Fall Youth Conference 2017

Every year, we take our youth group to an annual youth conference with all of the other Assembly of God youth groups in the state of South Carolina. It is an event that we always look forward to. The past several years the conference has been held in Myrtle Beach, SC. The event is kicked off on a Friday night with service. After that, there is usually some sort of late night activity and then it is wrapped up with another session on Saturday. Dismissal is around noon- we would ordinarily grab lunch and then head home. That’s right, less than 24 hours.

We decided this year that we would change up our usual routine for this trip. First of all, we decided to stay an extra night and make it a weekend long trip…. fantastic choice! Secondly, we opted to rent a house so that we could all stay together versus dealing with a bunch of hotel rooms! Both of these choices made the weekend even more fun! Otis and I have said that we don’t think that we will ever go back to the way it was before!!

This was our amazing view-

We had a wonderful time at the actual event! Great worship… great speakers….. fun at the late night activity…. it was all phenomenal! It is always so good to see other friends who serve across the state that we may not get to see very often!

The late night activity was three hours at the Fun Warehouse! A group of us who spent many of our teenage years skating were looking forward to that option at the fun warehouse! This place had laser tag, go karts, skating, and an arcade!

Since we had an extra night, we took the group to the pirates voyage dinner show. I had never been. It was the first weekend of the “Christmas show”. It was so much fun!! I couldn’t recommend it more!! It worked out great for a group our size— offering dinner and entertainment in one place!

Sunday morning, the leaders got up and made a big breakfast for all of the students. After everyone ate, we came together and had our own little worship and prayer service. It is always so sweet to me to feel the Holy Spirit in such an intimate setting like that. To hear the voices singing over the music is refreshing to my soul. It always makes my heart happy. We had some meaningful worship and some powerful prayer time. In fact, we almost went past the time that we were supposed to be out of the house because we were in the moment and lost track of time!

I love these teenagers dearly. Sometimes they might drive me crazy, but I couldn’t love them more. I’m so thankful and honored that this is the calling that the Lord placed on our lives! Any weekend that we can love on these guys and impacts are made in their lives is a weekend well worth it!!

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Catch up on life 

I haven’t posted in a while. I’ve wanted to and thought about several different topics. The bottom line is that we have been SO BUSY!!  It’s a crazy time of year for us!!  I do have some posts coming soon in a few different subjects, but I thought that First I should do a general post catching everyone up on life lately for our family.

Football season is always busy! Otis serves as the team chaplain at West Ashely High School. This has opened amazing doors for him to build relationships with these boys and pour into their lives. He is able to go to their Thursday practice and have a devotion with them. He is also on the sidelines for the JV games on Thursday nights and the Varsity games on Friday nights. He leads the team in a prayer after the game.

We have also fed the team a few pregames meals. Preparing chicken, green beans, and pasta for that many hungry boys takes some prep work!! We are so thankful for those that come around us and help us to bless our schools!!


Otis loves these boys and so enjoys the time that he gets to spend with them!!

He is also a part of FCA at the school every other week. If you add all of this to our kids sports, church events, youth group, fall festivities, other family and youth group members athletics…. wowzers it has been a busy time!!


So while we hate to see football season end, we are welcoming a little more free time in our schedule!! 

But back to the catch up–

We have had senior nights for the family members that our unbelievably graduating this year!! Time passes so quickly!! I hate to think that our Allie will be in high school next year!!! We are so proud of these amazing people! 

Fall is my favorite season by far!! I love all things Christmas, so to me the cooler  weather ushers in the holiday season. My heart skips a beat when I hear the first Christmas song of the year or see decorations being out out in the stores!! It is the most wonderful time of the year!! Fall also means Halloween, fall festivals, and the fair! We have taken advantage of so much being offered in our community recently and logged in some much needed family time! 



Our kids have also been playing tennis every Saturday morning with the City of Charleston. This was Gary’s first year and Allie’s second. They both enjoyed it! 


A busy schedule often leads to feeling stressed out and overwhelmed. That can be hard when we are also balancing day to day school work. We had been getting through everything just fine, but I felt like some of the joy/wonder of learning was missing. Plus, the beach always makes things better! We took off one morning this past week and headed to Sullivan’s Island. We visited Fort Moultrie and recited a little Poe on the beach. It was a good day with lots of laughing! 


It was a much needed day to catch our breath!

We had our first family chat yesterday about the menu for Thanksgiving. We do our best to cherish each season of life and take full advantage of all it has to offer!

Hoping you all have a great first week of November!!

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Happy September! 

We are now officially past Labor Day. Although, my husband has reminded me that Fall has not technically started yet…. we are ready for the change of seasons (in more ways than one) at my house! 

We didn’t have big plans yesterday, so Otis ventured into the attic to get down my bin of fall decorations. Adding a few touches has been nice. The kids notice it and it’s a breath of fresh air. 

It may still be hot outside, but we are looking forward to cooler temps!! 

This year, I even added a few things to our porch area…

Happy Fall, y’all! 🍁🍂🌻🎃

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How fifteen minutes during the weekend saves me time, headaches and money all week long….

Meal Planning, y’all!!

It’s a life saver!! I hear so many of my friends talk about how they don’t have time to meal plan or that they are not organized enough. How can you not!! Seriously, my life is crazy busy all the time… as is everyone’s it seems. Our schedules are constantly pulling us in different directions weekly and sometimes even daily. Dinner time together is a big deal to us. We always do our best to sit down together. There are plenty of times when Otis is not home and his plate is going to have to wait for him in the microwave, but such is life!

I really got serious about this when I quit my job. Our income was cut in half, and so our budget had to also see some major cuts. I have always considered myself to be a pretty organized person, but I struggled with this. I was working full-time, home schooling our kids, helping with ministry and squeezing naps in anytime I had an open spot longer than 10 minutes. I would be too ashamed to admit how many times I was in Wal-Mart at 4 AM because we needed fill in the blank. Meal planning helps me look at the week(s) as a whole unit. It helps me to have more control over my time and budget.

The whole point of this post is to encourage you to give this a try. I literally sit down at some point during the weekend with a notebook and make my plan. I personally  plan two weeks at a time, but that is just our preference since our paydays are biweekly. I then look at our calendar and see any days that we might be away from home or have a function to attend. I plan the easy dinners for those busy nights and mark any days that we have planned to eat out.

I shop my own pantry and freezer first.

This week I happened to have a family size package of chicken breast tenders in the freezer. So, right now as I type this post…. that entire pack of chicken is in the crock pot with just basic salt, pepper, and a bouillon cube. I have found that shredded chicken goes a lot farther in our house than just grilling it. That pot of chicken will provide two different dinners for our family. Tonight it will be Chicken Tiki Masala and then another night it will be chicken tacos. Once the chicken is cooked, I can personalize the seasonings depending on the dish. Another plus to this is that I have most of the work done for my taco night in a  couple of days.

I always ask my family if they have any requests.

My son is eight and kinda picky. He has the eating habits of a two-year old. He likes corn dogs, chicken nuggets, peanut butter sandwiches, and ramen noodles. He barely eats any veggies and very little fruit. He loves spaghetti though!! So I can pack the veggies into that dish that he requests almost weekly and feel a little better about his eating. If he makes the request, then it gives him something to look forward to and gives him a sense of ownership. He gets excited when it is the night of the dinner that he chose. Of course, anyone can have a request and I do my best to work it in. I try to test out a new recipe once every couple of weeks. You guys know it’s true- we see all those cooking videos all over social media. We like them or pin them, but never actually try them!!! haha!

Make a shopping list.

On the bottom half of my sheet of paper that I write my menu down on, I go day by day and write down what I need for each dish. I always  go over this list twice so that I am not forgetting something. I add any additional staple pantry items and go shopping. Also make sure that you are using all of the items on your list. For example, if I am going to buy a package of mushrooms for a recipe that only needs half of them. I am going to make sure that I have something else that week that uses mushrooms so that nothing is wasted. Also, sometimes it is cheaper to buy in bulk and that can help your budget out as well. Plan Accordingly!!

There ya go….it’s as easy as that and anyone can do it. Once you do it a couple of weeks, you realize just how easy it is and what a game changer it is!! There have been times that I have not made a menu and I end up making a trip to the closet grocery store to find something for dinner. I usually spend way more money just picking up a few items for one meal then I would have if I had planned out my list/meals.

I also find that if I have it all planned out, then I might find time to do some of the prep word ahead of time. Instead of chopping one onion, I might just go ahead and chop two so that there is no chopping tomorrow. I feel so much together if I have my menu done. My family can check the board and they know exactly what is for dinner. The kids don’t ask to go out to eat, because they know that dinner is already planned. (although sometimes the board actually says “eat out” because I look at our calendar and know that is a busy day/night or that we will already be out at dinner time, etc…)

The last big thing that made this more fun for me was a trip to Hobby Lobby! 🙂  I mean, if I am going to get organized with our menu, then I need a cute place to write and display it!!!  I bought a chalkboard menu from them and it sits right on out counter top– we love it!

I hope this might help some of you. I cannot say enough how much of a difference this made in my day-to-day routine. Good luck and happy planning!!

 

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Our 16th Anniversary 

Today is the day. Sixteen years ago, we were married. This time all those years ago, I was in our church nursery with my girls finishing up. At only an hour before the service, I was probably putting jewelry on and making sure my toiletry items were packed back up to put in the limo. I remember my dad coming to get me and I remember walking across the breezeway to enter the church. It’s all very clear in my mind. I remember standing on the stage facing you while a song played during the ceremenony. We were surrounded by 350 or so of our closest friends and family 😁….. yet in that moment is was only you and I. 

I had come from a broken home. We took our vows so seriously. We knew getting married young…. that people claimed statistically we wouldn’t make it. We knew that we would. We had talked about it so many times before while we were dating. The D word would not be in our vocabulary. We set rules then… if we have a big fight…. sure it’ll happen…. we can get mad…. we can go into separate rooms….but we never leave. No one ever leaves. That was something that we decided on long before I changed my name. 

We have faced so many struggles with jobs and finances and hard times and family drama. 

We have walked through so many blessings with two children and a home and ministry and love. 

I just wrote in a blog post last night saying that these last few months have been some of the hardest that I have ever faced. The stress and pressure has been unreal. The worry takes my thoughts hostage and steals my peace. 

However, you are my safe place.

I cannot imagine my life without you in it. You drive me absolutely crazy sometimes, but you can speak a peace into my very being that no other human can. 

You know my strengths, weaknesses, faults, and struggles. You love me through them all. 

I’m thankful for this life we share. I’m forever grateful for the memories and experiences that we have been through. I’ve never had to face anything alone. You are with me to celebrate every small, insignificant victory and tackle every problem. TOGETHER. 

Happy 16th Anniversary ❤️


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Ramblings During A Rain Storm

My current situation is just lovely. It is raining here– thundering and gloomy. I have dinner cleaned up and put away. I am in my pajamas and it is not even 8PM. The only noise I hear is an 8 year old boy two rooms over yelling about how I am destroying his life and that if I let this mistake slide….he will never, ever, ever do it again.

It has been a rough day here.

I think we all need a day off- counting down to the weekend.

It has been a whirlwind of a summer.

Just as a catch up- Otis was promoted to Associate/Family Pastor at our church. Most of the “Associate” responsibilities he was already doing like handling service when our Pastor was out, helping around the church, or going on home/hospital visits. He is still the youth pastor, but now also has the kid’s ministry  under his umbrella. Any transition has the potential to be tricky. Summer time is super busy for us anyway, add another ministry to that list and we feel like we have been going non stop for months.

Needless to say, we are hoping September will bring cooler weather and a little slower schedule. Each season has it’s own rhythm and fall means football for our high school boys every Friday night. We are welcoming that consistency.

I told someone recently that I am busier now that I ever was while working a full time job. I am so thankful for the ability to be able to be at Otis’s side through every crazy turn that this summer has led us to. We have made it through the camps and events and I think we handled it all pretty well. It is a blessing to be able to have that time to invest into ministry. I don’t take that for granted at all. I have spent so many years chained to a work schedule and have missed out on so much– I know that this is a special time in my life.

With that being said– have you ever had one of those days where the sun was shining while it rained?

That is the very best way that I can explain my life right now.

I can see these blessings around me. I know that God has me, but I continue to walk through the rain. The storm is coming down all around me and I know that eventually it will stop, but for now I have to just keep moving.

This has all reminded me that you really never do know what someone might be going through. People have to choose to open up and let you in. Someone may seem to have it all together and have a wonderful life….and things might just be falling apart behind closed doors.

Anyone that truly knows me and is familiar with my story can attest to the fact that I have been through some hard things in life. I can honestly say though that this year….these past few months have been some of the hardest that I have ever faced. My family has faced sickness and death, and so, so much more. We have done our best to remain faithful, although I would be lying if I said that I never fought off feelings of despair. It has certainly not been easy. It has been a mixture of feeling stress, worry, and even humiliation. I am thankful for the relationship that I have with my husband. We both have good days and tough days, but we seem to balance each other out perfectly. And if we both happen to have a tough day at the same time, we have perfected the act of lifting one another out of it. I guess that is what twenty years together will do!!

All of that to say this-

  1. Be kind. You never know what someone is going through. They might seem to have it all together and simultaneously be holding on to the end of their rope.
  2. Walk through the storms of life with your face forward. God has you. I promise.
  3. We are not meant to go through hard times alone.  I have such a great core group of friends that will pray with and for us. They have been a constant source of encouragement for months.

I am still holding on to my promises and I know that God is good. His timing is perfect and He has me. He has you too. Whatever you are facing is no surprise to Him. It might be raining where you, but the storm will end eventually.

 

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Fear is Crippling

Why do we give fear so much power over us? We allow it to seep into our thoughts, our emotions, and even our actions.

It is just so hard sometimes. I know what God has told me. I know His promises. Yet, when the attacks come I find myself almost frozen in fear. I am so scared. What if His plan is nowhere near  what I picture? What if this miracle that I am hoping and praying for doesn’t come to pass? This could affect my entire life – the lives of my children. How do you recover from something so huge. I cry – a lot. I cry alone where no one else can see me. My mind races. I’m trying to figure out all of these ‘what if’s’…..even though I know that I am simply supposed to trust.

I often think about all of the stories told in the Bible and all of the hard times that those people faced. We have the luxury of reading their entire story in a matter of verses or chapters and it’s resolved. Reading something and living it are two very different things. I think about the fear that must have paralyzed Daniel as he was being lowered into the lion’s den. Or about how the hearts of all those Israelite people were probably beating out of their chests as they saw Pharaoh’s army coming and they stood before the Red Sea. Jonah surely felt like his life was over, that he had disobeyed and this was his punishment. I wonder how Esther prepared to go before the King, knowing that she could very well be killed.

Fear is nothing new. It has been attacking and intimidating people for years  forever.

I know that is not how we are supposed to live as Christians. I know that the spirit of fear is from Satan himself.

But man, once it gets into your heart….it is so hard to get over. It is always there – like a deep, nagging ache that won’t go away.

I think about what an awful person I must be. I’ve basically been a Christian my whole life…my husband is a pastor….yet, I’m standing over here with a lump in my throat that has been there for days. The song that talks about fear being crippling is so true.

How do you handle it?

I have to keep speaking God’s promises out loud over and over. Thank goodness that I journal and blog. I have gone back and read and re-read so many times. I need to be reminded that I may not be in my ideal place now, but God has brought me so far. I have to keep telling myself that God is faithful. He is good. He has taken care of us before and He will take care of us again. Our footsteps are ordered by Him and He is in control of all things. I know all of these truths, but there is something about saying them out loud.

I am thankful to have a support system. I don’t have to completely unload on people, I can just ask them to pray.

I tend to get myself all worked up. I am expecting the miracle that I need, but I am also fearful that it won’t happen. How is that even possible? To be combatting those two opposite trains of thought constantly— that is extremely exhausting.

I just have to remind myself to breathe. Take a step back. Trust. Breathe. When fear creeps in and I start to feel panic in my heart….breathe & trust, breathe & trust.

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Isaiah 43:1
But now, this is what the LORD says— he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.

Psalm 34:4
I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.

Psalm 94:19
When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.

Isaiah 41:10
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Breathe & trust…..breathe & trust…..breathe & trust….

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Staying Desperate For You, God

It’s here! This is the week of our biggest youth event of the year!

We host a youth conference every year at our church called The Stand. We cover this in prayer and do our best to spread the word via posters, social media, and  word of mouth. We want people to feel welcome to join us. This is our 7th year putting this event on. Anytime you do something more than a few times, you find yourself getting in a rhythm. You learn and grow and figure out what works and what doesn’t. So in reality, each year the event should be getting better and better….right?

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At least that is the kind of mind-set that we put ourselves in. Otis and I take this event very, very seriously. This is a HUGE deal to us. We start planning the next year, almost as soon as the current event ends. We have learned how to feed 100 students 5 meals over the course of a weekend with a pretty low-cost. We pick fun activities or outreach. We pray about and choose speakers. A Worship set list is selected and practiced.  We decide on colors and order shirts. This in a major investment! Not only financially, but so many volunteers invest their time.

It’s so exciting!!!!

This year feels a little different. We moved it up a week from the past years. I feel like that might be part of the difference…. there is more of a momentum from summer camp.

That’s not all  that is different though…

I usually fast before this event. I fast and pray, because I am expecting miracles and God moments and broken chains and restored lives. During my prayer time, the thing that keeps coming to my mind is quality over quantity.

People would tell you that if you have been doing something for seven years that in order for it to be viewed as “successful” that there should be a certain percentage of growth.  And it HAS been exciting watching our attendance grow over the years.

However, that is not my focus this year. Quality.  I would rather have 15 teenagers in a room really going after God than have 100 playing on their phones not paying attention to the service.

I am expecting miracles and healings. I am expecting salvations and baptisms in the Holy Spirit. I am expecting for lives to be changed and for young people to have an encounter with God that will change their lives forever.

My prayer is not for our room to be full or for attendance to be the highest ever. My prayer is for the Lord to bring the people to this event that are hungry for Him.

Our preparation doesn’t change whether 10 show up or 200. We are going to do everything to the best of our abilities.

I’m just not going to stress over “bigger and better”. I think that is one of the biggest traps that the enemy uses on us. We are too busy comparing to others  or even our own past, that we lose focus on what is right in front of us. I would be lying if I said that I have never been upset over a disappointing  turnout for an event.

Not this weekend though…we are preparing for revival. We are doing our part and will trust God with the rest.

Please join us in praying for us this weekend. Cover Otis and I … we always, always seem to face attacks the week of this event…..pray for our youth staff and band members….pray for our volunteers and speakers…pray for every student that steps foot on our campus. Go beyond that– pray for every car that drives by our campus!! ( One year at the stand, we had someone come up that said they were just driving by and could feel the presence of the Lord and had to turn around to come check it out).

I cannot wait to write my next post, which will be a recap of our weekend, and share with you all that the Lord did!!

I am choosing to stay desperate for God and trust that He will work everything else out!

Thank you for praying with us!!

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The Process of Trusting

“The Process of Trusting”….man, that is a hard thing to say out loud. I mean say it slowly and really think about the words. It is a lot easier to say than to actually do. We are all humans and we don’t usually just trust. Not completely anyway. I don’t mean giving people the benefit of the doubt or anything like that….I mean trusting someone completely. With Everything. With all of you….every secret and mistake. All.of.it.

My family has been going through a season of life where we are really learning to trust God like never before. Y’all I have been in church my entire life. I love Jesus. I trust Him. I have never had to rely on Him and fully trust Him like I have had to this past year, and especially the past couple of months.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”  ~Matthew 6:25-34

These verses have been rolling around in my brain– and in my heart– for several weeks on a pretty repetitive basis.

God is our good, good father and He does want to take care of us. He wants us to bring our thoughts and worries to Him. He wants to be our first response when life gets overwhelming.

This is the exact opposite of what society tells us. Society tells us that we are supposed to have our lives planned out. We are supposed to have a certain size house, wear certain brands of clothes, and drive certain types of cars. The standard of this world says that you have to make a certain amount of money to feel peace. We are supposed to have savings accounts and retirement funds. We are supposed to take care of it all ourselves. There is nothing wrong with having these things- in fact it is quite responsible to have these things. However, do you put your faith in those things?

It is easy to trust God when you possess a certain level of control yourself.

When the opposite happens, and you have no control. You seriously have to rely on God. Your faith can and will  be taken to a whole new level. You are almost forced to grow. Growing is your only option- it is either rely on God and grow or give up and die.

Trusting God is easy AND trusting God is hard.  I hope I am not the only one that feels this way. Sometimes, it is so easy! The Lord is faithful. He knows everything and holds us in the palm of His hand. Why wouldn’t we trust Him completely? It is hard as well though. It is hard to give up that sense of control.  Isn’t it totally hilarious that we think that we have any ounce of control anyway!!! It can be so hard to resist the urge to try and take matters into our own hands. We want to solve the problems ourselves and make it all work out. We can sometimes feel like we only need to take the really “big” problems to God for Him to handle. After all, we can take care of the rest…right?

What happens when following God’s direction for your life leads you to a place where you have to rely on God with absolutely every aspect of your life.

That is a hard place to find yourself as a person in general, but it has been especially hard for me as a wife and mom. To not have that sense of control has certainly been an adjustment.

The Lord keeps nudging my heart and my spirit asking ‘but what about today?’

The things I tend to find myself worrying about are all things that might happen. I find myself praying and asking the Lord how in the world I am supposed to handle these different situations. He is constantly asking me ‘what about today?’ Are my worries coming to pass today? How is today looking? The Lord is meeting my needs day by day and taking care of my family in amazing ways.

When I worry about the future… next year…or next month….or even tomorrow, I get overwhelmed with fear and wonder what kind of person I am. I drive myself crazy thinking about how people might judge me if they knew certain areas of my struggle.

Trusting is a process. We have to practice. Sometimes we mess up and get it wrong. Each day is a fresh start. Every time we give up our limited control and expectations and give them over to God, our trust in Him increases!

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God is not going to direct you out of His plan. He always sees the next step before you even realize that it is time for the next move.

Trust Him. Over and Over again. Make the choice to rely on Him with every decision that you face!

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1

Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act. Psalm 37:5

It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man. Psalm 118:8

 

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Storms Reveal A Lot

No one likes to face storms in life. They can be big or small, but they seem to leave some kind of scar on you once they are over.

I have sat in front of my laptop to write this post four times in the last few weeks. I never made it past the title. I have juggled so many emotions. Storms will reveal a lot about a person….just like they do a tree. If a tree is weak, it will break in a storm. If it lacks the proper root system, it will be uprooted and tossed around in a storm. However, if a tree is strong & has proper support– it will stand tall. If the support goes deep then it can withstand the forces that would cause a weaker tree life-threatening damage.

Which category do you fall in? When a storm comes, what does it reveal about your character?. Is your foundation strong? How deep do your roots go? Does a storm break you? Do you run in fear? It is natural to feel pressure and stress, but the Bible talks about having a peace that passes all understanding. Anyone that has a relationship with Christ can hold on to that truth. We still feel the storm, but have the strength to stand in the midst of it.

We have been in the midst of a storm. Well, honestly, it feels like we have been living in a storm for quite a while now.

We have learned that even when you think you have no strength left– there is always a little bit more for you to rely on.  That strength you need when you feel your most desperate and most vulnerable comes directly from God. He may use friends or family to encourage you and lift you up. He is the source of true hope.

My husband’s mother recently passed away after 15 days in the hospital fighting cancer. A 15 day stay in the hospital with all of us shuffling schedules to make sure someone was with her all the time– that in itself was stressful. To face the reality that she didn’t seem to be getting better and then to talk with your kids to prepare them and make them aware of how serious this was — also difficult and stressful.

Nothing could prepare us for actually losing her. I watched my husband show such strength. I stood beside him and was there to help in any way that I could. I watched as he checked on all the other family members and offered to get them tissues or bottled water at the viewing. As a pastor, this is what he was used to doing for families at this time. He showed such strength and support for everyone else. I sat in the chapel as he officiated his own mother’s funeral and wondered how in the world he had found the courage to do that.

But I know the answer to that.

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When we face the storms in life, we can rely on HIS strength. We can rest in HIM.

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.”   ~2 Corinthians 4:16

“But the salvation of the righteous is from the Lord; He is their strength in the time of trouble.”         ~ Psalm 37:39

I can live my life with confidence that when storms come….God is there….He is my strength. I can handle anything that comes my way, as long as my focus stays on God. No matter how intense the storm may be….even when I feel like I am about to fall. I can trust in HIM and know that he controls the storm.

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We are still going through some hard times. Although one storm has passed and another seems to have come in right behind it, my family can stand firm. We can know that in the midst of hard times, He is faithful. Keeping our eyes on HIM will be our protection no matter how severely  the storm rages around us.

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