With the last several weeks opportunity has been dropped into my life that I hadn’t even been thinking about! It’s interesting how in the adventures of life, obstacles pop up and somehow we make it through to the other side. Even when we don’t know that we are equipped or prepared; somehow we conquer. Sometimes the way we envision a conquer is not what happens in reality. Does this mean we did not succeed? Were we not specific about what we wanted to achieve? Did we miss something entirely?

As I continue to attempt walking out my vision, I realize now that vision doesn’t mean you can see the future. I don’t and never have, consciously thought that I am able to foretell the future. I did however, buy into a false belief that our culture started to bait us with since the beginning of our elementary days…. The belief that: I must know what the goal looks like, in order to be successful. sunrise

When I was about 5 or 6, I just knew that I would become a teacher. I just knew it, with every fiber of my little juvenile being. In my (in)finite wisdom as a 5 year old, a teacher meant; school teacher. So naturally, I knew then that I would be required to go through traditional schooling and obtain a teaching degree. As I grew and matured and formed my own beliefs and accepted other belief systems; I learned that kids are mean and teachers really don’t have a lot of freedom in the workplace. So, I changed my mind. Next, I chose marine biologist. Then, it was a forensic detective. That meant serious science classes, long-term. Which meant chemistry. So that was out.

Eventually, I entered the workforce and developed unhealthy relationships and forgot all about dreams and goals. Especially those related to education or a career. What never left me though was my desire and inherent gift; to teach. Not just provide direction and instruction. What I live for is to inspire, encourage and equip. Literally to gift to others the spark, courage and tools needed for them to discover their passion, purpose and calling. I may not have a paid gig at this time but even through all of life’s twists and turns; I am walking out my dream. Just not how I envisioned.

If you hadn’t noticed this is the first post I’ve written in over a month! I’ve been itching to get on the keys and struggling to find internet connection. Well, I am back. In this period of silence my life has been flipped upside down and my tools I long to teach others; have been tested through the fire. montanaThe foundation of what I teach is all about identity; to know who you truly are, find your passion and harness the reason for your creation. So, naturally where I am tested most is in these areas. The best time for your identity to be tested is during trying times.

Trying times are when what you thought was going to happen, doesn’t and what you never expected to happen, does. It’s during these times we often “lose our cool” or just plain forget about manners, values and common sense. It’s almost like we turn into our alter ego… but what really is going on within us that causes our brains to malfunction and our behaviors to deteriorate? You guessed it! It’s the enemy of your soul baiting you with temptation of sin. The most common temptation he baits me with: to be quick to anger, when my false belief of needing to protect myself kicks on.

It happens like this; my world turns upside down, result: desire for security and protection from fear of the unknown- aka: not knowing what the result (or goal/endgame) looks like, now that all the pieces to my beautiful puzzle have spilled all over the place. Then, if I choose to take the bait, I snap. I am irritable. I am just plain not nice in my speech. I become a terrible communicator. Truth says, God says, He has created me to communicate to the masses. Naturally, the enemy will come to steal the very thing you have been created to excel in; he will try to destroy your strengths. I hope you are catching this one, it’s really good stuff. Let me explain further and give you the example I am currently living in. Iowa

My husband’s grandfather recently passed away, so he was called to tend to the funeral arrangements and establish care for his grandmother. Initially, we imagined our stay with her would be fairly brief. Wrong. Nearly 40 days later and no end in sight. Needless to say, when you pack your family up and drive 2700 miles to a totally foreign state; things get messy. First, living out of different hotels every few days and then we even used a seasonal home of some estranged family members; whom we had never met before! That was tough.  Did I mention, there aren’t even the same grocery stores here?! Talk about disrupting my flow! I was finally getting my food shopping and meal planning dialed in! Eventually, we were led to a wonderful little spot to rent an RV trailer at a campground on the river. This blessing came at the perfect time when we thought we were all out of options and ideas. Truly, our situation was really looking bleak.

Basically, none of this was in the plans. Aside from deeply missing my cat babies, friends and family I have been adjusting pretty well. Rather, I have been held together well. Personally, I have had several hurdles though, and it was the dawning of the breakthrough to one of these hurdles when I realized just exactly what I have been going through. My identity was being tested. My calling, my purpose and my passion. For the last 4-5 years I have been connected with an amazing woman and her team whom have become my close friends. While she herself became even more, a mentor and spiritual mama. She is the President of a powerful ministry that serves people of all walks of life. Part of her ministry is specifically geared to minister to women; the Company of Women Ignited. In the last 3 years I have been privileged to assist in the planning of 1 conference and 2 retreats. I was also given the opportunity to speak at those events.

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As the first conference was nearing, it was then which I discovered my passion, purpose and calling. Throughout many life changes I have seen my vision develop more clearly and also become altered, usually quite unexpectedly. Getting married was a huge milestone that absolutely carried a force which altered my vision. Now, enters a month-plus long trek across the US…at the very same time I expected and planned to be preparing for the upcoming women’s retreat; of which I had expected and planned to be one of the main speakers! I was rocked.  I went through such an intense period of mourning. Mourning for my passion. I thought I lost who I was supposed to be right now. I thought I was losing grip on my calling. I thought I didn’t see my vision clearly and my passion became tainted with doubt. Doubt of what my vision showed me. Doubt of what I am called to do. Doubt of who I have been created to be. All because I chose to see an outcome that only required what could be seen in the natural, physical realm.

“Now, faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen.” Hebrews 11:1

“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, works for us a far more exceeding eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporary; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:17-18

Basically; instead of only focusing on the vision that you can see; understand that with faith if you can see (in the physical) the outcome, goal, or dream; God wants to show you a bigger vision. He will always be “able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we can ask or think (or imagine) according to the power that worketh in us”- Ephesians 3:20. It is so healthy to have a vision for your life; for your marriage, your career, your dreams, your passion and your purpose. But if you walk in faith, which is literally “in confidence” (of Christ, God our Father, and Holy Spirit) please, remember that if you can see it; He wants to give you something bigger. Keep with you that His vision far exceeds ours and faith is the substance of what you hope for and the evidence of your vision unseen.NC

You may be in a season where your life feels like you’ve been flipped upside down and now you are watching all the little pieces falling all around, waiting and wondering; where will they fall? What will this all look like in the end? Keep holding on, keep trusting and keep believing that God has a greater vision for your life. Keep pushing through and remember who you are created to be will always be tested. Satan comes to steal, kill and destroy. He really only has a few tools in his toolbox; lies, doubt and fear. He has 2 main targets, God’s Word and your identity.

In Matthew chapter 3 we learn that Jesus was baptized in the river Jordan by John. Immediately upon being baptized the heavens parted, the Holy Spirit of God descended upon Jesus in the form of a dove, rested on Him and then; the Father appears. Father God’s voice coming from heaven says; “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

You may not know what happened next and maybe you do know the story; but have you ever caught this magnificent key? As soon as Jesus gets God’s true Word about His own identity, you know, that Jesus is the beloved Son of God! Immediately, Jesus is led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness to be tested. To be tempted. The reason for this is, in short because God doesn’t create robots. He gave you a will to choose Him or to deny Him. It is your choice. The result of your choice will determine your eternity. Of course, that’s another post though. The key I want you to grasp is the bait the enemy uses to tempt Jesus to sin. riversedge

In Matthew chapter 4 we see that Jesus has been fasting for 40 days and 40 nights, He has been in the wilderness, He was hungry. You could say He was in a trying time. One of those low points when you or I might begin to “lose your cool”.  It is at that time the tempter comes, the enemy of your soul, Satan. Just look at what he says:

“And when the tempter came to Him (Jesus), he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made of bread.” John 4:3

Did you catch that? You see, Jesus received the word, the Truth from the Father about His identity and immediately Jesus is thrust into a trying time and the enemy comes to question and cause doubt about the very Word God gave. His identity. Amazingly, Jesus answers the enemy with scripture and chooses to reject and not even acknowledge the seed of doubt that was tossed His way. In fact, most sermons I have heard (which you could say are limited in the scope of all sermons) I have not heard but only 1 teach on this key. You and I are not the first to be going through these trials and we certainly are not the last. The very strengths you possess, the very core of your identity, will always be tested if it comes from the truth of who God created you to be. sunburst

I am not a school teacher or a marine biologist. I didn’t speak at the last retreat and I didn’t even get to attend. Instead, I was brought through a test. Brought through a trying time of my identity and the truths God gave me to hold. I was to minister to those women and I was to shine as a light for them to hear a message of their own identity. The last night before the retreat I stayed up all night. I cried, released the  last bit of mourning I had left inside me and I wrote my heart out to them in the form of a letter. Whether I am on a stage, in a trailer by the river with 1 bar of cell service typing on an iPhone, or whether the grid goes down and I have only rocks and walls to carve upon; I will stand firm in who I have been created to be.

I am a teacher. I am a writer. I am a good communicator. I am an encourager. I am an inspiration. I am a light. I am a bridge connecting others to my King Jesus and my Father.   I am the daughter of the Most High God. I am His Royal Warrior Princess Bride. I am a Child of God.

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