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  • The One I Belong To

    This really isn’t for you. The one who thinks he ever owned me, or about those certain ones who might like to try. This isn’t for the haters, the naysayers, the cynics or the doubters. No matter how you may try to revolve my world around you, you can’t. I won’t let you. You have no business here, no rights, and you never should have.

    This is for the one to whom I truly belong.

    To The One I Belong To, I would like to give my everything. Though honestly, I would be the first to admit that what I have isn’t very much at all. But to you I want to give all of me, every single part. The light and the dark, the very lovely, and even the very ugly. I want to hide nothing from you, because honestly you know me so well I never could, even if I tried. So I will try to give you everything that I am, because without you what I am just feels empty. I give all these words to you, and all that will come, because they are the best of what I have, my secrets, my hopes, and my heart. All of it belongs to you.

    I peel my jacket off on this unseasonably warm November Sunday, thinking of you, feeling lighthearted despite my troublesome morning. I have driven to a little town in the middle of nowhere, and I hop down out of my old SUV, tilt my head towards the sun and smile. I close my eyes for a moment and savor my perfect freedom. The beginning of my day had been particularly hard on me, dealing with a blast of anger from an angry man who belongs in my past.

    The names I had been called come to the surface of my river of thoughts, and at once I let them go. If I have learned anything about how my mind works, I have learned not to dwell on the negative opinions of others. So here I am, imagining the negativity and drama floating on by, drifting away from me. His words have no power over me anymore. Yet I still pray for him, even when it’s hard. I will always long for the day when this world is finally made right, and anger and hate no longer exist. Until then, I will keep my chin up and my heart light, focusing more on what is good and focusing on my little bitty part in an amazing story that is so much bigger than me. There really is so much good to talk about here. I want to share my happy with everyone, but especially with The One I Belong To. So here I go, one little word at a time.

    Autumn leaves rustle softly in a breeze that gently tickles through my hair, bringing with it the crisp fresh scent of Fall. I cherish everything about right now, but mostly about my liberties at this very moment, the freedom from trying to explain my wherabouts to jealous men, or from defending my joy to those who hated everything about my happiness. Freedom is to be treasured beyond measure, and I cherish mine in so many ways. I owe this freedom to The One I Belong To, the one who saved me, who loved me, who pursued me, who altered the way I feel about EVERYTHING. The one who changed me, but at the same time loved me exactly the way that I am. That alone blows my mind. I never knew I could be loved like this. He makes me feel beautiful, and as I walk along with my mostly happy thoughts on a secluded and pretty trail, I feel strong. A love like this love is humbling in its magnificence. I am no longer alone. He is the one to whom I belong.

    I wander around for a bit. My green eyes seem to look everywhere all at once, trying to take it all in, and I am soaking in the cozy amber magic of this almost perfect day. The temperature is unseasonably warm, and I know it won’t be long until I am mostly stuck indoors, peering through a window at a world of pristine and frozen white. So for now I’ll pretend as if these days shall never end, as if the sun shall shine forever, as if Winter may very well forget to be Winter. My moody little Missouri definitely has her temper tantrums, her fluctuations between blazing days in the summer and her frigid nights in the winter, but she sure makes up for her craziness on golden days such as these. She is beautiful, even in her extremes. And though she isn’t my home state, she’s the only home I’ve ever really known as an adult. I’ll claim her for now, until maybe words of change are whispered in my ear, a longing desire to move somewhere new, as if that might be my destiny. We shall see. I know that wherever I do go, I will go with The One I Belong To.

    Soon I find a perfect spot. The spot where I can settle, if only for a moment, and write the words that I’ve been thinking. I want to be still for a bit and try to make sense of all the nonsense that I have had to filter through, not only for today, but for my entire life. There is a lot to sort through. I do it one day at a time, and in the process I am learning a lot about me. It’s a messy beautiful thing to acknowledge your flaws and learn to forgive yourself and others too. There are lies. Drama. Pain, sickness, poverty. Drug and alcohol abuse, addiction and despair, and in all that chaos there is friendship and joy, and the love of the one who never gave up on me, The One I Belong To. I hold a fading reflection of a past I’m leaving far behind, and an old bag of memories that I can open and sort through whenever I am led to try help others similar to me. There are tough paths that I have left, and new ones leading down a road to a future I can not even contemplate, but one that I have an excited and confident hope in. My future with The One I Belong To.

    The constant swirling of hopelessness and despair amidst hope and joy is nothing less than difficult, and without true love I would be unable to handle the really hard days, and despite the world trying to make me hard, I am soft and unashamed. The One I Belong To loves me this way. Soft, hopeful, happy, trusting. And smiling. He really likes my crooked smile.

    I have never been the best at speaking vulnerable thoughts aloud, so I write them down, here in a quiet spot away from all the demands of a racing and pacing world. I give my only gift, my words, To The One I Belong To.

    I have felt alone all of my life, all of us have our sad stories. Some of us have our rock bottoms, and some even give up and check out. That is heartbreaking, pointless. We weren’t made to be sad. We weren’t created to be alone.

    I’ve been deeply hurt, and still, of all the ones who hurt me no one really hurt me more than I did. I was my own worst enemy. I was the one who cared the very least about me, the broken one who allowed myself to be treated in a certain type of way. And even still, The One I Belong To loved me through it all, like no other ever could.

    I hurt myself. I lied to myself. I drank myself until the blackness came, and the darkness consumed me. I pushed myself, critiqued myself, judged myself, and at times loathed myself. How could I expect to be treated any other way when I treated myself in such a way?

    And still…

    I held out, held my breath, waited.

    Somehow through all the ugly, the lost and hopeless nights, and the mornings I woke up not knowing where I was, I wanted to find The One I Belong To. I desperately wanted to find the one who truly loved me. The one who did not judge me, who would stand up for me, who would protect me, cherish me and even give up his life for me. The one who didn’t care what others thought, because he thought I was worth it. The one who loved the way I laughed and the way I cried, who loved my moody heart, and who loved me enough to push me to be stronger every single day. Was he out there? To love me even in my brokenness? I longed for a love that would fill all my empty spots, mend all my hurting places, and begin to repair all my damaging thoughts. I needed him more than I ever knew, until I finally really knew.

    I needed a love that loved me not for the way I looked, or how hard I worked, not even for how much I could give him. I wanted a love that wasn’t dependent on how much of myself I would choose to give up. That loved me not for sex, or darkness, or not to empty me until there was nothing but sad in my eyes, and not someone who attempted to change everything that I was. I wanted The One I Belong To, so that for once I could love back, and love not with guarded pieces of me, but with my whole mended heart.

    But over the years as I was hurt repeatedly, and as I retaliated foolishly, as I was getting lost in an illusion of love, I eventually realized I was losing myself and all of my hope of love. To me, love became a fairy tale that didn’t exist. I was too broken, and too much for anyone to love. I grew accustomed to the lies. To the degrading comments of broken men. To the horrible theft of my peace by the ones who were intimidated by my moments of happiness. I tried hard to dim myself for them, for those who did not deserve me. I drank too much, I made a fool of myself, I cried and I yelled and sometimes I even begged. All for those who would never really love me for me. All for those who wouldn’t even try to. For the ones who lied to me, spit on me, hurt me, hit me, and who tried to destroy the light inside of me. What a horrible waste of precious time. I was hurt, frustrated. I was all out of love.

    Or so I thought.

    Then there he was, The One I Belong To. The one who gave me the strength to heal a broken heart and walk away from lies. The one who was there all along, the one I loved with my whole heart. The one who is now teaching me every single day to finally love myself. And I do! Because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I am a miracle, a masterpiece, a unique and imperfectly perfect creation of art and poetry. His love has taught me so. What a teacher he is, The One I Belong To.

    I love him to the moon and back, to the stars and beyond, I will shout it from the rooftops and share my joy with everyone that I meet. There is no shame in my game, because after all that was said and done, he never turned his back on me like others have, and he was never ashamed of me. I’ve always known him, but I didn’t understand him and the love I could never earn but that surrounds me every single day. Now I am beginning to grasp the depth of this love. When I wake, and when I sleep, and every moment of my day, his love is there, unfailing, and it makes me want to spend my whole life trying to explain to others just like me what it feels like to be this loved. To feel this joy. This hope. This perfect peace.

    Maybe you are like I once was. Swirling in addiction. Unsure of your worth, broken and used, abused and even mentally unwell. Maybe you think that could never change, maybe you have lost all hope. Maybe you have been lied to and mistreated, maybe you are even giving up.

    Don’t. Just don’t. Hear me out.

    If somebody told me 10 years ago when I was regularly drinking myself blackout drunk, that one day I would be a sober, non-smoking woman who was loved beyond measure, and that I would be working at a large church with my own office that has a mural of a unicorn dancing upon the wall, that I would have a stable life, with people who cared about me? I would have just laughed and laughed at you. I would have told you that none of that was possible. I would have thought you were drunk, or high, or just plain crazy. Because it is absolutely crazy! How different my life is because of The One I Belong To. This is really just the beginning of his plans for me, I know it, I feel it, I live it. Here I am. And here you are too.

    I am coming up on my eight year soberversary. Sobriety has been a beautiful battle, and I would be a liar if I said it was always easy. I have an enemy that likes to try to throw me for a loop, who tries to entice me into falling away, in so many ways. Two years ago I almost stumbled, after I found my husband’s secret cell phone while we were decorating our Christmas tree. It was not the first time his lies had surfaced and stabbed my heart, but it would prove to be the last. It really was the last painful straw that I refused to let break me. I cannot describe the betrayal I felt, the temptation I went through, as I sought comfort, but I can tell you that I am honestly happier now than I have ever been in my entire life. Happier alone, through a divorce, making less money, and it all seems so backwards, but that is just how my God works. He takes the broken, the unlikely, the pain that we go through, and he turns it into something so magnificent. He makes it work, and he makes it work in our favor. Why would I throw this joy away for a drink? I can’t. I won’t. I’m happy in my upside down world, and I owe it all to The One I Belong To.

    Please listen. If you are living a life of brokeness, of sadness, of anger, pain, or addiction, let it all go. You really can walk out of despair and into a beautiful life. You can walk straight into the arms of The One You Belong To. It’s my favorite love story ever. And its a true one.

    He came for me, like he’s coming for you.

    Love and peace,

    Ray ~ Humblegirl

    P.S. Please don’t settle. Love God. Love others. Love yourself. Wait for the right one. Just love. The rest will follow.

    If you like what I do feel free to share. You can also follow my Facebook pages at Humblegirl, or Raygirl. Thanks for supporting my journey.

    I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalms 139:14

    I belong to my beloved, and his desire is for me. Song of Songs 7:10

    Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. John 8:32

    So then, let us not be like others who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober. 1 Thessalonians 5:6

    I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope. Psalms 130:5

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  • Tables

    The tables we sit at will involve some of the most important decisions of our lives. So where are you sitting?

    Are you sitting at tables that enhance you? Or are you sitting at tables that do nothing for you? Are you at tables conversing with those who may want to help you, or harm you? Are you dining with those who plot evil, or speak life? If you are unsure of yourself, or your placement, it is most likely time to gather your thoughts and figure out your positioning. That custom made place that is dedicated just for you at the very best of tables, really does exist. Your destined spot, your reservation, is awaiting your arrival.

    For the longest time I have associated tables with some of the worst times of my life. Sometimes it wasn’t about the people seated at my table, but the dark places those tables were located. At other times I have been seated at the best of tables, only to be with the worst kind of people. It took me a long time to learn to get up and leave certain tables behind. I had to learn that I wasn’t glued to any of the seats that I thought I was assigned to, whether by other people or myself. I learned that I could break the chains of an old bar stool just as easily as I could untie the ropes at a business conference table. I have literally walked away from both, and I am living my best life because I left tables that were not meant for me, and decided to sit down at the ones that were. Trust me when I tell you that you can do it to. I’m nobody special. But I am loved by somebody who is.

    ““Truly I tell you, a servant is not greater than his master, and a messenger is not greater than the one who sent him.”
    ‭‭John‬ ‭13:16‬ ‭CSB‬‬

    I have sat at bar tables with misfits just like me, smiling through lackadaisical cigarette smoke swirling through the air, listening to an outpouring of music from an old jukebox, that old whiskey-gospel playing in the background. At times I’ve felt more welcome there than at many of the church tables I have EVER gathered at. I have been included, loved on, and even prayed over in dim and questionable places, under the influence, with other sinners just like me. Do you know that as I had tipsy discussions of God, or even whispered half-hearted, inebriated prayers for safety and better days ahead, that Jesus was there at my table too? He was seated right among us, those despicable sinners, loving, and not condemning. Watching and patiently waiting. I sensed Him close to me in my despair and also in my joy. I have felt Him just as much, and if not more, in some of the most disreputable locations verses places that actually describe themselves as being holy.

    That might offend some people. Maybe it upsets those who wouldn’t step foot in some of the places or situations I’ve been in. Honestly, I don’t really care. I’m just here to tell you that your position at your tables in no way defines who you are through my eyes, and much more importantly, I know that it doesn’t define who you really are or who you are meant to be, in the eyes of Christ.

    The head of a boardroom table lined with CEO’s has nothing on the guy sitting around a table dining at a soup kitchen for the homeless. His head bowed gratefully for a simple meal, a prayer on his lips for a change, and a sliver of hope in his hungry eyes. The fancy suits at that business lunch in an upscale establishment have nothing on that intoxicated girl sitting at a table at your local bar, the one with silent tears that slip randomly down her face, the girl with her hands desperately clutching her drink. Jesus watches over her while she’s literally surrounded by predators as she’s trying to drink her pain away, silently begging for strength.

    Your status and your spot in this world mean absolutely NOTHING, unless you use what was given to you to help others. This world may say that you are on top, and that you are first, and you may even think that your acts have placed you where you are, but if you believe those lies you may need more help than those you recklessly deem as inferior.

    “Note this: Some who are last will be first, and some who are first will be last.””
    ‭‭Luke‬ ‭13:30‬ ‭CSB‬‬

    When I was younger, as a child, I moved around a lot. I would often attend many different schools in a single year. It was hard for an awkward, shy girl like me. Maybe things would have been a little different with some stability, I’ll never really know, but I do know one of the hardest things I can remember about those times so long ago was lunch time. I dreaded lunch tables, I even had bad dreams about them.

    As the new girl in a new school, finding a table to sit at was full of anxiety. Gut twisting nervousness. Walking into that noisy cafeteria, pretending not to notice people falling silent as I walked along, other kids staring as I carried my food by. Scanning a room full of other children in their accustomed spots, my hands shaking, praying I wouldn’t drop my tray or embarrass myself, hoping beyond wild hope that someone would say those magical little words, “Come sit with me.” Sometimes that would actually happen, but at other times I just sat where I could, in the least conspicuous of places, at the emptiest of tables, hoping nobody would notice me or ever call out that I was in the wrong spot, or maybe say that I had taken their seat. Eventually, if my family stayed in town long enough, I would gradually begin to move up in status and confidence, but found myself gravitating more and more to the tables of the misfits. Sitting with the awkward, the lowly, the humble. Sitting with the people who would openly accept all, but were often themselves accepted by few. They were my people. Little did I know that they would teach me more about the love of Jesus than sitting at the tables of this world’s elite could ever show me.

    Thank you God for my awkward lunches, the lonely ones, the hungry ones I just skipped so I didn’t have to deal with it. Thank you for teaching me to always include, to always invite, to look for the lonely or the hurting, and the scared. Thank you for the old bar stools, the nights of despair, and tables of so called friends who talked hurtful things about me the minute I left. Thank you for people who looked down on me, who looked past me, who looked right through me, when I was hurting or needed help, because you taught me not to do the same. Thank you for business meetings at fancy tables in board rooms that have taught me that the the one considered the most important person is often in need of more sympathy and mercy than the least. Because of You, I have met the most interesting, beautiful, amazing humans. I have made friends and even family. I have left enemies and bad habits behind. I thank you for all the tables that have made me, me. But most of all God, I am so thankful to you for the table You have personally invited me to. The most important table of all, this table of love, of freedom and of hope and safety. A place to belong with you forever. You have so many seats, and you have taught me how important it is to invite those who don’t know where to sit, to come and sit with me and ultimately you. You have taught me to recognize the heart inside, and the importance of grace and a welcoming heart. Thank you for all of my tables, then, now and tomorrow too. Thank you for all that you do. ~Amen~

    You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.”
    ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭23:5‬ ‭CSB‬‬

    There have been many types of tables in my life. I have been welcomed at some and not welcomed at others, I have been served and been the one serving. I have been the topic of conversation when I have left and I have turned the tables on people that least expected it. After all of this, the one thing I have learned is that the most important placements, at the most important tables, are often in places you least expect, among the broken, the misfits, and the humble of heart. This is where God’s work is really done, and where He really changes lives forever.

    So again, where are you sitting? Is it time for you to move to a better table? You are most welcome at the best table, because there is a spot saved just for you. You have a place at God’s table, and anyone who ever tries to tell you otherwise needs more help than you do, I promise. Pray for them, and take the seat that belongs to you, without doubt and with a joyful heart. Come sit with me, my friend. Come and see how good it is! My table and my heart are always open, because I have the very best of teachers.

    “Go and learn what this means: I desire mercy and not sacrifice. For I didn’t come to call the righteous, but sinners.””
    ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭9:13‬ ‭CSB‬‬

    As always,

    God bless,

    Ray

    (Dedicated with love to Marcia S.)

    If you like what you have read, please like and share! You can follow me @ my Humblegirl page on Facebook, or you can subscribe to my blog by email. Thanks to all who support me on this journey to help others find hope!

    “I tell you, in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who don’t need repentance.”
    ‭‭Luke‬ ‭15:7‬ ‭CSB‬‬

    “Blessed will be those servants the master finds alert when he comes. Truly I tell you, he will get ready, have them recline at the table, then come and serve them.”
    ‭‭Luke‬ ‭12:37‬ ‭CSB‬‬

    “While he was reclining at the table in Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were eating with Jesus and his disciples, for there were many who were following him.”
    ‭‭Mark‬ ‭2:15‬ ‭CSB‬‬

    “You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot share in the Lord’s table and the table of demons.”
    ‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭10:21‬ ‭CSB‬‬

    “Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud; instead, associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own estimation.”
    ‭‭Romans‬ ‭12:16‬ ‭CSB‬‬

    “How happy is the one who does not walk in the advice of the wicked or stand in the pathway with sinners or sit in the company of mockers!”
    ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭1:1‬ ‭CSB‬‬

    “Better to be lowly of spirit with the humble than to divide plunder with the proud.”
    ‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭16:19‬ ‭CSB‬‬

    “The greatest among you will be your servant.”
    ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭23:11‬ ‭CSB‬‬

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  • Let Go

    Today I have really been thinking about what it means to Let Go. How letting go of something can actually prepare you for so much more….

    Some of you need to stop what you’re doing right now and just Let go. Whatever it is you’ve been hanging on to with all your might or even if just by a thread, you need to stop. Breathe. Pray, and just Let Go.

    The reality that you may or may not want to hear, but that you already know, is that whatever you have to hold on to too tightly, probably isn’t meant for you. You have to live with open hands to have a full heart. It’s really that simple my friends, I promise. We live in a world that over complicates everything, and if we let it, it will run us straight into the ground.

    “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
    ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭6:21‬ ‭

    While you are desperately holding on to that person, that habit, that status, that job, that dollar, you are most definitely missing out on some of the most beautiful things that are meant just for you. ~ That peace, that love, that hope, that joy, that wonder.

    For who has time for a glorious sunset when their mind is focused on the person who treats them as if they should be in the dark? Or who has time to go on a long walk through the beautiful trees when they’re tripping over how to escape reality? How can we take the time to experience the contagious laughter of a precious child when we are clocking in another sixty-five hour work week? When do you really enjoy all the things you already have if all you worry about is collecting more things to have? When does it ever end? The useless comparisons? The cloudy fog of an addictive habit? The endless days of living to work, of chasing a person who doesn’t want to be caught, of wanting what wasn’t meant for you, instead of opening up to what is? When does the hurt stop? The worry? The fear? ~ It stops when you finally decide to Let Go.

    Do you want more out of life? Do you want better? Then quit holding on with all your might and open up your hands. You have to Let Go.

    Visualize it now, all your worries, all your problems, all your sadness and despair, debt, addiction, troubles, all of it, picture holding it up, holding it out and letting it all go. Let Go of the image, the pain, the self medicating, the worries and the fear. Hold up the thoughts and the behaviors that keep you captive and just Let Go. Give all of it away to the One who wants to give you more than what you are clinging to, or just settling for.

    ““Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
    ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭11:28‬

    You have someone who cares for you when others do not. You have someone who never looks down on you, who thinks you are worthy and beautiful, who wants for you freedom, and joy. You have somebody who wants to take on your burdens, instead of you taking on the whole world by yourself. He wants success for YOU. If only you would just Let Go of your version of that success!

    This world has it so backwards. More is not the key to happiness. No amount of money, or attention, or booze, or drugs, meaningless sex, or popularity will ever fill an empty heart. It will never be in scoring another hit, chasing another loser, making more money to live less, or competing with all the images you are bombarded with on the daily.

    No, true success will only be found when you learn to Let Go. Living with open hands not only frees you from what you do not need, but allows for you to receive what you truly do. This world doesn’t have much peace to offer, but we have a Savior who offers us EVERYTHING.

    “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
    ‭‭John‬ ‭14:27‬ ‭

    He offers that peace. Hope. Love. Joy. Life. When you Let Go you open yourself up to receive. There is an opening of the eyes, and an opening of the heart, and when it all comes rushing in, there is a feeling of indescribable fullness, a completeness that nothing else can compare to. I know because I’ve lived it.

    “The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.”
    ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭23:1‬ ‭

    The other day I had a memory, a flashback of a sort, of a fishing trip with my grandfather, when I was 10. We were fishing off a bridge in Pensacola, Florida. My grandfather had this pole, it was red, it seemed as if was bigger than me, which wasn’t saying much because I was a tiny little thing. I remember my excitement when he let me hold on to it, line cast out to the sea, while he was talking to another fisherman. My pure joy at holding something so fancy, and my only instruction was not to let it go. Well I got a bite, and it liked to have pulled me over the side of that bridge. The tension of the weight on the line bent the pole drastically and suddenly, and the next thing I know it was pulling me towards the side of that bridge. Before I knew it I had planted both of my feet on the concrete wall, and I was screaming for help. All I could think about was losing my Papa’s pole, and I was going to be pulled over and out to sea, before I was going to Let Go. Literally I was going to let my fear of letting go pull me off to my death. Lucky for me, that didn’t happen, and my grandfather and father noticed before I toppled over the side. Taking the pole and taking over, they pulled up the culprit who I had been battling, a sting ray much stronger than me. Later, after the excitement and chaos of the moment, I remember being asked, why didn’t I just Let Go? My Papa told me I was more important than that pole, but stubbornly I didn’t want to disappoint him. Thankfully I was forced to Let Go, holding on until I couldn’t, and then rescued when somebody stronger than I took over. I never could have caught that fish on my own, and there are problems to this day that NONE of us can handle on our own, and that’s okay! We need somebody stronger. We have to learn to Let Go and Let God.

    I’ve Let Go of hurtful people, habits, addictions, actions and behaviors. I’ve Let Go of money, and of jobs who cost me my peace. I’ve Let Go of what wasn’t for me and started looking for what was, simply by living with open hands and an open heart.

    What has been taken from me is guilt and pain and what I have been given is hope and peace. I have so much more now that I have less, which sounds impossible, but when you live it, it’s truly a gift. And it will only happen if you learn to Let Go.

    “Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.””
    ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭19:26‬ ‭

    I hope that whatever you are holding on to that is causing you pain, that you learn to let go of it, and that you do so today.

    ~I pray for you to have open hands and an open heart so that you can experience the fullness of the glory of God, and the unique hope that Jesus died for, to give to YOU. I pray that you give Him your heart, surrender your troubles and be blessed with the joy of everything He will give to you in return, as you experience your amazing purpose.~ Amen

    “And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”
    ‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭9:8‬ ‭

    As always, God Bless,

    ❤️ Ray ❤️

    If you like what you have read, please like and share! You can follow me @ my Humblegirl page on Facebook, or you can subscribe to my blog by email. Thanks to all who support me on this journey to help others find their happy and their hope!

    “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?”
    ‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:32‬

    “The Lord hears the needy and does not despise his captive people.”
    ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭69:33‬ ‭

    “You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.”
    ‭‭John‬ ‭15:3‬ ‭

    “Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”
    ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭6:27‬ ‭

     “The Lord bless you and keep you;”
    ‭‭Numbers‬ ‭6:24‬ ‭

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  • Winks and Whispers

    Oh, how I’ve missed this. The pouring forth of the letters. The release of pent up feelings. The distribution of thoughts. The formulation of words that somehow become something from nothing. Words composed to become a coherent collection of ideas that may bring about understanding and enlightenment, especially when used the way they were intended. Words are powerful, I know that full well.

    It has been a little while since I have been able to sit still and write words. Truth be told I have had trouble sitting still recently, but still I needed to be, and still you should be too.

    Be still at least for a moment, but aim for as many as you can.

    Because…

    In the rush of the day, in the madness and the chaos, and in the topsy-turvy turmoil that surrounds us all, we need to take some time to be still. To be quiet. To listen and to look for the wonder that is all around us, and the magic in our very own hearts. We desperately need to see the Winks and we seriously need to hear the Whispers.

    I have a bad habit of doing. And doing. And doing. I know that I am not the only one. I do out of love. I do out of duty. I do out of obligation. Sometimes I do just to be doing.

    But am I really getting anything done? Am I getting anywhere at all? Not always. The more I do the more there is, and more does not necessarily equate better. I’m coming to learn that less is sometimes a whole heck of a lot more. The world will try to tell you otherwise, as it shouts that you need more, screams that you should do more, and yells that you should have more. The world will bombard you with images, showing you that you should spend more, portraying that you should look like more, conveying that you should shop more, buy more, browse more. More. More. More. Faster. Hurry or you might miss out! Yet the harsh reality is that when we live like this we really are missing out. On peace. On tranquility. On meaning and value. On Winks and Whispers of a much better way.

    Friend, the world is wrong. Slow down for a minute, and trust me, because this just might be the Wink or the Whisper you need. Take a breath and take a break.

    A Wink is a glimpse, or a peek into something profound when you learn to look, and a Whisper is that quiet voice, the hushed instruction that you can only hear if you learn to be still. When you truly listen you will hear, and when you truly look you will see. There is so much more to look at and to listen to when you start looking for less and start listening in the quiet. There is much more when you have less. Less stress, less worry, less anxiety, which leads to more peace, more joy, more faith.

    I have to remind myself often, as a doer of many things, to be still. It is then, and only then, that true peace finds me, holds me, directs me and gives me more. When overstimulated I will go into a quiet room and shut the door and shut the world out, or I will step outside in nature and let the real world in. I have had Winks and Whispers both ways, but my nature walks are by far my favorite. There is something about the wonder of creation that puts everything into perspective, and opens our hearts and minds to receive more of what we need and less of what we don’t.

    We don’t need more things to fill our time. We need less things to have more meaningful time. We need to look for direction and listen for instruction by being less and doing less so that we can become more. We need to get back to the basics before we forget what the basics are.

    I took a long walk yesterday, as I do on most days to unwind. Filling my mind with pretty images of fall colors and my heart with letting go. I prayed for more guidance and insight and was given a Wink and a Whisper. A Whisper to do a little less. To have a little less. So that I may do a little more of the right things. A Wink of a vision to just get away for a little while so that I can arrive at where I really need to be.

    We tend, as humans, with all of our flaws and our sometimes distracted and distorted perspectives, to overcomplicate absolutely everything. We can muddle up a very good thing really quickly by doing instead of experiencing, when all we really need to do is untangle, unravel and relax. We do not need more to be more. We do not need to do more to have more. Open your eyes and see, and open your ears and listen. Most of all open your heart to receive.

    Receive more with less. Simplify. The world is your oyster, given to you to enjoy, by the One who created it, and created you. He knows that you need less to have more, and He gave ALL so that you could have the choice.

    There is so much more out there for less. Trust those little Winks and Whispers. Trust the One who shows you more when you take the time to have less.

    Less really is more. Watch and listen. Be still and be happy.

    God bless,

    Ray ~ humblegirl

    If this inspires you, or you just like what you have read, please like and share! You can follow me @

    my Humblegirl page on Facebook, or you can subscribe to my blog by email. Thanks to all who support me and this journey to help others find hope!

    “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.””
    ‭‭Exodus‬ ‭14:14‬ ‭

    “But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.”
    ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭19:30‬ ‭

    “But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.”
    ‭‭Luke‬ ‭5:16‬ ‭

    ““I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.””
    ‭‭John‬ ‭16:33‬ ‭

    “the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you;”
    ‭‭Numbers‬ ‭6:25‬ ‭

    ““Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
    ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭11:28‬ ‭

    “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
    ‭‭John‬ ‭14:27‬

    “For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes.”
    ‭‭Luke‬ ‭12:23‬ ‭

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  • JUMP

    That tug. You know. Like a little lasso wrapped around your heart. A pulling. Persistently drawing you closer to the edge. Beckoning, Enticing you to step on up, captivating you with an intense, burning desire to peer over the edge of your personal precipice. A not so formal invitation to take a deep breath and just

    J

    U

    M

    P

    But instead you pause. You hover. Stuck somewhere between a desperate need to go and an intense fear of falling. A fear of failing. The grip of worry about the unknown, weariness of unchartered territory tumbling about in your head. The call upon your soul may be alluring, but there seems to be so many distractions holding you back. They chain you down, locking you up, preventing you from taking that leap, that special JUMP.

    The chains are made of worries, doubts and the comfort of familiarity. There are voices battling for space in your head, waging war for control. Sometimes it is hard to decipher between the good, and what is trying to lead you astray. It is a war of the mind, and the more intense the battle, the more frightening but possibly rewarding the JUMP.

    You look over the edge and the implications seem dizzying, staggering, the descent frightening, the JUMP impossible.

    But…

    You already know what you want to do or you would have turned around and crawled back to safety. You know this, or you probably wouldn’t still be reading this. You would have scrolled right past, moved on to other distractions meant to deter you from your destiny, these words fading faster than a falling star, as fleeting as a forgotten wish. Yet, you are still here, reading on, forging ahead, wondering if now is the time, if now is your time, to make a move, to go ahead and just JUMP.

    So how do you know? You listen. You go somewhere quiet and talk to God. You shut out the world and pour out your heart and open your ears. Or, you look around. You get out of your head, perhaps even out of your house, voyage out into the great wide world and open your eyes to all the beauty that surrounds you, from an iridescent dragonfly to the soft fluff of a dandelion floating on a breeze. The God of creation wasn’t afraid to make us, or make this world, and we are created in His image, created to pursue His will for us, to create, to help, to give, and to take gigantic leaps of faith and to be ready to JUMP when He says JUMP. Would any of this be possible without the boldness of God to begin something new?

    Haven’t you heard that all things, even those beyond our imagining are possible for us through Him? (Ephesians 3:20)

    Haven’t you been told that He strengthens us to do all things through Him? (Philippians 4:13)

    Don’t you know that He wants to fulfill your Godly desires? (Psalms 37:4)

    That you can move mountains with faith? (Matthew 21:21)

    So what are you afraid of? Failure? He can even use that for your good! (Romans 8:28)

    Are you worried about heading in the wrong direction? Listen to Him and He will guide you. (Proverbs 3:6)

    And if you were looking for encouragement perhaps read these words (Jeremiah 29:11).

    I’m not sure what you want to do. Whether you want to feed a stranger, start that new business venture, buy a van to travel around and see God’s glory and maybe even save some souls along the way, build a treehouse in the middle of nowhere to get away from the trouble and noise of this world, or perhaps even open your heart to Jesus for the first time in your life? Just do it. If you feel God pulling you friend, I say go ahead and make a

    J

    U

    M

    P

    Do not be afraid, He is with you. (Deuteronomy 31:8)

    Be brave, be bold, have faith.

    JUMP.

    As always, God bless and much love,

    Ray ~ humblegirl

    If this inspires you, or you just like what you have read, please like and share! You can follow me @ my Humblegirl page on Facebook, or you can subscribe to my blog by email. Thanks to all who support me and this journey to help others find hope!

    Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,”
    ‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭3:20‬ ‭

    “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
    ‭‭Philippians‬ ‭4:13‬ ‭

    “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
    ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭37:4‬ ‭

    Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done.”
    ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭21:21‬ ‭

    “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”
    ‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:28‬ ‭

    “in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”
    ‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭3:6‬ ‭

    “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
    ‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭29:11‬ ‭

    “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.””
    ‭‭Deuteronomy‬ ‭31:8‬ ‭

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  • YOU COULD HAVE

    She’s not going to pretend as she sits there typing, deleting, and retyping her text to you, angrily pecking away at the keyboard, that the bitterness inside her doesn’t want to just well up and explode all over you. That she doesn’t want to cover you with all the pain and anger that you tossed all over her for years, that she doesn’t want to douse you with it and light a match and walk away from you while you burn. Walk away like you walked away from her everytime she walked through the fire that you started. She walked through it for you. YOU COULD HAVE walked through the fire with her. But you didn’t. You chose to watch her burn.

    She’s no longer going to lie and tell you that everything is okay. That what you did was okay. That she was okay. That you didn’t scare her. She doesn’t want to keep lying to you just to make you feel better, because no matter what you did, what you said, and how you drew blood, she bit her lip and kept her mouth shut, and she started to hate you for that. No matter how you made her feel guilty for the pain you inflicted on yourself for hurting her, she still tried to help you. She can no longer lie and tell you everything is going to be okay, she can’t live that lie anymore. Not even for you. She can’t spend the next 50 years hiding behind a soft heart. She’s tired of covering your wounds while you rip her wide open. YOU COULD HAVE at least tried to heal with her. She’s really tired of being really tired.

    She’s not going to keep up the charade that she played for you, because she can’t even remember when her easy smiles became forced, and she wonders how you never noticed. She’s going to always remember now how she almost forgot to always look on the bright side, because sometimes living with you was like living in the dark. Her sunny days became night, because everything that gave her joy gave you a reason to hate her for something else. YOU COULD HAVE been happy for her happy days. You chose instead to ruin them. She was such a fool for letting you.

    So she sits there, typing in a dark room, the light of the phone screen glowing in her window, and she catches a glimpse of her reflection, she sees that old familiar enemy in those angry eyes, and she looks so damn haunted she has to look away. She recognizes the anger that has been her faithful companion, the anger that has been by her side longer than you have, and honey, she’s so angry that she’s still so angry, but she’s also more than ready to let it all go. She’s angry that when you talked to her a few days ago, you told her you would try, then she told you how you made her cry, you told her to fix the things that made you lie, which were the very things that made her say goodbye...

    She doesn’t want to be that angry anymore. YOU COULD HAVE said sorry. Just once, those five little letters, those two syllables. The letters that spell way more than sorry, they spell accountability. That would have meant the world to her, if only YOU COULD HAVE, and if only you would have meant it. She would be a liar if she didn’t tell you that she’s glad you didn’t apologize for anything, she’s glad you turned it around on her like you always do. She wouldn’t have wanted to make you have to lie again.

    It’s late and she’s drinking another cup of stale coffee, when all she wants is a cigarette and a cold bottle of beer. She wants them so bad she can almost smell and taste both. She’d be a liar (like you) if she told you that she didn’t feel weak, sitting here wanting things that hurt her much like she once wanted you. She’d be a liar if she claimed to be strong enough to have quit anything on her own, including you. But she sits here and has a somewhat bittersweet Romans 8:28 moment, knowing that you hating her drinking, and you hating her smoking and that your incessant venom just because those things took time away from you, led her to quit the two things she needed to leave far behind to move forward. YOU COULD HAVE been proud of her for something, for anything. You chose not to be.

    She thinks about how she would spend hours working, to come home to take care of you, for you to just be so unhappy with how she tried to do it all. How could she be gone so long all the time? Why do you do it that way? Your constant questioning and criticism wearing her down. She also thinks about times she would be so excited to tell you about an accomplishment, and you would somehow find something wrong with it. Until one day, she just stopped telling you. YOU COULD HAVE tried. YOU COULD HAVE been her number one fan. You really should have, because she deserved that. But you chose not to.

    And so maybe she writes, or she paints, or she sings, or she dances, just to get these feelings off her chest, just to find the release she so desperately needs, and her anger dissipates, and she realizes she’s just dissapointed that it took her so long to realize that she didn’t need you to do any of those things for her. She wanted you to, and YOU COULD HAVE, but she didn’t need you to. As her body sobered, her mind cleared, through the haze of yesterday’s smoke and booze, or whatever demon she had conquered, she finally really saw the One who did walk through the fire for her, who helped her heal, who was happy for her, who was sorry that she was hurting, who was proud of her, who relentlessly pursued her, who was her number one fan, the One who loved her like she was, and loves her like she wants to be, who loves you too, who she tried to share with you. YOU COULD HAVE, BUT JESUS DID. And now that is finally more than enough for her.

    You probably don’t even remember the last time she let you rip her heart out, but she does. YOU COULD HAVE noticed, but that’s alright. She’s fully satisfied knowing you don’t have that power any longer.

    You want her back? There were good times. The way you used to look at her was almost enough for a while, until you stopped looking. She may have stopped looking too. You let your pain get in the way of the one girl who wanted to take it away from you, the girl who foolishly thought she could. She didn’t know at the time that only Jesus could do that, and boy, do you need you some Jesus. Its time for you to let go of a lifetime of regret and pain and anger, so maybe you can finally hold on to the gifts God wants to give you. You’ll never be happy or allow anybody else to be happy until you do. This relationship may or may not be too far gone, but you definitely have another chance to be happy. YOU COULD HAVE a second chance. YOU COULD HAVE another great love story, if you would just heal.

    The question is, are you going to take that second chance? Or let it all slip away without a fight? Because honestly, she can’t keep fighting your battles for you, she can’t keep your demons at bay. And honestly? You should never have asked her too. That’s what Jesus is for.

    “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
    Matthew 11:28

    Love and God Bless,

    Ray

    If this story is about you, or makes you feel some type of way, remember always that you can’t love anyone else until you learn to love yourself, and self-love begins with Jesus. If this inspires you, or you just like what you read, please like and share! You can follow me @ my Humblegirl page on Facebook, or you can subscribe to my blog by email. Thanks to all who support me and this journey to help others find hope!

    And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
    Romans 8:28

    Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant
    1 Corinthians 13:4

    Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, those he redeemed from trouble
    Psalms 107:2

    She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.
    Proverbs 31:25

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  • Secrets

    “We’re only as sick as the secrets we keep.”


    This saying may be known well by those in A.A, but many don’t know that it is quite likely a rephrasing of a quote, “You are your secrets” which was written by O. Hobart Mowrer. He was an early 20th century professor of psychology, and he believed that guilt and secrets were the cause of many mental illnesses. I think that he was maybe on to something.


    I never went to A.A. but now over six years sober, I find myself amazed at some of the teachings of the group. I totally stumbled across the above quote this morning and wanted to know more. It fascinated me.


    I absolutely, positively believe that secrets can and will make you sick. Whether we are hiding the fact that we feel worthless or that we’ve hurt someone, stolen something, or maybe we’re using drugs or drinking too much, secrets can make us ill. They torment us from the inside out, and this can manifest into mental and even physical illnesses. Stress is hard on our minds and our bodies, and there are countless studies pointing to this effect. And what is more stressful than hiding something? More stressful than worrying about what people may think? Or that we may get in trouble, lose somebody’s respect or love? Or our freedom? (Trust me, if you’re worrying about losing your freedom you aren’t very free.) Worrying about these things lowers the quality of our lives. Worry is a recipe for a big helping of sickness.

    Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life ?
    Matthew 6:27

    There is freedom in truth, liberation from guilt and needless anxiety with confession. A sweet release.
    I’m not saying that every physical or mental health problem stems from secrets, or that you have to shout your secrets from roof tops, or that you have to blast them all over social media. What I am saying is that you have to let go of the burden of your secrets if you really want to live. If you want to live a life worth living. If you desire real freedom.

    There’s an old saying “confession is good for the soul” which is based on a Scottish proverb that seemed to appear around the mid 1800’s. Its a great saying that I believe gets its wisdom from the Bible.

    There are many verses in the Bible involving confession, secrets and truth. Is it any wonder that God wants us to confess our sins? That He wants us to come clean to Him, and maybe even others? The creator of your mind and body knows how you tick. He knows that harboring guilt in the dark is a recipe for sickness, whether it be manifested in addiction, anxiety, depression or even physical ailments. He knows the path to well being. He knows that liberation from your bonds begins with the truth.

    Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
    James 5:16

    Maybe you are living in the darkness right now. Maybe you feel alone, unworthy or ashamed. That’s the enemies way of keeping you enslaved to whatever it is that is making you sick. It really doesn’t have to be that way. A secret loses all of its power over you as soon as it is told. So go on and tell somebody. Tell on yourself. Tell Jesus, tell a friend, tell a counselor, tell a doctor, tell a stranger. Free yourself from the bondage of fear. Free yourself from the chains of despair that come from feeling alone, inadequate or unworthy, because you are none of those things. Quit buying into the lies the enemy is trying to sell you, and seek the Truth.

    Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
    John 8:32

    I spent a lot of years keeping secrets. Secrets about my mental health, secrets about my alcoholism, secrets about feeling unworthy, incapable and weak. These secrets wrecked me inside and out and manifested into physical ailments that I am still dealing with now. Stress wreaks havoc on us mentally and physically, and living a lie has got to be one of the most stressful things we can do! Unfortunately, a lot of us turn to the very things we hide to comfort us from ourselves, which is the black irony of addiction. The cycle is vicious and can only be broken by us. By confession. By stepping out of the darkness and into the light.

    I offer you a true way out, friend. It is an invitation open to all:

    Confess. Seek help. Open your mouth and be set free. Start with Jesus, who died so you could be made clean. Who died so you could be free of guilt and shame. So you don’t have to hide away in the darkness any longer. He died to allow you to walk in and with the Light.

    It may sound too simple to you, and the true beauty is that it isn’t too good to be true. There is a way out and all you have to do is ask.

    I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
    John 16:33

    So tell somebody. Start with Jesus. I promise you that there is nothing in this world that can stop Him when he is working through you. You can overcome absolutely anything through Him. He will show you the way, because He is the Way.

    Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
    John 14:6

    Are you ready to be well? Inside and out? A lot of what you are possibly dealing with begins with letting go of secrets and holding on to the Truth. The truth is that there is nothing we can hide from God, yet foolishly we try anyway. When we finally stop hiding, we finally start living.

    So go on. Open your mouth. Confess.

    Let

    It

    All

    Go

    Give it to God. Watch Him work. Open your mouth and your heart. Then welcome true freedom. The truth is a game changer, but you have to be brave enough to win. So give it a shot. Tackle your guilt. You have nothing to lose but fear, worry, shame and hopelessness, and everything to gain. Trust me. I’ve played the game with darkness, and it almost took over my life.

    And please always remember, You are not alone.

    God bless you,

    Ray

    If this inspires you, or you just like what you read, please like and share! You can follow me @ my Humblegirl page on Facebook, or you can subscribe to my blog by email. Thanks to all who support me and this journey to help others find hope! I’m excited to announce that I am embarking on a new journey to help with addiction, veterans, poverty and disabilities. With the help of friends, and Jesus, I hope to be starting a non-profit ministry to help those in need, Lord willing. I appreciate your prayers for this new project! God bless!

    And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
    Philippians 4:7

    When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.
    Psalms 56:3

    “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
    Matthew 11:28

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  • Freed

    Walking along a familiar path, mind racing, thoughts churning, I was in a big hurry to go nowhere really fast. I wanted an answer, needed an answer, was praying for an answer. The decision to make a decision loomed over me, hovering, almost suffocating, and no matter which way I turned along this path, the choice followed me like an everpresent shadow in the waning sunlight. I felt agitated, and definitely restless. I walked ever faster, almost jogging now. The sooner I could get this decision out of the way, the better, right? I needed to be Freed from this constant second guessing, Freed from the sadistic back and forth scenarios that played out in my mind, Freed from all the what-ifs of a potential wrong choice. I just needed to be Freed.

    I had set out on this walk to clear my mind, to relax and to focus my thoughts on God. I totally wasn’t doing that. I was still racing against the world, thinking, thinking, thinking, and getting nowhere. Reeling my thoughts in, I slowed my pace. First a little, then a lot. I stopped. I closed my eyes. I stood alone, but not alone, and I prayed for an open heart, open eyes, and open ears. I really wanted to do the right thing.  I wanted to feel, see, and hear God in everything that was around me. I wanted to listen with every fiber of my being. To be still, but to know.

    Calmer now, I opened my eyes. I was struck by how much the world seemed to come back into focus, or rather how I had been focusing on the wrong things. I could hear a woodpecker thumping away in the distance, feel the cool breeze on my face, and with that came the scent of spring and newly growing things. I could also hear the creek nearby, gurgling softly, beckoning me to come and take a leisurely peek, inviting me to listen to its relaxing melody. Like an old war vet with an amazing story to tell, I could feel the world God created calling out to me to just listen. To be Freed.

    Walking the path again, my pace calmer and my stride more relaxed, I came upon a little wooden bridge that veered to the left, and before it a little yellow sign with an arrow also pointing to the left. I smiled and thought wistfully that maybe God was telling me which direction to go.

    I walked a little further and soon, I passed a woman walking in the opposite direction. I could see her approaching from a distance, walking with two border collies flanking each side. She was older than me, by perhaps twenty years, maybe more. Her age was not definitive, because though she had lines, her face was soft, relaxed, uplifted, and youthful in a very wise way. She was fit, and walked as if she floated along the ground, with a spring in her step that told me she wasn’t weighed down by thoughts of any life altering decisions. Her jacket was tied around her waist, though it was a little chilly, she radiated a warmth as she passed me, ever smiling and nodding her beautiful hello. I returned her smile, and kept walking. I briefly admired her, but those thoughts drifted away and I continued my journey. I wanted to walk until I knew what to do, and where God wanted me to go. So walk along I did.

    A while later, I glanced at the time on my phone that I carried with me in my back pocket, and was disappointed to realize that I didn’t have much time left for this walk, that I needed to turn around and head back. I needed to get back to the real world that I had created, full of appointments, and errands and deadlines, all in the name of being busy, staying busy, and fooling myself into feeling somewhat productive, somewhat successful. Looking at my phone, I suddenly wanted to toss it into the woods, to be untied from the world, and untangled. This little piece of technology was a constant tether to the rest of this busy world, and it was part of my problem. I decided as I turned around that maybe I needed to cut some of the wireless strings that were snared throughout my life.

    Walking back, less phone time seemed to be a good thought, and maybe a step towards more personal freedom from all the noise in my head, but I still wasn’t any closer to making any decisions. As I neared the bridge, coming from the opposite direction, it now veered to the right. Now there was a little yellow sign with an arrow pointing to the right. I smiled. I was on the same path, but facing in a different direction. Was this the way He wanted me to go?

    “Which way?” I whispered out loud. I was in a defining moment, I could sense that, but I wasn’t exactly sure what was happening. My eyes were wide open, and I was looking at everything around me, listening, searching longingly for His answer. I had faith that it would come, I just didn’t know for sure when.

    As I rounded a curve in the path, I could hear a lady’s voice. Curt, business like, authoritative. Soon I saw the person who the voice belonged to walking towards me. Another very attractive older woman, dressed from head to toe in business attire. Phone pressed next to her head, it was clear she was having a business conversation, and that she was the boss. Her tone was no nonsense, and as she came closer to me, her eyes looked me up and down assessing me and dismissing me, without ever missing a beat in her conversation. Her eyes were powerful, her walk was intent, and her designer coat was wrapped tightly around her. Unlike the other woman, there was a calculated coldness to this lady that seemed to come from the inside. She seemed so out of place in this park, that I wondered as her heeled boots clicked on the pavement, why she was even here. Perhaps she was firing somebody, and perhaps that coldness, was from years of making tough business like decisions. Maybe those decisions were hard on her. Maybe they stole her warmth, hardened her, toughened her up. Perhaps, like me, she wanted to get away, but she was too far gone. Perhaps…

    I nodded, but she didn’t even notice, I suppose I wasn’t important enough to be on her agenda for the day. I kept going, passing her, and was struck by the difference in both of these women. Warm and light. Cold and powerful. Two very beautiful women, completely opposite, who could very well have been cut from the same cloth at one point very long ago. Both women were to be noticed. Both women were to be admired.

    I was almost out of the park when it hit me like a ton of bricks, an avalanche of thoughts so heavy but amazing that I almost staggered. I stopped. I was kind of in shock. I turned around and ran back the way I had come, back to the little wooden bridge that had the two signs on opposite ends, both pointing in opposite directions. Opposite choices. Which way? Or to get a little bit more metaphorical with you, which woman? Which path of life did I want to follow? Honestly, I could see myself veering in two different directions at this moment, hovering on the brink of a choice that could define me for the rest of my life.

    There really was no wrong way, but there was the right way to me, and since God is my bff, he looks out for me. He spoke to me today, He gave me a vision, He broke it down so simply that not even I, in all my preoccupation, could miss. He showed me what I had been struggling with, and he showed me the outcome.

    Can you feel my joy, friend? My elation, my happiness, my awe? I am writing this with a soaring heart, because I know a few things. I know God loves me. I know God speaks to me, protects me, guides me.

    I saw my future played out in such a way that I have to ask myself if those women were even real. I have to ask myself who I want to be.

    I know. I want to be Freed.

    I saw myself in both of those women. Two different futures, two different lifestyles. I had to ask myself which way I wanted to go. The answer was so obvious.

    I forever want to be the lady with her jacket tied around her waist because she’s so warm on the inside. The lady with the dogs trotting along beside her. The lady with a smile for a stranger, the soft face, the kind eyes. The one with the face tilted towards the sun, who can take the time to be still, the one who radiates joy to those around her. The lady who didn’t demand power or attention, but the one who sort of gets it anyway because she is so full of light. The one people gravitate to, not out of duty or fear, but out of love. I want to be untied from anything that weighs me down. Freed.

    That is my choice. Yes, I want to be Freed. Through Jesus, that’s what I am.

    Thank you God, for showing me.

    Thank you all, for reading.

    As always,

    God bless,

    Ray

    If this inspires you, or you just like what you read, please like and share! You can follow me @ my Humblegirl page on Facebook, or you can subscribe to my blog by email. Thanks to all who support me and this journey to help others find hope.

    Show me your ways, Lord , teach me your paths.
    Psalms 25:4

    I run in the path of your commands, for you have broadened my understanding.
    Psalms 119:32

    Her ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace.
    Proverbs 3:17

    Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
    John 8:32

    Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
    2 Corinthians 3:17

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  • Broken

    Those words. Saturated with venom. Flooded with malice. Soaked with hate. Telling you that you are not good enough.

    Dripping.

    Words splashing, falling, dropping, dripping. Making a mess of everything.

    Drip.

    Drip.

    Drip.

    The constant, never ending sound of leaking poison, echoing in the mind. Sometimes so loudly you feel you are going to go mad. Sometimes just a whisper, a teasing annoyance, a constant distraction, flooding the head with turmoil, doubt, and an aching need to be loved. Those words rain down, drenching the heart with negativity. Like a broken pipe those breaking words seep into thoughts, and like a broken faucet the tears flow. Tears of anger, longing, doubt and pain.

    Drip.

    Drip.

    Drip.

    Tears collected, a pool formed. Then an ocean.

    A flood was coming, it was on its way. A torrent of redemption was approaching.

    Did you know? Do you know? Were you aware? Are you aware?

    Did you know that you needed to be broken?

    You never knew that broken hearts could heal so well. But they will. Better than before.

    You never knew that these broken things could be mended. But they are. Better than before.

    You never knew that broken homes could be restored. But they have. Better than before.

    You never knew that broken minds could be fixed. But they can. Better than before.

    What you never knew is that when you finally broke, it was the best thing that ever happened to you.

    In fact, you still may not know. But you will.

    Break away from lies. Be glad you are broken. Break away from pain. Be glad you are broken. Break away from all the negativity. Be glad you are broken. Break away from the devil’s words (or anyone that uses them) be glad you are broken. Break away from words that do not bring you life. Be glad you are broken.

    There are pieces of you everywhere. Broken, ragged edges of emotions and experiences that can finally cut through all the deceit that you were blind to, until you eventually break away from all of the lies. Slices of your heart here and there, slivers of your thoughts out there for the whole world to know. Bits of your life on display for all to see –

    All for a reason.

    When you finally broke it was your time. Your time to be put back together the right way.

    Broken hearts, broken minds. Broken homes, broken plans. Broken dreams, broken thoughts.

    They all led you to one place, a journey, a longing, a path, a new direction.

    And?

    It will be better. It gets better. I promise. That doesn’t mean it won’t be difficult. Sorting through the rubble of broken visions is hard, but so worth it.

    Why don’t you take the hand of the one who’s heart was so broken for us that He gave everything so we could be put back together? Whole.

    For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
    John 3:16

    You may not understand. Yet. What you may not know is that what is breaking you is making you whole.

    God makes beautiful things out of the broken.

    The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
    Psalms 34:18

    Your brokenness is a step to restoration, improvement, and joy.

    He uses all for the benefit of those who love Him. Even the things that threaten to break us. ALL things.

    And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
    Romans 8:28

    He is making you new. Better. Stronger. Amazing. Resilient. Beautiful.

    You are worth it. Do you wonder how I know? He gave His life in exchange for yours. You were put here for a purpose. Find that purpose.

    So fix the broken. Starting with yourself. Cut off the broken branches and thorns in your life, weed out the broken lies, words and malice. Reveal the new, the healed, the breathtakingly beautiful YOU that was buried under all that broken. Then pursue the broken. Fix the broken.

    He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.
    John 15:2

    You were meant for better things, to see better things, to hear better things, to feel better things, to do better things.

    Quit the poison. Whatever it is that your poison may be. Just quit. Walk away. Break away from the words of the enemy. The addiction. The lies. The abuse. Stop drinking the poison that brings death and come to the well that brings life! You are welcome here! The invitation is open. This is your sign, and this is your direction. It has all been pointing you right here!

    Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
    John 4:13‭-‬14

    Today something has to change. Something needs to be broken. Something needs to break in order to be made brand new. Broken to be whole.

    God bless,

    Ray

    If this inspires you, or you just like what you read, please like and share! You can follow me @ my Humblegirl page on Facebook, or you can subscribe to my blog by email. Thanks to all who support me on my journey!

    No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
    Romans 8:37

    Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.
    Luke 5:31

    Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus.
    2 Timothy 2:3

    for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.
    Philippians 2:13

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  • Paint Me Happy

    The world is never as it seems, and definitely never as it should be. Nature has a brilliantly unpredictable way of turning everything upside down just before righting itself again. Then, we have people who can be confusing and totally misleading. Perhaps it even seems as if the humans who should be on our side are secretly plotting our downfall, and our number one supporters tend to be the people we hardly know, or even strangers? This has been my experience from time to time, that this world can be a little confusing, somewhat crazy, and as

    I fall down this

    rabbit hole of life,

    spinning along

    all topsy turvy ,

    and head over heels,

    tumbling down,

    tumbling up,

    and even tumbling sideways at times,

    I realize that the falling is also a journey. And that sometimes the plunge is just a means to my destiny, and therefore to my ultimate destination.

    I have decided to finally begin to enjoy this trip. I have packed my bags with the essentials, and it turns out the essentials are really what most of the world has deemed as non-essential. Go figure.

    Life is a trip. People are a trip. I am a trip, and so are you, because here is a newsflash:

    NONE OF US ARE PERFECT.

    I wanted to let you know, because maybe you needed a reminder, and just in case you were maybe beating yourself up today for no good reason at all. Let me save you the time and the energy it requires to be self disparaging and just fill you in on a little secret that has taken me years to learn. Let me home you in on a skill that I still haven’t completely mastered yet. (I am proud however, to be a beautiful work in progress.) I am definitely on the right path to improving upon my own disapproval of myself. I have finally veered off the road to my own personal perdition, never ever to return. I’m on a different road now, one that leads to a peace and contentment that I have always wanted, but I was too busy looking for it in all the wrong places.

    Would you care to join me? I enjoy a traveling buddy here and there, it passes the time and expands my horizons. While some of this journey is meant to be solitary, I do believe most of it is meant to be traveled with companions, with sidekicks at varying times, with people to laugh, to cry, to teach, to be taught by, and partners to just be with. To just be.

    And so my friend, let us take a little drive together. I invite you to pick me up, a smiling stranger who has her thumb out, her face turned towards the sun, and a spirit of joy that she is willing to share. One by which she fought long and hard for, so that perhaps you wouldn’t have to. Explore with me for a few minutes, the absolute joy of how not desiring, thinking, or being like everybody else, is truly the key to your happiness. Pick me up, and see how this crazy, but harmless little hitchhiker’s dream of happiness might just involve YOU.

    For me, happiness began by dismissing the ugly. Contentment started by ignoring the ugly. Peace showed up when I let go of the ugly, and joy arrived when I released the ugly. I slowly and steadily began the worthwhile project of eliminating the ugly from my life. It is a project I continue to this day, and will be a lifelong project for me, because we live in a world full of people who have too much ugly in their hearts. I know, because I was one of them. Ugly shows its ugly self in the face of addiction, in the form of spitefulness, in the guise of hatred, and in the character of maliciousness. I spent a lot of years being pretty ugly. Ugly to myself, and sometimes letting that ugliness seep into the world around me. I’m not proud of how I treated myself, nor of how I sometimes treated others, or of the way I often let others treat me. I’m not proud of the fact that I often associated punishment as suitable treatment for a lack of perfection, and I am not happy that I was obviously delusional enough to think that I could even attempt to attain perfection. Perfection in the way I dressed, spoke, looked, worked, behaved, performed, and interacted with others. How arrogant and almost egotistical it seems, when the reality of the situation is I was a scared and insecure girl who was living in a self-created world under the illusion that I was in control of my life, and therefore of all the things that happened to me.

    Sound familiar? I bet for some of you, if you are completely honest, it does. And the truth of the matter is that this is an ugly little world to live in, because the minute that the control fantasy unravels, or you get a chink in your delusional armor of control, the ugly really shows its face. Ugly presents itself in the form of anger, anxiety, addiction, depression and more. It is as if the minute you lose control over something in your world you become out of control as well. Does this make sense? For a long time I compensated a lack of control with alcohol, which is ironic, because when I drank I had absolutely no control. I self medicated with the very thing that brought about a lot of the things I was most afraid of. Finally though, I learned my lesson.

    What I learned was that though I loved God, I didn’t completely trust Him. That though I knew deep down I couldn’t earn the blessings and salvation I desired, I still tried. That though I would never find happiness in anyone, including myself unless I learned to be happy and forgive myself as God forgave me, I still withheld God’s mercy from myself and for myself. I was my own worst critic, and because of this I was entirely too lenient with the way I allowed certain people to treat me, condoning the negativity they aimed towards me. It was almost as if I gravitated towards these types of people in an effort to punish myself. When I look back, I now know how ridiculous this was, but I had to accept the love of Jesus to finally break the cycle. It wasn’t enough to just believe in Him, I had to learn that He loved me just the way I was. I had to accept that He chose to give His life for me because I am smart enough, pretty enough, talented enough and lovable enough in His eyes, and those are the only eyes that truly matter. When I started to look at myself through His eyes, I began to love myself, and love others better. His love is a powerful love, and the more I learn to accept it and the more I understand, the more free I become. The love of Jesus is freedom, pure and simple. It is honesty. It is peace. It is hope. It is joy.

    Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
    John 14:6

    Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
    John 8:32

    And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
    Philippians 4:7

    May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
    Romans 15:13

    So, if you haven’t already, accept His love today, There is such power in the name of Jesus. Call on your savior to save you, be willing to accept His favor and grace. Then……

    Use your superpowers to save the world, one person at a time, starting with yourself, and spreading forward, rippling outward, flowing and circulating for others to see, to notice, and to experience. You do have superpowers, you know. We all do. The only problem is when we don’t recognize our own, or when we covet another’s talents. God makes no mistakes, and He created you just the way you are, the way you walk, talk, look and think, just the way He wanted. So why crave anything else? Why fall for the world’s standards when the one who created all the stars to be different set you apart as well, with your own unique gifts and talents? So use them!

    God painted beauty into this world with a Word, and He created a masterpiece on a blank canvas just by speaking it into existence. He created words, life, colors, numbers, melodies, light, everything, and He did it all with love. We were all created in the image of God, male and female, and we were created to worship and love Him, and what better way to do that then by using the very talents and gifts that He gave us, and to use them to love Him, and to love others? We are all painters, and we all hold a God-given paintbrush in our hands, with the capability of creating our own masterpieces to reflect His glory. So go wield your paintbrush with the power God gave you.

    If you are good with words, paint a beautiful story across a blank page for others to read, or if you are good with building, paint the world with beautiful architecture to shelter God’s people. If you have an aptitude for music, paint your melodies for all to hear, and if you have the a mind for science or medicine, then paint your healing or inventions for the well being of mankind. Whether it be numbers or repairs, encouragement or inspiration, tools or teaching, dancing or laughter, cooking or cleaning, organizing or leading, listening or counseling, whatever brush God has placed in your hands use it for all it is worth, and use it for loving others. Use it for the glory of God.

    Friend, I am telling you that the moment you put down the unrealistic ideas of what you think you should be, or how you should look or feel, and begin to use the gifts God meant for you, and embrace the way he created you, your life will take on a whole new meaning. This is the road to peace, joy and happiness. This is the key to walking the paths of righteousness that the Lord has set before you, and doing it all for His glory. When you stop fighting His plan, and His path, you will create a beautiful journey. You are capable of creating beautiful masterpieces, because you are one.

    And friend?

    If you ever decide to paint for me, whether with words, or songs, or brushes, could you maybe make me pretty? Please? Would you perhaps paint me pretty? Pretty kind, pretty strong, pretty helpful? How about pretty smart, pretty caring, and pretty capable? Let’s use our brushes to build each other up. Just paint those pretties in my direction, Paint Me Happy, and I promise to do the same for you. I’m willing to bet that you’re pretty amazing. After all, I do know who made you.

    God bless you,

    Ray

    If this inspires you, or you just like what you read, please like and share! You can follow me @ my Humblegirl page on Facebook, or you can subscribe to my blog by email. Thanks to all who support me on my journey!

    The sun has one kind of splendor, the moon another and the stars another; and star differs from star in splendor.
    1 Corinthians 15:41

    He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name.
    Psalms 147:4

    The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
    Psalms 19:1

    There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them.
    1 Corinthians 12:4

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