You are His Sprout

As I was walking along the nature path on my walk one day, I was busy worrying about my problems and centered in my life. It had rained really heavily the previous night so there was water everywhere.  I was walking and looking down at my feet and at the path as I went along. As my feet hit the ground, I saw a tiny little sprout. This little green sprout stood amidst rocky, hard dirt and so much rain. That sprout (later I named him Moses) was not overcome by the water that had poured so heavily over him the night before. I kept walking thinking about how beautiful and courageous that little sprout was. But then some Holy Spirit intervention hit my heart, and I realized I had to go back and see “him” again to keep him for my memories.
I was with my mom, dad, and Forrest. I pointed to “Moses” and told them that I was this green little sprout. Through my life, I’ve been hit by rain, surrounded by rock, dirt, and unknown space, but God is still growing new life out of darkness.

The more I thought about it the more I realized something. Well, a few things.
Yes, I am a representation of that sprout. I am still standing amidst the hardship of my life.
But I’m only standing because the Father is holding me up. There is breath in my lungs because He has filled it with wind. There is a new song in my soul because He has written it on my heart. There is a reason for me to keep living because He whispered it in my ear.
But I also realized something else. I could have so easily stepped on that sprout in a split second…destroying it right then and there. I mean, it stood right in the middle of that path all by itself. But I did not. And just like in my own life, there have been so many times I could have been overcome by so many things. Fear. Sickness. Anxiety. Depression. Sorrow. But Divine love has protected me. I have not been crushed or “stepped” over.

No matter how much rain or drought or rocky soil, I will keep standing. And BECAUSE of it, I will keep growing. Because He is the LIGHT and the nourishment, I will become stronger and stronger.
In essence, in my ramblings…
I just want you to know that you are His sprout.
He calls forth every single child of His to grow. Oh what bravery, courage and dedication to Jesus that takes, my dear sister and brothers in Christ. But He is always, always there with us.
Stand tall. Because it is in the rain, in the drought, in the rocky soil, and in unknown space that you become the most beautiful, luscious plant.
He’ll be there making and molding you…just follow that sunlight like all plants do…and new life will be made from a tiny sprout. You will not be overcome, or “stepped over” because His divine protection is like an umbrella of grace, mercy, and strength covering you every single day that you cry out to Him.

Whatever you face today, do not be trampled down by the water or swallowed up by the rocks. For you have a mighty God on your side. He is a God who calls us to be strong, courageous, brave, and to stand tall in the midst of our hardships. Don’t be mistaken, He isn’t a God who will call us to face these trials alone. For He is the sunshine and nourishment that gives us our strength and beauty and will create our tiny sprout to become a beautiful flower! We will go into battle with Him on our side. He will be ever present. Today, let us declare that will NOT grow weary but stand on mountain heights by His strength, wisdom, and guidance.

All my love,
Grace

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Breakthrough

Wow, it has been a while.
The past several months have been some of the worst I have endured. I have struggled personally with depression, as this is the sixth year I am battling my disease; and at times, it seems like the fight is as merciless as ever. I could lie to you and say that I have been strong every moment, that I have shown no weakness, have had no doubts, no questions, no breakdowns, but that’s not what I’m about here. I am human. I ask God questions. I tell Him why I’m not happy. There’s no point in hiding anything from Him; He already knows what you are feeling, what you are thinking before you even tell Him. These days, my questions aren’t so much the, “why” but the “how”…How am I supposed to do this anymore? How do I keep fighting? I am so tired, God. How is this the life you redeemed me for? Where is mercy? Where is grace? How do I fight when I just don’t want to another day? How am I supposed to continue fighting this fight when I feel so weary, so downtrodden, when I feel like the enemy is at every single turn of the corner?

In the hospital, a question you get bombarded with a great deal from the nurses and doctors is what your pain score is from 1 to 10. I often think about one of my favorite movies, The Fault in our Stars, when asked this question. The movie talks about the comparison of physical and emotional pain, and it hits the nail on the head. No matter what I am enduring physically, no matter how much pain I am in, or how many surgeries I have had, the physical pain never rises above a 9. I say that because I know what a 10 feels like. The waiting, the disappointment that my life has turned out so drastically and direly different than I ever imagined possible, the failure I feel from all that has come with my sickness, the staring at my unanswered questions, the looking at my life like a fragmented mirror reflecting back at me in a million different pieces. That is my 10.
And no matter what pain I feel in the physical, it can’t match that 10.

When you have a have a chronic illness, something you have to accept is surrendering control of your body. When your body is fighting against you, you don’t have the reins over it. Test results, surgery outcomes, how my body will respond to a medication, how my body will feel the next day, even if my body will allow me to make it to the grocery store, those things aren’t under my governance. For someone who valued control a lot, and who longs for a slice of independence, this has been so trying.
What has been even more challenging is giving God control when all I have needed to do is completely surrender all to Him.

It’s in weeks of pleading, “speak to me, Jesus”…where He has revealed Himself and spoke with a song in the night.
“You are not a victim, Grace. You are a victor. I have pulled you out of darkness and brought you into the light. You can choose to control the pain or you can give it all to Me…Every shred, insecurity, hurt, fear, doubt, failure, anxiety, sadness, grief, loss, and sorrow.
I redeemed you. I saved you. You can hold on and be a victim of all that you are suffering from. Or you can relinquish every teeny, tiny speck to me, and we can walk into victory through Jesus Christ.
You can stand still and let the waters drown you, as they have done for far too long, or you can press in to Me with every hurt you have ever felt, and we can press on to glory in Jesus name.”

I was reminded recently that our Father is the God of the breakthrough.
A breakthrough is defined as an act of moving through or beyond an obstacle.
Often the obstacles we face in this lifetime don’t go away. Jesus is in the business of the breakthrough though. He picks us up, when our hearts are ready, and helps us move beyond the affliction. Through the power of the cross, we can break through walls, we can break through pain, we can break through suffering, we can break through sadness and sorrow.
It is always in His best interest to bring new life about and show us how to have genuine joy through Jesus when the circumstances do not change. When the sickness is not healed. When the hurt is still there. He is the only One who has proven over and over again that He can redeem, restore, and love unconditionally no matter what we encounter.
He can take something old and make it new. He can take something ugly and make it beautiful. He can break chains and make us free. He can take something broken and make it whole. He can take something dirty and make it clean. He can take something confusing and make it clear as day. He can take sorrow and make joy. He can bring life from death. He can bring victory from defeat.
He has done these acts for all of time. And He WILL do it again. And again. And again.
We just have to allow Him to and have faith that He can do this as He has so beautifully done before.

I heard one of my favorite artists, Kari Jobe, say this…”We don’t have God all figured out.” This is so true. We can’t even begin to understand Him. He is too extraordinary, too big, too grand, too indescribable for our minds to conceive.
God’s ways are are not for us to fully grasp on this planet.
We may not see or understand everything that He is doing, but that doesn’t mean He won’t lead us into the promised land, into triumph.

As I was journaling last night, this was my prayer.
If you feel like you are holding on to your pain like I have done for far too long, pray this with me. Run to the God of the breakthrough.
When I am lost, show me the way. When I am broken, put me back together. When I am weary, be my strength. When I have no voice, be my song Jesus. When I can’t move forward, carry me, move my feet with Your courage. When I don’t know the way, guide me with the way of the cross. When I lose heart, show me Your faithfulness. When I ask why, remind me that You have never failed me yet. When I lose hope, bring me to Your word. When I feel alone, be my Father. When I want to quit, to give in during the dark of night, remind me that you have a purpose and a plan for my life, and you know me more intricately than anyone has ever known me and will ever know me.
When I feel unworthy, unloved, show me Your unfailing love.

With much love,
Grace
“The thoughts in His mind, always higher than mine.

He’ll reveal all to come.
Take courage my heart. Stay steadfast my soul.

He’s in the waiting. He’s in the waiting.

Hold on to your hope, as your triumph unfolds. He’s never failing.

And You who holds the stars, who call them each by name, will surely keep your promise to me that I will rise in Your victory.

So take courage my heart. Stay steadfast my soul.

He’s in the waiting. He’s in the waiting.

Hold on to your hope, as your triumph unfolds. He’s never failing.”

Chosen.

Right foot, left foot. Right foot, left foot. Right foot, left foot. Don’t close your eyes. Focus on the steps. Focus on getting home. Right foot, left foot. Ten more steps down. Almost there. The past several weeks the walks have been a halfway failed attempt at getting my exercise. With summer coming, the heat is in full swing and my body is not having it. About ten minutes into the walks, mom is on one side holding on to me and dad is on the other. Forrest, my dog, is the troop leader in front of us. He makes sure the path is clear from any impending danger that may arise from mailmen and viscous squirrels. Every 30-45 seconds he peeps his head back to make sure I am still moving, and I think it’s those moments that really motivate me to push forward to home. It feels like what used to be the most enjoyable part of my day is now the most excruciating. My body these days has been aching in pain, and I feel like I am dragging two 50 pound blocks on my back at all times with someone constantly draining all my energy out with a giant fire hose. Pair that with the visual auras and headaches, and suffice to say that I have just felt miserable–and rather frustrated. The cause of these increased symptoms are unknown at this point, but it’s not uncommon for a flare up like this to happen with POTS syndrome, especially with this Georgia heat.

Every time I start thinking my life is finally reaching a place of “normalcy,” I come across some sort of stumbling block. Every atom of my being yearns for some independence. For a life lived without chronic illness. For a chance to be free from the grip of this suffering and to know it wouldn’t come back and drag me down. I am just, I am so over it. I am exhausted–mentally, physically, and emotionally. I feel like I have been fighting this fight so long, even though it has only been five years. Have you ever just felt so overwhelmed with every aspect of your life?
Crying out to God, I find myself asking Him, when will this end? How can I go on Jesus? I can’t do this anymore. I am too tired. I am too weak. I don’t want to live on this earth if my days are filled with exhaustion, pain, and heartbreak.
Broken, spirit bruised, emotionally beaten, weeping, and at my lowest, Jesus gave me one word. As He gave me this word, I instantly knew He wanted me to share it with those of you who feel the way I do.

Chosen.

“To burn brightly our lives must first experience the flame. In other words, we cease to bless others when we cease to bleed.”
“Combat comes before victory. If God has chosen special trials for you to endure, be assured He has kept a very special place in His heart just for you. A badly bruised soul is one who is chosen.”

The darkest of nights. The pain. The meds. The surgeries. The tube feedings. The sticks. The scans. The humiliation. The “I don’t know what to do anymore.” The “I’m not enough.” The “this isn’t worth it.” The hours and days spent on the couch–and feelings of my life being wasted. The tears. The anger. All of it.
I have to believe that one day, He will use it to bless this broken world, to proclaim how good, pure, and Holy Jesus is through any situation, and to make His name known as a Savior and Healer. I want to be Chosen for that. I want to “bleed” for that. I want to be a part of something bigger than myself–especially if it means that Jesus gets glory. I have seen first hand how the Prince of Peace can come into a situation that is as dark as the night and bring joy as bright as the sun. He’s done it in my life. And He can do it in your’s. Through these dark days, I am going to cling to the fact that I’ve been chosen by Jesus to walk through this. I’m not sure what the purpose is, yet. But I’m excited, and expectant, to find out. That expectancy and excitement to see God’s plan revealed in the future (if it’s His will for me to see it unveiled) makes me want to hold on.

More importantly, I want you to hear me out on something. Whatever hurt or pain you are facing, the Lord has chosen you. He has entrusted you. He believed you were strong enough to face this certain battle so that you could be light to a broken, dark, and hurting world. He chose you specifically because He knew that, with Christ right by your side at all times, you could bless someone. You may not know the impact you are making on those around you just by getting up in the morning. I do believe the Lord knew you would walk through this hurt and pain. And He fully believed and trusted that You, my friend, were strong enough to endure the battle. So keep fighting. Do not give up now. Just remember when the pain is so, so deep, that you were chosen to fight this battle for a God ordained reason. The heartbreak, frustration, anger, tears, and hurt is not in vain. He will use it. Maybe you already know the reason He will use it for, or maybe you don’t. We don’t have to figure that out today. Just know that you are chosen. There is a purpose for your life. The suffering has a reason. And one day, it will all be revealed to you. Oh, how sweet that will be!

Hold on, Chosen friend.

Love,

—Grace

“Grain must be ground to make bread.”
–Isaiah 28:28

“Many of us cannot be used as food for the world’s hunger, because we have yet to be broken in Christ’s hands. ‘Grain must be ground to make bread,’ and being a blessing of His often requires sorrow on our part. Yet even sorrow is not too high a price to pay for the privilege of touching other lives with Christ’s blessings. The things that are most precious to us today have come to us through tears and pain.”
–J. R. Miller