Unrelenting Love

forest trail 2Many years ago I had a dream where I was visited by Jesus.  It was so vivid and clear that I felt and knew it was real.  In the dream… 

I was walking down a long road that was lined and covered by trees that were creating the most beautiful canopy overhead.  It was fall and the colors were amazing and vivid.  As the wind slowly rustled you could see the light dancing on the roadway.

I felt utterly alone and wishing beyond wishes that somehow my life would be worth something, that I would not be forced to forever wonder if I had a purpose or if I was from the beginning, nothing but a mistake.

As I walked down the old dirt road I could see someone walking towards me.  That person was a long ways off and I wondered what they were doing there.  As I continued to walk they were suddenly in front of me just a few feet away.  I knew without any introduction who it was and all within me jumped with joy and simultaneously shook with fear.  It was Jesus.

I had spent years calling to Him, begging Him to help me from one thing or another.  I had asked Him to help my daddy stop drinking, to stop being so angry, to just stop.  I asked over and over and over and each time I felt that my prayers fell on deaf ears, there was silence and the prayers were unheard.  My heart broke with each unanswered prayer and my belief in a God that loved me and a Jesus that saves all was shaken, of course not destroyed, but damaged.

The very moment I saw my Saviour standing there looking at me all my fears were in front of me.  The joy of seeing Him there was inside of me.  I could feel my heart leap.  But I couldn’t allow it to carry me into His arms.  I couldn’t allow it to help me feel peace.  Instead I felt the fear and the dread.  Is He here to tell me I was asking for too much, begging too much, that He had too much to do to deal with to worry about my miniature problems?  Was he there to crush my very existence because I was a mistake?  Was He there to accuse me of all the bad I had ever done, ready to sentence me to life of unbearable pain and suffering?

Hundreds of questions flew through my head in the split second before He spoke and then they were all silenced by His smile.  What a sweet smile, warm and inviting.  The very glance of His eyes melted my heart and put me at ease.  His voice was soothing and yet it was strong and had authority.

“You are my girl.” 

What did He say, surely He was mistaken, He had the wrong girl?

“You are mine and I love you, no one can harm you.  You were not a mistake and I have many plans for you, you are mine.”

I couldn’t believe that with three sentences He crushed every fear I ever had.  Tears streamed freely down my face and as they did He reached out and wiped up each and every one.  Not one fell to the ground.  I felt relief and joy and peace wash over me and as quickly as He was there, He was gone again.

To this day that memory remains.  It was a powerful, life changing moment.  His love is everlasting, unrelenting and unconditional.  It is pure.  I am thankful for a love like that, a love I don’t deserve but freely receive.  It is a love for the taking.  It is for you.  Have you had an encounter with Jesus?

You Were Made For More…

“I know the second that I came into this earth
I was made for more than heels & rocking cute designer skirts
I got a voice and though I’m scared
I feel my words carry worth
In my darkest valleys
I could see the sun above my earth
Reaching down just to rescue me from my insecurity
All of the abuse my step-father did when I was weak
Way too young to know that I should open up my mouth to speak
Now I see, all the years I lost trying find some peace
And when my father died I swore it was the end of me
But Jesus gave me hope beyond the pain of what my eyes could see
Now I stand a daughter of a Father who won’t ever sleep
Truth has spoken and now that truth is here to set you free”

Above is an excerpt from “Darkest ValleyGroup 1 Crew

Thanks Group1 Crew for sharing such healing and honest words.

This is taken from one of my favorite groups to listen to when I need a pick me up.  This one happens to be more serious and the words above strike a painful spot in my heart.  I know the feelings that those words speak and I work tirelessly to make sure my girl has a different song to sing when she grows up.  Give your girls and boys another song to sing.

She was made for more! So were you!

Is your song different than it once was?  Is it a song filled with hope?  It can be.  You were made for so much more!  Blessings!

Unwanted Anniversaries

There are times in our lives that we are reminded by anniversaries.  Many of them are good and are celebrated and filled with joy.  But then there are those… Unwanted Anniversaries.  I have a few of those.  Today however I am lamenting over one in particular.  The death of my dad.

Now, my dad was not the best man in the world.  He didn’t win father of the year and he struggled most of his life to just get by.  He was a drinker and had times in his life where he struggled with drugs.  He could be down right mean.  But here is what I love about my dad….

He Loved Me.

He cared about what happened to me even when he didn’t show it.  He cared about who was nice or not to me and he cared about how others treated me.  He cared that I had food to eat, a nice place to live, and decent clothing to wear.  He cared that I was taken care of and not living on the streets.  He cared that I had the medicine I needed for my asthma.  He cared that I even had a dad at all.  He didn’t run away.  There wasn’t anything he wouldn’t do for me if he could make it happen.  He cared… He Loved Me.

Now some people would get stuck on all the bad.  But forgiveness allows me to see all the good.  Forgiveness allows me to love my dad back and allows my heart to be broken because he isn’t here.  Don’t hold bitterness in your heart.  Forgive.  Because we all have someone we love that has broken our hearts because of their own brokenness.

Abandoned

Abandoned, alone, what do I do?  My heart is beating so fast, what do I do?  It has been so long since she left.  I need help but no one is here and I don’t know what to do.  She is crying and won’t stop and I am scared that somethings really wrong.  She has needed a new diaper for so long and I don’t have a new one.  I tried to clean it but it isn’t helping.  She has red streaks going down her legs and her tears just wont stop coming.  God what do I do?  Something calms my heart for just a second, something brings peace.

“Sis you stay here, I will be back soon.  I am gonna go call dad.  He will come and he will know what to do.  Please don’t cry no more.  I love you!  Just play with your baby.  I will be back.”  As I kiss her head goodbye I feel how hot she is.  Fear jumps forward into my throat again and my heart beats faster.  I feel like I might be sick.

I turn and leave before I can change my mind.  It scares me to leave her alone but I have to call dad!  There is that peace again.  I am her big brother and it is my job to take care of her.  Where is mom?  Why isn’t she back yet?  I hate when she leaves us like this!

It is a warm sunny day outside and I am scared as I walk up the alleyway looking for houses that might let me use their phone.  It is a scary neighborhood and we don’t belong here.  Mom left us at a friends house but they haven’t been home for a couple days.  I just start asking people if they got a phone and it takes a while before someone lets me in to use their phone.  As I walk into their home my heart jumps into my chest again.  What if they are really bad people?!  That peace fills me again and I wonder if it is God.  I call my dad as fast as I can because I know he will help and I am right.  He is on his way.

I run all the way back to where my sister is and go inside and scoop her up.  She is still crying and must have been so scared but seeing me seems to make it all better.  I hold her tight and realize how bad she smells, nausea washes over me.  I must have not noticed before because we were together in this small home for so long, or maybe I just blocked it out but the smell is putrid.  I notice now though and it makes me want to be sick.

This is not the first time I have been abandoned, we have been abandoned.  It has happened before, many times.  My mom works a lot and likes to party a lot too so sometimes she leaves us with different people.  Some people are ok, others are scary.  This time the people just disappeared.  Maybe they were with mom.  I wish she would come back.

I sit down with my sister and just wait for my dad.  Peace…   I can tell God is with me, comforting me.   God loves me even when those that are supposed to love me forget.  Because of Him, I can cuddle up with my sister and love her and forget the reasons I was afraid.  Once I was abandoned, but now… I am now saved.  Peace…

~~~~~

This story is based on a true story that was told through the eyes of a frightened little boy that grew up too fast. This kind of thing happens all to often.  I hope this inspires you to see and do two things.  First, see the pain in children’s eyes… it’s there.  Help them. Don’t ignore it.  Second, if that kind of pain lingers in your heart from long ago like it does mine, remember, there is one who will never abandon you and He will always love you.  Let Him love you the way you should have been.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month #SAAM

April is Sexual Assault Awareness month and I want to encourage you to participate in Denim Day!

 SweetSouthernGirl

What is Denim Day?

In 1999 an Italian Supreme Court overturned the conviction of a 45 year old driving instructor for the rape of his 18 year old student. The reason cited was the girl’s clothing. It was determined that because she wore blue jeans the instructor could not have removed them without assistance, therefore she must have consented. People everywhere were outraged and within hours prominent women within the legal community were walking the courthouse in blue jeans to protest the decision. Since that time Denim Day in LA and the USA was born. Peace Over Violence, the agency behind Denim Day, centers this campaign around the fact that a woman’s choice of clothing is no excuse for rape.

Sexual assault is one of those things that goes on the back burner.  No one wants to talk about it.  But it happens to our daughters and sons, brothers and sisters and our mothers and fathers.  It is happening regardless if we talk about it or not.

The Facts!

Here are some grim facts for you.  According to the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network:

  • 54% of sexual assaults are never reported and 97% of rapists will never spend a day in jail.  (How sad and how very wrong.)
  • Every two minutes someone is sexually assaulted in the United States alone.
  • There is about 207,754 victims 12 years or older sexually assaulted each year.
  • 44% of victims are under the age of 18 and 80% are under the age of 30.
  • 1 out of every 6 women will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime.
  • 1 out of every 33 men are sexually assaulted in their lifetime.  (This isn’t something that just happens to women.)
  • 2/3rds of sexual assaults are committed by someone known to the victim and 38% are friends or acquaintances.
  • Victims of sexual assault are 3 times more likely to suffer from depression, 6 times more likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, 13 times more likely to abuse alcohol, 26 times more likely to abuse drugs, and 4 times more likely to contemplate suicide.

We need to change things and bring awareness to everyone about this devastating act of violence.  Will you get involved?

How do I participate?

It is easy. Wear Blue Jeans on April 24th and talk to people about the spirit of Denim Day.  Post a picture of yourself wearing blue jeans and post about Sexual Assault Awareness on April 24th. Display the button in your post and link-up to show support! To link up go to Secrets of a Sweet Southern Girl’s website and follow her instructions.

Don’t forget to link up!

Come Out of the Shadows

I was having my devotional time yesterday and felt a deep sadness for things I felt I lost in my past because of things either done to me or things I saw around me.  As I mourned some things the Lord put this in my heart and I put it to pen and now it is here.  I share it with you because I know there are others out there with the same struggles and I believe this was meant for you too.  God bless each of you!

shadows

My girl, you are who you are because I created you to be that way.  And my precious daughter, you are good.  I love how I created you and never want you to change.  Every little quirk, every passion, every tear that falls for the broken, I put them there.  I love all those parts and pieces about you.  Oh how I love you!

Your pain and suffering is from the past and happened because your parents and others made bad choices, and you have had to deal with the fallout of their choices.  It was not my desire that you went through what you did, those were not the choices I would have made for you. But I can make all things work for My Glory and you can see such beautiful fruit as a result of My work in you.  The fallout you feel is not yours to deal with.  It is mine, give it to me.  I can turn water into wine.

How?

Come out of the shadows child and share it with your sister’s in Christ, with as many as will listen who know my name and are safe.  When you share the pain you feel with others it empties some of the  disease that fills you and allows me space to clean up the mess.  It allows me space to fill you up with my powerful Spirit and give you new life, a life you could have never imagined.  It will bring others into healing as well.  Your pain will bring life to many around you.

Remember… You are mine… I created you… I love you more than any other person will ever have the capacity to… the enemy of your soul tried to destroy you… I would not let him… I AM your God!  Come out of the shadows loved one and be… filled up… made new… fully restored… fully mine.