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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Pink Elephants & A Faithful God

IMG_09302016 was a rough year. It was also the year I was intending to put a lot of energy into my ministry, Journey Pink.  I wanted to write a book, which I affectionately called my Pink Elephant. Pink because I loved the idea of it so much, and elephant because it seemed so ginormous and overwhelming.

I’ve been to conferences and I have taken online writing classes, but the reality is writing and speaking about Childhood Sexual Abuse is taboo. It’s off limits. It’s too dark. It is not a popular topic. It is not encouraged.

But, like the Samaritan woman at the well who finally found THE living water in her life, I have tasted that living water and I want to share it with others who are thirsty and longing for refreshment from the mud and the mire of shame.

This pink elephant was HUGE, and my mind was filled with doubt and insecurity.

Me: God, you have picked the wrong girl! This is Bigger than me. This is elephant size BIG… but it is also pink.
God: How do you eat an elephant? 
Me: One bite at a time.
God: My grace is sufficient

Just when I started to take small bites, the big pink elephant was suddenly surrounded by baby pink elephants.  These baby elephants needed my immediate attention. Baby pink elephants like my daughter getting hospitalized and the months of unknowns and recovery that followed.  Or, the stalker situation that landed me in court and on Amazon purchasing Pink Mace. Fear hit very close to home with those baby elephants and He was  faithful to show me how to take one scary step at a time with Him.

When the intense fear was at its peak, I spent a weekend in Charlotte at a conference and the keynote speaker shared about overcoming fear.  She had experienced a similar year with an injured child and a stalker. I knew God was speaking to my heart. I longed for peace and healing from my overwhelming fears. I rushed to the altar in tears, and acknowledged that I was terrified and tired of being terrified. As the worshippers sang and prayed over us, His amazing love covered me and gave me great peace.

He also brought me confirmation.  That same weekend, at Bethel Worship nights, a man gave a word that there was a pink elephant in the room. I have no idea why he said that and he did not elaborate, but once again – God had my attention. I smiled as I thought, “I will keep going. God is with me.”

And yet, I couldn’t stop the whispers in the back of my mind from that mostly mean voice that demands protection and safety.

“Do you really want to go after that pink elephant?  Look what is happening in your life!  Maybe you should take a hint and just chill out.  Better to play it safe.  You are playing with fire. Who do you think you are???”

Who do you think you are?

Side note – this is a very frequent thought that pops in my head and it can hold me back the fastest. I’ve learned over time that having an immediate answer will shut it down.

Who do I think I am?  I am a princess, and Jesus is my King. I am his daughter, and I am loved, cherished and precious to Him.

Not all small pink elephants are challenges. There were times I wanted to give up, and the image of a pink elephant reminded me to keep stepping, one foot in front of the other.  One day, when I was so weary and full of doubt, my youngest brought his prize from the gumball machine to me and encouraged my heart.

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It reminded me that every bite is worth it.  Yes, God I trust you. I will keep going. Help me to not be afraid.

He knows I struggle with trust and fear, and this tension keeps me from walking in my calling.

But God.

He is faithful, and it all came full circle last weekend when I shared at the Hope Restored Women’s Conference.  At check-in, I was surprised to find out there was a package waiting for me from my friend, Angela. I met her at my very first writing conference in 2014, and when she asked me what I wrote about I couldn’t answer her and finally just said, “I’m not going to tell you.”

She kept asking and I remember how hard it was to finally whisper to her, “I write about healing from childhood sexual abuse.”

Angela knew this was a Pink Elephant weekend for me so she sent me a care package full of my favorites. Besides the caffeine and the yummy chocolate, her gift reminded me of how far God has brought me and how He continues to open doors and give me opportunities to write and speak.

It’s still not easy to speak and write about childhood sexual abuse, but it is so important and worth it! My calling seems so BIG and Overwhelming to me, but Jesus can handle Pink Elephants. I just have to fully trust and surrender, and let Him guide me, one bite at a time. I will savor every bite and remember all the ways He has met me.

His grace is sufficient.

He opens doors no man can shut.

He makes a way when there seems to be no way.

He left 99 for one and He calls us to do the same.

He has brought me this far, and He will not leave me.

I am not alone.

You are not alone.

You are loved, cherished and precious to Him, princess.

Lord, even when your path takes me through the valley of deepest darkness, fear will never conquer me, for you already have! You remain close to me and lead me through it all the way. Your authority is my strength and my peace. The comfort of your love takes away my fear. I’ll never be lonely, for you are near. Psalm 23:4 TPT

What feels like a pink elephant in your life right now? Maybe you have a Pink Elephant Dream? What keeps you from walking in your purpose and calling? Is there an image or vision that helps you to keep going?

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Come to Me

Come to Me, all who are weary

It had been a difficult Monday and I collapsed on the couch exhausted. I closed my eyes and out of no where it started and it kept getting louder.

“Why do you even bother?”  

“Do you really think anyone cares?”

“You are not even a good writer, and you never will be.” 

“They don’t even like you. They just feel sorry for you.” 

“No one wants to read it.” 

“You are a waste of time.” 

And the old faithful question:

“Who do you think you are?” 

That’s just a tiny taste of the meanness that yelled at me in the quiet. It’s been a while since that tape has played. That old familiar voice demands tears and surrender as it warns:  “Give up before you mess up. Quit while you are ahead. It’s not worth the risk. You are not worth it.”

I knew it was all a lie, but it still shut down my plans for writing that night.

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The Garden

The Garden - Journey PinkHe started knocking.  It was a gentle consistent tap and I almost missed it because I was busy tidying up again.  I was pulling back the curtains to let in some light when I saw his shadow on the porch. The door opened to a big grin and a long hug.  I was really looking forward to our visit. As we made our way to the swing on the front porch I looked straight ahead and admired the beautiful scenery.  As the swing swayed back and forth, my eyes followed the birds and the butterflies visiting the flowers and the large solid trees.

It started to get cooler so I invited him in. I was excited to show him how hard I had been working. The house had really cleaned up well. There were lists that were checked off every day  – and there was nothing that gave me more pleasure than sliding that pencil lead across that page acknowledging complete! Every check made it all seem better – it was cleaner, brighter, and even shinier! The chores kept me busy, but they also kept me focused.  He understood it was hard for me when I was quiet and still. I felt like he wanted me to work hard and that everything had to be “just right”. He continued to follow me around as I showed him all of the great things I was doing, but he didn’t seem all that impressed.

As I would point to what I had just completed or what project I had in mind next, I noticed he kept gazing towards the tightly drawn drapes that covered the boarded up windows along the back of the house.  The more I tried to pull his focus away the more intently he looked and eventually started walking to the door that was tightly nailed shut.

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