Depression: My Reality…Jesus: My Life

It’s been a while…months…my pen has run dry…I’ve had no words. I still struggle with the words. I have been broken down until nothing was left. But I know that I must pick this pen up. I must pick up and keep going, keep living, keep writing. So here are my thoughts, lessons learned, and my new realities.

Depression…a word I never thought would become part of my vocabulary, my journey. A word that I thought others struggled with, but not me, at least not until last summer. I have a beautiful marriage, 2 children that bring me joy, the best job, and I get to serve in the ministry alongside my husband. So why is this word now a part of my world?

I’ve always said that I would share my journey through this life with others. If my life can be a testimony, can minister to someone, can give someone hope, then it is worth it. When I went through my miscarriage a number of years ago, I shared my story. I was amazed at how many people opened up and shared their story because I had been open and vulnerable, some for the first time. This is no different. Depression is not a pretty part of my story, but it is part of it, nonetheless. May it bring hope and comfort to those walking this same road, and may it give hope to those that love someone walking this part of the journey.

Last summer I experienced some things that were beyond my control. I began to fall into depression and before I knew it, a month had gone by and I was drowning. I was forcing myself to be part of the world around me. I had the most amazing support from my husband and children; I knew that my God had not forsaken me, yet I still felt myself spiraling. There were times that the pain was more than I could bear, and all I could do was close my eyes. Maybe then the pain wouldn’t continue to suffocate me. I began to feel guilty. How could I say that I trust Jesus but allow this pain into my heart, my life? What would others think of me? A Christian, a pastor’s wife, and yet I couldn’t climb out of this pit? I think that was just it. I couldn’t climb out of the pit. There was nothing I could do. I soon sought medical help and joined many others that I know on antidepressants. I felt like I was betraying Him. Betraying the one that created me, that loves me and continues to carry me. But I knew that I needed help.

This was the beginning of a nine-month journey that I am still walking, still fighting, still learning. As difficult as this journey has been, I wouldn’t trade the lessons that the Lord has taught me for the world. My prayer is that by sharing my story and my thoughts, my journey can be a testimony and an encouragement to those who are walking this journey.

For those of you walking this journey:

1. Know that you are NOT alone! You have a Heavenly Father that thinks the world of you and loves you because you are HIS creation. He bought you with the blood of the lamb. You are HIS! There are so many others out there walking the same road, fighting the same fight. That is probably one of the most important things I’ve discovered. When you make yourself vulnerable, others will too. You are NOT alone!

2. Live ONE day at a time. Survive today. Get through today. The Bible says not to worry about tomorrow because tomorrow has its own worries. Give today to the One who holds today AND tomorrow. My spirit is overwhelmed when I begin to think of all the worries tomorrow holds, but when I focus on today, this moment, His presence in this moment, then I have the strength to make it through today.

3. Know that you were fearfully and wonderfully MADE. He created you in HIS image and His image is PERFECT! Right now we can only see in part- dimly as in a mirror, but some day we will see face to face. Now we only know in part, but someday we will know in full just as we are fully known by Him!

4. Get up. Some days all I could do was celebrate the fact that I had gotten up and out of bed. Do the things you can do. Celebrate life. Jesus came to bring LIFE and life more abundantly. I look back at the times I’ve been in the valley this past year, and the times I regret are the times I’ve missed celebrating life with my husband, my children, my family and friends.

5. Know that what you are going through is OKAY. It is okay if you need help and can’t do it on your own. Be honest- tell someone you need help. You were not made to go through this alone. God doesn’t want you to go through it alone. He wants you to cry out- He is in the HELPING and RESCUING business!

For those of you walking beside someone on this journey:

1. Reach out- your loved one needs you. They need to know that they are not alone. They’re still going to go through this season. It may not fix it for them, but they’ll know they aren’t walking alone.

2. Pray. Some days it feels like the only thing you can do, but it is the BEST thing you could do. Intercede for them- cry out for them. The Bible says that the prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

3. Love. LOVE with an unconditional love- let them know that no matter what, you love who they are and will walk with them. Show them love- show them what it means to love and be loved.

4. Be a SAFE place. This journey is so difficult and can be so lonely. Be someone they can open up to without feeling like they’re being judged.

5. Did I say pray? PRAY daily and sometimes hourly for them. Cry out on their belief. One of the hardest things for me has just been knowing what to say- finding the words on my own. Pray for them when it is difficult for them to pray.

Above all else, run to the One who knows. Knows your heart, your situation, and your being. There is One who is trustworthy. There is One who cares about you- He knows your thoughts and longs to lead you and guide you. Some days I have to convince my soul to rise and praise Him. The amazing thing about our Father is that He never leaves us- it doesn’t matter what state of life we are in. Whether we are walking on the mountain or through the valley. So I will praise Him- He is life, He is hope, and He is my all.

Psalm 139:

1 You have searched me, Lord,
    and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
    you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
    you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
    you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
    and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
    too lofty for me to attain.

Where can I go from your Spirit?
    Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
    if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
    if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
    your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
    and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
    the night will shine like the day,
    for darkness is as light to you.

13 For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
    they would outnumber the grains of sand—
    when I awake, I am still with you.

19 If only you, God, would slay the wicked!
    Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty!
20 They speak of you with evil intent;
    your adversaries misuse your name.
21 Do I not hate those who hate you, Lord,
    and abhor those who are in rebellion against you?
22 I have nothing but hatred for them;
    I count them my enemies.
23 Search me, God, and know my heart;
    test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting.

Love Wins

Love wins. This slogan has been in the mainstream media a lot this summer. God began to lay on my heart a message of love that has been taking shape for the last few months and I knew that I had to write and share it with the world. As I started to see #lovewins everywhere, my heart broke. Not for the decision the supreme court made, but for the many people who have never experienced what true love is…the love of Christ. See, the world has cheapened what love is. Follow your heart, they say. God says your heart is deceitful above all things. It’s about what makes you happy, they say. God says let the joy of the Lord be our strength. The world offers a temporary, conditional love that will eventually pass away. The Lord offers an eternal, unconditional love that will last forever. The world’s version of love is about pleasing self; it’s about what you want and your desires. God’s word says the world and its desires will pass away. The Lord’s version of love is about pleasing Him; it’s about offering yourself and sacrificing your desires to bring about peace and love in the hearts of many. His word declares that the man that does the will of God lives forever, and this is His will, that we show the world His love so that many that are perishing will come to know this great love. So please understand that there are two versions of love out there and we must choose how we will love people: with a worldly love or with a godly love.

If we profess to know Christ, if we profess to have been rescued from the world by His death that lives in us, if we claim His salvation in our hearts and have been reconciled to Him, then love is a command. And not the worldly love that tells us to only love those that we deem worthy or that we think deserve our love, but everyone, and His Word says especially those of the faith. 1 John 4:16 tells us that if we live in love, then we live in God and He lives in us. Verse 19 tells us that we only know how to love because He first manifested His love in us. If we have no love in us, then His Word makes us out to be a liar (verse 20) and tells us that if we cannot love our brother or sister who we can see in the flesh, then how can we love God who we cannot see. You see, our proof or evidence that God exists and has come to rescue the souls of many is in the way we love and show His love to the world. Who will believe us if they can’t see His love in our hearts?

Love. Seems like such a simple command, then how come it is so difficult? Even though we have experienced the love of Christ when He died on the cross for our wretched souls, showed us mercy by rescuing us from the punishment of our sins, and continues to show us His grace everyday by lavishing His love and riches, that we do not deserve, in our lives, we continue to experience worldly, fleshly desires because we live in these human bodies. Love is a choice. We choose whether we will love our neighbor. We wrestle everyday with that choice. The struggle is real! Our fleshly desires are constantly battling our spiritual desires and will continue to battle them until we see Him face to face and know Him fully, with every part of our being. Some days, loving like He loves seems impossible and to the world, it is. That’s why they settle for a cheap version of His love. His love seems like it will cost too much.

His Word gives us a picture of what His love is and what His love looks like in 1 Corinthians 13. Love is patient. Love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails (verses 4-8). The world cannot love like this because it does not know God. You who have Christ in your heart, in your life, can. You can love like this because He first loved you like this. When you’ve been wronged, when you’ve been hurt, when you’ve lost everything, when you have nothing or no one, when you feel as though a relationship is beyond repair, you can love like this. Love is what binds everything together in perfect unity. Love is what holds everything together. Love does not cost us anything. It cost Him everything, His life, so that we might know that kind of love in our hearts and love others with that kind of love. It IS possible. But it takes a daily submission to His will. It takes a choice: choosing to love every single day. Some days will be harder, but He has overcome the world and in that, we can have hope.

So love wins. His love wins. Every single time. How can we show Him how much we love Him? By loving His people. And bringing a message of love and hope to a lost and dying world that thinks #lovewins means having desires for whoever you want. Offering the real thing in place of a cheap version. How we love others will declare His message and truth in our hearts. So the next time you are given a choice of whether to love like the world loves or how God loves, know that how we love others will be the evidence of how we love God. Choose His love. Every single day. The world needs to see and experience God’s love.

One Word

One word.

That’s all it takes.

One word to hurt or to heal. To destroy or to build up. To isolate or to comfort. To change lives forever. 

One word is it.

What power we’ve been given with just a simple word. One word. One word can change everything. In your life. In the lives of others. Just. One. Word.

Life.

With that word there is hope. We are alive. There is blood running through our veins, breath in our lungs. A new life brings new beginnings. The start of life. Wrapped in a tiny bundle of joy. 

Death.

With that word comes sorrow. An ending. Life is gone. Blood and breath are gone. Death is final. For the saved, death brings hope and comfort. Knowing your loved one is in the arms of our Savior. For those who don’t know Him, death brings damnation. Eternal separation.

Hate.

This word destroys. This word is a cancer to the soul. It can begin with a thought, which turns into a mindset, which invades every part of our being. Hate destroys relationships. Hearts. Lives.

Love.

WIth that word comes happiness. Love ties everything together. Love gives hope that tomorrow will be okay. Love heals all wounds. God’s love brings about an ending joy. His love shows grace and mercy to the undeserving sinner.

Salvation.

Life, death, hate, and love all wrapped up in one word. Life. New life beginning with Jesus Christ. His love and hope running through our veins. His breath in our lungs. Death. Death of our former life, our former selves. Death of the ugly sin that once held us hostage. An ending. A final death of our own desires. Hate. A hatred for my sin nature that still tries to take control somedays. A hatred for the thoughts I sometimes still entertain. A hatred for the sin and the enemy that still controls those I love. A hatred for the words, the actions, the sin that has destroyed relationships, hearts, and lives. Love. A newfound love for those who don’t know Him. A love for new life. A love that gives new mercies everyday. A love that heals all wounds, that mends what’s been broken. A love for the grace and mercy he has shown me, an undeserving sinner. A love for this One that calls me His. A love for Him who picked up my broken pieces and put them back together. 

With one word we can put to death the things of the flesh and show others this new life.

With one word we can love with the kind of love that erases all hate.

Jesus.

The only one word that truly matters.

The only word that can heal and rescue lives for all eternity.

The Day of Salvation: A Mother’s Greatest Joy

“This is the day.” I have prayed for the salvation of my children since before they were born. I remember when I found out I was pregnant with my daughter over 8 years ago; I immediately covered my belly with my hands and prayed with tears of joy. I prayed for her future, but most of all, her salvation. 

As the years went on, my heart would plea for my children to know and walk in the Lord. Every conversation, every moment spent with my oldest would leave me wondering, is this the moment? Is this the day? When will it come? Like a kid before Christmas, I awaited these things. 

As a parent, there is no greater joy than watching your children grow in their understanding of spiritual things. In the beginning they have such a simple understanding. God is real because He is. Their prayers are simple and they talk to God so easily. As they grow in understanding, their prayers and beliefs grow deeper, but they never lose the simplicity of “God’s real because He is.” My 4 year old son’s prayers have changed from thanking God for every toy in his room, to thanking Jesus for dying on the cross to take away our sin and praying for God to help him be kind to others. 

So my heart was overjoyed when my daugher began asking questions over a year ago about death, salvation, the resurrection, heaven and hell, and what being a Christian really meant. While we were so excited since we had been waiting for this moment for years, we were extremely cautious. We didn’t want her to make a decision based on what we wanted, what her friends had done, or fear of hell. We wanted her to come to Jesus because in her little heart, that was the only place to turn to. Over the next year, we watched, waited, and continued conversations about salvation with her. She’d say, “I’ll make the decision when I’m 7,” and then it became, “when I’m eight.” We tried to be patient and understanding because we wanted it to be her decision, not ours. An eternal decision that would last the rest of her life. 

Finally, that day had come. My husband’s grandmother had just passed away a few days before after a long battle with Alziehmer’s. At the visitation, we let our children view the body. We felt like it was important for closure. We talked with her about how Granny was in heaven because of a decision she had made long ago to follow Christ. My daughter and a couple of her cousins began talking about this and came to view the body over and over again. We knew she was pondering all of these things. Over the next few days, she asked many questions and we opened the Word and talked through them with her. One night during Kidstreet (our children’s ministry), my daughter kept asking her daddy, who leads the ministry, to talk to her. She could hardly contain herself until we got home. As soon as he walked in the door, she said she was ready to talk about salvation. I watched as my husband took our daughter in his lap, opened the Word, and walked her through the story of Christ, starting with the beginning. Over the next hour, she listened intently, like she had never listened before, and finally she prayed and told God how thankful she was for his sacrifice at the cross and how she wanted to follow him. She had originally wanted to wait until she turned eight, but that night she said she just couldn’t wait! I told her with tears of joy how long I had prayed for this day, and she responded with, “This is the day.” Yes, my sweet one, this is the day of salvation. 

There were so many things that led to this day, so many people who played a part in her journey to this moment. However, what we have found is that we are the most important people. We are the ones who shape our children’s understanding of who He is. Since being a parent and being in the ministry,these are some things that we have found over the years that will help lead children to follow the Lord.

1. Live out your faith

You are your child’s best teacher. They will watch you, mimic you, and learn from you, so you must decide what you want to teach them. If you desire your children’s salvation, live out your own faith. A friend of mine has a son who became interested in the Lord at 4 years old. She realized that she couldn’t really talk to him about spiritual things because she didn’t know much about the Lord. This began a lifelong journey of seeking the Lord for herself and learning about him for herself first, and as she grew, her famiy grew as well. Her son’s faith was so important to her, that she sought after the Lord so she coud grow and teach her son.

2. Speak openly about your walk with Christ.

As a Christian society, we have become so focused on our children “asking Jesus into their hearts” that sometimes we forget to share the reality of what a relationsip with Christ means and looks like. They are on a seeking journey and the best thing we can do is be real with them. Share about your heartaches, your weaknesses, your stuggless (they will see them anyway), but also share about your Savior, Rescuer, Redeemer, Restorer. No, you don’t have to share everything, as they may not be ready to handle certain things, but be real about your walk with Him. You might find that as you share, you will grow too. One of the most difficult conversations I had with my daughter was about 9/11. She had watched part of a documentary with her daddy and that sparked questions she had about heaven and hell. Even though there were some difficult truths that needed to be discussed, I did not shrink back. This was part of her seking and she needed to know the truth about righteousness and evil. 

3. Let them ask questions. If you dont know the answer, ask someone who does or search for it until you do.

It’s okay if you don’t know the answers to the questions they ask. They can ask some pretty tough questions as their little mind is searching for truth! Like my friend who wanted to be able to answer these questions her son was asking, seek out answers and talk to poeple who may know the answers. It is so important to take an active role in your child’s journey for truth. Your faith will grow along the way!

4. Take your child to church and children’s programs regularly and attend them yourself! Show them where your priorities are!

If your child desires to play a sport, you teach them and sign them up to play on a team where they can learn. So if they desire to learn about the Lord, bring them to a place where they can learn and grow. Show them that their growth is important and that you value their desire to know the Lord. But even more important, attend yourself; remember, you are your child’s greatest teacher and even if you think others know more than you, they will look to you first. My friend didn’t just start dropping her son off at church so he could learn, she became an active participant and came herself!

5. Pray for their salvation.

Above  all, never cease to pray for their journey as they seek the Lord and for that sweet day of salvation as it draws near. “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth (‭3 John‬ ‭1‬:‭4‬ ESV).” That day will be one of the best moments. It was the greatest moment in this momma’s heart. And may you treasure and ponder these spiritual things as Mary did, “But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart (‭Luke‬ ‭2‬:‭19‬ ESV).”

5 Truths You Should Know About a Miscarriage

March 22nd. The day my second child was due. The day we prepared for since we were given a due date at 7 weeks. The day that would actually bring about sorrow instead of joy.

When I was pregnant with my first child, we decided to share our little secret at 5 weeks. We knew many people who kept the news of their pregnancy a secret until they escaped the “miscarriage time frame,” but we just really felt like if we celebrated, we wanted our loved ones to share in our celebration, and if we grieved, we wanted them to share in our grief as well.

It was no different when we found out we were pregnant the second time. But something felt off with this pregnancy. This time our celebration was met with questioning as to why we told so early. I remember almost feeling silly for telling so early, but we kept our original beliefs. The pregnancy felt completely different than the previous one- something wasn’t right. As we pulled into the doctors’ office at 10 weeks, I had this aweful feeling that we would not receive good news. As soon as we saw our little baby for the first time, I knew something was wrong. It did not look like what an ultrasound should look like at ten weeks.  After trying to find the heartbeat, the doctor gave us the devastating news. Our baby had stopped growing at 7 weeks. This would begin a long journey including another ultrasound to confirm the loss, a D&C surgery, more appointments to check my hormone levels every week, and telling our loved ones that what we thought we were growing, actually wasn’t growing anymore. We were heartbroken.  We went from dreaming and making plans, to awaiting another ultrasound that would confirm what we had already known. I remember sitting in that waiting room after being told that our baby wasn’t growing anymore and watching others in the room anticipating their ultrasound to confirm the sex of their baby. It was so unfair. Where was our joy?

We were very open about our loss. We were not afraid to grieve in front of the same ones that had questioned why we had told so early. And they grieved with us. Everyone did. But eventually they moved on and we were left with our grief. As the weeks went on, I still longed to dream and make plans like the many others around me who were journeying through their pregnancy, and I longed for the child that would never be.

My miscarriage immediately put me in a new group of people: people who have lost a child. A group I never wanted to be apart of, but as soon as I became part of this group, I learned some important truths that help me identify with those who have had any kind of loss.

1. A miscarriage is a loss. 

According to prolifeaction.org, DNA is determined from the moment of conception and a baby’s heart begins pumping blood at 21 days. At the time my baby stopped growing, he/she had fingers, a tailbone, elbow joints, and even eyelids. It was a life that one day was growing inside of me and then the next day was not. Calling it a fetus or saying that it was not a life does not take away the reality that it was growing inside of me and was my child. A miscarriage is a loss. The loss of a living being.

When I lost my baby, it almost felt foolish to still be grieving over something that the world does not consider a baby. I was only 10 weeks along. Shouldn’t I just move on with my life? I began to realize that the world was wrong. I was growing a baby. I lost a baby. A living being. So I decided not to be silent anymore and I began to share my story. I wrote an article that was published in the local newspaper telling my story and the work God had done in my life at the time and immediately received phone calls, emails, and letters from other women sharing their story with me- many of them had never shared their story with anyone, not even their own families. This boggled my mind. Why would women keep their sorrow and grief silent? That’s when I began to realize that the world, its view on pregnancy, babies, and miscarriages is what has prevented women from sharing their story. Many people do not know how to identify with someone who has lost a baby because of this reason.

2. Plans and dreams have been lost.

From the moment a woman finds out she is pregnant, she begins making plans. She not only thinks of all of the physical changes that will be taking place, but what the baby will need, how her family willl expand, what needs to be done to accommodate the growing family, if she will work or stay at home, and many other plans. There is also a connection that begins from the moment she knows she has a little one inside of her. When she loses that baby, she also loses the plans and dreams that had begun developing. That connection is still very much there, but it has changed. She now longs for what is gone. I felt as though the plans and dreams my husband and I had begun making were gone. In the blink of an eye, gone.

3. Grieving takes time.

I have come to understand that with grief, the rest of the world will move on before you’re ready. When everyone else moves on, a woman is left with her grief. I dealt with the empty feeling that plagued my happiness for weeks. Every time someone else announced their pregnancy, it was another reminder that I was not pregnant anymore. Every time someone asked what our family plan was, I was reminded that our plans for our family were temporarily gone. Even now, whenever I go to the doctor they ask the question, “how many pregnancies have you had and how many children do you have,” and I have to answer, “3 pregnancies and 2 children.” Every time it’s a painful reminder of my loss.

4. Miscarriages affect more than just the woman.

Grieving brings people together. My husband grieved along with me. I didn’t realize the connection he had made to our baby and the plans he had begun making until our loss. He cried, we held each other, we prayed and asked God why?  Our parents, who had known since the beginning, grieved with us. They had already opened their hearts to the possibility of another grandchild. Our church grieved with us. We were public about our loss and the Sunday after we found out, we went to the alter and just poured our hearts out. Our church family surrounded us and grieved with us. Other families that had been through the loss of a child grieved with us. We experienced the love of God firsthand through His people as they hugged us, grieved with us, and poured out their love and care on us.

5. A baby lost cannot just be replaced by another baby.

I remember being asked after our loss when we were planning on trying again. It was as if the void that came with a miscarriage could be fulfilled with another child. I too was guillty of those thoughts. Then, I became pregnant three months after my miscarriage. I was terrified. I tried to keep from connecting with this one, just in case I lost it. I went weeks before I allowed myself develop a deep connection with my growing child. I allowed fear to dictate my connections. I soon realized that once I allowed myself to connect, I developed a new and different bond with this baby. There was still this void that would never be filled by anyone else, but my new baby had come into my heart and taken up residency there.  However, many women never try again because the effects of their loss are so great.

Knowing these truths not only help women get through the depths of their loss, but will help others uderstand that loss. God’s desire for us in our loss is to cling to Him who heals all wounds and share our story with others that they may find healing as well. That is my prayer for you as you read this. May you find hope and healing in the midst of your tragedy and storm. May you grieve without worrying about what the world will think, and may you trust in the One who mends, restores, and creates.

“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” (Romans‬ ‭5‬:‭3-5‬ NLT)

“Overwhelmed” by Big Daddy Weave

As I keep pondering this word, the lyrics from Big Daddy Weave’s “Overwhelmed” keep speaking to my heart so I wanted to share it with you.

“Overwhelmed”

I see the work of Your Hands
Galaxies spin in a Heavenly dance oh God
All that You are is so overwhelming

I hear the sound of Your Voice
All at once it’s a gentle and thundering noise oh God
All that You are is so overwhelming

I delight myself in You
Captivated by Your beauty
I’m overwhelmed, I’m overwhelmed by You

God, I run into Your arms
Unashamed because of mercy
I’m overwhelmed, I’m overwhelmed by You

I know the power of Your Cross
Forgiven and free forever You’ll be my God

All that You’ve done is so overwhelming
I delight myself in You
In the Glory of Your Presence
I’m overwhelmed, I’m overwhelmed by You

God, I run into Your arms
Unashamed because of mercy
I’m overwhelmed, I’m overwhelmed by You

You are Beautiful, You are Beautiful
Oh God, there is no one more Beautiful
You are Beautiful, God you are the most Beautiful

You are Wonderful, You are Wonderful
Oh God, there is no one more Wonderful
You are Wonderful, God You are the most Wonderful

You are Glorious, You are Glorious
Oh God, there is no one more Glorious
You are Glorious, God you are the most Glorious

from http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/bigdaddyweave/overwhelmed.html

I. Am. Overwhelmed.

I am a writer. I have always loved writing. Since I was a young child and wrote a 70 page story in 5th grade. I knew I wanted to write. Books, articles, short stories, songs, poems. It didn’t matter unless I was writing. Here I am. Haven’t written in a long time. Why? Not because I don’t want to anymore, or because I have nothing to say. I’m overwhelmed.

I am a teacher. I have always known I wanted to teach. Since I was 13 and helped out with VBS at my church. I love to teach. I feel at home in the classroom. My classroom. Everyday I get to invest in 100 kids. Everyday. I want to be a better teacher. I want to be THAT teacher. The one that changes lives. But I’m  overwhelmed.

I am a pastor’s wife. I have always wanted to serve. Since I was 19 and began leading youth girls to His throne to experience His hope and mercy. I love ministry. I love walking beside my husband and serving His people. I still love leading women to His throne to experience His hope and mercy. I want to love people. I want to lead people. I want to minister to people. I don’t want to let them down. But I can’t do it all. I’m so overwhelmed.

I am a daughter. I have an amazing family. Since I was a young child I knew I wanted to grow up and be like my daddy. An educator. My mom has always been my best friend, my biggest fan, my cheerleader. I want to make them proud. But I’m overwhelmed.

I am a mom. I have the most beautiful boy and girl. Since I first laid eyes on them, I fell in love. I want to invest in my children. I want to provide opportunities and experiences for my children. I want to spend time with them, play with them. I want to be an example for them. But sometimes I’m so overwhelmed.

I am a wife. I am married to a godly man who puts his family before himself. Who leads his family in truth. Since I met this man 13 years ago, I knew he was someone I needed in my life. I want to love him more. I want to show him how much I love and care for him. But there are days where I am just so overwhelmed.

I am a child of the King. I gave my heart and life to the One who saves many years ago. 26 years ago at my little blue table in my bedroom. Since that day I have tried to live a righteous life. I have tried to study my Word, pray to Him, live for Him. But I keep failing. I keep breaking my promises. I keep running. I’m so overwhelmed.

Overwhelmed. Overwhelmed. Overwhelmed. The word that plagues my mind everyday. The word that knocks on the door of my heart, longing to come in and take control. The word that leaves me feeling like a failure, empty, useless, broken and laid bare for all the world to see. The word that suffocates me so much some days that I just can’t breathe.

That’s when I lay my broken body at the foot of His throne once again. I come. With all of my messes, my failures, my disasters. I come. And all I do is look up. I look up at the One who originally found me, lying on the floor in the midst of ruins. The One who once picked me up, cleaned up my mess, wrapped His robe of righteousness around me, and called me His. His. His beautiful mess. His beautiful disaster. And whispered a promise to my soul. Not the kind of promise that I tell. The broken promises I’ve told. An eternal promise. I will restore you. I will clean you up. I will pick up the pieces and debris you’ve left behind. I will turn your ashes into beauty. I will be merciful to you and withhold the wrath that you deserve. I will lavish my grace upon your broken body until you no longer see a mess, a failure, a disaster. But you see me. My Son. My glory. Keep coming child. Forever come to the throne. To the One who makes you new. And when you fail again, and you will, I will pick you up and show you my beauty. That you may gaze upon what is good and perfect. And see me rather than your failures.

So I come once again to the throne that makes me whole. The One who will remind me once again when I cannot see past my failures who HE is. What HE’S done. And what HE will do again and again in my life.

I am His. I was purchased by His blood. When I wronged Him and sinned against Him, He purchased me anyway. Since the day I chose Him, he has been transforming me. Molding me. Making me into something beautiful and pleasing to Him. When I fail Him over and over again, He picks me up, calls me His, and continues to transform, mold, and make me. I am overwhelmed by His mercy. His grace. His love. His promise. I am His.