Cynthia clean

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Every high school senior parent will tell you that the mood swings of joy, sadness, celebration, excitement and then back to sadness is a strange time in your life. One moment you are so sad about the last "first" experiences throughout the year and then the next moment you are so looking forward to simply writing a check for the entire year for their college meal plan so someone else can figure it out.

As a "neat and picked up" person my entire life, my counselor used to tell me "Cynthia, there is 'Cynthia' clean and then there is 'Sydney' clean."  My creative, ADD, free-flowing artist daughter and her room have always been a hot button for me. My insecurity was so bad when she was young. I would think "how could I have a daughter THIS messy." I felt like a failure. "How does she NOT see the trash on her floor and the trash can right next to it?" Then middle school and high school came, I would think "Her college roommates are gonna kick her out of the dorm because I have failed as a mom!" Then there were the bobby pins...EVERYWHERE! Those are not fun to step on in the middle of night. Yeah, I am laughing at myself even as I write this.

Syd has been gone from our home for long periods of time doing summer dance intensives throughout the last five years. I am so thankful she did these for so many reasons but for me, I know what it feels like in a "small" way to not see signs of life in her room. When she would first leave, I would walk by her room and go "Ahhh - 'Cynthia' clean." Then after awhile I would be wishing for "Sydney clean."  Isn't it amazing how there are things we think are gonna be so important in parenting and then they end up being the things that maybe were not quite as important as we thought?

Parenting is truly all about picking your battles. I saw early on in my parenting that I was alienating my daughter because of "my" issue and I am so thankful I got help. However, God chose me to be her mom. Giving me a creative daughter with ADD, God knew I could give her the supportive tools to help her manage her room and organize her life because of how he uniquely He made me. But any strength taken to an extreme can be a weakness and wow, that is truly exposed in parenting.

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I am thinking a lot these days about what I got right and what I didn't with Sydney. Not from a place of regret, but more from a place of gratitude. Our relationship is by no means perfect but we genuinely have come together as two very different people and have a good relationship based on both our differences and our similarities. We see the world very differently. We process completely differently. I wish I was like her in so many ways and she has said, she wishes she was like me in some ways (...but not on the clean thing.) I have learned so much from her especially watching her process the world around her and I am so thankful for what she has taught me. I am not her best friend and I don't ever want to be. She only gets one mom and that's me and I am so grateful.

"Sydney clean" means she lives here. "Cynthia clean" means she doesn't. Yeah, I'll take "Sydney clean" as much as I can.


Not a number

MMC tag We recently finished our first college search, admissions, auditions, and final acceptance process with our eldest, Sydney (Whew!) There is SO much more to share about the red line of God's guidance in her final choice, but I want to process that more before I share that here.

Something struck me about what Sydney shared with me about her final choice. She said to me, " Mom, I wasn't a number. They used my name." I just thought about that. All these years of auditions for summer dance programs and for college auditions, she was always given a number. For her, it was one of the major deciding factors for her in choosing where to be in her first season of life living on her own. It was vital for her to be somewhere that from the beginning, she is a name, not a number.

Our name is the most personal thing we have. Whether we "like" the name we were given at birth or have adopted a nickname we like, what we go by is deeply personal. I am Cynthia, not Cindy. I don't like being called Cindy, It doesn't even feel remotely close to Cynthia to me! And for those of my lovely friends who think it will be funny to call me that after reading this, I don't answer to Cindy! However, I have a very good friend whose name is Cindy. She is NOT Cynthia!

For many of us, it may be hard to accept that God would consider us by our name. How could the God of the universe REALLY have the time or the bandwidth to handle all of us? By name?

Isaiah 43 (MSG) says “Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you. I’ve called your name. You’re mine.When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you.When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down. When you’re between a rock and a hard place, it won’t be a dead end—Because I am God, your personal God..." 

Psalm 139:15 says ,"You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made..." (MSG) This is a verse that I have always loved as an artist.  It speaks to me of my originality... my uniqueness... that God sees me as as Cynthia.  The whole chapter really speaks to God truly knowing us.

I just wanted to share this because I am so encouraged and thankful that God knows me by name. When I pray, God knows Cynthia and knows my innermost thoughts. He knows ALL of it - good and bad. Yes, I am His and He is mine. I am not a number. I have a name and God knows it.

As we begin our 40-day preparation for Easter Sunday, begin this journey with that truth and say this affirmation to yourself daily as needed.

(Insert your name here,) God knows your name. You are His. He is always with you.

Share your comments below and P.S. - Thank you, Sydney, for letting me share this here.


How was your sabbatical?

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This question...meh. It's a lot of pressure. I went into these "38 days" with the intent to refocus, refresh, and reflect. Yes those things happened. But even when you take a sabbatical, you never take one from life itself. There were friends who lost loved ones to cancer and covid. All the highly-anticipated college dance auditions trips & travel were canceled due to another variant. Disappointment, loss, unmet expectations....they follow you on a sabbatical.

I read that if you want to have a different 2022 then you have to decide what you are going to change about you for that to happen.Truth. My counselor challenged me to journal about what I feel God wants me to change about my perspective in every area of my life and to also take more seriously soul care than ever before as a lifestyle...not just a "when I have time" thing. All good things and yes, God absolutely did some fresh work in all areas of my life. I am so thankful for the time. It has truly been a gift.

So here I am. Heading back to normal life because make no mistake...a sabbatical is NOT reality! What do I do now?

I am a little nervous about being unhealthy again. I was exhausted. Absolutely exhausted. As so many of my brothers and sisters in ministry over the last two years have expressed...ministry got REALLY hard with Covid. Everything got hard in life period. And it's ok. I'm not 25 anymore! There's that too!

So here I am. First week back. I didn't know how I would feel and didn't have an expectation. So, this "non-feeling" place is legit. And back to my first point. What am I going to change about ME if I want healthy soul care and if I truly desire God's perspective on everything?

1. Fill my days with what makes me feel alive. I have allowed my days to be filled with too much "I gotta get this done." Yeah, we all have that stuff that does not make us feel alive. HOWEVER, I can be more selective of how much I ALLOW of that over 24 hours.

2. Accept that I need more contemplative time every day for healthy soul care. There's a saying, "Fake it till you make it." Yeah, not when it comes to soul care.  Life is busy and this one is not gonna be easy. BUT, if I want good health for my soul, I will make the time.

3. I'm weary of Covid and I need to grieve and that's ok. I have spent some time truly grieving the loss of friends, family, the loss of missed opportunities and experiences for my kids, especially Sydney - the loss of community and even the loss of certain relationships because of their stance either way on a vaccine or a mask. My counselor said we have to grieve loss. You can't bury it and think you will just get over it one day. Nope. It was eating me from the inside out.  I have accepted God's grace and will continue to grieve along the way and that is ok. 

4. I'm still kicking. Celebrate that every day.Todd and I will celebrate our 30th Valentines Day together this year. I love Valentines Day!  Always have. We are still here and still together. We are still in ministry. We planted HHICC and we are still here. My kids are teenagers - one about to be an adult - they are still here and that's something everyone cannot say right now about their teens. I'm still getting up everyday and being faithful. Doing what God has called Todd and I to do together on HHI to lead the church He called us to plant in 2007. We are still raising these teens in a crazy world. I'm coming alongside my mom who is a widow now 5 years this March. She's still here. We are here for her. We are all here and that is something to celebrate every day. 

So no HUGE revelations...sorry to disappoint. It was a rest, reset, and reflect time...truly what I prayed it would it be. 

There are not enough words BIG enough to thank our Elders, our staff team, their families, and all the volunteers for this gift of time. They battled COVID among their own families, moving to new homes, and the loss of some of their own extended family members this month. Todd and I are so thankful and so blessed for their leadership and look forward to a "new normal" of these amazing leaders carrying on in many ways with what they have already proven they can do as leaders and as pastors at HHICC.

So I'm back! You can email and text me without an auto response! I am looking forward to leading worship on Sunday and being "at home." 

A prayer..."God, grant each of us the grace to have our perspectives 'tweaked' by you so that we can fully experience who you are and the life you have for us here and now. In Jesus' Name, Amen."


Interrupted

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I remember as a kid being told by my parents, "Do not interrupt me when I am..." From an early age, we are taught not to interrupt certain things...a conversation, a task, or maybe a train of thought. I can't think of a better word to define 2020.

Why is interruption so frustrating? I have been asking myself that question. I've been angry at times throughout the last couple of months some of it completely justified by seeing lives lost & jobs lost because of this virus. But honestly, my spring and summer got interrupted and I just didn't like that at all.

"I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for." Jeremiah 29:11 (MSG) This verse has been running through my mind. "Ok, God you have a plan. This sure does't feel like it but my feelings betray me all the time so I trust You."

"The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps." - Proverbs 16:9 (ESV) I like to plan, oh goodness, I LOVE to plan! My plans were interrupted. "God, I trust You to tell me what the next step is. I would rather know the WHOLE plan, but if all I see is the next step, help me learn to trust You."

As I discussed in my previous post, the emotional swing of this quarantine has been exhausting. I know many of you have shared with me you feel the same. However, I feel that I am actually starting to embrace this "next step" living. I don't like it (BTW - it's not "un-spiritual" to not like something!) but I am learning to live with this and accept it. God made me who I am - a RED-YELLOW, DI on the DISC which means I love to plan as much as I like the party! That will never change about me, but my response to being interrupted...that's on me.

To be transparent, I feel weak without the plan. I feel vulnerable not knowing. I don't like that. I have been giving those feelings to God everyday whether on my back porch in the mornings over coffee or on my almost daily bike rides or walks. I am reminded of the Apostle Paul's words," I am content with weaknesses... For when I am weak, then I am strong." - 2 Corinthians 12:10 (ESV) I'm learning to be content. Trust me. I'm still learning.

I saw some good things in myself and through these circumstances. I quickly jumped on board to rally people through online connections. I know it's not the same but I'm glad that I embraced it early on and ran with it. I never let myself just sit inside. I got outside and walked and biked and kept my endorphins up. I'm so glad I embraced physical exercise during this time. I actually feel better physically than I did pre-covid! For both of my kids, their summers were completely interrupted from what we "thought" they would be doing. However, new doors of opportunity have opened for both of them in their interest areas. I'm giving God all credit on that. He established their steps this summer and I'm so thankful.

George Santayana said, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." I don't want to forget what I have learned. For our entire global community, I pray that we have learned through this experience so far. I know there is a lot ahead that we still don't know, but I pray that you take a few moments to access what you have learned so far. Be transparent with yourself and identify areas of your inner life that were exposed during this time. What is your next step with that "thing" that you saw in yourself? What attitude needs to change? What did you do well that you surprised yourself with your response?

Please click on the comments below if you would like to share something. I'd love to hear what you have learned!


Living in between

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This week marked one month of being in quarantine for COVID-19 for our family. I asked myself at least 5 times today, "What is today?" and I'm sure I'm not alone in that confusion. I find myself living in between. There is the joy of having time to enjoy my family, my home, my Island. We are so blessed to live on Hilton Head Island. And then at the same time knowing all the suffering of those dying from this virus, those who have lost loved ones with no funeral allowed, those who are unemployed, and all those that are working so hard in our health care system to fight this thing.

I'm asking myself a lot these days, "How do I live in between?"

I love having this time with my almost 16 year old daughter to talk, laugh, look at my old yearbooks (she wanted to!), and eat ice cream. But my heart just breaks about her 5 week summer dance intensive being canceled because she worked so hard for it. I love it and I hate it.

I love "overhearing" my 13 year old son on ZOOM with his friends in what I call the "ZOOM After Party" when the online class is over. Precious moments I treasure but he lost his soccer season for both of the teams he plays for each year. I miss the soccer field so much and so does he.

I miss seeing our church family. It's so hard to sing and lead worship to a camera. I want to feel worship with our community together so desperately. 

And then "Seriously, Cynthia? People are dying, people are homeless, people are going without food - stop whining! Be thankful you do have the ability to sing and lead worship because of technology!" Then the guilt sets in and I hate it.

My heart is breaking for my friends in NYC that their street has refrigerated box trucks that serve as temporary morgues. I just weep. I sat on my back porch one Friday morning and just cried for a few hours. I know I'm not alone in that as well.  But then I look at my precious family and I'm so thankful for the laughter, the new "inside" jokes, the bickering between the kids (at times!), the family meals, the beautiful bike rides, the long walks and then I'm filled with gratitude and thankfulness...I'm so happy.

Now we are faced with when to start leaving our homes. Just because we can, should we? Am I being held back by fear or caution?

This is living in between.

I find myself in the book of Ecclesiastes which was written by Solomon toward the end of his life. It was said that he was the wisest man who ever lived so being that he wrote this at that point in his life, he had seen and experienced quite a bit. The first few lines really grab you..."Everything is meaningless." Yeah, I'm sure we all feel that right now in many ways! Interesting he would say that at the end of his life, right? But it is chapter 3 that I truly find great words for living in between.

A Time for Everything

   "There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot,a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate,, a time for war and a time for peace." - Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 

This is a time to live in between and I am starting to lean into that. I am going to have days that I cry a lot and days that are super joyful. I'm going to have days when I feel very productive cleaning out closets and organizing and then others, I just want to watch movies. It's ok. There is a time for everything.

Shared experience is so important and none of us are alone in living in between. Please share your comments below. I'd love to hear how you are facing the in between.


Will it fit in my bag?

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It’s been awhile since I’ve been here, but with some nice time to reflect this week, I came back for a visit.

In my college years, I spent a lot of time in the health clinic with doctors trying to figure out why I couldn’t sleep and why I had internal bleeding for no reason. In fact, it was in the hospital getting x-rays that I truly saw Todd’s tender heart and care for me as we were dating. (Side note... we celebrate 25 years married in 2020!) Later in my late 20s, I was diagnosed with panic anxiety disorder and with a condition known as overstimulated adrenaline. Basically. my body makes so much adrenaline that if I don’t get rid of it daily, yeah...I’m kinda tough to be around & my body doesn’t know what to do with it.

Through the years, the doctors have told me this is a wonderful thing as I get older and I’ll be thankful for it. Yippee! 🤔 So as I faced being a victim of a car accident this year, part of my recovery was “Cynthia you just need to lie down a lot & you can’t do as much as you think.” As I share this with you today, I am happy to report that my weekly treatment has wrapped up and I’m returning back to life ”in moderation” as Dr. Ken says.

One of my favorite phrases from my dad was “Cynthia, don’t put a 10 pound turkey in a 5 pound bag.” Gotta love the south.  I’m not gonna blame it completely on my condition —(although it is confusing to me at times what my mind tells me I can do versus what I can actually do) but that’s what I do. The creative mind is a beautiful thing but the combination of that and too much adrenaline is why so many times I live a life of desperation trying to get out all the things in my mind I want to accomplish. This is not a pity party for me, but if you know creative people around you who are artists, give them a break. They probably have a lot they’re dealing with inside.

As the dawn of a new decade is here and 2020 begins, I’m starting it with a real picture of the size of MY bag. It’s been that size all along but I want to embrace it. Everybody has a different size bag because God made us all unique. (Psalm 139:14) But in 2020, if you see less output from me, I’m fine & I’m sorry if you are disappointed. If you think I’m not as involved as I used to be, that’s probably true. If you don’t see me as much, it’s all good. I’m here and I’m ok. 

”My strength is made perfect in your weakness, Cynthia.” These are the words I have clearly heard in my time with God this year. (2 Corinthians 12:9) I’m not weak because I have a smaller bag than I think. In identifying truly how God has uniquely made me and recognizing my own limitations within that, my “weakness” is how I am strong.

At the core of our Christian faith is living like Jesus & modeling his life and the way He lived. Jesus fully gave of himself to others but He also knew when he needed to pull away. He regularly got away from the crowds & even those closest to Him to be with His Father.  This is why we model a Sabbath lifestyle at our church with taking Fridays off as ministry staff. This has been vital in my life & I’m so thankful for it. But for me, it’s more than that.

I truly desire to serve & love people and be available. I love being a part of community with others and working hard to see amazing things happen! I love the local church and our HHI Community & being fully involved! However, this year I’m gonna ask a new question in 2020..”Will it fit in my bag, God?” 

“God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us. Glory to God in the church! Glory to God in the Messiah, in Jesus! Glory down all the generations! Glory through all millennia! Oh, yes!” - Ephesians‬ ‭3:20-21‬ ‭(The Message)

Bring it on 2020...my bag can take it. 👍


Reason Not Ritual

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I used this phrase a couple of weeks ago when I was leading worship to describe WHY we should gather each week on Sundays together. As I think about this past week, Holy Week - a week I look forward to so much as a Christ-follower.. it was not the week I had hoped it would be. From our main water pipe busting outside of our home on Tuesday to me coming down AGAIN with some flu-like thing...yeah. But there is a REASON why this weekend is SO important. It's the moment in time we celebrate that death was defeated....we celebrate that Jesus conquered death to prove HE is the Savior of the world. 

No matter what kind of HOLY WEEK you have had...whether it looked like mine or it was fabulous - This weekend, there is REASON for our gathering together. Don't gather out of RITUAL this weekend just to check it off your list. Bring yourself fully wherever you attend services this weekend. Celebrate for a REASON...Jesus is alive. He is our advocate with God the Father. He is FOR US. He is WITH US. He has conquered death. No one has ever done that in history. He is the King of Kings and He loves you with a love that He was willing to give HIS life for you.

“This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again.." - John 3:16-17

He is Risen INDEED! Happy Easter!


Freedom

Todd shared in his Message last week about the different types of faith that three of Jesus’ disciples had and how they came to know him. I shared a song that I wrote a couple years ago with some additional melody help from my good friend Andrea Miller. I wrote this song during a season of my life when I was really struggling and my faith was weak. For some reason, even though I’ve been a Christ follower most of my life, I somehow didn’t think that God could handle what was going on in my life and I really struggled to trust Him. This song was a declaration of freedom as I went through this process of recognizing how faithful God had always been to me in the past. Why did I think His faithfulness would not extend to my present or my future?  Once I recognized how much I was trying to control my life, I found such FREEDOM  when I was able to allow him to take control.Hope you enjoy it.

 


Consider IT

There is no coincidence that when I posted a couple of weeks ago about my desire to embrace pain that within days of that...

  • My sweet friend Kris lost her son to liver cancer on January 2. So glad Andrew is in no more physical pain living his new life with God.
  • My first full-time hire at HHICC in the Worship Arts Ministry resigned on January 3 after being here 5 months.

Let's just say that within the first few days of 2019, I was NOT feeling like this was gonna be the greatest year! But I have to say, writing that post and sharing about my commitment to run toward the hard stuff this year has really given me the strength to lean into what God has placed in front one me. He is NEVER surprised...we are.

We are studying the book of James this quarter in my women's group on Wednesdays and when James was writing this letter, these people were running for their lives because of their faith in Jesus. There are places in our world where this is happening right now, but here in the US, we are not facing that everyday. Here's how he starts it off...

2-4 Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way. - James 1:2-4 (MSG)

As 2019 is now here, I ask you to consider IT. If you are a person of faith, it's only through hard things that we REALLY discover if our faith is TRULY grounded in the belief that God is for us and He has our best in mind.  I have been humbled by friends who do not share my faith that have questioned when I'm nervous or worried because they have said "Don't you Christians trust God in everything?" WOW. Let that sink in. Our response to difficulties is either an encouragement to others or it confuses people.

I want to encourage others with my responses. I want to consider IT a positive thing when the rug gets pulled out. I want to be someone that doesn't just TALK about my faith in God. 

Here we go.


Embrace IT

The age of microblogging has definitely pulled me away from cheval glass over the past few years. It is so much easier to share a thought or two and maybe a pic. However, I have felt over the last few months a sense of being drawn back to visit and share in this place more frequently with you as the new year - 2019- is upon us.

There is a freedom and a sense of true fulfillment that will never be achieved without experiencing pain and suffering to get there. This may not seem to be a profound statement at all. However, for someone like me who was raised with the mindset of " If you make all the right decisions, you will have a pain-free life" this is a complete departure from that thinking. I am no different than anyone else. I don't like pain. I don't like sadness. I don't like suffering. I want to run away from it. I want to hide from it. I want to ignore that it is happening. I want to believe if you work hard, you can avoid pain. I always thought if I strived to always do my best, somehow all these great strategic decisions would create a pain-free life for me. Yeah...

When God created us, we were perfect. The world was perfect.  No matter where you fall on the theological spectrum, we must recognize that we live in a broken world and we as humans need to take responsibility for our part in that brokenness. We can't live a part from the pain. It is all around us.

Sometimes pain finds us and we didn't do anything. We didn't cause it. We are hit with the shrapnel of other's choices and we are in pain. This has been the toughest one for me.

However, this is what I have noticed:

I look at my daughter's feet. A dancer's feet are not something to be viewed if you have a weak stomach. It's amazing to watch her perform with her talented dance family and create beautiful performances. But they don't happen without the sore muscles, injuries, blisters, the pain, the broken toe nails, etc... love you, Syd.

I watch my friend Kris. Her presence at her son's bedside the last few months as he struggles with cancer is more than any of us can imagine. I have seen the struggle on all sides with her faith in God literally growing right before my eyes and yet being challenged. The impact is unbelievable that it has had on so many people...including me. Love you, Kris.

I look at my mom. Being a widow now for 18 months and the new life she has embraced. She was the caregiver to my Dad who suffered with cancer for 3 years. She was with him every moment of every day during his cancer. Now, she's a children's book author, continues to teach piano, and share what she has with her church in a way that she has never been able to do over the past few years. Love you, Mom.

I think about my dad. I was with my Dad when he took his last breath. He died in his living room in a hospice bed. He suffered for three years with a rare form of kidney cancer. I know certain things would have never been said between me and my father if it had not been for cancer. We had time to talk and there was a lot of redemptive work that happened between us because of his cancer. Miss you Dad.

I look at the #metoo movement.  No verbal male chauvinism that I have experienced in the "church-world" can compare to what so many have physically endured. It has been painful for us to see and hear but I believe that this movement is bringing conversation and and a new reality that will ultimately lead to a better world for my daughter and especially the "church-world" (who needs this transparency more than ever.)

I look at our personal finances. Todd and I have made a lot of dumb decisions. We caused a lot of our pain but some of it, just happened. I don't think we would have the trust and dependence in God to provide for our family OR the contentment and gratitude with what we have without the pain.

I look at our church. There is no greater test to your own walk with God than being a church-planter or being on a church staff team. You can quote me on that. The greatest moments of seeing life-change in our church have been through the greatest moments of suffering, pain and loss. Whether death within our church family, cancer or prolonged sickness, moving forward on what God is calling you to do even when it's not popular, one family LEAVING your church for a reason that a new family starting COMING to your church (this really happens!) and even multiple hurricanes to your Island that actually unite you as a community much more than ever before the storms.

Jesus made a promise to us when He came to earth. " I’ve told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I’ve conquered the world.” (John 16:33 MSG) As a Christ-follower, I know that my ultimate peace is found in my relationship with God through Jesus. That is where my inner peace truly lies when I see or experience pain. I cling to this truth. But I sometimes, I just want it all to stop. God knows and He listens.

So as 2019 is upon us, I ask the question to myself and to you... Will you embrace the pain this year? I want to embrace it. I don't want to try to hide from it. That desire will always be there I know, but I do truly want to embrace it. I do know what fulfillment comes from getting to the other side of it.

Thanks for making it this far in this post. I would like to share my verses for 2019 with you and I hope they encourage you to embrace IT as well.

Happy New Year...

"Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way. If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You’ll get his help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought." James 1:2-8 (MSG)