As Time Goes By…

It’s been 15 years since our sweet Elijah Praise made his debut here on earth. The loss of a child is never something a parent gets over but rather we carry them with us. Every year our kids become more inquisitive about their siblings. This morning they immediately bombarded me with questions about Eli’s short but purposeful life. What was even a bigger blessing was the deep questions of Heaven that was intertwined.

In a society where grief and pain is quickly swept under the rug, we forget that there are treasures and growth in areas we long to avoid. When we don’t allow ourselves to enter into these sacred spaces of hardship we rob ourselves of amazing encounters of love that can change our view on life and love.

I’ve recently hit a major case of writers block. Frustrated that maybe I had nothing relevant, I put down my computer and figured my time had passed. Oh the lies we so willingly believe when the enemy wants to silence our purpose and hinder us from fulfilling our destiny.

Last night the Lord re-ignited my flame and reminded me just why He gave me the ability to write, to reveal His goodness in our brokenness.

I long for the day when those in grief can honor their loved ones with great support rather than speculation, if taking too long to walk the road of the great sadness.

Friends, we don’t need to let go of our loved ones because they go before us. Yes, they are waiting for us in the great cloud of witnesses, praying and cheering us on as we run our races. It’s in these areas of pain and loss that we can invite in the goodness of G-d into these battle wounds to show us new depths of healing that our minds cannot comprehend.

He is closest to the broken-hearted.

Today, my heart is tender as I ache to hold my son in my arms. I long to be able to stroke his young man face and see his old soul grey-blue eyes. I miss saying and hearing his name every day. I look back into the backseat of our vehicles and wonder what it’d be like having my older kids among our family.

I can say this knowing full-well, I will see them in Heaven. I can also say transparently that I miss the fact that today I’m not planning a birthday party for a room full of teenage boys about to prepare a trough of pizza, pop, and ice cream with all of the hormones flying.

I have found that my kids miss him too. I’ve often wondered how they could since they never met him. I felt the Lord put on my heart my love for Jesus. Even though I’ve never met him in person, I know and love Him. He is my family, just like our families here on Earth. Our souls were created for connection and eternity, G-d designed us in this way.

My kids don’t fear death. They talk of Heaven with great anticipation and are filled with compassion for those who are suffering and grieving. This is a gift that never could have accepted if we hadn’t shared our precious pearls of grief and pain.

I know it sounds crazy that what I thought for years was a punishment, I now see there was a great masterpiece that was being created.

It was Aurora and Elijah’s deaths that set us on a course to seek out G-d and find out truly who He is. He has generously and continuously revealed Himself in the most incredible ways.

His glory is in our story and I am forever grateful that He has allowed me to be Elijah Praise’s mother. I’m thankful for all the children He has given to reveal His heart of a Father and His love for every single person that He has created with great purpose and intention, no matter how long or brief their life is.

For those of us who walk these paths of grief, do not pity us. For there are treasures upon this winding path that are priceless. Our eyes are shifted to Heaven.

No, love never dies. It’s eternal. This life isn’t the end, rather it’s preparing us for destination that never ends, where there with be no more sickness, pain, or sorrow. We are Heaven-bound. My kids just got there before I did. Until that day that I join them, I believe they would want me to share all the love I had for them with everyone else.

Mommy loves you, Elijah. With streams of tears down my face I can honestly say, you changed our world for the better. We love you always.

When I finally make it home….

A Love to Last A Lifetime

Our story goes back to the summer of 1999. I grew up a quiet introvert. I could be bold if I needed (short girls are feisty) but preferred to be a wall flower. I left behind my old ways of life when I moved to Michigan and was determined to become a new person. I met a new friend who invited me out after work to go meet some her friends.

It was dark by the time we got to her friend’s house. She had warned me about a smooth talker named “Steve” (I changed his name to be respectful.) Taking a deep breath we stepped into the backyard where my life would never be the same again.

Seth approached me almost immediately. Since it was dark we couldn’t see each other and I found it easier to be myself. I kept wondering if this was the “Steve” I had been forewarned about. I finally asked him what his name was to which he replied, “My name is Seth,’ and I breathed a sigh of relief.

We talked for a few more hours and eventually had to head into the house. I was pretty worried because our conversation never skipped a beat and now I wondered if we would even be attracted to each other. We both headed into the house when he quickly disappeared. I found out later he ran straight to the bathroom to fix his hair. He finally came into the room and I was smitten. After that night, I literally called my friend a few states away to tell her that I had met the man who I was going to marry.

Each day I waited by the phone hoping he would call, but he didn’t. Two weeks later we ended up at yet another gathering and I saw him sitting on the other side of the room. My pulse quickened and I decided to stay focused on who I was with. Seth called out to me a few times but I didn’t hear him. We ended up meeting up later as we left to go to someone else’s house and finally connected. I had already agreed to go on another date with someone else when Seth decided to throw his hat into the ring.

He was so easy to talk to and so kind. I loved his easy-going nature. I also found him incredibly funny. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed as much as I have since being with him.

On September 1st, 1999 he asked me to be his girlfriend. We knew we wanted to get married only a few short weeks into dating. Our friends would tease us that we acted like an old married couple, we were made for each other. We were opposites and yet we completed each other.

He proposed on December 26th of that year at my favorite restaurant. Honestly, he could have given me a ring that came from a soda-can lid and I would have gladly said yes. One year and one day after he asked me to be his girl, we got married. I remember on our wedding day thinking, I could never love him more than I do right here in this moment, but I was wrong.

We’ve been through a lot in the past twenty years. Still to this day, I follow him around the house and love being with him. We talk on every break that he has at work. We’ve been through so much and definitely walked through several fires both figuratively and metaphorically. He is my best friend.

I adore and love him more each day. He works so hard, rarely complains, listens, and sees the best in everybody. He genuinely loves to help everyone. I look up to him so much and have longed to have his skills. His patience level is off the charts and honestly I could go on and on.

I remember being up at the hospital with our eldest son Elijah. The nurse was explaining with peritoneal dialysis that infections would become the norm. When Seth took over, he took it over so precisely that Eli only had one infection and it wasn’t related to the dialysis. I fell in love with him all over again as I watched him pour out his love to our son every moment that he was alive. My heart broke on the day when Eli passed away before our very eyes and I watched my husband drop to his knees and sob while calling out, “Please don’t go, my buddy…”

He held my hand as I walked deep into grief. As I began to lose myself he was always there to pull me back on track. He took giant leaps of faith with me as I felt the Lord urging us to have more children when to the rest of our community it seemed crazy.

He’s always believed in me. He sees the beauty in myself that still to this day is hard for me to see. I truly believe he is a leader of leaders. He loves to serve those around him and is eager to see everyone succeed. When I was angry at G-d, he led me back to church and reminded me that pain doesn’t come from our Father. We’ve grown together in our faith walk and constantly having deep conversations about our encounters with G-d.

We are celebrating his 40th birthday this weekend. I believe that G-d uses the number 40 to signify a period of testing to prepare us for what is to come. My sweet Seth has truly persevered through great struggles with such humility and grace. Our kids adore him beyond words and still jump on him the second he walks through our door. He continuously puts his time and desires on the back burner so that he can support us first. While he is imperfect, G-d truly has blessed us with a such a wonderful example of His love through my husband.

I love you Seth. I love you more than words can express. You are truly my “Happily Ever After.” I pick you every day and always will. You are my true companion and the world is a better place because of you.

Tomorrow is his birthday, but I wanted to give him a gift of recognition today (something he’d never ask for). I love this man and I would do anything for him (He knows this.). His example makes me want to be a better person every single day. His love has shown me how to love without expectation and judgment. His kindness has taught me how to reach out to others and leave my own desires behind.

I loved you then, now, and always.

Happy Birthday, my love.

It will always be you.

I Will Remember You…

I was speaking with my friend the other day. Often she will ask me questions about our children that have passed. I love these types of conversations as I find them quite therapeutic. I think it is a parent’s greatest fear that their child will be forgotten, not only by others but even by ourselves.

Each time I reminisce, it’s as if I’m able to watch a movie in my mind’s eye and step back in time.

And I’m there again.

Somehow we got on the discussion about would I want them to come back.

Years ago, I would have had a very different answer as it would have been more about what I wanted.  Now, I feel differently.

As I closed my eyes and stepped back into those last moments that our son Elijah was here, my heart sank. Seeing his tiny little body on such a large bed, while doctors and nurses frantically rushed around trying to save him. Watching the numbers on the machines rapidly decline while we helplessly stood there not knowing what to do.

I found myself wondering what he experienced in those moments. While we were listening to the machines beeping incessantly as we sobbed, he was listening to the songs of angels.

I often think of Jesus calling his name so peacefully, “Elijah. Elijah Praise. It’s time to come home.”

I imagine the pain leaving his body and the feeling of wholeness overwhelming his soul. I can only imagine Jesus picking him up with a jovial laugh and bringing him into a world he has never seen! To be surrounded by light so bright and color so vibrant that his eyes are wide with wonder!

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Our family and friends who had gone on before him surround him with laughter as they pass him around for hugs and kisses. Then a hush falls over the crowd and everyone steps back. In comes our daughter Aurora with our other two that we never got to meet.

She steps forward in her white eyelet dress, bare feet, and cascading waves of blond hair down her cherub cheeks. “My brother!! We have been waiting for you!” Falling into a deep embrace and laughter, they snuggle together so tightly.

I was so deep in thought that my friend patiently called me back into reality, “Kelly. Kelly…”

“Oh yes, I’m so sorry. My answer would be no. I wouldn’t want him to have to come back into all that pain. It would be for my own desires that I would want him here.”

We sat in silence.

I never thought I would answer that question that way. My heart’s desire has always been to have more time here. Yet the more I learn about G-d and heaven, the more my heart has shifted to wait patiently till I get to go to them.

I often think of the scene in the movie, “The Shack” where the father gets to see his daughter in heaven. As he’s watching his daughter laugh and play around in the green meadow, he stands there lovingly gazing at his daughter. This is the turning point where he can finally be at peace to know she is more than okay.

How could I ever wish my children away from our final destination?

We have had the honor since then to walk beside so many wonderful people who have had to walk the hard road of child loss. Our society wants to convince us that since we didn’t have tangible time with them that it somehow should make it less painful.

Yet, we serve a loving Father who calls us His children.

He too understands the pain of losing His children on a daily basis. He created us to grieve as He grieves. He instilled the bond of a child being woven in the mother’s womb. That connection is not only endless, but it is also sacred.

If you speak to most parents who have lost a child, you will find that it isn’t only the heartache of the loss. It’s also the fear of losing that connection and that somehow they will be forgotten.

The way I feel about my children that I can hold on a daily basis is the way I still feel about the ones in Heaven. Like a mother who has left her kids with the babysitter and checks on them throughout the night, is like a mother who has lost her child. You never stop thinking about them. You never stop wondering what they are doing. You never stop wanting to hold them close.

We are called to be people of remembrance. We are also called to protect and cherish those that cannot speak. These little seeds whether they take root here on earth or in heaven have been divinely created for such a time as this.

Let us choose to look at remembrance as a blessing and not a curse. It is only in the deepest of pain that we realize how deeply we have loved.

You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.  Psalms 56:8 (NLT)

 

The Inheritance She Left Behind…

“Good people leave an inheritance to their grandchildren, but the sinner’s wealth passes to the godly.” Proverbs 13:22(NLT)

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I used to think this was just about money and felt it was a pretty black and white statement. That is until my grandmother passed away in October. She lived to the ripe age of one hundred and would have turned 101 this month.  We know she lived a good long life, but it’s still so hard to say goodbye to someone who has been so constant in your life.

I had been working on her eulogy for several days and I was amazed at how much she had accomplished. She was from a large family that had little money. She was so intelligent that when she begged to go to college and her father said no because she was a girl, the nuns pleaded and changed his mind. She cherished her education and urged us to keep learning.

She was a classy lady that was always dressed properly for every occasion. I never heard her swear and her house was kept in pristine shape. Her and my grandfather were flipping houses long before that was even a thing. She was smart with money and gave abundantly. If you came to her house, she would put out a huge spread of food and set the table like you were royalty.

My parents ended up caring for her for the past eleven years. I am so thankful because we got to spend more time with her than we had when were growing up and living so far away. She went blind soon after she moved and we got to experience her in a whole new way. Every day she kept expecting her eyesight to return, but it never did. When I was sick and couldn’t eat, I was furious with everyone and everything. While she was frustrated, it brought on a humility that I have rarely seen anywhere. She was filled with gratitude, kindness, and smiles.

When I look back, I can’t believe I didn’t recognize this sooner. She was showing what it looks like to fully surrender to G-d’s plan and not be bitter by it, but to be grateful. As I thought of the words of Proverbs, all my life I had thought about it being about something financial, but it’s not just that. Everytime that we step into our identity as a child of G-d, His gifts for us not only blossom, but they flourish.

I would pray for my grandma to get her eyesight back regularly and often wonder why G-d hadn’t healed her. We believed by faith that she would be healed, yet His plan was different for her. He became her eyesight and her vision. It wasn’t a waste. She didn’t miss out. Rather, I think He changed her focus and her heart.

As soon as we had heard she slipped away my heart broke. I had been wanting to visit but wasn’t able to get to her due to my family being sick. As I started to live in regret, I was reminded of how she lived. She didn’t live in fear and anxiety, she lived in prayer. She thought about the good old days and not on her regrets. She was always thanking us and telling us how much she loved us, especially in those last years.

I now realize that the inheritance that my grandmother left behind was greater than any dollar amount. Instead, she left behind a priceless trail of intercessory prayer, faith, kindness, hospitality, humility, love, gratitude, and class.

Our pastor spoke about this verse:

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.” Romans 1:1 (NLT)

This comforted me. I have realized in the past few years how much her prayers have changed our life for the better and I was thinking, who will pray for us now? She has not gone away, rather she stands with so many others who have gone before us and she is still cheering us on.  She has left behind a great inheritance of unwavering faith, devotion, and prayer for her family and I pray one day to do the same.

 

 

He Will Meet You There

Grief isn’t a place where most want to hang out. It takes great patience, perseverance, and peace that comes only from the hands of Heaven to help us hang on. I have been fighting my emotions all week. I have finally entered into a season of joy and hate the idea of backtracking to sorrow. It’s a season that plants seeds of good fruit, but it’s very heavy and deep. Yet I know it is where we do some of our best growing.

This is also the season of our first son Elijah. It is hard to not retrace our steps of where we were twelve years ago at this moment and all of the what should have been’s. While I know he is in Heaven free from pain, I will always be his mother. A mother never gets used to her children being gone.

Around the time that he died, the book, “The Shack,” came out. It was received with great controversy, but I didn’t care. I was on the brink of suicide and felt very angry about my loving Father taking my daughter and now my son.

As I read the book I could relate to the emotions of the main character and wept as he went on his journey to meet the trinity. It encouraged me at a time where I had no hope. I longed for the days of a movie to see how his journey of faith and grief would be played out to please my visual appetite.

With great excitement, the movie came out this March and again great controversy ensued. I wrestled with going, but my husband surprised me with a birthday date to see the movie.

I prayed before I went in and wondered if it was okay that I was even there. As the movie played, it reawoke a sleeping part of my grief that I thought had been long healed.

But it wasn’t.

As the lead character gets to meet G-d, Jesus, and Holy Spirit I felt this childlike faith enter in as he explores the necessary questions those who have had experienced loss ask. Not only that, but I could feel the Lord’s presence as he drained pain that had been locked away for so long, but encompassed with love.

I would love to go into detail, but I don’t want to ruin it for anyone. While we know that this is just a book, a story, it put into play emotions that had been long hidden in the secret places of my heart and the resolution was freedom.

For those of you who feel that this book isn’t a good depiction of sound doctrine, it’s a story. While I did just watch the movie, I encountered G-d. Not on the screen, but in my heart. He uprooted some deep pain that had been coursing through my thoughts for years and I KNOW He met me there.

I literally choked back my sobbing in a way I haven’t cried since the burial of my son. I felt years of oppressive thoughts of how G-d loved me and my children fade away, and finally, let go and see how my Father really sees me.

He is love.

I could barely stand up after the movie as I was so full of emotion. As I fought to keep my joy and stuff my tears I am reminded of these verses:

Ecclesiastics 7:2-4 NASB

“It is better to go to a house of mourning
Then to go to a house of feasting,
Because that is the end of every man,
And the living takes it to heart.

Sorrow is better than laughter,
For when a face is sad a heart may be happy.

The mind of the wise is in the house of mourning,
While the mind of fools is in the house of pleasure.”

As I listen to the words of Stephen Curtis Chapman’s song, “Jesus Will Meet You There,” the cello seems to be the sound of my heart’s cry. With each note, I can feel my emotions rise and fall with each movement of the bow.

I must have listened to his album a thousand times. To have someone be able to speak your pain into words, music, or a visually stimulating movie, it never ceases to amaze me how the Lord heals through creativity.

G-d is the Lord of creative miracles. Maybe today your head is buried in your hands and it seems like you hit a dead end. But I know my G-d is living and loves to resurrect what looks hopeless.

While you wait, know this, Jesus will meet you there. Your pain isn’t going to be wasted, know that beauty will come from these ashes.

But while you wait wherever you are, Jesus will meet you there.

 

 

 

 

How These Three Things Saved My Life

We all live lives of great adventure. Most of us may not recognize it until we look back, but I am sure you are stockpiled with memories of every emotion imaginable.

Whether we know it or not, each encounter we face can change how we respond for the rest of our lives. For me, I have lived with a lot of fear of the unknown.

This beast of fear has robbed me and my loved ones. It steals our peace. Without peace, we are restless and anxious. I am done living in the prisons of bondage and I bet you are too.

I don’t know what has happened in your past, but it’s been hard to forget the hurts of mine. What I didn’t realize is that with each letdown or scary experience, I carried it with me.

After being so sick, G-d has shown me his healing power by teaching me how to forgive those who have broken my heart (including myself). Another thing he taught me was not to look at those hard times as a punishment, rather a learning tool.

G-d doesn’t expect us to be perfect. The only failure we have is when we don’t learn from our mistakes. I am actually learning to be grateful for these difficult places. They are what have shaped my compassion, increased my prayer life, and helped me to persevere.

Forgiveness.

Gratitude.

Grace.

These words put into action helped save my life.

 

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I have listened to countless sermons on forgiveness and all of them have said, it’s rarely something you feel like doing. It’s a choice. Jesus shared a parable in Matthew 18:21-35 (NLT) about the Unforgiving Debtor.

This is the story of a servant who owed an enormous sum of money to the King and was going to be put in prison. But when the servant begged for mercy the King forgave him. Then once the servant was freed; he turned around and went after someone else who had owed him much less money.

When the King finds out about his behavior he replies:

You evil servant! I forgave you that tremendous debt because you pleaded with me.  Shouldn’t you have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?’  Then the angry king sent the man to prison to be tortured until he had paid his entire debt.

 “That’s what my heavenly Father will do to you if you refuse to forgive your brothers and sisters from your heart.”

The Lord opened my eyes that I was the unforgiving servant. I had pleaded with G-d so many times for grace but was unwilling to give it to those who had wronged me.

This is a tender area for a lot of us. It’s easy for us to spot this sin in someone else, but very easily hidden in our own heart.

In these past few years of healing, I have realized that some of my sicknesses came from carrying years of unforgiveness. It weighed heavily on my body and brought me to the point of death.

It was when I was at my sickest I watched Ed Dobson’s series at :http://edsstory.com/. If you haven’t seen these, I would strongly encourage you to watch.

He shared about forgiveness and gratitude. As I listened, I could feel the walls around my heart come tumbling down. If this man with ALS can find reasons to be grateful, who am I not to search out such things.

And I did.

For the first time in years, I finally see the younger untainted girl who had been imprisoned in the chains of bondage of unforgiveness, shame, regret, and guilt.

As I began to be more grateful, G-d sent His grace to free me from these chains that had held me back for so long. I now see forgiveness isn’t letting them off the hook; it’s there to give me peace.

As my pastor had truthfully preached, “Healing most of the time isn’t instantaneous. More times than not, it’s a process.”

I still have my days where the enemy likes to strike me while I am weak. On those days I ask others for prayer and open my Bible and focus on scripture to refocus.

As soon as they come up, I realize how dangerous these poisonous morsels can be.

I have learned to grieve deeply. But because I have walked those hard roads, I have noticed that I have joy on a scale I haven’t had since I was a child.

Are you feeling weighed down?

What things are you holding onto that are keeping you in chains?

It’s time to taste sweet freedom, and joy to flood your heart!

All I Ever Have to be is What He Made Me…

Faith is a road that isn’t for the faint of heart. Growing up in the church was cut and dried with my black and white personality. I just assumed that if I did everything the Bible told me to do, life would turn out dandy.

What I didn’t realize is that the word of G-d teaches you anything but that. In each story that is told and each person that we learn about, you see the struggle. Rarely do we see anyone who goes unfazed by the trials of life.  If anything their journey is filled with mountains and valleys.

We often think of the mountains as being an amazing view with all the world at your feet. I will never forget driving to Maine. While we there we visited Bar Harbor and rode up Mount Cadillac. To most, it is a leisure scenic drive up a glorified hill. For me, I was freaking out. I am not even exaggerating, we didn’t even make it all the way to the top. I told my husband if he went any higher, I was jumping out of the car.

What should have been a picturesque drive turned into a nightmare.

I suppose perspective plays a big part of it. To my husband, it would have been a photo op filled with the release of all stress. For me, it was a panic attack.

Isn’t that how faith can be? Sometimes for one person, that mountaintop experience would mean freedom! For another, it means a free fall.

I love to think logically. Yet what I have learned is that G-d moves outside of the box. He is constantly pulling us out of our comfort zones to be the people he created us to be. Better versions of anything we could dream possible.

But this is not done without growth.

It’s these passages of life that feel like you can’t take one more breath because you are so exhausted. Whether they be in fear, loss, sickness, abandonment, doubt, depression, it all is so consuming. It’s almost like a Tsunami that seemingly destroys everything in its path.

What we fail to realize is that after each catastrophic event, we learn how to be rebuilt to be tougher, braver, and persevere onto our next destination of life.

Often we feel we need to do it all on our own, but that is a lie. G-d didn’t create us to do any of this on our own. He created us to do this with Him and the community that He sends to support us.

Are you in a faith crisis?

Do you feel like you are imprisoned in a nightmare or a cyclical pattern of endless insanity? Do you feel like you are doing everything wrong and you wonder when the punishment will end?

If you have prayed and you believe with all your heart that G-d is your Father and Jesus is your savior, know this: the enemy isn’t going to make your life easy. In fact, he is going to do everything he can to defer you from becoming the person G-d created you to be.

I love the Message version of James 1:2-4 says:

Faith Under Pressure

Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.”

I remember reading this for the first time and being utterly aghast at the simplicity and dare I say condescending tone (or so I thought) of this message. Then, I learned that James was Jesus’ half brother. If anyone had witnessed this first hand, it was him. How do you watch your brother be murdered by your own people and later suffer persecution for following him? Talk about death-defying faith.

What I am learning is that most of the people in the Bible weren’t naturally awesome. In fact, we learn of their human side and how desperately they needed to be saved. Each time that a miracle occurred, it wasn’t because they deserved it or made it happen, rather it was an act of grace.

When they finally let go of all the striving, G-d stepped in.

I have wrestled with my place in the kingdom of G-d. How do I move on without striving in my own flesh? And where do I let G-d take the reigns? What if I missed my one opportunity that was bestowed upon me and I screwed it up? What if I….

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Amy Grant sang this song many years ago.

‘All I Ever Have To Be’

When the weight of all my dreams
Is resting heavy on my head
And the thoughtful words of help and hope
Have all been nicely said
But I’m still hurting, wondering if I’ll ever be the one
I think I am–I think I am.
Then you gently re-remind me
That You’ve made me from the first
And the more I try to be the best
The more I get the worst.
And I realize the good in me is only there because of who
You are, who You are.
And all I ever have to be is what
You’ve made me
Any more or less would be a step out of Your plan
As you daily recreate me help me always keep in mind
That I only have to do what I can find
And all I ever have to be
All I have to be
All I ever have to be is what You’ve made me”

The words and the music soothe my soul and remind me, we can let go and stop trying to figure it all out. He knows our capabilities and doesn’t fault us for not having His supernatural strength. That is why we need him every step of the way.

Take comfort in knowing, you are right where you belong and He guides your steps.