The 100 Day Project - #PostItGospel

Have you ever intentionally done anything for a consecutive 100 days? If you’re anything like me, your answer was probably an immediate no… They say it takes 21 days of doing something to make it a habit and I think I’ve even struggled with that! Even things I actually want to accomplish sometimes slip through the cracks due to schedule, forgetfulness, or just plain apathy… Please tell me I’m not alone in admitting this!

So when I first heard about the 100 Day Project from my friend Sarah, my initial thought was “not gonna happen…” But I couldn’t shake the idea so even though the initial challenge is just about over, I decided to try one of my own.

Over the next 100 days I will be diving into Scripture and writing out a verse (or verses) that stand out to me on a post-it. Then each day I’m going to “post it” on my wall as a visual reminder of God’s faithfulness and living word.

So, why this goal?

I need this reminder in my life. I need revival in my soul. I need to know that the Word of God is living, moving, breathing within my being and that I can find peace, hope, and truth in Him.

The past few years have been incredibly challenging (if you’ve followed me on Instagram for any length of time that’s no secret), and I want to break free from the heavy bondage of lies and shame that are weighing me down.

100 verses visually posted up on the wall would be a pretty powerful reminder of His faithfulness through the ages, don’t you think?

Before going any further, I must remind myself (and you too should you choose to join in!) that this is not about being perfect. When this idea initially came to me, I thought “oh I will make these post its beautiful with hand lettering and pretty colors and all the things!” but then I got stuck in the perfection rut and never really even got started. Here we are weeks later and I’m realizing I let those lies get in the way of truth once again. I’ve got to say it again, this project isn’t about being perfect… This is about worship. This is about surrounding myself (and yourself if you want to participate too!) in truth.

Would you like to join me? I’ll be sharing my journey on Instagram and Instastories with the hashtag #postitgospel and invite you to participate too! Whether for the full 100 days or just a few here and there, I’d love to see what verses and truths are standing out to you as you dive deep into God’s Word!

Here we go!

Delayed Blooms

This year I planted my first peony bush in our garden. The picture on the plant brochure immediately caught my attention - bold, beautiful, big blooms that glow bright pink and white in the summer sun. I chose this particular one as a visual reminder of God’s redemption after tough seasons and am so excited to see these beautiful blooms in the years to come breathing this promise again and again.

But then this week I realized, my little peony bush may not bloom this year. It’s tight little buds perched at the ends of delicate stems may not open until next season. I keep checking, but they don’t seem like it’s their time yet. You see, my little plant has been through a lot recently. Uprooted, replanted in new soil, unsure of it’s surroundings, and even endured a hailstorm to boot. Even though summer has come and other peonies are blooming all around, these little blooms remain clenched tight.

And so we wait.

I’m reminded that this isn’t so different from our lives. We look around at friends and acquaintances who seem to be blooming and wonder when it will be our turn. When will this anxiety and depression disappear? When will we find a job that provides and discover this elusive thing called “financial freedom”? When will we conceive? When will we be healed? When will we discover peace and contentment? When will this season end? When will it be my turn to bloom?

And so we wait...

I’m the first to admit, I do not like waiting… I’m a futuristic, love to plan, type-A gal who is constantly struggling with contentment and focusing on where I actually am rather than where I’m trying to go. I like control and to know what’s coming ahead. I want the destination without the challenging journey, but truthfully the journey is what makes us unique and brings us closer to our Creator. It’s the hard stuff that points us to our need for deliverance and a Deliverer.

There is so much to learn in the waiting.

These past few years have been hard. They’ve brought me to my knees countless times, so much so that for a while I had even stopped talking with God (and therefore talking with you here too). I’ve looked around at other people who seem to be constantly in bloom and think, “what’s wrong with me?” But that is a lie rooted in shame. And if you have bought into this lie too, let me remind us both of some truth. Nothing is wrong with me or you. We are just taking a little bit longer to bloom because we are weathering the storms of life.

These circumstances that we are facing, no matter what they are, provide an opportunity to dig deep into who we are as daughters of Christ and rest in His Word. The hardships that we face that keep us from blooming this year will yield a bountiful harvest if we do not give up (Psalm 126). I promise you, these days and months and maybe even years of hard you are going through will not be in vain. And you are not fighting through them alone.

 

*Update to this post here :)


#YearOfHealed

For the past few years I’ve chosen a Word of the Year and doing this should really come with a warning - “Do not choose a word unless you wish to be pushed to your very limits to learn wholeheartedly what that word is all about.” So consider yourself warned ;)

Here’s what I mean… Focusing on contentment requires learning to live with exactly what you have, whether abundance or bare minimum. It asks you to let go of those expectations and comparisons that so easily creep into our hearts and souls. Focusing on surrender presses us into the uncomfortable and allows us to learn to live fully with open hands. Both of these are examples I have lived through as these were my words the past few years. The situations we have faced while focusing on contentment and surrender have broken me into a countless tiny pieces. The same as this can ultimately be said about just about any word - joy requires finding that unexplainable happiness that isn’t reliant on circumstance, peace requires living through the ups and downs of life with unfailing calm, hustle requires hunkering down to push through whatever life throws your way, and so on…

So this leads me to my word this year - healed. It’s no secret that we have faced four years of health challenges, one right after another. Derek was sick the first two years of our marriage and I was sick the second two. Hyperemesis, homecare, kidney issues, colitis, infections… We’ve spent a whole lot of time and money and prayer working toward finding healing. Now entering into our fifth year of marriage, I would love to think that at some point these struggles will come to an end and we can enjoy a life full of health!

But when it really comes down to it, choosing the word healed goes so much deeper. I need healing in my life in so many ways:

  1. Spiritual Healing - After living in a spiritual desert for far too long, I am craving true connection with God. I want to tear down the wall that has been built up around my heart. It was created brick by brick as a way to protect myself from what felt like chaos and hurt, but ultimately it has led to separation from the One who matters most.

  2. Emotional Healing - Walking through PPD after Eliana’s arrival was not exactly a surprise to me. Minor anxiety and depression have always been a challenge, but our rough start to pregnancy/motherhood and her challenging birth pushed me into an emotional darkness I could have never prepared for. Continuing to see my counselor, making space to process, and prioritizing my spiritual well being/healthy self-care all make up those little baby steps toward healing.

  3. Physical Healing - I am a stress eater. There, I said it… Food has been a coping mechanism for far too long and with all the stress and hardship we have lived through these past four years there’s no denying I’d like to lose a few pounds. But more than an actual weight loss goal, I want to feel good in my own skin and truly believe I am beautiful/worthy/enough/healthy. Through these health challenges (mostly infertility and hyperemesis), I’ve felt like my body is broken and I want to believe that it is enough again. I want to learn how to love my body now just the way it is and take care of it so I can truly teach my daughter these lessons too some day.

  4. Financial Healing - With a whole lot of health issues comes a whole lot of medical bills. Each and every day I am caught between being wholeheartedly grateful we are not in significant debt because of what we’ve faced and frustrated that we have not made any progress toward financial freedom and our saving is absolutely depleted. I don’t want to live in bondage to the things that I want or we don’t have. I want to look at our finances and only see joy and contentment. I want to trust God, that He will provide for our needs regardless of what that looks like.

All of these things pretty much coexist. I truly believe that making more time to connect with the Lord and listen to His voice will bring peace into my heart which will lead to acceptance and redemption emotionally which will give me energy and empowerment to make positive change. And then the whole cycle begins again. It’s really all about making one step and a time and doing the small things that lead to big change.

So here it goes. 2017, I am declaring you the #yearofhealed one little baby step at a time.

Do you choose a word of the year? If yes, I’d love to hear what you’ve chosen too :) Send me an email or comment below!

Closing Chapters

As a little girl, I was an avid reader. But I have a little secret... When I picked up a book, I would always skip to the end and read the last few pages. I just needed to know there was a happy ending! The suspense of not knowing what was going to happen was too much for my little heart to take. This has carried on into my adult life but instead of just finding out the end of a book, I want to know exactly what is going to happen and have a perfect plan every step of the way. I want to be comfortable. I want things to always work out. I mean, in some ways isn't this a wish we all have?

I don't think it's any secret this past year has been a huge struggle. What was I thinking when "surrender" came to me as my word to focus on in 2016?? Did I realize how much it was going to cost me? How much life would change?

No. The answer is no. But I would go through every bit of hard and beautiful and emotional and challenging thing all over again to get to where I am today. The journey is part of the story. All those pages that are being filled in right now make up me, and they make up you too.

Learning to surrender this past year has lead me to this moment right now. And although it is not easy, it is also good.

As this year comes to a close, so does a chapter of my life. I've poured my heart and soul into the prints and products of Holly Holt Design in the hopes that no woman would ever feel alone in the face of hardship. But it's time to surrender this little business of mine and turn the page to find out what happens next.

Today and tomorrow are the last days to purchase an encouraging print to hang scripture on your walls or a "you are brave" journal to scribble down what's on your heart. It's the last days to gift joy and love to a friend with the reminder to "live in hope" every time they sip their coffee. So, as a final goodbye, my biggest sale ever is happening over in my shop with everything on sale up to 80% off, and once items are gone they will not be restocked. If you have had your eye on something for yourself or a loved one, now is the last opportunity! I cannot say thank you enough for the love you have shown me over the last two years and I cannot wait to see what the future holds in store.

Much love,
Holly

PS.. The In the Wait community isn't going anywhere and neither are my letters :) I will keep coming to you right in your inbox and on Instagram with joy and encouragement and love in 2017!

Redemption in Surrender

Just one more hour. One more prayer. One more position.. One more.. These thoughts rattle around in my head and I wonder what I did wrong to end up here, flat on my back with the curtain up, a mask on my face, and an iv in my arm pumping medicine into my body to take the pain away. This was not the plan. It never was.

But that's the thing about surrender, it asks everything of you.

Forty hours of labor and seven hours of pushing mostly unmedicated, surely my baby would be in my arms.. right? Instead the operating room is calling our name.

Surrender. Let go. Trust.

This has been my theme this year, and really the past few years, if I'm being completely honest, even though I didn't know it. I never expected life to take a sudden turn shortly into our marriage with one health challenge after another. Infertility and a pregnancy overwhelmed with hyperemesis, homecare, and hospitals never crossed my mind. Neither did this.

All of it has left me asking, what is wrong with my body? Why am I not enough?

I know the answer to those questions. I know the truth. Nothing is wrong and I am enough.. But the voices of doubt still ring loud and clear. You should've done more, tried harder, been stronger.

But "should've" is a tricky word isn't it? It leads us down a slippery slope towards dangerous territory. It distracts from surrender by replacing truth with lies and less thans. It is a thief of joy. "Should've" has no place here.

Instead, let surrender take its place. So now I'm faced with a choice.. What am I going to believe?

I'm choosing here and now to believe the Voice of Truth. I am enough. I am loved. I am strong. This season is redeemed. All of this, in Him. It's a daily battle, one I'm still struggling with, but I'm not fighting it alone.

By the grace of God, this broken body of mine knit together a beautiful baby girl, and I say a thousand thank yous every day for this precious gift.


Life Update + Thoughts on Surrender

Surrender.

No more than a few sentences into my Powersheets for the new year and this word, surrender, burst into my mind. I couldn’t shake it. Over the weeks previous I had been thinking about what my one word, my focus for the next year, would be.

You see, the past few years it has been “content”. Striving to learn that I am enough and what I have truly is enough no matter what voices and culture is telling me. Learning that my story is a beautiful one even when it doesn’t look how I pictured. Since no new word had come to mind over the course of a few weeks, I figured that content would be my 2016 anthem too. My fight song because it’s always something I need more work on.

But God had other plans. The word surrender stopped me in my tracks and forced its way into my heart. I knew this was it. My focus for whatever is to come in the next 365 days.

Honestly, I didn't like that word and fought it hard. It’s scary. It’s willingly giving up the control that I fight so hard to maintain or appear like I have. It’s letting go of all the things I have absolutely no control over even though I like to think I do. The fear was too great. Even though I knew it was going to be my focus, I balked at the whisper to surrender. Like a toddler throwing a tantrum, I clenched my fists and tears fell down my face as I prayed for some other focus.

Little did I know that surrender was going to become absolutely necessary to survive what 2016 is bringing our way.

Just a few short weeks after that moment, I stood shaking in the bathroom as I grasped the little stick that would forever change our hearts. Two pink lines. After years of trying, countless prayers, and the many ups and downs life brings, I could hardly believe my eyes. Was this really real?

A little miracle is on the way.

In the weeks to follow, incredible joy has been met with immense challenges. A threatened miscarriage, hypermesis gravadarium diagnosis, and a few trips to the hospital, and weeks spent on home care to avoid a hospital stay all have threatened to steal our joy and shift my perspective away from what really matters. Bringing this little one into the world is one of the hardest things I have ever experienced in my life, but every minute of the fight is worth it. Every time my body fails me, I’m claiming that the Lord is knitting life together inside.

This life that we hoped and prayed and cried and dreamed for. One we have spent years waiting for. One that’s worth fighting for.


Dear Mama to be who is struggling with HG or a challenging pregnancy just like I am, know that you are a brave one. Although this journey is incredibly different than we imagined, it is worth it. Keep fighting.

Dear Mama who is waiting yet to hold her baby in her arms, please know that I see you. You are not alone in your hopes and dreams for your family. I am praying with you and am always here offering holly hugs, a listening ear, and much love.

And dearest little one who is on the way, know that you are prayed for and incredibly loved through it all. We are so excited to meet you in August and love you forever and ever.


Encouragement Gift Guide 2015

It's no secret I'm all about encouragement around here so I thought I'd put my own spin on a gift guide for this Christmas season! The holidays can be challenging and opening up a gift full of hope and joy would be the best surprise, don't you think? 

All of these items and the women behind them have been a huge encouragement to me and so many others. I personally have given many of the products below to friends as gifts or have my eye on them for future encouragement surprises! Each one has a specific heart behind the product - from the message of redemption to thought-filled reminders of hope to a warm hug of encouragement. I'd love to hear which one is your favorite or if I missed anything on this list, add in the comments below :)


GIFT #HOLLYLOVES


GIFT HHDESIGN

ready-to-gift bundles filled with hope and encouragement for every season of life


Renewed

The cold water lapped against my ankles as I took a step out into chilly Lake Johanna. Smiles and sounds of celebration surround us, but all in one moment the noise dims as the water surrounds me. Die to self, live for Him. The air met my lungs once again as I emerged; new life coursed through my body.

Rising up from that water renewed.

Last month marked a year since this day and last week the memories flooded my mind as I found myself meeting the woman who snapped the photograph that speaks a thousand words straight to my soul. The picture that shouts, oh death where is your sting? Where is your victory?

Memories of tear stained cheeks and desperate cries to God are mingled with joy and unexplainable peace as my faith grew in the year leading up to being washed by the water. I grew up believing in God and knowing all the answers, but couldn't quite grasp what everyone else seemed to have. What a relationship with Him really looked like.

After hitting rock bottom with Derek's health relapse, my anger-clenched fists were slowly opened. At first simply in defeat and overwhelming sadness. But through it all He reached down and clasped my hands, slowly turning those limp limbs into arms held high in praise.

It really doesn't make much sense. In the midst of the most heartbreak we have ever lived through, in Him I found peace to take on the unanswered questions. Patience to live through seemingly endless doctor appointments. Greater love for my husband than I never knew existed. Kindness as we connected with others who were and are living through similar circumstances. And faithfulness and unexplainable joy as my baby faith grew.

Not overnight, but day by day as we learned to trust in Him. My faith was shaken for the better.

Stepping out into that water a year ago was a fresh start. One that was desperately needed to continue in the battle for life daily. In that moment of complete surrender, I was changed.

And now looking back at this past year, the one that followed that life-filled moment, I can see ups and downs. The days flecked with countless decisions to surrender my life's plans, unclench my fists, and embrace the story that's been given to me. Because it's just that, a choice. Not a one and done kind of thing, but a never ending opportunity to turn to the one who holds life in His hands. When we hold our arms up in praise, He scoops them up as a father would with a small child. His life giving hands envelop ours with so much love that it overflows.

Although I wouldn't have chosen those dark days in my life story, I am eternally grateful for the perspective that opened my eyes to what faith is really about. I'm thankful for His unfailing love that has led me to this moment words trickling out of my pen singing, This is my story. This is my song. Praising my Savior all the day long.

Special thank you to Tracie of Tracie VanWechel Photography for capturing our baptism and preserving a memory I never want to forget.

Live Deeply - Fall 2015 Launch and a Giveaway!

In some ways, it's crazy to think this is actually happening... that we are here today celebrating the fall launch of a brand new collection of products with purpose!

One year ago, I was sitting with tears pouring down my cheeks wondering if we would ever be able to make it out of the black hole that surrounds living daily under the weight of medical issues. This big God-sized dream - to make a difference in the darkest places of life - seemed impossible. Could my words, my story, my art really impact those who I care about for the better?

I begged God to open my eyes and teach me the purpose behind the chaos we have faced, and now a year later I'm finally starting to see. There is beauty in the hard things. The experiences we live through are opportunities to bring glory to God's name as he creates beautiful things out of dust. Although we still deal with chronic illness daily, the storm has calmed and an un-explainable peace overwhelms my heart.

This new collection has been a labor of love, and I am so excited to share the story behind each piece in the weeks ahead. Creating these designs have taken me on a journey, each step forward healing my heart a bit more from the trauma of the past few years and fueling the burning passion inside to create a ministry for women, just like you and me, to live life deeply even in the midst of trials and heartache.

A special thank you goes out to my husband Derek who allows me to chase my dreams daily with unfailing support. Also, to my wonderful writing team for the In The Wait Study. Chelsea, Heidi, Amanda, and Courtney - you ladies mean more to me than words can possibly explain, and I am so grateful for your dedication, insight, and love as we worked together to bring this project to life. And finally, thank you for being here today and supporting us along the way!

So now it's time to toss the confetti and celebrate with all the YAYs! Want to join in with us? Head to the shop to check out the beautiful new products, enter the giveaway below, or stop by to send me a note! I'd love to connect with you more :)


Living In The Wait

Today is the day! Preorders for the new In The Wait Study are live now through August 26!!
(Edit - if you missed preorders, don't worry! This study will be available again with our new fall line on Monday, September 14th!)

Five women. Five stories of hope, love, grace, joy, redemption, and waiting. We have poured our hearts into creating this study and are doing a happy dance in celebration of being able to share it with you!

In the weeks to come, we will be diving deep into God's Word to uncover the purpose behind our seasons of waiting, so stay tuned here and connect with us on Instagram through #InTheWaitStudy! Will you join us?

Want to learn more? Head to my co-author Chelsea's blog, Trials Bring Joy, to read her thoughts on this study and living in the wait!

Learning From Failure

Can I tell you something? I’ve been struggling lately. Like a bird without a song, struggling with my words and what I should or shouldn’t share with you.

Because you and I live in a world of how to's, quick advice, and "Pinterest perfect" lives. We see the posts on Facebook that show everyone else's life highlights. We see the Instagram posts full of fresh cut flowers and faraway travels. We hear the stories of home renovations and successful pregnancies that come out of what appears to be thin air.

And we wonder..
What am I doing wrong?
Is there something I'm missing?
Why is life so incredibly hard?

Friend, I'm here to remind you that you are not alone.

No one's life, no matter how wonderful it looks on the outside, is perfect. Behind the little squares and perfectly crafted words are real feelings, tears, struggles, emotions, challenges, and so much more. We just don't see the hardships unless we choose to take down that invisible wall that separates dreamland from reality.

At the beginning of this summer, I took the leap into full time creative business. With an entirely new website and a whole lot of dreams, I jumped. And let me tell you, it was a big one.

I never thought it was going to be easy, but I was entirely unprepared for the barrage of emotions that came my way once reality had set in. The stability of the job I had held for two years was gone. All my words disappeared and fear gripped my heart. The “what if’s” were unbearable, holding me in one spot unable to move in any direction, especially forward.

So I stopped sharing. The hopes and dreams for this space were put on hold in order to dive in and wrestle with God. At the time, “failure” could have been branded across my forehead and I would have believed it. I finally had accomplished what I had been working years to achieve, but instead of reveling in joy and success, all I felt was lost.

I wanted to quit so many times because the instant success, whatever that may be, was no where to be seen and waiting seemed like a paradox when an impossible mountain toward success loomed in the path ahead. Now, months later I can see that “failure” opened the doors for my heart to be tended, projects to bloom, and even bigger dreams to take root.

This is not the end of the journey friend. It’s only the beginning. Each step in the process, each seed planted, has the potential to help us live in full bloom no matter what season of life we are in.


PS: After hitting publish on every single blog post, I wait eagerly to hear from you! So if you'd like to say hello, leave a comment or hop on over to Instagram to send me a little note! My favorite part about this Encouragement Community is knowing that we are in this fight for life together :)


Damage Control

Sometimes the hard things in life seem to come out of no where.

We live near an elementary school and often young children cross our cul-de-sac and yard to reach the bike path that leads to the school. In the winter the snow is piled high, so I always double check to make sure there are no kiddos hiding in the path of my vehicle.  Last winter I was reversing out the driveway taking extra care to check for kids as usual when out of nowhere - wham! My car hit something solid.

The panic rose instantly inside me. The next 3 seconds seemed like an eternity as I realized what had actually happened. I had hit... the garbage can. Derek, being the wonderful husband he is, set it out at the end of the drive the night before so it would be ready for the garbage man (who comes incredibly early) the next morning. Maybe the garbage can was in my blind spot.. Maybe I was too focused on the giant snowbank where kids could be playing.. I'm not entirely sure, but I am SO thankful it wasn't a child. Despite my best intentions, what I had been trying to avoid (hitting something) happened. I had not been in a hurry to leave, was looking in all directions to check for danger, but somehow I was blindsided and damage occurred.

This happens a lot in life. Do you ever feel like you're going along in-control, even cautiously looking out for warning signs of danger, but out of nowhere something hits you like a ton of bricks? Maybe it's the news of an illness of a loved one or a big bill that you just weren't expecting. Maybe it's an argument with your spouse. Maybe it's a car accident. The list can go on and on.

Earlier this year I wrote out our hopes and dreams for 2015. Today I'm realizing there will always be things that come up and threaten to push me and you back down and put dreams on hold. Sometimes life seems to be full of these near impossible obstacles, but we need to go through them so God can prepare us to face bigger challenges with Him.  "Obstacles are opportunities to display God's power. And when we see God heal a bad marriage, turn around an impossible career, remove an addiction, or restore a rebellious teenager, it increases our faith. Setbacks and deficits are opportunities to display God's power and to build our faith." (7 Simple Choices for a Better Tomorrow; Merritt).

Over the past two years, Derek and I have faced many ups and downs. Many times I found myself crying out to God wondering if we would ever get a breath of fresh air. I was stuck in the negatives because of the weight of the compounding surprises that just kept coming up month after month. When going through difficult times, it is so easy to focus on the bad things that are happening (such as I now have to repair my tail light...) instead of focusing on the good things that come out of a bad situation (no children were hurt!). Given the opportunity, I do not think I would change any of the circumstances Derek and I have been through. Some challenges are as silly as replacing a damaged tail light because of a mistake and some are as big as not knowing how much life we have left to live because of illness. We are closer as a married couple, our relationship with God is stronger, and we have a lot to be thankful for!

"Sometimes He calms the storms in our lives. Sometimes He rides through it with us."

__________________

 

"I have told you these things so that in me you will have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." - John 16:33

Where to find Strength when all else fails

It was a cold, winter afternoon and the tears would not stop falling down my cheeks. Another relapse... More hospital visits... No guarantee that life was ever going to turn around. In that moment I felt the weight of our world on my shoulders.

Be strong. Be brave. You can do this. You'll get through.

Reminders like this surrounded me constantly, but they all felt weak, eventually collapsing under the weight of their flimsy foundation. Even though I desperately wanted to be, I was not strong or brave enough to hold our life together on my own.

Admitting that is like sharing my deepest, darkest secret - something I never want to see the light of day. You see, I wanted to be the strong one. I needed to be! Who else was going to pick us up? For a while, I thought that I could do it all so I pushed my limits to a breaking point before realizing that living on my own strength will never be enough. I couldn’t heal Derek, fix our finances, and maintain the house plus multiple jobs all at the same time.

At first this realization was crushing, but slowly over time my attitude turned from bitterness to joy. Our burden did not need to be carried alone!

“My health may fail and my spirit grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; He is mine forever.” Psalm 73:26

These words leapt out of the pages of my Bible when I first read them. When all else fails, God is still there. He who never fails, is all powerful, and full of grace. David fully embraced this throughout his entire life. The Psalms are filled with his honest thoughts and cries out to the Lord for strength through it all.

When all else fails, He is our strength.

When all else fails, He is our comfort.

When all else fails, He is our peace.

When all else fails, He never will.

Reading the entire chapter of Psalm 73 was incredibly freeing, and I encourage you to read it today too. I found myself saying “YES! I can relate SO much!” over and over again.

Verse 26 stood out to me so much because of the hardships we have faced over the last few years so I created a print that I would love to share with you. While they last, all orders of any amount will receive this 5x7 print for free as a special bonus! This is my way of saying no matter what journey life has you on, no matter how big or how small, you do not have to walk this path alone.

When Life Doesn't Go Your Way

As I stand back and look I am continuously amazed and what God has done to get me to this point today. As I said, “I will love you for better or for worse, richer and poorer…” on our wedding day I can honestly say that I meant it, but I had no idea what this would really entail. I pictured the American Dream life. Everything was perfectly planned out (in my mind) and the future was bright.

Life wasn’t perfect, but the possibilities of life seemed infinite. I was looking forward to newlywed life - buying our first home, having kids, building community around us, and so much more. Basically I desired a life of comfort and ease all rotating around my needs.

Four months into our marriage the way I pictured our life came crashing down around us with two little words - chronic illness. Over the last few years we have slowly been picking up the pieces of our life and settling into a new normal - one that challenges me to my very core.

I still find myself chasing perfection, this world, and all the things that are in it, but I am slowly learning how to gain an eternal perspective. Each day is a choice to seek blessings, serve others, spread the gospel, and focus on what matters most.

Paul’s life is an inspiration to me for many reasons, but one that stands out significantly to me is his reckless abandonment of the comforts of this world and unfailing trust in the Lord for strength and comfort. Paul endured suffering unimaginable for us here in America - imprisonments, beatings, stoned, shipwrecked, dangers all around, lack of even what we would consider basic necessities. Paul knew what it meant to suffer. Yet in all of his suffering, he chose to boast in His weakness and in the power of Christ.

No matter what life threw his way, Paul was content with weakness, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities “for when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:10) His strength was found in the Lord.

No matter what we are facing today, true freedom is found in Christ.

When we are in the depths of despair, will we run into His open arms of truth? Will we lift our hands and say “lead me where my trust is without borders”? Will we really go wherever He calls us, even if that place is far outside our comfort zone?