Through The Thickest Of Thorns Redemption Is Born

Through The Thickest Of Thorns Redemption Is Born

The pieces once left before me made me believe life as I knew it was nothing but empty. One by one the petals were ripped away — I knew from this moment forth my life would never be the same. All that remained was the stem of thorns, which convinced me my life couldn’t possibly have purpose anymore.

I had grasped on to those thorns because it was the last of all I’d known. Broken and worn I couldn’t do this anymore. These damaged wounded palms weeped for a release because truth be told my life was the furthest thing from living in peace.

With the faintest glimpse of hope, I slowly started to release, and instead chose to cling to the promise He could and He would restore my broken heart and soul. Deep within my heart I was convicted this facade of love was something I had to completely let go.

Then came the day I humbly laid my broken worn stem of thorns before the throne. It was in His mercy and grace, He began to prune the dead pieces away. My heart began to beat life again in an entirely new and beautiful way.

I finally encountered a newfound love — a love here to stay. A love that pursued me to my darkest trenches, and committed to never let me go. A love in the deepest capacity I had yet to fathom or even come to know.

“Where can I go from your spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I got up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.” Psalm 139:7-8

The tears never went to waste as they served quite an important job; though in the moment it felt like they were drowning me, God’s intent was to grow me. God had a specific plan for the tiniest seed of faith I humbly planted, and with the watering of my tears began to grow something far more beautiful than I could have ever imagined.

“He heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds.” – Psalm 147:3

Though the thorns created scars, the scars painted the picture of a redemptive story. Because Jesus was working it all for good, as promised, in exchange to magnify His glory.

When I learned to love me, and recognized the magnitude of what Jesus had done in His sacrifice of life to make me free, I began to live my life completely differently.

Wholeness and incomparable joy were genuinely felt for the very first time. I praised God with unending gratitude for every broken moment; those moments lead me to where I now stand firm in faithfulness today because healing had finally taken place. The Lord ignited a fire in my heart and spirit to give anything and everything to empower others to also seek Jesus’s face — to faithfully remind them that their pain would become anything but a waste.

“The spirit of The Lord God is upon me, because The Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the broken-hearted to proclaim liberty to captives and freedom to prisoners” Isaiah 61:1

When you come to this place where your contentment is in Jesus alone, you my friend have become whole. He longs to bless you and revive the old into something beautiful and new. Or, even completely surprise you with something that might just be right behind you.

Even through the thickest of thorns, redemption can be born in many impeccable different forms. The real question is will you simply, yet boldly, proclaim, “I trust you Lord”?

“See I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:19


I would like to extend a huge thanks and unending gratitude for Ashia Mosley with Ashia Mosley Photography

Follow on Facebook + Instagram @ashiamosleyphotography

Ashia has been a faithful friend and one incredible woman of God. You will without a doubt be blessed by her presence, passion, and God given gift of photography.

When I Sat in Seat 29D

When I Sat in Seat 29D

Ever have those moments where you’re faced with two choices, but have to make a decision within a split second without much thought at all?

Seat 29D was one of those for me.

I was traveling home from Chicago on September 21, 2019. One of my coworkers happened to be on the same flight, and I almost offered her my seat to trade because the circumstances may have been more convenient for her. Within the moment I was about to offer, something in my spirit nudged me like I wasn’t supposed to. I had no idea why, but I just had this discernment not to — it was just a seat anyway, right?

As we took off, nothing appeared out of the ordinary, and I just rubbed off the feeling of needing to be in this seat for some distinct reason.

Midway through the flight I took out my book, Faithfully Fervent, and began to take notes on certain quotes I could make teaching or inspirational points out of. I could feel the gaze of the man sitting directly to my right, and he inquisitively asked me what I was reading. In my response of telling him it was my story I wrote, he appeared to be taken aback. He shared with me that the back of the cover was what initially caught his eye because of the words, “It’s Time to Stand”. Once he peered over my shoulder and caught a glimpse of my chapter on radical love, he stated he felt inclined to inquire.

He shared, “We need more of this bold faith in the world.”

As he asked me to share my story, we mutually were stunned because he proclaimed to also walk an incredibly similar journey to mine. The man unraveled the details of his testimony, and I came to learn he became a pastor that traveled all over the world to share the gospel. His opportunities he had been blessed with all derived from his bold decision to ask God to use him and his story – for HIS glory – and He DID.

I will never forget the most powerful thing he spoke over me. He said,

“You just watch. Your faithfulness and obedience is about to open doors you couldn’t imagine. God’s going to use your story. You can quote me now.”

“This calls for patient endurance on the part of the people of God who keep his commands and remain faithful to Jesus.” Revelation 14:12

There is no other explanation for this encounter on my flight other than God. All I can say is I’m glad I chose to keep my seat after all.

Sometimes it’s a scary thought to want to share our story. It’s vulnerable, it’s messy, and it’s real. With our story we will face opposition and more than likely condemnation from some.

But let us not forget that our most difficult opposition will never equate to the power behind an even greater opportunity.

The opportunity to share the gospel. The opportunity to bring hope and healing by pointing people to the ultimate healer. The healer who resurrects even our darkest deepest pains and shames. The opportunity to show people what true freedom is — Jesus.

Gladly take the seat God ordained for you. You never know just who may be sitting next to you as you share your story, and how His glory will be brought out of you.

“But you should keep a clear mind in every situation. Don’t be afraid of suffering for the Lord. Work at telling others the Good News, and fully carry out the ministry God has given you.” 2 Timothy 4:5

Faithfully Fervent: On Sale Now

Faithfully Fervent: On Sale Now

Summary:

Faithfully Fervent takes you along the journey of how Christ resurrected a once-dead life inside and invigorated a radical fight for love and redemption. This journey is rooted in what it means to truly stand for Christ and His promises when faced with the most debilitating adversity. Faithfully Fervent takes you through a transformative process to equip you to stand firm as a child of God despite the world’s invitation to run.

This book empowers you:

To say yes to becoming a fierce warrior.

To run your race with endurance and chase the prize that is Christ.

To faithfully choose to become victorious when, against all odds, the world pressures you to do otherwise.

Strip off all your pride. Deny self, Pick up your cross. Get ready to live free and do a mighty work to bring glory to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Your story serves a mighty purpose because God isn’t finished with you yet.

Come along on the journey to being Faithfully Fervent.

Continue reading “Faithfully Fervent: On Sale Now”

The Vanity in Victimization

The Vanity in Victimization

Very few people have learned my story of being physically and sexually abused in the past. In extreme transparency I open up about the dangers of falling into the trap of living in a state of victimization, and how powerfully Christ can redeem trauma by transformation.

Vanity manifests from victimization because your focus is only on YOU.

Your pain. Your burdens. Your unfairness.

Victimization breeds bitterness, resentment, a constant state of suffering, and completely prevents you from healing.

It becomes all consuming, exhausting, and isolating.

Instead of dealing with my trauma, I chose to repress it.

As a result this is what happened to me:

  • I longed for control in any area of my life because at one point it was robbed from me
  • I struggled to cope when things didn’t go as planned because I couldn’t function when control was taken from me
  • I built up walls that were once seen as “protection” that lead to defensiveness and victimization
  • I couldn’t sit still or have any “free time” in my life because it served as my outlet to compensate for actually processing my pain
  • There was little room for grace because any pain inflicted upon me convinced me to believe that person had to automatically be against me
  • When I was abandoned in my marriage, I had the prime opportunity to feed that deeply engraved victim role. Instead, God took hold of my heart and told me, “I’m going to use your pain as a trajectory”.

    See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction. For my own sake, for my own sake, I do this. How can I let myself be defamed? I will not yield my glory to another.” Isaiah 48:10-11

    I realized there was something rooted within me that allowed me to always feel like the victim, and as if the world was falling apart every time control was ripped from me.

    I prayed for The Lord to reveal everything to me. In turn, through my dreams, He replayed my traumatic events before me that I fought for so long to run from. I finally had understanding.

    Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Matthew 7:7

    I decided I was going to be done with being the victim, and choose to take the stand as a victor. I could stand confident as a victor because Christ already declared it into existence before me.

    I was a survivor. I was rescued. I was healed. All because I allowed Jesus to reveal the hidden root, and with open palms welcomed redemption to begin.

    Are you going to be the person who points the finger? Or are you going to fight to be the person who draws the circle? The circle that says, let me step back and examine ME.

    Develop an acceptance and awareness that each and every one of us is fallen and broken because of sin. We are not perfect, and that’s completely okay.

    What’s not okay is to blame someone else or the circumstances you’ve faced in your life for the state you choose to live in.

    Yes, I said choose. Because it’s our choice.

    People and situations are not responsible for how you respond.

    Tragedy can become a trajectory because of the power behind Christ’s mighty love for you.

    We can either be free and believe the truth that Christ will heal me, or succumb to the lie and blame the people or places around me.

    Our circumstances don’t define us when Christ defied our circumstances by His sacrifice on the cross.

    Stop living in the blame, and instead ask God to reveal how He can utilize you through your pain to bring glory back to HIS name!

    Yes, the trauma or pain you have endured be so dang difficult to fight through. Friends, remember there’s absolutely nothing you can’t do with Christ walking alongside you.

    Your pain will NEVER go to waste. Your pain has purpose.

    I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” Romans 8:18

    Once you shift the “why me?” to the “how can you use me?”, you will see freedom and healing and transform that victim into victory.

    Surrender before our mighty defender, and expectantly watch your beautiful transformation unfold right in front of you.

    Materialism Manipulated Me

    Materialism Manipulated Me

    Investing confidence in financial or materialistic things robs you from the freedom Christ died to bring.

    Don’t get me wrong, having or desiring really nice things are not always a bad thing. While I say that, it’s imperative you sustain an awareness of it not taking root and becoming a heart issue.

     “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” Matthew 6:24

    Keep in check where your driving factors come from:

    Does it drive you closer to Jesus, or dig the hole deeper into sin?

    Does it drive you to work hard to convince people you’re happy, when reality is you’re nothing but empty?

    Does it drive you to be selfish in places you should be selfless?

    Does it drive dependence in the world or on the One who created the world?

    It’s important to keep tabs on the places you find your deepest drive in selfishness. It’s in those places that God is trying to show you that there is something in you that needs to be humbled and renewed.

    “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:21

    The scary thing about glorifying our lives with worldly things is you end up preaching the wrong gospel.

    You proudly preach, “look at me – then you’ll be happy”. By this people start to believe success, money, travel, and materialism really will satisfy.

    Reality is, it’s nothing but a massive lie because we know the truth is this world can never satisfy.

    “Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income. This too is meaningless.” Ecclesiastes 5:10

    Don’t let materialism manipulate you

    Instead, we should be more proud to say, “look at what Jesus has done for me, within me, and what He can also do for you – so you can find freedom too”.

    I had my own fair share of battles with financial status and security. It became an ugly idol. This idol conformed my identity to the likeliness of the world, and made me my own enemy.

    • I was driven to have my dream car (Explorer) because it looked like a Range Rover.

    • I was driven to go back to school to become a Nurse Practitioner for better hours and higher salary.

    • I was driven to believe going on fun trips would give me the opportunity to escape problems or things I was avoiding.

    • I was driven not to tithe because I was so worried about building a significant financial security blanket, yet I made sure to have money for things I deemed “worthy” – superficially.

    What a stab, worthy. Isn’t is sad how easily we find ourselves just so entitled and worthy. Truth is, we deserve absolutely nothing, but our Savior gave us everything.

    How is it that I could be so consumed in doing what was “best for me” while I completely neglected praising my savior for how HE blessed me.

    He blessed me so I could bless others, not to live for self.

    “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. Malachi 3:10

    While sometimes having and doing nice things can be fun or de-stressing, I allowed myself to get carried away to fill the void of needing Jesus.

    *Enter conviction*

    I started tithing. I sold my dream car. I withdrew from NP school. I moved to the suburbs, and gave up city life.

    When my paycheck comes, my first 10% is now immediately tithed before any other financial obligation – no matter how scary it may seem. I can affirm without a doubt God will provide and bless me. Scripture says so.

    He knew I didn’t need the fancy car. He knew I wasn’t meant to be a NP, but instead, He wanted me to pursue ministry. He knew I didn’t need a high-rise because He wanted me to have an extra room to better serve HIS people who may have a need.

    I gave up several material things that were significantly driving me, and today I feel freer then free.

    My prayer is that you too will search your heart, and ask Him to reveal if there’s anything that could use a little “less of me”.

    Trust me, God has no problem giving us a dose of humility. God convicts us each differently, but longs to do it lovingly – to give you freedom.

    Let’s spend less time making our lives look pretty, and instead make our hearts and how we steward others pretty.

    Be financially free and trust God will make you rich by the grace of His promises.

    “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’” Hebrews 13:5

    Show Me Your Scars

    Show Me Your Scars

    We all have scars.

    Some, more prominent than others, yet none serve as a lack of significance.

    Our scars tell a story.

    Where we’ve been. The trauma we’ve lived. The fire we’ve walked through. The pain once rooted deep within.

    We’re quick to cover up our scars out of shame, or the potential of dimming the beauty that’s found within. Scars usually aren’t pretty. We don’t want people to see them because we don’t only want to be seen by them. Our initial response is more than likely not to be proud of them. Depending where you’ve been, you may feel they’re best to never be talked about again.

    We don’t have to be proud of where we’ve been. More times than not we’d probably wish those circumstances or decisions would’ve never existed.

    While you don’t have to be proud of the events, things, or places that created those scars, I do challenge you to be proud of what they’ve made you, and who you are because of them.

    Some scars may be superficial while others are deep gashes that took what seems to have been forever to mend.

    I want to share a significant portion of John 20 about Jesus and His scars. When Jesus was resurrected He came back to see his disciples, and they knew for certain it was Him because of His scars.

    “…He showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord…Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, ‘We have seen the Lord!’ But he said to them, ‘unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.’ A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you!’ Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.’ Thomas said to him, ‘My Lord and my God!'” John 20:20, 24-28

    When I came across this story, I personally was inspired to write about it from a different perspective of the scars we bear in our own lives.

    Jesus wasn’t ashamed by His scars. He knew His people would know it was HIM by witnessing the scars He showed them!

    My friends, why don’t we do the same!

    Why don’t we instead take a bold stance and tell the world that our scars are just fruitful testaments that God faithfully fulfills His promises!

    Jesus’ scars from the cross didn’t just define Him by where He’s been. It wasn’t left at crucifixion – It was boldly glorified by His RESURRECTION! The story of the gospel lives and breathes because it didn’t stop at the cross. He was meant to do what God ultimately destined Him to – to RISE, LIVE, and BREATHE so He could powerfully live on in each and every one of you.

    Your scars don’t define you by where you’ve been. No, instead, they give you the opportunity to share the gospel by faithfully proclaiming of what Jesus has done WITHIN!

    Your scars may have really hurt, and still may. But friends, it cannot even begin to compete with the testament of what Jesus Christ has done in you, and the legacy you now leave behind you.

    So, show me your scars.

    Share your story.

    Proudly be bold to bring God all the glory.

     

    “You restored me to health and let me live. Surely it was for my benefit that I suffered such anguish. In your love you kept me from the pit of destruction; you have put all my sins behind your back.” Isaiah 38:16-17

    Rock Bottom. The Brunt of Brokenness.

    Rock Bottom. The Brunt of Brokenness.

    When you hear the phrase “hit rock bottom” it’s fair to assume the context is one of negative connotation.

    Darkness. The lowest point. Excruciatingly painful. The end.

    In dealing with family, friends, or relationships where a loved one has strayed into a prodigal, it’s incredibly common you hear,

    “they’ll have to hit rock bottom at some point”

    But why?

    It’s a hopeful cry of desperation that they’ll come back around. Come back around as the old self they once were, or a completely new self – exceedingly better than before.

    Maybe at one point you were, or currently are, that prodigal.

    Is it not in our moments of desperation, where we literally have no deeper to fall, that we finally look up and cry out to Jesus that we need him, “now more than ever”? When you’re in a moment, or season, of hitting rock bottom it’s so easy to feel defeated.

    There’s no hope.
    No reason to carry on.
    You’ve finally messed up too much this time.
    There’s no way you can possibly redeem yourself.
    You’re unforgivable.
    You’re not worthy.
    You’re completely alone.

    What I find so fascinating about the term “rock bottom” is specifically the word, rock .

    Think about it – who is our ultimate rock? Jesus.

    It’s not surprising then when we hear testimonies of people who finally came to the end of themselves at rock bottom. In turn, they became completely transformed by Jesus.

    You have to believe, understand, and receive this truth: there is nothing you could do to destroy God’s plan for you. Jesus wants nothing more than to open his arms up to you, and welcome you home with merciful unending love and grace.

    “…but while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him, and kissed him. The son said to him, ‘ father, I have sinned against heaven and against you, I am no longer worthy to be your son’. But the father said to his servants, ‘quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet…for this son of mine was dead and is alive again, he was lost and is found.”  – Luke 14: 20-24

    Jesus eagerly anticipates the day you choose to look up in hope + truth instead of remain face down in the lie that your life is nothing but destitute.

    Rock bottom is finally putting an end to wrestling God, and creating a beginning of surrendering to God. What appears to be the end, in return, is an opportunity of a brand new beginning.

    ———————————————————————–

    Are you at rock bottom, friend?

    I’ll say this.

    I find freedom in rock bottom. While you may be in the brunt of your brokenness, you can fully trust that Jesus is going to fight to help you overcome + conquer this.

    Your brokenness, it doesn’t define you; it’s an opportunity to powerfully refine you.

    To heal you. To free you. To redeem you.

    “…I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will heal you.” – 2 Kings 20:5

    The lies the enemy has tried so hard to use to entangle you, have already been freely broken + defeated by the mighty Savior who died for you.

    I don’t know about you, but there’s no other solid ground I’d rather completely fall to my knees to – that of Jesus.

    My rock, my fortress, my defense.
    “The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” – Psalm 18:2

    It’s on that rock, whether on your knees or on your face…

    You will rise. You will stand. It’s only the beginning, not even near the end.

    You have a story God will use 100% for HIS glory. Choose to humbly submit. I promise you’ll be blessed by your testament.

    “…and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” – Matthew 16:18