God’s Peace, Amazing Peace

Peace – a state of tranquility or quiet, freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions, harmony in personal relations, used interjectionally to ask for silence or calm or as a greeting or farewell.

Peace comes to us in different ways at different times in our lives. Each situation or circumstance is different and the peace that comes with it is equally different. One thing for sure though is peace comes from only one source, true peace comes only from one person, and that’s God. I have found myself throughout my almost 33 years of life in different circumstances and needing peace, and it has amazed me that each time the peace comes in a different way, and never quite feels the same. However, each time it is always the way I need it, when I need it and how I need it. That’s because I have seeked the peace from God and He knows better than I do how I need that peace. 2 Thessalonians 1:2 tells us, Grace and Peace to you from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Peace comes from only one source, true peace can only come from God, and the beautiful thing is it doesn’t matter what the situation or circumstance may be. He can give us and will give us, if we ask, the peace that we need and desire. Sometimes we may think and feel that no one can possibly understand what we’re going through because no one has been what we we have been through, and although people around us who love us and care for us try to offer us peace and comfort through their words, we often reject them because we think to ourselves, “They don’t know how I feel, this has never happened to them”. Maybe that’s true, maybe that person has never felt exactly what we’re feeling, maybe they have never been through what we are going through, but if this person has God set as a priority in their life, they are simply offering to you the way to peace through God! Because as a christian we know this, “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” Philippians 4:7. We know that God understands everything that we’re going through and how we’re feeling, God feels what we feel, when we cry and hurt God holds every tear in His hands, and when we’re down and sad, God desires for us to be happy and lifted up, God knows and understands better and more than anyone, and when we realize that and come to Him for peace, He fills us with that peace.

There have been times in my life that while the storms are raging against me and all around me I would pray and ask God to calm the storms. I wanted everything to be calm again and at complete peace. I can recall days of great pain and many tears, and feeling so down, and I would cry out to Jesus and ask for peace in the situation. While there have been times that God did calm those storms around me, there have also been times that the storms surrounding me kept raging. I felt sometimes in those situations like Jesus disciples did inMatthew 8:23-27 when Jesus was on the boat with them and a furious storm come upon them and Jesus was sleeping and they went and woke him up and said, “Lord, Save us! We’re going to drown!”, and just like His disciples then, I also heard “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Wow! Talking about a knock upside the head and heart! It reminds me of one of my favorite songs, Sometimes He calms the Storm, there are times in our lives when God will calm the storm, but at other times in our lives He will use the storm to teach us and make our faith stronger. We may feel like He doesn’t hear our prayers, but He always hears our prayers and He will always do what is best for us! He knows our needs better than we do! In the recent months & years I have had several raging storms come against me, and I am grateful that God took care of me during these storms. Some rated as a “Severe Thunderstorm” others rated as a “Tornado/Hurricane”, and although God waited quite some time during the tornado/hurricane storm, He did come to calm the storm around me. But I believe not one moment before He knew He should. He taught me a lot through that storm, and some of the greatest things have come from that storm in my life. The greatest blessings ever came from that storm and because of that I can sit here and say that I am grateful to God for it! I’m not jumping up and down at the pain that I had to feel, the horrible gut wrenching pain, not happy about everything that took place, but I am SO eternally grateful for where I ended up after the storm cleared! It’s truly amazing and a miracle in what God has done in our lives through that storm! men!Psalm 107:28-30 says, Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and He brought them out of their distress. He stilled the storm to a whisper, the waves of the sea were hushed. They were glad when it grew calm, and he guided them to their desired haven. It goes on to say in Verse 31, “Let them give thanks to the Lord for His unfailing love and His wonderful deeds for men” This is what God done for us!! This is the reason why that we could shout from the mountain tops about what God had done in our lives! This is what God commanded us to do after He calmed our storm, we gave thanks for His amazing unfailing love in our lives and what He did for us. We couldn’t stop thanking Him, we couldn’t stop sharing it with people that He is so AWESOME in what He did for us! I know that others can’t truly understand unless they’ve been through it, but God performed some major miracles in our lives, He transformed and Conformed!! For this reason, we will always give thanks to God, and we will strive to live each and everyday the way and do what He has commanded us to do and that’s to share it, to go tell it!!

The “Severe Thunderstorms” however, God chose not to calm the storm, but calm me instead. Now because of that, it has been hard for me. But I recognize that this is an area of my personality and character that I have prayed and asked God to help me in and to release me from, therefore I know that is what He’s doing, He’s teaching me to do exactly what I asked him for. God has spoken to me so many times through this thunderstorm and has instructed me on what to do, what to say, when and where to do it and say it. I may have not always thought it was fair what I was being asked to do, and I admit, I threw some temper tantrums and whined about it, but I have done it. He has allowed me to face persecutions, He has allowed people to turn away from me, He has allowed me to face things that are the exact things that I’ve been praying about for help with. I didn’t recognize that at first though, those were in my “tantrums” when I fussed, moaned and groaned. But God spoke to me and said, Do not worry about it, Do not be anxious about it, I know what is best for you, where I want you, what I want for you, and I will place you there, and I will remove what I need to remove, and in the end you will see that trusting me has been worth it! During this time God has constantly put this verse before me and has shown it to me over and over, has had me hear it in so many different ways!
“For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

I even read further and heard God speaking to me, “Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you and will bring you back from captivity. Jeremiah 29:12-14

These verses God has placed in front of me countless times, even just last night through a friends status message! If we have an open heart ready to receive Him, He will help us, He will lead us, guide us, and show us the way. But we can’t close our heart off from Him, and I have news that if you do, Eventually He will get you!! You will come to a point in your life where you desire him and you’ll stop fighting it, however, this usually happens at a moment in our lives where we hit rock bottom because we did keep fighting him! Rock bottom is not a fun place to be, but it’s a necessary place to be so that we can come back to the one who loves us!

It was through these verses along with other messages that He sent to me through quiet time with him that I realized He wasn’t going to calm the storm around me, He was going to calm me. And He has! I know I still have a lot of work to do in removing these character flaws of mine of caring so much what other people think, of having this obsessive need to have everyone like me, of feeling approval and validation. And he has shown me that I can’t keep people from believing what they want to believe about me or other things, or from talking and saying things that shouldn’t be said. However I have realized that God is my defender, I don’t need to try and defend myself any longer. I don’t need to try and protect my character, God will do that for me in His time. Psalm 91:1-2 says “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust!”
Refuge means shelter or protection from danger or distress, a place that provides shelter or protection, something to which one has recourse in difficulty. I am under construction and God is my constructor, He is answering my prayers, and though they may not be in the way that I would like them to be answered, He is answering them. He knows me better than I do, and obviously this is the only way I will learn, is my hands on experience!

I am learning that it doesn’t matter if people doesn’t agree with decisions I make in my life, as long as I know that I am doing what God has told me to do.(Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9)

I am learning that it doesn’t matter if people don’t like me because My God loves me, He created my heart just the way it is and for a purpose and if it’s rejected by others, I am never rejected by God! I do not need the approval of others, only the approval of God! (“Am I now trying to win the approval of men or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ! Galatians 1:10)

I am learning that not everyone will accept me for who I am, and that’s okay! I am who God created me to be, I am fearfully and wonderfully created! (For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalms 139:13-14)

So during my thunderstorm, “While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among me and said to me, “Peace be with you” (Luke 24:36) (Putting myself into the verse)

What an awesome feeling of Peace that God has given me in so many situation and circumstances in my life. The last two years of my life has countless examples of our storms of life, and the peace that God gives to us during that time. He is AMAZING, LOVING, CARING, AWESOME, and what He is doing in my life is so WONDERFUL! I feel Him in my life and in my heart more than I ever have before, and it’s such a AWESOME feeling! I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world, No, not even for all the storms that I have been through, not for all the pain & hurt I have felt, not for any of the persecutions that have come against me, not for the challenges, not for any “friends” that I have lost, not for the all the pruning that He has done in my life! I wouldn’t trade it for ANYTHING!
When God works in our lives we can’t let it all be for nothing. If I didn’t submit to Him after all of this then everything I have been through would have been for nothing, and I don’t want to waste it! I am on top of the world, floating on cloud 9, standing up on that Mountain of God!! Praise the Lord!! What I feel in my heart is simply amazing and so hard to describe!! I am so alive! I feel it for the first time in a very long time!! God is so amazing and awesome and if we just let him work in our lives the way he wants to and just be the clay in his hands, He makes some beautiful molds out of us! I just want to live for Jesus, I just want His light to shine through me always!! He has been so good to me!!

“He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear, he burns the shields with fire! Be still, and know that I am God! Psalms 46:9-10

God’s Pruning

Pruning – To cut off or to remove dead or living parts to improve shape or growth, to weed out unwanted or unnecessary things.

I started hearing this word alot in the last couple of years, I just always thought about rose bushes or trees when I heard it, never gave much thought to it. Then I began hearing it more frequently, day to day conversations, turning on the tv, the radio, hearing it through sermons and messages. Before I knew it, I was surrounded by it. God was really speaking to me about pruning. Little did I know at the time what He had in store for my life through this subject. Each time I heard a sermon or message about pruning, I didn’t give it much thought, it was a message just like all others, WRONG! I didn’t know that God was sending “Me” a message about it, helping me to learn the importance of it, and to prepare my heart and my mind for it.

As we go through life, we meet new people, go to new places, start new relationships, and as time goes on we just think that these people, places and relationships are a part of our lives now and that’s just the way it is. I guess you could say we never expect it to change, we think that it’s just the way it’s suppose to be now. Truth of the matter is we never know from one day to the next whether or not a person who is in our lives today will be in our lives tomorrow for many different reasons. We never know if a place we go to today that we’ve been going to for years will be a place we go to tomorrow or next week. I think we all know too well from some point in our lives that no relationship is guaranteed forever be it a friend, a boyfriend/girlfriend, a spouse, a relative, whatever type of relationship it may be. I think we take for granted that the way life is today is the way it will be next week, next month, next year, 20 years from now.

So what is pruning? Pruning is a process that God uses in our lives to weed out people, places, or relationships that he sees that is no longer necessary in our lives for one reason or the other. Most of the time the reason is for shaping us and allowing growth in our lives that may have come to a halt. Is it a process that we always welcome? No it isn’t. I have found that it’s not an easy process at all actually. God has been pruning in my life for a couple of years now and I can say that yes some of it I seen immediately that it was a good thing, on the other end of the spectrum though, some of it is painful and I have been reluctant to let go. There have been relationships with people in my life that has come to an end with no explanation of why and it has been hard for me. I just couldn’t understand what had happened, what I had done, what the problem was. I prayed and prayed, I seeked answers, and they did not come. People that I have known since I had entered into my teen years, people that I looked up to, that was someone I always knew I could count on and had respect for we’re being weeded out of my life. I didn’t see it at the time that pruning was what was taking place, and because of that I kept questioning. God has now revealed to me that he wants my life free of these relationships, I don’t know why, but it’s not for me to know why, what’s for me to do is to trust God and know that He always has my best interest at heart. I have seen some incredible things take place in my life in the last couple of years, things that were no doubt God moving in my life & in my marriage and they were miracles no doubt! So why would I sit back and question God about who He’s removing from my life? There’s no way that I can. He has done so much pruning in my life that if I resembled a tree that was being pruned in an open field, I would be a naked tree with no leaves, no branches.

We must realize that when God prunes & starts the weeding out process that He’s preparing us, preparing us for growth, growth in Him. We may not see what this place, this person,this relationship is doing in our lives, but God does. He sees the big picture, we can only see the here and now and we don’t always see what’s going on behind us. He knows if a relationship is toxic to us and to our growth. He knows whether a person belongs in our life, the life that He is working in. He knows, We don’t, that’s it, it’s that simple. We can’t fight to hold on to these relationships and things, we must follow God’s guidance and let them go. I have learned that if someone wants to walk away from me and out of my life, I must let them go and realize that God is weeding that person out because He no longer wants them there. As painful as that maybe sometimes, He has his purpose and one day we may realize it, and then again we may not, but regardless, if we trust God to do what’s best for us and not question, the outcome is always good. We have a hard time sometimes letting go and trusting God to do what’s right for us because we think we’re in control of our lives. Truth is, we’re not, and we never will be. God is always on the throne, God is always in control, and one way or the other if God wants something or someone out of our lives, it’s going to happen! How hard the process is will be up to us and how hard we fight it! I have learned that fighting God is never a good thing, that surrendering is much better and easier. When we fight God and what He’s telling us to do and what He’s trying to do in our lives we’re only making things harder on ourselves and asking for more issues. But if we let go, surrender to His will, the easier the transition will be and it won’t be long before you see and feel the growth in yourself. It’s a wonderful feeling!

Growth comes with a price alot of times, a price that I have learned in the last couple of years that is worth paying! That price is change, but my friend, change can be GOOD! Not all change is bad. I know we’re afraid of change, we’re creatures of habit, but we must be careful of that because we can become stagnant in our growth in Christ. There are certain elements we need in order to grow and God is going to place us where we need to be in order for growth to happen. And if there is anything in our lives that is stopping it, God will remove it, He will weed it out.

Pruning isn’t such a bad process, it’s like cleaning out that flower garden after a long fall and winter and preparing it for growth in the spring. We have to remove all the leaves and the weeds so that the beautiful flowers will be ready to accept all the sunshine & rain that God sends them so when Spring arrives and it’s growing season, they can grow and bloom and give Honor and Glory to God who created them!

The Revelation – From night to light

Bound by many things in my life, held hostage in the past, words that play over & over in my head like a broken record player, hurt that keeps resurfacing, the fight for acceptance, the need to be liked, the desire to be a part, constant insecurities stemming from past pains & hurts, clouding over me like a storm in the night that seems endless. Waiting anxiously for the sun to come up and to shine again, to be free from the fears of the darkness. To be free from what holds me down & holds me back from who I want to be, from who I know I can be, from who I long to be! So I sit & wait, in the dark, hearing the playbacks, feeling the pain, dealing with the anxiety, being reminded constantly of every failure, every mistake, every slip up, every single dark moment of my life. Like flashbacks in a moment ofunconsciousness, I sit & watch in the stillness, in the loneliness.

Wait, I see it, the light, I feel it, the warmth, I feel so different, my heart it’s beating faster, my eyes are opening, my mind, wait, my mind is clear, it’s free from the scenes of the darkness, I no longer see them, I still hear it, wait, no wait a minute, it’s not the same, I don’t hear the same, I hear the sounds of approval that I’ve longed to hear, I hear that I am loved, I hear that I am accepted, I feel it, I feel so loved right now, I feel the embrace, I feel the arms around me, I feel free, I no longer feel like I’m being held hostage, I can move freely, I feel as if I’m as light as a feather, what is this? What’s happening to me? Why do I feel so incredible? I don’t understand what’s going on, wait, I hear it, I can hear, I’m Free? I’m Free? I’m Free!!! I’m Free!!

The Revelation:
I thought I had let go, and I believe I did. I was moving forward in my life as God has led me to do. I’m growing so much in Christ, it’s amazing. I feel like I’m breathing again for the first time in a long time. I no longer feel like I’m going through the motions, just doing what I feel like I’m suppose to do, what everyone else wanted me to, I feel like I’m alive again! Even though I never walked away from God over the years, I was no longer growing, I was at a complete and total stand still in my Christian life. I wondered what had happened to me, who was this person that was just merely existing inside of me? It’s like my fire had went out and it couldn’t burn anymore. Days of depression, crying, and feeling so alone. I was waiting for a change, I was wanting more, I desired more, I longed for more. God didn’t intend on us going through life feeling so alone and down, He wants more for us.

Then it happened! After days & days of feeling like I was stuck in the still of the night, it happened! God lifted me up out of that miry clay and set me upon that rock!! Wow, talk about being in the light, what an amazing feeling! On top of that mountain, wow I love it!! I was living again, I was breathing again, it felt wonderful. Everything that I had desired once I was desiring again, I felt it, everything that I felt at one point in my life that I had wondered where it had went, I was feeling it again. This time though, it’s like I never felt before, it’s so much more. So much better than ever before. I’m me again, but an even better version of me, and I am loving it.

Only one problem, the devil doesn’t like it! Oh no, he can’t have this, he can’t have me being so happy, he can’t have me growing andflourishing, nope, he wants me down, he wants me down deep, he wants me depressed and insecure, questioning everything, he wants me sitting around wondering & hurting. So what’s he do? He pulls everything up & throws it back at ya, full speed ahead, he has to come along and try and knock you down. Okay so I let you knock me down, but not for long, I am right back up!! So you might as well go away and stay away, you’re not taking me there, you’re not keeping me there, I’m not going! I already gave you too much of my time, my energy, and God gets it all, not you! So give it up! No more!! I may not be able to know which way you’re coming at me next, but I guarantee you’re not coming at me the same way you have been!! Not going to happen! That door is closed, locked, and unavailable! So what! That’s what I have to say to you when you remind me, when you make me see something, SO WHAT!! God loves me, so it doesn’t matter who don’t like me, who doesn’t want anything to do with me, whose saying what, whose doing what, what so and so said, what failure I had, where I messed up, what happened then, I don’t care, it doesn’t matter. I am a new person, God has lifted me up from all of the toxic situations, He doesn’t want me letting that poison seep back into my life, so I will sit back and let God do the weeding & the pruning and whatever He does is the way it will be. I will not fight to hold on, I will not worry about it. He has done so much pruning in my life already and it has all been for the best so far, and I know whatever or whoever He weeds out, will be for the best as well.

You don’t define me, this world don’t define me, the people in this world don’t define me, God defines me and who I am and what I stand for. So you can take your reminders of the past, the hurts, the habits, the hang ups, the words, the circumstances, the failures, you can take all of it and shove it! So put that in your juice box and suck it devil!! The victory has already been one, so go ahead and fight, God will bring me out on top each and every time!!

I’m Free to Run, I’m Free to Dance, I’m Free to live for you!! Yeah I’m FREE!!!!