For the Woman Who Fears Making Friends

baileyhurley

My mom kissed me goodbye and began her seven-hour drive back to Kansas as I stood in my new front door in Denver wondering what to do next. A month after college graduation, I was starting a new chapter in the Mile High City with new roommates, new singleness, new community, and a new internship. I knew no one but I did know that God had called me to this next chapter so, despite the loneliness, I felt peace. But, what was the next step after my mom left? Make some new friends!

 

At first, I frequented the park with a book just to feel like I had some companionship with runners passing by. I watched TV during meal times so it wouldn’t feel so quiet at the six-person table for one. I joined online community meet-ups for running clubs and dance lessons to meet new friends but as you can imagine not a lot of conversation was happening while I was sweating and swaying from one activity to the next.

 

My church search was slow but found one that seemed a good fit—lots of young vibrant people. I attended the info meeting but was still unsure where to get plugged in. I remained faithful attending by myself every week, hoping that I would find a friend. But ya know what? Hoping to make friends isn’t a very effective way to make friends. Avoiding conversation with strangers also wasn’t going to aid me in finding new besties. So, it was time to try a different strategy for making new friends—putting myself out there and dating potential friends.

 

Now, I wasn’t an amateur to making friends but I also wasn’t overly enthusiastic about it. I had gone to a university halfway across the country without my closest friends by my side and I survived. My community certainly didn't thrive but I graduated with a few good friends that I keep in touch with today. But something about that college experience tore off the rose-colored glasses of friendship.

 

I was often lonely, hurting for a real friend to connect with during those four years. I pushed aside women who were genuinely seeking a relationship with me because they didn’t seem as “good” as my friends from back home. I was constantly flitting from one bible study to the next, letting people down when I moved on to the next promise of “perfect friends.” By my senior year, my inner-circle of friends was non-existent and I knew I needed to change the way I viewed the role of community in my life.

 

A community of believers is a gift from God. Not every Christian is given a solid group of friends that are all pursuing Jesus and chasing after holiness.  Surrounding yourself with this type of a friend is an encouragement in itself. So, how could I approach my community with thanksgiving for what God had given me?

 

I gave a second glance at those women who were reciprocating a friendship with me and began to pursue them right back. That year I focused on loving five girls and getting to know them on a deeper level. The more time we spent together, the richer our relationships became.

 

So when it came to dating new friends in Denver, I wanted to have a posture of gratitude for the little conversations here and there that blessed me and kept me going until I found my core group of friends. But here is how I began my search for new friends:

 

1.     Asking A Potential Friend Out

 

I found a forum on our church’s site and asked if anyone was looking for some friends. I boldly asked for what I wanted. A few coffee dates followed and some of those women became fast friends for a season; some I never saw again. It was worth the uncomfortable coffee dates to get to the friends that I could see potential in.

 

2.     DTF (Determine the Friendship)

 

After six months of “doing” friendship, there were about three women that really stood out. So, when we were hanging out one-on-one I told them I wanted to go deeper. I enjoyed having lots of fun and creating memories but, I wanted to find women who could grow in their faith together. It said “I was all in” on the friendship. Declaring my commitment instantly brought us to another level of vulnerability.

 

3.     Committing to a Larger Community

 

Finally, by my first year in Denver, I had committed myself to a community of believers. These were a group of people in a variety of life-stages, careers and backgrounds. We met weekly to pray, read God’s Word and encourage one another. These folks may not have been my best friends, but being a part of a larger group was healthy for my own faith as well as, the health of the larger church.

 

Now that I have lived in Denver for five years, I can honestly say that God has provided friends for certain seasons and friends for a lifetime. Finding friends wasn’t always easy nor is it perfect now. Yet, “how wonderful and pleasant is it when brothers dwell in unity” (Ps. 133:1). How glorified is our God when we have one mind and one voice to glorify Him (see Rom. 15:6)? God has consistently shown me that when we are grateful for the gift of community, coupled with actively reaching out to others, we will find fruit in our friendships.

 

God has demonstrated what it looks like to reach down and invite us into relationship so now we can confidently invite others into relationship with us. May you be encouraged to find a new friend, reach out to your current community, or write a letter of thanks for the way a friend invited you into her life.

 

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Bio: Bailey T. Hurley is a community-builder who encourages women to root themselves in their faith so they can grow fruitful friendships.  If you want to learn more about Bailey visit her at baileythurley.com and shop her community-building products. And continue the conversation over on her Instagram at @bailey.t.hurley (https://www.instagram.com/bailey.t.hurley/)

For the Woman Who Needs to be Renewed

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The word RENEW seems so “refreshing”... doesn’t it? I picture a cold glass of water being poured onto dry, cracking ground. It is necessary for healing, but renewal hurts, it takes discipline and surrender. The ground needs to be refreshed by a continual stream…submerged and continually soaking up water, like a river. 

Over the last couple years, I have been overcome with overwhelm + exhaustion. In the midst of being a stay at home mom, having a hubby with a busy schedule and running 2 of my own businesses... my mind started becoming very cluttered. You know that meme about your brain having too many tabs open?! Yep, that was me. 

My days felt long and hard. I was a good mom, homemaker/wife, entrepreneur... but never all at once. If I was intentional in one area, the others seemed to crumble. I knew I needed to make some changes, but the weight of the burdens I felt were too consuming. 

My mind started to question everything I’ve known. As the reality of life set in, I realized that I wasn’t reaping the rewards I thought I was promised. So many areas of my life where I had faithfully surrendered to the Lord with a pure heart growing up, didn’t seem to end with the result I thought was guaranteed. I had linked spiritual obedience with worldly reward.

In high school, I was asked to share in our Chapel. I was terrified to say yes, but the Lord gave me strength. He gave me these verses and I have clung to them ever since.

 

Jeremiah 1

“The Word of the Lord came to me:
I chose you before I formed you in the womb; I set you apart before you were born. I appointed you a prophet to the nations…


But I protested, “Oh no, Lord God! Look, I don’t know how to speak since I am only a youth. Then the Lord said to me: DO NOT SAY, “I am only a youth,” for you will go to everyone I send you to and speak whatever I tell you...
Then the Lord reached out His hand, touched my mouth, and told me: I have now filled your mouth with MY words.”

Just about every morning, from junior high until I got married, I would wake up, grab my Bible and spend time with the Lord until I was filled before I ever left my room. The early years of our marriage, I still kept pretty close to this routine. And once our kids came, I guess I just started to fit His Word in where I could throughout the day, but it was very scattered. Over the next 5 years, I still consumed a lot of God’s Word, and it does NOT return void. But, I knew, because I had experienced it, that there is a huge difference between reading our Bible real quick or for a specific study.. and consuming His Word as our spiritual food: our Daily Bread.

 

Being undisciplined in the physical routines of my life really started to affect my spiritual life and my mind. I started to see how much our spiritual and physical beings affect each other.

 

I don’t want to go too deep into the details of the hard season I entered.. not because I don’t want to share the “hard” stuff, but because I don’t want to give any credit to darkness or let our minds dwell on that. But, it was dark, lonely and hard. 

 

This world and all that we consume from it is so dangerous. My mind became foggy… and in that place I was so hurt, I felt under spiritual attack and I couldn’t discern things. I couldn’t even focus enough to figure out where things went wrong. 

 

Throughout this season, I knew it wasn’t good, but I still knew the Lord was there. In the midst of what felt like drowning, He was still holding onto me. His Word was hidden in my heart and that was the anchor that held me in the storm. It was assurance that He would deliver me.

 

I started to beg for rescue, I returned to Jeremiah to remind myself of the things He has done in my life and this is where He brought repentance...

 

Because He is such a good, loving Father, He first reminded me of this...

Jeremiah 2
“I remember the loyalty of your youth(thank you Lord!), your love as a bride —
How you followed me in the wilderness, in a land not sown.”

This verse brought me to tears because a lot of my confusion was that my devotion to Him over the years reaped little reward…I was so thankful that He remembered my loyalty.. that He was/is my first Love.

Now comes the part that hurts, my sin repentance... pouring that cold water on that dry, cracked ground: In His Word, He showed me that I stopped asking for Him… I wasn’t returning and resting in His Word.He then showed me my abandonment… this one was the most painful: 

Vs. 17
“Have you not brought this on yourself by abandoning the Lord your God while He was leading you along the way?”


-I am SO SORRY LORD. Please have mercy on me + rescue me from my sin.


Vs. 20
“For long ago I broke your yoke; I tore off your chains”

So true! He set me free years ago… but my own flesh and lack of discipline had caused me to be enslaved to myself and to sin. We finally hit a point where I was so broken and discouraged that we knew we needed to create space and room for the Lord to breathe new life into our home. 

The Lord started to show me that He would set me free but something had to give... and that something was me. 

So, I put my Christian apparel business on hold... started saying no to a lot, and begged for rescue. I initially felt some physical relief, but spiritually I wasn’t experiencing Him the way I used to. I was dry, very dry… I needed my mind transformed by Him and consumed with His Word.

And as I felt Him asking me to lay all of me down, and trust that He would deliver me from myself and my foggy mind, He gave me the word RENEW.

I knew His Word held this promise: 
“Be transformed. By the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, perfect will of God.”

And so this became my prayer:
“Give me a clean heart oh God, and renew a steadfast spirit in me.”


His promise perfectly described my desire... I wanted clarity of mind, to discern His will.

During this whole process I was in the Old Testament, and as cliche, as it is.. I was seeing so much of myself in the grumbling Israelites.

 

Deuteronomy 1:26-27
You grumbled in your tents and said, “the Lord brought us out of the land of Egypt to hand us over to the Amorites in order to destroy us because He hates us.” 

He said He will bring us from slavery to freedom, into an abundant land... but we complain + see the “hard” and say He brought us from slavery to death!
We are in the wilderness because He saved us from something and wants to take us to a new land.. but we complain that we have to walk through the desert to get there! (Cue major eye roll)

As I began to have clarity and hope in the Lord’s revelation and promises to me… I also felt a heavier burden as my sins were shown to me, I honestly wondered if I would survive. But, the rescue of the Lord reaches deep and His mercies never end…

But, He answered with another promise: 
John 11:4: “This sickness will not end in death but is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it”
(Yes, Lord! THANK YOU.)


Then I started asking how, how would I be healed and renewed?


John 11:40-44
“Didn’t I tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?”
So, they removed the stone. Then Jesus RAISED HIS EYES and said, “Father, I thank you that you heard me. I know that you ALWAYS hear me, but because of the crowd standing here, I said this, so that they may believe you sent me. 


After He said this, He SHOUTED with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!!” ( shout of raw authority)

Hearing this, the Lord pressed into to my heart and reminded me of what He taught me long ago..

The only thing that can bring us from death to life is the WORD OF GOD!! “Imprint these Words of Mine on your hearts + minds…” Deut.11

 

Tarin Brown is small town girl who loves camo + coffee. She is the wife of a hunky basketball coach and stay at home mom to Ford + Poppy! She loves being an entrepreneur and has a passion to share God’s Word through fashion + makeup. Tarin authentically talks #reallife and shares the good + the hard as the Lord works in her life.

Connect with Tarin more here:

hey@riverraised.com

Instagram || Facebook || SHOP NOW ||  SHOP River Raised Beauty

 

For the Woman Who is a Newly Single Mom

autumncarton

I stood in the master bedroom with my best friend as I awaited the moment my girls’ father was going to be served with divorce papers. I told myself not to watch because I didn’t want that moment etched into my memory, but my heart desperately needed to see justice served. The previous months were flooded with uncovering the awful things he was doing behind my back.  All hope had been lost for saving our marriage.

 

With my heart beating out of my chest, I peered through the window, seeing just a glimpse of what I knew was the beginning of the end of a covenant I made to the man I thought would love and protect me, as he vowed on our wedding day.  As soon as those papers were placed in his hands it was just the beginning of me raising our two daughters on my own. He didn’t want the responsibility of being a father, so it was up to me; it was up to me to be strong, level-headed, courageous, and brave as I was given the new title of “single mom”.

 

“According to the 2016/2017 US Census Bureau, statistics show that: "Today 1 in 4 children under the age of 18 — a total of about 17.2 million — are being raised without a father."
"During the 1960-2016 period, the percentage of children living with only their mother nearly tripled from 8 to 23 percent."

 

I’m a dreamer — yet I never dreamed this would be my story or that my daughters would be forced to be part of those statistics. As I’ve navigated these new waters, I’ve learned the importance of being surrounded by good people, getting emotional help, and pushing myself to not live in isolation.

 

I like to call these important lessons, “the three C’s.”

 

1. Church

The morning after I found out about my ex-husband’s affair, I loaded my girls into the car, eyes bloodshot from crying all night long, and drove to church. I don’t know why I decided to go, other than I knew that at that moment, I needed Jesus. I didn’t care if I talked to anyone, I just needed to be in the presence of the One who wasn’t surprised by this turn of events. 


Having a church family to lean on through the divorce process and becoming a single parent is key. Allow the church to be the covering you need and the hands and feet of Jesus; especially in practical ways like bringing you meals, offering to babysit the children, and giving you gift cards. I know it sounds scary, allowing people (often strange people) into your mess, but that’s what church is for…to help take care of you and your family when you’re in crisis mode.


Even though it may be hard to get yourself to church, engaging your faith and saying, “God, I trust You” even when you don’t necessarily “feel” it, is powerful. As you sit in service and let His truths wash over you, He will move and He will heal — even if you don’t feel it, He is always faithful. As you draw near to Him, He will draw near to you - His Word is truth and His promises are always true. It’s also a great place for your children to learn and grow in their faith as they are also walking through a very hard life transition.
 

2. Community

Now, you might be thinking, “How are church and community different?” Well, let me tell you! Community is defined by Webster Dictionary as: “a unified body of individuals” …in other words, your people, your tribe. “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!” Psalm 133:1.


These are the people who have walked life with you and know the ins and outs of your story; your family, the friends you can be yourself around (and share the brokenness of your heart, honestly with), the tribe that will help hold you up and take care of you and your children as you learn to parent alone. Even if it’s just a few friends that you trust with everything in you, that’s going to be your community that you want to surround yourself with as you transition from one life season to another.


It’s also natural and healthy to have your “go-to” person, your best friend, the one person who you can tell anything to. It’s important to have that one person you can count on to answer every call and text, who encourages you to keep going, who has a good listening ear, and wisdom for when you feel like you are going to lose it.


Give yourself a bit of grace, but when you’re ready, find a tribe of fellow single moms. They are truly the ones who know exactly what it’s like raising children on your own. Your backgrounds and stories may be completely different, but you can relate in ways that other parents will not be able to. Find a support group for single moms through a local church and know that it’s okay being the initiator to develop these specific relationships. 
 

3.  Counseling

I know, I know. This “c” word is not a favorite for a lot of people. However, I was once told by a pastor that, “counseling is not a sign of weakness, it is a sign of maturity.” Proverbs 11:14 says, “Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.”
I, personally, have been in weekly counseling since the week my girls’ father took off and it’s been the best decision I’ve made. I needed that professional to guide me through my grief and my questions, who had a similar story of being a single mom, who could impart wisdom to me, and who could be that safe place to vent, weep, cuss, and be completely vulnerable.


Sometimes it takes time to find the right counselor for yourself and it’s okay to test a few out; you want to make sure you feel secure with your counselor before you open your heart up, but don’t use the excuse that it is hard to be vulnerable to keep you from opening up.  It is hard, but it is worth it.  I promise.


Counseling will help you dig deep into the parts of your heart that need healing so that you can then be a better, more whole, loving, and non-bitter mother to your children.

 


Transitioning into single motherhood is hard and no one can truly understand what it’s like until you’re in the midst of it. But know this — you are not alone. Many women have trailed this path before us and have succeeded. I have some incredible examples of women I look up to who have made it on the other side of their singleness. They have made it through the valley and are now filled with more peace and joy then they thought possible. These women give me hope for my own story.


More importantly than that, you have a Savior who wasn’t and isn’t surprised by your new life. He will take you by the hand, if you allow Him to, and woo you into His loving arms; for His arms are the only ones who can truly satisfy. He will lead you, guide you, and fill you with peace, one day, one moment at a time. 

 

One last thing: cling to hope. 

 

Hebrews 10:23, “Let us hold fast the confession of our HOPE without wavering, for He who promised IS faithful.”

AutumnCarton2

Autumn Rae is a recently divorced single mom of two beautiful little girls, Avonlea Darling and Journey Wonder. She’s a born and raised California girl who now resides west of the Rockies in Colorado Springs where she spends her days exercising her photography skills, writing, and playing with baby dolls and everything princess. Autumn has tasted and seen the faithfulness of the Lord throughout her 29 years and is hopeful for all the things the Lord has in store for her and her daughter’s futures. Autumn Rae’s writing has also been featured in Mila Magazine.

Connect with Autumn:

Instagram @autumnraewrites

Online @ autumnraewrites.com


Autumn Rae

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For the Woman Who has Believed Lies about Herself

krystlebarrigton

It’s always a dangerous place to be in when we don’t see our own value.

I know this all too well because starting at a very young age I struggled with self-doubt and just feeling good about myself. I can recall as early as elementary school feeling socially awkward and completely out of place. My family was my comfort zone and outside of them, I felt very uncomfortable in my own skin. This would follow me through grade and by the time I reached college, the threads of being teased and feelings of self-doubt were woven so tight that I couldn’t unravel them even if I wanted to.

 

My undergraduate years were definitely a season of being lost and confused about who I was. I certainly did not have an identity rooted in Christ during that time and my attitude and behaviors were a reflection of that. While I went to church regularly and filled up on Sundays, but my day to day decisions were very much influenced by my insecurities and the lies I believed about myself. My inability to see my own worth manifested itself in seeking validation from guys who never had my best interest at heart. I gave more of myself than I could afford to give physically, emotionally, and even financially. Connecting myself to guys who picked up on every single insecurity I had at the time was my poison of choice and it became a vicious cycle that would continue for years.

 

Typically when I share my struggles with low self-esteem with people, their response is always something like, “but you’ve always been so pretty.” Well, I never looked in the mirror and told myself I was “ugly.” It wasn’t about vanity but rather self-worth. It had everything to do with a mindset that consumed every part of my life. In a nutshell, I told myself that I wasn’t good enough and when you don’t feel like you’re good enough, you settle, you miss opportunities, and you don’t live up to your true potential.

I remember exactly where I was when that light bulb went off. I foolishly connected myself with someone from my past in hopes for a different outcome. Once again I put myself out there emotionally and received nothing in return. I had this epiphany that enough was enough and frankly, my heart just could not take any more rejection. It truly bothered me that I was starring at the same hurt once again and I had no one to blame but myself. I recognized that I was the common denominator in every single pretend relationship I’d ever been in and so I needed to change, not the other person. I decided in that moment that it was time I chose me instead of waiting to be chosen by someone that God did not send into my life.


 

Over the years I’d have these epiphanies that I deserved better and I’d walk away but eventually go back to accepting relationships that had no substance but this time was different. This time the hurt was so real that I had to really start asking myself some tough questions. I had to stop running from the broken image I had of myself and get to the root of why I was setting myself up for continuous heartbreak. With time, everything pointed to a mindset that would eventually break me and keep me from living my life to the fullest if I didn’t start to think differently. Frankly, my mind was messed up and it needed renewing like yesterday.

 

The mind is such a powerful thing. It is very much connected to the things we say and the things we do. It has the power to influence how we move through life and that’s when things get a little bit dangerous for us as Christians. Believing false truths about ourselves, no matter the source or when it began, can eventually become a stronghold if we don’t face them. And the longer we allow these false truths to influence how we live our lives, the harder it becomes to train ourselves to think differently. This is exactly where the devil wants us to be and ultimately to stay.

 

In taking a very hard look in the mirror I recognized that for years my relationship with God was fragile. I came to understand that the only way to combat thinking less of myself was to renew my mind and the only way to do that was to start seeking God and understanding who He is and I am as His daughter (Ephesians 4:23). That within itself is a journey that still continues because changing a negative mindset doesn’t happen overnight. I’ve had to take responsibility for my decisions, overcome personal shame, and even ask God for forgiveness in seeing myself less than. It’s a process and one that requires discipline and a true desire to change.

 

I’m so very grateful that even in all my mess God was gracious enough to meet me exactly where I was (Romans 5:8) and for healing my broken heart. I understand the value in checking myself when my thoughts start to go left and never being afraid of recognizing those very hard truths about myself that I would otherwise like to tuck away and never address. There is something to be said about intentionally seeing God (and not perfection) so that God can reveal things to us that only He can reveal so that our hearts and our minds are renewed for the better (Jeremiah 33:3).

 

I’m very different now from that insecure girl who didn’t quite understand all that God put inside of her. I still have insecurities but I don’t allow them to have a significant impact on my life because I consciously affirm who I am and who God created me to be on a daily basis. My truth is that God met me at my lowest and helped me to develop a new attitude towards myself and establish a faith that continues to grow. It’s a daily walk that I wouldn’t trade for the world because it’s brought me peace, purpose, and so much clarity.

To the woman who struggles with seeing herself the way God sees her, I want to encourage you to seek your truth. If you struggle to walk with confidence as I once did, please know that God is within you (Psalm 46:5). With God, there is nothing you cannot do (Philippians 4:13). You were not created to be timid or fearful (2 Timothy 1:7). I want to remind you that God’s word is truth and it most definitely trumps any false truths you have ever believed about yourself. God has the power to transform minds and I can absolutely promise you that if you seek Him, He will fill every void you’ve ever experienced. You are brilliant in your own right. You are filled with a purpose that will reveal itself at the appointed time. You are enough and capable and chosen by God, and THAT’S a fact (1 Peter 2:9).

 

Tune in LIVE on Instagram at 1:00 PM PST April 5, 2018 to hear more from Krystle on this topic.

Krystle Barrington is a self-published author, writer, and speaker from Houston, Texas. An awkward child who never quite felt like she fit it, she gravitated to reading and writing at a very early age. It wasn’t until adulthood that she realized that her love for writing was much more than a hobby, but rather her purpose. Krystle refers to herself as a cheerleader for self-love, redemption, and faith. She believes in the power of transparency and through her writing hopes to encourage and challenge others to live their best life. 

 

www.krystlebarrington.com



 

For the Woman Who has to be Divorced

AmyMoore

I watched him speed down the street, as if he couldn’t get away fast enough and had been awaiting that very moment for a long time.  And maybe he had. I watched him speed off, but turned to go back inside rather than watch him drive away. I had watched him “drive away” for such a long time in our little more than 5 year marriage.

We had started out just fine of course.  We had met at Moody Bible Institute my freshman year of college.   After getting married, he got a job as a youth pastor in Southern California.   I was so excited! This was what I had wanted to do ever since I could remember - work with high schoolers alongside my husband!  Yet, before it felt like I could even live that dream, things began to change. He started becoming like our students, rather than leading them.  He often did things on his own, rather than inviting me along. After awhile, I saw my husbands values, standards and relationship with God slip.  I started praying. I knew my God; I had known Him for a long time and trusted Him. I also knew what He could do. So I started praying that my husband would get God. Four and a half years later, I was still praying- but life had become quite hard for me.  I had seen my youth pastor husband continue to spiral away from God. He had grown too close to some of our female students. When I tried to talk to him about it, he saw it as me not trusting him and it would cause a rift in our relationship. As if interacting with all these girls had not become difficult enough - he had also gotten too close to a leader.  A female leader who was still helping out, at EVERY youth group event.

I got a call at work from my husband one day asking me when I’d be home cause we had to talk.  When I got home, he told me had to resign from his job as a youth pastor. He had gotten too close to some of our female students, as I knew.  What I didn’t know was that thankfully, it had been found out and the pastor had talked to him. He had been given three strikes and now he had struck out.  Honestly, I was relieved! I had been watching my husband walk away from God while he was supposed to be leading students toward God and it was a miserable place to be! This was good news to me; maybe God would use this to get this man I had once fallen in love with back to Himself and restore our marriage.  My husband resigned and we had to move out of the house we lived in because it belonged to the church. They gave us three months. In that time, I found a job offer. When I told my husband about it, it led to a conversation where he told me that he felt he didn’t love God, he hadn’t for awhile, he didn’t love me and so we should separate so he could figure himself out.  

  Me on a family vacation, a few weeks before my first husband told me he was resigning.

Me on a family vacation, a few weeks before my first husband told me he was resigning.

I ended up standing in my parents driveway,watching him speed away, likely driving away from our marriage, one final, tangible time. We met up once after that, but he never came back to our marriage.

 

 To those of you who have found  yourselves here, hold, no CLING, onto God.  I promise you He loves you, knows, cares, aches with you and for you and can hold you like nobody’s business.  But you’ve got to let Him. I know that can sound so vague, but it is SO important and so easy. God loves us so much, takes us as we are, and is inviting us all the time to just BE with Him.  He will show you what to do, just go to Him.

amymoorejournaling

At first, I just prayed a lot.  I journal, so I would write everything to God - how I felt, what reminded me of my husband, if I read a good verse, talked with a friend or heard some good lyrics.  Sometimes I would draw pictures. I was processing with God.

I would remember.  Remember what God had done in my life.  I’m sentimental so I thought this was just me.  But then I would read in Psalms how often David talks about what God had done for him.  In the Old Testament, they would pile stones to serve as reminders to their children what God had done for them.  The writers of the epistles were often telling churches to be thankful. Well, what can you be thankful for? The things God has done! It is good in any relationship to talk about fun memories, cherish the things that make your relationship meaningful - the same is true with God.  It is great for your relationship with God to remember what He has done for you.

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amymoorebirthday

Then, I would let myself feel.  I would cry.  I would be upset.  I’d be touched when friends showed up for my birthday or wrote or took me out to dinner. The point is I didn’t feel that I had to be okay - because I wasn’t.  My husband had just left me. There were things I had to do, yes, but I did them as I was and prayed for God to give me the strength that I knew I didn’t have.  What that created was such an intimate, beautiful, very real dependence of me on God and allowed me to see every intricate detail of how He was taking care of me.  You don’t forget that. Eventually, I had more happy moments. I saw God exchange my mourning for  excitement of a new adventure. He did build me a new life; but in order to rebuild, He had to first rip away pieces of the old. Don't rush or skip over the pain, confusion, and loss in a vain attempt to get on with your life.  God has to do His work it if it’s gonna hold.  

 

Piece by piece, God built me a new life.  I moved out of my parent's house, down to Orange County, California for a teaching job.  I started going to Saddleback Church, making good friends and I lived close to my sister and brother in law! There were hard nights still, more processing, times of crying and calling IRS guys, but there was such a fun adventure with God too!  I loved living in a beautiful place- going to beaches, eating at fun places, having girl nights, brunches with friends, etc…God taught me how to enjoy being the single career girl I never imagined myself being in my late 20’s!

AmyandDrewMoore

One of my new friends was this handsome guy named Drew.  His wife had also left him, a year and 11 days after my husband had left me.  Drew and I knew each other's stories, kind of knew from living it, what the other was going through and had a silent connection.  He would look out for me - make sure I had directions, pay for me, and follow me to gas stations late at night so I was safe. The more we got to know each other, the more we saw we really got along!  I saw him choosing God the same way I had.

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We got married February 17, 2012 - three and a half years after that day I stood in my parent's driveway.  Drew and I fell in love easily. He is so amazing, handsome, protective, confident, smart, silly, romantic,....you get it!  ;) He is so everything I wanted and more, everything that I did not have in my 5 year, sad, first marriage, I have in abundance with Drew.   My marriage to Drew is amazing BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT GOD DOES. I gave Him my life to do WHATEVER WITH, even if that meant I never got married again, and this is what He did.  I mean, even down to my last name. Drew's last name is Moore. At our wedding brunch, I told everyone that I had memorized Eph.3:20 as a senior in highschool when I had to trust God with a disappointment.  It says," To Him who is able to do far MORE than anything we could ever dare to ask or even imagine. To Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen" (Living Bible). I am Amy Moore now; when I was pregnant, we found out halfway through that there was MORE than one baby in there, we were having twins!  I am constantly reminded of the far more God has done in my life - glory to Him forever and ever!

He writes great stories, the best stories.  Give Him total control and hang on to His hand.  He will hold you, guide you, direct you and totally blow you away with whatever it is!  

Hold on to Him,

Amy

 

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Amy lives with her husband and twin daughters in La La Land, also known as Southern California.  She’s a stay at home mommy who spends her days coloring, cleaning the kitchen and finding joy in moments. Amy loves going anywhere with her husband and has a heart for helping women see their relationship with God as the vibrant, fun and personal adventure He created it to be!

Connect with Amy...

Email Amy at AmyMoore320@gmail.com

https://www.facebook.com/amyvictoriasmith

For the Woman Who is Struggling to Find Her Worth through her Pain by Nycia Emerson

nyciaemerson

SO often we get caught up in childhood experiences and hurts and carry them from season to season, which causes us to miss out on what God is trying to show us, or where he is trying to take us on this journey of purpose.  I remember growing up not knowing who I was, like many;  because of the lies I was being told by Satan constantly through the abuse from my stepfather.  Also seeing the hurt of my mom, from the verbal and physical abuse that she encountered repeatedly. 

 

“How could this be happening to someone that just wants to love, and be loved?”

 

I didn't necessarily know my worth; as a matter of fact, I thought I was dumb and not good enough in many areas of my life, because of what I lived with from my step dad, but also from the divorce of my parents at the age of seven.   Insecurities surfaced from all corners and the lack of confidence overpowered it all.    Not understanding a lot that was going on as a young girl, I was constantly reminded that God was right there with me. 

 

At the age of fourteen I laid in my bed late one night afraid and just staring up at the ceiling, felling paralyzed and defeated.  In that moment I will never forget how the presence of the Lord was so evident and how my fear was lifted in that moment.   I felt safe for the very first time, I felt relieved, I felt like I could just rest in that place of being okay.   He was right there with me, he held me tight, he washed away my tears, my fear was gone, my anger was lifted, my hurt was lifted all in a moment. 

 

MY FEAR WAS GONE, MY HURT WAS LIFTED!

 

As a teenage girl, I still had so much more to face to really know who I was and finding who I was in Christ didn’t come in that exact moment.   It came many years later.  It came with forgiveness, it came with more hurt, it came with more experiences, and more forgiveness, it came with eventually dying to myself and being okay with living whole for him.

 

I will never forget the day when I was in college, I opened my eyes and took a look around, (literally) I felt myself speaking out loud to God, and realized that I was worthy of it all, because my Lord and Savior tells me so in His Word.  That day opened me up to accepting who I was and even being open to being loved.

  

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Eph. 2:10

 

Loving myself and dying to my fleshly being has brought me to a place of intention in my faith.  It allows me to open myself up and truly live for Him.  In addition, I can encourage other women to do the same, through my She Inspires ministry and through my church as the women’s leader.   My purpose is to solely live for my Father---to not hold back---to walk in His complete grace and bring everyone around me along for the ride.

 

"We are not defined by our past experiences, we are defined by our purpose.”

 

My experiences have shaped me and molded me today and made me a better vessel for God, they have also allowed me to be bold for him and not be caught up in the things that don’t bare Good fruit in my life. 

God wants us to live whole through him and he wants us to seek him in all things and be all in for him.  He takes our hurt and pain and turns it into something good.  He molds us and shapes us through our hurt. He gives us strength through our weaknesses, he loves us and comforts us when we are lonely, he brings us an overwhelming peace and joy when we are saddened, he holds us tight when we feel like giving up. There is nothing like the presence of God in a hurting season.  There is nothing like laying it all at his feet and letting him have it.

 

He shows us our Worth through our PAIN!

 

Do you feel like you are letting past pain and experiences keep you from moving forward in your relationship with God?   If so, it’s time for freedom and healing.  Forgive yourself and forgive others, because our father forgives us.   You are made with a purpose and with that you can know your worth and know you are worthy of all that God has for you.  

 

Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her. Luke 1:45 

 

 

Nycia Emerson

 

 

 

 

Nycia Emerson is the founder of She Inspires, a faith based organization that brings women from all walks of life together over Brunch, Faith, Purpose and a whole lot of Jesus.  She is also the Author of the She Prays book, (available of amazon) and the owner of a Planning & Design firm.

 

Nycia lives in Austin, Texas and enjoys spending time with her two boys & hubby on any given day.  She is also the women's leader at Mission Church of Round Rock.  She enjoys gathering beautiful inspiration, entertaining friends and simply taking in the beauty of life with a smile. She also loves to inspire everyone around her and any chance she gets to share God's love, especially over a cup of coffee, brings her so much joy.  Nycia believes that living what you love and loving what you do, makes life much more purposeful.  She also believes that "Inspiration comes from the things that lift our spirits and allow us to love fully.

 

Find her at all these places:

Founder of She Inspires, Speaker & Author                                                                           www.sheinspires.com  

Instagram                                                                                                                                           @nycia.emerson                                                                                                                              @sheinspireslovely

Facebook         

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