The Struggle Is Where You Learn

Dear Christina,
I met you at the conference in Charlottesville; I started reading your book the same day that you tossed it on my lap as you were speaking at the conference on Elizabeth in the Bible. I read it in two days. I wept, I stood up, I curled up with it in my bed, I lifted my voice to the Lord, I personally understand every word and gut wrenching sentiment of your book.  I have survived the unthinkable as well, even death at my door.  I found myself in every page.  Your words Christina, ring our mercy and strength.  I thank you for your book.  Love and prayers…

It is testimonies like this where I can feel that peaceful affirmation that when I sowed it–it was right! I love sowing my books–sowing the words that God gives me. Because every storm we face tells a story.  It paves the way for others. I am sure many of us would wish that we wouldn’t have to struggle. We want everything easy, quick and given to us with no real effort. That is the ideal.  But it doesn’t really happen that way.  In fact some people struggle even more than the average struggle.

I was speaking with my new beautiful boss and she tells me this….

“The struggle is where you learn!”

I said, “Wow! I am writing that down. That was a deep statement!”

Yet it is true! We all struggle and in those places of our struggle, He leads us through it so that we can grow through it. That is what I know and that is what I have learned on my own as well.  It is nothing that I could have learned had things been so easy for me. They never were!

At six –I had no dad at home.

At seven –we were already conformed to a life of poverty, struggle, government dependence and roaches.

At ten –I was already made fun of by every person in the school so I never could feel comfortable with who I was.

At fourteen –I was already introduced to the “hit & quit” over someone I just randomly met a night before.

At sixteen –I already ran away from home to return with a sexually transmitted disease.

At eighteen –I was already pregnant right after High School graduation.

In my twenties –I was still partying and getting high. I was still depressed and still hurting.

In my thirties –after somewhere meeting Jesus at the tail end of twenties, I would learn that Church was really not the “thing” that would keep my saved!

In my forties –I would learn that after much death, darkness and drama that I needed a serious encounter with the God of the Impossible in my life.  So I was Elizabeth too! I was the 88 year old that basically had no movement of life in me. Always left last and by the wayside and on the bottom end of life.

I kept going moment to moment, day to day, week to week and year to year only to discover that when you do that aimlessly you will always experience even MORE loss.

And all through that–what I do know now…… I got to say it…. WHAT I DO KNOW NOW! Is that God is my God! He is my King and He is my everything. He is my friend. He is the One who sustains me. He is the One that has kept me and He truly is the One that has been my Defender in every way possible –all through the impossible dark days and sleepless nights of my life.

There He would find me and there is where I would learn that only in the struggle would I have the deepest roots that I have ever had in Him. So I must say –just like the woman shared such a powerful testimony.  I now know that the words He has given me perhaps will make some want to stray more from me, but for the majority I know they are going to touch the world! ❤ I am at peace with that. The struggle is where I learned how to tell others about the greatest One of ALL!!!!

Amen

Jesus knew they had questions to ask of Him, so He approached them.
Jesus: Are you trying to figure out what I mean when I say you will see Me in a little while? I tell you the truth, a time is approaching when you will weep and mourn while the world is celebrating. You will grieve, but that grief will give birth to great joy. In the same way that a woman labors in great pain during childbirth only to forget the intensity of the pain when she holds her child, when I return, your labored grief will also change into a joy that cannot be stolen.
John 16:19-22

I have told you these things so that you will be whole and at peace. In this world, you will be plagued with times of trouble, but you need not fear; I have triumphed over this corrupt world order.
John 16:33

I’ve Decided

Now more than ever I am finding myself understanding the importance of being comfortable in my own skin.  I mean I am who I am.  I am who God created me to be. Me holding back –got a lot of people to dislike me –imagine AS A PRETENDER! A watered down version of me.  Now I am just gonna be me! That’s it. God made it. God created it. And that’s what I want.  I want the real me to surface and be who God created me to be.

I’m sitting across from an empty seat in Barnes and Nobles just thinking, “Does anyone even really know Me???”

The boring me. The peaceful me. The me that cant even function right if I am not reading!!! Like this IS ME! I loveeeeeeeeeeeeee books! I love to read. I love to write. I love the solitude and the quietness. I love the sound that it brings. I love the stillness. I don’t like to be that busybody person moving from place to place. From moment to moment.  That just really throws me off!

Did you know that about me? Like, if I’m not reading –I’m not right!!!

I’m just not.  I need a book in my hand.  I need a journal in my hand.  I need a pen… just like the psalmist declared:

My heart is overflowing with a good theme; I recite my composition concerning the King; My tongue is the pen of a ready writer.
Psalm 45:1

THIS.  IS.  ME.  I cant explain it any clearer than that and if you understand that we are going to be in the best place ever.  I need that in my life. I miss my reading buddy. Oh my God.  What a quiet soul she was.  I read she read. I wrote she wrote. I prayed she prayed.

Then she was gone. And I found myself sitting alone again.

Selah.

I miss that.  But I know that God is gonna lead me to the best next! I trust that so much over my life. I may not be across a stadium, in a field or on some grand pulpit! But here I am–right behind this screen, sharing some raw thoughts of mine that God had demanded from me in 2015.  I will never forget the day or the hour.  But it was on the ride to a retreat of a lifetime. He was asking me to be me.  He was asking for me to pull on my identity.  He was asking me to write it down…because silently He made me this one, that loves the quiet so much.  Now I know why.

I collect my thoughts.  I share them here and I know that it will pave the way for someone to be who and what God created them to be –relentlessly, freely and unapologetically.  It’s so much better this way.  I want nothing less than this.

I decided this is what I want…because this is who I am. Anything less than that is just going to always throw me off. I can’t fight it anymore. I can’t fight me. I have to embrace me.

I decided.
We read.
We write.
We focus.
We live beautifully.

Be free. Be you.

With Love,

Christina

Divine Differences

For You shaped me, inside and out.
You knitted me together in my mother’s womb long before I took my first breath.
I will offer You my grateful heart, for I am Your unique creation, filled with wonder and awe. You have approached even the smallest details with excellence;
Your works are wonderful;
I carry this knowledge deep within my soul.
You see all things; nothing about me was hidden from You
As I took shape in secret, carefully crafted in the heart of the earth before I was born from its womb. You see all things;
You saw me growing, changing in my mother’s womb;
Every detail of my life was already written in Your book;
You established the length of my life before I ever tasted the sweetness of it.
Psalm 139:13-16

God is so detailed with us.  He made us to perfection. We could never doubt that His work is proven and so carefully orchestrated for our lives. He knows it all, made it all and done it all.  Every detail, nothing hidden. He shaped us from the inside out. He saw the beginning from the end.  How wonderful that is to know.  God did that all for each person that has ever lived and for how long that they did.

Each unique. Each one special. Each one crafted. Each one lovely.

I looked at a set up that my daughter did this evening in my house while I was cooking and I thought of this.  I reflected on the creativity. I thought of our differences. They are divine. God makes us all different. She took all the pieces that I had set on the server just to switch out the runner for a rose gold match and when she put everything back –the SAME stuff –it was different. I must admit that it was even BETTER! I thought to myself, “How creative this girl is!” The way she put each piece. The wood fixtures, the candles, the picture frames –and very different from the way I had it previously displayed.

Everyone is creative like that.  Able to do something completely different from the next one.  We all bring something to the table.  A special touch.  The way that we arrange things.  The way that we exchange. The way we express. The way that we look, think, feel and act! We are all different.

There are no two people that are identical. Not even twins. There is something different about them. We can have so many things in common with our partners or the bestest of friends but still there will be something different. That is the way it is supposed to be. That is what makes our world so colorful. That is why it is always best to be who YOU are and who God created you to be.

You have something so authentic that you bring out in life and when you share it more, you can touch the world around you. Sometimes people end up hiding themselves all their lives because they are so uncomfortable with who they are. They don’t love themselves enough or even see how others love them. But if more people begin to understand and embrace their identify, the more colorful life will be. This also helps to encourage others to follow in their own footsteps.

There is enough darkness passing through this earth.  Now is the time that we need this uniqueness about ourselves to emerge. Now is the time that we need to be even that much more effective, influential and inspiring with our authentic variations of style and personality. Now is the time that we should shine the most in our individual expressions and divine differences.

It is not time to hide behind the scenes because of the hindrances and challenges that try to spoil our identify. We live loud. We live bold. We live with love. We live with acceptance and courage. You may not impact them all –but you will definitely impact someone and that is enough. That is why He made you just the way that you are and through each passing day, week, month and year –you become a better version of that divine creation. Dare to be different. Stand out from the batch humbly, gratefully and thankfully.

We are just passing in this journey to go from glory to glory.

As the Psalmist declared:
I will offer You my grateful heart, for I am Your unique creation, filled with wonder and awe. You have approached even the smallest details with excellence;
Your works are wonderful….