Me and Ryan Olivia

Me and Ryan Olivia

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Flashback

So I haven't blogged in a long time....I don't know why...other than my life has been really busy over the past 3 years...I mean with starting PTA school, falling in love, getting engaged, getting married, moving, blending a family, graduating from school, starting my new career ... haha it's been a bit of a whirlwind!  But I have missed it....I have kept a journal most of my life - writing things down helps me find clarity and we all need clarity right?! I should have lots to write about, lots to say but every time I sit down to write I can't find the words....

Then  today I find a few notes on my iPhone of those times when I wrote it down (whatever it was that was on my heart)....and I decided that this one from May 2015 needed to be shared....maybe it will help me get back to finding my clarity or get me over my writers block and give me a boast to write again but at the very least I will have this forever now.

Today reminded me that even when things are hard to explain and/or understand, when things are uncertain and scary that we need not fear for the Lord our God goes with us wherever we go! I know it and I believe it because I have and do live it everyday!  I am hoping that sharing my thoughts will always give glory to God by telling of the amazing story He has given me! Below is a "flash back" post I wrote in May of 2015 when my beautiful child asked me a question that wasn't easy to answer.

Love,
Sam




May 2015

I've been preparing myself...almost since the day she was born...how will I answer the hard questions, how will explain her birth, how will I make it ok?!?!? I have been preparing....to have this conversation with her in her early teens..ok maybe her later post driving teens :). But she asked me when she was 5....5 years old she wants to know "mommy, you're supposed to get married then have babies....why didn't you?" So as you might imagine I was caught off guard and completely unprepared to answer such a complex question in a way a 5 year old might understand. My first attempt at answering the question...dodge it (not proud of that fact...but it's a fact) but in my sweet daughters true fashion she just circles back around and let me know I had not answered her question and she wants to understand. So I gave her this totally awkward answer about that I had not yet met daddy (Shane) and wasn't supposed to be married until I met him...she kinda nodded and said ok but true to form let me know she still didn't get it. "God wants you to get married first" she says....

So.....I reach out to a friend - asking what do I say? She's 5??? My friend says tell her the truth..."That Jesus had a different plan. Tell her how she saved you (in 5 year old words) "

This is not easy.... This is heavy stuff for a 5 year old. How do I do this? How do I make this ok for her?

Yesterday while riding home from running errands...again true to form (haha) Ryan Olivia asked again....so I told her a story about us. I told her about a girl named Samantha that had a broken heart. She had a broken heart for a long time and she was sad, she made many bad choices but God loved her so much he decided to give her a blessing that she didn't really deserve. He wanted her to know how much he loved her but He knew she couldn't understand the love He had for her right away. As her baby grew in her belly Samantha's heart started to feel...it was scary for her to love but she couldn't help herself. When her baby, Ryan Olivia, was born her mommy was completely overwhelmed with love but she was still scared. She started to pray all the time asking for God to protect her and to show her the way. Slowly she began to heal, and as she knew the amount of love she had for her daughter and that she would do anything and everything to protect her child - she began to understand how God felt about her. During the first year of Ryan Olivia's life her mommy grew closer and closer to God...her broken heart began to heal and before long her heart was whole again! Now that Samantha knew God and His great love for her - she started to trust His plan and His will....she prayed for His blessing and the man/family she believed he would provide for her and Ryan Olivia. So there were sometimes hard days and hard times but mommy and Ryan Olivia were happy, joyful and protected. Then one day God decided it was time...it was time to complete their family. Mommy, met a man named Shane....and she knew almost right away that he was the man that she would be with forever. Within a year they were married and a family was made complete. A daddy, mommy, two brothers and a sister....

After I finished telling her my story, she smiled and said "ok" completely satisfied in that Gods plan for me included her and that our story was different than some but it was beautiful!

So why share this? Well...I guess because we don't have to make it so hard. We don't have to explain it all....we just have to come to Him, and seek His will. He will always provide exactly what we need even when it's words to explain something so complex to a 5 year old child seeking to understand.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Refocused



I learned in 2011 that my personality type is a Choleric. The basic desire of this personality type is to have control…I learned that I was born wired this way, that it is okay to be the me I was created to be. There are a lot of great things about this personality type - we are leaders, strong, loyal people but there are some traits when left unchecked can wreak havoc on your life and relationships. Being someone that desires control makes it hard to surrender at times and it is easy to fall off the right path by just taking charge without consulting the Lord.
I am in such a joyful, wonderful place in my life. Honestly, I have never been more happy, my life has never been so full, my future is so clear and bright…I am amazed sometimes that I am in this place, knowing where I was just 5 years ago. I am healthy, my child is healthy and happy, I can see the finish line where school is concerned, and I have found love with the person I am certain was made just for me. 

What’s the problem???  Well, friends I have neglected the most important area of my life – the choleric in me said “Thanks Father, this is awesome; I will take it from here.” My prayer life, my communication with my Lord has been neglected and the result is lack of peace. Old burdens that I overcame thru my relationship with Jesus welled up inside of me…old lies that I have turned away from started to show up in my mind…and because I have been “handling it” myself it got the better of me. I have struggled most of my life with an intense fear of abandonment. This fear held me hostage for many years – it was only thru God’s love that I overcame it, as I learned who He was, how He loved me, and recognized how He had not left me not even once…only when I fully understood and embraced His love was I able to overcome the fear that had crippled me.



So here I am…..in the middle of His plan for my life. It is bigger, more real and fuller than I ever imagined it would be…yet I find myself in a fight. See, I am ashamed to say it but I got “busy”, my daily prayers/communication with my God slowed, and it has made an impact that is not positive. I find myself vulnerable to attack – The enemy waits and watches, he knows exactly which buttons to push, he will try to manipulate and scratch at old wounds trying to keep you from Gods will. Rather than taking this attack to God, I tried to fight it myself…I mean I was “past” those old wounds, I was “stronger” now, I had “overcome” all of that. Only I didn’t do any of those things on my own, God carried me thru all of it; He healed my heart with His love and His acceptance.


The enemy cannot win; he has no power in my life unless I give it to him.  So I say NO – this all stops today! I will not be assaulted by lies. I will not be fearful. I will stand on the truth of God’s word & His promises to me. I ask the Lord for forgiveness in my short comings, for neglecting what is most important in this life. I acknowledge that I am weak without Him; I am frustrated with myself... knowing all that I do I still allowed myself to be vulnerable to attack. But I know my God is not surprised…He knows me and my heart…He made me the person I am. I recently have found myself saying "I don’t know what to do", that "I cannot control how I feel", I have been frustrated that things I thought were defeated seemed to be repeatedly showing up in my mind and life. But all of that stops today – I will not allow my joy to be taken, I will not entertain lies. I will refocus & prayerfully move in the direction of my God. The truth in all of this is that I DO know what to do, I know exactly what is missing, I know that thru Christ I have the power to overcome anything and that I am not in the fight alone - Jesus Christ goes before me... all I need to do is allow Him to- The answer I seek is the thing I have neglected, all will be as it should and I will always find my peace when I am in constant communication with my creator.


Prayer….so simple, so very important.



Refocused, 


Samantha

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 in a nutshell



It is the last day of the year….and I had to take a minute to reflect on 2013. It was a year full of challenge and change.  This was the year that I went “all in” on Jesus – I committed to walk boldly thru the doors He opened for me with confidence and assurance. He took me outside of my comfort zone so many times in 2013. Sometimes it was with others; having me share my story with strangers in places I would usually not share or talk with unbelievers about who He is. Many times throughout the year He took me to a place of complete reliance on Him by convicting my heart that the only choice was completely trusting His plan without knowing exactly what that plan looked like.


It was year with challenge.  I struggled with fear, stress, un-forgiveness and sometimes doubt.  There were health scares with loved ones, wondering how I would manage to make ends meet financially, and sometimes feeling like I was on an island by myself. There have been times that my relationship, belief in and speaking of Jesus has offended people, some that I love and some that I barely know. There were times that I slipped, that I made bad choices that I am not proud of and that He used to humble me. There were moments that I felt like the world’s worst mother, daughter and friend.  


But more than anything 2013 was a year of blessings….BIG blessings, happiness, laughter, love, and  friendship…2013 was a year that I tried to push thru the fear by seeking the Lords will in my life every single day. It was year that He picked me up and put me back together every single time I fell short….and that happens a lot. This was a year that I experienced His grace, love and faithfulness to keep His promises like never before. 2013 was full of moments of exhaustion with my sassy 3 year old but more than that there were thousands of moments filled with kisses, cuddles and belly laughs.  A year that I moved an hour away from my mom, the person that helps me the most with Ryan Olivia, completely convinced that God wanted me in Athens even before I was accepted into the PTA program. A year that enriched and strengthened the friendships I have in my life as well as added new meaningful friends to my life. It was the year that I finally found love...the love I have been looking for, waiting for and preparing for. A year that my relationship with God was confirmed, reconfirmed and confirmed again.  2013 was a year that I will never forget. A year that I stepped into me….I stepped out of the boat onto the water, letting go and trusting Him completely that I am the person He sees when He looks upon me and that I can be the person He created me to be.


So in a nutshell….2013 was good to me. I am thankful for 2013 and every moment/memory that it holds.  

 

But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul. 
Deuteronomy 4:29

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 
Jeremiah 29:13

Now devote your heart and soul to seeking the LORD your God. 
1 Chronicles 22:19

Happy New Year friends!

Friday, October 4, 2013

39 years old????!!!!!!


10/04/2013

Today I am 39 years old!?!?!?!?!? Wowzers!!!!

I woke this morning at about 6:20 AM – I lay in bed, in the dark, next to my sweet 3 year old that insisted that we decorate the house the night before. With $12 worth of decorations from Dollar Tree, Ryan Olivia gave me the most special birthday present I could have imagined – she wanted the house decorated so when I woke up on my birthday it would be pretty. She carefully picked the spot for each bow, banner and streamer….it was an amazing gift (idea) from my 3 year old that made me feel so very special!




As I lay there this morning – I started to reflect on my 30’s….all that has happened in nine years and how very different my life is today as I turn 39 years old. I laid there thanking God for saving me, for blessing me the way He did when I was so undeserving. Thanking Him for His plan for my life and for setting me free from the captivity and lies I had lived in for years. Thanking God for claiming me as His daughter and for never forsaking me. Praying for discernment and that I would have the clarity to see the path He has chosen for me and the courage to walk that path. Praying for good health for myself and Ryan Olivia in the coming year - as I start into the “meat” of the PTA program at school.  Praying that this will be the year He completes our family by bringing the man that He has chosen into our lives. But mostly and above all else that His will would be done in my life in the coming year and that it would be all to His glory!


My 30’s have been a wild ride….some of the darkest days and then brightest days, saddest times and then the happiest times, destructive ways and then productive ways, many lonely moments and then the most fulfilling & joyous moments, being completely lost and then being found. I guess I grew up in my 30’s….and I am looking forward to whatever lays ahead!  


Ryan and I spent the day together – she put the finishing touches on the decorations this morning, we both had a mani/pedi , took a nap, and made chicken tacos for dinner – it was good day!








 It might be my “older” age…ha-ha – but I found myself moved to tears a few times today. Either by watching Ryan draw me picture, sweet words from friends in text messages, phone calls, emails, FB posts, sharing a cupcake….I was just overwhelmed with LOVE today.  Many of you have walked this path with me….many of you have loved me thru it all…..ALL of you, those I have known my entire life, those I have known a few years and those that I have only just met….ALL of you are a blessing to me! THANK YOU for taking the time out of your day to remember me today – it truly touched my heart!



Love you all!
Samantha 

Monday, August 5, 2013

You have been selected!


“Congratulations you have been selected to begin the PTA program at Athens Tech fall semester 2013” –

YEP!! I was selected to begin this fall….I was one of 18 chosen out of over 100 qualified applicants. Just 30 seconds prior to receiving this news via email, I responded to a friend’s email telling her that I was a nervous wreck waiting to hear….that I was praying and trusting His plan and no matter if I was selected or not that I would be Ok. You know what? I wasn’t just saying that…I meant it 100%. No matter what was next for me, I was (am) 100% in on faith, there is no other way for me to be….I have never been clearer that God is in control and I want His best for my life and for Ryan. Want to know what I did the moment I read the email congratulating me on being selected?? I cried, not little tears…hard to talk thru tears – out of joy and excitement yes, but more than anything out of gratitude to my heavenly Father for His love, His promises and faithfulness. I give God all the glory and all the credit – none of what has happened and is happening is of my doing nor my choosing….sure I have worked hard in school and I have tried to be diligent in pursuing the Lords will in all of this – but from the beginning this was all of Gods doing…He answered a prayer when I submitted my life to Him – he answered me so clearly there was not any doubt. I did not know how it would come together, I was not without anxiety at times, and I had moments that I was overcome with fear and uncertainty. But every time I was assaulted with doubt/anxiety/fear I was reminded of the night He revealed to me what He wanted me to do….I remembered the clarity He gave me and I simply made up my mind that I would trust Him above all else – that I would hold onto His promise and I would believe His truth not the assault of doubt/anxiety/fear.

The Lord used a friend to reveal to me His plan and my first step in this journey. He has walked with me as I started college as an adult preparing to make application into this crazy competitive PTA program – and while in the my classes last year He placed people in my life that don’t know Jesus, giving me opportunity and boldness to speak truth into their lives as well as form  lasting connections and friendships.  He called me out of the boat and onto the water as He prompted me to make the move to Athens without being accepted into the program – and when my flesh became anxious and worrisome about the unknown, as those around me thought I might be crazy – He gave me peace and confidence in my next step. I found myself holding tight to Nehemiah 6:3 often.

I am doing a great work I cannot come down ~Nehemiah 6:3

I leaned hard into Him, talking to Him about my fear and praying that His will be done. When I unknowingly stepped outside of His will by taking a job that was not part of His plan, I was able to hear His voice and discern His will quickly. Every obstacle, worry, & doubt the enemy has thrown in my path – the Lord has carried me passed it, taking complete care of every single detail – and I mean EVERY single detail. He has never once let go of my hand as we walk this path together.

Originally I was planning to paint the picture of how He stitched everything together….but as I sat here typing it all out I realized that is a long story with lots of little details that I am happy to tell anyone over coffee :) ha-ha – but truly what you need to know, the summary of my story this far is this:


The best decision I ever made was to walk into a little church in Covington, GA back in the year 2000.....where I understood that salvation was a gift that I only had to receive. Unknown to me at that time that was not where the story ended – it had only just begun …my story began with a lot of tug of war and a lot of my running while Jesus stood in the background waiting for my return to Him. January 2011 when I finally surrender my life…when I decided to move in His direction, my new life began. A life I did not know could exist in this world. I am not speaking of life without hardship, without questions or struggles – but a life of peace and joy that truly transcends all understanding. I do not know exactly where the Lord is leading me, I don’t know every detail of His plan and that is Ok because I trust Him to light my path. When He opens the door I will walk thru it, when He says be still I will be still - my trust in Him is complete. I am beyond thankful for His pursuit of me and for making me truly free. Thankful for His patience with my ways and that in spite of who I was (am) He sees what He created me to be. I am in awe of His love for me and that He would see fit to use me to be a part of this journey and in any small way use me to touch the life of someone else.

I am starting on a new chapter in this journey on August 27th – I walk onto the campus of Athens Tech to begin 5 straight semesters of school knowing full well that I am there because the Lord, my God, wanted me in this place. It will be hard, it will be tight where money is concerned, it will be intense….but it will be ok, I will be well equipped, I will be given all I need to provide and succeed. My relationship with God is a daily, living, breathing relationship. I speak with Him throughout the day about everything…the good, the bad and the ugly. I seek His face looking to receive His will in my life. I look to Him for my worth, for direction, and strength. Jesus…He is my protector, my provider, my best friend, my God, my everything….I can do all things thru Him!

So as I celebrate the accomplishment of being selected into the PTA program - I want to celebrate that each of us has been selected to be a part of His family if we are willing to let down the walls of our hearts and ask Him in. I want to celebrate that I am a child of the most high God and publicly give the glory to God!! Thank you Jesus - I love you above all else!!

Samantha

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Honor your father and mother

Every once in a while my friend Jill asks that I post on the SHINE website - she asked that I write a post for Mothers Day - Below is what the Lord laid on my heart to share with the SHINE ministry....I am posting here so I have a copy on my blog too :)

_________________________________________________________________________________

Mothers Day is upon us and Jill asked that I share with you guys today. Being that I am both a mother and a daughter (as many of us are) I at first felt I could come up with something.....OK, that is not true. My first thought was "Honor your father and mother" and then a little panic....see about a week ago I committed to the Lord that if He opens a door for me to be bold, that I would walk thru it trusting His plan and His purpose no matter if I was uncomfortable/uneasy in the situation. If He led me to speak up, to reveal something He lays on my heart that I would do it. And ladies, in a week He opened many doors and I have witnessed some amazing things! It has been an amazing week and I am feeling so blessed to be used by God. So when I received Jill's sweet non pressuring email asking if I would consider a mothers day post to brag on my mom...I thought, "Oh no that is really personal. God, do you really want me to do this??"

After a long day of "spring cleaning" I jumped in the shower  (not only did I need to shower - but the shower is the only place I can be alone with God sometimes without my 3 year old interrupting) and I talked it over with God. I was assured that He would give me the grace, love and mercy to write something that would speak into the life of someone reading this blog. I of course reminded him that I am not your rainbows, unicorns and rose colored glasses kind of girl....that I would have to tell the truth and meant exposing some ugly that has been in my heart. And He reminded me to "trust His plan."

Exposing the ugliness and speaking the truth didn't scare me - but I don't want to hurt my mom, that is the last thing I would ever want to do. So I prayed, "Father, please guide me, help me to honor mom with my words and speak the truth. Help me to share what You want me to share"

Recently I read in my Human Development class that the mother/daughter relationship is the hardest/most difficult relationship yet it is also one of strongest. Most of my life I feel like I have taken care of my mom. She has had a lot of heart ache in her life....to be honest she has suffered a broken heart as long as I can remember. As a result she has suffered from depression from time to time, though she has never been officially diagnosed. My entire life I have tried to take care of her, be her confident/friend, be her defender, etc. you get the idea. Things in our relationship have been off balance, I have been relied on a lot, too much at times - I was my moms best friend and co-parent to my younger siblings and with that came a lot of responsibility. Those feelings of my needing to take care of, protect and fix things for her carried over into adult life. I have always been very close to my mom and it has only been in the past few years - as I became a mother myself, that I started to see areas of my heart that I held deep resentment and anger towards her. The oddest thing about this is that my mom said to me over 10 years ago that one day I would realize that I had this resentment/anger toward her....she knew it was there even when I did not. But in the past few years I have realized more and more that I was angry. I have wrestled with that anger and the guilt that came with those very real feelings a lot over the past two years. In June 2011, I moved myself and my daughter into my moms home. The original arrangement was that I would live there for a year...my being there would help my mom financially since I would pay rent to her, and it would help me financially because my living expenses would be less. After being in moms home 6 months the Lord revealed His plan that I would be going back to school....as a result my staying at moms home was extended for another year. My being a mother myself, raising my daughter the way I see fit under the same roof as my mother...well, as you might imagine has not been easy all the time. But we have made the best of it. It has certainly been a bigger blessing than burden. And I think I realize now that my being in her home as an adult, gave me an opportunity to face the anger I had buried and have held onto for years.


I am not sure that my mom has ever looked in the mirror and seen the person that God sees when He looks upon her. And as I sit here tonight typing this blog...that realization makes me very sad. Because my mom is beautiful, caring, loving, giving, smart, strong, cherished and loved. There are many many things I love and admire about my mom. My mom raised 3 children....basically alone. She worked hard (sometimes more than one job) to provide for us. She volunteered as room mom, coached soccer teams, baked cookies, she would turn up the music on cleaning day and we would laugh/dance in the living room, she helped with homework, she ran each of us here and there constantly - you get it she was your typical "super" single mom. She did everything she could to make certain we were taken care of and above all else made sure we knew that we were loved. She slighted herself always putting everything and everyone above her own needs. My mom has always been my biggest cheerleader, always believed in my abilities and supported me. And as you might imagine she is an amazing Grandma....Ryan Olivia loves her probably as much as she loves anyone else on this planet. Without her I would not be the person I am today. Without her I would be lost. She has taught me so very much about everything really - some of what I learned I do not want to repeat, some of what I learned I have put my own twist on, and some of it I will do just the way she does forever. She was as strong as she could be, she did the best she could....she made mistakes, she is not perfect....neither am I.

Samantha and her beautiful Mother

Mother/daughter relationships are wonderful and maddening all at the same time :) Writing this post and by sharing without putting on the rose colored glasses for you guys - the Lord has cleaned out and exposed that ugliness that had taken root in my heart...I can actually feel the last bit of resentment that was holding on melting away.

So as Mother's Day approaches let's truly honor our mother's. Let us hold a mirror for our mother's and reflect back to them the image God sees when he looks upon them. If we desire to please God....and well, I know that is my goal :) - we should honor our parents. Honoring is not always easy, it is not always fun, and many times it is not possible in our own strength. Truly honoring your parents might mean facing the ugly & the hurts, tackling the resentments, letting go of the judgements and forgiving the mistakes - looking for and cherishing the good, and respecting the hard choices that were made.

Our heavenly Father does not make mistakes - I was truly blessed that God chose my mom for me....and I am blessed today that she is still here so I can remind her and tell her how much I love and appreciate her. I encourage you guys to do the same with your moms (or mother figure in your life).  Maybe it starts with honest prayer about the relationship, maybe you write a heart felt letter or have a heart felt chat rather than sending/giving a standard Hallmark card, or maybe you just simply forgive completely.....Truly honoring them is approaching them as we approach our heavenly Father with love, respect, and thankfulness. No matter if your mom is still on this planet or awaiting your arrival in heaven....being a mom is the hardest job in this world....let's honor them for all they have done and still do every day in our hearts and lives!

Much Love!

Monday, April 22, 2013

I will bring you back from captivity

I just spent an AMAZING weekend in north Georgia at a women's retreat. This was my 3rd retreat with True Identity Ministries....my first retreat was in April 2011 - that retreat changed my life - so much so that I knew I HAD to be a part of the ministry going forward...so in April 2012 I was honored to serve at the retreat on the team. At my second retreat I formed friendships/relationships with some of the most amazing Godly women I have ever known....and I have been blessed by those relationships every day since. This past weekend I served again along side my sisters in Christ.

This year I was asked if I would be a "table leader" in training - my wonderful friend Debbie sent me an email after our first team meeting saying that she felt the Lord wanted me at a table this retreat. Well, at first I was completely taken back...."me a table leader?!?! No way!" I sometimes struggle (well, I often struggle) with feeling like I am not equipped to testify with regard to the Lord and the word of God...I can not quote scripture and I am certainly not a biblical scholar...I know what the word says and I know God on a very personal level - but I am not eloquent in how I pray or speak about God, I don't have the knowledge that the other ladies have and as weird as it is for me it makes me feel insecure sometimes in sharing. This is a odd feeling for me to have...because those that know me - know me to be bold, know me to a leader and know me to speak my mind....but none the less that feeling was there. I sometimes find myself wondering if some of those that knew me before I surrendered my heart, having knowledge of me then, think of me as a hypocrite now ....I wonder if because they knew me before if my speaking of the Lord so loudly turns them away from Christ?? 

Now in the past 2 1/2 years the Lord has pulled me out of my comfort zone many times - sometimes using my gifts to lead in areas I was not necessarily comfortable, and other times taking me down paths I would have never chosen on my own. And each time He takes me into a place of His will and His choice and I follow I am amazed and in awe of the blessings that come. I know first hand that His plan (many times the opposite of what I would plan) is much bigger,and so much better than my best imagined scenario. Having this knowledge means I want His best always...not mine! So I returned Debbie's email and said basically "I am happy to serve wherever I am needed." In the coming weeks it was confirmed that I would serve in a new role this time on the team...I would be a table leader in training - Yikes!! :) 

I prayed as I drove to the retreat - asking that I would be equipped and I would be a reflection of Him and His love, that I would not be seen that He would be seen in me. Secretly I was so afraid that I would totally blow this and worried I would be a huge disappointment. At the retreat I spoke out to the Lord - He first was very clear with me that I am NOT a disappointment to Him...that was a lie! And then he revealed another lie that I have been buying into and that I needed to let go of - He said to me, "Samantha, I want you to tell OUR story. Be bold" He then led me again to my life verse (He had shown me the verses twice on Friday)

"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 a hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all of your heart. I will be found by you," declares the Lord, "and I will bring you back from captivity." Jeremiah 29:11-14



So I did just as I felt led by the Lord - I shared my heart with some amazing women. At different times I was able to share personal things with some of the ladies...I shared somethings that not everyone in this world knows about me - some of these things I am less than proud of and some are things that have brought me a lot shame and regret. But I was also able to share the joy and the love of Christ, I was able to talk about things in my past and share and use my story with God, my transformation to minister to and speak into the lives of women. God used my stains, and my ugliness to shine His light, to show as example how His grace saved even me. 

So as Saturday night comes to a close....the Lord took me to the heart of that ugly lie that was trying to take root in me. He revealed that I did not need to fear His plan for me. He knows me so well, so much better than I know myself. And I guess sometimes I am slow in understanding what the Lord is showing me. :) I have struggled with fear for over a year....I have been walking with the Lord, I have been obedient and trying to stay in His will and I have been fearful, sometimes very fearful. I asked for prayer with regard to this fear about a year ago...and it got a lot better - but it didn't really go away completely...it would rise up from time to time. I was able to get it under control, I was able to manage it and keep it at bay...but it was there. But not anymore...that is done! Praise Jesus!!!! 

Saturday as I sat by the lake reading my bible, talking with the Lord and He led me back to Jeremiah 29:11-14....I still had not wrapped my head around it - but in my bible next to the already highlighted words I wrote in black ink "my life verse" - I have always found comfort in this promise, it speaks into my heart in ways I could never fully explain...I have read those words over and over and over the past few years....and now they mean so much more (I can't believe that it possible but it is true). This weekend as I was ready and in His perfect time, the Lord set me free and brought me back from captivity from a lie that was trying to keep me from Him and His plan for me.

I write all of this tonight not to boast - I write this to encourage - God has a plan for each of us. God can and will use you, your life, your story with Him to accomplish His great purpose. He will in fact work ALL things together for your good. But it is completely up to us if we will allow Him into our hearts and lives, if we will truly follow Him even when it feels awkward, vulnerable and is scary. His plan is much bigger and much better than the best we could imagine and believe me friends He does in fact have a PLAN!! 

Much love!! 

Sam