A Time For Everything

We took a walk in Moca a few days ago. We strolled down paths that were dry and seemingly safe. The river that runs through the community was muddy, but peaceful. It actually appeared to be composed and amicable.

Truthfully, it was hard to believe that such a harmonious component of God’s creation could cause the turbulence it generated a few days ago.

As we trudged on through the recently hurricane wrecked village, some of the people explained, “I’ve lived here my entire life and I’ve never seen anything like this.”

It was difficult for me to accept.

The smooth, gentle water destroyed homes and ravished livelihoods of so many innocent dwellers just a few days ago. It rose several feet high with supernatural strength and swept away anything that collided with its path.

Homes, trees, farms, animals-the sustenance of life; was all gone in an instant.

As they all took turns to share their stories, my heart melted. Life, of late, has given me so many reasons to insist upon an icy heart, but it began to thaw as I took notice of my surroundings.

They sure had more reasons than me to complain, yet they all constantly thanked God for keeping them alive during the storm. They met death, yet safely parted. They valued their lives and the lives of their family and friends more than their loss. They have a true understanding of life’s worth.

Strangely, no one asked me for anything. They simply wanted to give God thanks for sparing them. They sure did a work on me!

As we began our adventure, I noticed one of our Moca church family’s crossing the river to get home. The bridge was knocked out during the storm and they had no other choice but to get wet in order to come to church. Mom, dad and baby had to walk through a river to get to church.

Let. It. Sink. In

I know that you and I have suffered too. I’ve been through quite a few things in life, but walking my family through a river to get to church has not yet made it my list of suffering. How about you?

We continued our journey. We wanted to visit our members who were affected by the storm. We wanted to reassure them of our love for them as they suffered. 

The trek to their homes was an eye opener for me. They faithfully take this journey more than once a week to worship God at our church.

Despair doesn’t stop them.

Discouragement didn’t turn them away.

They have to rebuild their lives with scarce tools, yet they carried on in stride.

The children collected avocados to sell. They still have hope.

When they were done gathering the fruit from the fallen tree, they played as children do. They remembered that there are still reasons to laugh-even when your house is washed away by a storm.

All of this has caused me to ponder upon life differently. Introspection leads my way lately.

What really matters? What am I striving for anyway? Why do I work so hard?

My husband’s recent sermon series lingers in my heart and in my mind right now. “There is a time for everything,” he confidently tells our churches, “…a time to laugh, a time to cry…”

His repeated words of the wise man beat within my heart tonight.

What am I doing with my time? How have I helped those who are crying today?

As he continues to read from the book of Ecclesiastes, my heart pounds and pauses for a second, “…for He (God) has placed eternity in the hearts of man…” 

My goal, my passion, my reason for being, my all should be focused on eternity as I walk through each moment in time. I think that our Moca friends understand that truth.

Their hearts are set on eternity.

They painlessly accepted their reality. They took God’s word to heart and faced their “time” with courage.

“Oh Lord, make me more like them,” was really all I could say as I walked away.

The river glided along in its peaceful fashion and life continued as usual. But I left that place with a new heart that’s ever so more determined to make every moment count and to make each occasion stretch into eternity.

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Someone Else

After my dinner of cream of broccoli soup, I eagerly nestled under my blankets.

I was tired.

I knew the night would feel long and dreary so I wanted to get a head start on my sleep.

Tonight would be the second consecutive night of hurricane winds. We are used to the howl of strong winds up here during hurricane season. The night before felt treacherous as the wind gushed against our home.

We could even feel our house shake at times.

The rain on the tin roof and the might of the powerful river only added to our anxiety. Tonight would be the same.

Another sleepless night.

Fear doesn’t keep me awake during storms. My husband went to great lengths to secure our safety up here on HOPE Mountain.

The bolstering wind and rain are simple reminders of the fact that I’m pretty safe here during storms.

My children snuggled in the room next to me. My other children were safe and accounted for. They all had dinner before nestling into their warm, confortable beds.

Yet, I faced another sleepless night.

I drank a cup of tea to help me relax. My hubby was on edge too. I blended a few of my favorite essential oils for relaxation and gave him a foot massage. Those oils work! He was out fast!

Yet, I stared at the ceiling. My mind wandered with questions focused on the same theme.

I knew that Jesus Ramos, one of our Moca church members, lost his house right after the last storm.

Why didn’t I move faster?

His children didn’t have a warm bed that night like mine. I’m not sure if they had a warm meal before bed.

I had been so caught up in my own life. I was so busy helping to run this ministry all the while forgetting that the “running” of it all is for Jose Ramos and others like him.

Sleep escaped me.

My heart actually hurt.

Why didn’t I move quicker?

“Lord, forgive me,” I prayed, “I know what it takes to help Jesus and his family yet I didn’t do it. Please give me another chance.”

Still, I was awake.

Wind pounded the wood that lines our mountain home. Trees leaned back and forth throughout the night. Roof tops shook and fought to stay put. The dogs howled all night. It was too loud for me to sleep.

The girls dorm flooded earlier that day so most of them were sleeping in the house. I couldn’t walk into my den to sit and read like I usually do on sleepless nights.

Instead I felt trapped by my lethargy.

I was too slow in finding aid for Jesus.

In a sense, I woke up!

I realized that I haven’t given enough.

The realization of the fact that my children were safe, fed and accounted for kind of made me feel privileged.

According to worldhunger.com, 66 million primary school-aged children attend classes hungry across the developing world. Habitat for Humanity says that 1.6 billion people lack adequate housing. The Global Slavery Index says that 30 million people are enslaved today!

Though Christianity remains the world’s largest religious group, still over half the world has no relationship with Christ.

It’s time for us to wake up!

If you have more than one outfit to wear and a meal that you can count on daily, you are privileged.

We can so easily get ourselves caught up in this world and so easily ignore the truth that faces us each day.

Someone else is hurting more than you right now.

There is someone else in more pain than you at the moment.

Another is hungry.

While you and I gleefully enjoy our own meals at home or at our favorite restaurant, someone else’s child is dying of hunger.

I know it’s a lot to take in.

I know that it’s easier to believe that you can get away with turning away from that truth.

I know that it’s easy to give a little so that we can feel better.

Yet, Christ gave His all!

Here on this earth, we are His hands and we are His feet.

Give a little more.

Give until it hurts.

Walk away from your comfort just a little bit more.

Someone else’s child was just sold at the Haitian/Dominican border.

Some other woman was just forced to commit an unthinkable act once again.

And we worry about what to wear tomorrow.

I’m not trying to make you feel bad. Take care of your family and of yourself first. Then teach your family and yourself to help someone else.

W.A.K.E UP!!!

This is real!

People made with flesh and blood like you and me are suffering and you really can help.

Your small dent and my little chip in the wall of world suffering will make a difference because it would be multiplied by God.

He multiplies at the exponential level. Like the little boy who gave his fish and bread. Like the shepherd boy who used his slingshot and stone. Like Mary who simply said, “Yes.”

All you and I have to do is allow Him to use our little. He can take what is small and cause it to grow.

Jesus Ramos lost his house in a storm and we will soon begin to rebuild his house because we did what we knew to do to help.

He came to our church because we first helped someone else in his village when they lost their house because of a storm. That person led Jesus to Christ which led him to be baptized here on HOPE Mountain way before this current disaster occurred.

All because we started in that community with one!

Just do something!

Someone else needs you right now.

Stop focusing on your problems, though they seem insurmountable.

Stop bringing up the past.

Stop licking your wounds.

Wake up. Get up. Show up.

Allow God to use you right where you are.

Make yourself useful across the globe as well!

Tonight we’ll have Dominican hot chocolate with a freshly baked cinnamon torta for dinner. We will then snuggle up under our sheets with our secured roof over our heads.

And we’ll do our part to ensure the same for Jesus Ramos and others like him.

God Help Us Now!

Matthew 19:1-12 When Jesus had finished saying these things, he left Galilee and went down to the region of Judea east of the Jordan River.  Large crowds followed him there, and he healed their sick. Some Pharisees came and tried to trap him with this question: “Should a man be allowed to divorce his wife for just any reason?” 

“Haven’t you read the Scriptures?” Jesus replied. “They record that from the beginning ‘God made them male and female.’  And he said, “‘This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.’ Since they are no longer two but one, let no one split apart what God has joined together.”

 “Then why did Moses say in the law that a man could give his wife a written notice of divorce and send her away?” they asked. 

Jesus replied, “Moses permitted divorce only as a concession to your hard hearts, but it was not what God had originally intended.  And I tell you this, whoever divorces his wife and marries someone else commits adultery—unless his wife has been unfaithful.” 

Jesus’ disciples then said to him, “If this is the case, it is better not to marry!”

 “Not everyone can accept this statement,” Jesus said. Only those whom God helps. Some are born as eunuchs, some have been made eunuchs by others, and some choose not to marry for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven. Let anyone accept this who can.”

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Jesus gives difficult counsel here. He actually lays down God’s law concerning marriage. His plan was and is for married couples to stay together. He desires for married couples to “work it out” and to not divide what “He put together”. This command from Christ can sometimes feel harsh.

 

When marriage feels useless and the pain is so very intense, He says, “Stay together.” When everything in us wants to walk away, He responds with, “Walk towards one another.” When the lack of forgiveness wants to reign and to decide for the couple, His gentle response is, “Forgive.” When infidelity invades and the hurt shakes you to the core, He says, “Try one more time.” He really doesn’t want us to give up, but so many times we want to quit.

 

Sadly, that desire comes to life when we ponder on all of what our marriage doesn’t have. When we focus on all of who our spouse isn’t rather than looking at who our spouse is, giving up seems to make sense.

 

Quitting doesn’t sound so bad when our eyes choose not to see the beauty that our spouse may posses. The tormenting thoughts of division take residence in our hearts when we don’t allow God to help us.

 

We are entrenched in a society that is full of self helps. We live in a “pull yourself up by the bootstrap” world that can oftentimes dismiss our need for God. Christ clearly tells us in Matthew 19 that we will only be able to cary this out if He helps us. We cannot do it alone.

 

We need His power.

 

We need His truth.

 

We need His grace.

 

We need His ability to forgive.

 

We need His unconditional love.

 

We need His help.

 

He says that He put us together. We need to honor God’s position in our marriage by choosing to reach out for His help when we hurt.

 

His assistance is available at this very moment.*

 

No more living in the same home with someone you’ve emotionally divorced.

 

No more sharing a bed with one that is disconnected from your love.

 

Wake up and fight. Your marriage is worth it. God’s divine help is available to you at this very moment.

 

If you need to be noticed, God sees you.

 

If you feel unloved, God loves you.

 

If you feel misunderstood, God understands you.

 

If you feel neglected, God takes care of you.

 

If you’ve been betrayed, God is always faithful.

 

Whatever the pain, however deep the wound, God heals.

 

Your spouse isn’t capable of meeting all of your needs. Your spouse cannot make you happy or heal you wounds. Your spouse cannot fill the gap in your soul that only God can fill. Put your spouse in the right place in your heart and move on from here.

 

God is enough.

 

You can try again because He will help you if you ask. It’s not complicated. Don’t “theologize” the above scripture. Extract the simplicity therein. He will help you if you ask.

 

“It’s not me”, you may say, “My spouse walked away.” You still have a responsibility to fight. Your spouse is worth it. The legacy that you both will leave behind is worth it. The testimony you’ll share together is worth it and it defeats the enemy. The standard you set for your children and grandchildren is worth it.

 

Keep fighting.

 

Keep loving.

 

Don’t let the difficulties you face in your marriage change YOU. Continue to be whom God’s called you to be in your home first, then to the outside world.

 

Continue to carry out His purpose for your life at home first, then to the outside world.

 

Keep forgiving, 70×7=ALWAYS!

 

Try one more time today. Then try again tomorrow. Then try again the next day. Then the day after that. Keep trying. Keep moving forward even when the light isn’t in sight. Keep walking it out, even when your eyes swell from the constant tears. It matters. Your marriage matters. Let nothing separate what God has put together. Your position in it all will take you far if you don’t give up the fight.

 

Ask God for help and He will help you.

 

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*I understand that sometimes asking for help doesn’t provide the response we expected. It is still important to ask because one day we will stand before Him and give a response to His face for our response today. So, if you’ve asked and the help didn’t come the way you wanted, don’t regret asking. Obeying God is always the right thing to do, regardless of the outcome.

Help, I Don’t Want to Be Sad Anymore!

I can remember it so well, it feels as if it happened yesterday. The moment that I realized that our family really did move to another country. The moment when the reality of that revelation hit me was like the impact of a truck crashing into a building!

I was trying to fall asleep and couldn’t so I got up to spend time online. As I caught up on group messages from friends in the states and looked at pictures of friends on Facebook, tears welled up within me.

As the flood of sadness overwhelmed me, I was tempted to stuff it like I’d always do. I didn’t want to feel sad, so I would tell myself that this moment would soon end and try really hard to think of something happy. I did this for months. Yet, I was still sad!

Sadness was defeating to me. I didn’t want to admit that I wasn’t handling it well. I know that I planned well for our move. I took the fact that I would miss everyone into consideration. I considered everything we experienced, but considering and experiencing are not the same thing!

Reality hit and it hit me hard.

I couldn’t escape the sadness that night, so I inched myself into a fetal position and began to cry. I cried and cried and cried.

The tears wouldn’t stop. My “faking it until I make it” dam had come crashing down and there was really nothing I could do about it. As the grief in my soul toppled over, I could hear myself saying, “Help, I don’t want to be sad anymore.”

My Helper seemed to not respond because the more I cried, the more heartsick I became.

Sadness, the emotion that we avoid at all costs is the one we need more than we think. Lisa Firestone, PhD. says, “Sadness is a live emotion that can serve to remind us of what matters to us, what gives our life meaning.” We actually need sadness to help us live a balanced life.

So why do we avoid sadness?

Most times, we are afraid to face what is causing us the sadness. That was my reason. Facing it meant that I had to accept it. I did not want to accept the truth of my life. I wanted to wish it away. I didn’t want to deal with it.

So pretending made sense in my then warped mind.

I didn’t think that anyone would understand. I didn’t think that I mattered that much to anyone. I was afraid that people would question God’s call on our lives if I told the truth. So I gave evasive answers when people asked me how I was doing. “Today was a hard day, but God is good, I’ll be okay.” “I’ve had better days, but its all good.” You know, the fake answers that give enough information to let them know that you aren’t perfect, but  you’ve got it all under control.

Truthfully, I didn’t have it under control. 

Though I truly believed that God was good, I had a hard time seeing His goodness during that time. I was sad everyday.

It wasn’t depression, though I believe it could’ve gone that way. I still functioned well everyday. I laughed with my family and new friends. I ate well and slept well most nights. I lived and wanted to live.

Sadness just took over when I reminisced about my life in the states. So that night, I faced the sadness. It was like opening the closet door and looking the hidden monster in the face and realizing that it wasn’t as horrible as I’d imagined.

Facing the sadness made me appreciate my life more. It gave me new perspective. I began to see people and life differently. I learned to appreciate everyone in my life because of sadness.*

It didn’t feel good to cry that way, but those tears ushered in my healing.

So, why not try it? Let yourself feel the sadness that you try so hard to hide. Let yourself go there. Feel the grief. Feel the disappointment. Embrace those emotions because they usher in the happiness. Remember that happiness is also an emotion. Happiness is really based upon the happenings of our life. Just like sadness, happiness is linked to events.

Take yourself for all of what you are. Don’t leave out any part of you as you live your life. Be all of who you are. Grasp on to your whole self and love each and every inch of you!

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*If you find yourself sad all of the time and you can’t function, get help. Quickly find professional help! You can find help here. I really love these places, Eden Counseling Center  and The Christian Training Center. Both of these ministries have helped me throughout life. 

 

My Grandmother’s Weakness

I stood before the mirror and took a deep look at myself. I noticed the black circles forming under my eyes. The “way back” forehead that made me the brunt of many jokes as a child. The defined cheek bones that run deeply in my roots. The beautifully darkened skin that speaks of my strength and dignity. “I look like my grandmother,” I thought.

Our resemblance is uncanny. Throughout life people often times thought I was her daughter. My resemblance of her doesn’t take a halt at my face and bone structure. Our resemblance lies within our character.

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She was bold. I am bold.

She endured long. I endure long.

We are not afraid.

Or are we?

I began to remember my grandmother differently that morning. Sure she was afraid. Fear was there, but fear didn’t rule. She, a single mother to many, dominated fear every day. She conquered that life limiting emotion with grace. Today I honor and embrace the weaknesses of my grandmother. In doing so, I honor and embrace my own.

The part of her that she fought so hard to hide from me, her baby girl that never grew up, shows up in her baby girl most days.

That part that made her vulnerable makes me vulnerable.

The place in her that would not let us cross that line shows itself in me. That place that said, “Don’t mess with me” speaks out in my heart today.

You see, I took on my grandmothers weaknesses when I took on her strength. Basically, it was her weakness that made her so strong in Him.

She was a dichotomy. She was weak, yet she was strong. 

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I never realized these truths until the day that I stood in the mirror and saw her in me.

My grandmother was my confidant. I called or texted her every day from the Dominican Republic.

She was so strong. Not once did I think that my multiple problems affected her. She always knew what to say. “This too shall pass Vicki.” “Vicki, God’s got this.” “He hears our conversation and He is working it out.” “You can never get too far from Him. He is always there.”

She never made me feel like she was tired, though I know she was. She never made me feel like I was causing her stress, though I’m sure I did.

She laughed with me. She prayed with me. She became my lifeline. All while being weak.

Understand, her granddaughter, the one she nurtured from birth moved away. I didn’t just move around the corner. I took all of her great grandchildren to another country. She was hurt by that choice, but she never let the hurt choose for her when we talked. Instead she trusted the God who called me to the mission field to sustain as her she missed us.

Right now, I feel weak. God’s strength is my axis on this titled earth. A feeble sensation flows within me every time I blog. I’ve chosen to use that nervous energy for good by letting you know that it takes a Power far beyond myself to accomplish God’s plan for my life. That same Power is available to you. Feeling frail isn’t a good enough reason to not do what He has called us to do.

My grandmother’s death has forced me to finally grow up and to seek after the God who created me. She isn’t here for me to call. I miss her.

My grandmother saw me through special eyes. Her focus was on the person that lives within me. She never ever made me think that she saw me as I saw myself. She was convinced that I was unstoppable. She really made me believe that I could do anything. She taught me to never take “no” for an answer to anything that God had for me. My grandmother taught me to fight. Her own life made her an amazing teacher.

Ladies, its okay to admit that you are weak. It is okay to not be at your best. It’s okay to talk about your fears. The wonderful reality is that weakness and fear didn’t define my grandmother and it doesn’t define you or me.

It’s simply a part of the process of living.

I gave up on the idea that I’m on a road to somewhere. I don’t believe that I’m in the process of becoming. I am already there. I have already become. 

Right now, right here, I embrace all of me. Sure I’ll continue to grow and to develop more and more into Godly character, but  I am already who God has called me to be. My “being” isn’t defined by what I do. My “being” was defined way back when my Father God formed me with His very own hands.

I was amazing in the dark place of conception. I was born amazing. I was amazing as a child. I was amazing as a teen. I was amazing when I went wayward. I am amazing now. I’ve always been amazing. My behavior doesn’t make me great. Christ makes me great. I am who He says I am.

I am amazing.

So here, immersed in the puddle of my mess, I am a beautiful fountain of grace. AND SO ARE YOU!

Embrace your weakness. Your imperfection is part of who you are. Your imperfection only gives light to our Creator. He shines in and through the crevices and gaps in our lives. Grasp hold of all of you.

Fashion Fair takes care of the dark circles under my eyes. Extra hair takes care of that “way back” forehead. But I know its there.

The makeup and the hair pieces only help me to face the world everyday, but those things don’t make me who I am. I am confident that I belong to the creative Maker who continues to enhance all of me each day.

In the Silence…

Mark 15:5 But, Jesus said nothing, much to Pilates surprise.

Jesus was under arrest. He boldly declares His deity when Pilate asked if He was the King of the Jews, but remained silent when His character was questioned. When the people questioned His actions, He was silent and calm.

All to often, I find myself standing before Pilate.

The “Pilates” of this world are humans who so want to see the truth, yet ignore the truth that stands before them. Pilate had the Truth in his presence and could not see it. Pilate questioned the authenticity of Christ because of the opinions of those in his midst. All to often, the “Pilates” of this world decide the veracity of one based upon the ideas of the crowd. It takes maturity to judge someone simply based upon your relationship with them. It takes wisdom to see someone as they’ve been to you and to not decide who they are based upon the mob’s opinion.trust-god-550x320

Here Jesus remains silent.

Silent when they accuse. Calm when they blame. He carried His cross and didn’t complain. He walked down that road knowing and relying on the Truth of Himself.  His confidence was within. His reliance of His ability came from Himself. He was God and no one would ever change that.

So He let them talk. He let them accuse. He took it because He was sure of His call. Those who nailed Him to the cross did issue the call on His life. They had no power over Him. He relied on Himself. He trusted in the power of the One which gave Him the strength to carry that cross. That same power would raise Him up. He was confident of that.

His confidence wasn’t in their choice to believe. His confidence relied on the assurance that He, being God already possessed. He knew who He was. His person hood had already been established. He is God and Pilates belief or unbelief of that truth wouldn’t change His deity.

The Truth was there. The truth existed and permeated the place. Jesus relied on what He already knew about Himself.

The world will misjudge us.

The world will blame us.

The world will lie about us.

The world will hate us.

crossLike Jesus, we must grab on to the huge chunk of wood that is heavy and walk to our destiny.

Walking forward as they mock is daunting, but we must continue down our path. We must stand boldly in the value that He has assigned us. We must boldly face the persecution, knowing that God will resurrect us from impending death.

Christ stood firm and silent. Christ was sure and held His composure. Christ was confident. I will do the same. 

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Beauty For Ashes

I had rough year last year. Like some people, I was thrilled at midnight of December 31, 2016. The year was over. I wished away the sadness of that year as the clock struck 12! We all know that wishing away anything doesn’t work, nevertheless I tried.

It was a year full of sad surprises that took my heart by storm. It was a year that forced me to take a painful look at my life and to accept the realities therein.

The year was full of heart wrenching confessions from those I love, backstabbing from those I had helped the most, loss, and lies about me that tore at the very core of my reputation. Needless to say, the year felt like ash.

The residue of what was burned was my life. 

I was burned. I felt abandoned. I suffered in silence.

Sometimes it hurts too bad to talk. Sometimes the words just won’t surface. When I began to communicate, the words wouldn’t come out right. I couldn’t figure out how to share my pain, so I stuffed it.

I smiled. I pretended. I put up a front. Life had to continue. 

In the midst of my facade, God sent us a team of young ladies to host retreats for the ladies at our churches. My goal was to fake it through their time on HOPE Mountain. Their four month stay with us was the medicine my weary soul needed.

They used a tool called, Beauty for Ashes. It’s not complicated. It’s a straightforward system of sharing your truths with a group of women as we walk towards freedom together.

I was the interpreter for this team. Imagine, session after session of translating things like, “Share your story”, “Shame can only reside if you let it,” “God restores,” “There is hope.”

Here I was, leading these women. We held the retreat on HOPE Mountain for the ladies in our Lajas community. They cried as they shared their stories and gained support from one another. The ladies in our Los Cerritos church laughed and cried so much because we all know one another so deeply. Most of us in that church are related. Then on to Cien Fuegos where the women who have poverty at levels most reading this may never know. I was inspired by their sincerity. They poured HOPE into my dismal soul.

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Our ladies from Cien Fuegos completing one of the activities.

Moca surprised me the most! The room was full of women. They intently listened and shared from their hearts. We all learned things about one another that we never knew. We held up one another as we shared our journal entries and life’s stories.

Four months of this. 

I am the leader, yet I struggled deeply. I felt like an impostor. I wasn’t living what I was teaching them. I knew that something had to happen, so I sought God for help.

During my daily bible reading time, I read the story of Mary and Elizabeth. Mary found herself with child and went to a woman that she felt would relate. She went to Elizabeth and stayed with her until she was ready to face the world. I believe that Elizabeth poured strength into Mary’s heart during that visit. Strength she would need in order to fulfill this purpose that was sprung upon her.

I realized I needed an Elizabeth.

I thought of my sister in laws. Each of them happened to be in the country at the same time, which is a rare occurrence. My sister in laws and I did not always have a great relationship, but we each made a decision to love one another and that choice caused us to look beyond our differences and to accept the complete package of the other. They have truly become my sisters.

So I called them. Each of them. 

They realized how deeply I needed them, so they cancelled all of their plans to meet with me. We met the next morning and talked. I flooded their ears and souls with my agony. They listened. They cried. We laughed. Then we cried again. They gave me advice. They promised their support. They were my Elizabeth’s that day. They reminded me of the beauty that can come from ashes.

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My sister in law, Elizabeth has become like an oasis in the desert for me. 

I went back to work. Leading the groups of ladies at our churches to come to the place of freedom that I now possessed. It felt different this time. I didn’t feel like an impostor. Though I couldn’t be as transparent with them as I was with my sister in laws, I could at least be vulnerable. I could at least let them know that I was walking through a process of forgiveness that felt like death.

I’m still walking. I’m still processing. I’m still on my journey, but I’m closer to my destination than before.

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Here we wrote the names of those we need to forgive and nailed them to the cross. 

A special friend asked me to lead her women’s retreat a few months ago. I was still on my expedition towards vulnerability. I was honest with the ladies which led to their honesty. God performed beautiful surgery that weekend. A ripple effect of generational healing began because I was willing to share.

We can’t tell it all to everyone. I know. We can’t expose ourselves completely with all, but we can at least let those around us know that we are on a journey towards freedom. You don’t have to pretend anymore. You really can tell the truth.