Saturday, August 12, 2017

Un-Wrapping my Gift!

I have been sitting here this morning wondering what to write.  What word can I give to others walking through this grief journey with me.  I looked through my journals and found nothing.  I began to write a post and decided it did not flow together well.

All kinds of thoughts ran through my mind, yet nothing seemed to be coming together on paper.  The Lord was simply saying “write.”  “Write down whatever you are thinking, and I will direct you in what goes on the blog and what stays hidden in your journal.”

Writing has recently become my passion. I previously thought I couldn’t write and that I had nothing important to share.  It wasn’t until my husband died that I realized I do have a gift to write.

This realization came suddenly one day during my quiet time with the Lord.  I had written a couple of posts. When I looked back on them, I began to realize how God was using me to write down words that would be of help and healing to others.  I sat in astonishment and pure awe that anything remotely intelligible would flow through me to others.  I wept thinking about this precious gift that had been on a shelf all of my life.  I have been given a great opportunity to share HIS love, grace, and mercy through being transparent with my own sufferings and challenges.

Opening myself up to others and being real has been a process for me.  I had always prided myself in being able to handle and juggle stressful life events well. In reality, I was a silent train wreck - living in an enclosed fortress of deep pain, sorrow, loss, anxiety, depression, perfectionism, and unrealistic expectations.  It wasn’t until I asked the Lord to begin chipping away the walls that healing began and I was able to honestly share with others my life’s journey.

The more I shared and opened up, the stronger my desire became to share even more in hopes it would help someone else.  I no longer wanted to wear a mask and pretend I was okay all of the time.  I wanted others to know that the journey as a Christian woman is not easy.  Yes, I have eternal life to look forward to when I take my last breath, but in the meantime, I need to navigate this world and what it throws at me each day.  Some days, it is much easier than others.  I haven’t lost my faith through the hardships, but actually have been able to grow stronger.  The challenges have helped me grasp more tightly to the understanding of Christ’s sufferings and sacrifice on my behalf.

I have taken time to read and re-read scriptures about suffering and being Christ like. My pain is but a speck in comparison to His; yet, He cries with me and understands each moment of my sorrow and pain.  It is important to Him, and He grieves with me. 

Realizing that my journey may help others inspires me to keep writing and keep going forward.  I will continue to write and journal and allow the Holy Spirit to flow through me.  I will open up hidden things in my heart that have been healed so others can see they, too, can go forward and get healing.  I will be another voice crying in the wilderness pointing people to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.  I will do this with as much grace and humility as I can muster in order to truly be a light for Christ in this dark world.

Yes, l suffered deeply, but I can honestly say I received so much more healing and have more joy because of my sorrows.  These scars allow me to honestly share the depth of Christ’s healing power and love from a heart of experience.

I am taking this gift off the shelf and unwrapping it for HIS glory and to help others in similar situations.  Is it time for you to do the same?

Forever,


His Beloved Warrior Bride

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Beloved Warrior Bride: Flourishing in the New!

Beloved Warrior Bride: Flourishing in the New!: Fifteen years ago my mother gave me an Amaryllis.   It sat in the corner of my Hummingbird garden until a year ago when I moved into a new ...

Flourishing in the New!

Fifteen years ago my mother gave me an Amaryllis.  It sat in the corner of my Hummingbird garden until a year ago when I moved into a new home.

During the entire 15 years, the plant lived but never grew and never blossomed.  When I moved into my new home a friend and her husband helped create a beautiful desert paradise in my back yard.  Lantana and new soil were added to my Amaryllis.  It received a great amount of sun and plenty of water.

Recently, while I was out in the yard, to my amazement I noticed the plant had grown tall and was blooming.  Beautiful flowers were open and stood stately in the planter.  I was shocked.  I had not previously noticed the growth and ensuing beauty.  I had been busy watering and tending to the plants but had not taken time to sit and enjoy their beauty.  It was in a quiet moment with the Lord that I looked up and saw the bloom.  I was in awe.

The plant had lived where it was, but now it was flourishing in this new place.  It had been given new soil, more water and sun.  What a difference it made!

This is like my grief journey.  I was living and surviving, but I needed a change in order to grow and flourish.  I had moved out of the home I shared with my beloved and was creating a new place of my own. 

15 years is a long time for a plant to survive without thriving.  As I relate it to grief, I am thankful that it did not take me 15 years to decide to move forward with my life.  I don’t want to just survive, but to flourish and thrive.  As I turned the corner and began to see light in the darkness, things began to change.  I had a new perspective on life, love, happiness and joy.  I slowly began to realize that I had a lot left to give others and to also give myself.  I saw a complete person in Christ instead of being Don’s wife.  I might no longer carry that Title around people, but that is now okay with me.  I am His Beloved Warrior Bride!  I was given a new name and a new purpose in life. 

Loss causes a plethora of emotions and I probably had all of them.  It wasn’t until I began to want to live again that new emotions surfaced.  Joy, Gladness, Contentment and Peace began to fill my heart and mind.  I slowly began to see changes, and one day I looked back and realized how far I had come.  It was as though a light bulb switched on, and I realized I was happier, more content, full of joy and peace and glad to be going forward with life!  My journey is far from over, but now 4 years later, I can truly say that I am living again. 

All of us love and grieve differently.  None of us will have the exact story, but we are all on this road together linked arm and arm.  As you walk your journey, I would pray that the Holy Spirit begin to gently encourage you to allow yourself to begin moving forward.  Each moment you breathe, each step you take is another step forward.  Allow your mind and spirit to go with you!  As you commit to this, one day you, too, will be flourishing.

His Beloved Warrior Bride,

Johanna

Friday, April 7, 2017

Simply Blessed!

I am so fortunate!  I have a wonderful family, friends, home, car and clothes.  All the comforts of a middle class US lifestyle are at my fingertips.  I don’t need to worry about the water I drink or where I will get my next meal.  I sleep in a comfortable bed with plenty of blankets, pillows and a lovely Egyptian cotton sheet.  My bed clothes are clean and smell fresh.

The chair I sit in each morning fits me perfectly.  It is cushioned exactly to my taste.  The arms on the chair are the right height, and I have a nice ottoman that I share with my dog, Pebbles.  Next to my chair is a small metal table with a lamp and a coffee warmer.  The table is full of books overflowing onto the floor.

I sit here this morning covered up with just the right size and weight blanket as I begin my morning quiet time.  The temperature in the room is about 65 degrees Fahrenheit, and it is 50 degrees outside with rays of sunlight dancing off the leaves on the plants and trees.  I hear the mating calls of quail and phainopepla.  It is spring in the desert southwest.

All of this is so comforting and so beautiful.  I am truly blessed!

The Lord has put me in this quiet place to reflect, pray and heal.  He has called me to sit quietly while He speaks new promises, new direction and deeper peace to my soul.  I have been given these gifts in preparation for the upcoming season.

As I sit at His feet this year, I have no idea what is in my future.  I only know that He has called me to bask, bathe and drink in everything around me. 

Thank you Lord for these gifts.  Thank you for guiding me in your ways and holding me tight along the way.  I continue to look with longing, wanting to know you more.  Let me continue to walk this new road with joy and peace knowing you have my BEST interests in mind.  Thank you for this time of refreshing as I prepare for my new assignment as your Beloved Warrior Bride!

Psalm 28:7
“The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him and I am helped.  My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to Him in song.”  NIV

Psalm 27:14
“Wait for the Lord, be strong and take heart and wait on the Lord.” NIV


Johanna