Reflections Of My Last Thirty Years

As I have been waiting for my thirty first birthday,  I have been pondering my last thirty years.  Most people would think about their next thirty years on their thirtieth birthday, but if you asked me then I would not have been able to tell you how amazing the first chapter of the next series of my life would be.

If I am honest, I would not have believed myself without experiencing each page nor would I have believed myself at twenty nine. I would have told myself that it’s too far fetched and out of reach. I believed I was meant to be stuck in the life that I made as an accumulation of poor decisions from my early years and into my adult years. A life of an on and off again relationship with Jesus resulting in a poor intimate connection with him.  Each day a piece of my soul withered away like a flower lacking water and sunshine until one day the days turned into years and the only thing left are dry, crippling to the touch, and parched roots.

As I spent many years feeling like I was falling into a vortex and eventually sucked to the bottom of the pit that was so hard to find a way to escape; I realized that there was only one solution and only one way out. There was not a place to run as I had backed myself into a corner with a decision of life or death. I had already been living a life that led to death, could I really choose this path again?

Psalm 63 1:4 O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory. Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you. So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands.

No, I couldn’t imagine living my life like this anymore. The feelings of despair, hopelessness, and sadness were too much to bare. Always wondering what the meaning of life is was too daunting and I just felt lost in this big world. I never felt good enough to be loved by Jesus or even worthy enough to be in his presence, but I found him, still waiting on me and saying, “Are you done running?”  

1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

Even though I spent most of my life running from my childhood, bad decisions, the pain, the loss of loved ones, the grief of my dad’s passing, depression, anxiety,  years of anger (Yes, Ephesians 4:26 is true! Ironically, 4/26 is my birthday), loss of faith and the belief that if God was really there, then he should have done something to not let this happen.

When I surrendered, God redeemed every moment, every feeling, every why I ever asked, and every tear.  He used the bad moments and the good moments of the last thirty years (yes, amazing and life defining moments) to grow my faith and bring me to my purpose. The process wasn’t easy, it was hard, it was ugly, and it was painful confronting everything I ran from and all of the things of the world that were in me.

There were many prayers that consisted of, “God, I’m trying to hold on. Just make yourself real to me in the way I need so I can keep going.” 

I learned that if it is God’s will, you do your part, and you seek him through every moment, he will see you through.

It was only through Jesus’ strength and power that I was able to get to where I am and he began to remove the lies that the world said about me and instilled in me. Through him, I found what he said about me, learned his characteristics, and began to desire to be more like him. He knows I am human and that is why we have Jesus. Jesus knows how hard it is to be a human in this world and he stands in front of us before our Heavenly Father. It doesn’t mean we get a get out of jail card, but it means that even though there are going to be times we fail, there is grace and mercy. You just have to pick yourself up and keep trying to do better.

My thirtieth year I lived in the midst of God’s plan unfolding, making the impossible happen, and chains being broken.  It was the year that I finally was able to look back with so much awe and say,

“Wow. Everything had to happen the way it did so that your perfect plan could happen at this moment for my good.”

As I look back, I can see how God was always there. Even when life was bleak and I chose to do it on my own, he was there. When I chose to be stubborn and do things the wrong way, he was there with a plan already mapped out to guide me back home. Finally, one day I realized that God’s plan is far better for me than what I can do on my own. I have nothing to fear because he knows my unknowns and has crafted a perfect life for me. Once you realize that by tasting his plan, you will desire for nothing more.

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

As I was studying God’s word and talking with him this morning, I realized that God knows we have to be able to relate through experiences to sometimes connect the dots. This is why it’s important to study the Bible and learn about the life experiences of the people in that time. He wants us to know that we can be redeemed no matter how far away we are and that even in our deepest despair, He has a way and it’s always good for those who love him.

I realized that just like the people of the Bible, I am part of a redemption story. My life just like theirs is dysfunctional, but it’s relatable. 

I didn’t want to write this because I felt that it was too raw but it’s necessary. We need to find ways to be more relatable so that we can help others. I hope that you find my story relatable through the dysfunctions of the events in my life, but most importantly, I hope that you see you are redeemable and anyone can be used for God’s glory if they just choose to do life with Jesus. There is always hope and there is always a break through. I have no idea what is in store in my next thirty years, but I know that it’s going to be amazing because my unknowns are known by the most loving, gracious, and Sovereign LORD. Until then, I’ll be chasing after him on my adventure with Jesus.

Xoxo,

Hannah B.

P.S.

You can find us on Facebook here: Barefoot In A Holler and be sure to join our private and intimate group, A Gathering Place.

How To Have Childlike Faith

Have you ever observed how trusting a child is? My three year old is the most loving and tender hearted boy you’ll ever meet. When I watch him and the way he interacts with others, I see just how vulnerable he is with the way he trusts others. It is so beautiful to see the way he does it with an open heart without any reserves.

As his mother, I could tell him anything and he would believe me. If he was let down for some reason, he would just “Awww man” and for the most part he would understand. It may take him a few minutes to get over his temper tantrum, but eventually he would go about his day with the same amount of trust knowing that I love him dearly and would protect him with every fiber of my being.

I was moved by this moment with my son and I realized that this is the type of faith and trust God wants us to put in him.This is what it means to have childlike faith. It’s simple. It’s open. There isn’t any doubt. It’s knowing that regardless of your situations, you are loved and taken care of, and you know that God’s best for your life is what’s best for you. You fully accept it with every fiber of your being. You just say “God’s got this” and go about your day.

Faith is the essence of a believer’s journey. By it, we believe in the unseen and we choose to believe in God, his son Jesus, and his plan for our life. Our faith tells God that we are ready to fight and live for him regardless of the world telling us not to. We trustingly give our lives over to God’s will in full confidence that his best is in store for us.

2 Corinthians 4:18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Hebrews 11:1 Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.

When life’s circumstances do arise, we must stand firm in our faith with the full knowledge that God’s going to carry you through. We may have to ride out the waves in life and we may plummet on the way down but we grow in our character and faith when we have these experiences. If your eyes are open and you are watchful, you will see that God is right there with you riding out the waves and orchestrating every aspect of your journey.  It is truly an amazing experience filled with peace and joy because God will provide and make himself known to you. When we master our faith in the things that we can not see, the reward is far more unbelievable.

Perhaps you find it hard to trust and let go of the things you are clinging to and won’t fully give to God.  Maybe you are fearful that if you let go then you won’t be able to control the situation and will lose whatever you are holding on to or you won’t get the outcome that you are so desperately waiting for. It’s so hard to let go and say “here ya go God, it’s yours!” Especially when it comes to the desires of your heart and the people that we love so much. God loves you more than that and even if you lose whatever it is, it’s because God has something better planned for your life.

As humans, we are nearsighted and can’t see the whole picture that God has painted for us and that’s why it’s important to have faith.

The days of our lives are unknown but we know the one who created us for his glory. My close friends and family have always been perplexed about my faith that has caused an anxiety and control driven person to an easy going and care free person. Yes, I still have moments! It has been a journey and it has not been easy but it has been worth every trial I’ve ever experienced to be exactly where I am now.

Below you will find the steps that help me along the way, enjoy!

How To Have Childlike Faith

Step 1: Decide to give your trial that you are experiencing to God and let go. You can do this by talking with God and asking him for his help. Leave it alone and go about your day. When you start thinking about this trial again, talk with God. Repeat until necessary.

Step 2: The devil is sure to place unwelcoming thoughts in your head like “God isn’t really going to provide.” When this happens, pray him away and tell him that “God has my back” or “his will is perfect for life.”

Ephesians 6:16 – In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.

Step 3: Enjoy the trial. Use this time to draw near to the LORD. Ask him “what can I do for you?” or “what do you need me to learn during this time in my life?” It might be scary at first but once you rip off the band-aid, you’ll be glad you did!

James 1:2-4 – Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,  because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Step 4: Tell your heavenly father your needs physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually and THANK him for what he has done and is going to do! Finally, change your mindset to match God’s mindset and think on the things that are lovely to God.

Philippians 4:6-7 – Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:8 –  Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Step 5: Everything that makes up your life, your job, and your housework do it for God and to bring glory to him!

Colossians 3:23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters

Psalm 37:5 Commit your way to the Lord. Trust in Him, and He will act.”

Heavenly Father, I come to you praying for the person reading this and I ask that you make yourself so incredibly real to them that they can not deny that you are in their midst during their sufferings as their endure whatever life has thrown at them. In Jesus’ name, amen!

Be sure to find us on Facebook by clicking this link Barefoot In A Holler . We have an intimate and private group where we share praises, prayer request, and a community of support.

I hope to see you there!

Xoxo,

Hannah B.

God made you

I was looking back at my memories on Facebook and found this gem. In case you are wondering, God knew you before you were in your mother’s womb and he set you apart! The hairs are numbered on your head and he knows every tear you’ve ever cried. He cares deeply for your inmost being.

You are loved and made perfectly the way God wants you.

Xoxo,

Hannah B.

How To Melt A Hardened Heart

Spiritually speaking the heart is where our emotions and desires are manifested. This is why it’s important to be careful about what you allow your eyes to see and your ears to hear. If we do not control our fleshly desires and align them with God’s word and commandments, we will find ourselves in trouble.

Proverbs 4: 23 Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.

It’s like a ravaging disease that keeps spreading like wildfire until our hearts are hardened and black. When this happens, we become desensitized to the world around us. We don’t love, care, and we don’t have a desire to repent. We can’t even see the good that God does for us.

Mark 6:52 – For they considered not the miracle of the loaves: for their heart was hardened.

We are gorging our self with sin and it begins to manifest and flow out of our body in the from our words and actions. Often times we get to the point where we can’t even recognize right from wrong.

Romans 2:5 But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God.

Isaiah 6:10

“Render the hearts of this people insensitive, Their ears dull, And their eyes dim, Otherwise they might see with their eyes, Hear with their ears, Understand with their hearts, And return and be healed.”

God wants to heal you and he doesn’t desire for you to stay in the state you are in. He loves you and has a plan far greater than the reasons for your hardened heart.

How To Melt A Hardened Heart:

•Return to God and repent. Ask Jesus into your heart if you haven’t.

• Ask God to search and know you (Psalm 139:23-24)

•Guard your heart from the sin (Proverbs 4:23; Psalm 119:9-11)

•Read and know the word (Psalm 119:9-11)

•Think on the good things (Philippians 4:8)

Psalm 139:23-24 Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!

Psalm 119: 9-11 How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.

Philippians 4:8

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things.

I hope you find this How To Series helpful and encouraging. Leave your comments below and share with your friends.

Xoxo,

Hannah B.

Children of Addiction: We are Warriors

This was hard to write but I am blessed that God placed this opportunity in my life.
We all have a story and this is mine. Children of Addiction: We are Warriors
I am a warrior. I am a fighter. I am fierce. I am loyal. I am a peacemaker. I am a forgiver. I am forgiven. I am loved. I am a believer.
Be sure to check out Loving the Wounded Child they have great resources for those living with childhood trauma and loving the wounded child.
Xoxo,
Hannah B.