You Are Good Enough

Good

Over the weekend I felt this prompting that someone needed to hear that they were good enough.  I posted it to Facebook and within no time had a stream of likes on it.

When I checked back later and saw the attention the post got I realized a lot of people need to know that they are good enough.  I need to know that I am good enough.

So often we are striving.  The fact that we’re surrounded with “reality” shows and social media doesn’t help.  Sometimes I feel like we’re all following someone who doesn’t even know where they’re going.  So we’re all just marching along with no destination and therefore never satisfied with who we are.  We are searching for normal but what exactly is “normal”?!?!  It’s all relative.

I have spent many years mastering who I want to be and have come to find out, I don’t really like her.  She’s not me.  She’s a plastic version of who everyone else is.  I have tried to fit into circles and can be in the moment and pretend like I’m happy but I leave feeling empty.

I think we’re all longing for something authentic.  We’re attracted to people when they’re real.  Their realness makes us feel like we’re not alone in the world.  I think the reason I am always left craving something real is because I’m looking for it in everyone else instead of just being okay with the realness of myself.

I am a country little girl from Oklahoma, with a country little family, who grew up with black girls as neighbors and friends. I have both of those cultures rooted in me.  You don’t find that around every corner.  I lived in a trailer for 14 years of my life (that I can remember).  I was sexually abused when I was a child and carried shame and guilt for many years because of that. I don’t know who my birth father is…  but always had parents in my life. I have seen the disease of addiction in my family (not immediate) but definitely had exposure to it growing up.

As a young adult I struggled with the fact that no one wanted me.   I was never good enough.  I married an amazing man and he wanted me but no one else did.  A lot of that struggle was my own jaded perspective of how I viewed myself.  I love how God showed up and set me free from that bondage in my life.

I have experienced deep wounds just like you … but they don’t define me.  I feel like for years I thought if I performed well enough for Jesus he wouldn’t see those ugly things in my life and hold them against me.  That’s not his approach at all.  His approach is –  “I see those things and love you anyway.  Those things don’t define you.  You don’t belong to those things – you belong to me.  By my stripes you have been healed.”  Gah!  He is so good and faithful!  I have to be intentional about not performing for his acceptance and approval but that comes from my own flawed heart and not his.

A few weeks ago I had coffee with an old classmate from high school.  During our catch up conversation we reflected on the past.  I mentioned something about how I had always wanted to be a popular girl.  She looked at me with a confused expression and said, “I thought you were one of the popular girls.”

That stuck with me for days!  I realized that I had mastered the masquerade and didn’t even know it.  To those on the outside I WAS the popular girl and yet I never knew it.  Somehow I missed it because I never felt like I belonged.

Have you ever gotten what you wanted for so long only to realize you don’t even want it?  That it’s not as awesome as you thought it would be? That it left you empty?  Yeah.  That’s kind of what happened.

This year God asked me to surrender the ministry I had worked on for 3 years.  I handed it over quickly and asked God to help me be present and to bring opportunity to share the love of Christ with people on a more personal level and He is doing just that.

God is rewiring my heart.  My goodness … is he rewiring my heart.  I’m embracing this new season with arms wide open.  If God has more, I don’t want less.

I am good enough.  You are good enough!  Yes, YOU.  Right where you are.  God loves us right where we are but refuses to leave us there.  You don’t have to get it together or clean yourself up before you come to Him.  I’ve been on this journey with Jesus for 10 years and I’m still a mess but He’s changing my heart constantly.  You don’t have to hide who you are – He already knows.  You don’t have to change who you are – He already knows the real you.  He loves you anyway.  He loves me anyway.

You are good enough.

I pray we bury this treasure deep into our hearts.

April

Sinking

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Some of you may know that my son, Sway, is journeying through Sensory Processing Disorder.  Today I decided to swing by the touchless car wash with Sway aboard.  Bad idea!

Sway is a sensory seeker, meaning he loves to be rowdy and free.  He jumps, runs, hits, stomps, rolls around.  He loves to rough-house.  However, he does not like to be surrounded by a lot of people, noise, and unfamiliar or large objects.  For example – when a semi truck pulls up next to us in the car he freaks out.  He is literally terrified!

So today I went through the car wash.  I drove in and put the car in park.  As the water started pouring on the car Sway started to freak out.  He was strapped into his carseat so I turned around and tried to talk to him and make him feel more comfortable.  His face was heartbreaking.  He started crying and screaming.  He was so uncomfortable and anxious.  As I rubbed his leg and told him everything was okay and it would all be over soon, I had this image of how God is with us.

I could see that we were safe.  I could see that we were in a car wash.  I knew the end would come and we would drive off to continue on with our day.  Sway on the other hand – Sway was stuck in the moment.  He was strapped in a carseat and couldn’t escape. He felt uncomfortable and unsure of his environment.  Sway wanted out! He wanted to be rescued and feel secure again.

I’m his mom.  I would not put him in harms way.  I knew the outcome and even though Sway loves me and trusts me, he was so focused on the feelings of discomfort and the lack of safety around him that he couldn’t focus on me long enough to find comfort.  Sway couldn’t hear me consoling him. My touch was empty to him.  He couldn’t feel me near.

This is such a picture of us with God.  He is so near and wants to talk us through our fears but when we freak out we lose sight of his face.  We then feel alone and forsaken.

Do you know what I’m talking about?  I write things that I need to read and this is speaking to my heart!

I feel like I can trust God so much at times.  I feel like nothing could knock my faith down.  I feel like I can move mountains.  But for some reason when fear comes knocking and catches me off guard, it’s so much easier to focus on my feelings than on Jesus.  That doesn’t change who Jesus is …  He’s still there … He’s still holding on to me.  He is faithful and wants us to look him in the eye and focus on him.

When Jesus showed up walking on water, Peter was able to walk on water too – as long as he kept his eyes on Jesus.  As soon as Peter started to doubt, he started to sink.

Sway was sinking today.  When everything was cool, calm, and collective my baby boy was good.  As soon as something uncomfortable arrived, something he didn’t understand, something that intimidated him, he lost his bearings.  His feelings trumped the reality that his mama was right in front of him and everything was okay.

I noticed while I was trying to console him he would not look at me.  He was too focused on the “scary” things around.  Sway would not take his eyes off of the components of the car wash.  If Sway would have looked at me and listened intently, the car wash would have faded away to him.

Isn’t that crazy how this relates to our lives?  When we pull our eyes off of Jesus and focus on all the scary stuff around us, his voice gets faint and our feelings of fear consume us.  We start sinking.

Praise God that he’s faithful to reach out his hand and save us … over and over again.

I pray that this message helps to shift your perspective from your circumstances to Jesus.  He’s got you.  He’s always had you.

Matthew 14:25-31

25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.

27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”

29 “Come,” he said.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said,“why did you doubt?”

Love to you!

April

To The Suicidal Person …

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I’ve been wanting to write about this for a while but really didn’t know how to put my words together to make sense out of this. This topic is also very sensitive and the last thing I want to do is come off as rude or insensitive.  So I’ll start with these disclaimers:

  • I speak from my own experiences.  I am no expert.  There will always be someone smarter than me who knows more than me and I’m cool with that.
  • I do not want to offend anyone so please know my heart that if I do rub you the wrong way it is not on purpose.
  • My purpose through blogging is always to encourage you.  A shift in perspective can change everything.  I cannot tell you how many times I have read something that pointed my eyes back to Jesus and left me hopeful.

With that said …

This letter is to the suicidal person reading it.  If you’re reading this you’re still alive.  You may not feel like it.  You may be numb as can be and this may be your last attempt to find hope and a reason as to why you just shouldn’t end it all.  Let me just tell you that I know how you feel.  I know that you think you’re alone and no one understands.  I know that you think you’re a burden and a let down.  I know you feel like everyone is tired of hearing you complain.   I know that the sound of death is not even scary anymore – it actually sounds relieving.

If you have kids, I know that you love them.  I know that when you’re contemplating suicide you’re not doing it out of selfish reasons in your mind.  You’re thinking it will set everyone free including yourself.  Everyone will have such a better life without you around. Every day is complete torture to you.  When you open your eyes in the morning it’s painful.  Each second of the day feels like hours.  I know what you’re going through.  I know what this feels like.

There is hope for you.  Do you believe that?  I honestly don’t know what else I could say if you don’t believe that.  I could give you a pep talk all day long but if you don’t believe it then I’m only offering void words.

Jesus is with you and will deliver you.  Do you believe that? Do you know the word of God?  When is the last time you went to church?  You can come sit beside me at church this Sunday!  No – church doesn’t save you … but man oh man!  Listening to an anointed pastor speak about Jesus can sure change your perspective and even set you up to encounter a fresh awakening from The Lord.

Are you living with an addiction?  Have you gone to treatment?  Do you want treatment? Do you want help?

Go here:  Addiction Campuses   you can live chat with someone!  They will help you to see what your options are for getting treatment.

If you are struggling and suffering, reach out.  You cannot do what you’ve always done and expect different results.  I’m sure you’re at a place now where you realize your way is not working or else you wouldn’t be looking for a way out, right?

You matter!  You are significant.  People love you.  Jesus loves you unconditionally.  God knew you and had a plan for your life before you were even conceived.  Do you believe that?  Do you want to believe that?

A pep talk is only going to be a glimmer of hope for a moment.  If you decide to go through with ending it all you leave a huge hole in the hearts of those around you.  They hurt and they hurt bad.  They beat themselves up for what they should have done differently but what they fail to see is that if you didn’t want the help – there is nothing they could have ever done for you.

Whoever you are – I love you.  Whether I know you or not, you’re a life with a purpose.  You’re a person that matters and you have huge impact in the lives of others.  They love you and they will miss you terribly.

There is a void in your heart that cannot be filled. That’s you searching for Jesus.  Have you tried everything and felt the temporary relief only to return to void again?  Yup.  You’re searching for Jesus.  So if you’ve tried everything else, why not treatment?  Why not Jesus?

If you’re like me – I wasn’t addicted to drugs but I did have Jesus.  I was so confused as to why I would think to end my life when I loved Jesus, knew He loved me, and yet still felt despair.  Again, I don’t have all the answers but I hoped and I knew that the word of God was true and real no matter how I felt.  I chose to believe Him even when I didn’t feel it.  This life can get really hard.  I have friends right now that feel like they can’t take anymore and then they get a little more.  Guess what?  They carry it and it’s painful and it’s hard but they pick it up. God always comes through and lifts the burden.  Always!

I love this scripture from The Message for 1 Peter 5:10

1 Peter 5:10-11The Message (MSG)

He Gets the Last Word

8-11 “Keep a cool head. Stay alert. The Devil is poised to pounce, and would like nothing better than to catch you napping. Keep your guard up. You’re not the only ones plunged into these hard times. It’s the same with Christians all over the world. So keep a firm grip on the faith. The suffering won’t last forever. It won’t be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in Christ—eternal and glorious plans they are!—will have you put together and on your feet for good. He gets the last word; yes, he does.”

Have you ever seen someone so strong regardless of what life throws at them? We all know those people.  We get glimpses into their heartaches and troubles and yet they push on with a smile on their face.  Don’t for a second think that they are stronger than you or that their road is less tough than yours.  Life can just flat out suck sometimes!

I was delivered from the pit because I kept on believing and I kept on moving forward even when the pain felt unbearable. … or at least that’s what I kept doing and eventually was set free.

This could just be a bunch of rambling.  I don’t know.  But if this is the final thing you read before you go through with your decision … at least I had an opportunity to share my heart with you.  Still not convinced?  I dare you to call out to Jesus.  What do you have to lose if you’re going to end it anyway?  Call out to Jesus and ask him to reveal himself to you.  He already sees you just as you are and loves you just like that, right where you are.

What if he doesn’t answer?  …. Oh! But what if he does?

I beg you to choose hope.  Choose to believe. Choose life.  Choose Jesus.

You are loved more than you could ever know.

Your friend,

April

Letting Go

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I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how often we tell people to “let it go.”  I do it all the time.  “Let it go.”  “Lay it down.” “Just move on.” “Press forward.”

These are great motivators and reminders of what we need to do but if it were so easy to just let it go, we would just let it go and move on, right? It’s obviously not that easy or we wouldn’t keep tripping up over the things that burden us and weigh heavy on our hearts.

You’ll hear me often reference “circling the mountain”, and what I mean by that is in the scripture the Israelites wandered in the mountain land on a trip that should have taken 11 days but turned into 40 years because they kept being disobedient and doing what they wanted to do.  Deuteronomy 2:3 God intervenes and says: “You have circled this mountain long enough. Now turn north”.

Have you extended an 11 day trip into a 40 year hang up? I know I have!  There are patterns in our lives where the places keep changing, the people keep changing, but our problems remain.  My friend, that means you’re the common denominator.  That was a painful truth I started to realize in my own life.  One day I got tired of blaming everyone else and playing the victim. I saw that my own issues and disobedience were causing me to continue circling a mountain I should have left years ago.

I didn’t know what I needed to do or how I needed to do it but I know I was desperate and ready to surrender to God and have Him lead.  I believe it’s at that moment when our hearts are ripe and ready and God says, “You have circled this mountain long enough” and gives us specific direction to get us down.

So obviously letting go is not easy.  I mean, truly it is –  just let go … but obviously our mind, will, and emotions get all up in the way.  There’s confusion, guilt, doubt and all that jazz that starts to trip us up.  So I’ve come to this conclusion: you don’t have to know how to let go, you just have to be willing.

You see, I think a lot of people would rather remain a victim than receive the healing.  I think people say they want peace but don’t want to surrender the broken pieces of their lives to obtain peace.  The scripture makes it very clear:

Romans 14: 9 So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.

Hebrews 12:14 Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy

Psalm 34:14 Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it.

Pursue peace, make effort to live in peace, search for peace and work to maintain it.  It’s hard to let go of the things that are dragging us down especially if they’ve been rooted deep for a long time.

You don’t have to know how to let go, you just have to be willing.  Start there.  I guarantee you that God will bring you down from that mountain.

Love,

April

THE PRESSURE IS OFF

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I want to address something.  I want to go ahead and say this so we can all have a sigh of relief.  I’m going to take the pressure off.

We all care what people think. We just do.

We can say over and over again how much we don’t care what people think but the only reason we say this is because we do care what people think.  If we truly didn’t care – we wouldn’t feel a need to say that we don’t care, we would just simply move on.

We all want to be accepted, liked, cared for, agreed with. We all want to be loved and have approval from others.  We all want to live easy flowing lives where people are in sync and harmony with one another.  If you don’t want this – I don’t know how to relate to you.  Sorry.

I know it’s tough to admit, right?  To say you care what people think leaves your heart wide open.  It leaves you extremely vulnerable.

I say let’s tear these walls down.  Let’s be real.  We can grow when we’re real.  We can help others when we’re real.  So. There! We care what others think.  It does hurt my feelings if people don’t like me or misunderstand my heart.  However, it won’t stop me.  I will push forward regardless.

Someone will always have something to say and the enemy loves when we get caught on the hamster wheel of talking bad about others because we heard they don’t like us or something that we do.  We go on and on about how much we don’t care and yet spend so much of our time talking with those around us, trying to defend ourselves.

When you’re more focused on the negativity of other people rather than just moving on … you’re stuck.

So … we don’t always agree with one another.  Great.  Move on.

So… we don’t always think someone is doing something the BEST way.  Great. Move on.

So… someone doesn’t like you.  Won’t be the first person and won’t be the last person. Move on.

Don’t get stuck.  People are hurt.  They react in ways that hurt people react.  Hurt people hurt people and healed people heal people.  Let’s be a healed people.  Let’s have grace when we hear that someone has something negative to say.

Check this out – if the person doesn’t really know you then what validity do they have anyway?

We ALL care what others think. We do.

You don’t have to stop caring what they think – you just have to keep moving regardless.

Haters gon’ hate.  No matter what, for the rest of your life, haters gon’ hate. That’s okay.  What’s not okay is stooping down to their level and playing in the mud with them. We’re running a race.  Ain’t nobody got time to keep looking back because of critics.

You’re too good for that hot mess. You’ve got bigger and better things to do. Repent. Tell your friends to shush. Move on.

Galatians 1:10New International Version (NIV)

10 Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.

You are loved DEARLY!

April

YOU ARE BRAVER THAN YOU KNOW

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Did you know that resisting a panic attack actually makes it grow stronger? Did you know that you’re most likely on the verge of a panic attack at all times because you are fearing that you’re going to have a panic attack.

I know because I have been there.

For one year of my life I kept trying to figure out what the heck I was so afraid of.  I mean, I was terrified of death, sickness, suffering and lots of other things but I constantly felt this sense of terror and dread – like I was going to die any moment.

One day I discovered that I was fearing the panic attack.  I had experienced a panic attack and that’s what triggered the anxiety spiral for me.  That one event uncovered a whole bunch of crap buried beneath the surface in my life and I couldn’t get away.

I turned to Jesus for healing because he is the ultimate Healer.  Through prayer and surrender the Lord brought me out of the pit.  He can get you out of yours too.

But for this blog post – I want to reveal to you that you’re fearing the panic attack.  It’s keeping you in a loop of anxiety and you’re on edge at all times.  What if …   What if you don’t fear the panic attack anymore?

I know that’s easier said than done but we overcome our fears by facing them.  The next time you feel that panic attack coming I want to challenge you not to run away.  Pull over, go to your room, get alone somewhere and tell that sucker to BRING.IT.ON.

That sounds crazy, right?  What do you have to lose? Aren’t you tired of being controlled by fear?  Do you trust God to see you through?  Maybe you don’t trust him … but let him prove his faithfulness to you.

I know this is not a cushy blog telling you how valued and important you are (which you are) – but this is a “meet me over here” blog.  This is a call to action.  It’s time to take back your life.

You can either be a victim or a victor.  You are equipped with incredible power through Jesus Christ.  The resurrection power of Christ is in you!  That means the same power that raised Christ from the dead is the same power living in you. (Romans 8:11)

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” – Nelson Mandela

You got this! You are braver than you know.  Stand firm.

Be free,

April