Monday, May 14, 2018

Fear is a LIAR

Fear is a Liar
            I could see the two lines slowly begin to appear. My heart was racing and my stomach had knots. The two lines became darker and darker and fear overtook my entire body. I was terrified of being pregnant. Scared really. You see, grief has a funny way of seeping fear into your life. I had wanted another baby so desperately and yet I knew all too well the grief and hurt of desperation. After Bethany had died, I went through 3 more of those pregnancy moments. Three more times that I had to feel the moment of thinking that just maybe this would be the time, and yet I could never let myself be excited because fear overtook my entire soul.  I lived so deep in fear that if my children were not in my sight or my husband was ever late from work, I had full blown anxiety attacks. My heart ached and my soul longed to find peace. I desperately wanted to be set from the prison I had found myself chained to, but I had no clue how to live in freedom. Fear had encapsulated every insecurity and doubt I had ever had.

The truth was, fear had held me captive from the inside out to many times to count.

At times, fear has shaken my ability to be a good wife, mother and even teacher. It has kept me from building relationships or creating friendships for the fear of not being good enough for who I am. It has left me alone, shaken and broken with no hope.

The problem with fear is that fear is a liar. Without the armor of God, Satan will literally paralyze us from the inside out.  God did not give us a spirit of fear; fear is not of the Lord. Fear is a choice that we allow to seep into our very core and control every thought and breath until we are gasping for air to be set free.

Timothy 1:7 says “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

So often I let the words of this world scream louder than the whisper of His voice on my Heart. I have to choose to listen to what is true and real and cast my fear, doubt and anxieties on Him. I have to tell myself, and let myself hear His voice whisper that, I AM enough. I AM good enough and HE overcame this world so I did not have too.

I John 4:18 says, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear.”

Jesus Christ IS that perfect love. 9 years later after Bethany’s death, my grief no longer consumes me. I no longer live in fear like I once did. I never had another baby after Bethany and yet God turned my anger and fear into peace and Joy. It was His love that pulled me from my darkness and taught me to be content where I was in my life.  God had to show me that my children were never mine to begin with, they were His. She was His. The three I lost after her were His. The three that I am so blessed to be a mother to everyday now, are His. Living in fear does not change that, and will not ever change His ultimate design or plan for their lives. I had to learn that I was wasting precious moments by letting my life be crippled by fear. Bethany gave me the most precious gift in the world. She taught me that tomorrow is never guaranteed. Today is a gift and God is in complete control of how many days we are given. There are moments I still struggle, but yet I remind myself that I can choose to live in fear or joy. I choose joy. Joy that I had her at all, and Joy that I have this life He has given me to serve others and point others to Him in ALL circumstances. When fear begins to seep into my soul, and my insecurities seem to big, I remind myself that fear...


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Saturday, January 13, 2018

Always More

            Cars were backed up as far as I could see. Traffic was insane and I was beginning to question my own sanity for even coming out in this mess. Horns honking, people screaming and cars inching along as if we were not going anywhere at all.

I have never quite understood holiday traffic. I swear these people come out of hiding just during December. This same trip across town a month ago would have taken 30 minutes and yet it took almost 2 hours. THIS IS NUTS!

I felt as though I would inch 2 feet forward only to move nowhere at all. My nerves were shot, lines were long and I honestly believe people were losing their holiday spirit by coming out in this mess.

My mind began to race as I thought of my own life over the last year. It felt crazy similar to this Holiday traffic. This last year has been anything but easy. In fact, this year ranks up there as one of the hardest and most challenging years we have faced in a while.  

Much like the cars, I felt as though I had been inching along only to hit a million bumps in the road. I had lost my spirit, my joy and so much more this past year. I felt as though any curve ball that could be thrown our way had been a million times over.

I was defeated. Depressed. Alone. Exhausted. Helpless.

It would be so easy to look on this last year and allow those feeling to encompass my entire soul.  It was so easy at times to let people and life situations still my joy and distract me from what was real and what was important. I was so consumed with the burdens surrounding me that I allowed my circumstances to take over. At times I honestly began to feel helpless and alone in my own surroundings that I forgot that I was never truly alone, and my circumstances never defined me.

The truth is, this last year was a year of growth, learning and restoration. A year where I was wrapped in an unbelievable amount of grace at every turn and frustration. My faith and praise failed too many times too count and yet the grace of my Savior never did.

This has been a season of growth and reflection. A season where I have learned that every day may not be perfection, but yet it is imperfectly perfect because I get to live it. There have been too many challenges that have left me on my knees before the Lord, but they have left me stronger and more grateful than ever for this life I have with my children and husband.

I will NEVER forget this last year of my life. I will NEVER forget the trails, the burdens, the growth and all I have learned by learning to lean even MORE on my Lord and Savior.

This has been a season when I have realized that He is always with me, always there, and ALWAYS MORE than I can ask for or IMAGINE.

No matter what you are going through today, RIGHT now. NO burden is TOO big for Him. There is nothing that you can't take to the foot of the cross. You are NEVER alone, He is able to do IMMEASURABLY MORE than you can imagine. Seek Him, go to Him, Trust Him today! 

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us. Ephesians 3:20
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Sunday, December 24, 2017

The Journey

I wrote this a few years ago and I was honored that one of our Middle School girls at church memorized this and said it at a banquet at church. You can click on the link to hear..

By: Amy von Oven

I woke up in a daze. I felt out of sorts and wasn't quite sure where I was. I began to walk around as if I was in some sort of twilight zone.

There were lights and people everywhere. The streets were crowded as children and adults ran faster and faster to get ahead of the crowd. My heart began to race as the commotion grew stronger and stronger.

I stood in the center as if I were I statue frozen in time. Parents and children alike dashed passed me, breaking me down faster and faster.

There were tears and laughter and even screaming as people ran by. What was going on? What could be  this important?

I suddenly felt strangely cold as I wrapped my blanket tightly around my shivering body. My curiosity began dancing around in my mind and I was like a child in a candy store.

I had to know.... what was going on?

I followed the ever growing crowd as we walked further and further into what seemed like the unknown. The dark clouds began to steam above our heads. My stomach began rolling in knots and I followed the crowd.

My feet grew tired and my body was numb.

My mind was racing as I wondered if we walking after anything at all. Could anything be this important?

This special?

Worth this?

Just when I felt like I could go on no more, I saw a light coming from the center of the crowd and a man collapsed on the ground.

Who was it? Where are we? What is going on?

I made my way closer as I heard some laughing and others crying; I was so confused.

And then I heard the screaming….

"Crucify Him!"
"Crucify Him!"

WHAT?!?  It was Jesus.... Could this be real? This had to be a dream, but I was intrigued. I couldn't take my eyes off of Him.

I looked around and realized I was really in Jerusalem.

I watched as the crowd followed His broken and beaten body all the way to Golgotha to be crucified.  They yelled and screamed and my heart broke.

I watched Mary as she watched her son. She watched as He was beaten and hung on a cross. I looked deep into her eyes as I saw the love and hurt.

In that very moment, I was taken back to the manger and the moment it all began. You see, Mary gave birth to the Savior of this world. She obeyed God and she loved Him and cared for Him. She trusted that God had a plan. A plan bigger than she could imagine.

I wonder what so many must of thought as Jesus died on the cross that day. Were they too taken back to the manger and the realization that this truly was the Savior born to save us?

I think about the journey from the manger to the cross and what He went through to teach so many, and yet it was not until He was gone that so many really understood.

I thought about the journey of so many that walked that road to Golgotha. The tears, exhaustion, cold and fear no longer mattered. What mattered was that moment and that they believed. It wasn't how they got there, but that they had followed the journey.

Without the journey from the manger to the cross....there would be no reality that Christ loves us enough to walk through life with us, just as we are. There would be no promise, no hope. The journey is a precious gift. A precious gift teaching us patience, hope, love and perseverance.

Without the journey we would have no hope that it truly does hold the most amazing and precious gift ever...eternal life.

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