The future is bright

I am one hour and 15 minutes away from surviving my first week as an elementary school teacher.

Am I tired? You bet!

But my heart is full in a way that it hasn’t been before. Each morning I am greeted with a smile and a hug from a young student who is eager to learn. I have a chance to make an impact on their attitude towards school and their future opportunities. We use kind, positive words and encourage them to do the same.

Yes, I miss sleeping later and working out after the sun comes up, but I feel thankful for this opportunity!

I challenge you to think about your current situation. Are you fulfilled? Are you growing? Are you using the skills that God gave you?

I heard this quote recently and loved it: “Life shouldn’t be about working to make money. It should be about relationships.”

 

Because He is, I am.

I am enough.

This past weekend I had the opportunity to go to an amazing retreat called Winsome. It is in a beautiful spot in the mountains of Pennsylvania and I was excited about getting away for the weekend to be with other women and enjoy fellowship together.

As I was driving there I was wondering who else might be there. And then I started thinking about the clothes I brought. Should I have brought some nicer things? Maybe different jewelry? What if when I arrived none of the women who I knew where there and I had no one to talk to? I had been asked to speak about my book and was suddenly worried that I would forget what to say or that no one would care.

Has self doubt ever gotten the better of you and anxiety steals the place of excitement?

Why do we let this happen?

As the retreat got underway I forgot about my worry and settled into an inviting worship time. It didn’t matter what I was wearing or who I was with. What mattered was that I was there with a yearning to grow closer to God and fill my heart with His love.

I was quickly reminded that I am enough because He is enough.

And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work (2 Corinthians 9:8 NIV).

The retreat was wonderful! I saw my friends, made many new ones, drank a lot of coffee and wished that I had brought my comfy sweat pants. Next time I feel those familiar pangs of self doubt creep in, I will remember….I am enough.

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My story is not just mine.

When people read my book, I often hear, “Wow, you’re brave.” Telling a personal story that involves pain is scary and makes you vulnerable, but I feel strongly that it is important in order to help others. I kept my secret until I was 43 years old. Scared of being judged, I was full of guilt and shame. Today I am able to tell my story as a testimony to God’s grace. I will continue to share in order to help other women understand that they are not alone. My story may shock some, but it is one of many….

According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN):

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.

4 times more likely to contemplate suicide.

I am one of the lucky ones. Thanks to God’s grace and my ability to forgive my abusers, I am able to live a life full of love. As you can see from the statistics above, many aren’t as lucky.

My goal is to help others find freedom and healing through God’s grace. This is why I chose to share my story.

My story is about much more than just me. l-298041

Swirling in the wind

I’m hunkered down for #blizzard2016, thankful that I live in a house with 4 sons and a husband who don’t mind the shoveling. As I look outside at the snow on the ground, my eyes go upward towards the sky. The wind is strong and some of the snowflakes are being blown sideways, but every once in a while the wind slows down as if to take a breath before the next big exhale. The snowflakes seem to float and swirl, not sure which way to go. My mind wanders and I start thinking……I’ve been like these snowflakes.snowflakes

Have you ever felt so lost that you are floating around with no direction?

Maybe it’s a job that you go to every day and feel like you’re not growing or being used to your best ability. Perhaps it’s a relationship that seems to be going no where.

Have you been pushed in a direction that you’re not sure you want to go?

You feel called to do something that is a risk. Maybe you’re scared of losing control or giving up what you are used to. What will people think?

It’s during times like these that we must lean on God and not on our own understanding, because unlike a snowflake, we have a source to turn to for direction. That source is our God. All we have to do is ask Him for help.

When we feel lost we must PRAY and LISTEN for the answer.

If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. (James 1:5 NLT)

 

He makes all things new!

It’s almost New Years Eve. I have always loved the thrill of the countdown to a new beginning. It was on this night, 22 years ago that my husband proposed to me at the strike of midnight and I remember the magical moment as if it was yesterday. We have had many happy New Years Eve celebrations together since and enjoy remembering the years that have past.

As I reflect on 2015, shake my head in disbelief. Last time this year I was in a job that left me feeling unfulfilled, unsure of the path that I felt that God was leading me to. I had been writing and blogging, but wasn’t sure that I had the courage or strength to really go forward with my story. This is when God made it clear to me. He put people in my path to help answer my questions, build my confidence, and showed me the way. I published a book about my journey to forgiveness and faith; something I never thought I’d do.

Isn’t it wonderful how He can do that? He can wipe away our insecurities and allow us to see that He is all we need. All we have to do is trust Him! We can make plans and resolutions, but He will guide us to our true purpose and knows what we really need.

So as 2016 quickly approaches, I think about how I can improve my health, my role as a mom and a wife, and make goals for my personal and spiritual life. But my biggest resolution is to thank God everyday for guiding me to His love and for giving me the strength to reach my goals.

Thank you for reading my little blog and encouraging me this year! I look forward to what He brings for us all in 2016!

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Please wait

Have you ever had a time in your life when things aren’t going as planned and you wonder if God is trying to show or teach you something?

I feel like God is teaching me about patience right now.

It is a nice, sunny Saturday and I had a full day planned of pre-Christmas fun and festivities. But sometimes our plans get interrupted don’t they?

Instead of going to the craft fair at my church, I am sitting in my mom’s hospital room as we wait to see the doctor. She came in via ambulance yesterday after falling and now has a compressed fracture in the lumbar section of her spine. I am waiting for the doctor to tell me what the options are as we wait for an MRI. (Apparently there is one machine for the entire hospital and other people need it too).

I am writing this from my laptop because my cell phone is officially dead. My husband took it to the AT&T store and they can’t get any data, contacts or pictures off of it. As a busy mom of 4 sons and a very silly dog, this is very upsetting. How is this teaching me about patience? I won’t have my new phone until Tuesday…..

It is lunchtime and I’m hungry, but I don’t want to leave in case the doctor comes by…..patience, please!6bc84695af949900c9808059b3f0e079

But then I hear myself whining, and I think about the other people in this hospital. The parents in the children’s wing who are also asking for patience and answers. The woman I saw being wheeled into radiology…. They would probably like to get some lunch too.

So I will sit and be thankful that my mom is in a good hospital and smile as I chew my gum and wait.

Thanks for the lesson God!

 

Feeling blessed

I had an amazing book launch party on Sunday! As I was surrounded by family and friends, I realized how blessed I am. I pray that my little book will reach all who need it and pray that others will find my journey of faith and forgiveness inspiring. Here are a few pictures of my special day!

 

 

Becoming your best self

Isn’t it great how God puts certain people in your path? 81d952b36933b6f71b26a34dd785d660Have you ever met someone and you know that you met them for a reason? My friend Lisa and I met on this blog and immediately we had a connection.

She has a beautiful blog and a gift for inspiring others.

Becoming Your Best Self Blog

I’m excited to be with her today to share how forgiveness can help us all become our best selves. I hope you’ll join us!

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Fear of rejection

We all fear rejection, it’s human nature. Fear that we won’t fit in (remember middle school?), fear that we won’t get the job, fear that we won’t make a good impression. Being rejected makes us feel unworthy.

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When writing a book, every author worries about rejection. Will anyone read it? What will critics say? After all the time spent on edits, re-writes, and drafts, it is difficult to take rejection lightly.

I was full of fear when I asked for a professional review of my book. It took several weeks, so I waited. During the waiting, I realized that there was nothing else that I could do. I prayed (a lot!) and found comfort in this verse (Isaiah 41:10):

Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.
Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you.
I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.

The moment finally came and I received my first real review for my book. God was right, I didn’t need to be worried. My faith in my writing and in God’s love for me was stronger than my fear of rejection.

What is your fear holding you back from? 

To read the review of my book, Out of the Darkroom, Into the Light: A Story of Faith and Forgiveness After Child Abuse, click here. The book launches on Monday!