I wish I could say that life has been full of sunshine and rainbows, but in truth, it's been tough.  Of course there have been the absolutely wonderful parts that I'm so grateful for, but the struggles have at times taken over.  I think there are a lot of us who could say the same thing.

When I decided to accept the gift of forgiveness Christ offered and started to live my life for Him, I naively expected the daily details of life to fall into place, to not experience struggles or heartache, and I got lost in the common platitudes and unrealistic promises made by the Christian community in how life would be lived out in this new "world" within the church.

What I discovered is that life is difficult because we are broken people living in a broken world.  God doesn't "sugar coat" that fact but He has given us power to compensate for it through the power of Jesus Christ's death and resurrection.  He's given us the opportunity to have His Spirit work in us and through us so we can have our own bubble of peace and power in chaotic surroundings.  

Maybe it's simply because I've officially hit the "mid-life" status (that I honestly thought I would avoid) but I have become weary of being frustrated by the discouragement that has come from the tension between the reality of life and the life I had expected.

Many of my specific circumstances have not changed, but I am learning how to use them to help others dealing with similar struggles and to how to depend more on God for strength than to "gut" it out in my own power.

I'm learning that as I grow closer to the Lord, spend more time in the Bible, focus less on myself and more on serving people, and let God help me fill in the missing places and heal the parts that are broken and still hurt, I'm learning to enjoy life a whole lot better.

I'm figuring out how to forgive, how to pursue the activities that replenish me so I can give myself to others, how to let things not get to me like they used to, and most of all, how to operate more consistently in a way that could at least come close to glorifying Jesus, who I so badly want to imitate.  It's sure not easy, but I'm trying to look at it as more of an adventure than a task.  

As I emerge out of a very dark place, I know that there are so many that are still stuck in it.  I know all too well the hurt that comes from not having life turn out like I thought it would and for experiencing a lot of hurt and betrayal along the way.  But it's also given me the opportunity to feel God's presence and to see Him work in my heart like I may not have otherwise been open to.

I started this blog during the beginning of a difficult time for me and in the duration I've weaved in and out of a lot of different emotions, philosophies, teaching moments, and probably hefty doses of venting. I'm hoping that as I continue to share my experiences with those of you who finding authenticity and honestly refreshing and helpful, that something good will be accomplished.  

My heart's cry is that those who don't yet have a relationship with God will be able to see the indescribable difference He makes, and that those who do know Him will become more in love with Him every day.  Hopefully, what I write will point to His great love for us, will edify the name of Jesus who saves us, and aligns with the Spirit who lives within us who have accepted the gift of His forgiveness.   

Colossians 1:28-29 has become my personal mandate: "We proclaim Him, warning and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone mature in Christ.  I labor for this, striving with His strength that works powerfully in me."  

I hope to bring healing, understanding, strength, and just a wee bit of adventure through my posts and I would love to have you join me as I share my story!