Today is Monday, June 10th. I am writing a quick post before I hurry off to class at Laramie County Community College. Class, you may be asking? What class? I am excited to say that I have been given the opportunity to take a nursing course at LCCC this summer which will allow me to become certified as a nursing assistant. I start week three of class today, and then I get to do clinicals next week. I have really enjoyed learning medical techniques and getting the chance to be a student again. Nursing is a career I have been interested in for a long time. I love the idea that my job will allow me to care for people and let them know they are valued and loved on a daily basis.
With all that being said, I have decided to take a short break from writing new posts while I concentrate on studying for my certification exam. I had a few sweet readers message me last week to let me know they didn’t see a post on Monday. Last Monday was the first Monday I have missed in 28 weeks. I am so thankful for my friends and family who check in each week to read my words. I know God has used my blog to help others, and I believe he has plans to continue to use it. I will be back on in August to continue my weekly posts. I hope you all have a wonderful summer.
This story begins during my college days. College was an interesting season in my life. I had great friends, lived in one of the most beautiful parts of Texas, spent most weekends floating the river, and I did well in school. On the other end of the spectrum, I had a constant feeling of emptiness that I tried to fill up with partying, attention from guys and an eating disorder. I was desperate to find the guy I would marry and be able to start creating a life with. This desperate search for love and acceptance didn’t go over well. I was looking for love in all the wrong places and didn’t hold very high standards for myself. Because of my past, I felt like I was damaged goods and believed I didn’t deserve the best in a relationship. This quest for love turned into a cycle of rejection and heartache that made me feel less and less worthy.
One day I had an emotional breakdown in my car. I felt so alone, hopeless and empty. I knew I was done living the way I had the past 3 years. I cried out to God for the first time and asked him to take away my pain. He was there immediately. I didn’t hear an audible voice or see an angel, but I felt the presence of God so strongly in my little car. I felt surrounded by His love, and a sudden peace came over me. I promised God in that moment that I would stop trying to pursue relationships with guys and I would start getting to know Him. That very weekend I found a church to go to all by myself. Seeking a relationship with God turned out to be exactly what I needed. My emptiness was filled up by the love of my Savior. God built me up and showed me that I was worthy, I was loved, and to Him I was precious.
A few months later my mom was going on and on about this guy my parents had met at our family Thanksgiving. She kept saying that there was something different about this guy and I just had to meet him. At this point I was still swearing off men and really didn’t think letting my mother set me up was the key to happiness. Turns out, my Mom is always right…. We were traveling up to Cheyenne, Wyoming to watch my dad rope at Frontier Days. My mom kept on me that I should meet up with Jeff while we were there. I finally gave in and messaged Jeff (who had been sending me messages since Thanksgiving) to let him know we would be in town. He quickly replied with a rendezvous spot for that very night.
My sister and I drove over to the Albertson’s parking lot Jeff had requested we meet him at. I was very skeptical as we pulled in. Jeff was already there and stepped out of his truck with a big grin as we parked. I know it sounds weird, but I could tell from the moment we made eye contact that this was the man I was going to marry. It was like God was telling me Jeff was the reason all those other relationships didn’t work. It wasn’t because there was something wrong with me; it was because God had someone so much better in mind. God knew I needed to find Him before I would be ready to find the man he had planned for me. God waited on me through all of my mess. He never gave up on me and He was there with open arms when I came running back to him.
God’s plan is always better than our own. Your story may look very different then mine in the end, but one thing will always be true. God will never give up on me or you.
Spoiler Alert: Jeff and I didn’t ride off into a beautiful sunset of a courtship. We had heck working out our differences and making it through a long distance relationship. The story just begins here, come back next week to see how it all went down.
Happy Easter week my friends. I am feeling especially excited this year because my oldest daughter, Gracie Jo, is really starting to understand the Easter story. We made resurrection eggs, in my MOPS group, that each hold an item that represents a different part of the story. JoJo loves taking them out one-by-one and explaining their meanings. I can’t describe the joy that comes from seeing your child begin forming a love for her savior. It is amazing to watch. Ella ate the crackers that were in the Egg that represented “the body of Christ”. So there is that too… Love her just as much!!
Let’s begin our breakdown by reading the second section of Romans 12.
For by the grace given me I say to everyone of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgement, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously, if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully. Romans 12: 3-8
I enjoy this section of Romans 12 because I think it is fun get introspective every once and a while. Coming to the realization that I am a unique individual with a “one of a kind” set of gifts given to me by the creator of the universe is a pretty big deal. Don’t worry I didn’t skip that first line that instructs me not to not “think more highly of myself than I ought.” I will make sure it is with sober judgement that I consider the things God has and has not created within me. Just for a second though, I will celebrate the fact that He took the time to make me an individual “part” who fits perfectly into the intricate “body” of believers. He thought me through. I FIT. We all FIT. We belong to each other and with each other we are complete and fully equipped. There is no problem or circumstance we as believers can not come together to solve. GLORY TO GOD.
God has given each one of us a measure of faith to fulfill the plans he has prepared for each of us to do. Since this faith is given to us by God, and is not something we have built up on our own we have no room to boast or become self righteous. Generally, my problem is not having a self righteous or boastful attitude, but I am more worried that I don’t have what it takes to fulfill my purpose. This verse can easily be flipped to show that we can depend on God to give us exactly what we need to complete the tasks he has prepared for us. Just as we are not to think too highly of ourselves, we should not think to low of ourselves because God is our foundation and our strength and he is in control. He will doll out the exact measurement of faith we need, therefore we will never come out short if we put our trust in him.
Just as each part of the body has a different role to keep the body working properly, we each have a different and equally important role in the body of Christ. I am going to list a few examples of what my gifts in case you need a little help in discovering what yours are. I’ll also throw in a few things I have learned through experience are not my gifts, maybe they fit you better than me?
Forgiving quickly: ever since I was a little girl I have never been able to “hold a mad” as my mom would say. I can’t stand being angry with someone. I am usually the one who says sorry first. This used to drive me crazy, but now I have come to appreciate this gift.
Compassion- feeling the emotions and needs of others has always come easy for me.
Connecting: I describe myself as an outgoing introvert. One thing that I love to do is make connections with strangers. I love being a greeter at church. It is so fun to find ways to compliment people as they walk in and see a smile light up their face.
Serving: I am a helper and a caregiver. If there is something I can do to pitch in I am on it. God has given me a strong desire to help children in need and young mothers.
Here are a few things that I have found out are not my gifts:
speaking in tongues- there was a time I was led to believe that if you do not receive the gift of tongues you were not fully saved. I prayed and prayed that Holy Spirit would manifest in me through speaking in tongues so I would know I had the spirit. It never happened. I now know the important truth that the Spirit of God is present in me even if it doesn’t materialize in an outward form.
public speaking- not my strong suit. sweaty palms, cracky voice, no memorization skills, black hole….just not my thing.
hospitality- I know some women who really shine at this. I am more of a “let’s meet at Texas Roadhouse so we don’t have to do dishes”, or a “I’ll grab a fruit tray from the store instead of making a quiche, kind of girl.”
I think it is also important to realize that God will mature us as we grow in Him and what may not be a gift when we are baby Christians can become a gift later on. I love the saying, “God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called.” God has given us all different gifts and the different measures of faith to be able to use each gift in unique ways. I would love if my readers would message me with what gifts they have been given and the ways they are using them.
I hope you have a blessed Easter as you celebrate the sacrifice Christ made for you and for me. He is risen, the war has been won!
Thank you for visiting my blog. Today I want to share a story that took place almost 4 years ago. This is the birth story of our first daughter, Grace Josephine Berry (aka Gracie Jo, aka JoJo) Disclaimer: If you are pregnant you may want to come back and read this one after you give birth. I know I hated when people shared their horrible delivery experiences with me when I was expecting. Also, anyone else that doesn’t want to know personal details of my birth story, here is your chance to duck out and catch me on the next post as well.
The story takes place in March of 2015. It was an abnormally nice week in Wyoming, and I had spent every day walking at the park getting my body ready to deliver it’s first baby. The night of the 17th I woke up and it felt like I had wet my pants a little bit, but the doctor had assured me the day before that if my water broke it would be a huge gush, so I wrote it off as another embarrassing pregnancy moment and went back to bed.
The next morning I woke up and once again it seemed like I had a mini pants wetting episode so I told Jeff about it. He had been with me at the doctor office the day before and reminded me the doctor said we would know when my water broke. I told him I wanted to get checked out anyway, and in true rancher form he said, “Okay. Let me go feed the cows and check everything and then I’ll take you to town.”
He got back about 9:30 and we got ready and drove to town. We both felt silly walking into the doctors’ office and calmly telling them we think my water might of broke. They looked at us like the first time amateurs we were and said they would let the doctors know we wanted to be checked out.
We got to see Dr. Story a few minutes later and he checked to see if I was indeed in labor. He decided to run a couple tests and was back in our room in a matter of minutes. Sure enough, my water had not completely broken, but I was leaking amniotic fluid and there was a risk of infection if we did not get to the hospital quick for delivery.
The moment felt surreal, Jeff and I were excited that we would be meeting our baby girl that day! We drove straight to the hospital, checked in and prepared to deliver our baby girl. The doctor on call that day was Dr. VanKirk. I had never met her before, but I instantly loved her the moment she walked in. She was upbeat and made us feel she had everything under control. We were giddy and excited, not knowing that the experience would go down as one of the worst and best days of our lives.
My body was not in labor even though I was leaking amniotic fluid, so I had to be induced. Since we were now on a time crunch to deliver because of the risk of infection, we had to be pretty aggressive with the meds used to induce me. The contractions came on pretty quickly and they were extremely painful with little to no breaks in between them. I received an epidural about 4pm. After getting the epidural in, I was able to relax and calm down. Unfortunately my body tried to relax a little too much, and my blood pressure dropped so low that I was not pumping enough blood to our baby girl. The baby’s heart rate monitor starting beeping loudly as the nurses and Dr. Vankirk quickly came into our room. I had discussed with Dr. VanKirk early on that I didn’t want to have to do a C-Section. She said we would try an adrenaline shot, but if that didn’t work we would need to go straight in for a C-section. I agreed, my babies well being and safety being my first priority. The adrenaline shot kicked in quickly and baby girl’s heartbeat stabilized. We were all able to take a deep breath and settle in for a few more hours of contractions.
A little bit after 8 pm we had another scare, the same issue we had before of our baby girl’s heartbeat weakening happened again, but this time we completely lost it on the monitor. Dr. Vankirk calmly told me that I would have to deliver my baby right this minute because she was in danger. She yelled out that we needed more nurses in the room and the room filled up with too many medical people to count. Dr. Vankirk stayed calm and in control of the situation, but I could see the urgency in her eyes. Jeff also stayed calm and supportive, but I could tell he was freaking out on the inside. He grabbed my hand. I had multiple nurses on both sides of me holding my legs and feet. I remember in that moment a feeling of extra human strength as I began pushing my baby out with everything I had. Everyone in the room was yelling out encouragement, telling me she was almost out. It took only 3 pushes for me to deliver.
Doctor Vankirk lifted our baby up and was moving to put her on my chest when we all realized she was not in good shape. She was so blue that she was black. She was not making a sound. They cut the cord and immediately took her to the baby incubator to start working on her.
I remember pleading with everyone around me. Asking them, is my baby okay? Is she going to make it? Is my baby all right? Dr. Vankirk told me that for right now she had to work on me, and that my baby was in good hands, but the look on her face expressed her uncertainty.
I looked up at Jeff and he was white as a ghost. He, unlike me, could see everything that was happening to our baby girl as the doctors and nurses worked so hard to get her to breathe. Immediately it hit me. “We have to pray! Jeff, start praying!” Jeff began praying a prayer that I will never forget. I actually remember thinking, “No! don’t pray that!” But I knew the words he spoke were faith filled to a God we trusted with everything.
Jeff prayed, “Father God, we pray right now for our baby girl. We know that she is yours. We know that weather you take her up with you or we get to keep her here with us that she is yours first. We want this baby girl so bad God! We pray your will be done.”
I continued praying as I looked around and noticed a couple of the nurses by me were praying as well! And then we heard it, the beautiful scream of our precious baby girl. God had so clearly moved in that room, he had opened the lungs of our baby. I busted out sobbing, letting myself go when I had been trying so hard to keep it together. We thought we would name our little girl Addison or Avery, but Jeff said right at that moment, “We are naming her Grace.” I was in complete agreement!
Our baby girl was completely fine. She had no health issues at all. They brought her over to me all bundled up and beautiful. Words do not express the love I felt for her and the relief that my baby girl was in my arms and everything was okay.
I share this story for a couple different reasons. First, I share it for myself. I want to document our story so I can always go back and remember the moment that we cried out the God of the Universe and He so clearly moved in that moment to answer our prayer. There is pain in this story, but it is washed away by the joy. I wish in the moment I would of had the same faith and firmness of my Husband to be able to pray God’s will be done no matter what the outcome. My heart breaks for the families that have prayed the same prayer we prayed but didn’t get the answer we got. I know we serve a God that in all things works for the good of those who love HIM, but sometimes His way won’t make sense until we get to be up with Him in heaven and understand that it was the best way. I thank the Lord for every single day I get to spend with the precious babies He has trusted us with. I know we are not promised tomorrow.
Lastly, I hope this story can be of encouragement and attest to the power and love of our God. He heard our cry and He cared about our prayer. He is the God of the entire universe, but He heard the prayer of just two of His children and He was with us. His presence was in that room. He wants to be there when you need Him too. He wants to hold you when you need comfort, He wants to give you strength when your situation seems impossible, He wants to love you when you feel unlovable. He wants to be with you through it all.
I pray that you know your value and how precious you are to our God. Until we meet again,
It’s the morning after Valentine’s Day as I sit here writing this post. Time is moving so quickly. My babies are growing fast. Life feels like a whirlwind, leaving me scrambling to get from one place to the next. I feel the world’s pull on me to do more, to be more. The weight of all my responsibilities build up, And I feel like I can’t keep up.
Then I walk away for a moment, and I open God’s word. The never ending cycle of life’s obligations come to a stop for a few minutes, while I seek wisdom from the perfect words of my savior.
My time with God has not always felt this way. In my early days of becoming a Christ follower, I would open the Bible and be so confused by the words. The Bible seemed too thick, too complicated, and to be honest, too far fetched for me to understand. That is when I learned about the power of Holy Spirit. I would pray for the spirit to give me wisdom and discernment to understand what I was reading. Once I had the help of the Spirit I started to better understand. Messages started to come out of the pages that were so applicable to my every day life. I believe the gift of discerning and understanding the Bible is available for anyone who asks for it. Once you have it, you will not believe the way the Bible comes to life.
The other thing I had trouble with when I first began studying the Bible, was knowing where to begin. My personality caused me to always want to begin at the beginning, in Genesis, therefor there are numerous times when I would set out to read the Bible cover to cover only to get lost and distracted before I reached Exodus, the second book.
My advice for beginners would be to start in the New Testament. The first four books are accounts of the birth, life and death of Jesus written from four different perspectives. They are easy to read and understand, especially with the help of Holy Spirit. These first four books, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John contain the actual words of Jesus. His words are written in red. We have the actual words of our Savior to read and learn from, that in itself is an amazing gift.
When shopping for a Bible there is no shame in finding a version that is easy to read. I would still be lost if I was trying to use the King James version. The version I use and love is the NIV Study Bible. There are many different versions out there to choose from. Lots of these contain commentaries and resources on every page to help you better understand what you are reading. I think the next Bible I buy will be “the Message” version which is probably the closest in translation to our present way of speaking.
That reminds me, a must have for new readers is the YouVersion Bible app. This app is so handy. I prefer doing my daily studies in my real bible that I can hold, but anytime I don’t understand what I am reading, I can pull up my App and read that section in different translations until it makes more sense. The You Version app also is full of reading plans based on topic or plans for reading the Bible cover to cover. It is really an awesome resource!
I know this post may seem elementary and may not apply to everyone that reads, but I truly believe there is upmost importance for every single believer to become experts on the book God has written for us. We must learn for ourselves what God wants to teach us, not just hear secondhand somebody else’s interpretation. Paul tells the Philippians they must “work out their salvation with fear and trembling.
“Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling,”
So I urge you to take responsibility. Make it your mission to not only read the Bible, but to know it. Your very salvation, and the salvation of those you love depends on it.
Good morning friends. I keep reminding myself that it is indeed a good morning. We are all alive. safe. warm. well fed. After that it gets a little hard to recall the things I’m grateful for as I sit here guzzling my third cup of coffee before 9 am. Last night was a nightmare, but not the kind you sleep through. It was a real life nightmare, spurred on by a 18 month old with a ponytail on top of her head and misery affliction in her eyes.
Jeff was scheduled to visit a customer up close to where my grandparents live, so we decided to jump in the pick up with him so the girls and I could spend some time with Gram and Gramps while he worked. We had a nice evening and a delicious supper. About 8:30 pm, I hauled the pack and play up the stairs and got it perfectly comfy and cozy to put Ella down in. We timed it just right so we were all ready to go to bed and wouldn’t wake Ella up after she was asleep. We layed her down with a sippy cup full of perfect temp lactose free milk. We sighed with relief as we shut the door to her room and tip-toed out and into our beds.
It lasted about 8 minutes, and then came the blood curdling scream. It sounded like she was being physically tortured. I rushed into the room thinking there had to be something seriously wrong for her to be screaming that way. Picked her up. She giggled. WTH… I rolled my eyes, bounced her around the room for a minute until she was yawning and rubbing her eyes. As I carefully laid her back into the pack n play, her eyes popped open wide and she crawled me like a cat. It was that moment I realized we were in for a long night. I could go on and recall the events of the evening that seemed to last a life time, but I’ll save you the anguish of reading it. I’ll just share a couple memorable moments.
At one point about 11pm Jeff and I looked at each other and cracked up laughing at the situation, if we wouldn’t of been laughing we would of been crying. We were of course worried my grandparents couldn’t sleep with all the ruckus Ella was causing in the bedroom above them, and about to lose our minds not knowing how to calm Ella down and maker her fall asleep.
At another point after Ella had screamed for about 5 minutes straight, she stopped abruptly and proceeded to happily chuckle to herself and crawl back and forth across the bed kissing me and Jeff on our foreheads. I thought to myself, “oh no, what if she has a multiple personality disorder.”
Then about 3 am she popped up wide awake from a 30 minute stretch of sleep. Desperate, I handed her my phone with a downloaded Netflix show praying for just another small block of sleep. She happily took my phone and began a cycle of watching the show for about one minute, pressing the home button which stoped her show and then pushing the phone in my face so I could get it back going for her. This lasted until my phone which was on 13% battery when we began, died a painful death. It was a special night.
I share this all in hopes that it will serve as an effective means of birth control for all of the young people reading this… only kidding. My main purpose for sharing is to let all the moms and dads out there in the trenches of raising small children, know that you are not alone. It is so easy to look at social media and the adorable pictures of kids being sweet and seemingly well behaved and think, “maybe I’m not good at this parenting thing.” Don’t believe that for one minute. You are absolutely killing it! You are “nailing it” as a parent. You are surviving the long nights. You didn’t throw the kid in it’s crib and drive far away at a fast rate of speed. You love that small, adorable, life sucker, with all your heart. Just like I love mine. You’re probably snuggling them right now as you read this. They are dozing off for a good nap, so they are rested up to cause terror once again tonight. Only kidding again…..kind of…. I remind myself often, that no one takes pictures when they are about to lose their mind and the kid is running down the hall after they dipped one hand in the toilet and unraveling the toilet paper with the other. No one posts moments like that. We only post the highlight reel, filled with the moments that portray parenthood as a blissful walk in the park. So don’t sweat it. Don’t compare. You are doing an incredible job.
I am going to sign off now, so I can find some more caffeine and spend some time alone with God. We are raising little world changers, little sons and daughters of the one true King. It’s a hard job, but it’s the most important job we will ever do. So keep up the good work. I’m praying for you and me both.
2018 was a whirlwind. There were highs and there were lows. Below is a short list of some of the stand out moments.
1. I celebrated two of my closest friends delivering baby boys.
2. We got our wild child Ella to her first birthday with no major injuries.
3. Gracie Jo entered the pee-wee barrel race on my mare Kirby and I got to trot her through the pattern.
4. Jeff had a great year career wise and has truly found his dream job.
5. My little sister got engaged.
6. I learned the art of not giving a crap.
“Wait a minute,” you say, “one of these is not like the other.” That last one seems a little off. Well yes, number 6 is an interesting way to describe a highlight of a Christian woman’s year, but what if I said that is probably the most important discovery I made this year? What if I told you “not giving a crap” is putting it mildly, that there were a couple other stronger expressions I thought about using? Before you think I’ve fallen off my rocker, or drank a little too much of the cool-aid, let me explain myself.
I owe this revelation to my pal Rachel Hollis. Maybe I’m reaching a little far calling her my “pal,” as I’ve never met her, but considering the time I’ve spent reading her book and listening to her podcast she qualifies as a personal bestie. Rachel Hollis wrote a book called “Girl Wash Your Face.” If you are reading this right now and have a dream or a calling on your life that you haven’t had the courage to follow, stop reading my blog and go get this book. It is a life changer. For the purpose of this post we are only going to be discussing one of the many life changing subjects to be found in Rachel’s book:
“Other People’s Opinions of You are None of Your Business”
Read it again and let that sink in.
This phrase has become a mantra for little people pleasing Tatum. After reading this chapter I took a step back and really evaluated some things in my life. I realized that not only was I letting other peoples opinions of me be “my business,” I was letting them dictate my life. It was shocking. Literally up until a few months ago, I was changing who I was dependent on every situation I was in. If I was around a certain set of friends I was a meek church mouse that didn’t pipe up very often in conversation. Around another set of people I was the outgoing decision maker, because that made them feel more comfortable. I cussed in conversation with some folks, but wouldn’t dare say a swear word with others. I was really into football in one circle, but more into business conversations with another. I watered myself down to not be too “extra” in some crowds and ramped my personality up in other. I was not ME. I was a shape shifter. I made myself whatever I thought would please the people I was with most. It was exhausting.
I honestly had no idea who the real me even was. This sounds like the “real slim shady” song I know, but it was time for the real Tatum Berry to please stand up!
What was I doing? God created me exactly the way he intended, with every gift and talent I would need to fulfill His calling on my life. Why was I choosing to cover myself up? Why did I think it was more important to be the version of me that made others feel comforted, instead of the true me that God so perfectly crafted? I really am baffled. I’m only a few months out of this never ending charades game I used to play. Do you know how I feel?
FREE! I can rest in the fact that I am good enough just as I am. I don’t have to change one single thing about myself in my natural state. I can speak when I want to speak. I don’t have to speak when I don’t. My personality is enough, my interests and passions are enough, my opinions are enough, I am smart enough, I’m funny enough. I am FREE to be Me.
God created us to please Him, not people. Here are a few references from scripture on this subject.
Galatians 1:10 – Am I now trying to win the approval of men? Or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.
1 Thessalonians 2:4 – On the contrary, we speak as men approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please men but God, who tests our hearts.
Proverbs 29:25 – Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.
My prayer for you is that you realize who you are is just what you are supposed to be. Don’t waste one more minute trying to change yourself. Be the core you; the you that is natural and easy. The God of the universe took the time to make you that way, and the way that you are is just right. If this post meant something to you please comment and let me know. I can’t wait to hear about the joy you feel when you find the freedom of breaking free from caring about what other people think.
Today I want to get a little deeper with you guys. Now that you know a little more about me and have heard a small part of my story let me get real with you.
I’m terrified that now that I have stepped into my calling, I might fail.
There is a chance that I could start this blog in all the excitement of something new and promising, only to lose interest and drop it like I’ve done with so many things before. I could let God and all the people who have reached out to support me down. I might drop the baton or fall flat on my face. Negative thoughts keep creeping into my consciousness. The worst of them being that nagging voice telling me I’ve been here before and I have given up.
The painful truth is: that voice isn’t lying.
I have taken a step out into my calling then promptly taken three steps back when I realized just how uncomfortable it is to be out of my “comfort zone.” I have heard God call and I have chosen not to answer. I have let the enemy’s deceitful, yet well devised attacks derail my progress. Yes, I have started races and chosen to quit in the middle.
But this time is different.
God has been preparing me for this my entire life. I now understand that every set back was actually a set up. God knew I would get knocked down a few times, but he also knew I would get back up. He saw me defeated, but knew victory was in my future. He will use my story for His glory!
I take the responsibility of living out God’s will for my life very seriously. I know that I am traveling down a narrow path, and it will be no surprise when trouble meets me along my journey. So, what is different this time? Now, I know how to fight! I also know who is fighting on my behalf.
I will put on my armor.
I will rest assured that with God, victory is already mine!
Below, I am going to list some powerful scripture that I have used to draw strength from and understand the battles I am facing.
1 Peter 5:8 “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”
James 4:7 “Submit yourselves therefor to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”
Trouble is inevitable:
John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous, do not be frightened and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
Romans 8:31 “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”
The Armor of God:
“Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
Philippians 1:6 “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on into completion at the day of Christ Jesus.
1 Corinthians 15:57 “But thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Romans 8: 37-38 “No, in all things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
I hope you realize that although I am confident in my God, there are times I doubt my qualification for the roles God has called me to fill. However, I take heart in looking back on my journey and on how far God has brought me. In Christ all things are possible. We just have to hold on to His promises and do our best to courageously enjoy the ride!
It’s hard letting go of the people that loved the old you and don’t understand the new “Christian” version you are working so hard to become. I’ve lost friendships, I’ve experienced resistance and disappointment from family members. I’ve had to let go of parts of myself that felt so genuine towards who I am at my core, but didn’t line up to God’s expectations of who I am as His daughter. I’ve had to teach myself how to navigate social situations without the “liquid confidence” that I once relied on. I’ve had to learn that being the slurring, stumbling life of the party isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, and just because a group of people begged me to to show up for their entertainment didn’t mean they loved or cared for me the next morning when I sobered up. Giving my life to Jesus was the best decision I have ever made, but it has also been the hardest. Heck, there were even a hand full of times growing up that I became a Christian, the easy way. I asked to be saved and professed my love for my savior, and then went back to life the next Monday like nothing had happened. That was easy. It felt good. But it wasn’t real.
You know it’s real, when it’s hard.
Matthew 5:13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”
When you give your heart to Jesus and commit your life 100% to living for him, trouble will come. The enemy hates this more than anything, and he will devise a battle plan to hit you where it hurts the worst. But you must press on! You may lose your best friend, you may lose the support of close family, you might be tested in every area of your life, but guess what? God is going to fight every single battle with you. He will meet you every morning. He DELIGHTS IN YOU when you come to him exactly as you are, no make-up, crazy hair, sleep still in your eyes, guzzling a cup of coffee. He is DELIGHTED to be with you. Pretty soon you start seeing glimpses of the absolute beauty of His plan. His will for your life reveals itself slowly and carefully and the goodness and the peace of it will transform you.
Romans 12:2Do not conform any longer to the patterns of this world. But be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve God’s will. His good pleasing and perfect will.
So look around sweet sister, it might seem like everything is falling apart, you’ve lost some people who didn’t love the real you in the first place, you’ve got some big battles up ahead you’re going to have to fight, but take heart.
John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
You’ve got a God that wants to walk beside you down the narrow path, and if you look hard enough you realize that there are plenty of people (myself included) looking for a tribe to travel through this crazy life with. Hold on tight to God’s promises and the people who want to be there to cheer the real you on as you travel your unique road.