When we started Chasing Heatherwood, we prayed for big and wonderful things to come from this journey. We hoped that broken marriages would find comfort in God's Word.
We believed that it would benefit our church, and other Christian writers and bloggers. Chasing Heatherwood was intended to be a platform for others, beyond Steve and I, to speak life and truth to people who need to hear it.
Lastly, we prayed that our work would allow us the opportunity to acquire the space and finances to be able to expand our family. It is also our goal to take complete financial care of our aging parents.
We've had our hearts set on reclaiming my childhood house - a home my parents lovingly built. I remember those days spent with neighborhood friends exploring the woods, creek, and letting our youthful imaginations run wild. It's been over a decade and there isn't a day that I don't miss that beloved home or the neighborhood surrounding it.
That house would allow us enough space to expand our family and take care of our parents as they age.
Since repairing our marriage, Steve has encouraged us to dream big and pray that we'll own that home again one day, according to God's timing.
We've all got our prayers - the desires and dreams that God has placed in our heart. But what happens when difficult times try to sway us from the promises of God?
Christmas 2016: My Dad and My Son opening Christmas presents together
Last week was a hard week, friends.
My Dad has been a fighter, overcoming all sorts of health issues. Earlier this year, the doctors thought there was a good chance he had cancer. But after numerous tests, he was cancer free! God has been good to my Dad and to all the people who love him.
We got another scare, regarding my Dad, last week. Out of nowhere, there was bleeding and discomfort. When we'd heard that prostate cancer might be a possibility, we spent the afternoon in prayer.
The enemy was quick to prey on my worry and weakness that afternoon, whispering to me that the fight was already over. Give up. Throw the towel in.
It's so easy to speak faith words to our family and friends, but when it comes to living it out during life's tough moments, it can be a real test!
My husband knew I was upset and very sad. To try and lift my spirits, Steve had an idea that he thought would make me smile. When he turned our car down the familiar street, I knew exactly where he was headed.
He was driving towards our dream house. But, wrapped up in my worry and grief, I didn't want him to.
"Don't do it," I asked, "that house isn't even worth thinking about right now."
Then came the tears. Hopeless and fearful tears. I couldn't bring myself to look at the house as we drove by.
That house felt like such a childish, selfish thing to want. There were ailments and sickness to pray for. There were possible life changes that were going to need to be made.
In that second of doubt, I let all of our dreams die. Not just the house, but all the promises God had placed into our hearts. Surrendering to pain and doubt, I questioned God's ability to do all things.
When I'd realized what I'd done, I felt even worse.
It is very easy to fall even further into despair when we've surrendered to our fleshly nature.
"You have put me in the lowest pit, in the darkest depths. Your wrath lies heavily upon me. You have overwhelmed me with all your waves." Psalm 88:6-7
This Psalm shows that being brokenhearted is a very real part of our life journey. It is simply part of being human. It isn't something to be ashamed of. However, Jesus does not want us to stay trapped in our worry and doubt.
In the midst of our troubles, humble prayer offers a way out. God not only cares about our weaknesses, but He holds out His hands to catch our tears.
"Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up, in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you." 1 Peter 5:6-7
1987: My Dad and I
My Dad went into surgery Monday morning. I was stuck at work when I really wanted to be with my Dad. I wanted to know what was happening.
This is when I had to fight the urge to worry and take on the weight of my Dad's situation. I had to resist the temptation to try and do God's job.
The most important weapon I had at my resource was prayer.
"The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of this world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds." 2 Corinthians 10:4
According to the Scriptures, a stronghold is any idea that promotes fear or doubt.
Every time the enemy tried to whisper fear into my mind, I responded with prayer.
As a man of God, I knew my Dad would've appreciated my prayers far more than my worries and anxiety.
After hours of waiting, the results I'd been waiting for finally came! My Dad was cancer-free again! The bleeding had been successfully stopped and the doctor was amazed at the results.
My worrying obviously had nothing to do with any of this good news. This could only be the work of our incredible and powerful God.
My love and concern for my family is incredibly fierce and the enemy knows this. Don't let the enemy use your biggest fears to derail you. Don't let the devil use you to deceive yourself.
Getting wrapped up in worry or grief will pull you further away God's love, which is exactly what we need in our darkest moments.
Summer 2017: Steve, our Son, and my Dad
My Dad's outcome is positive one and we are incredibly blessed. But, there will also come a time when the Lord calls my father home. I will need to have the courage, strength, and faith to trust God's timing on that too.
I will need to be obedient no matter what the outcome is. That is truly living by faith.
Steve and I have also dealt with sad outcomes too. I watched my aunt bravely fight a long and painful battle with cancer before it finally took her life. Steve's mother passed away in her sleep; no one knew she was sick and nobody had a chance to say goodbye. Prayer and confiding in God have been the only comfort for our wounded hearts.
Friends, if you're dealing with a situation that is weighing on your heart, I recommend that you meditate on these words:
"Do not be anxious for anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your troubles to God. And the peace of God which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6
Our Father waits joyfully to hear and receive our troubles. The size of the challenge we're facing makes no difference. God wants us to bring our hurts to Him. In return, He promises we will have peace and protection in His presence.
Throughout life, we will be given outcomes that are both positive and negative. As Christians, walking in faith means developing such a close relationship with God that we trust him in all circumstances. It also calls us to trust that he is working for our behalf. All this is simply because He loves us and always will.