And so the last chapter of 2016 has concluded... and the open book of 2017 has begun...
Amidst the pages of 2016 there have been many stories, but the theme running through it all has been "God is faithful."
The beginning of Psalm 40 reads:
"I waited patiently for the Lord;
And He inclined to me and heard my cry.
He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay,
And He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm.
He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God"
God has done that for me. He heard me, delivered me, and restored me. And now I can sing again.
Over the course of 2016, God has been bringing me back to life, healing my heart... and teaching me many things as I found my new song.
I learned that healing cannot be rushed or forced, but must be journeyed through.
The healing just... happened... by me just... letting it... it's not easy to explain... but now I feel free... light... new.
I had to let the pain and bitterness and guilt be felt, bring that to God, and then let myself feel His truth, His love, and His forgiveness. I had to let people pour into me with their encouragement and support.
I found spiritual renewal and healing with God, and received what I call "spiritual hugs" from Him, and I received physical hugs and support in abundance from the wonderful family and friends God has given me.
And it was through those healthy relationships, those healthy emotional connections, and letting the feelings come but then releasing them to God, that healing came and I was restored.
Restored after emotional abuse that almost got physical. Restored after betrayal. Restored after divorce.
Restored and freed.
Focusing on those good relationships, with God and with the people who care about me, brought about the full restoration I needed. I had to let the truth sink in, the truth that I am loved and valued, by God, family and friends. My spiritual relationship with a good God and my physical relationships with good people... those were key to healing.
Over 2016, I have been "loved on" and uplifted by God Himself and the many people He sent my way, and I could not be more filled with gratitude.
God has taken me out of the mire and set me on a rock. He has taken me out of numbness, out of brokenness, and given me joy and peace. He has given me a new song... a song of hope, of freedom, of praise to Him for how faithful He has been.
God made me alive again.
I have learned that time with God is the best balm for my soul, that Jesus is the most patient, loving friend and the Holy Spirit the provider of the comfort I need.
I have learned that true strength comes by persevering, that forgiveness is freeing, and that love is healing.
I have learned that God can revive the heart, and breath fresh life into hopes and dreams.
I have learned that with God, all things are possible, and that His love is very deep, and very real.
O sing to the Lord a new song,
For He has done wonderful things
~ Psalm 98:1
O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
~ 1 Chronicles 16:34
Linking with momentsofhope and whatjoyismine.net
Five Minute Friday time again! (A five minute free write)
Joining the linkup: Kate Motaung and Dance with Jesus
So the word prompt for this one is JOY... 1, 2, 3, GO!
This word is very appropriate for me now... for two reasons. One, the Christmas season is one of joy, and two, for me personally it has been a season of joy.
Christmas joy... this joy is because it represents the moment God stepped into time... into human flesh... so that He could heal the world of brokenness and sin by His perfect love and grace...
And my joy... this joy is because I have been set free...
While I understood the gospel some years ago, and was then set free from sin's bondage and gained entrance into eternal life, and given God's spirit and abundant life for this side of heaven, I was recently set free in a whole new way.
For the first time in a long time, probably about five and a half years, I am completely free of bitterness and unforgiveness, and at peace, and I have complete JOY.
I got a divorce about eight months ago and God has been healing me with His amazing love.
God can take away hurt, and wash away resentment, and cleanse wounds, and restore and bring wholeness and freedom.
GOD IS SO GOOD! He took away tears of pain and gave tears of joy!
Seek God... trust Him... and anything is possible...
I can come to Him, totally undone, steeped in despair, torn apart and broken, and He can release me from it and replace that with peace, hope, and joy.
Praise God for a love that never lets go, never gives up, but instead holds tight, and waits patiently, and steps in to satisfy and overwhlem in the most amazing way.
1 Chronicles 16:34 (NASB) "O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; For His lovingkindness is everlasting."
Psalm 63:7 (NASB) "For You have been my help, And in the shadow of Your wings I sing for joy."
Time for a Five Minute Friday finally! (http://katemotaung.com/2016/08/11/five-minute-friday-lift/)
I keep meaning to post more.... but either things come up, or I am too tired or the juices just won't flow........
Anyways, here goes five minutes on: LIFT
Oooh this word has possibilities! What direction to take?
Hmm, well perhaps the best starting place is a verse:
I lift up my eyes to the hills.
From where does my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot be moved;
he who keeps you will not slumber. Psalm 121:1-3 (ESV)
Though I am in the rather flat Red River Valley, this is the first verse that comes to mind. It is one that has always given me comfort and pointed me in the right direction faith-wise.
While I have neither mountains nor hills as a physical reference point, there have certainly been many nonphysical ones. And if I recall this verse when I look at those, that helps me remember to look at God instead. When I lift my eyes to God, He reminds me that He is more powerful still... strong enough to save, and tender enough to love me through to the other side, holding me while I wait.
Oh yes, that waiting valley... God has moved more than one mountain for me, but never as quick as I would like.
...But that waiting is where faith is forged... in the waiting when the questions come... the wrestling and the wondering... in the waiting God can seem so far...
...But when hope is clung to after the questioning is through, when eyes are lifted to God and feet are standing on His promises, even when that does not feel true...
God will show just how mighty and faithful He is, and what was weakness becomes deep strength.
I know this full well from experience. I have dealt with mighty mountains... thankfully God proved mightier.
I have been unemployed twice, and that was rough. But the roughest was divorce. And God is still helping me through that as it was only five months ago.
As I lift my eyes to God, He has been lifting me... out of what ifs and whys and into peace... out of bitterness and into forgiveness... out of brokeness and into wholeness...
It is a healing process, but I am uplifted by the friends God sends my way, and by God Himself.
And it's time for another Five Minute Friday post! Linking up with katemotaung.com. The word is HAVEN.
1, 2, 3, GO:
Haven is one of those words that sounds like what it is... it is like a peaceful exhale of breath when saying it softly...
Haven... security... safety... shelter... refuge...
What a lovely word!
For me, a haven is where peace can be found, and healing can happen. Chains are undone and wings of joy unfurled.
I have two kinds of havens - one based in the physical, one in the spiritual... one tangible, one beyond normal reach.
The physical is found in the listening ears, the encouraging words and loving arms of family and friends. To be heard, understood, validated and lifted up by people I fully trust... it breathes life into broken areas, it soothes and strengthens... brings smiles and laughter... and firmer footing through reminders of the truth.
The spiritual is found in my faith - not religion, but a relationship with the God of the universe... with Jesus, the Son, and the Spirit... God's presence brings a peace like no other. A relationship with God means He is always available, always understands, and always comforts. When I call on Him, He pours love and joy into heart beyond description.
There are seasons when God feels far away, but I know He is still with me, and after coming out of those, the sense of His presence suddenly is back in a flood of sweet renewal like water after a desert journey, and that is when I realize the strength and grace He gave me all along.
...And God is so good, that though He might feel far away and His haven unreachable, He sends His love through the haven I find in friends and family. And eventually... the wilderness ends and I am enfolded once again in God's haven.
I can go through anything and come through stronger, be renewed, and have all the broken pieces knit together and healed by running to my haven.
One more thing.... this is after the five minutes, but inspired by "Haven" and still a rough draft...
Healing in the Haven
Searching for safe harbor
amidst the stormy seas
Where is the calm
Where is the peace
The exhale of a breath
A cry for calm
A plea for peace
A whispered prayer
A waiting heart
Then a stir in the air
Love is outpoured
From the author of love
The God who holds the world
This God holds my heart
and sends His healing touch
throughout every part
Every part of my being
is becoming renewed
as I am being healed
In God’s haven
I am forever sealed
Psalm 73:28 (NASB)
But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord God my refuge
Psalm 94:22 (NASB)
But the Lord has been my stronghold, And my God the rock of my refuge.
Isaiah 26:3 (AMP)
You will keep in perfect and constant peace the one whose mind is steadfast [that is, committed and focused on You—in both inclination and character], Because he trusts and takes refuge in You [with hope and confident expectation].
One of these days I will actually post more often... but that could be awhile as busy season is about to start at work which means overtime, and summer has arrived which means yard work... and when I'm not working at my job or in the yard, I intend to enjoy the lovely weather before winter is back, walking, biking, and heading to the lakes. :)
Anyways..... this post is another Five Minute Friday.
Here goes five minutes on the word EXPECT.
1, 2, 3... GO.
Expect feels like such a weighty word... but three main things come to mind: 1) expectations change; 2) the unexpected often happens; 3) what can be expected from God.
According to Merriam-Webster, expect is: to think that something will probably or certainly happen. : to think that (someone or something) will arrive or that (something) will happen. : to consider (something) to be reasonable, required, or necessary.
Synonyms: anticipate, await, look for, hope for, look forward to; suppose, presume, think, believe, imagine, assume, surmise
When I was a little girl, I believed that I could step into the world of make-believe and be anything, do anything... and I assumed there would always be a prince to rescue me if I needed help.
As I got older, I anticipated adulthood, excited about the possibilities and freedoms that I supposed came with growing up...
... and then reality awakened me to the fact that being an adult is not nearly as exciting and freeing as it appears from the lenses of childhood. And I just hoped that I could find a career that I could settle into, and perhaps start a family of my own.
During childhood, I certainly never would have expected to be where I am. I would not have believed all the storms that God has brought me through.
I did not expect having to go through unemployment twice.
I did not expect to be married four years then be divorced as of two months ago.
I did not expect the amazing friends God would send my way and the family support He has blessed me with. I did not expect the wonderful feeling of closeness, of peace in God's loving presence.
And now... I expect that God will take care of me, that He will continue to love me, that He will bring healing and wholeness, and that He will keep His promises.
"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, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen." Ephesians 3:20-21
Wow......... over a year....... and I'm finally back to blogging...
And to kick off the close of the long hiatus, I am joining up with Five Minute Friday (http://katemotaung.com/five-minute-friday/ ) - a five minute free write inspired by one word, which in this instance is: EASY.
So... here goes...
Easy... I wanted to chuckle at that word choice... at the irony. That has been the farthest thing from reality, and what I have been craving most.
Seas have been stormy indeed. I have been tossed about and lost all sight of the shoreline. There was only wind and waves...
However, I was often so distracted by the waves that I missed the One walking on them.
Life has not been easy... but now that the seas have at last started to calm, and light is visible through the clouds, I realize that God was indeed there with me, watching over me, but the storm had to run its course. And if I had realized it then, I could have found more peace in the midst of it.
Thankfully, God is very patient with me, and is proving again and again that He really is good, and He really does keep His promises, though it may involve painful waiting.
Life is not always easy, but God is always good.
And it really is true that through the hardest lessons, the most is learned, and strength is forged.
"I am he who will sustain you.
I have made you and I will carry you.
I will sustain you
and I will rescue you."
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28
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Hi, I am Angela, and welcome to my blog. I am a woman trying to rise above the tides of this life, seeking to grow closer to God and share His love in the process.