Tuesday, October 7, 2014

How Can It Be?

Y'all...the fall has always been a favorite season of mine.  Something about the changing of the seasons just makes all things, feel new.

October marks a year since I've broken free from depression, oppression, and from the pits of hell as I like to call it.

Honestly, it feels like yesterday I broke those chains.

Yesterday, while on the phone with my sister we were discussing my mom and how we each have a journey in this.  How each of our journeys will look different and how God will reveal himself to each of us differently - yet collectively the same.

While we want to carry mom through this journey and make it easier, take away the hurts, take away the side-effects - that is simply not our job.  God never intended us to carry our burdens, much less someone elses.

He intended us take up and carry His cross.

Last fall the fight was hard, but it only prepared for what was ahead.

It also allowed me to see myself and God in fresh, new way.  A way I may have never been able to see Him, had I not been held captive.

And I couldn't be more thankful that He allowed me to walk that journey.

That I would have to die to this world, to the world I once knew so He could make me new.

I wrote in my Breaking Free book, "He allows us to grow through hard things, holding us captive so redemption/freedom is that much sweeter.  So we are so desperate for Him we are willing to do whatever it takes to gain freedom."

There is SO much sweetness in redemption.  Wish I could bottle it up and hand out it to the people I see hurting!!

There is SO much sweetness in freedom.  When I look back over the years and how broken I was, while I hope to never go back to that - I also never want to forget where I did come from.  Redemption has never been so sweet!  I hope I never forget what it felt like to shake those chains and finally stand on solid ground, where He sees me as he intended - beautiful, bestowed with a crown of righteousness, His beloved.

When He turns our ashes into beauty, there isn't a more beautiful sight.

So dear friend, whatever you are walking through this day or this season in life - know He came to set you free.  He came to give you new life.  He never intended us to be prisoners of our own despair.  Don't walk it alone, reach out to someone.  But also reach out to the one who came to set you free, heal you, and rescue you - our loving Father.

You gave your life to give me mine...
You say that I am free...how can it be? 

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Grand Cayman- {Day 3}: Blow Holes/Starfish Point

Day 3: Monday

I started a new bible study right before we left so I took advantage of the scenery during quiet time.  Every morning I was in awe of His majesty.  Actually all week I kept thinking about how amazing of an artist He is.  The same God who told the sun to rise each morning, the waves to only come so far, and who created the seas.  After snorkeling one day, AB and I talked about how fierce (scary) the seas can be and how much respect we had for it after seeing all the abundant life underwater.  Isn't it fun to see life through the lens of our Creator, rather than our own?!  

We ventured out to the east side of the island to see the blow holes.  I had never seen blow holes, so I was impressed.  But my mom - not so much.  She's seen "real blow holes!" where the water really blew out. Haha!

But first...let's take a selfie!  And sorry for the picture overload...everyone wanted their picture in front of said blow holes! :)  Not to mention we only have 4000+ photos combined between our phone & DSLR.

Ace loved finding the sea snails.

These boys love their mimi & papa!

Still can't get over how beautiful the skies are there!!

Once again that evening (after naps) we made our way back to Starfish point.  With another stop by Rum Point for some ruuumm, of course!  This is also the evening, we (Kara, Justin, & myself) got stung by jellyfish larvae.  Ouch!!

Kara found a sea urchin.

We had the place to ourselves.  My mom stayed back with Chance since he was napping when we left and since the mosquitoes were so bad when the sun started to go down.  But check out the sunset.  That's my dad in the next two pictures looking for starfish.  This is also where he met a couple from Oklahoma, where he shared about my mom and they prayed with him and for my mom, right there under that beautiful sunset.

"Not all those who wander are lost."

 My parents will celebrate 40 years of marriage this November.  What an inspiration!!!!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Grand Cayman {Day 2} Rum & Starfish Point

We arrived Saturday afternoon in Grand Cayman and spent most of time, getting groceries, navigating our way around the island, and checking out the million dollar view once we arrived at the house.

It had been a long day of traveling, so Sunday we spent most of our time just relaxing and semi-planning out our week.  Being with such a large group and that Georgetown was almost an hour away, we had to plan accordingly so we could fit in what each person or family wanted to do.  We did manage to get out to see Rum Point & Starfish Point later in the evening.

The sun coming up...

I woke up and had my coffee and quiet time on the back deck.  Couldn't find a more picture-perfect place to study God's word.  The picture below is the view from our room......talk about waking up refreshed every morning!

The boys were such troopers the day before with all the traveling.  Now they were free to play & explore!

We found a fresh coconut on the beach, so my dad cut it open for us.  We ended up opening two up over the week.  Having fresh coconut is the best!  We used the "coconut milk" in mom's smoothies, was delicious!  If you look real closely in the next picture, B is on the beach and not real happy that daddy is way far out there.  He is the little black speck towards the left-middle of the picture.

Simply paradise!

Later that evening we decided to take a quick trip down to Rum Point.  We were only a few minutes from that part of the island.  We ended up getting a few rum drinks, taking a quick swim, and checking out the shops.  But first we took a few selfies! ;)

Can't go to Rum Point and not get rum!!

Later that evening, we all took a trip even further to the tip of the island -to Starfish Point. This was probably our favorite beach/place that we visited.  So neat to just walk out into crystal clear water and see starfish!  Also, not crowded and perfect for the kids.  I mean look at these two cuties!!!  Loving every minute.

Mom's feet

We learned later you aren't supposed to bring them out of the water.  Oops!  Aren't they just amazing?!  We all took turns holding them.  Such a sweet time!  And getting to watch the sun go down over the water - simply breathtaking!

We had to walk down a bit from where we parked, but the view on our way there.  I really can't get over how beautiful it was there!

Love this photo of mom.

"You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find you in the mystery 
In oceans deep
My faith will stand"

So many people have sent her that song ("Oceans" by Hillsong United) as encouragement. 

Perfect end to our first full day in Caymans!!!