He gave you manna to eat in the wilderness, something your ancestors had never known, to humble and test you so that in the end it might go well with you. – Deuteronomy 8:16
Even though my journey hasn’t always been sunshine and sunflowers, the hand of God can not be denied if you knew all of the little stories that make up the big picture of my life.
If you really knew me, you would know that I have experienced bitter heartbreak and shattered dreams. You would also know that my journey never ends there.
The wilderness has taught me to sing through the tears and praise through the pain.
Ann Voskamp says it beautifully, “Lord God, Maker of all, when you give manna moments, may I give you thanks for the mystery. Because the manna that makes no sense- You will make it my sustenance. In all of the “What is it?” moments, turn me to give thanks for who you are.”
Manna literally translates into ” What is it?”
I think about manna often, the “What is it?” of life. The daily miracle that abounded in the midst of the wilderness. This daily miracle provided nourishment in the place of uncertainty and unfamiliarity. Yet in Dueteronomy 8:16, it says, (manna) was given to humble and test them. I’ve found that this humility brings me to my knees, crying out to God. This is the time when I’ve felt closest to Him, when I had nothing else, no one else, but God alone.
It’s in the testing that He’s looking at the heart.
Will you curse Him in the wilderness or will you lift your weary hands in thanksgiving each day because He is faithful?
I’m thankful that I’m not the author of my own story.
I’m thankful that the places where I’ve tried to throw ink on the page, but couldn’t see where it should go, He took my mess and turned it into something much better. When the story started to turn out a way I didn’t want it to go, He saw the lines I couldn’t yet read. He provided the manna to sustain my soul when I was hopelessly wandering in the emptiness of the great unknown. I’m thankful that through the deepest heart breaks and disappointments, He gently led me, held me and sustained me.
He knew the road wouldn’t be easy, but it would be necessary. That it would feel lonely, but that He was all that I needed.
When there was nothing left to cling to, I could see what truly mattered. It was the only thing left standing when all else crumbled around me.
It was You, it is You. it will always be You. The great sustainer, the only one who will never disappoint, who heals shattered lives and makes them stronger. You are the Great I Am, You are peace when fear is knocking. You are the voice saying “don’t give up” when all else is demanding it. You walk me through the wilderness of life, no matter how many times it seems I end up there. Every time it doesn’t exactly get easier, but I do know that the manna will come everyday. I’ve learned that you know the ending, so I take the hand you offer me. I take it and trust that even when the valley is dark, the light always shines in the morning. In the darkness, there’s no need to fear, for You are with me and You go before me. (Deuteronomy 31:8, Psalm 139:5)
Please hear me, girl:
The world has enough women who know how to do their hair.
It needs women who know how to do hard and holy things.
– Ann Voskamp
Have you ever felt stuck in a season where not a lot was going on?
That’s how I had been feeling and it was ridiculously hard. I kept waiting for what was next and I felt like I was meant to do so much more, but yet I did nothing of importance.
Almost a year ago I quit my job. It was an amazing job, but I just felt as if it was what I needed to do to prepare for the future. My husband also quit his job, took a part time job and started pursuing Real Estate. The transition was rough, but little did we know what exactly we were preparing for.
Kimberly is wearing the ‘Courage’ Key Necklace from The Giving Keys.
I was starting to get depressed because I’ve always been a social butterfly and now I was working from home with no one around. It was boring, lonely and felt like such a waste of time.
Eventually, Brady bought me the cutest puppy and that helped a little having a friend around. It was also annoying because I had to keep cleaning up after him, if you know what I mean. I left Harlow (our puppy) for the first time when we went on vacation to see Brady’s family and I missed him so much.
When we returned from that vacation, we weren’t prepared to face what was about to happen.
Not only did Harlow seem to have grown so much, but our family was about to grow at a much quicker rate then we ever planned.
We got a text asking us if we knew of a home for three sisters, not realizing that this person had a specific home in mind: ours. When they did make that clear, we knew what the answer was. They did not pressure us at all, just thought it would be a good fit. Though it didn’t seem plausible, we said yes and opened our home to three of the most amazing little girls in the world.
With only a two bedroom condo, one car, and a very humble salary, our little home was filled with giggles and tutus.
We may have been in shock for a few weeks or more trying to adjust to this totally new life, but every worry and every need we had was met by an incredible God and those who were obedient to be His hands and feet to our family.
He is the One who makes the impossible things come to pass at the perfect timing. When we said “Yes” to opening our home, we knew that without God it wasn’t going to work. Yet, we took that huge step of faith and He never let us down.
Not only that, but the past seven months before when I was transitioning into being a stay at home wife and had no idea why, God knew the answer was three precious sisters who needed us, and that we needed them.
Never underestimate that transitional period of your life when you feel as if nothing much is going on. You might just be around the corner from the biggest miracle you’ll ever encounter. When that big thing shows up on your front door one day and you see it as impossible, remember that if God calls you to it, He will make a way for it to happen.
I was absolutely terrified when that “yes” left my mouth (actually my thumbs since I was texting). I cried for a week when those girls came into my home because I instantly became a mom of three with no prior experience, and I still get nervous that I am not being the best mom I can be. Yet, no matter how uncertain I might be sometimes, the obedience of saying yes is worth it. I wouldn’t change a thing in the world if it meant not having these girls in our home right now.
I don’t know what the future holds, but today is what matters.
I just need to give my very best today. When tomorrow comes, I simply need to do the same thing.
Be courageous and do whatever it is you know you’re meant to do, even if it totally scares you, because once you say yes, you’ll see the miracles and you’ll look back and know it was so worth it.
Haven’t I commanded you: be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9
I have to tell you: I am in love with this man.
I am 23 years old, and he is 27.
We have been married for a little over 3 years.
(some would say I married young)
As one of my friends reminded me , we met in a parking lot at Southeastern University.
And I’m so glad we did.
Though, when I was a little girl I never dreamed of meeting my husband in such a romantic place.
It just goes to show , you never know where you’ll meet “the one”.
And I would love to hear stories of other crazy places couples met their spouse, so please do share!
I absolutely love being married, but it hasn’t been flawless.
Life is not always easy, but it’s much better with your best friend by your side.
God has blessed me with one who constantly encourages me and adores me for who I am.
I’m so thankful.
And I finally realized something I hadn’t totally understood before…
Marriage is more than the feeling of love.
Love is beautiful, especially if you see everything with a deeper meaning like me.
However, marriage is a little more like being battle buddies, who stand side by side.
They walk through life together during the joyful times and the treacherous times.
Husbands and wives also remember together.
They remember all of the little things and laugh or cry.
Your spouse helps you remember why you feel the way you do, or why you are acting the way you are-
because they know you, they understand you, even when you don’t understand yourself.
You take on life together. Whatever comes your way.
It’s so much better than having to remember on your own, laugh by yourself, or fight battles solo.
I love Brady more than I did on the day that I married him because we’ve grown together and we’ve seen each others greatest strengths and worst weaknesses.
Yet, we still choose to love one another and encourage each other daily.
Love is a commitment. Marriage is forever. And it’s so worth it.
“We are friends for life. When we’re together the years fall away. Isn’t that what matters? To have someone who can remember with you? To have someone who remembers how far you’ve come?”- Judy Blume
“Now is not the time to draw back in fear. It is a time when we must rise up and flourish in love.” – Lisa Bevere (Girls with Swords)
It was nearly midnight and we were cozied up on a teal couch in the beautiful city of Gainesville, Georgia. My husband, Brady and I were in a season of the in-between. We had been preparing to venture on an 11 month mission trip to 11 different countries for what seemed like ages, but it had been about a year and half. Raising money, gathering all of our travel gear and watching endless episodes of Man vs. Wild. It was exciting.
What wasn’t exciting was the deep feeling in my gut of hopelessness and a lost path.
You see, it had been a month, 30 dragged out days of wonder and waiting. Where would we go next?
It was in this time that Brady and I were learning that God’s plan for us is sometimes very different than our own plan for our lives. Needless to say, we were crushed. Through quite the turn of events, after completely changing our lifestyles and extensive amounts of time devoted to The World Race, we failed. We made it to 2 of the 11 countries anticipated (though we had traveled through 8 countries total) in that six week period of time.
What we saw as the end, the Lord had planned as just the beginning.
As our dreams were crushed, our faith was being awakened.
For those 30 days, we were stranded. We were not where we were supposed to be, and we certainly weren’t doing what we had planned. We were in Georgia and our squad of 53 other teammates were on their way to Romania. I wouldn’t exactly say we were thrilled, rather filled like smoke from a wildfire with jealousy, confusion and painful disappointment. I continuously asked myself, “why would the Lord bring us to do such an amazing thing and then strip it away from us? But at that time, only He knew.
God is the author of our story: It was well-written before the beginning of time, long before our first breath. He knew the path set before us when we were trying to run our own way. He simply picked us up, and re-routed us. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with The World Race, it was incredible for us, but instead of being the final destination, is was but a starting point. The white line on track where the guy with the gun says “Runners, on your mark.” Then, the trigger was pulled. and my oh my, was the bang from the gun reverberating in my ears.
At that moment in time, He didn’t want us on the mountain tops of Bulgaria or in the sheep pastures of Albania, He wanted us reclined on the teal couch. Our ears and eyes wide open, our hearts longing for wisdom, for answers, for Him.
He was calling us back to himself, calling us to follow him on the road less traveled. The one that made us afraid.
What was more unnerving than traveling around the world with just a bag on my back and knowing that I’ll be gone from all that I’ve known for 11 whole months? Disappointment. The place where we believed that we failed and all that we’ve hoped and dreamed is over.
Disappointment tries to convince us to give up, but this is where we get to push forward despite our fears. This is where our faith is strengthened as we walk into the uncertainties of life with the One who knows all things. The One who’s always known.
What is holding you back?
Push past disappointment, shake off the dust and let your faith be undeniably awakened.
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.” –Isaiah 43:18-19
It’s in the risks that there’s discovery. When you do something outside the bounds of what you’re used to doing, that’s where you’re most likely to learn something new about yourself. – Patsy Clairmont
It is rather incredible for me to think back and know that I used to live here, in this exotic and breath-taking beauty. The various shades of blue of Lake Atitlan in Guatemala. I laughed here, kayaked here, awoke to this view for what seems now to be not enough amount of time. But it was, oh it was. Some people will never venture to look upon what some world travelers and explorers call the most beautiful lake in the world.
Guatemala was a special place for me; It was a place to reflect, to discover myself. What I found was my deep love for people, all people and the richness of culture and the diversity of life. It is here that I truly started to live.
Brady and I have been on a long spiritual and physical journey this past year: from selling everything we owned and venturing onto The World Race, to then following the direction to move to Guatemala for 6 months, to then starting over broke and brand new in our homeland of America.
It is difficult to trust when you do not know what lies ahead, but with every ‘go’, we heard whispered, or maybe even screamed at some points when we were clueless, we went ahead and trusted that God knew what was best for our lives and our marriage.
Before we left, We were living in a luxury apartment with steady jobs, cars we loved, and enough money to feel comfortable and self-sufficient. We didn’t need anyone’s help; in fact, Brady and I really didn’t even need each other’s help. We worked opposite schedules and hardly even saw each other, which eventually started taking a wear on our marriage.
After a year or so of living that way, we began to feel a slight sense that maybe there was more for us than this normal and mundane way of life.We knew we needed a change, but felt so stuck in our routine that not just anything would work. And then, one day after church (which we hardly went to at that point), I had this random thought about something I had heard of once, and I ran straight to Google that Sunday afternoon while my husband was in the bathroom. And surely enough, when he came out, I said, “Hey babe, look what I signed us up for.” And he came over and peeked at our MacBook with a surprised face and read, “The World Race, an 11- Month Missions Trip to 11 Countries… Okay, Cool.” And that was that.
All in a wild, split second decision, our lives changed.
We had absolutely no idea what the next year would hold for us: how we would come back not even resembling the people we were when we left, or how our relationship would be tested and tried, but come out stronger than most marriages might ever be, the things we would learn, the people we would meet, and how we could never go back to the way things were, simply comfortable and self-sufficient.
When you say “yes” to God’s calling and His direction, you say yes to way more than you could ever bargain for.
But, in order to move forward, to really soar, you have to let go of the comforts you’ve been clinging onto for so long. You have to stop leaning on self- reliance, and trust that God’s ways are higher than your ways.
What dreams have you allowed to just remain dreams in your heart?
What has the Lord called you to, yet you still haven’t responded with an all-out ‘yes’?
Be brave and trust (have confident expectation and hope) that God will come though and lead you into your purpose and destiny, even if that means leaving the safety of the shore and pushing through the waves .
“Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths. “
– Proverbs 3:5-6 (AMP)
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts.”
– Isaiah 55:8-9 (NASB)
“You make me brave
You call me out beyond the shore into the waves”
– Bethel Music (You make me brave)
Today marks the calendar of being 9 weeks pregnant.
You would think I would be a baby whiz and know all that there is to know about pregnancy and motherhood, but the simple truth is that I do not. Nor will I ever pretend to.
What is hardest to me is that all over the media, and in every day life you see women who at first glance, resemble wonder woman. I mean, they knew every detail about every week and trimester of pregnancy before they even turned 10. Okay, maybe not, but it seems like they have it all together, and there must obviously be something wrong with me, I think to myself.
I have wanted a baby since the day I was married, (I know, I know) but I finally became pregnant 2 and a half years later. In all of that time of dreaming of little baby Liette, I completely forgot to do any research.
Thus, here I am being surprised every day about what it means to be a mom and grow a little miracle inside of me.
And let me tell you, there are many things to learn and plenty of decisions to be made. I am currently researching all things about natural birth, though I do know that I can’t quite get myself to deliver at home. At least not with this baby.
I suppose the point of all of this is, three months into the most exciting season of my life, I still feel pretty clueless on all things pregnancy and motherhood.
Even though I haven’t met them yet, I know I love this baby way more than I ever would have dreamed. And I have this sneaking suspicion that there are other first-time moms out there who are thrilled about this natural process of life, but also feel that they don’t know as much as they ‘should’.
But what we really need to know is that it’s okay and it doesn’t make us any less of a mom than we should be.
Every woman had to start somewhere, and at some time.
So, let’s do this together. Let’s research, learn, discuss, and be real about what it feels like to develop into mommyhood as our babies are developing body parts.
It’s okay to not have all the answers, as long as we are trying.