wasn’t in bed. So, I got up and went through the house. No sign of him. I started calling and texting him. No response. I went out to the pier with a flashlight, and I couldn’t see or hear anything. Momma didn’t really know what to do so I decided to wait until morning, so I could see better. I thought he went to a friends house around the lake and maybe his phone ran out of battery.” I paused. “What happened next, mommy?” she asked.  

I took a deep breath and began again, “I waited until morning, and when I still couldn’t see anything, I called a neighbor and they got on boats and went across the lake. When they returned with no news, I called 911 for help. They sent someone called a Game Warden with a big boat and equipment that can see under water to scan the lake. The boat looked all day, but they couldn’t find him.”

“Where did he go, what happened to him?” she asked. “We didn’t know exactly what happened,” I responded. “The Game Warden looked for 5 days before they found daddy in the water.”

“Five days, that’s a long time!” she exclaimed. “Yes, baby it is.”

“But what happened to him for him to go to Heaven?” she asked.

I replied, “Daddy somehow tipped the boat and went under the cold water and couldn’t get out.”

She leaned over and brushed the tears off my face. “But daddy trusted God, so he went to Heaven?” she stated.

“Yes, baby, daddy trusted God, so he is in Heaven now.”

Her curiosity continued as she asked, “But what happens when someone has no more days left on earth and they didn’t trust God?”

With this question I was able to explain that as real as Heaven is-so is a place called hell, and how our enemy, the devil schemes to turn people away from Jesus.

“Mommy, I’m going to trust God all of my life so I can go to Heaven one day too! And Daddy Cody will be there to hug me!” she said.

It’s conversations like these that plunge the reality of life and death, and heaven and hell to the forefront of my mind. How am I living my life? Am I using every aspect of my life to glorify my Creator? On the really hard days I daydream of Heaven. I wonder about the glorious colors I’ve never seen before, the beautiful worship I’ve never heard before. I daydream about being face to face with Jesus. The absolute peace and all-consuming joy it would be. And then I remember Cody is there. I remember his beautiful worship on earth- I can’t wait to see him worship in Heaven. The sadness of the loss, the trauma of the loss dissipates a little more with each thought and wonder of Heaven.

This is not my eternal home.

Heaven is.

Jesus tells us in John 14, “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” (1-7)

Do you ever think about Heaven? I mean really think about Heaven? Think of the most breathtaking landscape you’ve seen on earth and multiply that by infinity and I guarantee it doesn’t come close to the beauty in Heaven. Imagine your most healthy, productive, joy filled and peaceful day and multiply that by infinity and I wonder if that compares to our heavenly bodies and minds. I can’t fathom. But it excites me knowing there is so much more than the brokenness of this current life.

Peter states in 1 Peter 1:3-9, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”

Nothing can tarnish or extinguish the secure inheritance we have reserved in Heaven with Christ as our Lord and when we recognize Him as the One who took on death, to give us eternal life. Our faith is purified through our earthly trials. I pray your faith finds no falter through your present sufferings. I pray your mind stays eternally focused, knowing this life is a blink of an eye compared to eternity.

Paul writes in Colossians 3:1-3, “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.”

I’ve learned so much through loss. The Lord has revealed more of Himself to me during my darkest moments. When tough conversations or grief moments arise I’ll keeping choosing to set my mind on Heaven and the glory that waits. I choose to see life over death.

Happy 5 years in the Heavens, Cody Lusk. I’m thankful for you, and the life we created. You will forever be in my heart. 1.14.2017

I Trust my God, I Trust my God, I Trust my God.

I Don’t Want To Forget

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Photo by Jennifer Willard Photography

“I can’t wait to be on the other side of this.”

These were words that escaped my lips 2 years ago.

When the grief, the pain, the loss was all so fresh, so deep and still bleeding. A few weeks ago, I lay in bed clinging to the phone as I poured my heart out to a friend. I remember being so ridden with guilt for almost forgetting where I had been. How can life seem so ‘normal’ now? I had a disappointing day at work and was fuming with emotion. It hit me, how can I allow something so miniscule to steal my hard worked for joy? My life was in shambles not that long ago and look how far the Lord has brought me. How could I forget so easily? How could I allow myself to get worked up over nothing when my heart has known immeasurable destruction?

I made a vow in that moment, I don’t want to forget.

It’s in the valley’s we get to know the heart of our Savior. It’s when, our lives as we know it have been obliterated that we feel the sweet presence of Jesus intervene in a supernatural way.

I close my eyes and remember the hard days. The days of not knowing what happened to my person. The days of gut-wrenching grief and screams to God. The days of packing brown boxes to move across town. The days of rocking my baby girl to sleep as I cried silently in desperation to the Lord because I had no idea what I was doing. The days of seeing hope and sunlight only to be pushed back in the dark tunnel of grief and depression.

I want to remember these days. It keeps me humble. It keeps my heart centered on Christ and His overwhelming goodness. It reminds me of how weak I am, and how unbelievably strong my Jesus is. It reminds me to surrender my heart and mind daily to Him. It reminds me to let go and cease striving.

“But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10.

These have become some of my favorite words in the entire Bible. I speak them often. I recite them before I have spoken at events. These words put Christ at the forefront of my insufficiencies. They murder my need to please and smother my perfectionist nature. They welcome my weaknesses so that Jesus can shine His power and receive the glory He so desperately deserves.

During my many months of grief and trauma counseling I begun to imagine grief in different ways. I often allow my mind to visit one illustration in-particular. Grief is this beautiful box. The box is blue and has colorful sequins displayed on it. The box has light dispersing from it. Inside the box are my memories. My favorite pictures from my old life, or songs that resonate memories, or maybe it’s words forever captured on paper that had been handwritten to me. This box is filled with beautiful memories. The box contains sad memories too. Harsh words, ‘I love you’s’ left unsaid. It is filled with the infamous ‘coulda, woulda, shoulda’s’. It is filled with regrets and gut-wrenching guilt. I put this box in a safe place. Maybe tuck it under my bed or put it away on the top of a shelf. I hide the box. I don’t want to see it every day. My heart can’t take it.

But I purposefully allow myself days and moments to look at this beautiful box. I allow myself to pick it up and touch it. I hold it close to me. Some days I allow myself to actually open the box. I delve in and touch the memories. I may cry–sweet tears or ugly cry with mascara running down my cheeks. I may laugh and laugh until my belly hurts. Sometimes I allow my baby girl to visit the box with me. I tell her about her daddy. I let her listen to his favorite songs. I show her pictures of him holding her. She refers to him as “my daddy who held me like a baby”. That is all she will ever see of him on this side of glory. My heart aches with unspoken grief of the loss she has experienced without even knowing it. I have to keep reminding myself that the Lord will cover all of her needs. I have to trust Him with her.

I’m learning grief will always be a part of my life. Grief isn’t always dark and grueling, it can be surprisingly beautiful if we allow the Lord to use our grief for His glory. Grief has taught me compassion and patience for others. It has opened my heart to a new realm of love and understanding of life. Grief has reminded me how short our lives are and reiterates the urgency to be eternally minded and heaven bound.

It hurts to go back.

But I don’t want to ever forget the hurt.

No matter the amazing blessings and sunshine the Lord allows to enter our lives, I don’t want to forget where I came from. No matter how normal life feels again, there is something so pure in being broken before the throne, with nothing to offer but your praise and shattered heart. God shows up and intricately re-creates the brokenness into a sculpture we could have never built or imagined for ourselves.

But it starts with surrender.

It requires trust.

The Lord keeps reminding me how easy it is to praise Him when life is rolling along, but what escapes your lips when life resembles heartache, broken dreams, and unmet expectations? Do you lay down and give up mentally, emotionally, spiritually? Or do you rise-up and praise Him even when the pain is suffocating and the confusion looms from every direction?

Maybe you have been through a season of devastation and grief but you’re finding yourself on the other side. Praise God for the new season. But never, ever forget what He’s brought you through. Or maybe you’re still in the season of darkness. Praise God for this season too. Allow yourself to cease striving and draw close to the Creator. He will carry you through. He will make beauty from the ash. It may not be on our timing and it may not look like what we had in mind, but that is why He is God, and we are not.

“The Lord is my strong defender; he is the one who has saved me. He is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will sing about his greatness.” Exodus 15:2

“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” 1 Peter 2:9

I Trust my God. I Trust my God. I Trust my God.

 

Is Today Worthy Of Being Your Last?

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I sat up in the bed to wipe away my hot tears. I continued watching the woman on my television. She was in disarray. She locked herself in her apartment. She ate junk. She didn’t clean. She cried. She wept deeply. She was a complete mess. She was in the tunnel of grief. My heart ached. I remembered thinking to myself, “It’s just a movie”.  I sank back in the bed and turned to my husband next to me. He was sound asleep. I pressed into him, snuggling him, thanking God he was mine. I never wanted to be like the woman I saw in the movie. I never wanted to lose my husband.

My heart wouldn’t stop pounding and the ‘what if’ thoughts ran rampart in my head. The tears continued to spring forth. I remember pressing my lips so softly on my husband’s back, whispering faintly, “I Love you.”

The woman I was watching was the famous Hilary Swank and her heart-wrenching performance in ‘P.S. I Love You’.

It was the night of Thursday, January 12, 2017. Less than 48 hours before I would become a version of the woman I was watching on T.V.

Irony at its best.

Life is crazy, full of irony and so unpredictable. Just when we think we’ve got it all figured out and we are ‘safe’ in our bubble wrapped lives—everything can change in a split second. Everything we know becomes everything we knew. All of our ‘to do’ lists become insignificant.

I remember this night in such detail because it was the last night I would ever lay next to my husband. Friday, January 13, 2017 was his last full night on this earth. After a fun-filled evening of making a bonfire and eating s’mores with our then 8-month old daughter, we had made plans to watch a movie together as a family. He ended up working half the night in the yard and finishing office work for our company. He never came to bed.

I often wonder, had he known that was going to be his last full night on this earth, would he have chosen to spend it differently…?

What he was doing that night were great things that were assets to our home life. But he chose that over quality time with his family. We all fall short in this area. I have been so guilty of wanting to scratch out my to do list before taking the time to spend with loved ones. We get in a mind state of “tomorrow”.

But what if tomorrow never comes?

Everyone has a first day, and a last day, a first breath and a last breath. After experiencing great loss I try to be so aware of my actions every day. At the end of the day I have begun to ask myself—“Did I live this day like it could be my last? Do the people I care about know how much they mean to me? Did I laugh and smile today more than I cried? Did I live for this day or wallow in the past? Did I walk in integrity and represent Christ to the best of my ability? Was this day worthy of being my last?

Truthfully… The majority of the time the answer to these questions is no. I have good intentions when the day dawns, but I seem to get lost in life’s mundaneness while beginning to question Gods sovereignty when there’s so much darkness and heartache within. 

Have you ever waded through a season of life and the sadness and disappointments seem unrelenting? I find myself telling the Lord as of late… ‘I don’t want to walk this walk anymore. You picked the wrong person.’

How selfish and weak.

No thing is too great to go through with Jesus carrying us. Through my questions and experiencing Christ’s overwhelming presence when nothing else in life makes sense, I know He is good. He is always good.

Romans 12:2 tells us, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”

The worst thing we can do when we experience life’s tragedies is to stay the same. I invite the Lord to continue to change my mind and mold my heart for His glory. A trying season in life is just that… a season. This too shall pass.

A new day is dawning.

A new season is approaching.

Healing is for the taking.

I challenge you to reach out and take what God has already left for us… His peace, His joy, His unrelenting Love.

Embrace each moment and walk in the healing presence of Jesus. His power to overcome resides inside of you. Become unified in that power and anointing. He will change your life and your view of spiritual mountains and giants. My prayer is that you will seek Gods ultimate and sovereign will for your life. I pray if you don’t know Christ as your savior then you won’t let another day end before asking Him to be Lord of your life. I pray you choose His will over comfort and satisfying the flesh. I pray the Lord gives you a supernatural insight on the importance of being eternally minded.

“Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” James 4:14

Is today worthy of being your last?

I Trust my God, I Trust my God, I Trust my God.

You Are Mine

You Are Mine Blog

Photo by Shala Gean

I stood uncomfortably in front of the glass window that was open halfway. I shivered from the cold air circulating the waiting area. The lady behind the window shuffled paperwork and sighed in frustration at her slow computer. “Thank you for your patience, we’re starting a brand new system and we will have to do all of the paperwork from the computer.” I nodded, my hand holding my throat that was on fire, I managed to mutter, “It’s okay.”

I am blessed with rarely getting sick, but not that morning. I woke up swallowing what felt like needles and guessed immediately I had strep. So here I was.

The receptionist muttered in a semi excited tone telling me the system was loaded and we could proceed. She began asking me a series of questions. Nothing out of the ordinary. But then the question came that pierced my soul like a knife. Her tone unchanging, so normal… “So are ya married, single, divorced?” Such a normal question. A question that undoubtedly is asked on paperwork. I stuttered, both from my burning throat, and because I was forcing the hot tears down.

She just stared at me waiting for an answer. I managed to mutter, “Uhh, I guess widowed”. Her eyes studied me up and down. There were three others in the small area behind her who had been lost in conversation, but they must have heard my quiet answer and all eyes shifted to me. I wondered what was going through their minds. I could tell I was younger than all of them by at least two decades. I noticed all of their hands wore wedding bands.

The rest of the questions were a blur. I made my way back to my seat to wait for the doctor. That question still ringing in my ears. I hate the term ‘widowed’. My whole life anytime I’ve heard that title I immediately thought of an elder who got to spend the better part of their life with their spouse, but the one no longer here just beat them home. I didn’t think of a young person, barely into adulthood with a small child/children to raise alone.

This scene was weeks ago, but it keeps dwelling in my heart. I find myself asking God why? And He’s showing me how much I have always put my worth into titles in my life. Wife, Mother, Daughter, Journalist…

I have struggled with feeling like I have lost parts of my identity in many areas of my life this past year.

I mourn the loss of the title, Wife.

I don’t want to claim the title of widow. It makes me uncomfortable. It makes me want to crawl out of my skin.

Though I believe the Lord honors us when we are the best sons and daughters, husbands and wives, mothers and fathers here on this earth. But the Lord has been revealing a deep truth in my spirit. Those titles are but a blink of an eye. They do not define us. If we put our entire worth and value into those titles, into our careers, into something that we’re known for on earth, when tragedy strikes, when the rug is pulled out from under us, when life happens, we would crumble on the inside. When our eyes are on the titles of this world they are not on Who Jesus is and who He says we are in Him.

This is the journey the Lord is taking me on. He is showing me through loss and other deep hurts just who I am in Him. He is showing me His strength that permeates through a broken and shattered soul. It hurts, but I see the beauty of Christ’s sovereignty shining through the darkness and the unknown.

Last week I had the opportunity to go camping with some great friends. As I lay alone in my small tent in the middle of the night listening to the wind, and the hundreds of overlapping chirps and screeches of insects and animals, my thoughts circled on just how BIG our God is. I thought of my life. I thought of all the events that led me to this still moment in that tent. I was alone. But I could literally feel the God of the universe surrounding me with His presence. I began to talk to Him. I asked Him,” Who am I, Lord?” I told Him how lost I have felt lately. I shared my fears with Him (though He knew all of this already) I just wanted to speak it. In my spirit I could feel the words, You are Mine encamp around my heart.

You.Are.Mine.

Those three words wrecked my heart. Though many parts of my life feel so messy and in shambles, I am where I am supposed to be because no matter how things appear through the flesh—I am His. And His plans are far greater than I could ever dream of for myself. His ways, His character, His love, and grace, are things I would not understand without experiencing my plans and dreams being shattered overnight.

One of my favorite songs is Lauren Daigle’s ‘Trust in You’. The opening words have been my hearts cry, “Letting go of every single dream, I lay each one down at your feet. Every moment of my wandering never changes what you see…No matter what I face You’re by my side.”

I’m finding myself daily taking to heart His words for me, You are Mine. With that truth—It compels us to want to lay down our dreams at His feet. I don’t want anything that is not from Him. I don’t want a life where He is not the center. I refuse to live a life of complacency and wandering aimlessly with no real vision of being in the center of Gods sovereign will for my life. All other options are just not options at all anymore. Period.

“But now thus says the LORD, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.” Isaiah 43:1

The Lord is showing me that no title is greater than being called His. I am protected by the Creator of the Universe. I am loved by Him, I am set a part. So are YOU.

“Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands…” Isaiah 49:16

I Trust my God, I Trust my God, I Trust my God.

Cease Striving

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Photo by Chera Zwar

I walked quickly behind the frustrated cries of my daughter. I could see her ahead of me standing at a chain linked fence. Her little fingers intertwined through the fence with clinched fists. Her feet jumped up and down in an exasperated impatience. She began shaking the fence. I looked upon her with a half laugh, as well as awe of the strength that flooded out of her two year old body. She kept looking at me with confusion and almost anger. Then her hands pointed in front of her. What lay ahead was a kingdom for a toddler. A playground with many adventures awaited just beyond the fence. Just beyond her reach.

“Baby girl, we don’t have to climb over this high fence to get to the playground. Cease your striving,” I said calmly making my way to her.

As soon as those words left my mouth, I stopped walking. “Cease Striving”, I repeated. I turned to my friend who was next to me and I remembered those same words have been spoken over me these last few weeks.

Cease Striving.

What my daughter couldn’t see because of her limited view of the “bigger picture” was if she just continued walking straight, we would enter into an opening of the playground. All she saw was the playground but couldn’t get over the barrier. But she wasn’t supposed to ‘strive’ to get over the barrier—in this case being the chained linked fence. She just had to walk a little further and not get distracted by the sight of her hearts desire. She was supposed to trust me to lead her in the correct way to go, a way that caused no harm to her, or unnecessary striving. She was to just simply trust me.

In that moment, I felt the Lord pressing upon my spirit to cease striving in certain situations in my life. All I see is what is right in front of me. It’s a narrow view. I see something that I want, but there is this barrier in front of it and I want to climb the barrier. I want to kick it down. I want to scream. I want to jump up and down until God removes the barrier. I am spiritually throwing a temper tantrum. (Please tell me I’m not the only one who does this from time to time.)

When I pray… I hear the words ‘Cease Striving’. It’s not my barrier to kick down. God sees all. He has a view of the full picture. I pray, “Lord Your will be done, not mine. Let Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.” But then I find myself striving in my own power to carry my burdens. I find myself so broken and on the verge of an emotional rage and deep sadness because life hasn’t gone the way I wanted. I feel knocked back on so many levels in life and I’m striving to regain what I think I need to survive. Reality check—Christ is the ONLY thing needed for survival on this side of heaven.

Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still, and know that I am God…” ‘Be still’ is also translated into ‘cease striving’. The phrase ‘cease striving’ in Hebrew actually means “let your hands drop”, “let go”, or “relax”. I believe the Lord will not immerse Himself into a difficult situation in our lives until we let go of it.

Are you holding onto something the Lord is telling you to let go of? Maybe it’s something that has actually created great joy in your life. But now He’s asking you to let go of it. Some of us even hold onto things that have caused immeasurable pain and grief, but it has become so familiar to us, that we don’t want to let go of it for fear of change.

My flesh cannot understand the letting go of something good, especially after walking through a season of great loss. My flesh doesn’t want to let go of anything resembling goodness. It scares me. But then I hear the Holy Spirit whisper, “Trust me, Jess…For I know the plans I have for you…plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

This scripture tells us that the Lord does have a plan for each of our lives. And it is a good plan. But it gives no indication of what that plan actually is. I don’t know about you, but I am a planner. I have never been ‘a go with the flow’ kind of gal. My flesh screams in agony when my plans are disrupted, when I feel a loss of control. I literally can have an emotional meltdown inside. Trusting God is one of the HARDEST tasks in my walk with Him. Lately I feel as if I’m fumbling around in the dark searching for a light switch and there is NO light switch, only the Lord whispering to keep putting one foot in front of the other and follow Him.

I love the words of Dwight L. Moody, “Let God have your life; He can do more with it than you can.”

I know I have to follow Him. In my mind there is no other option. I may sit down in a slumber and squall for a minute or two, or a week or two, or sometimes even a month or two… but eventually I know I will always get back up and walk toward that still small voice wooing me to Him once again. I’m so thankful He never leaves or forsakes us in our midnight hour.

Just like me lovingly taking my daughters hand to lead her in the way that she should go to achieve her heart’s desire (getting to the playground), The Lord never stops leading us in the way that we should go.

I no longer want to strive at this fence with clenched fists.

I don’t want to strive in my own power to heal from my past. I don’t want to keep touching my open wounds, hurting them even more. The Lord is my healer, my helper, my calm in the middle of a storm.

My desire is to cease striving.

C.S. Lewis wrote, “Getting over a painful experience is much like crossing monkey bars. You have to let go at some point in order to move forward.”

Cease Striving. Let your hands drop.

I Trust my God, I Trust my God, I Trust my God.

But Aren’t I Enough?

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Photo By Charles Evans

My face buried in my hands, my cheeks burned from the streams of hot tears rolling down as the sobs escaped uncontrollably and out of nowhere. My body ached from the emotions released. A million thoughts bombarding my mind at once… Memories of a life that could have been. So many memories of being on my face in prayer for that life. A life that seemed so far away. The tears keep rolling at thoughts of the future… just mere thoughts though—because I have no clue about the future. But then who really does? We can all make plans, but our tomorrows ultimately aren’t ours to decide.

Fears are overwhelming me. Fears of never having the deep desires of my heart met. Desires that were fulfilled for a short time and then vanished into thin air as if that life were a dream. I opened my mouth in between the deep cries, words of gibberish escaped. I have no idea what to pray, but my spirit does. I just talk to my God. I talk in anger, I talk in transparency, I talk in sadness, I talk in thankfulness… I just talk. And then my spirit hears a faint whisper… “But Aren’t I Enough?”

My sobs stop immediately. I rise to my knees from my crumbled position on the floor in my prayer area. I lift my head up as if aiming to the Heavens. I repeat the question I just felt pressed upon my spirit—“But Aren’t I Enough?”

Before another thought swarmed my flooded mind, the word “Yes” flowed freely.

“Yes, Lord, YOU are enough”, I whispered. “You are more than enough.” As these whispers left my lips I pictured a daddy leading his child. A good daddy would never leave his child to fend for themselves. How much more can we depend on our Heavenly daddy to lead us?

I continued to pray. Words began to come to my mind… fear, anger, grief, sadness, confusion, un-loveable, rejected, impatience, unworthy, unclean… all of these words that have defined my emotions for a long time. These words are not true but hold power when we don’t strike them down with the truth of God’s Word. It doesn’t matter what words the enemy throws at us. When we make the decision to believe them is when we give our power away.

I’ve been giving my power away.

I recently had the opportunity to speak at a 3 day women’s ministry event. During a pivotal moment in the weekend a young woman testified that the Lord revealed something profound to her. She stated that she realized she needed to Love Christ more than her children, more than her husband.

Ouch.

I cannot get that revelation out of my mind. When she spoke this truth, her words pierced with a supernatural power. How many of us love our children more than Jesus? Our spouses?

After experiencing deep loss, I have gone through a season of not trusting God with my baby girl. That sounds ridiculous as I read it out loud right now. How could I not trust Him with her? He created her. But I was inflicted with deep fear of losing her after losing my husband, her daddy. I didn’t want her out of my sight. I wanted to keep her all to myself all of the time. It was unhealthy. I have definitely come a long way in overcoming those fears. But that fear can still creep up and paralyzes me out of nowhere.

Fear is the opposite of trust… the opposite of love.

1 John 4:18 tell us, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear…”

When we surrender every faucet of our lives to Christ, it frees us up to trust in a supernatural manner.

In my moment of disheveled tears and transparency before the throne in my prayer area—I begun to see how I have allowed fear to slither in nearly every area of my life like the slimy snake it is. I have lost sight of the throne. I have lost sight of truth. I have been so focused on something I think I want or think I deserve and my eyes fell off of the One who those things would derive from in the first place. The Lord gave me a vision of a huge rock. On this rock I built a house. I built a family, a career, I have titles. I have ‘purpose’. On this rock my entire earthly life is built so beautifully. But a storm comes and knocks down everything I built on that rock.

All that’s left is The Rock.

“Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD himself, is the Rock eternal.” Isaiah 26:4

“The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” Psalm 18:2

When our lives don’t work out how we want them to, when our lives seem to be falling apart, when we are disappointed, fearful, impatient, … The Rock still remains, unshaken, unmoved, acting as our shield.

Christ is the ONLY steadfast thing in our lives. He is the only constant and true centerfold. Everything in our lives should ultimately point to glorifying Him. Every relationship, every position we hold, every place we enter we represent Christ. If He is all we had, all we could depend upon and trust in… Isn’t that enough?

“But Aren’t I Enough?”

Ephesians 1:3 says, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.”

In Him we already have more than enough… everything else in this life, every other relationship, our children, significant others, our titles, careers, nice homes, beauty, handsomeness, earthly riches… EVERYTHING else is ‘extra’ and less than essential for the journey to our forever home in Heaven.

He is ENOUGH.

“His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence.” 2 Peter 1:3

I Trust my God, I Trust my God, I Trust my God.

Turning The ‘Extra Ordinary’ Into Extraordinary

Make me broken

I have always found the word ‘Extraordinary’ to be funny and full of irony. Being a writer I like words—obviously. I like to break words down. Merriam Webster’s Dictionary defines Extraordinary as, “going beyond what is usual, regular, or customary, extraordinary powers, exceptional to a very marked extent.”

Going beyond, exceptional… Those are words describing Extraordinary. But looking at the word ‘extraordinary’ it is made up of two words… Extra and Ordinary.

Extra Ordinary.

So being extra ordinary makes up the word Extraordinary… something exceptional, to go beyond…? Ironic.

This is exactly what God does in His people. He calls extra ordinary people to do Extraordinary things through Him and for His glory.

There have been many times in my life when I have had a dream to accomplish something that is bigger than me. A dream that I want to chase down and lavish in but then I hear those whispers…’ you’re not good enough, you’re not smart enough, they won’t take you seriously, you’re not exceptional enough.’ I know we all experience those whispers in our minds. Those thoughts are obviously not from the Lord.

I am reminded time and time again that perfection in human form does not exist, nor will it ever exist. The more I grow in my relationship with the Lord the more I proclaim the notion that there is NOTHING good in me apart from Christ. Nothing. My flesh is totally fouled and continuously failing. But with Christ as my Savior and with Him residing in me… I become new and spiritually pure. My ‘extra ordinary’ becomes Extraordinary through Christ.

I love the Word of God. The Holy Bible is our physical connection to our Heavenly Father. The power in scripture, the truths, the testimonies of people that God has used gives us hope when we may otherwise have none. The Word of God continuously breath’s life into us.

I want to revisit some of my favorite testimonies in the Bible. Mary was just an extra ordinary young girl who had a dream of being a wife and a mother one day. God took Mary’s dream and multiplied it by infinity.

In the Book of Luke chapter 1 verses 26-28 and verses 30-35 it says, “In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!”… The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God.”

God chose this extra ordinary girl to carry, birth, and raise the Savior of the world. He chose her to do something Extraordinary through Him.

David was just an extra ordinary shepherd boy, the youngest of seven brothers. The Lord chose David from an early age. “Then Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all your sons here?” And he said, “There remains yet the youngest, but behold, he is keeping the sheep.” And Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and get him, for we will not sit down till he comes here.” And he sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy and had beautiful eyes and was handsome. And the LORD said, Arise, anoint him, for this is he.” Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers. And the spirit of the LORD rushed upon David from that day forward…” 1 Samuel 16:11-13.

In chapter 17 we read that through the power of God—as just a boy David took down goliath with a sling and a rock. He had God confidence and knew Who resided in him, making him Extraordinary. God continued to do Extraordinary things in David’s life and he later reigned as king… this extra ordinary shepherd boy became Extraordinary through the power of God.

I love the story of Esther. Another story of an extra ordinary girl—a Jewish girl. King Ahasuerus was seeking a queen. His officers gathered all the beautiful young virgins. Esther, who had lost her mother and father and was being raised by her Uncle, Mordecai, was among these beautiful young women gathered to the Kings palace. It says in Esther 2:9, in reference to Hegai, who was in charge of the women, “And the young woman pleased him and won his favor.” Hegai then chose to advance Esther. In verse 17 it says, “The king loved Esther more than all the women, and she won grace and favor in his sight more than all the virgins, so that he set the royal crown on her head and made her queen…”

A plot was being planned against the Jews and Mordecai overheard the plot. He told Queen Esther of the plot. “For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”

Esther was an extra ordinary Jewish girl who was obedient. Queen Esther had won the favor of the King so drastically that she was able to go to him with the information of the plots against her people and with the King’s help she saved her people. She became Extraordinary.

I could go on and on with testaments of Gods power and how He exchanges our ‘extra ordinary’ for Extraordinary. We serve that same God today.

I don’t know about you… But I want that power in my life every single day. When Christ resides in us we are powerful beyond our comprehension.

I want to trust like Mary did.

I want to have a God confidence like David did.

I want to live in obedience and grace like Esther did.

We don’t have to live mundane and defeated lives. We don’t have to be overcome with complacency, depression, and joylessness. We were made for so much more. We were made to be world changers. We were made to be representatives of Christ. We were made to be powerful in Christ, to rise up and out of the darkness to proclaim the power and goodness of God. I don’t want to remain the same. I don’t want to accept mediocrity in my Christian walk. I want to KNOW God more and more every day I am on this earth. I want to live a life that draws others closer to Christ.

I want my daughter to grow and witness a life of power in Christ. I want to allow God to transform the extra ordinary into something Extraordinary for His glory.

I desire a constant expectancy in my spirit, almost as tangible as if I were physically carrying life inside of me waiting to birth this new life. That is how I want to expect the extra ordinary to grow into something Extraordinary through Christ.

I challenge you to reject the complacency in your walk with Christ. I challenge you to get in a quiet place in your mind and heart and seek Him. Ask Him into every area of your life—not just the easy places… but the scary and hard to reach places in your heart, mind and emotions. We all have things we want to lock away and hide—but then those things will always hold us captive. Lay it down.

“Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us.” Ephesians 5:20

When God is in it, little is much.

When God is in it, the extra ordinary becomes the Extraordinary.

I Trust my God, I Trust my God, I Trust my God.

I Will Praise You Through The Pain

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Photo By Brianne Campos Photography

“The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped; therefore my heart exults. And with my song I shall thank Him.” Psalm 28:7

I made a decision a long time ago that I would praise You, always, Lord.

There was a time in my life when I didn’t understand what praising You meant.

There was a time in my life when You whispered to me to praise You, and I replied with, “I will not praise You when my life is a mess… fix this and then I’ll praise You.”

What a victim mentality that was.

That particular night 4 years ago is a moment I will never forget. The Lord got a hold of my heart and revealed Himself to me in a whole new light. I began to realize it’s not about what God can do for us… We shouldn’t praise Him for what He can do… We should praise Him simply for Who He is. He is The Lord of Lord’s, The King of King’s. He is worthy of all of our praise, all of the time. No matter our circumstances.

Even when we’re hurting.

Especially when we’re hurting.

There is power in praising God through the Pain. There is power in praising God through the storms of life.

And I’m not talking about a flat tire kind of day storm—I am referring to the hurricanes and tornadoes of life… broken relationships, dreaded news…death. Through the dark chaos of life—God still deserves our praises.

Through learning to praise God during what was my greatest fear at that time—a near failed marriage (which God redeemed)… That trial changed my praise. God showed me the power of praising Him through the darkness. A supernatural power arises within us and around us when we lift our hands and eyes to the heavens and pour out our praises to our Creator. Some may think it’s weird, uncomfortable or mystical even. But we were made to praise God. There is something threaded in our souls that yearns for fellowship with Christ. We may not even realize it. But I am living proof of the strength that can be born from praising in the most un-praise-able scenarios. The above picture was captured at my late husband’s funeral on January 24, 2017.

When I look at this picture a swarm of emotions arise within me. I look at my face and don’t even recognize the woman in that picture. I remember that moment as if it were yesterday. It was one of those moments that changes who you are… forever. I will never be the same woman I was a moment before this photo was captured. The praise happening in this picture was one of absolute and complete surrender to God. I woke up that morning not wanting to face the day of burying my husband and the father of my then 9 month old baby girl. I didn’t want to get out of bed. I didn’t want to do this hard thing in front of me.

But God.

Getting dressed that morning was a blur. The drive to the church was a blur. Entering the building and being guided to a secluded room was a blur. The walk down the aisle to take my seat in front of the cedar casket that held my husband’s lifeless body was a blur.

But when the music began… When the words of worship emitted through the air… Something happened inside of me. I have always considered myself a ‘worshipper’. But this day changed that meaning to me.

The Holy Spirit came and ministered to me in my seat. He began to engulf me in peace. He began to shower me with an out of this world strength. In that moment—I knew I was going to be okay. I knew I was not alone. I knew God was bigger than my pain. I could feel the Holy Spirit tell me to surrender. He told me to TRUST. He told me this was not about me.

This tragedy was not about me.

This pain was not about me.

It was not about the cedar casket in front of me that held my husband.

It was not about anyone in that building.

It was about my Jesus.

My Redeemer. My Creator. The One who lives and reigns forever. Because of HIM I had the assurance to know and see in the spirit my husband was ALIVE.

He’s not in that cedar casket. He’s not lifeless.

He is living out his eternity with Jesus. He is more alive than we are.

I couldn’t stay seated any longer. I had to stand and praise my creator for giving LIFE to my husband and all that believe in Christ as their savior.

Christ was to be glorified through this tragedy. I was not to bottle up my hurt and sink into a dark pit.

The Holy Spirit whispered His love to me. He whispered parts of His plan to me. I knew it was going to be a hard road. I knew the grief that lay ahead would be gut-wrenching… But I knew I would survive with Christ living in me. By His power—not mine.

And you will survive the pain of whatever you’re facing too. God is bigger than our earthly pain and sorrow.

I hesitated posting this picture and this blog… But the pull in my spirit is someone needs these words. The pain is real. The pain of death is very real, almost tangible. Grief is its own entity. It’s okay to hurt. It’s okay to grieve. Just remember not to stay there forever. Ask God to help you through the darkness. Ask Him to guide you minute to minute. Ask Him what His purpose for this pain is. He will show you. Going through these last 12 months navigating life after deep loss has allowed me to feel others pain as if it were my own again. The compassion that has been etched into my heart specifically for other widowers is so real. I am thankful for that new emotion. I will carry it for the remainder of my life. I will always pray strategically for ones who face this same road. A road no one wants to travel or thinks of having to travel—This road is hard, but allow God to change your heart on the journey. He will not leave or forsake you, Ever. Even on the hardest and darkest day—HE is there, holding you, breathing life into your loss.

“But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in Spirit and truth, for such people the Father seeks to be His worshippers. John 4:23-24.

Praise Him in those moments. Praise Him when it hurts the most. He will show up in the middle of your pain. I promise He will.

“The LORD is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek you. Sing praises to the LORD…” Psalm 9:9-11.

“But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. I will sing to the LORD, because he has dealt bountifully with me.” Psalm 13:5-6.

“And my tongue shall declare Your righteousness And Your praise all the day long.” Psalm 35:28

When life brings pain, remember you are never alone. The Lord is our strong tower, our ever present help in times of trouble. He makes all things work together for the good of those who love Him, Romans 8:28.

You are so much stronger than you know…

Just repeat after me…

I Trust my God, I Trust my God, I Trust my God.

I Love You… Eternally

I Love you Eternally

Photo By Daniel Dockweiler

So many emotions the last few days have taken camp on my heart as I face the 1-year mark of Cody being home in heaven. But of all the emotions I’ve faced—Thankfulness is the most prevalent. I am so thankful for having experienced the Love of Cody Lusk. I am thankful to raise the life we created. I am thankful for the new appreciation of life I have. I am thankful for the people the Lord has brought into my life this last year. I am thankful for the deep grief, pain and sorrow, because it has allowed me to experience true joy and peace on a new level.

Tragedy doesn’t have to define you. We do not have to be victims of tragedy for the remainder of our lives. God does not allow tragedy to penetrate our lives for it to be forgotten in the ground… He put in us a strength and a faith that can erupt like a volcano when we Surrender to HIM. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt, and it doesn’t mean questions don’t come—but it means we can accept and TRUST that God has us in the palm of His hands—“We are covered under His feathers and under His wings we will find refuge.” Psalm 91:4. I don’t know about you, but there is no place else I’d rather be than covered under His wings.

The word eternity has pierced my heart this last year. I now have a deep desire to be more eternally focused. Over the last year I have re-read dozens and dozens of letters and love notes from Cody over the years of our marriage. Every single one ended with, “I Love you, Eternally”. The definition of eternally is, “in a way that continues and lasts forever; permanently.” That makes my heart smile. Over the last couple of months I am ashamed to admit I have struggled with anger in regards to unresolved things in our marriage. I would angrily cry out to God hundreds of WHY’S?

On New Year’s Eve while praying in my special prayer area, I had my face buried in my hands sobbing and I felt a little hand on my shoulder. I looked up and baby Abby was standing inches from me with her arms outstretched. In that moment I felt the Holy Spirit say, “It is finished. Cody is with me. He Loved you with all that he had and I left the best part of him with you.” In that moment the burden of the unanswerable ‘why’s’ that were haunting me dissipated. The anger was released and replaced with that unexplainable peace that exists when we surrender. In that moment as my daughters little body was wrapped around mine, her little face nestled in my neck, feeling her heart beating and her breath on my skin, a new strength and love arose. I began to see a part of my heart neatly wrapped up with a pretty bow on it—that part of my heart was Cody’s and our life together. I then saw a huge part of my heart beating that I never knew existed. I’m realizing it’s okay to desire certain things again. It’s okay to look to the future with excitement. It’s okay to stop asking why.

It doesn’t matter why.

It doesn’t matter what happened.

It doesn’t matter.

That may sound cold, and I don’t mean it to at all. I just mean I am coming to a place, a new stage of healing and I’m realizing no amount of screams and cries to God or Cody in anger will change anything. Accepting that it was ordained for me to only get 4.5 years with him and Abby was only to get 9 months with him… But we have eternity to look forward to.

When I read the words “I Love you, Eternally” written by my husband, my heart soars and breaks at the same time. But you know what is marinated in my soul even deeper than my husband speaking those words? Is my Heavenly Daddy speaking those same words over me—He Loves me eternally. He will never leave or forsake me or my daughter. He has more than taken care of us these last 12 months and I trust and have faith He will continue to do so.

Romans 5:2-5 tells us “Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”

I’ve had people ask me over the last 12 months if I have felt guilty for laughing or having fun. My instant answer is ‘NO’. I will never feel guilty for laughing or for exuding joy and God’s Love. Because joy and love is the essence of life. Cody was one of the most exuberant souls you would have ever met.

He would never want me to live my life in darkness and sadness forever.

So I refuse to.

Grief changes you, but it doesn’t have to be a permanent sad kind of change.

It can be a strengthening change.

A brave change.

A learning to Love deeper kind of change.

A let’s not take life for granted kind of change.

So yes, grief and tragedy has changed me, but not in the worlds way of thinking. God’s eternal love has penetrated my life on so many new levels this year that wouldn’t be had it not been for experiencing deep loss. I would have never chosen to walk this walk, but here I am. So every day I ask the Lord for help and continue to repeat…

I Trust my God, I Trust my God, I Trust my God.

2017- The Worst Year of My Life & The Best Year of My Life

 

vashon island

Photo By Shala Gean

I have found myself saying lately, “This has been the worst year of my life, but has also been the best year of my life.”  How is that possible?

January 14, 2017 will forever be a day that divides one section of my life from the woman I was to the woman I am now.

The woman I was… was lost that night when the Lord called my husband, Cody into glory.

This has been a year of pure trust in the Lord.  Though as a Christian I should have been living in that trust with the Lord for years now.  But I wasn’t.  Experiencing the disappearance of Cody and going through the gut wrenching 5 days of the search before his body was recovered from the lake… Those 5 days were dark and scary.  Those do not seem sufficient enough words to describe it.  Breathing was agony.  But I’m thankful that his body was recovered.  So many families are not that fortunate when a loved one disappears.  For that I will be forever grateful.  That was the beginning of the Trust I found in The Lord.

Walking this season as a widow—(I despise the title of widow by the way)… The Lord has ‘wooed’ me to Him in such an eternal romance type of way.  To say I am head over heels in love with Jesus is an understatement.  To witness Him take such brokenness and despair and begin to remold all of the broken pieces together again for His Glory—has changed me from the inside out.  I don’t want to be the person I was the day before deep tragedy struck my little world.  I realize how selfish I was.  I was living to build ‘Jessica’s Kingdom’…not Gods Kingdom.

I didn’t look at every faucet of my life through the lens of Christ.  I looked at it through the lens of Jessica.  I was living inwardly, pleasing myself.  Though as long as I’m on this side of glory—I will struggle daily with fighting my flesh—but I can say it has definitely gotten easier to get myself off my mind.

I have learned to enjoy the simplicity of life.  I find such beauty and laughter in the smallest of things.  I have learned to love more selflessly, to cherish the people I care about.  I don’t want to take people for granted, ever.  Because they may not be here tomorrow.  We never get a better chance to grow relationships and friendships than the present.  I have learned to truly enjoy and be thankful for the mundane of everyday.

In May of this year the Lord pressed upon my spirit the revelation that all of the trials I have faced in life and may face in the future… are not about me.

Every trial we encounter in our earthly lives is to ultimately glorify God.

A couple of months ago while preparing to speak at a women’s conference, I came across a note in my journal.  It was Cody’s handwriting. He had written notes from a sermon by Jason Harris at Evangelistic Temple on October 2, 2016.  These words are full of truth and are almost prophetic for me to read after his death.

God is sovereign over all suffering.  All suffering infinitely exists for God’s glory.  God’s aim in your suffering is to take your mind off yourself so you rely completely on Him.  Suffering in the life of a Christian is an opportunity to show the world that Christ is worth more than life itself.  The proper response to suffering is Faith and even Joy.  Suffering points us to the HOPE we have in Christ.  God is a good, good Father.”

Every single word above is pure truth and is exactly what the Lord has revealed to me this year.  Joy and peace can be found in the midst of the darkness of this world.  The Love the Lord has showered on me and my daughter this year has been so real and humbling.  It has changed the way I view the body of Christ.  There is power in prayer and power in Gods people coming together in unity while standing in the gap on behalf of our brothers and sisters in Christ.

There is power when we surrender everything to the Lord. For me this consists of surrendering the grief, the guilt, the bitterness, all of my desires, my dreams, my fears… letting go of it all.  I have to do this daily.  It’s hard, but it’s necessary.  I have to trust God that He will continue to grow beauty from the ashes.  I have no doubt He is sovereign.  I have no doubt He has a great plan for me.  He has a great plan for you.  I am praying Jeremiah 29:11 over all that are reading this, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

I am excited to bring in a new year.  I am excited at what the Lord is doing.  I am looking forward to growing more in Christ, growing more in love, growing more into the woman the Lord has called me to be.  Though this has been by far the most trying and saddest year of my life, it has been the most God seeking, and love abounding year of my life as well.  When we have no place else to run but the arms of Christ—oh the love He lavishes on us.
I will forever be grateful for 2017.

As Danny Gokey sings, “Tell your heart to beat again.  Close your eyes and breathe it in.  Let the shadows fall away.  Step into the light of grace.  Yesterday’s a closing door.  You don’t live there anymore.  Say goodbye to where you’ve been.  And tell your heart to beat again.

Beginning—Just let that word wash over you.  It’s alright now.  Love’s healing hands have pulled you through.  So get back up, take step one, leave the darkness, feel the sun.

Your story is far from over and your journey’s just begun…”

I pray 2018 is a year of restoration, a year of deep peace and joy overflowing.

“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.”  1 Peter 5:10

It’s time to tell your heart to beat again…

I Trust my God, I Trust my God, I Trust my God.