Sunday, January 5, 2014

Farewell's been real

So I still have lots of blogging to do to catch up me up for 2013.  Like Thanksgiving, Brady's 2nd birthday party, Christmas day, and I'm sure a slue of stuff I never blogged about this last year.  That I wanted to blog about.

But if there is anything worth noting about the year, it would be this.  This is my story, my struggle, and my story of being healed.  And while it is really me pouring my heart out, it is His story to share.

Lyrics from "Keep Making Me" by Sidewalk Prophets
Before I even knew it, the year was coming to a close.  A year gone and honestly I didn't know if I was going to make it.  It seemed like life was going at warp speed and blogging was the furthest thing from my mind.

2013 felt like all I was doing was trying to catch my breath.  Trying to hold on to whatever I could grab hold on to.  2013 was a year of growth, stretching, and eventually landing on a firm ground.  Praise the Lord!

2013 tested me in ways I never knew possible, and while I kind of want to say "good riddance" to it, I also feel bittersweet about it ending.  I look completely different now then I did when 2013 started.  I have a sense of peace I didn't have at the start of the year.  I have a hope I didn't have at the beginning of the year.  I have a lighter load than I did when I started the year.  A load I didn't even know I was carrying.

2013 was a year of sweet redemption for me.  A year of breaking free.  Breaking free from the things that were silently killing me.

Back in September, my church was starting Beth Moore's study, Breaking Free.  I felt a tug in my spirit to do the study.  I put it off, insisting there was no childcare available.  Our children's director told me she would make sure there was someone there for childcare, if I wanted to go to study.  So I started three weeks into the study and B was the only child in the nursery.  I didn't know much about the study, other than Beth plays it straight and well, I didn't have anything I didn't to break free from.

I mean I had been saved, washed from all my sins, and made new again when I was 15ish.  I had lived a somewhat regular life of attending church, tithing, and memorizing scripture.  I realized I was still a sinner, but it my mind I was doing the Christian thing right.  I had it all together.


Yet, it wasn't until I started the study - I realized the life I had known was a complete lie.  Not just one lie, but many.  Lots of lies.  I mean more lies than I'd like to admit.

Now I'm sure you are thinking...what in the world?  Because I have thought those very same things.  After all, I'm just a normal, thirty year old gal, with a baby, husband, and dream job.  Stay at home mom.

But truthfully, while I had everything I thought I ever wanted out of life...I was empty.  I was lonely.  I was miserable.  I was one step away from selling my soul to the very thing I've fought so hard against.  The enemy.

I was broken.  I hated life and most things about life.

My dream job, I hated.  I hated my role as a mother, a wife, a friend.  I felt I sucked (sorry) at all of it.  I felt like is this really all life has to offer?  Because if this is it, I don't want it.

Life was hard.  And I could only ask "Why God is life so hard?" in between my tears and desperate calls for help, change, something, anything!

Six weeks went by from the time I started the study until we finished.  In short six weeks, I went from the absolute pits of hell to standing stronger, braver, and more confident than ever.

I stood as a daughter of the King.  Redeemed.  Loved.  His beloved.  With roots planted deeper than ever before.  A display of splendor for His kingdom.

For the first time ever, I didn't just believe in Him.  I believed Him.

I believed He came to heal me, rescue me, and love me.

Lies that I had plastered on the walls of minds begin to slowly fall away.  I began to see myself the way Christ has always seen me.

Beautiful and enthralled by His beauty.  Bestowed with a crown.

On November 14th (six days shy of my 31st birthday) after our final Breaking Free session (where I actually won the award for "most transformed"), I took this "selfie" on Instagram with this caption:
This picture marks a new walk in my journey with Christ. I have been transformed anew in Him. Chains that have bound me for far too long, stealing my hope & joy. Lies that I've plastered my mind with, replaced with His word & truth. Roots planted, anchored to His promises. No longer a slave to the sin that held me captive. I can't even tell you how thankful I am for these last 10 weeks of Breaking Free. I am His beloved and He is mine! This my friends is what victory looks like & that sweet angel in the back seat was worth the fight. He needs his momma & needs a well momma. Blown away by his unfailing love & grace today. "So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed." John 8:36 goodness who else can turn our beauty into ashes? No one but Him, lift up your eyes for mercy remembers your name. #mightywarrior #iamfreeindeed

I began to see how much of what I believed about I would always just be a depressed person, or how I would never get my anger under control, or how I wasn't a good mother to begin with so why would God give me another child after we suffered, yet another loss in September.  How this is just as good as life gets or the feeling as if I wasn't doing enough for to earn His grace were lies.

I began to see myself and life as I had never seen before.  I began to taste true liberty.  The kind of liberty that only comes through Christ Jesus.

Liberty to love myself.  Liberty to enjoy being a mom and stop blaming myself for past miscarriages.  Liberty to love my role as a mother.  Liberty to love my husband and home, the way God intended even if it wasn't perfect or even if I wasn't the best at keeping up with laundry.  Liberty to live life as a follower of Christ, and not a slave to the enemy.

I began to drink from the cup of living water.  I began to enjoy life again.  Enjoy this amazing privilege of being a mother, something that my heart longed for since I was a little girl.  I began to put up His truth in place of the lies and remind myself that He is good, even while we are being refined.

So while 2013 was a struggle to say the least, it was probably the most transforming year I have ever had.

He was good.  It was good.

I don't even recognize who I once was and never, ever want to go back to that Nancy.  While I don't ever want to go back, I can honestly say that if you had told me how awful this year would be with struggle, doubt, ruin, and despair;  I would walk it over and over again if I knew the end result would be freedom.  Because if I've learned anything this year is that God never, ever lets go.  Never.  He also only wants the best for us and just as we expect the best out of children, we have to train them in the way we want them to go.  It just doesn't happen.  Sometimes that means we have to do things we don't like in order to get their attention. Knowing the end result, will be worth it.

Worth it, it was.

That's why saying goodbye to 2013 is bittersweet.  Never have I had such a sweeter story than that of knowing Jesus the way I did this last year.  I am incredibly thankful for a church home that is willing to meet the needs of their people, for Beth's wisdom and heart, and for a God who is in the business of restoration.  He is good, y'all!!!  So be encouraged, cloth yourself with His word, and as Beth says,"make the devil wish he never would have messed with you in the first place sister!!!!!"

Isaiah 61:1-4
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
    because the Lord has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
    to proclaim freedom for the captives

    and release from darkness for the prisoners,[a]
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
    and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
    and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
    instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
    instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
    instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
    a planting of the Lord
    for the display of his splendor.
They will rebuild the ancient ruins
    and restore the places long devastated;
they will renew the ruined cities
    that have been devastated for generations.

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