A Decade Ago by Bombi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was 29. I had just one child and she was only 5 years old. I was living out my last years as a resident of Arizona. I was in a much different place mentally, physically, spiritually, and I can tell you I was a mess. I remember not believing in myself. I didn’t believe that I could be strong or beautiful or fully capable of living out life. I was struggling to be a good mom to Avery and juggling so many bad habits and hang ups that it exhausts me to even recall it. I was drowning in a sea of anxiety, stress, drama, and depression. My body and mind were so weak, my spirit was broken, and my faith was barely there. Friends and family would try to speak life into me, but I thought they were trying to pity me or be nice. I was in a place I never planned on being and I hated it.

A decade ago God had me in His hands. He had me covered so well, yet I couldn’t fully see it. God was providing the strength and all that I needed to make it through, but I couldn’t fully grasp it. A lot can happen in 10 years, like living in a place I never knew I would, or now having the son I longed for, and an amazing husband who knows what, “I love you,” truly means. He shows it to me everyday. I can now look in the mirror and accept the woman looking back with gratitude. 10 years ago I never planned on even being able to look back on anything. But humbly, here I am, and I love it.

I don’t know where you are in your life. You could be living out a bad year or a bad decade yourself. But when you’ve dedicated your life to God and surrendered to Him, then your life is in His hands. It might not look like He’s in control, but He more than is. It might look like you don’t have a place to call home, or a friend to call upon, or a promise to even pray for, but God has you in His hands. You might look in the mirror and feel shame because you see a person that you don’t know anymore and it scares you. But God is growing you. He’s pruning you. He’s watching you, He’s keeping you. He knows exactly where you will be 10, 20, 30 years from now. He knows what time it is, even if you can’t even tell what life season you’re in. He’s ever loving and interceding for you with a love so powerful that nothing and I mean NO THING can separate you from. You might not even love yourself yet, but His love will fully persuade you that you are more than your habits, hang-ups, and circumstances. You’re so much more, because through His love, you’ll find that you are even more than a conqueror.

Romans 8:37-39 (NKJV)

37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Rejection by Bombi

Rejection. By a show of hands, I’d like to see anyone who loves it. Truly, rejection is one of my least favorite things to experience ever. Yet as long as I’m alive I’m going to get rejected and even give some rejection. I know rejection can happen on a daily, from the small to the big.

Then there’s the deeper ways of being rejected. Like a child hearing horrendous abusive words like, “I wish you were never born.” Or even finding out you’ve been cheated on. Rejection is one of those potent serums that once it’s been ingested, well no two people react the same. The kind of make you or break you stuff. The kind of stuff that makes you feel like a lonely afterthought. The kind of hurt that puts thoughts into your head like, “Why try again, I’ll just get rejected!”

Then there’s someone who I think about that is perfect in every way. Always does the right thing. Always brings joy. Always shows up. Always forgives. I mean the most perfect being that’s ever been. How could anyone not want to be around or in this person’s life? And you know what? Even that person got and still gets rejected every single day. It’s a big part of their history. One minute they are getting welcomed into town with a celebration and palms being placed at their feet, and the next those same people are wishing the man dead. Harsh. Yes that man is Jesus. I often think about all the stuff He went through and even what He experiences daily. All the getting despised and being rejected. It can make my head spin. So when I read in Jeremiah 1:5 where it says:

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew [a] you,
 before you were born I set you apart;
I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”​It just hits my heart so hard with so much powerful love. ​Because this is proof that God will and wants to do the exact opposite of what everyone else has or may do to us. He thinks so much of us that we are the furthest thing from an afterthought that could ever be. In fact before we even existed, He had and has amazing plans for us. He has plans that our parents couldn’t even dream or plan up. If you don’t know this love and if you’re tired of feeling like everyone rejects you, I invite you to get to know the man who not only knows how you feel, but will heal the wounds of rejection. He has such plans for you. The last thing He ever wants to do is reject you. If you already know Him, then let this be a reminder that before you ever planned on counting on Him, He already planned on making and loving you.

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

 

Photo Credit:© Jose Antonio Sánchez Reyes | Dreamstime Stock Photos

The Secret About Your Strength by Kenika

African American woman in street wear walking out of an elevator.

Think back to the last time you said, “I can’t take this anymore,” “I give up,” or simply felt the urge to walk away.  Now think about the dozens of times you’ve probably said that in previous years.  Would you like to know something I’ve discovered that is so powerful? You never gave up.  You never quit. You never walked away.  No matter how close you were to the proverbial edge, you didn’t plummet over it.  That means you are stronger than you think you are.

Even in your weakest moments, you still managed to overcome. At the height of your emotions, you were capable enough to maintain.  I’ve personally felt guilty and weak in quitting moments.  It took the gentle nudging of the Holy Spirit to show me the mystery treasure buried within the obstacles I was facing.  I’m still here.  I’m still believing God for His plans for my life, I haven’t run out of juice and I’m continuing in this race with everything I’ve got.  We are so much stronger than we give ourselves credit for.  Not with strength of our own of course, but the strength we possess via the One we carry inside of us.  Jesus is great, and Jesus is living in us making us great.  He is strong, He is mighty, He is confident and we can pull from the deepest reservoir of power the universe will ever know.

You are stronger than you think.  I’m not saying that to be redundant, I’m saying it so that it sinks in.  You can do this, because you’ve already done it before.  The last time you thought you were going to lose it, you didn’t, you made it, and you will make it again.  Trouble is a much a guarantee as paying taxes to the U.S. government this season!  But instead of bracing yourself for disaster, remind yourself to be strong. As strong as you were the last time you faced something similar.  With Jesus Christ, the Greatest Overcomer of all time, you are an overcomer whether you feel like it or not. Draw from the strength that resides in the depths of who you are.  You won’t break, you won’t be destroyed, you will continue on and you will make it!

Photo Credit:© Jameswimsel | Dreamstime Stock Photos

Joy In The Mourning by Trish

 

 

Monday, November 21st is a day forever etched in my mind. It is the date my mom was promoted to her heavenly home. I traveled to Iowa on November 13th to be there the following day to celebrate her birthday with her in the hospital. Mom had been sick for one year without definite answers for the complicated health issues she had been experiencing and without a root cause there was no real strategy. That is until it was towards the end of her physical body saying, “that’s it, I’m tired”. On her birthday Mom was coherent but her body was exhausted and there was no real depth to conversation only short statements back and forth and a constant request for water to drink. The day following her birthday her team of doctors asked to meet with me before I flew back home to Orlando. After much assessment, research and aggressive treatment it was determined that although we now had answers to our questions, there was no hope for rehabilitation and with that we were given just days to spend time with our mom before she would transition to heaven. When those words were spoken, my mom instantly sat up in her bed, looked me in the eyes and said,  “I’m going to die… at least I got to go to your wedding.” The only thing I could do was bury my head in her pillow and sob. With a team of medical professionals standing around I cared nothing about what I must have looked like weeping in my mom’s pillow. I was just told I would have to let go of the most important person in my life. My mom never shed a tear, instead she looked at me and said, “Call your brother and let him know. It’s time to call the family in.”  She then began spewing out plans faster than I could write, her wishes for her funeral, the pallbearers, the colors were to be purple and pink because she said us kids made her feel like royalty. She wanted our pastor to sing In Christ Alone  and for my uncle Walt to sing also. I can’t explain what happened other than a surge of supernatural strength and grace as I asked what she wanted to wear and any other details not to be missed.

That evening my pastors met me at the hospital and when PJ, my little brother, arrived we told him together that mom was preparing for heaven and we only had days. There were tears but in that moment we all lifted our hands and began to worship. We turned the music up louder and sang without shame of the goodness of our God. His presence filled the room and strangely enough all was well. We began to pray together and my pastor shared scripture. It was a moment in time when heaven met earth in a tangible way right there at the University of Iowa Hospitals.

In the days to come I felt as though I was being carried, like grace had swept me off my feet and guided me through every moment of each day. While she was still in ICU I would pull my chair as close to my mom at night as I could get and sleep next to her. Many times I would awake in the night due to routine visits from the nursing staff and it would not be uncommon for my mom to ask EVERY nurse on duty if they knew Jesus. One night when she asked the nurse she replied, “Yes.” Mom said to her, “Good, just know that He has a great plan for your life. Would you mind if I pray for you?” The nurse said she could and I saw tears stream down her face uncontrollably as Mom declared blessing over her. Other moments included us just staring at each other and as tears would roll down my face she would just look at me, smile and say, “Trisha, it’s okay, I’m going to be with Jesus.”  She was so courageous and she anxiously welcomed her new transition with so much peace. She was at such peace that she instructed the doctors to take her off all medications and anything that provided her assistance with her health. Supernaturally, she was being sustained by the healing power of Christ. Once while my brother and I were in a meeting with the team of doctors, one spoke up and said, “We can’t understand how she is not in any pain?” Instantly another physician spoke up said, “The ONLY thing I can attribute it to is her faith”. Without hesitation my brother and I both declared that was EXACTLY the reason.

Every morning we would do devotions and thank God for another day and somehow that prayer meant more to me than ever before because for the first time, I was counting the days we’d be given. There were lots of prayers, smiles, hugs and I love yous . Minutes turned to hours and hours to days and before we knew it the clock had run out and Mom stepped into her eternal home. When my sister woke me up at around 11:00 pm November 21st and said Mom’s chest was no longer moving I embraced my new reality, she was gone. My brother led us in prayer right there in her room and all we could do was thank God for the journey and that this was not a forever goodbye just a  “see you later”. The doctor who confirmed her passing was one of the physicians Mom believed salvation for. His words to us were,  “If anyone could make me believe in God, it was this woman.” I never saw my mom more alive than when her physical body was dying.

Today, life is very different for me. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of her and shed tears. The pain is real but the grace is greater. You never get over losing someone but you do get through it.

While I would not want to walk through this scenario again in the same way as with my mom, I can honestly say I’m grateful for the journey. I walked with my mom through the valley of the shadow of death and there was no fear because death was just that, a shadow. For the believer, to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. Death did not win and sickness did not prevail.

I can testify that God is close to brokenhearted. He binds up our wounds and His strength is made perfect in our weakness. We may not understand our circumstances but we can trust that God ALWAYS has our best interest at heart. He is a GOOD, GOOD Father!

My mom was just on loan to us here on earth; she belonged to Christ. While she would be the first to admit she was not perfect, she was the greatest mom I could have been given. While my heart is still hurting, I find strength and healing in knowing she imparted in me all that I need to carry out God’s assignment on my life AND one day I will be reunited with her in heaven!  The greatest way for me to honor my mom is to apply the Godly wisdom she instilled in me. I can still hear her words of wisdom echo in my ear, her laugh in my thoughts and her strength in my heartbeat. Most importantly I can feel God’s presence as close to me as my next breath and His love so tangible.

 

If you’re hurting today over the loss of a loved one, a dream or relationship…hold on to God because He’s holding onto you! So yes, while there is grief there is joy that comes in the morning AND in the mourning.

 

Photo Credit: Omar Galarza Photography