And So She Was.
A couple of weeks ago, my photographer and I (@erikarock_) took some images we had been planning for quite a while. Tennessee is currently in the most temperamental of times with mother nature, so needless to say, we had to reschedule the shoot over and over again due to the never ending rain and gloominess. But alas, we finally prospered and took some of the most beautiful images to date, despite the rainy season. While shooting, however, the entire time we were chasing the oncoming thunder storm that would make its grand appearance in some of the photos you all see. We both felt this was an analogy for the blog itself these images were supporting; that in the midst of a storm, there is beauty, there is peace.
At times, I felt as if I was battling myself in this game of life. And in some cases, even preventing my heart to move forward by holding onto things of the past. The longer I neglected my heart, the heavier the load of burdens weighed down on it. On top of it all, the less I began to love myself, respect myself, or address my heart and how it felt in almost everything, the more I fell into bad habits. Why? My problems would hurt too much to deal with on my own, so I just chose to dwell within them, making my problems define me, rather than redefining my problems. Cause that always ends well, right?
As humans, we are built to have community; it's just in our nature. Meaning, when someone is joyful, we rejoice with them; or if someone is dealing with pain, we cry with them. With the lies I told myself and others, I began to distance my heart further and further away from the truth and from love. This caused me to spiral into desperation for anything or anyone that was capable of making me escape for even just a moment. Then that failed me.
I felt broken, dirty, and most of all, a failure in the eyes of God.
Looking back at it all now, I wish I could shake myself and scream, "GOD DOESN'T CARE." He loved me in every moment regardless how I treated our relationship. My problem wasn't God. It was me. Though I asked for forgiveness over and over and OVER again, I never felt clean. I never felt exempt from the shame and guilt no matter how hard I tried to forget. I punished my heart into submission every day until I allowed the shame to naw away everything- even the good parts. "This was never supposed to be God's Plan." as I cried myself to sleep routinely.
In my heart of hearts, I do not believe the negative things that transpired in 2016 were God's plan. I firmly believe that. What I do know to be true, that in the midst of it all, He was there.
"God is within her, she will not fall;"
Though I felt in some moments God was merely a figment of my imagination, He was always present, pushing me forward through the storms of life whether I recognized it or not. When I would drive to the Natchez Trace Parkway and stand on top of that bridge, He was there with me too, calming my heart and alleviating the pain I was enduring. When I was incapable of change, He carried me past every hurdle and speed bump so carefully and meticulously as if I were a precious jewel. God's love covered every part of me when I could not love myself. This LOVE has redefined me forever. And through it all, I now know my Father in heaven, will never allow me to fall without Him there to catch me.
Like I did, you may have learned these concepts of "trusting in God" in Sunday school at a very young age. And to you my friend, I say be ready. Because I was bred and raised to be a pure Christian woman, yet I found myself in places where I thought my heart would never roam. After beating myself up for an entire year about the mistakes that WE all make, I finally came to this conclusion, "Just because I'm a Christian, doesn't make me less human." My soul aches that I honestly felt my decisions that some would perceive as immoral are simply a part of human nature. I am not exempt from these natural emotions just because of my faith! God knows this, heck, that's why He sent down His only Son in the first place. The point is, you may find yourself in a predicament like I did where you don't know where to run to or who to call on. My dear friend, this is my advice to you: fall on your knees at the feet of Jesus and let HIM handle it. The heartache of this world can be too heavy at times, but God can certainly carry all of your baggage and then some. There is no problem or obstacle in this life that can truly separate you from the love of Christ.
For the precious soul reading this right now, this moment is not a coincidence. Maybe you find yourself in a season of change or difficulty, or maybe not. Either way, He is here and waiting for you to surrender. The moment I did, it certainly changed the dynamic within my heart and my relationship with Jesus. I no longer am searching for God or salvation in people, or shaming my heart when it's already been forgiven and made pure again. I am confident and covered by the power of Jesus's infinite and unconditional love.
"With the arrival of Jesus, the Messiah, that fateful dilemma of condemnation is resolved. Those who enter into Christ’s being-here-for-us no longer have to live under a continuous, low-lying black cloud. A new power is in operation. The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death." Romans 8:1-2
I love you all so very much,