Posts Tagged ‘Jesus’
Posted on February 14, 2013 - by Shari Barr
I know, I know, we’re supposed to write about a fictitious hero, but since I haven’t read a lot of fiction lately, I’m writing about my favorite hero…period. Since it’s Valentine’s Day, I felt inspired to write it as a poem. Yes, a poem, but I warn you–I really don’t do poetry. So here goes:
Loves me though I’m not deserving,
Walks beside me day by day.
He feels my every sorrow
And shares in all my pain.
He wipes away my tears of woe
And sheds some of His own.
He wraps His arms around me
To shield me from my fears.
He whispers words of comfort
To cheer me when I’m down.
He blesses me with all my needs
Though not my every want.
He teaches me to grow,
To be humble in my ways.
He gives me many joys,
More than I dare to ask.
He knows just what my heart needs
To give me hope again.
He asked me to come follow Him
To walk life’s rocky path.
How could I not say “Yes”
When He said these words to me,
“Take my hand, don’t let go.
I promise I won’t let you fall.”
Though troubles came at every turn,
I forgot that He was there.
I let Him go
Not looking back.
When enemies taunted
And threw barbs at my soul,
I stumbled and fell, scared and alone,
Weeping for all I thought I had lost.
I looked for my Hero,
And cried out to Him.
“Lord, my body is bruised,
And my heart is scarred.
I don’t understand
Why I’m hurting so much.”
I felt a warm presence
And looked up to see
My Hero beside me,
A red bud in his hand.
“Take this, my child, for a job well done.
You’ve turned out quite well, just as I planned.”
Confused, I said nothing,
But accepted the gift.
“This bud,” He continued, “is just like you.
To become a rose of great beauty,
You must get past the thorns.
Posted on December 25, 2012 - by Stacy Monson
Over the years, we’ve had plenty of Christmas disasters:
- New potatoes that never cooked (maybe they were old?) – left like tiny bowling balls on every plate.
- A tree that had to be tied to the ceiling with dental floss.
- A dog helping herself to part of the meal – before it had been served (a few dog germs never hurt anyone…I don’t think).
There are funny memories too:
- Our five-year-old exclaiming for the camera, “My very own scissahs! (She couldn’t say her r’s very well). And a toothbwush!” Good thing her expectations were low for what was in her stocking. She’s always been a particularly grateful kid!
- Learning to open the gifts from the in-laws at the exact same time since we all received the exact same things.
- And the infamous box of Ribbon Candy that gets passed around each year to one unsuspecting person (the box is from 1982). It has appeared tucked in an old book after the gift-giver cut out the insides, arriving from China more candy dust than pieces (not one of my brother’s most stellar ideas), hidden in the bottom of a homemade reindeer planter.
But the memory that stands out the strongest for our family is the year we had to unveil “the secret.” That particularly grateful five-year-old was deathly afraid of anything in a costume. We have exactly one photo of her on Santa’s lap – the year she had just turned one. Screaming bloody murder, her bald head a deep red from the exertion. Poor thing!
She hated clowns (we found that out after attending the circus – once). Didn’t like any character in a parade approaching her. She liked dressing up but didn’t like any kind of spooky costume at Halloween. She was even leery of pumpkins once they were carved.
As we tucked her into bed one night, she shared with us that she was afraid of that man.
“What man?” we asked.
“Santa. The man that comes into our house.”
“But honey, he just comes in, leaves presents under the tree, and goes on to the next house. He won’t come into your room.”
Tears. “I don’t want a stranger in our house!”
Oops. I guess she took that stranger-danger lesson a little too much to heart. After a few days of ongoing conversation, her anxiety escalating, my husband and I decided we’d have to tell her the truth.
After her three-year-old brother was in bed, we sat down with her and prefaced our talk with the admonishment, “What we’re about to tell you, you cannot ever tell your brother. Not even when you’re mad at him. This is something only big kids get to know.” Truly a first born rule follower, she nodded very seriously and promised. So we told her the truth. Santa wasn’t real. He was just a fun way to celebrate the gift that God gave us – the real gift of Jesus. (It was a great chance to talk more about the real reason for celebrating Christmas.) We told her the presents under the tree were actually from us. Nobody would sneak into our house on Christmas Eve night. It was just her Daddy and me.
To say she was relieved was an understatement. Thrilled would be a better word. The rest of the season passed happily (while we held our breath hoping she wouldn’t spill the beans). She didn’t tell her brother that year – or anytime after that. We finally had to break it to him when he was nine!
To this day we get a chuckle out of that crisis. She’s grown into a lovely, well-adjusted twenty-six-year old married woman who still isn’t particularly fond of clowns – but at least she doesn’t run away from them anymore. We can’t wait to see if she takes her future children to see Santa or just skips that whole scene and goes right to the manger.
Blessings to you this Christmas time. What a joy to celebrate the gift of Jesus with all of you!
(By the way, that’s a photo of my friend “Santa Joe” – Joe Courtemanche, a fellow writer and member of MN-NICE and ACFW.)
Posted on December 11, 2012 - by Stacy Monson
Christmas is a time of traditions – from certain foods to favorite carols to opening gifts in a certain order (or in a free-for-all). One of my traditions is reading my favorite Christmas books. Here are a few that are always out on our coffee table.
“The Mark of the Maker” by Tom Hegg, illustrated by Warren Hanson. This is a family favorite that follows Joseph’s journey from childhood to becoming the husband of Mary, and the father of Jesus. The illustrations are fabulous, the storyline different from most, revealing a wonderful peek into an aspect of Christmas rarely considered.
The story opens with Joseph as a teen learning carpentry from his father, Jacob. From fights with other boys to meeting Mary, Joseph learns lessons about integrity, choices, and being true to one’s calling. His journey from apprentice to master carpenter is complicated by Mary’s surprise pregnancy, a message from God, and an arduous trip to Bethlehem. It’s only there, as he lays his son, God’s Son, in a manger (that he realizes he himself built) that he learns the most important lesson of all.
“The Christmas Letters” by Bret Nicholaus (a fitting name for a Christmas author, don’t you think?). As the family gathers at Grandpa’s house to celebrate Christmas, he surprises them with a different kind of gift.
Using the letters that spell Christmas, he gives one to each person along with a personalized note explaining how that particular letter describes them and how they’ve brought joy and happiness to his life. Afterwards he pulls out the letter “J” and explains that without Jesus, there is no Christmas.
It’s a lovely idea that can be used for our own families, for small groups, for the neighbors, etc. to share how they’ve touched our life in ways as unique as they are. It just might become a family tradition!
“It Came Upon the Midnight Clear” by Henry F. French. This was first written and delivered as a Christmas sermon in two voices, the author (a missionary pastor, teacher and seminary professor) and his wife. As he states in the Preface, “The Christmas celebration marks the beginning of what a Hollywood screenwriter once called ‘The Greatest Story Ever Told.’ It would have to be a pretty great story to bear telling for some 2,000 years. The story begins with God. And that is the way it should be, for all things begin and end with God. Which is another way of saying that all things – including you and me – begin and end in love. Which is just another way of saying that you and I are also central characters in this greatest of all love stories.”
This unique writing is part narrative, part story – starting with a conversation between God and the angel Gabriel. More than just “the Christmas story” as we often think of it, this little book reminds us how much we are loved by God and what lengths He will go to show us.
Whatever your traditions, I hope reading the Christmas story (in all its glorious detail) will be part of it.
Posted on September 25, 2012 - by Shannon Vannatter
I was torn between two super heroes. On the one hand, I love Captain America. I mean he’s so American, he’s a soldier fighting for right, and I especially love his line in The Avengers when he says there’s only one God.
On the other hand, I love Thor. He’s so. . . cute. And since I’m shallow when it comes to good-looking men, in the end, I pick Thor. He’s not usually my type. He’s blond. Anyone who’s hung around the inksper blog for very long knows I’m a dark hair type of gal. On top of that, I hate cocky men.
So I pondered on why I love Thor. First I found out, the actor who plays him, the totally yummy Chris Hemsworth, isn’t really blond. His hair was bleached for Thor. That leaves his cockiness. Why do I love a cocky superhero? Because he doesn’t stay that way.
My favorite scene in the movie is when Thor goes to reclaim his hammer. He beats up numerous security guards in his quest and finally ends up fighting the huge guy in the mud. It takes a while, but Thor comes out on top. Then he struts to his hammer, thinking he can just pick it and be on his way.
But he can’t.
Only then does Thor realize he’s unworthy. Because of his brashness, his cockiness, he’s lost the one thing that gave him power. He’s broken and surrenders, doesn’t even flinch when they cuff him and take him away. It’s then that Thor is humbled and becomes a true superhero.
When I initially watched Thor, I was uncomfortable because I’ve always squirmed at the idea of numerous mythical Greek gods. I’m with Captain America—there’s only one God. But we have a ten year old. He loved the movie. Of course he knows there’s only one God and we were careful to reiterate the fact and point out the mythical part. We ended up buying the movie and we’ve watched it at least fifty times.
About the thirtieth time, my son said something profound I’d never thought of. He said that Azgar is kind of like heaven with it’s gold city and streets of gold. That Thor is kind of like Jesus because he dies and comes back to save the world. That Thor’s dad is kind of like the one and only God because he controls everything. It’s a stretch, but I can see some symbolism in Thor.
So maybe I’m not so shallow after all.
Now for my super power choice. . . flying. I know that’s not as creative as microwave fingers, but it would be fun just to zip around wherever you wanted to.
What’s your take on Thor?
Posted on September 18, 2012 - by Stacy Monson
Jesus Heals Ten Men With Leprosy
11 Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy[a] met him. They stood at a distance 13 and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”
14 When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.
15 One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. 16 He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.
17 Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18 Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”
Did you catch that? Even Jesus seemed incredulous. One of the ten healed lepers returned to fall at Jesus’ feet. Only one! And to make it even more remarkable, that man was a Samaritan, someone who was not “allowed” to mingle with Jews.
He knew what the rules were yet he couldn’t stay away. Jesus had healed him, saved his life, perhaps saved him for eternity. He recognized Jesus’ sovereignty, his authority – his love. He knew Jesus could have healed the other nine and left him, the Samaritan, out. Jesus could have been selective about which of the lepers to heal, maybe pausing to look into their hearts to see who “deserved” it most. But without even approaching the men, He healed them all, the Samaritan included.
So why would ten people in desperate need of healing, outcasts from all of society, not climb over each other to thank their Healer? Why would only one think to turn back and fall at His Master’s feet in worship and thanks?
Based on today’s society (which I don’t think is all that different from thousands of years ago), I would venture to guess it was a sense of entitlement that kept them from bothering. He was Jesus, after all – wasn’t it His job to heal people? They asked, He provided. End of story.
We live in a society that provides the best of everything. Even if your life isn’t worthy of being on Entertainment Tonight (thank goodness!) and you struggle to make ends meet, you are still better off than 95% of the world. Yet how often do we throw ourselves at our Master’s feet to thank Him for all that we have? How often does it occur to us to stop everything, lift our hands and cry out our thanks?
Not often enough for me. I think I’m a pretty thankful type of person. I’m so grateful for my health and my family, a lovely home, dear friends, a solid church. I know I deserve none of it, yet He has been gracious enough to fill my cup to overflowing. But I will admit I still stomp my foot when things don’t go my way, when I don’t get what I want when I want it. Hmm.
In all honesty, I am probably more like the nine than the one. Ouch. This passage reminds me that all I have is by the grace of God and I should be on my knees regularly thanking Him for providing for me, forgiving me, healing me, dying for me, loving me.
I think I’m going to work harder at being the one – and encourage others to join me. Perhaps one day it will be nine who fall at His feet and one we drag along with us.
Posted on September 11, 2012 - by Shannon Vannatter
21 And when Jesus was passed over again by ship unto the other side, much people gathered unto him: and he was nigh
unto the sea.
22 And, behold, there cometh one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name; and when he saw him, he fell at his feet,
23 And besought him greatly, saying, My little daughter lieth at the point of death: I pray thee, come and lay thy hands on her, that she may be healed; and she shall live.
24 And Jesus went with him; and much people followed him, and thronged him.
I can’t focus on this scripture without mentioning what happened before this. There was no rest for Jesus that day. He’d already calmed a storm and cast out demons, then journeyed across the sea. Again. Why? Because the people asked him to leave. Only the demoniac Jesus had returned to his right mind was grateful.
As soon as he got to the other shore, a crowd awaited him. Jairus fell at his feet, begging Jesus to heal his daughter. Jesus immediately went with him only to be thronged by the crowd.
I’ve wished so many times that I could have lived back when Jesus walked the earth. Me—put aside my love for electricity, air conditioning, and indoor plumbing? Yes.
I like to think I’d have been one of the ones who fell at Jesus’ feet. Who would have sold everything to follow him. Who would have railed and mourned when they killed him. Who would have been waiting for his resurrection because he’d said it was so.
But would I have? Or would I have been frightened by the Gadarene’s healing? Would I have been one of the people praying Jesus to depart from my coasts? Would I have been in the press thronging him, getting in his way, and distracting him from Jairus’ daughter. Not because I knew who he was, but because I’d heard of his miracles and needed one.
The people living then didn’t know who Jesus was. They were looking for the Messiah, but they expected a king not a carpenter. Some didn’t recognize him. Even the disciples didn’t understand the big picture.
Would I have recognized him? Or would I have fallen asleep in the garden instead of watching? Would I have denied him like Peter? Would I have been one in the crowd crying for the release of Barabbas? Would I have doubted him like Thomas?
Knowing my short-comings and how I often fall at Jesus’ feet only after I’ve tried everything else, I think I’m glad I didn’t live back then.
Posted on December 20, 2011 - by Shannon Vannatter
Every year, my husband wants the tree up early. I’m talking practically Halloween early. I love Christmas. Love my tree, but if it goes up too early, it’s in the way and gets on my nerves. I held him off until the week of Thanksgiving. He brought it in and put it up himself.
But I’m the decorator. I didn’t have the time or the energy this year. I’ve had to really focus on the book I’m writing in order to meet my deadline amidst countless distractions. So the tree sat there for almost a month with no decorations. Thank goodness it’s pre-lit, so it still looked pretty and every night, my husband plugged it up.
I wanted to finish my first draft before my son got out of school for Christmas break. I was on schedule with two and a half days and four thousand words to go. But then he got sick, so I had to keep him out of school. I stayed up until three AM the other morning and finished the book.
It took all my energy and brain power, so now I’m catatonic. But my son and I finally decorated the tree last night. Why bother when it’s only six days before Christmas? For this blog. How could I talk about what we do for Christmas when our tree stood bare?
So about the tree—it’s white. You see, I have matching issues. Green just doesn’t match my house. Two years ago, I saw it. Beautiful, white, pre-lit with multi-colored lights. The lights look pastel against the white branches and I love pastels. I know that red, sage, and gold are the in colors. But I’m a pastel kind of gal even when those colors aren’t ‘in’. But I’m cheap. So I wouldn’t buy the tree.
The next year, I went out to the shed to get our green tree out and to my delight I found the white pre-lit tree. For a few minutes, I couldn’t imagine where it came from. Then I had a vague memory of snapping it up for twelve bucks the day after Christmas the year before. I don’t know how I forgot that. I usually remember when I get a steal of a deal.
Anyway, my living room is mauve, thistle, pale aqua, and off white. Thistle is my favorite color and no one knows what color it is. It used to be in the Crayola coloring box. It’s like a mixture of mauve and lavender. So guess what color my ornaments and decorations are. Yep, they match the living room, plus some gold thrown in just because I love gold.
Other than typical ball ornaments, I have gold ribbons and iridescent nativity scenes, stars, and doves. But remember, I’m cheap. I’ve bought ornaments after Christmas at half of half off for years until I finally got enough to cover the tree to my satisfaction. My son really doesn’t get why we decorate the back of the tree. I even got a gold tree skirt last year for $1.50. It’s so pretty, I almost want to wear it, like Berniece from Designing Women. It’s way too pretty to cover up with gifts.
I try to make our tree reflect what Christmas is really about. Right down to the wrapping paper, which has Bible verses, nativity scenes, or angels which is increasingly hard to find. So each year when I find it, I stock up. And I’m willing to pay full price for it. That way for the years I can’t find it, I’m still set.
There’s only one slight problem. It happened last year. We bought new furniture. I love my pastel flowered couch, which was hard to find since that style is so out of style. But it’s bigger than the furniture we had before and there’s no room for the tree.
We ended up putting it in the dning room and I like it in there. But my dining room is peach and off white. So my ornaments and thistle garland match my living room, but the tree is in the adjoining dining room. I’ve put up with it for two years now. Peach is out or I would’ve hit the stores after Christmas last year. No peach this year either.
By next year, I’ll either have to rearrange the living room to make the tree fit or buy new ornaments. Maybe peach will be in by then. Maybe I subconsciously put off decorating the tree this year because my everything-has-to-match psyche just can’t take it.
As far as traditions, we attend the Trans-Siberian Orchestra each year. It was as awesome as usual. And we put one of their CD’s in the stereo when we decorate the tree, even when we do it six days before Christmas. At some point during our family gatherings and church services, my husband reads The Tale of the Three Trees and he always cries, so others always join him. I love that Christmas is on Sunday this year. It just feels right to be in church on Christmas.
We don’t have any dinners at our house. I do my best not to cook the main meal and so far I’ve gotten away with it. I’m a side dish and dessert kind of gal. Other than the tree, I don’t decorate. I did when we first got married, but I soon realized it’s a pain to store and a pain to put up and take down each year. So the tree is all I do and I’m happy with that. Or I will be once I find some peach ornaments.
I even have shopping left to do and I haven’t done my Christmas cards yet. At least I know what I’m buying for the few remaining gifts I need. I just have to get it done. The Christmas cards have to wait until we get our annual family picture taken. We’re scheduled for that tonight. They’re supposed to be back on Christmas Eve and Christmas is Sunday, so we can pass out cards with our pictures inside at church. Can you say cutting it close?
Maybe next year, I’ll be more ready. With my peach ornaments and Christmas picture taken in November and my cards mailed on December 1st. But I doubt it. I’ll probably fly through by the seat of my pants like I always do.
I threw in the picture of my shoes just for fun. More of my matching issues. I just don’t feel put together unless my shoes match my outfit. In my defense, about half a dozen of my shoes were given to me, several in black. I don’t often buy black. Why get black shoes when you can buy orange, gold, yellow, pink, peach, aqua, and red? And the majority of them were on sale or I had store coupons. Hmm, I wonder if I’ll get any shoes for Christmas?
Do you have all your shopping done? Do you have matching issues, or is it just me?
Posted on August 25, 2011 - by Regina
Favorite hymns . . . favorite praise songs . . . For a church musician, it’s like asking a mother which of her children is her favorite! Or asking an author which of her BOOKS is her favorite! A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog post about my favorite old-time hymn, Victory in Jesus. I could name several more, but that would be a book, not a blog post!
Once I settled down and really thought, it came to me immediately.
There’s Something About That Name.
It’s the song I sang to my babies as I rocked them. It’s the song I turn to when other lyrics escape me, and I just want to dwell on Jesus. His name.
I first remember hearing it when my cousin sang it at church, when it was still a new, “modern” song in the 70’s, and I’ve never let it go. Now it’s in my hymn book!
Another favorite that I remember segueing into is I Love You, Lord. Then there was God Is So Good, Jesus Loves Me, and various modernizations of hymns – which is a whole ‘nother post that I’d LOVE to get into!
What is the connection between singing from my heart and certain songs that get me “right there?” It’s that intimate, family-relationship I have with Jesus that I wanted, and still want, so desperately to pass on to my children. Dwelling on His name, reiterating over and over that I DO love You, Lord, only draws me closer to the throne of Heaven.
I know that over the course of the last several years there has been a war waging between “traditional” and “contemporary” worship. Funny thing is, worship is simply giving glory to God. It has nothing to do with whether you put a Southern Gospel twang to a song or a modern rap beat to it. It’s whatever draws you to HIM. And more importantly, whatever GLORIFIES HIM, not us. Who knows, in Heaven, maybe souls will discern heavenly choir music in the genre they find glorifies God in their own hearts?
Me, I want to hang out with Fanny Crosby, Chris Tomlin, AND the Gaithers when I get to heaven. I mean, imagine it! You think the Gaither Homecoming choir is good? We’ll be in the BEST choir, and all we’ll care about is how much we love Jesus and pointing the glory to HIM!
I call the alto section!
Posted on August 16, 2011 - by Shannon Vannatter
I’m a traditional kind of gal. I like traditional weddings with poufy dresses dripping in lace and satin, pastel colors, and V-shaped bouquets instead of round hand-tied. I love traditional print books where can run your hand over the smooth cover, turn the pages, smell the printing press, and have the author sign it. I love traditional hymns, holding the book in my hands, seeing the music notes—though I can’t read them—printed with the words, and knowing that thousands upon thousands of Christians have sung them for hundreds of years.
It doesn’t make sense for The Old Rugged Cross to be my favorite hymn. I don’t like the cross. I love the cross and what Jesus did there for me, but I don’t like it. I prefer to think about the resurrection part. Yet without the cross, there could be no resurrection.
When I was in the fourth grade and schools could still get away with such things, all of the students assembled in the gym to watch a movie about Jesus. Sitting cross-legged in the floor, when it got to the beating and crucifixion, I kept my eyes glued to my lap. The teacher came over and asked if I was okay. I assured her I was fine, I just couldn’t bear to watch.
Years ago, my husband and I went to see The Promise, a musical play of Christ’s life, in Branson, Missouri. Midway through the performance, the actor who plays Jesus carries his cross down the middle of the audience. We were close to the aisle. I literally sobbed, my shoulders shook, and I could barely stand to look in his direction. I’ve never seen The Passion of the Christ. From what I’ve heard, I know I can’t take it.
So singing about the old rugged cross where Jesus was crucified should be my least favorite thing to do. But I love the words, love the melody, love the timelessness of it.
Does your favorite hymn or inspirational song fit your other views or contradict what you normally love?
Posted on January 25, 2011 - by JerriLynn
I’m not an adrenaline junkie. I’m not a spotlight hound. I’m also not super fond of having the attention of anyone in the room, let along everyone. But I deal with it. Over the years I’ve trained myself, through schooling and personal efforts, to deal with it. It’s not that I ever really expect to be famous. Tech writers can be the most accomplished writers you’ve never heard of it.
No, the reason that I push myself into situations that really aren’t in my comfort zone is fear. It’s that great paralyzing moment when you sit down at the computer, put your fingers on the keys, and then your brain starts in on you.
“Are you sure you want to try to do this?”
“Of course. I have this really great story to tell. And I know there are people who will want to read it.”
“I mean, really? I could understand it if you had some talent. But you know you don’t right?”
“I have talent. My mother says so.”
“She only says that because she has to. You’re her child. What if she’s lying and you really don’t. And what if you make a fool of yourself, huh? What then?”
And so the internal argument goes. That fear monster pops up when you’re least expecting it. Like when you have a story in your mind that you know you can write. The fear monster pops his head up and makes you being to doubt. Or after the first book is published (or any book, for that matter). Fear will make you begin to doubt that you have another book in you.
The only way to take away the power of the fear monster, at least for me, is to ignore it. Push through the fear. I know, it sounds a lot like a self-help manual. But there are reasons that so many have been written. Fear is the leading emotion holding most people back. Fear of failure. And fear of success. Because success comes with it’s own set of responsibilities.
I wrote my first book (like many other firsts in my career) as a fluke. When it was all said and done, my agent (whom I also found through some cosmic coincidence) wanted to know what I would do next. Next? You’re kidding, right? I have to write another one? I can’t write another one! What if everyone hates the first one?
Guess what? Some of my books have been terrible. Honestly. I’ll own up to it. But I pushed through the fear, whichcaused me to doubt, and I wrote those books. And others, too. I wrote training materials, and then got in front of audiences and taught them about the things I wrote about. I didn’t want to, but I instinctually knew that if I didn’t, the fear would win.
I always think of it as being a linebacker. You have a goal in mind. Whatever that goal is, you have to focus on that and barrel through whatever is standing in your way. Because if you don’t, that six-foot-five linebacker that you’re facing will scare the color out of your hair! He’s got a goal, too, and if he is more determined than you, he’ll go right through you to reach his goal. If that means you’re left laying broken and bloody on the field…well, it’s a casualty of the game.
I wish I could say that I’ve leaned on Jesus through this whole journey, but that’s not true. It’s only been the last few years that I’ve had the comfort of Jesus and knowing that everything is in His time. But even with His support, I still have to move forward of my own free will. It would be easy to allow failures to mean that it’s not His will. But I don’t buy that. I think He’s just preparing us for tomorrow and the next day. So, I push forward. Uncomfortable. Afraid. Sometimes doubtful. I still keep moving.