Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Checking Off A Prayer List - Thankful!

Do you ever stop and think about what you were doing at this time last year?  One year ago today I was in Cheyenne, Wyoming (where it is ACTUALLY cold - not this wimpy 40 degree winter here in Texas) on my hands and knees scrubbing floors, polishing porcelain toilets, dreaming of the day I would get to see God fulfilling the desires of my heart, and repeating the following Bible verses over & over & over again.
Jeremiah 29:11 "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.
Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. 
& to be completely honest there were moments when I felt discouraged and lost as I could not see ahead - for the beauty that was to come.  In one of these moments this verse was given to me
 Job 17:11-12   My days have passed, my plans are shattered, Yet the desires of my heart, turn night into day; in the face of the darkness light is near.
& then 6 months later this was me - sitting at my desk working for my favorite Christian Radio Station in Austin, Texas. SWEET JESUS right?!
I imagined all would be well when I arrived in Texas, that suddenly the sun beams would break apart the storm clouds of my life and the forest animals would line up hand and hoof/paw to dance merrily with me (Cue the Disney Princess music!)
Reality calling - EARTH TO RHIANNA - yeah, hi! You're going to make negative amounts of money the first two months because you have to pay for two children in childcare, gas money to drive thirty minutes away for work, & oh yeah I'm just going to throw breaking a side view mirror on a car that is not yours by backing out of the garage on top of it JUST to see how much you REALLY trust me in the financial areas of your life. Thank God for church family during this time! For those of you reading this right now - my words will never express how truly grateful I am to all of you who helped during my time of need!
If you are a Face friend (Facebook friend)- you would have noticed the constant talk about shining your light and keeping it bright. Those things I post are not always just for the reader, they are most often times something I needed to hear too. In the dark I choose to focus on the light - Jesus (John 8:12).  & more Bible verses after all it is the instruction manual of living in this world!
THIS ONE (points below) THIS ONE!!!!
& THIS (please listen to song)
Well, here's the other big news in my life!  I think I've found it - (insert British voice) By golly I think I've got it!
Next Monday is my last day as the receptionist at Spirit 105.9 -a bitter sweet moment.  I will stay on the Promo team to help a few times a month because I love my Spirit family soooooo much & I could not imagine my life in Texas without them. 
But what will I be doing then you ask?
Okay first let's see what I prayed for every morning and every night for months upon months trusting and believing that God would make a way:
1) A job to glorify the Lord using the talents He gave me
2) A Christian environment
3) The chance to speak about my love for the Lord & to use the past experiences to help others
4) Enough pay to support my little men & me, along with benefits to take care of my family
5) Hours that are flexible so I can be apart of my mini men's lives more (totally missed going into Aydn & Kayl's classes to play)
6) A job that I can do and allow time to work on my speaking career
7) Work from home so I do not have to deal with insane traffic
I received a job as the Webmaster of a brand new church here in Austin. I get to use the talents God has gifted me, I got the pay I requested, I also get to work from home (more time with my mini men - YAY!!!) I will do some of their marketing as well... Oh and I also get to speak occasionally about God from a woman's point of view!
(I will provide more information on this Church next month once I get the website up and running - stay tuned!)

Oh & then - cherry topper - an organization near and dear to my heart just happened to need a new Webmaster!

Many of you do not know that I already post on Social Media sites for them - but now... NOW I get to help make alllllllllll the pretty & sparkly & encouraging & wonderfully awesome God glorifying  design decisions!!!!!

Psalm 37:4 is soooooooooooooooooooooooooo true....
Every struggle in your past has shaped you into the person you are today. Take God's hand and step into your future without fear. He is here and He will ALWAYS take care of you!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

A Promise & Then I Exploded (insert happy heart)

This picture above is the very first picture taken of Jesse and me.  If I could take you all back to that moment you would understand that I would NEVER have seen what was to come... this extra ordinarily amazing feeling of walking on the softest cotton ball puffs floating in the blue hazed sky, of the sound of his deep and soothing voice that strikes a chord in my heart that is an overture of a symphony filled with all the love, the way his chocolate brown eyes gaze into my soul and break every barrier I have built up when he whispers he loves me, the way he tells my little men how much he cares for them every chance he gets, how my heart feels like it is going to explode out of my chest as it is filled with so much thankfulness and happy ... I could go on for endless hours but the bottom line is
I am in Love.
How did it happen?  Well first this...
I gave my heart to God. All of the broken shattered pieces that were left from years of pain and abuse.  I told God and truly BELIEVED that HE is more than enough.
It's so true that HE is all that we need, but He also created man and woman for each other Genesis 2:18 The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” 
In the beginning of this year I talked about how dating was a distraction from my relationship with God - of fulfilling the dreams that God instilled in me and that I have been working so hard at catching.  When I met Jesse I had zero intention of the relationship to lead to this crazy feeling of awesome that it has. Both of us were busy with our own lives - me moving to a new place and he was preparing for another deployment. We were both fully content in our relationship with Jesus and intent on strengthening that over anything else.  Yet in the busyness of life we each took the time to text once or twice a day - messages that involved prayer needs, general well wishes for the day, and occasionally a random vent session.  Okay, let's be honest, there were a few phone calls when I first moved to Texas that he heard an emotional girl on the other end of the phone balling my eyes because I missed everything about Wyoming but especially the constant hugs from loved ones... and he was always there to help me through it - such comforting words and genuine prayers.
A visit back to Wyoming for two gorgeous weddings in July lead to a beautiful day of hiking with my mini men, Koda Bear (Jesse's Dog), my lovely friend Tasha, me, and my future boyfriend - but at that moment I probably would have smacked someone if they told me that - ha!  As I watched him interact with my boys - asking Kayl if he was okay as he took a slight tumble over a branch, brushing the dirt off of his knee, and then telling him to walk it off (Mommy's are never very good at that part) & taking Aydn out onto the ledge of a huge rock, sitting right next to him, explaining the beautiful creation that was laid out before them, and how God's hands had created it all - some small twinge of a crazy feeling unknown hit me.  Knowing I had to go back to Texas, I dismissed it.
When I returned to Texas - I could not get rid of that crazy feeling no matter how hard I tried!  We both kept telling each other - we are just friends. We are best friends - that's all!  I kept telling myself that I was much to busy to add another person to my life.  He kept thinking about the walls of Jericho around his heart. This love thing psshhh... NOT happening... ain't nobody got time for that!
.... & then my little brother and amazing new sister-in-law had their wedding in Colorado at the end of September.  Here comes Grand Lake with all it's romantic EVERYTHING and before I knew it I was dancing in his arms to Jason Mraz's "I Won't Give Up" and standing next to the gorgeous back drop of fall colored trees adorning the Colorado mountains, a glass smooth lake reflecting a big luminescent moon, and a first sweet and simple kiss that ignited the fireworks in my soul that I feel today.
& then there were many weeks of this...  
Then Saturday came - the day my love began his journey to complete his third deployment for the Air Force.  Knowing that the constant conversations and sweet texts were coming to an end, that he would be  moving farther away from me rather than closer to me... that he could potentially be in danger and that our relationship was truly going to be tested (insert a million other thoughts!) He knew the uncertainty I felt, so he spent the week before he left planning a secret surprise involving conversations with a few of my closest friends (Thank you you two - I love you both so much!)  When I picked up the package that evening he told me to Skype him right away.  I tore apart the tape (fought with it mostly as tape and I do NOT get along) and inside sat a soft and cuddly stuffed Sea Otter (my favorite animal) holding a star (one of my favorite objects) with a string tied around it. Of course my reaction was "Awwww"  at the cuteness that he was providing & then he told me to pull the end of the string.  As I tugged at it, I looked up for a moment to see his beaming smile filled with love and adoration for me, & then this fell out on to my lap....

It is not an engagement ring. It's a promise ring.  A promise from my boyfriend (squeals like a teenage girl) to love me for as long as that symbol says.  This has been the most beautifully innocent relationship that has been centered on God and His will for us from the very start.  Who would have thought a need for moving boxes response to a post on Element Churches 432 Experiment and a Facebook friend request could have lead to this?! But here I am - sitting in awe of the love story God wrote for me, so grateful and thankful for all that He has done - & still having a hard time grasping that this is real. (Somebody pinch me please!) 
Everyone says some moments are too good to be true.  This moment  seems too good to be true, but that is how I know it is God. He is soooooo good! (Psalm 37:4, Mark 10:18)

Friday, November 8, 2013

May I Have This Dance?! *Twirl, spin, dip*

Hi Hi Hiiiiii everyone! So life. SO LIFE!!! Just this absolutely stunning journey that we all get the pleasure of traveling - I prefer dancing through it at every moment... so can I have this dance?!

I just wanted to jump on here briefly to update & also to say that my heart is bursting at the seams and filled to the tip top spilling over with thankfulness!  God is good when?  ALLLLLLLL the time!!!
1.) Last week was a dream come true.  Spirit Fest 2013 was incredible to say the very least and to see the huge crowd come together for almost an entire day to worship ....

*wipes forehead, fans face, grips heart, wipes joyous tears* 

There are no words so here is a montage of highlights from Spirit filled day...
THIS is my favorite moment - with every hand lifted (insert head to toe goosebumps)
Casting Crowns
Brandon Heath & Mandisa (Brandisa)
Brandisa in action
Tenth Avenue North

Joel For King and Country

2.) Okay so I am positive everyone on the book of Faces is noticing the massive explosion of love for and from a certain man named Jesse... sorry I'm not sorry.  HE'S AMAZING.  He also deploys tomorrow and I would appreciate all the prays, happy thoughts, and well wishes for him and his safety as we can get.  I miss him terribly and I know that it drives some of you crazy seeing all the mushy, gushy, love stuff - but it makes us feel good so avert your eyes if you must... you all have at least six more months of this. (there will be a blog about how this all came to be soon so stay tuned)

3.) ASTRONOMY IS MAKING MY BRAIN SPIN. I do not know how everything fits together but I do know that it does, and only one person understands it all - the creator of it all. Merging the knowledge I am taking in with my faith has been a doozy to say the least.  I have some pretty amazing classmates who discuss without offending and some awesome friends that are always willing to provide me with their insight (THANK YOU for that).  All I know is that I am NEVER against learning all things - even if it challenges my beliefs - for if it pushes against me I will either move or stand firmer on my foundation.  I LOVE LEARNING!!! (even if it hurts - ha!)

4.) I am speaking tomorrow morning at the Capitol Building in Austin, Texas on the topic of Suicide Awareness.  Happy thoughts, prayers, and well wishes for this to go smoothly are very much appreciated!  This topic is one that hits close to my heart in more than one way and I am sure it hits many of you reading this right now.  We need to talk about suicide - no longer keeping it hushed.  Together we can spark a revolution of change - of awareness that this darkness can no longer remain.  If anyone is suffering right now, PLEASE reach out for help - do not be ashamed!  Do not let this pain define you, let it refine you! Call here if you need help 1-800-273-8255. YOU ARE SO SPECIAL & THIS WORLD NEEDS YOUR LIGHT - DO NOT EXTINGUISH ITS SHINE!  SENDING OUT LOTS OF LOVE AND HUGS.

5.) I love my boys, my boyfriend (blows kiss to him as he reads this), my family and friends (who I MISSSSSSS so much!), laughing, my new home in Texas, my old home in Wyoming (Which I ALSO MISSSSSS so much!), and I am so extremely thankful. *stops and breaths it all in* In this moment there are a thousand things running through my brain - but that list of the things I love... they are REAL and RIGHT NOW.  Proverbs 16:9 The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.

"Maybe the best thing to do is to stop trying to figure out where you are going and just enjoy where you are at." - unknown
That is exactly what this is - enjoyment and gratitude for where I am at.
& YOU reading this right now.  Thank you for being in my life.  No matter how big or small of role you play I am truly thankful and extremely blessed to have you. Happy Friday!!! 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A New Lesson In Forgiveness

You ever have one of those days where the world seems to be spinning around you so quickly, with everyone doing what they are suppose to be doing, going along with their merry lives while you sit in a silent fog of agony wondering " DON'T THEY KNOW WHAT IS HAPPENING?!" 
(Wishing the world would just stop - I need some time to make sense of this all)
It's crazy to think about praying over and over and over again for the very thing that is happening - but now that it is I do not know how to handle it -sooo many emotions all at once.
My little men's father is in rehab about an hour away from us. One would think that there would be a jumping for joy montage inserted right here but...  I have a confession to make. It's been extremely hard to forgive him. 
Don't get me wrong, I am extemely grateful for this - but what my two precious men and I went through in the past  created a root of bitterness in me that I did not realize was there until the past few days. When I heard he was coming this way (to Texas from Wyoming) a flood gate of the memories opened and a wave of uncertainty & anger hit me like a tsunami.  I've been so busy trying to get as far away from those moments as possible - trying to remain strong in front of my little men when in reality there are moments I just would rather curl up in a ball under my covers & cry.  (please watch video below)
I did not ask for this & neither did my boys. Broken hearts are not easily healed but I know the Almighty Healer and He is in control of this life of mine.
& He is also the author of my ex-husband's life.  The boy's father is a child of God just the same as I am and it is time to fully forgive.  Last night during a devotional God gave me this:
Luke 7:40-53 40 Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.” “Tell me, teacher,” he said. 41 “Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii,c and the other fifty. 42 Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?” 43 Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.” “You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.
Please pray he falls madly in love with Jesus because He can turn the mess that was created into a message.  These little men below love him so much and so does our Heavenly Father.

 This morning as I prepared my little men - my heart on the outside of my body in adorable little children shaped forms - to go see their father for the first time in what seems like forever I am reminded that God is in control and His plan is the BEST plan.
God has taken care of us all this far
& although there have been some bumps and bruises along the way,
I cannot help but stand in awe,
That despite all that we have done in our lives He chooses to love us anyway.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Happily Ever After - Better Than A Disney Movie

One of my biggest fears in life was the thought that I would never be loved. I felt lost and had little direction in the area of love... I never really knew what it was as there was never a healthy display of it in my life as a child.  I would say the Disney Princesses taught me most of what I knew about relationships growing up - silly but true.  Perhaps that is why I "fell in love" with just one kiss from my ex-husband - following in the foot steps of Sleeping Beauty expecting to ride off into some magnificent sunset on a majestic white stallion in the arms of my Prince Charming.

The fact that there is an ex in front of that husband part goes to show that there was not a fairy tale ending. The divorce was an earth shattering, gut wrenching, heart breaking, and utterly terrible moment in my life - but from it I learned that I could give my heart to someone that would NEVER break it. Instead He would take the time to build it up and reshape it... Jesus.

The word relationship is defined as:
1. a connection, association, or involvement
 2. a connection between persons by blood or marriage.
A relationship with Jesus is the connection that gets you involved with the creator of the universe through His blood shed which happened for the very reason of establishing that relationship with us (John 3:16, 1 John 4:9-11.)  Jesus shed his blood so you could experience God's unending grace, mercy, and love. 
The beginning of the relationship is full of passion. Life is full of moments where you cannot get enough of God's word and everything that surrounds you is so full of Him that tears of joy leak from your eyes constantly.  You want to shout from every mountain top about the joy of the Lord and live every moment for Him and Him alone!
But then a case of the mundane hits.
Day in and day out of reading the Bible that was written sooooo many years ago - you have a hard time making sense of it all (insert Numbers - ha ha!) or relating it to your life.  & with this whole Christian thing - life was suppose to get easier when in reality it seems like things are actually getting harder.
*crosses arms, stomps foot, sticks out bottom lip, and whines*
It is a REAL relationship! That puppy love stage fades for you but I promise it does not fade on God's end.  He loves you just the same today, tomorrow, forever & always. You have to show devotion to Jesus as if he was your other half in the bond of marriage.  Stay committed to the relationship and continue to seek Him.
Jeremiah 29:13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
Proverbs 8:17 I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me.
Don't give up on Him, because He will NEVER give up on you. His love is oh so TRUE! The moment I handed my heart over to Jesus that fear of never being loved flew right out of the window because I finally knew what love really was/is (1 John 4:8.)  I hope you come to know what real love is too because...

& to those people out there that are still looking for your Prince Charming... look no further you've found Him, He even lends us His armor. (Ephesians 6:10-18)  This Prince gives us a happy ending better than any Disney film could display & a peace that surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:7) to enjoy your journey with Him along the way. 

God is love. He didn’t need us. But he wanted us. And that is the most amazing thing. ~ Rick Warren


Friday, September 20, 2013

Proof of His Promise - The Story of the Playstation

This year for my son's 6th birthday he received a Playstation 3 as a gift. Before I show you his reactions in a montage of pictures - let me rewind and prelude the awesome with how incredibly meaningful and beautiful that moment in time was & will forever be to me.

Last year my boys father left after a year of watching our lives crumble.  I won't go into all of the nitty gritty details, but there were moments of fear that washed over me that I never would want any person to experience.  Because of the harm my children's father was putting himself through and the people involved in that life style - our safety was put in jeopardy.

 (Insert Momma Bear mode)  Nobody was going to hurt my babies and I REFUSED to live in that fear. 

 After months of digging deeper into God's word, holding onto His promises, and trusting that He would pull us through this hardship, helping me every step of the way when I did not have the strength - I received a phone call with an invitation to move to Austin, Texas.  I'd love to say that a sense of relief washed over me, but honestly I was afraid... afraid of leaving a place I called my home for my whole life.  So what did I do?

I prayed... and prayed... and prayed some more.
Hebrews 4:16 Let us then approach God's throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
& then the answers started rolling in.
Joshua 1:13 Remember the word that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you, saying, ‘The Lord your God is providing you a place of rest and will give you this land.'
Ephesians 2:10 (MSG) For we are God's (own) handiwork (His workmanship) recreated in Christ Jesus, (born anew) that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned before hand) for us (taking paths which He prepared ahead of time), that we should walk in them (living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live).
& many more verses pointing in the direction that God wanted me to go.  So I began preparing to leave and the hits kept coming - down to the last few weeks we were there (May of 2013).  Someone broke into our house and stole things, one being my son's Playstation 3, just about the only thing left that he had other than what was already shipped to Texas.  My heart broke... it was devastating for me to tell my son after all that he had been through that another piece of his life was gone, taken from him, for no fault of his own. (insert tears)
When I put my little man to bed that night I was desperate to hear God's reaction to this... to know why - because knowing God is good, I saw ZERO good coming from this & I was beyond frustrated with life.  So what did I do? I opened my Bible and my eyes fell upon this:
Isaiah 61:7 Instead of your shame
you will receive a double portion,
and instead of disgrace
you will rejoice in your inheritance.
And so you will inherit a double portion in your land,
and everlasting joy will be yours.
Wiping my tear streaked face (let's be honest there were some snot streaks in there too because that was an uncontrollable sob fest) I took a deep breath and felt an overwhelming sense of peace wash over me as God whispered "just trust me."
Fast forward to September - Aydn's birthday month.  Between having two boys and trying to get back on my feet a brand new Playstation 3 was not obtainable by the income I was taking in... at least by myself.  BUT - 
Matthew 19:26 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
& a week before Aydn's birthday there was a man down the street who wanted to sell his Playstation 3 for less than half the price of a new one... with four remote controls... with numerous games!!!!!!



& that's the story of the Playstation... and how truly the promises of God are so real in our lives.  This will forever be one of my favorite memories of how God restored what was done to us. 
Believe & TRUST in what God is doing in your life. 
Get your feelings of fear out of the way & continue to praise - ALWAYS!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Don't Quit - Reset!

Okay, so I know my always enthusiastic displays of happy make some people sick and make others question my cheerful authenticness.  Let me be raw and real with you - it's me.  It is how I choose to cope with what life throws at me...

Does that mean that I do not get hit with life's blows - NO!  In the last year I went through the agony of a divorce, I've moved over 1,000 miles from home, lost an important friendship, had a family member go into the hospital back home, plus the daily stress of this single Mom thing is NOT easy by ANY means. BUT even in the midst of all of those struggles I could and can still find peace, the key is to continuously seek it.
  When hardships hit it's not time to quit... it's time to reset.   
Here are some ways that help me seek & stay in God's peace:
 1.) Write a letter of all of the things going right in your life, a thankful list of the blessings and gifts to shift that focus to the right mindset. 
2.) Go for a run, hike, or my favorite hula hoop to work out any frustration you may be having.  Always choose good music to accompany the physical activity - God can speak to you in the words of a song. 
3.) Meditate on God's word - some of my favorite verses to flip when going through a tough situation are:
1 Peter 5:10 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.
Psalm 55:22 Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.
Psalm 37:5-6 Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday.
4.) Talk with a family member or a good friend.  Chances are you will be crying together by the end of it - because let's face it people we're all just trying our best to make it in this world! (Shot out to all those who have received these phone calls! Thank you!!)
5.) Write some more!  I do not know where I would be if I did not have the opportunity to write everything I am thinking out on paper.  To clear out the anger, resentment, sadness, and all of the other overwhelming feelings that can take a person down a road of bitterness if they hold onto them.
Take a deep breath. Exhale. (may need to repeat those a few times) & have faith that it will all work out. Because guess what? It will.


When all hope seems lost, remember and trust in what was done for you on the cross.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Life Is Exactly Like Playing A Game Of Baseball

    I am always pondering about life and wondering what I can compare it to and as a baseball fanatic the game is exactly the perfect analogy I have been searching for.  As a batter there is a whole field of people chanting at you, "Hey batter, batter, batter, SAAWING!"  There are nine people out on the field trying to get you to swing at the wrong time, distract you from smacking that ball out of the park, and waiting for you to strike out.  Just as in life there are many people that are (although you may not understand why) desperately wanting and waiting for the moment that you mess up or fail at an attempt to be happy.  So say you get past the discouraging words and you smack the ball up, up, up, and into the outfield- there is another person determined to catch that ball and get you out, dashing your dreams of making it to home base.

 Relating it back to life there are going to be days when you feel like you are reaching your goals and getting things done the way you need to and out of nowhere things begin to fall out of place, someone else got the job you wanted, the promotion you thought you had, or the better grade you thought you deserved... they caught your triple base ball.  When this happens do not get blinded by the triple that could have been, but focus on the out of the park homerun that you have the chance to hit next time.  In baseball you have to keep your eye on the ball, in life keep your focus on the dream.  In baseball you have to hit hard and run as fast as your legs will take you, in life you have to work toward your goal with all of your might.  In baseball when you strike out, or someone unexpectedly catches that pop fly you thought was over the fence there are eight more innings or plenty more games to prove what a stud you are on the field.  In life what seems like a setback can be the step back in the right direction, you just have to focus on the positive and keep trying.

  Kathy Cordell gave me this saying years ago and it goes for baseball players and any other person out there, change your "What if's?" into "What ifs!!!"  There is always going to be a chance to hit that round tripper, dinger, four bagger, out of the park home run- it's all about focusing on the dream and not letting anything, including a temporary failure distract you from it.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Focus on The Light to BE A Light! Update!

Woah... it's been a while! Here - *pulls curtains back, karate chops cobwebs down, clears off the dust, pops in Mumford & Son's CD, turns up the jam, 30 second dance break* Okay, MUCH better! 

My last blog was over a year ago, June 2012 to be exact!  I stated then that I was "Determined to be great for God."  Well guess what?! I still am!  & I wish that I could report that life has been nothing but sunshine & rainbows since then, but I believe Bob Sorge says it best "Make no mistake, when you devote yourself to knowing God, all of hell seems to resurrect against you."

Sooo let's update you on the last year of determination and perseverance that only the strength of God could pull me through.

I left off with my Momma in the hospital - happy to report she is doing much better especially in the last few weeks.  For those of you who know the story deeper, something has shifted in her mind in the last month & I am SOOO proud of her! Praise God because He is working in that woman in BIG ways!

The day I posted the A New Light... Let It Shine blog - I left out a HUGE hurt that I was facing.  I had lost my husband to the battle of drugs and I was left with our two little men, very little money, past due bills, and a world that was crumbling around me.  The only thing I had left was the love of God - & let me tell you ladies & gentlemen, that is MORE than enough for me.

There were moments where I wanted to throw in the towel - I would get so angry and throw my fit at God asking him "WHAT ELSE?!?!"  Then one day He answered me back with, "I gave you life, the breath in your lungs, the ability to walk, to sing, dance, and praise! I sacrificed my one and only son so that you may be washed clean by the blood He shed... WHAT ELSE RHIANNA?!?!"

Ouch. Smacked in the face with reality!  Flipping open my Bible in that moment to Philippians I found this:

4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

Breaking it down:

1) Instead of rejoicing about the good in life - I was FREAKING out about everything, how I was going to make money, how I was going to live with a broken heart, how I was going to raise two children on my own... how, how, how, how, how... I "howed" myself into a frenzy! Verse 6 & 7 held the answer - through prayer & petition & thanksgiving presenting my worries, concerns, and everything going on in my life to God - laying them at His feet and trusting/believing that His peace was with me - He would guide me through it all.

2) After laying down the weight of everything going on in the world... I needed to place my mind on the light of the world.  Verse 8 says to think about lovely, noble, right, pure, and admirable things - to focus on the positive and uplifting things.  When you place your worries at Jesus's feet, release them to him, do not hold onto them, don't pick and choose which ones you think that He can take care of - He is the almighty God ... let Him take care of the worries and concerns while you think about excellence! 

3) Verse 9 says for us to "put into practice" the concepts we have learned from God. With all of those beautiful, noble, truthful things you are thinking - start ACTING on them!  Strive to let these words define you! & His peace when you focus on these wonderful things, will surround you!

So here a year later, my how's?!?! have turned into watching in awe how God has taken care of me & my boys in every moment.  I moved to Texas in June and now work for a Christian radio station and a Christian school.  I just finished my last senior level class for my bachelors degree - leaving much more time to write - that's why, HIIIIIII!!!! *waves*, I am on here today!  I'm focused on the good, even when the bad hits & amazing things are happening friends!!!  No matter what happens to you, don't let it effect what God is doing through you! Keep shining amidst ALL circumstances friends!

More updates to follow soon friends- just wanted to drop a line, give an update, say I'm sorry I left for a moment - but I'm back and better than ever!  Talk to you soon! Have a Brilliantly Bright DAY!!!