A tree of life

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Today, I have just been reflecting. I have been thinking about the last five years of my life. I have witnessed God do amazing things in the midst of severe tragedy and death, against tremendous loss and financial hardships, and against every odd that could be stacked. I have seen His hand come down to swoop me from destruction and desolation. I have seen His mercy when the world said there was none. I have experienced a valley period for almost six years (actually to be specific April 2011). I have experienced total loss. First, my house was lost in a historic flood in April 2011. I mean everything we had about three hours to get everything out. We got some things, but most things were ruined. I lost my pictures, handmade items that my babies made. I about lost it when an insurance adjuster came in and said “Well it could have been worse!” and quickly told us well we were lucky because it wasn’t over the top of our roof. I remember feeling like the blood was collecting up around your neck and your head was going to pop. I also remember in that very moment wanting to cry and scream and ask him how he slept at night. But, I heard a small voice that said: “Everything is ok.” I remember feeling like I had no one. I remember trying to give updates to people and fighting back intense anger and tears. I remember trying to understanding if I was going to get through this? If I were going to, I would have to breathe one breath at a time. I got through it, I got through it by the grace of God that holds us, the universe, and all together and is in control Colossians 1:16)

I remember filling out paperwork for my babies to go back to school and have to check homeless. We were living with my in-laws. I remember getting the phone call saying sorry you didn’t get the loan. I remember feeling like my every day just was every hell I didn’t want to go through.

This is life, hard, cold, and cruel. I remember a phone conversation with my mom and she said “Kim, why don’t you claim the house in Jesus name.” I remember saying “Okay.”

I don’t believe in the prosperity gospel; I am not saying or giving the formula to claim a house. I am saying I walked in my current house and right there completely broken; I cried out. “I said, Jesus if it is your will, please give us a home. This house is your house. You will be on these walls because you gave it to us.” I walked out and went home told my husband of soon to be ten years” I found a house!” he said “Great, we will go see it Saturday and get some paperwork on it!” and that is just what happened. Saturday afternoon we started papers on a beautiful four bedroom home for a family of five. By Friday the next week we were approved without a hitch or complication and signed papers the following week. By the first week of October, we were moving in. I’m not telling you this to pat ourselves on the back. The fact was we were so far away from God that some would say we were hopeless. I’m telling you this because prayer is everything!

Not the claim made to Jesus but, the cry that He hears.

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He decided the rest because He knows. Looking back, this blessing turned my life straight back into his arms. It set my heart to seek Him for healing, loving, and restoration I needed desperately. I needed freedom! I needed to see Him move mightily to get my attention.

That same Easter we decided to recommit our lives to Christ and serve Him with all our heart, mind, and souls. We did, we started getting involved with the youth inside our church, and it was love at first sight. Our church was perfect for us, but there is no such thing as a perfect church. This spurred a journey that changed our lives for the good. Soon, as you all have experienced, a major issue and conflict started to surface. Looking back every inch of it was fueled by religion and that nasty green-eyed monster jealousy. I will admit I could have handled the whole thing much better than I did. I made mistakes and have regrets. What happened next was a beginning of several losses that have occurred simultaneously since July 2013. First significant loss was the children in the youth group. I don’t want to be melodramatic, but, when this offensive explosion of lies and mean-spirited division came, it left a wake of victims not just myself but at least thirty people that I can immediately think off the top of my head. Of course, I remember feeling out of control, frustrated, and well downright heartbroken. Immediately I ran to the Word, and the Holy Spirit led me to three Psalms. I would tell you the numbers but, honestly, I just think that’s something only God and I ever need to know. It was a time where God was ever so tender with me. I felt like if I even sniffled He was right there on the scene. I remember one morning in particular where I was praying. I was angry praying; I was stomping around then I knelt down then I laid down, and I sobbed my ever-loving heart out, but not what you think, I was merely asking for Him to take the pain away. I was begging to tell Him, Lord, I feel like a whole part of me is gone. Don’t you care? Why, am I going through this? What did I do? Why can’t I be back with those kids, I love them! I need them!

He never even chastised me He just simply said: “I know, I see, I hear.”  I have never forgotten those words. Just knowing He knows, He sees, He hears was enough. I knew He loved me. I knew He saw this coming. I knew He heard my shattered heart and knew exactly what to say to it. I got up from there and decided, well if He knows, He sees, He hears, then I’m giving this to Him, and I am leaving it here. It’s too much, and it hurts as all get out, and I have had enough of it. I would be lying if I said I didn’t still cry over that season every once in a while. I remember what happened, but I remember how God loved me especially so merciful in that season. Made the verse in Matthew 5 jump off those pages and come to life. I am close to the broken-hearted. Oh, I have been broken just like David on my belly, broken. Just as I got on my belly flat as an arrow, I got up again.

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After leaving our home church, we went to another local church. Quite a bit larger than our home church and full of life. It was a safe place. It was a place that we could cry, be angry, hurt, and quiet and be okay. That was two and a half years ago, and it wasn’t pretty. I would love to tell you all how we nailed it, but that would be a whopper breaking lie for the record books! We were messy, but they loved us anyway. We were gun shy, but they were patient. We tried, and I think they saw that. I’ve heard everything from if the church hurt you enough to make you lose your faith your faith was not of God. That is true, but to a person raw with intense pain and loss of losing a church family traumatically it’s like pouring salt on it and saying don’t worry it’ll heal up! I’ve heard well come on its time to get over it. It’s time to get moving. Yup, probably 100 percent truth, but the fact was I was barely holding on to Jesus’s garment, but at the same time the little bit I had a hold of it was a death grip. I almost lost my mind during this season. God knew I loved Him. Believe me, Y’all, I had the heart for God, but I was running away from things I had suppressed and when all heck broke out. There it was staring back at me like a rabid dog. It was a giant of sorts, and it wanted to consume me. God orchestrated all this so when this fierce giant came for me, well, this time I would slay it! So Him saying I know, I see, I hear. Did not just have meaning right then, but He told me ” Kim, I’ve been here all along! I know, I see, I hear!”  That is the still small voice that led me through the valley and in a spiritual battle that was the turning point in my life. After ultimately finding Jesus and knowing who I am in the Great I Am. This took from July 2013 until May of 2015.

That May morning I received a phone call and …

One of my best friends voice said “Kim, Jenna is in ICU. She is bad. They don’t think she is going to live.”

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See, Jenna and I were best friends in high school. We had a lot in common. Of course, we were both incredibly broken, and well, you attract the level of brokenness you are.  We instantly bonded.

Fast forward to our early 30’s and we were not even speaking because of drugs and alcohol. No matter what, I loved Jenna. I really did. No matter what, we always were at her major life events, especially the birth of her daughter A.

Fast forward to May of 2015 again and the same friend that called said: “Kim, come up here now!”

I said, ” Does she want to see me?”

She said, “Hold on I’ll ask.”

The next voice I heard was a faint, weak voice that said: “Kimmie, I love you!” I said “I love you, Jenna” then she only said let’s never talk about it again come up here.

I dropped the phone and ran. Praying the whole way up there that God would help me. I was scared to death. The only thing I knew was she was in complete liver failure, and she looked scary.

I remember the level of a shock seeing her. But, after that, I sincerely believe God shielded my eyes and gave me strength to do what I did next. I decided from that moment if God had restored us back to speaking then I would stay with her. I did, until she was released from the hospital. The things that happened, are again, something I will never forget and are moments I treasure. I will say this; God filled that room, and I saw first hand the power of prayer and how God prepares us for the next step. He faithfully did. After she went home to Texas with her mother, she would be away from drug dealers and access to what is a full blown epidemic in our society. Ninety percent of drug and alcohol addicts are not in treatment centers; the death rate is staggering. After staying with her mother in Texas she relapsed. It was the beginning of August three short weeks after she returned; she was dead due to substance abuse. The same day we buried her precious bones, my husband stood in the doorway and told me his job of eighteen years was ending in November 2015. To be honest, I was numb; I tried to process but, I couldn’t. All I could do was walk around and occasionally sob.

It would be a grief-stricken season. I still had a hold on to the same piece of His garment. I said to Jesus one morning “I don’t care what happens I’m not letting go! I refuse to give up, and I don’t know how, or where, or even when, but, I know You will work this for the good of me! I’m digging in and choosing You!”

Hahaha, little did I know He chose me before the foundations of the earth. But, you see I was convincing myself, and declaring no matter what to Satan, I love God because He first loved me! You can sift me like wheat, but, you can’t have the head of the grain. The harvest is the Lord’s! No matter what you throw out before me, I am submitting and praising God! The next week, a woman at church said:  “Hey, there is an older couple who need a caretaker; I know you would be great at it!” so, I took the offer and began this page. This page and blog is a tree of life to me. It is a fruit from several seasons of loss and hardships. It is a promise that was made to my heart. It is proof that God is with me. It is evidence of how His grace continually holds all of us together!

By the way in March 2016, my wonderful hubby did find a job, and God is still blessing us abundantly. We celebrated 15 years married in September 2016. I will never be able to adequately express how difficult these last five or six years have been, but what I can tell you is keep praising, keep dreaming, keep holding onto that garment with white knuckles because things will calm down and you will see the hand of God in time. I love Jesus, I love life, and I love each one of you. ❤

This picture right above is a relationship that is a tree of life for me. This is my best friend Cassie and one of Jenna’s besties too! I look at this picture sometimes and wonder what it would have been like to have a short, beautiful blonde holding a sign that says, Love. How many nights I have wondered but, the still small voice says: “Don’t wonder. Everything is okay. I know, I see, and I hear.” That is what keeps all of us going. Those moments of security and reassurance. Thank you, Jesus, for those moments they keep up hanging on tightly to the hem of your garment. ❤

 

#grace #Jesus #unfailing #everlasting #Lord #Holy #mighty #restoration #healing #hurt #broken #strength #holyspirit #promises #faithfulness

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