Monday, December 31, 2018

Death is LIFE

As I look back on 2018, I am in such awe at the hand of the Father in and around the whole thing.  I am amazed at His

love and power

through 2018.  His spirit led me on a path I honestly did not want to take.  During 2017 the most unimaginable things happened in my life, the lives of my friends, and to my family.  It seemed as if total destruction was winning and everything was crumbling around me.  I took it all very personally and my fighter instinct came out to try and make wrongs right and walk people through freedom so they would make healthier choices and not fall apart.  Well that was not working like it had in the past and I was becoming defeated and angry.  I carried around a lot of pain in my heart. For myself, but mainly for the people I saw spiraling out of control.  So much brokenness and so much trauma.   And there was literally nothing I could do.  Believe me I tried.  I had an

encounter with God

that changed everything.  He showed me how I had been carrying this thing and show me how I was never meant to carry it.  He showed me how He had allowed me to see things, but that did not mean I was to try and fix it, mend it, “freedom” it, or anything.  He spoke so clearly and softly as He said “let me have this back.  I am doing something here and I do not need your help.”  It corrected me, convicted me, and lifted from me the heaviest weight I have ever carried.  The elephant got up off me and moved out of my zip code.  I surrendered and repented so much during the next few months as God took things away from me.  Not all of the things were “Bad” things some were really great things, but they were no longer mine.  I opened my doors and He came in and rearranged the furniture.  I was not happy or joyful at this honestly, and threw some fits along the way.  Regardless, I was allowing Him to do it.  I opened the door.  I listened to His voice and (after some complaining I surrendered.)  Shama aqui was my word for the year and it means to hear here.  (See BLOG to learn more) I was learning to pause and listen to the Father right now about the right now.  He became a present Father to me and literally walked with me each day.  I had to have Him to get out of bed.  I had to have Him to lead a ministry.  I had to have Him to search for a new church home.  I had to have Him to be a wife.  I had to have Him to be a mom.  I had to have Him to be a friend.  I just had to have Him for everything, even cooking dinner.  He became my source for everything because I gave up my way.   I gave up. I said I’m done.

If you were close to me this looked very ugly and maybe even like I was in a very bad place.  It probably looked like death and you might have been tempted to run, separate, and move on past me.  That is okay.  I honestly might have done the same thing. The truth is that things on the outside are often times not what they appear.  Sometimes people seem totally fine and then you hear about then killing themselves or killing others. You hear it all the time, they seemed totally fine, I can’t believe they did this or that.  Well the same goes in the opposite direction too.  I only know this because it is where I have been and it is so true.  People who seem like they are withdrawn and sad or angry and bitter may actually be becoming the freest people you will know.  You may look back on some of my blogs and see the innermost feelings of pain as I dealt with things.  You may be able to actually feel the hurt as I released it.  The truth is the moments where it all seemed fine were my hardest days.  The times where I was releasing the pain was my most freeing days.  Needless to say, God was doing a work in me where He was killing off things.  Death is not pretty and it does not smell good.  Death appears for all purposes. like death.  But when God is in charge, death becomes the most beautiful thing after 3 days.  Or 3 months. Or 3 years.  Whatever the season of winter is, just wait.  When it looks like you have been buried and died there will be a spring.  You are buried and growing actually.  The seed has to be buried to grow. There will be growth and there will be a harvest.  It is the natural course for ALL things when God is involved. 

I spoke to one of my mentors along the way and asked her, “why?” about somethings that happened and she said, “Bambi you are changed and the old people do not know what to do or how to respond to this change.”  Was that ever true.  I do not look the same as before my death.  I am different.  I am changed.  I have new places of freedom and new levels of authority.  It comes from a quiet place of security that I have not figured out how to explain yet. 

During 2018 I also walked through some extreme highs which have been so incredible.  My daughter was married, my son began a career, my husband and I moved into a fifth wheel, I found a church home, I made new friends, and my ministry is growing.  This growth is because of the death.  I look back on the death days and they were some of my worst visually but best internally.  They involved great sacrifice and involved me giving up everything I once treasured.  I walk away feeling refreshed and complete.  I was protected and I am secure.  I was comforted on my worst days and lifted high on my best.  My cup truly does overflow now.  It is seeping out and is not containable. 

Thank you, God, for teaching me to surrender. 

Thank you, God, for delivering me. 

Thank you, God, for teaching me. 

You have been so good to me in 2018. 

Psalm 23 A psalm of David

1 The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing.

2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters,

3 he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.

4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Take Courage

I know it has been a minute since I posted.  This is short, but I wanted to document a few thoughts before they are gone.

2017 was a dark year for me.  A time when many things were stripped from me and when I took a breath it was yet another thing or another person leaving. So much was gone. Some through my obedience and some through the enemy stealing and killing. I said goodbye to my church home for the past 9 years. I said goodbye to my physical home for the past 13 years. I said goodbye to many relationships completely and some changed drastically. I spoke to a precious mentor of mine early in 2018 reflecting on all the change and she reminded me because of all the change I am different and I react different. And because of that people who were used to me one way does not know how to take me this new way. Because of that some will walk away and I needed to be okay with that. It is hard but I agreed. I trust those who have held the place of mentor and I know they love and seek Holy Spirit on my behalf. 

2018 has been a year of rebuilding and growth. Most of it has been silent and in a spirit of reflecting. Knowing not a thing lost will not be restored to a better and healthier version of the past. Knowing that God is in charge of my life and a lot of dying to self. My word for the year was Shama which is to hear. I have been listening more than talking. I have allowed things to occur and seen the best and worst in people. I have been more of an observer than ever before. I have set silent on many things and just waiting on the Lord to move and shift things. I have been pleading my case in the courtroom of justice and I know the Lord hears my cries. I have been in a winter season where things have been changing in me under the surface. Shifts have happened in the deep places where God has shaved even more pride and arrogance away. Even more fear is gone and birthed is a trust in Him no matter what happens. I know if I am standing alone, I'm ok. I do not need the praises of men, or the crowds of people to know who I am. I do not have idols in friendships or recognition any longer. If no one sees that is ok because I am obedient to HIM alone. I understand the sadness Jesus felt as he was betrayed and beaten so much more.

I have more courage than I even realized. I am shaking off the dust and becoming a new creation. I do not look the same as the old tree I once was. Some will not recognize me. The truth is my spirit is full and ready. I'm like a racehorse at the start line and I am going to run my race. The work in the soil is complete and he is calling me to shake off the darkness of the changing process and the winter months, when nothing grows or blossoms. I am rising up and embracing HIS springtime so that I might flourish in HIS presence. I am responding to Jesus. Just like a new plant I am fragile but strong. There's a YES in my heart and it carries through eternity. Simple obedience ~~~~ it changes history. Take courage the harvest is ripe.

Take Courage

Monday, September 17, 2018

I AM Redeemed

I want to talk a little on friendship today.  I have experienced some really strange things and some really awesome things in friendships over my life.  It is one of the many areas where God has gifted me so as a result my friendships are many times attacked by the evil work of the enemy.  I know there have been times I was at fault and some I was not at fault. Friendships are human and have hurts and pains in them.  Here is the truth-----ugh I hate even saying it but---- friendship had become an idol in my life.  I placed value on what friends thought of me over what He thinks of me.  I listened to people’s commentary of where I am and what has happened over what He says I am and what happened.  And believe me they are two completely different things.    I had a revelation! God is so good.
Anger- You know I sometimes am able to get my thoughts out of my head by writing and right now I am writing because I am so angry.  I don’t know it this will ever see the public but I have to get it all out of my head.  Why am I angry I ask myself?  Because of evil.  I am so upset that the enemy kills, steals, and destroys.  I blame him and I know he is at fault.  Have I participated~ yes.  Have other participated~ yes.  But ultimately, we all have to remember who is to blame and it isn’t each other~ it is him.  Anger is gone like a heavy weight that was lifted.
Heartbreak - My heart breaks at the loss over really good meaningful friendships.  I see the devour of a people group and it is awful. One thing I know is a God who will not stand for idolatry and pride or anything that rises up against Him.   He partners with the weak and humble and those who are on their faces.  He wants to see His kingdom come and His will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  And if you are rising up structures that oppose him and his kingdom it will be destroyed.  I recently destroyed a structure the Holy Spirit showed me I had built.  I do not understand all of it but it is gone now and I am so thankful he showed it to me. 
Discipline - I keep telling myself, like I literally call myself into my own principal’s office and tell myself to “get it together” and “stop making this thing such a big thing” but, I cannot move past it.  I am just stuck here examining and reexamining and conversations and moments and asking for clarity and wisdom.  I’ve spoken with others and they say things like God opens and closes doors and friends are for a season and its okay move forward but nothing feels good about that either.  My instinct to fight for people & things and I have to keep that tame like a volcano fixing to erupt because I want to slap the poison being drank out of their hands and scream in their faces to flea back to His kingdom and his righteousness.  But it is not my job. I am just going to seek Him.
Deception - Then the question I ask my Daddy often, what if I am wrong.  What if I have been fooled and led astray?  What if I am the “victim” of the enemy’s tactics?  Absolutely nothing brings peace but being in His presence and solitude from all the voices and opinions.  And so, I wake all stirred up yet again and I seek Him first about how my day will go.  I see so many opportunities to love and love well.  I hear of those in need and I remind myself that this life is His and not mine.  That the betrayal and devour is to Him and not to me.  And my heart just breaks over it all.  I weep more than you can imagine at how His name, His character, and His heart is being trampled on and torn into a jillion pieces daily.  He lived and He bled and He loved and He walked and He died for every single one of us.  Yet we still crucify Him daily instead of crucifying ourselves.  No more.    
Friendly fire- The enemy loves to have us fighting with each other and hurting each other so that we do not engage in the real war after us.  So that we isolate and step away from the pack of believers and then become prey to the vicious lion waiting to eat us.  For a while I was in this place of solitude.  I found the love of a Father more than any other time.  I truly was never alone and he drew me close. I almost did not want to leave that safe place, and I do not have to. 
No one was created to walk alone.

Some are deep and some are weak.
Some withstand the storm and some do not.
Some are healthy and some are deadly.
Some are meant to grow you and some are meant to grow them.
Some provide healing and some provide disease.
Some are for life and some are for a season.
Some have your back and some talk behind your back.
Some love well and some are learning love while there.
Some are real and some are fake.
Some need you and some you need them.
Some encourage and uplift and some tear down and destroy.
Some run into fires with you and some run away when there is fire.
Some are fear based and some are perfect love based.
Some hurt and some heal.
Some are fun and some steal.

I recently confessed to a small group of close friends that the enemy has been sending thoughts my way of suicide.  Out of nowhere I will think that thought and of course immediately capture the thought and wonder what in the world? Where did that come from?  Truth is that was a battle of mine back in high school.  I wrote really eloquent poems about it that I hid under my mattress.  Then again in my late 20’s and early 30’s the enemy came in again with depression and anxiety and those thoughts were there again.  I read an article or two or three recently about a pastor who committed suicide after taking the entire summer off to try and get his mind healthy again.  I watched his sermon when he returned just a few weeks ago and saw that pain in his eyes and in his wife’s eyes, who stood by his side though it all.  I hate the enemy so much.  I was talking to someone about it and they made the comment that he was a coward.  Man, that just went all over me because I have been there in the midst of depression and coward is not the word.  The enemy can send any thought he wants your way.  You have a choice whether you entertain it and how is manifests in your body depends greatly on how you think about the thought. 
I’ve recently been struggling with feeling like I cannot breathe and struggling with tight spaces, all of which are brand new thought and not true.  I sometimes wake up with terrible dreams and have to rebuke the enemy right there.  I will rabbit trail down the thought train sometimes about what am I going to do if …….. and it is a terrible place to be.  I didn’t ask to have the dream.  I didn’t ask to have the thought, but yet here they are and it is a real manifestation in my body when I wake in panic and terror.  All of this to say the enemy could just as easily be sending me thoughts of suicide.  One thing I read that this pastors wife said was “I am so sorry you were so scared, I am so sorry you felt so alone, I am so sorry you felt misunderstood, I am so sorry you felt betrayed and deeply hurt by the words and actions of others.”  These are real thoughts whether they were true or not they are what ultimately ended his life.  It is sad but we have to wake up to this and be truly involved with people.  I have another friend whose son recently committed suicide.  I do not know the details, but am aware he struggled with depression for years.  It is a real thing not a copout or a coward’s response.  People do not ask for it and some don’t even see they are in it.  Be consistent with those you love and do not be easily pushed away.  If a friend reaches out call them back.  You never know you could save a life.   
I am free. I am redeemed.  It has been a journey, but as of September 15 I am free.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Temper Tantrums.......Then God

I have been through so much recently and honestly did not know at times if I would survive it.  Not in a suicidal way but in a way, but because of the pain and trauma could I get past it, recover, and move forward healthy kind of way.  

I have been in a place of solitude/hibernation only reaching out when I was forced or knew I was supposed to.  I have been in a place of looking at my own depravity and being sickened with it and the things that happened to send me into this low low state.  I have questioned everything, literally everything.  I allowed my mind to make up stories and think the worst about things many times.  It was confusing and heavy and I began to spill over these things on to the people I loved most.  My mind was critical, hardened, closed and questioning.

Then God.......

I have received more healing in the last 2 months than I thought even possible.  
It began by going to things I knew would be good for me even though I didn't want to go. 
It began by asking God questions about me and my situation and allowing him to speak truth instead of my made up imaginations.  
It began by friendships who invited and spoke truth to me over and over again.  Sometimes I heard them and others I ignored them.  Some people walked away and some retreated and grew hard. A few stayed and either understood because of similar situations in their past or because they love well kept pursuing me.  
It takes going into a valley to understand people in a valley.  I knew I was in a valley and I honestly did not want to get out of it…… until I learned all the lessons God was teaching me.
I wanted to be able to rise up with confidence to face the day.
Did I stay too long or was I so bad off that I was not someone who could hear truth? 

To you be the judge. But I don't think so.  I heard so many things from so many people. I needed to hear from my God.
Opinions and criticism.  
The looks.... the turned heads. 
The gossip and the clueless.
I know I heard from the Holy Spirit in the deepest cries have a new level of closeness.  

Then God........

As I began to stand again there were precious people in my path who literally held me up and prayed over me.  As I reached a place to lay down the deepest hurts a man prayed with me to silence the accuser and this was the shift I needed in my spirit.  My eyes opened again. I began to again tell the enemy to shut up.  It changed everything.

I had followed the steps I had been taught about forgiveness and healing but it was like a step was missing.  I needed understanding and kept hitting a wall that plummeted me back down.  Some told me there are things for God to know and I didn't need to know, but I did.  To move forward I needed some answers and clarity to uncloud my confusion, anger, and numbness.

Then God.......

After having what I can only explain as a temper tantrum He showed up sent me the answer I needed.  He continues to explain things to me.  I understand and have more compassion and hope than I have in a long long time.  It is incredible the visions and pictures He is showing me.  The new ability I have to pray for people and see them the way He sees them.  I am encouraged today because of the hope He has shown me.  

I thought for a long time I was be satisfied only after justice was served, but today I am praying not for justice, but for repentance.  Justice will be the result of no repentance.  But repentance would be so much sweeter.  I repent for every idol word I have spoken, evil thought I had, and encourage everyone reading these words to repent as well.  

We need to be in reverence and fear of God to a point that we should have deep conviction for separation and a longing desire for connection.  I am praying that as I move forward and as you move forward that all lies be exposed.  That truth is spoken and that the accuser is silenced.  Silenced in your churches and silences in your life. 

In the book of Revelation, you find the accuser who is Satan accusing us to God day and night.  We have to silence him and his army.  Jesus used the Word and we must too. You are not alone. I am not alone. 

Revelation 12:10 Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, "Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night.
2 Corinthians 10:4-6 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.
Acts 3:19-20  Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that he may send the Messiah, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus. 
Exodus 20:20 Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning.”
Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Proverbs 8:13  The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Confession Time

Okay, many of my friends and family are asking the BIG question, “Where did you move?” Well it's an ongoing story and hard to give (especially text) an answer.  So, I will do my best to explain what’s going on in the life of Sending Flores.

For the last year John has been preparing for promotion within his job. Most likely that requires a move because DFW is the hot spot for transfers not interviews for Sergeant. So, John and I really felt like the Lord was telling us for some time to sell our house.  We spoke to a realtor, even a few years ago, but never moved forward.  Anyway, we knew we were being led to sell the house even if we didn’t promote soon.  Therefore last year was a year full of getting the house, and our hearts, ready for selling.  Selling a home you have been in for 14 years is tough to say the least.  There are so many memories and experiences that have happened in a home.  From parties, to freedom, to tears and losses, to major victories they all begin to flood into your mind when you begin to part with something.  Not to mention all the people who have come and gone from that house.  You see we are notorious for allowing people to live with us while they are in transition.

John and I both felt like this next season of our lives would be TRANSITIONAL, meaning movement and I see the word FLUID when I consider my immediate future.  SO, with that being said we began to toss around the idea of getting a 5th wheel to live in while we are fluid and that way we are not breaking lease after lease with every new step.  Our desire is to be in the center of God’s will and for this season it is going to require many moves and places.  The exciting part is this means new people to see and experience.  I am honored already that I will have the ability to speak into new lives and show new people the light of Jesus.  
We went to The Potter’s house and heard TD Jakes preach.  And guess what we also got to meet him and speak with him afterward……..  The sermon was titled, The Homeless Jesus.  This sermon really lit a fire in both John and I and gave us the ability to move forward into something we know God had been speaking to us about.  I would love for you to listen and believe that God has something for each of you in this sermon.  The Homeless Jesus
To summarize, he spoke about how Jesus was no longer welcomed even in his home town and how he was misunderstood.  It was revelation to John and I and brought much comfort to our spirits.  
So, the home improvements began and there was paint, a kitchen remodel and some new appliances put in.  Our home was being prepared to sell.  We finally put it on the market on November 22 at about noon.  And by Saturday evening we had a contact for full asking price.  I knew it was a risk of putting the house on the market, but wow it sold and it sold quickly.  The advantages of this is that we didn’t have to keep it clean and “show worthy” for very long.  The other advantage is that while we were in Israel it was appraised and inspected and because of this day and age we remote signed all the documentation.  Upon returning from Israel we had 21 days to be out.  
We literally got off the plane and went directly to an RV place to look at RV’s.  We decided to also look for used ones and we fell in love a day later.  Friends helped up with the down payment and we brought the RV home about a week before we closed.  We have a storage unit for all the irreplaceable things like pictures, and antiques from childhood, and of course all of Johns tools and hunting stuff.  Long and short we transitioned from 2,000 sq. ft. to probably around 150 sq. ft. 
So ,yes we are living in an RV.  We moved into Weatherford for now, but don’t plan to be here long.  We are expectant on open doors for promotion and plan to be pretty fluid in the next few years.  We have BIG dreams for the future and downsizing and moving are all a part of being able to save big.  We are thankful for prayers and support because it has not been all rainbows and ponies so far.  We moved into this RV on the coldest week Texas has seen in quite some time.  Things froze and I had a few meltdowns.  But each day is a new day and I am beginning to have a routine.  We are camping, for real, every day.  We have minimized and it feels really good.  Yes John and I are fine.  Pray for open doors and promotion for us.  Velvet Hearts is still moving forward and actually growing a ton.  Everything is awesome and we are centered and grounded.  
I hope this long explanation helps with all the questions and I figured it was about time I write about it so I can let you all know about the meltdowns too.  JK LOL.  😊

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

ShamaAqui שָׁמַע-2018

On December 10 I woke up to my prayer language.  A common word I say when praying spirit to spirit is shamaaqui.  I never thought of researching to see if it actually had a "real" meaning.  I thought to myself in that moment,  "I wonder what my new word would be for 2018." My mind took over and I thought of something to do with new beginnings or change.  I mean after 2017 I really need something new and fresh.  I began to look up definition to these words and other similar ones and nothing made sense in my spirit and again shamaaqui came to mind. 

So I googled the word shamaaqui and nothing.  Then I clearly heard two words.  So I typed in shama and could not even believe what happened next.  Not only is it a word, but a Hebrew word.  I had just returned on December 5 from the land of Hebrew--Israel.  I was in awe and my spirit rose up so joyful and excited.  I hit John sleeping soundly next to me and said listen you are never going to believe this.  He was not as excited being woke up to me dancing in bed.  I began to read though the words used in the bible in connection to shama and tears began to run down my face. 
This is it! 
Strong's Concordance
8085. shama
shama: to hear
Original Word: שָׁמַע
Transliteration: shama
Phonetic Spelling: (shaw-mah')

announce (2), announced (3), announces (3), completely (1), comprehends (1),
diligently (1), discern (1), disregarded (1), gave heed (2), give earnest heed (1), given heed (2), hear (270), hear (1), heard (363), heard for certain (1), hearing (5), hears (33), heed (5), heeded (2), indeed obey (1), keep on listening (1), listen (226), listen attentively (1), listen carefully (3), listen closely (1), listen obediently (2), listened (52), listening (12), listens (7), loud-sounding (3), made a proclamation (1), make his heard (1), make their heard (1), make them known (1), make themselves heard (1), make your heard (1), obedient (1), obey (32), obey (14), obeyed (21), obeyed (5), obeying (6), obeys (1), overheard (1), pay heed (1), proclaim (15), proclaimed (6), proclaims (1), reported (3), sang (1), show (1), sound (2), sound (1), sounded (1), summon (2), summoned (2), surely hear (1), surely heard (1), truly obey (1), understand (7), understanding (1), understood (1), witness (1)
You can imagine my delight even if you have been only following my blog.  And then the big kicker.  The verse attached to the word shama is Isaiah 42:9 and again I am hitting John and weeping and excited and dancing in bed.  I encourage you to read the whole thing because it brought me great joy and sealed a lot of things for me.   
And if that is not enough the second part of the word is aqui, which is Spanish for here and Latin for water.  Hear here. Hear water. Water is a representation in scripture of Holy Spirit.  I could go on and on but for now I am going to leave you with this.  I will choose this day and all of 2018 to hear here and listen to the announcements of Holy Spirit because they are springing into being. 

Sunday, December 31, 2017

I Have Been Stripped Naked

Little did I know what 2017 had in store when it began.  I was given the word protected from the Holy Spirit (whom I often call HS).  This was His sweet way of letting me know there would be things I would need to be protected from.  I mean it is like having a personal body guard.  I was aware of many of the fiery darts and I am sure there were many I knew nothing about. I sense He was in briefing meetings often about the strategies to keep me protected.  Meetings with God the Father and Jesus the son.  Meetings with angels and also commandments to the demons who are hell bent on destruction.  I am thankful that in a court of law I have the Most High attorney on my side advocating for my benefit. 
At the beginning of Velvet Hearts (A ministry that exists to show the unconditional love of Jesus Christ to men and women who work in the sex industry), HS showed me that as I get to see these women in their nakedness, rawness and realness. I get to see them the way He sees them.  Naked and stripped. This vision was precious to me and made me feel even more honored and chosen. He trusts me and allows me to show His love to these women each and every single week.  Nakedness became the pure and real word that it was created to be, not this worldly, gross, exposed, terrible thing that it is today.  God created us naked in His sight, and He sees us naked. Then I looked up the definition of naked and in it found the word stripped, without clothes and without protection.  I was in awe because He is telling me I am protected and sending me to the people who are without protection.  What a risky thing? Am I truly protected?  What all am I protected from and why do I need protection? 

I am beyond thankful that I rarely struggle with being scared of things.  I am a bold person who enjoys taking risks especially when I have been asked to do something by HS.  There are many times I begin to feel the weight of this industry and hear the enemy saying there is nothing I can do to really make a difference.  Then HS shows me it is just a girl.  This is just about one girl. One heart, one story, and one life.  I refocus and march forward. 
So now let’s get to my year.  I realize this has been the year of stripping for me.  I am the girl.  I have been stripped naked this year in so many ways.  I have had to listen intently to the Lord for wisdom and guidance in a deep, groaning kinda way. I turned to HS and nestled myself into his wings almost daily as things were taken, stolen, and destroyed. Some of these things I released and some I held onto and He had to take away.  Some things I understood and some I am still unaware why.  I trust the Lord with all my heart, but that is not to say I am unhurt.  Yes, I am hurt.  Yes, I am bare. Yes, I feel completely naked and exposed.  It is uncomfortable.  I was a beautiful healthy tree and I have been pruned back to close to nothing.  From the outside looking in it might seem like I am dying or that death is imminent, but in my core, I am more strengthened today that I was December 31, 2016. 

What has been taken this year?  Well here is my short list and in each there was deep protection. 

1.      Fully Alive         

2.      Death of a Dog

3.      Job

4.      Church

5.      Friends

6.      Family

7.      Home

Like I said some of these were taken without my hands being open and some were released.  Either way many tears have been shed this year and much growth has taken place.  Many have not seen the growth because it happens deep in the hidden places.  And even though I am a barren tree in the middle of winter and look like I could be dead, there is a new life in me that is springing forth.  I will bear much fruit this coming year.  I have been stripped naked this year and the Lord has seen me as I am.  He is pleased and calls me redeemed and justified.  I have a clearer understanding of the wholeness of being naked and vulnerable.  I have a deeper faith in a rescuer that comes to protect and save.   And He gets ALL the glory, honor and praise.  I will forever cherish this year’s growth in the valley.  I am thankful for those who have walked right beside me and did not leave.  I am also thankful for the ones who have left and were pruned away. 
I stand here naked. 
I feel more comfortable in my skin than I have ever -- before, bruised, scarred, and broken. 
I am HIS.