A garland of grace and a crown of beauty. -Proverbs 4:9
Going into this year, God stirred an excitement in me for the beauty this year holds. The start of a new decade! Not a starting over, but a growth from grace to grace. I’m 34 years old, I will be 35 this year (how crazy has time flown!?). My husband and I were talking the other day about how crazy that is. We celebrate our 12 year wedding anniversary this fall, and our 17 year dating anniversary next month. That is half of our life- God has been knitting us together for half of our life already! There have been snags that He has had to restore, strokes where we went the wrong way and He has redeemed.
God is the most amazing creator isn’t He?! He invents and designs in the most beautiful ways, ways that are greater than we could ask, think, or imagine. He gives us beauty in the world’s ugly. He gives us victory in the world’s defeat. He gives us hope in the world’s despair. He gives us joy in the world’s sorrow. I love how God speaks to us in and through his word. He leads us in the plans and paths He has for us. Too often, we stop along the way. The journey gets too hard, too uncertain, or even just too comfortable. The enemy is a master at planning how to steal from us, destroy our lives, and kill our futures, but God! God never leaves you behind. He is your biggest fan, actually He is your biggest lover. He knows who He created you to be. He knows the gifts He placed inside of you. He not only believes in you, but He has given you His own glory/ His anointing to carry out the vision He gives you. When you find yourself stopped and stagnant, look in front of you and follow where He wants to lead you.
The visions He has given me over the years, He has re-awakened in me over the last couple years. I have always loved writing- it has always been one of my biggest passions. It was always my favorite subject in school and I had to make the decision of what career God was leading me to in college. He directed me to dental hygiene, I have been practicing for almost 12 years now and it has been wonderful. After getting married and starting my profession, I started writing in a personal blog for a while, but then we had our first daughter and my posts became seldom before ceasing all together not long after her 1st birthday. I knew God needed to build His foundation in me, my marriage, and my family through our God ordained local church. Not long after we began going to church and serving regularly, I “set down” blogging to focus on spiritual growth. From there I began solely journaling and I enjoyed sharing my heart occasionally on social media, as well as in ministries I have been able to be a part of.
At the beginning of 2017, our pastors asked our congregation to write down the expectations and the visions the Lord had placed on our hearts. As I began seeking Him on this, the one thing that stuck out the most to me was writing. The “unimaginable” of writing books about the victories of the major battles I have overcame in my life. He spoke confirmation to my heart every couple months through different friends and even patients of mine. I have watched Him open up doors that only He can open. The fall of 2017, I knew God was saying “it’s time to begin this journey with me”. I remember the first time, I sat down with my lap top to begin writing A BOOK! It seemed crazy to me, but I knew “I could do all things through Christ who strengthens me”. He gave me the vision, so that means He has given me the provision. There I was sitting outside (because I love nature) with my bible, my collection of journals, and my laptop all sprawled out on our daughters’ plastic dining table (because we had moved into our sh-ome earlier that year, we didn’t have many options for sitting outside). I said to myself, “Okay, Lord, how do I even begin this?” as I typed the words “Chapter 1”. I laughed then, and I still laugh now remembering the moment. I closed my eyes and I began praying for this book and from there I wrote my prayers. He completely directed my writing. Everytime, I sit down to write, He amazes me at what comes out- truly all Glory to God.
Fast forward 2 years to the fall of 2019, I knew God was leading me to even more than just writing these books. Here I was with pages and pages, but it wasn’t ready for publishing. He reminded me of my love for blogging and how this would allow me to get a lot of the content stirring inside of me out to the ones who may be struggling now. Reaching people and being used for the Lord now, not just waiting for the “publish time”. I’m a visual person, so I love details. Details that are found in talking, in writing, in designing, in decorating, in cooking, in all aspects of living. Just yesterday, I was preparing a snack plate for our youngest and myself. It had pepperonis, pastramis, olives, tomatoes, mozz cheese string slices, avocado, etc and there I was designing the plate like I was going to set it out at a dinner party. I laughed at myself toward the end, when I realized what I was doing for my 4 year old…
So God speaks to me most of the time through a vision aspect. He has shown me a glimpse of what the cover of my books will be, He has shown me what my blog and insta “cover” should be– All of them rooted in His Word. I love when I discover that He has connected the dots in my writing! It’s one of those moments, where I just want to literally leap and shout with excitement. I tell Him, “Oh Lord, you are so cool, you are so good! Here is another dot connected for this picture you are giving me!” One of those dot connecting moments is Isaiah 35. So Isaiah 35 is the beginning to one of my books. He also has had me write it in other writing prospects. When I was going into what is the word you are giving me for 2020, Lord, He kept showing me manifestations, fulfillments, blossoming, joy, abundance. The 1st day of the year, I said what verse should I read and declare for the year because this year I know is an exciting journey in “uncharted territory” for me. Isaiah 35 came up in me, and as I start reading it, everything in me started shouting look there’s a word He has given me, there’s an image He has given me, I remember that…. And then right near the end is the very words that He had already spoken to me for the name of this new beginning in blogging “….and they entered (Jerusalem) singing, crowned with everlasting joy…” I was amazed!! Yes, this is the declaration for this year!!!
Even the wilderness and desert will be glad in those days. The wasteland will rejoice and blossom with spring crocuses. Yes, there will be an abundance of flowers and singing and joy! The deserts will become as green as the mountains of Lebanon, as lovely as Mount Carmel or the plain of Sharon. There the Lord will display His Glory with the splendor of our God. With this news, strengthen those who have tired hands and encourage those who have weak knees. Say to those with fearful hearts, “ Be strong and do not fear [take heart], for your God is coming to destroy your enemies. He is coming to save you.” And when He comes, He will open the eyes of the blind, and unplug the ears of the deaf. The lame will leap like a deer, and those who cannot speak will sing for joy! Springs will gush forth in the wilderness, and streams will water the wasteland. The parched ground will become a pool, and springs of water will satisfy the thirsty land. Marsh grass and reeds and rushes will flourish where desert jackels once lived. And a great road will go through that once deserted land. It will be named the Highway of Holiness. Evil-minded people will never travel on it. It will be only for those who walk in God’s ways; fools will never walk there. Lions will not lurk along its course, nor any other ferocious beasts. There will be no other dangers. Only the redeemed will walk on it. Those who have been ransomed by the Lord will return. They will enter Jerusalem singing, crowned with everlasting joy. Sorrow and mourning will disappear, and they will be filled with joy and gladness.
Would you think I would instantly have that kind joy the next day? Suprise, no. Don’t get me wrong I am one joyful person, I love my life God has given me, I love my incredible husband, my gorgeous children….. Every day, I wake up in thankfulness and excitement for what the Lord’s plans for today are and how I can be His hands and feet today in the people and places He brings me into. I start my day with listening to worship music and prayer and I’m in faith for His will to come. Here is the thing, the enemy is no respecter of persons, he wants to stop God’s plans for everybody. I have been struggling with silencing the lies of self doubt and if I’ve “done well” in all that the Lord has given to me. The enemy has used words AS WELL AS silence to stir up this unsettling grief in my heart. BUT GOD, right! God has spoken through my husband, this man that essentially is my other half (two became one in marriage), my daughters, His word, His spirit, my church, friends, but guess what, I am still speaking and pushing out the lies the enemy is trying to get in me to move me off course. I will always choose to “simply receive” the glory of my God in the stillness, in the chaos, in every moment and that is my hope for you today and every day. Choose to receive that “crowning of His everlasting joy”. It’s His JOY He is giving you in the JOurneY, it’s not self joy. Joy comes from the one who created joy. Joy is not necessarily happy because life is easy peasy, JOY is knowing that God’s plans are good and He promised all throughout His word that He is faithful to bring into manifestation an abundance of His blessings in your life. He made the way, He is leading you along THAT WAY!
I can’t wait to share what God lays on my heart with you along this journey. Soon I will have the “cover” image, so stay tuned in for that!
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