These past 3 weeks have been a whirlwind. I have been in Florida | NYC | & Guatemala… There have been so many lessons & things God has shown me, so I wanted to share it with all of you.
(The slideshow shown includes pictures from my trips.)
It is hard to see & understand how you will feel in a future moment… These few weeks were the year mark of a lot of things, but mainly it was the year mark that God gave me a new life & showed me a love that I didn’t know was possible.
The last week of July was not a great time for me a year ago, but today it is this very week- 1 year later that I celebrate as one of the best days of my life… It is so special to me. I went to New York to redeem my perspective & perception of a place I love… This meant that I wanted to be able to view it how I had in the past- New York was always a magical & wonderful place where I had made great memories. & It ended up being a place that I had lived the best & worst moments of my life. Ever since I was in middle school & I first visited NYC- I loved It so much… I ended up getting married there, as well as being left there by the man I married almost one year later- While I was on a missions trip with 65 students. The reasons I wanted to go back ended up being minor in comparison to what God enabled me to experience & how He spoke to me about my future.
The Motive: I firmly believe that we have the power to choose what we feel about things | people | moments… You are in charge of your perception, of your memories, & how you move forward in life.
We cannot change the past- But I do believe we can choose how we see our past.
My Instagram post the day I got to NYC:
✨ Today is the day I begin the celebration of the reality that God loved me enough to remove what I loved the most… Which ended up being disingenuous/ inferior/ unfaithful/ weak/ & not Gods best… I had no idea that it was holding me back from my BEST life- Which I am now living!
I get to go back to one of my favorite places… It’s the place I have had my best & worst memories. There was a time about 2 years ago- I thought it was impossible to be more happy… All my dreams were coming true & beyond. Then not even 1 year later my worst nightmare & greatest heartbreak- in the same city/same hotel.
• But this week is a symbol of the last TAKE BACK. My last REDEMPTION… At the same time last year, when I was the most hurt- Now I am the HAPPIEST I have ever been!
• I have decided, this is my life- it’s my memories… & I choose to have GREAT memories in this AMAZING city. No one & nothing will change my perspective or perception of what I choose to love!
• I LOVE YOU #NEWYORKCITY… Always have- Always will.
GOD MAKES ALL THINGS NEW…
& not only does He make things new, He makes them BETTER than they ever were before!
That’s what I’m living today.
The Outcome: I had no idea what God had planned. I just knew that dates | days | & times in life, that are pivotal moments- Have always been important to me. I didn’t want to miss this moment of redemption. So I went to New York by myself… It turns out that every single place & moment I loved- I visited & got a redo there. 🙂 I felt so great everyday… It was like I was there for the first time.
I hung out with friends, found new ones, & had an incredible time. God was speaking to me | refreshing me | & showing me new things to look forward to. It was like God was making things happen for me- Things I didn’t even know were important to me- God made it happen & that’s exactly how God works in our lives.
He makes happen for us what we can’t & sometimes don’t even know we need.
My Instagram post the day I left NYC:
• 8 | 1 | 2015 •
The day my BEST life began. Today (1yr ago) in #newyorkcity… Was the first day God began sharing with me in detail all He would do in my new life.
Honestly- I didn’t like what He was telling me at first & I didn’t understand it. I thought that when things went terribly “wrong” & all you loved fell apart- There was no way God would be intentional about guiding or having a hand in our heartbreaks & worst moments.
Yet I realize 1yr later- The most cherished day in my life was my hardest. It’s so strange & wonderful to now see all that God spoke to me coming true in my life.
Inside of my greatest heartbreak was my Greatest VICTORY! & that is just how God works… It is in the midst of our “worsts” that God shows up with our BESTS. Below is one of the scriptures God lead me to that has become a reality in my life today!
NEVER GIVE UP & NEVER DOUBT THAT THE GOD WHO CREATED YOU WILL SEE YOU THROUGH- & INTO YOUR GREATEST VICTORY.
“You have stored up so many good things. You have stored them up for those who have respect for you. You give those things while everyone watches. You give them to people who run to you for safety. They are safe because you are with them. You hide them from the evil plans of their enemies. In your house you keep them safe from those who bring charges against them. Give praise to the Lord. He showed me his wonderful love when my enemies attacked the city I was in. I was afraid and said, “I’ve been cut off from you!” But you heard my cry for your favor. You heard me when I called out to you for help. Love the Lord, all you who are faithful to him! The Lord keeps safe those who are faithful to him. But he completely pays back those who are proud. Be strong, all you who put your hope in the Lord. Never give up.”
God had so many amazing things stored up for us… This was one of the exact scriptures God spoke to me the day after my husband left & it has beyond come true. NEVER GIVE UP! & know that God will never leave you, in the good | the bad | & even the ugly… He is FAITHFUL to those who are faithful to Him!
Thank you to those who stood with me | loved me | & believed in me. You played a monumental role in helping me be where I am today. I want to honor you & say thank you for standing with me- For praying for me… & for being so selfless with me as I learned to let God heal/restore/redeem/& not just make things NEW- But the BEST they have ever been!
ECCLESIASTES 3: 1-15
“Everything that happens in this world happens at the time God chooses. He sets the time for birth and the time for death, the time for planting and the time for pulling up, the time for killing and the time for healing, the time for tearing down and the time for building. He sets the time for sorrow and the time for joy, the time for mourning and the time for dancing, the time for making love and the time for not making love, the time for kissing and the time for not kissing. He sets the time for finding and the time for losing, the time for saving and the time for throwing away, the time for tearing and the time for mending, the time for silence and the time for talk. He sets the time for love and the time for hate, the time for war and the time for peace. What do we gain from all our work? I know the heavy burdens that God has laid on us. He has set the right time for everything. He has given us a desire to know the future, but never gives us the satisfaction of fully understanding what he does. So I realized that all we can do is be happy and do the best we can while we are still alive. All of us should eat and drink and enjoy what we have worked for. It is God’s gift. I know that everything God does will last forever. You can’t add anything to it or take anything away from it. And one thing God does is to make us stand in awe of him. Whatever happens or can happen has already happened before. God makes the same thing happen again and again.”
My favorite part of this scripture is, “You can’t add anything to it or take anything away from it. & one thing God does is to make us stand in awe of him.”
This is so true… When I first saw what my life looked like 1 year ago- The first thing I said was, “how could this be the work of God? Why would He allow this to happen? How am I ever going to be happy again?”
Today I look at the place I am in today- & I know without a doubt… God had an amazing plan for me, even through my worst moments & experiences. God was not just in the middle of what I thought was the worst- He was with me & never left me! He allowed it to happen because He loved me so much & He knew what would come from it (TO BE USED BY HIM) would be greater than what hurt me!
The last thing I will share is where the title came from for this blog… I was walking down 6th street in Manhattan & I texted my friend Chris Durso & let him know I was going to try to make it out to MISFIT that night in Brooklyn if I found a safe way to get back to Manhattan later that night. (Misfit is a young adults/ youth movement out of Christ Tabernacle in Queens that happens on Friday nights.) I have actually been visiting & attending their services for over 6 years. I SO love & respect their family… They have been a major influence as well as strength in my life. The best way I can describe it- They are family.
SO BACK TO THE STORY… 🙂
I was texting Chris & he says to me- Great get a word for everyone, I want you to share tonight… So I instantly said, yes sir! & found the nearest train to Brooklyn. It was rush hour & I actually missed my first train so anyways, I get on the train & it’s taking forever. So I start scrolling through my phone… I realize on the train- THAT THIS WAS THE EXACT DAY A YEAR AGO MY HUSBAND LEFT. To be honest I started freaking out… Because (very few people know this)- But I found out on my way to a Misfit service with 65 students… Right outside (as headed into church) that my husband was having a full blown affair with one of my former interns & student leaders on my team. I never considered going back to the church & definitely not on the day 1 year ago my husband left. But as I was in that train- headed to service… I began to thank God. I can’t even begin to explain to you how emotional that was for me. God knew that I would be in NYC. He knew where I would be 1 year later… Not just physically, but in my mind | heart | & spirit. I started thinking about how sad I was last year & how I didn’t know why my husband had left… I was worried about him, praying for him, hoping he was okay- Never considering the worst (that he was unfaithful).
So, to go back to the place (physically)- Where I experienced my greatest heartbreak was surreal. I called a friend who had been with me a year ago on the day, as I walked from the train & around the corner… My heart was beating so fast. The last time I had walked up to the church, I had literally received the worst news- I had actually passed out against a convenient store wall located across from the church… & one of my friends is a paramedic/nurse- She got me aware again & calmed me down, I was shaking and my heart felt like it had literally been torn apart. I felt physical pain & couldn’t even stand up… I had never experienced anything like the shock & pain I felt in that moment. But this year as I walked around the corner to the exact same place- I FELT NOTHING. I hung up with my friend, looked at that very wall (where my life had been shattered)… I smiled & walked in the church.
During worship- The leaders kept talking about people who were facing a broken heart. I hadn’t thought about it in a while. But I realized NOTHING felt broken… Nothing was hurting… I felt like I was literally standing on a mountain top looking over the edge. Then I remembered the week before I left for New York- I had a dream, that I told my husband about. I was standing on a cliff overlooking all that was below… & I was anticipating the jump. I wasn’t scared. I was excited… It was like I was going to fly or something. I was actually preaching that next day at Elevate Life Church on the weekend. We were in our At The Movies series & I was talking about how God wanted to upgrade you. One of the exact statements from that message was,
Sometimes God uses the most painful | difficult | & even hurtful things, that look like they will destroy us… To give us His BEST- Things we could have never even imagined. God wants to upgrade you. So if things seem to be going wrong, thank God… Praise God in the middle of it. Because what is on the other side of that opposition is something so GREAT, that would have not been possible outside of Gods power.
I had no idea this message was for me. I had no idea I would look back at it & almost laugh because everything I said was God SPEAKING DIRECTLY TO MY FUTURE. In the car on the way home from speaking that day I asked my husband to pray for me. I told him about my dream & cried because I said I felt like God was about to do something in my life that was big & new and scary but AMAZING… & I wanted to be not just obedient… I wanted to jump without fear. I explained the imagery in my dream & he prayed for me. But the interesting thing is that I knew this dream was JUST FOR ME. Not for us… Looking back- But being at Misfit & feeling what I felt… It all came together.
I said out-loud to God… “Wow. Everyday here in New York, its like I have been physically retracting my steps.” I started to cry.
Then I felt God say to me so strong… “NO. I AM REPLACING YOUR STEPS.” I cried even harder.
Not long after that moment… I got on stage & shared. The entire night & message given was amazing & after, I told a friend- I need to go take a picture by this wall out here. She was like.. WHAT IN THE WORLD..??? & I just said, go with it man, I will explain later. After I took the picture I yelled, CONQUERED/REDEEMED. It was such a great moment for me… Later that week I went on to minister in Guatemala with some of the very students that were with me on the trip one year previously in New York- Over 3000 people got saved!
My life is not perfect, I am not perfect. But what I can tell you is that just like I have found out in my life- God cares about what you care about. He goes before you, He prepares the way. He speaks to you & fights for you & with you. I am so grateful for my pain | for my healing | & for my seasons of redemption that are now coming to a close for this season of my life.
I hope you are encouraged. Know that God LOVES you so much, even in the middle of your worst- HE HAS THE BEST PLANNED.
REPLACING YOUR STEPS, is not about forgetting. Its about seeing God as FAITHFUL & living a life according to that realization in all seasons.
There’s so much more I could share… But that is enough for now.
Until next time… ♥
L O V E F I E R C E L Y