You are held.

A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over my life so much that I nearly drowned.  (Mark 4:37 rewritten) 

I immediately panicked and put on the nearest life vest floating on the water.

Then I grabbed buckets and furiously worked to dump the water out as quickly as possible. 

I cried and screamed until my throat hurt. I pounded my fists and through gritted teeth I finally yelled, “God, wake up! Are you asleep? Please help me! Can’t you see I’m drowning here? I’m sinking and there’s nothing else I can do.”

In exhaustion, I quit! I threw the life vests and buckets overboard and waited as the water continued to pour and rise.  

I thought I was going to die. Just before the water got up to my mouth I whispered, “I give up.”

Immediately I felt him hold me in his big arms and I heard him say, “Good, let’s get to work.” 

I laid there numb as the water stopped pouring. The waves were completely flat with just ruffles of movement. The dark clouds parted, and the sunshine warmed my face.  Everything was beautiful and bright. I was so tired that I fell asleep peacefully in his arms.  

When I woke up, I thanked him for coming to my rescue and saving me. He smiled and laughed a little when he replied, “Michelle, I was right here the entire time, but you were so determined to save yourself. You’ve always felt like you had to protect your world and everything in it. That feeling of needing to be in control helped you survive your childhood. It’s like a reflex for you.”

But now, that desperate need for control holds you back. It gets in your way and it paralyzes you. It doesn’t serve you well at all anymore, and it’s so automatic for you it’s hard for you to even see it.”

Now let’s try this again.

My eyes widened as the sky grew dark.  The clouds boomed and the lightning lit up the sky.  My heart started to race and I struggled in his arms.  The more I pulled away, the tighter he held me.  I winced as the water came up to my ears and this time instead of screaming I started to sing. I clapped my hands and raised my arms in worship as if the booming thunder and lights were just a part of the concert.  

A funny thing happened.

As I sang, my heart rate slowed down.  My eyes met His gaze. The panic and anxiety slowly left, but the storm raged on. 

It was as if I was floating on the furious waves. They continued to pound me, but I didn’t sink.  The water continued to rise but I didn’t drown. The wind blew with fury, but I hardly moved.  

Tears of Joy welled up in my eyes as I finally realized I was safe in the arms of my Heavenly Father. Safe in every season and in every storm! 

I simply had to let go.  

I had to learn how to part with fear and control, and how to link arms with faith and praise.  

It wasn’t easy, but when a new storm arrived and made my heart pound instead of looking for a way to control it or manage it, I looked for his arms.  

I remembered his faithfulness in prior storms. 

Even though I still get scared, I sing out loud in my shaky voice.  I lift my arms in praise through tears.  I say His name over and over, “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.”

Music keeps me focused on being held. The praise keeps my focus on Jesus and not my circumstances.  

Jesus simply looked at the waves and commanded them to be still. Just like that! When there’s chaos, seek him, praise Him and let His presence usher peace and calm into your life. 

You are loved.

You are safe. 

You are held.  

Do you remember the last storm that swept into your life? What did you do to stay focused on Jesus? What song do you sing when your life is spinning out of control? What promise do you cling to in His word? As the storms rage all around you, how did you sense His presence?

Are you in a storm right now? I would love to pray for you. Please comment below or email me at journeypink@gmail.com.

Take Me to the King by Tamela Mann is a song that has blessed me in all of my storms. I pray it blesses you.

The Gift

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Someone brought me a gift.  They knew I loved Gardenia’s and they brought me a Gardenia to plant.  They took the time to carefully gather the roots and put them in the bottom of a grocery bag filled with fresh potting soil. It was watered and ready to be planted. 

It was time. 

But, I was busy and I put it away fully intending to get to it eventually. 

A week later, I realized it was still waiting to be planted.  In fact the bag had been ripped open and some of the soil had spilled out.  The roots were still there drying in the heat.  

It was a gift!  

I was on my way out the door to get to work, and I ran back in and asked my husband where the shovel was so I could plant it.  He knew I was in a hurry and he planted it for me and sent me a picture.   

It reminded me of another gift.  

God gave me a gift.  He knew I loved to write and He gave me a message to share.  This wasn’t a message I would have hand-picked but there is no other message in this world that gets my heart fluttering and pounding like the one he gave me. He healed me from the devastation of childhood sexual abuse, and He gave me the courage and passion to share it with others. He’s patiently walked with me and gently encouraged me every step of the way.  

It was time.  

I started the work, and then I hit a hard spot.  The hardest spot.  

And as hard as it was, I clearly saw His redemption and how he brought full circle healing to the absolute worst memory in my life.  It was gloriously painful.  

And I stopped. I closed it.  

I got busy, and I put it all away fully intending to get to it eventually.  

Just like the plant.  

The plant was a beautiful gift, but I needed to do something with it.  In order for it to flourish, I had to plant it in the rich soil, water it and tend to it. 

His gift to me also requires my attention and more importantly, my faith.  

His plan is my best gift for me, and at times I am guilty of thinking my plans are better. I am guilty of comparing my gifts to others and thinking I just don’t measure up. I don’t have what it takes. I am guilty of thinking why this gift? Why me? Why bother?

But, oh His grace.  When I think about His grace, I am reminded.  

His love and grace reminds me that He has redeemed me. He calls me by name. I am His. His daughter. He has washed me clean. I am not alone. I am wonderfully made. He knows all of my days. He has a plan, for me. By His power, not mine.  

Oh me of little faith! 

Today, I am planting His gift to me by faith.  By His strength, I will tend to it and for His glory may it flourish to bring beauty into the lives of others.  

It is time.  

Be generous with the different things God gave you, passing them around so all get in on it: if words, let it be God’s words; if help, let it be God’s hearty help. That way, God’s bright presence will be evident in everything through Jesus, and he’ll get all the credit as the One mighty in everything—encores to the end of time. Oh, yes! 1 Peter 4:11 MSG

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Refreshing Joy

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“The last time I doubted my calling was … just this past Monday.”

I shared this with the ladies in our Bible Study group. It is a safe place filled with grace, love and encouragement.

I explained that I was in the dumps, exhausted and overwhelmed. I was simply tired.

Tired of waiting.
Tired of hurting.
Tired of hoping.

When I feel worn out, the enemy is not too far away with that mean question ringing loud in my head:

“Who do you think you are?”

Then the dominoes of doubt start to fall onto each other:

“God’s not going to use you.”
“What you have to say is already being said.”
“No one wants to hear it.”
“If it is this hard, why bother?”
“Did God really say….?????”

“Again, who do you think you are?”

When these doubts swirl around me in the pit, I sink.

But, just this morning as I approached my office, there was a gift wrapped in tissue paper by my door. I picked it up and opened it to see a lovely smelling candle. There was no note so I sat it on my desk and went to make coffee.

When I made it back to my desk, I looked up and saw the word JOY in gold on candle.

JOY CANDLE
Your love has impacted me and brings me great joy and encouragement, for the hearts of the believers have been greatly refreshed through you. Philemon 1:7 TPT

My eyes were a little misty. JOY is my word for 2018, and this was such a sweet and timely reminder.

Who in the world left this at my door?

I texted a few friends and they all said it wasn’t them.
So I texted some more. No luck.

As I started to review the scripture verses for our lesson, one the of the ladies shared the song, “Reckless Love” in our group chat.

As I played the song and read the verses, the tears washed away the lies that were suffocating me.

Verses like:

“Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. For I am with you” Acts 18:9-10

However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace. Acts 20:24

In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive. Acts 20:35

The following night the Lord stood near Paul and said, “Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome.” Acts 23:11

Oh, to be like Paul. He had plenty of opposition, but he kept running the race. He was able to say, “My brothers, I have fulfilled my duty to God in all good conscience to this day.” Acts 23:1

The struggle is real, but God is bigger than the struggle.

I shared with my sisters in Christ how God refreshed my heart with a surprise candle, the timing of a song, and the truth of His Word.

I was still dying to know who gave me that candle so I could at least thank them! My sweet sisters encouraged me to just receive His love, and ask Him to bless the giver.

The next morning, I found out the candle was a gift from a friend who lives all the way in Indiana.

My heart was FULL.

God delivered true meaning to the song Reckless Love in real time.

He reached down and drew me
from the deep, dark hole where I was stranded, mired in the muck and clay.
With a gentle hand, He pulled me out
To set me down safely on a warm rock;
He held me until I was steady enough to continue the journey again.
Psalm 40:2

Click below to listen to the powerful song Reckless Love by Cory Asbury – where he shares the story behind the song.  As you listen,

  • Think of all the ways He has pursued you.
  • Remember those He sent to encourage you just when you needed it most.
  • Reflect on the times He used you to strengthen and refresh others.
  • Who can you encourage today?

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On writing {A blog hop}

My friends Brandi  & Kristine invited me to join this Blog Hop on writing!  I met them online through Compel Training and just recently met them in person at She Speaks!  Both encourage me and their words are as beautiful as their smiles so be sure to visit them by clicking on their name!  This is my first blog hop, so … I am supposed to answer three questions on writing, and then introduce you to three bloggers that I follow.

Ready?  Set?  HOP!

We write to remember, to remind, to reach

Why do I write what I write?

I write to remember what God has done for me.  I write to remember how on an ordinary Friday, God told me he loved me with a magnificent Pink Sky and this time I believed it.  It changed everything for me.  He’s like that, and I don’t want to ever forget it.

I write to remind myself of who God is, and who He says I am.  Journey Pink is all about the discovery of knowing and believing that I am His, and He is mine.  I am His Princess and He is my King.

I write to reach that woman who is weary, and just getting through her busy.  If she even stops to look in the mirror, it’s not a princess she sees.  She may even know Jesus and know a lot about Him, but she’s really not even sure she’s on His radar.  She wants you to see that she is okay, but at night when her head hits the pillow a single tear falls whispering silent hurts.  I was that woman, and I found hope and healing in Him.

What am I working on?

Honestly, I am working on healing, and a big part of that for me is writing.  I have been on this journey a little over two years, and writing has been a big part of it. Writing for me is like seeing the mended vase, with Him being the glue that lines those sharp edges and creates beauty.  No matter how shattered it seems, He will make it whole again.  He will smooth the jagged edges, and shine the dull places.  He creates beauty with broken pieces.  There is hope in Him for all of us, every one.

How does my writing process work?

I write when I can whether it is typing notes on my phone, on paper or my blog.  Sometimes a writing prompt will stir something in me, but I don’t always make it to every party or link-up.   My favorite time to write is after a quiet walk in nature.  The trails just seem to line up jumbled words for me.  The hardest part is hitting publish.  I laugh when after thirty minutes of staring at the publish button (occasionally with nervous clapping or snapping fingers) my husband will say – “Please just push it!!”  Pushing publish and commenting for whatever reason is hard for me, but I am trying – a work in progress, I tell you!

Meet my friends!

I want to introduce you to three bloggers that I enjoy following.

Their transparency and truth points to Christ.

They are brave hearts making hearts brave!

Trudy Den Hoed - Freed To Fly
Trudy Den Hoed – Freed To Fly

I met Trudy Den Hoed online at the Faith Jam/Whitespace link-ups with Bonnie Gray.   She has been such an inspiration to me.  Trudy’s tagline says it all:  Hope, Healing, and Freedom for hurting souls.  Her encouragement will bless you!

Renee Ratcliffe - Eternity in Our Hearts
Renee Ratcliffe – Eternity in Our Hearts

I met Renee Ratcliffe at She Speaks and she is a gentle brave spirit.  Her writing digs deep into God’s Word and points to His hope.  Her journey has led her to focus on Kingdom Living now, and she truly lives that way.  It still moves me to remember her tapping me on my shoulder to pray over me at the conference.  She will run along side you in this race, and encourage you to keep going with your eyes fixed on Christ!

Shelly Tiffin ...seeking God, searching for wisdom, sharing stories along the way...
Shelly Tiffin …seeking God, searching for wisdom, sharing stories along the way…

I also met Shelly Tiffin at She Speaks, and was blown away by her transparency and determination.   She shares her life lessons and stories in ways that will make you hear God speaking to you as well. She believes in doing life together, sharing our stories with each other and being transparent.  That makes me smile.

This is a hop, so please make yourself comfortable.  Grab a hot coffee, (and/or a cold Diet Coke) and start clicking on the links.  Hop on over to their blogs, and be encouraged.  Be inspired.  Be real.

Write friends.  Just write.  

We write this to make our joy complete.  1 John 1:4