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God's Power is Made Perfect in Our Weaknesses

Monday, August 22, 2016

For the next couple of weeks I am so excited to announce the #SundaysWithTot collaboration series. For this series I will be collaborating with some beautiful women who encourage me to do better and who inspire me to be great.  My first collaboration is with the amazing Sarah-Ann. Once you read her testimony I know you will be encouraged and inspired just as I was. 

In her own words……

 “It's been hard to write this blog post because I've really been struggling a lot lately, in my emotions and with my faith. So when Tot asked me write a guest piece for her blog, first I didn't believe her. But when she persisted and I finally realized I couldn't get out of it, I had a heck of a time trying to figure out what to say given my seemingly constant struggles as of late. See, I have bipolar 2 disorder which basically means that I have really low lows but not too high highs. And it makes it sometimes really hard for me to pull myself up from my bootstraps and just keep going. So I try to take it day by day. And I am encouraged today to just keep going on by the Grace of God and by the help, prayer, love and counsel from my loving family and especially my most amazing sister (Mary-Ann) and her most amazing friends (Tot). 

I'm also encouraged by this word I recently heard at my church, City Church, preached by associate pastor Andrew Malek. He preached on Paul's "thorn in the flesh that was a messenger of Satan" that Paul glories in because God's strength is made perfect in our weaknesses (2 Corinthians 12:7-10) and on the life of Gideon who's entire life was spent struggling with his own thorns (Judges 6-8). This message blessed me so much because Pastor Andrew explained how sometimes these thorns in the flesh can be our failures, our lack of resources, our inadequacies, our insecurities, our personalities, our appearances, and sometimes even our strengths as they try to convince us how little we need God and that we can do it all on our own. 

He also explained that for Gideon, who felt insecure and inadequate for all that God had called him to, his thorns manifested in fear, doubt, his taking shortcuts and eventually settling for less. Gideon is in the end defined by his thorn. And then I look at my life. And I can't help but identify every single cotton-picking thorn glaring back at me through the years and through every single circumstance, especially this bipolar 2 disorder. And I'm reminded that Paul said no matter how much he prayed that God would remove it, God never did. But instead He decided to use it for His Glory.

So with each passing day I give God my thorns and I ask Him to remove the ones He can, change the ones He will and use all the rest for His glory. Somedays I'm better at this than others. Other days God sends me encouragement through my mom or my sister, or my friends or through Pastors preaching His Word. And I'm able to keep on another day. Because in the end that's what I strive for, what we all strive for as Christians, what our sole hope is in this life, that God will get the glory out of our lives. 

Still my sister reminds me how far I've come from where I started off. When I quit my really good paying job with benefits to start over it was a scary risk, but one I was willing to take because I'd felt led by God. Someone gave me a word in church to pursue my artistic side and that God had plans for the artist in me. It terrified me at first but it also quickened my spirit to start hoping again. So I did. And I went to beauty school and finished, all by the ever loving and faithful grace of God by the way. I got a job in a nice salon doing something I previously had no prior knowledge that I'd love so much. And don't get me wrong. It wasn't easy by any means. Those thorns kept poking holes in all of my carefully laid plans, dreams and wishes.

Every time I'd have a victory or confidence in one area there was a thorn tearing it up in another area. BUT GOD, Y'ALL! But God! Every. Single. Time! He worked it out for me. He saw me through. No matter how much I doubted, no matter how loud the enemy screamed at me through my thorns that I couldn't do it. That I was always going to be a perpetual failure. That I was incapable of getting out of my own way long enough to allow God to move in my life. 

My God never let me down. He never allowed my foot to slip. Thank you Jesus! When I look back on the goodness of Jesus and see all that He has brought me through, I really don't have any room to harbor doubt and fear. And hope. I have hope! And I thank God for that.

So in closing, I see now why God prompted Tot to have me write this post. So I could remember. Remember His goodness, His mercy, His faithfulness in all He has brought me through. Because the enemy of my mind didn't want me to remember. Because if I remember he wins. But God. So is it easy my friends? No. Not at all. But is it worth it? Every time. Thank you Tot, thank you Mary! Thank you Jesus! And thank you for reading my testimony." - Sarah-Ann

WOW!!!!! What a testimony?! I have read this a few times and every single time I notice something else that moves me!!! I also added this super cute childhood picture of Sarah-Ann and my dear friend Mary. She is truly a big sister to all of us and for that I am so thankful!

Want to keep up with Sarah-Ann or show her some love??
Leave a comment below and feel free to follow her on  social media.

Personal: @Sarahtheann
Business: @sajw_hmu

My outfit details are below:

Crop Wrap top from Eloquii
Pencil skirt from H&M

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