I started this post back in July, after standing on the hilltop looking across hundreds and hundreds of acres of west Texas and what truly is God’s country, and since then, got a little derailed, so bear with me as I try to regain my thoughts:

I knew that going into counseling (as a practitioner) one draw-back was forgetting your own self-care, but they failed to mention the same happens as a coach. I spend so much of time lifting others up, helping them realize their potential, the unconditional love God has for them, setting goals, letting go of their past and embracing their future, that I sometimes forget to show myself the same kindness, support, encouragement and Christ-like love.  There have been some struggles this year, professionally and personally, and it seems the deeper you get in your walk with God, the harde14520576_1205542356168713_2965798893489451672_nr the enemy tries to pull you back to places of discourse, discouragement, and darkness. Current situations coupled with reminders of past mistakes, failures, or who you used to be or who you didn’t live up to be are around every corner.

Nothing – at least in my book – can remind you of God’s goodness and promise over your life and how unconditionally loved you are and how he delights in you like standing on a hill overlooking the landscape
untouched by mankind, being able to see to what feels like eternity. It is then that a quiet peace comes over you and there is a gentle whisper in the not so cool summer breeze reminding you to stop fighting a fight that’s already been won, to quit seeking approval, to remember to rejoice in the fact, that no matter what, love abounds just for you and only you just because you are you. As I sit here writing this, one of my most favorite songs comes on and I am brought to my knees in tears with a whole new understanding and calming of my spirit:

Redeemed by Big Daddy Weave (

Seems like all I could see was the struggle
Haunted by ghosts that lived in my past
Bound up in shackles of all my failures
Wondering how long is this gonna last
Then You look at this prisoner and say to me “son
Stop fighting a fight it’s already been won”

I am redeemed, You set me free
So I’ll shake off these heavy chains
Wipe away every stain, now I’m not who I used to be
I am redeemed, I’m redeemed

All my life I have been called unworthy
Named by the voice of my shame and regret
But when I hear You whisper, “Child lift up your head”
I remember, oh God, You’re not done with me yet

I am redeemed, You set me free
So I’ll shake off these heavy chains
Wipe away every stain, now I’m not who I used to be

Because I don’t have to be the old man inside of me
‘Cause his day is long dead and gone
Because I’ve got a new name, a new life, I’m not the same
And a hope that will carry me home

I am redeemed, You set me free
So I’ll shake off these heavy chains
Wipe away every stain, ’cause I’m not who I used to be

I am redeemed, You set me free
So I’ll shake off these heavy chains
Wipe away every stain, yeah, I’m not who I used to be
Oh, God, I’m not who I used to be
Jesus, I’m not who I used to be
‘Cause I am redeemed
Thank God, redeemed

I have lived with, and overcome (or God is leading me on the way to be an overcomer), all by the grace of God: disease, depression, domestic abuse, physical violence, death, darkness, debt, and demons (physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually). I grew up in a God fearing home, in a church attending community, and attended a private school. You’d think I would have had a little better grasp on God’s unfailing mercy, grace, and unconditional love. Oh hell, not even close. Quite the contrary. Because of things that happened in my life, whether I was at fault or not, I, like many others, suffered from a lack of self-worth, self-love, and completely believed that God didn’t even know I existed. And if he did look down on me, I couldn’t bring myself to make eye-contact with him. It wasn’t until a few years ago, all of that changed.

It took a physical encounter (thanks to Pastor Duane, my brother from another mother, Shawn, and Dusty) and LITERALLY being thrown (Shawn will say ‘tossed’) to the ground to come face to face with God’s love for me. That jolt that morning quieted everything in my heart, soul, mind and spirit – every bad and ugly word spoken to me or over me and every attack against me (physical, emotional, spiritual, or otherwise). For the very first time in my life, I heard and felt God’s unconditional, unmerited grace and love for me. Tears flooded my face like a west Texas summer storm floods the parched ground. It was in that very moment that I came to understand what redemption meant. And for the first time ever, I felt whole, complete, restored, admired, rejoiced in, loved, and cherished.

When I share about my faith online, it’s not so people say, “oh look at her, isn’t she cute with her faith and scriptures and quotes.” It’s because I’ve seen the ugly side of life. It’s not pretty. It hurts. The wounds run deep and wide. Often times when I share something, it’s because at 3 a.m. in the morning, I’m laying in bed, wondering just how I’m going to make it through this or that, how am I going to help someone I love who is in need, suffering, hurting, or even just find the energy to face the day. It is then that I’m reminded that these mountains I’m facing are not ones to carry, but to climb over. Ones in which I am to remain faithful, to calm myself and feel His presence, to trust in His timing, to let Him be the protector, the provider, the warrior, and the loving, kind, caring, compassionate father He is. It is those moments I remember that I am restored. I am rejoiced in. I am redeemed. I have been made whole.  It’s not that tough times won’t strike or doubt and worry and everything in between won’t try and take over again, it just means that there is nothing – or no one- that can take who I am in him and to him away from me.

My reminder for you today – whoever you are, wherever you are – is that YOU are rejoiced in – just the way you are. You are perfect. Your laugh, your smile, your tough exterior, your quiet nature, your vivacious spirit. You were made to be you to change the world around you. YOU are loved. There is NOTHING that you have done, survived, said, or witnessed that can change His love for you. When you come to not only realize that, but live in that, I promise you that you find a sense of peace and an overwhelming sense of love like never before. My wish for you today is that you lay down everything that is not from him – if it is not wrapped in promise, peace, joy, and happiness, TOSS. IT. OUT. THE. WINDOW! My hope for you today is that you find and hold on to peace. To joy. To the promise that the best of the rest of your life is ahead of you.

Live, love, and believe BIG.


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