Starting the Day in God’s Presence
I realized in this season of life I have often felt like a robot. Always lists to do. I wake up with lists and go to bed with lists. For the first time in my life I’ve struggled with performance anxiety and almost panic attacks. Recently God showed me that when I wake up in the morning, instead of checking my phone for emails news etc, and instead of jumping into my day doing, to start my day by stopping. Stopping to sit in His presence. Inviting His love and acceptance to wash over me. For when I do this I remember I’m a human with a heart. His words of acceptance and love cut to my core. They feel good, they are healing and give me peace and freedom. I’m realizing I need this time with Jesus every day. When I don’t take the time, to be honest I hardly make it through my day before being overcome by fear and discouragement. The world can be rough, but Jesus is my safe place where I get loved on.
Saving a Sister’s Life
My daughter is starting a new school. I ordered her uniform and it didn’t arrive yet. So with school starting tomorrow I didn’t know what to do. I prayed and then my friend and I drove around town trying to find something that would work, I thought at least maybe I could find a navy skirt or jumper. I also sent out a text to friends. It ended up that someone said they had a jumper so I assumed it was navy as that was what I was asking for. I went to pick it up and it was the exact plaid jumper that my daughters’s new school wears! I couldn’t believe it! And she gave me 2 jumpers to keep! I couldn’t believe that God provided the exact item we needed for free plus extra jumpers! I am very grateful for Him providing for my family beyond what I was hoping for! Thank you Jesus!
Knowing and Being Known
The Light of Hope
From the age of 13 and even possibly before that I have experienced the darkness of depression and feelings on and off that the world would be a better place if I was not a part of it. Even as a Christian I still struggled with these thoughts. It was as if some sort of blinders kept me from fully seeing the hope and light of Christ’s love and goodness. I could not see that hope of Christ that shines through the darkness and shines ahead to brighter days. I could not see past the struggle I was in. My life was mostly hollow and dark, I tried my hardest to become invisible and not take up space or create waves. I was not really living just barely surviving and making it through the dark days. I can now say through guidance, prayers and help from a community of friends and my new found idea of family that I am finding through merge I can see the hope of Christ and come to a better understanding of God’s acceptance of us in the here and now. For at least 2 years I have been free from any thoughts of leaving the land of the living and ending the struggle. I still have dark days the road is still rocky and hard but for once I see a light at the end of it and now this too shall pass. Eventually. And I will come out of it alive.
I’ve struggled with anxiety, social anxiety in particular, since childhood. I’ve been to therapy, tried yoga, worked on redirecting thoughts. However, it all just ends up being ways to ease the symptoms of an on going spiritual disease, and treating those symptoms takes work. It’s a constant conscious effort to maintain a peace and calm; a trust that I am enough, that I belong, I am loved. And it always seems to be just a matter of time until my new antidote isn’t strong enough and I collapse under the weight of all my fears, having to pull myself up again and try something new. Sometimes I feel like the woman that was plagued with the issue of blood (Mark 5). She tried everything. She was at the end of her rope and the only hope she had left was Jesus. So she reached out to touch the hem of his coat. And here am I, having tried everything, yet still finding myself sick. So I’ve started praying for relational healing and over the past couple months as I’ve been pressing into Jesus, he has been revealing to me the power of thankfulness. Thankfulness being the key to seeing God in our midst. When I take the time to slow down, and recognize the way I am blessed, I am identifying how God has touched my life in the here and now. If I can see God’s hand in my situation then why should I be afraid? He is with me. I’m still in the process of seeing the power of Thankfulness, but I’m believing that God has me on the road of healing, where I no longer will fear, because I will find myself satisfied with his goodness.
In the midst of feeling financially strapped, God keeps reminding me of the word “abundance.” He is challenging me to grow and that is exciting.
I’ve been feeling far from God and questing if I am really loved by him or not. One day when I was praying I started off by saying “Dad!” without even thinking about it. I called my grandma to tell her how I keep calling God “Dad” and she said that that was exactly what she had been praying for me. She had been praying for weeks that I would see God as my Father. God is awesome!
Headed to Africa
I became apart of Merge church in the 2012. When I was looking for a smaller church with a strong sense of community I was immediately welcomed in. December of 2013 I began applying for overseas teaching jobs. I was offered a job teaching in Rwanda at the beginning of January. As I was struggling and debating on whether I should take the job or not, and trying to figure out what God’s plan was, I began praying a lot about it. At the end of one of our worship services there was an opportunity given to have people pray for you if you needed prayer about anything, I decided to pick someone who wasn’t already praying with someone to pray about my decision with Rwanda. I went up to a woman who I was just beginning to get to know better. I told her what I needed prayer for and the decision I was trying to make. It turns out that her sister lives in Rwanda and her nieces and nephews go to the school that I was offered the job at. I believe that it was God’s plan for me to happen to go up to this praying woman, and for her to happen to be available to pray that day. Merge has been my home away from home and the people at Merge are so incredibly open to be led by the Holy Spirit. It is the community that I had been looking for and the encouragement and support that is within this family is incredible. In August 2014 I will be moving to Rwanda and I am feeling more and more spiritually prepared because of the support I receive from Merge.
I’ve realized my life is apart of a larger story. It’s been exciting to watch people of peace draw closer to God and start their own walk with Him. It’s been a blessing to be a part of.
A year ago I was praying for Christian friends. I had been baptized and apart of a small group of people at a church. But I didn’t have anyone to walk with me as I desired to grow with Christ and I was having a hard time with my walk. I was feeling discouraged because after a year of praying I didn’t have any Christian friends and I didn’t really feel like I could realistically fit into any church setting. One day I needed somewhere to donate clothes an older woman in my life brought me to Source. I donated my clothes, and we got invited to stay for the Wednesday Night Community dinner. I began coming regularly to the meals. Automatically I felt welcomed! In this building there was something so homey and comfortable about this setting. Later I would find out it was “Jesus in the air.” I remember first meeting Peter, my now dread-headed pastor and feeling at ease because I had always felt like an outcast at churches with my very urban look, tattoos, and piercings. But Peter along with the others there did not look at me and treat me as if I was a mess and needed help and they were the ones who were perfect. But this group of people embraced me, and welcomed me, something I had never really experienced in a church setting. A year later here I am full-blown living in this community and its amazing to see how my simple prayer for “Christian friends God gave me soooo much more. I now realize that we were made to live in community and be loved and supported by other followers of God. I also am no longer an outsider in church settings. I am right where I am supposed to be. I am part of God’s body. Merge Vineyard Church has been a really big part of my spiritual growth and I am glad that I am learning the meaning of family, and learning how to function in it. I know this is just the beginning, but it’s a heck of a good start! God has a plan!
God is positively redefining my definition of family. He has greatly been using the Merge family to heal me emotionally, relationally, and spiritually. I have experienced this family as a safe place for me to launch from in my life and return back to for encouragement and direction. It’s been awesome.
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