HOPE*ann*FAITH

Learning to Live , Again, On Purpose.


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Living Life After Death-5 Minutes @ a Time: [day 1]


It’s October again and time for 31 days of writing. This year I’m only linking up with my FMF sisters. Trying once again to get back to my first creative lote, writing. It’s been a long 3 and a half years. I only know that from looking back on it. Because it sure feels like a lifetime has passed. And actually, two lifetimes did. [insert sigh]

So … about the 5 minutes at a time. FMF =Five Minute Friday, hosted by Kate, where my sister writers and I take one day to free write, un-rushed, for 5 minutes each Friday. Throwing punctuation and grammar to the wind [quite the feat for a grammarista!]. No spell check. No corrections.

::I’m updating here to let you know that this post/page will serve as my landing page.  A landing page or table of contents page is where you, my dear readers, can find a link to each of my 31 Day writes. So down at the bottom of this, my [day 1] post I will link each of my posts for you to find easily.::

The theme for my FMF 31 Day Write is … Living Life After Death. I know that sounds daunting, right? Well, not as daunting as getting here, today from there. Where’s there you ask … that’s a tough question to answer, and yet I’ve spent 3 years feeling as though I’ve had to explain the where to justify the here and now, to some. So I will try to fill you in on my Story in five minutes!

Story is the prompt…GO!

No rush, right. [insert smile].

Three years ago my husband died from cancer after a 19-month battle. When I say battle I mean the disease’s toll on us as a family. My husband lived ,to the fullest, all but one week of those 19 months. He never gave up until he was finally called home to the Lord.

Sixteen months later my youngest son passed away due to fentanyl poisoning. He was an addict for 17 years. Another battle that took a toll on all of us as a family. He tried. He fought it in the end and things were looking up but …. STOP.

Heroin addiction is a disease and while cancer’s existence within my husband’s body wore his body down, heroin has a voice and a hunger that wears down the person’s mind while the sickness of not giving in wears down the body just as much as giving in and using the drug.

So in 16 months, my little family was cut in half. My oldest son and I move forward in faith, learning to live this life after death.

So if you’d like, I’d enjoy your company on this 31-day journey to wherever God will take us.

                                                                1. story. [you are here]

    2.  afraid 

3. believe

4. why

5. FMF – Share

6. belong

7. hope

8. comfort

9. inspire

10. how

11. door

12. FMF –

13. talk

14. ask

15. when

16. pray

17. pause

18. search

19. FMF – 

20. Audience

21. start

22. help

23. common

24. brief

25. capture

26. FMF – 

27. whole

28. song

29. together

30. voice

31. close

Thanks so much for stopping by and coming with me on this journey of mine. God bless.

1Andrea

 

 

 

 

 


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It’s Not about Me {YOU} … It’s a God Thing


Forgiveness …. I have written MANY posts about forgiveness over the years {You can peruse that library of posts right here, if you’re bored!}. Much like you, and most people, I’ve forgiven MANY for MUCH. That’s the way life is.

But what about those people … those acts, that we cannot seem to forgive?

Is it in our nature to forgive? I don’t think so, not in our natural, carnal selves.

To err is human, to forgive divine. ~ Alexander Pope

Forgiveness is a Spiritual thing of healing.

Forgiveness is a God thing.

“I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake and remembers your sins no more.
 Review the past for me, let us argue the matter together; state the case for your innocence. Isaiah 43:25-26

So if God blots out my transgressions (sins) and remembers them no more and offers to argue (discuss, workout) the matter with me; who am I not to forgive those who transgress against me?

Forgiveness is not about ME. It’s about God … It’s me being about the things of God.

Like I said: I forgave many for much; and when I say much I mean a tremendous amount of wrongs! And in this world, even in our families, today, tremendous wrongs are an everyday thing. We’ve fallen so far into the depravity of the world’s view that the “I’m not hurting anyone” mantra is rote.

Well un-forgiveness is painful! To ourselves and to the other parties involved.

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. Matthew 6:14-15

Forgiveness is a God thing. Good thing He made us all in his image, to be like Him and do His work in this earth.

Un-forgiveness is like a cancer, one we choose to cultivate! It doesn’t harm the un-forgiven party as much as it harms us, ourselves. It causes bitterness and resentment and eventually total distrust of all, if left unhindered.

So if forgiveness is such a hard thing; and yes a thing, in my studied layman’s opinion, that we are incapable of on our own, without God; how then do we do this thing?

For me it was a hailmary task. I had nothing left in me when I came searching for home … for God. I’d been physically, emotionally, verbally and sexually abused. I’d been abandoned by act and deed and choice and neglected due to illness and lack and simply lack of responsibility.

And finally … I had found refuge in the Hubs before he was the Hubs. I didn’t trust at first. I actually fought, inadvertently my own worst hit man. I undermined my own security and happiness for many years. That often being the result of those who endure much abuse and neglect over time; they grow to believe that this is their lot in life and that they somehow deserve the cards that were dealt, when in fact, they, themselves deal from the bottom of the deck they are holding. Essentially choosing their abusers, as a form of control , and controlling when and how the abuse occurs (this is a DEEP subject that needs a post of it’s own, someday). Anyway, this is how I dealt with life prior to the Hubs and my road to my Salvation!

My road! Ha! It was God’s road and His plan! Seriously (again, for another post).

So back to the path of forgiveness ….

It was only with God, on His terms and with my submission to the Word, that I was able to come to a place of forgiveness for the Many and Much. For the most part I’ve been successful … it’s been 13 years, this month!

I didn’t forsake the fellowship. I attended (attend) church and keep my mind renewed by staying in the Word and prayer and relationship with God.

To forgive is to set the prisoner free and discover that the prisoner is you. ~ Lewis B. Smedes

Let me say it this way …

My hailmary, as I walked down the aisle, to the altar one Wednesday night, to accept the grace of Jesus as my Lord and Savior, was to beseech God, for what I wasn’t sure, but somehow I knew this was where I had to be, to fix it all. The very next thing God began to work on (FOR YEARS) was my un-forgiveness! It really was the first (well after ridding me of my previous “religion”) thing that was tackled in my spiritual walk. And it remains an everyday discipline.

The Many and Much are not gone. They walk and talk and tap at my heart strings, trying to play their melody of anger and resentment from time to time.

But I am FREE. I set aside the echos of my past and turn to the Word and fellowship of my fellow believers and continue to move forward, “It’‍s the only direction God gave us.”Gabe in Wish I Was Here; and I forgive, again.

Forward

Abandonment is an issue these days. Being the wife of someone battling cancer you find that your family and friends are kind of afraid of you. Oh they ask after the Hubs and offer prayer and blessings. But rarely do they ask the wife how she is, afraid that they won’t know what to say. Their priority if they are believers is to concentrate their prayers on his healing (and oh, how thankful I am for that!) and if they aren’t, I hazard to think of the pity prayers they offer up!

And there is the cancer itself, that threatens everyday to leave me alone, my heart destitute of the only honest and true love for me that has existed in this world (aside from Father God’s, that is.).

So I wake each morning thanking God for the faith and hope that He has given me, it’s His really. I thank Him for the army of intercessors that have gathered around the Hubs and I soak in those healing prayers knowing that they are for me too, even if they are not offered to me, per se. …

And I forgive Me, for being human and angry and resentful, for shaking my fists at the circumstances of my wisp of a life, right here and right now.

Because when we realize that God has forgiven us our worst, hidden in that dark corner of our deepest crevasse of soul, sin and remembers it now more, though we keep it in the corner of that crevasse, we can then begin to forgive ourselves for those sins, not the least of which is a lifetime of resentful un-forgiveness. Only then are we able to realize we aren’t capable of forgiveness on our own, so I …

Repent and thank  God that He has created me in His image to be about the work of His kingdom and ask that He help me to forgive the new Many and Much and move forward on the path He would have me walk … today.

Today … I walk in faith, not looking to the right or to left, simply looking to God, and I walk in forgiveness. Tomorrow I will start again, because Jesus did …

 This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. Matthew 26:28

Thanks for reading my faithful friends. Blessings to you all.

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The Kitchenista! Vegetable Soup


Seriously, check this out! I met Ashleigh while beginning to blog and I love this chick. She is the bomb, the complete package of beautifully, truthful human-ness!

And now with the food. I think I want her for my wife! ❤

RECIPE: Vegetable Soup.


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Defining Grief in {my} Life …


This week’s prompt for Tuesday at Ten over on Karen’s Finding the Grace Within is Grief

My last post was a letter to sorrow, because Grief (which that prompt was actually about) has not entered Hutchland in her proper form; yet, like I said in my post, “Dear Sorrow,” , her cousin Sorrow had come to visit.

Grief has so many meanings! So many actions.

Grief Defined

Grief Defined

I’ve found that I’ve written about grief on several occasions, over the year … you can read a few here: Grief A Study.

In my life I’ve grieved the loss of much; but that grieving was not always caused by the loss of a person. The action of grief blankets many areas of life.

I’ve grieved, without honest knowledge until many years later, the loss of my family to divorce, my mother to mental illness and my father to the desolation of the marriage and for many years to alcohol.

I’ve grieved the loss of a childhood from the age of 4; of innocence, environmentally and sexually, from the age of 4.

I’ve grieved my past from a loss of memory of over 8 years.

I’ve grieved my own 1st marriage.

I’ve grieved the deaths of my step-father, my grandfather, two uncles and my grandson.

I’ve been visited by Grief. she has her place in our lives for processing purposes only. She is a tool to assist us to adjust to this most tragic change in our lives.

But that is all Grief is to do. She is not to reside in our lives indefinitely!

YES, everyone grieves and we all do it in our own timing. the reality of loss is devastating. I believe, though, that the devastation should only be momentary. She should only remain long enough for us to rearrange our memories, so that they may keep what or who we lost in our hearts; where those we love and things we treasured were, in the very first place.

Grief is a state of the heart. And she should ease up, though at times achingly slow, into a soft, treasured memory of love.

Grief should never become a permanent shield that we use to block things of life and love, so that we cannot be hurt. When Grief becomes that shield she damages our very spirit and soul. She cannot be allowed to reside within our heart.

Reading some of the posts I’ve written while grieving has caused a sadness within me; especially the posts about my grandson. My only memory of him is the pregnancy and his leaving us during his birth, but we love him all the same. It sounds almost odd to me, in my thinking, that I, honestly and with all of my heart, love a little boy who never opened his eyes or drew a breath, but I do so love and miss him. He was ours; a vital part of us.

But you see, I only grieve him now when I think of our losing him. I grieve the time we did not get with him.

And then I put grief to bed and  I cherish the love and connection he caused in our lives as he grew and thrived in the womb. He touched us ever so gently and that makes me warm with love for the little man.

Today Grief would like to enter early, laying her ground work in the heart of our hearts and the heart of our home. But we are not allowing her to come before her time.

That is a problem in our society today, I believe. I truly think that people anticipate the end of things and allow Grief to affect them before her time.

Grief is for AFTER the loss. She is not something we need for the preparation of the loss.

I believe we lose precious time with our loved ones and in our relationships and life dealings when we begin to prepare for an unknown eventuality.

One of the things God intended for us was for us to Have Life and Life More Abundantly; John 10:10. Well Grief is a thief, she diminishes us, she does not cause us abundance. Especially when she is allowed to visit before it is time.

Ecclesiastes 3 tells us there is a Time for everything …

 “a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;“; Ecclesiastes 3:4

Grief desperately continues to visit us here, with all that we are enduring. But we, here in Hutchland, refuse to live less than abundantly through these trials.

Cancer is a trial not, necessarily, the death sentence, as people would lead you to believe; because Jesus has conquered death!

Addiction is a trial, not a death sentence, as people would lead you to believe; because Jesus has conquered death!

Therefore, though sadness sneaks in from time to time and fear attempts to take root, I choose to look up to where my true help comes from. I refuse to handle these trials in our life according to the world’s rules;  after all I, we, are Kingdom children residing for a time in a fallen world.

I will handle trials, sorrow and grief according to Kingdom Rules. I will rely upon my Father God and Jesus and Holy Spirit as I walk through the shadow of the valley of death … (note it is only a shadow, it is NOT death!).

I am greatly relieved that I have been delivered from the need for secular counsel and guidance. Life’s journey is a much easier path with Jesus at my side and Holy Spirit’s guidance.

I no longer have to look to others for guidance through grief or sorrow or even just a challenging moment. I simply communicate through prayer and am more often than not blessed with the answer instantly through Holy Spirit.

It’s a discipline, but one I have been working on for years now and it brings peace and comfort regularly these days.

Our days and weeks here are sometimes wrought with opportunities to give into fear, sorrow and grief. and honestly, like everyone else. Fleetingly the fatigue at the end of a day makes them seem the easier choice; allowing me to think that I could curl up into myself making everything just dissolve into nothingness. Then I remember, there is relief for the Spirit, through the Spirit, and my heart begins to fill with comfort.

When Grief visits you, remember, as quickly as you can, that God is there, waiting with open arms of comfort and peace for you in this time. You need not be engulfed in the arms of Grief and Sorrow, they provide no peace or comfort. Though they do have their place at specific times of our lives, their presence should lead you straight to God the Father for comfort.

I will lift up my eyes to the hills— From whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth. Psalm 121:1-2

I will lift up my eyes to the hills— From whence comes my help?
My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth.
Psalm 121:1-2

This was yet another study on Grief in my life … and after reading my past posts I think I’ve come a very long way in understanding how grief should be handled in a life.

What is grieving you today? Is it a lose or an annoyance that you’ve not yet found a solution to? Either way, as always, I encourage you to lift your eyes and seek guidance, not from man, but from our loving Father God.

Blessings to you all, and prayers for peace in comfort for you in all of your lives. Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to read my thoughts.

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Tuesday


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Begin … 2015


prayer.begin WELCOME TO 2015

At midnight we ended the old year and began the new one simultaneously. Many of us spent a week in review of some kind, possibly planning what not to repeat and what new plans and goals we were headed for.

Good old Resolution Time!

Well resolutions are not for me. I am not into setting unrealistic goals that I cannot manage to complete or even remember at the end of January! =)

Resolutions are truly a hindrance to one’s life progress. They create a sense of failure at the beginning of every new year. At least that’s how I see it.

So if one doesn’t indulge in resolutions for the new year what is it one does with the vast 365 days laid out before us in the vastness of that thing called the future? What is the plan?

For me, I quasi participate in the My One Word movement. This year I may sign up for the 1st level accountability group, but I don’t know. This will be my 4th year picking a word for the year.

I chose my word a few days ago: Self-Discipline(d) – I find it funny that my words are always either hyphenated or compound words. Like chips … you can’t just have one!

To begin my plan is to obtain self-discipline in all areas of my life. And when I say self-discipline, I mean this:

Self-discipline: is the ability to control one’s feelings or emotions and overcome one’s weaknesses; the ability to pursue what one thinks is right despite temptations to abandon it.

Synonyms: self-control, restraint, self-restraint, self-command, willpower, purposefulness, strong-mindedness, sound-mindedness, resolve, moral fiber, doggedness, persistence, determination and grit!

I intend to purposefully control my emotions. I have a great friend, mentor and now my pastor, who when we met, I decided in my heart to become her. I wanted to be able to conduct myself with the class and composure that she possessed. I wanted the peace and self-control she has as a person, wife, mother and leader. Since that meeting we’ve become very good friends. I’ve taken over her post as church secretary and armor bearer to our pastor and now I am her secretary and armor bearer. I tell you, it’s an honor to be her friend and to have her in my life.

And over the years I’ve found that God intended this for me and that He had given me the tools to succeed on this particular path.

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and of a sound mind.

2 Timothy 7:1

The NIV translation says, ” … power, love and self-discipline“.

The world tells us that we cannot control how we feel. We cannot choose who we love. Our feelings and emotions are out of our control. NOT SO.

Romans 8:9-11 basically tells us that Holy Spirit lives within us, giving us life over death (or control over our sinful nature). Sinful nature sounds awful I know but what that means is that we actually have control over our carnal or natural nature. We most definitely control our feelings, as well as our emotional reactions and actions in all areas of our lives.

And in Galatians 5:22&23 the Word tells us that Holy Spirit produces in us the fruit of His Spirit.  It is His emotions we experience in the circumstances of our lives. He produces His emotions within us so that we exhibit the benefits of His presence in our hearts – love , joy, peace, patience, kindness , goodness, faithfulness, gentleness , and self-control.

So why did I choose self-discipline?

Well for the last three years my word was Wholeness. A good goal and I’ve come a long way in becoming whole in Christ. So a the beginning of 2015 I changed it up, but not by much. After all, self-discipline is a major part of walking in the wholeness of one’s life.

As many of you know I have A LOT on my plate these days. And 2014 went out with quite a blow to my spirit. Please pray for my youngest son, if you would. And 2015 came in with me HAVING to control my emotions.

Pick a word for the year … I promise you that immediately you will be challenged by your choice!

We began 2015 with a kiss good night and in the morning we began the year in prayer at our church. We were reminded to pray the solution, not the problem. Periodically we review how we should be praying so that the blessings and promises flow in our lives and ripples out into our community. It’s a great reminder not to fall into that wordy, self involved prayer style where we think because we see the circumstance as huge we much add many words to get our point across to God. How silly that is, but I do it too, sometimes.

So this morning I was in a position to keep my composure amongst my church family while praying for our particular situation (that cropped up last night before the new year was rung in). There was that challenge proving within me that I had chosen the correct focus for this year.

So this is the plan:

1. Deepen my relationship with God with prayer and structured time in the Word.

2. Devotional: Jesus Calling ( I got it for Christmas!) and following her purposeful time with God – we’ll see how that works for me; but the daily reading comes with scripture to read – keeping me in the Word.

3. A Blessing Box – an attitude changer … a tool to purposeful positiveness.

That’s how I began my day. That’s how I began 2015.

How did you begin 2015? Did you make a resolution or set a goal? I’d love to hear from you!

Thanks for reading my friends. And Happy Happy New Year.

ASignatureby your words ... FWThTuesday


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My Journey


Hi. Welcome to Hope*ann*Faith blog where I share my day to day journey.

TuesdayToday I am participating in Tuesday at Ten over on Karen Beth’s blog. {Follow the link in her logo to the left.}

T@T is a word prompt for Creatives, each week where the writers, photographers, artists share their interpretation on a single word prompt. Karen can correct me if I’m wrong here … The prompt she gives us each week is to stir in us a heart post based on our lives and experiences. Karen and Finding the Grace Within blog are all about healing and getting connected. So join us, using any creative style you like and share your heart.

This Tuesday prompt is:    Journey.

So about My Journey. The journey to continuous Hope and Faith.

My Journey is probably my most used Category and Tag on this blog, because blogs are simply a virtual diary of one’s life, and life is certainly a journey.

So much is involved in one’s journey through this life. Mine is no different from yours. However the circumstances of our journeys are unique, giving us the illusion that my journey might be more intense than yours.

I. Think. Not.

There is a misconception among Christians that God will not give us more than we can handle on this journey. This is not true. I believe God does give us much more than we can handle without Him so that we choose Him.

The following scripture is often misunderstood/

“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13

Nowhere in this scripture does it say God does not give us more we can handle. Like I said, I believe God gives us more than we can handle each day so that we will Call upon Him!

My journey has certainly come to a place where my pride {though it often rises to say, “you got this Andrea”} bows to God and I call upon Him daily; many times a day.

My walk, my journey is with God. When I remember to walk with Him, that is.

So if you’re new to my humble little blog here you may have an idea of what my journey is today. Me and mine are being tested in many areas of life these days, hard and simultaneously. We deal with normal things in life like:

Family – Bills – Jobs – Lack of Jobs

But we also deal with some extra things like:

Cancer

Heart Issues

Heroin Addiction

Extended Family Issues that deal with: Age, Mental Illness and other addictions.

Sounds rough, yes?

It is. No doubt, but we rely on God and He has been faithful.

Recently I was reading Psalm 23 … an oft used Scripture for those who are on harder journeys. And I saw something in verse 4 that I hadn’t truly understood before …

A Psalm of David.

23 The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell[a] in the house of the Lord
Forever.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil;

Our journey is not through the valley of death!

On our journey we travel through the valley shadow of death! A shadow is just an ether … it’s harmless, unless we add fear giving the shadow body and the ability to harm us, because we allow the shadow more power than it is capable of without our permission.

This scripture assures us that God is with on this journey. He is there before we know Him, protecting us. He is there when we decide we are going to do these things on our own, watching over us and waiting patiently until we call on Him for rescue. And He is tangibly there when we trust wholly in His constant presence in our lives and on this journey.

Dear God

Dear God

My journey is a rough one. One that often requires me to pray in a warring fashion against fear, because I refuse to give that shadow any power.

My journey is about endurance, as is yours. We all battle and war and endure, but I encourage you today! DO NOT tolerate that which is not of the Lord.

It is said of journeys:

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. ~ Lao Tzu

Peace is a journey of a thousand miles and it must be taken one step at a time. ~ Lyndon B. Johnson

The only journey is the one within. ~ Rainer Maria Rilke

The second two really speak to me on the spiritual level. I truly believe that the journey, though it feels as if it is external, is truly one within. I believe there are tests in our lives that build our faith and endurance . Let me remind you of my beginning Scripture …

“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13

God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear … though we will be tested beyond what we can bear … because God is faithful and will provide a way out, so that we can endure the test … with His assistance.

God knows the end of our journey from the beginning of His time … we are equal to the challenge of our personal journey in this life; we just need to trust God and rely on Him, then we will not be overtaken.

Because, in all these things we are more than conquerors

through him who loved us. ~ Romans 8:37

Thanks for stopping by and reading. Blessings to you.

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Dear Lord …


Dear Lord …

Me ... PrayerIt’s me again. Andrea. Here to present my petitions and desires. I know I don’t have to present or ask. I know you are already on these things, but I needed to talk. And I know you already knew that too.

So why do I pray? Speak these epistles of my life to you. Spoken letters of request. Verbal thank you notes for all the blessings in this mess of a life of mine.

I pray because Dear, Sweet Jesus, it’s how I get to talk to you. I pray because it brings me closer to you. Brings me knowledge of you. Prayer is the intimacy of our relationship.

I guess I need to remind myself why I pray sometimes. In this storm it gets confusing and sometimes feels like I keep repeating myself in a desperate beg for some relief.

I pray, because I need answers and only You, Dear Lord, hold these precious treasures of knowing.

I need comfort in this storm that’s been blowing through our lives for the last 15 months. Yet, even as the storm rages and the emotions win their hostile takeover, if I remember and begin to pray my heart is calmed and my mind is cleared. I know this calm is mine in prayer, I just need to remember in the chaos to begin  …

I try to sit still in your presence, but when I cannot, and attempt in my own power to enact some fleshly understanding, you wait patiently for me to surrender to the quiet of Your Spirit. And then you envelope me in Your Mighty Shadow, where I finally rest from my futile efforts, pressing my heart as close to yours as I can.

I sense You in my darkest moments. I hear Your whisper in the swirling chaotic thoughts of those moments; though Your Word says You are not in the storm. And You’re not, but yet, there You are and …

You whisper in my ear … I have not left You child. I AM right here, by your side, My Dearest One. Where I have been since I created you.

And then I can rest, when I’ve heard your voice, and know that in my alone-ness, I am never truly alone.

Love,

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Amen.

STOP!

 

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