Fresh Ink is custom revelation we receive from God about our personal situations. It can arrive in the form of a lyric to a song, a whisper in the heart, a line from a book, words on a billboard or something a friends says over coffee. When received, it has the power to elevate our perspective above the challenges we face. When regularly acknowledged, it appears more frequently.
The notion of Fresh Ink came to me during a season when I was wrestling with the loss of our infant son, the inability to get pregnant again and the frustration of living in circumstances I did not choose. I was angry. The anger eventually infiltrated my heart and turned what was once a gentle flowing stream of refreshment into a bottomless bitter pool of resentment and self-pity. I found myself alarmed by the hardness of my heart, but did not know how to resolve the pain from the past. I kept crying out to God, “Why so much adversity in my life? Have you forgotten me? What will You do with all this? Was this pain for nothing?” Then one night while driving down a 2-lane Oklahoma highway, I read the marquee message on the sign of a little country church: “For Nothing…is impossible with God.” The words FOR NOTHING jumped off the sign and into my heart. In that moment, I realized that it is impossible for anything to be for nothing when a life is surrendered to Christ. He takes everything and makes it beautiful. That revelation was the first Fresh Ink written on my heart regarding the loss and adversity I had allowed to strip me of my joy and hope. Since that night several years ago, I have made a practice of surrendering the pen to Jesus. I ask Him to make sense of the seemingly senseless situations in life. As a result, I regularly find beauty in ashes and hope in times of devastation because He is the ever-present, always loving, never failing God.
It is my prayer that as I share the revelations I receive from the Lord you, too, will have transformational Fresh Ink moments.
One of the most common questions I hear is, “How can I survive and thrive during a difficult season?” The answer has become simple to me. It’s a little think I like to call “through living.” Many times we want to finish a particularly difficult or painful season as quickly as possible and find perfect understanding on the other side. Yet, often that understanding doesn’t come to us the way we hope to receive it. We find ourselves asking, “Why did that have to happen?” In the midst of the struggle we may say, “I can’t wait until this is over.” Through living involves the acceptance of life on the planet while looking to God for the good He is doing through it. Through living says, “I might not like it, but God is bigger than this thing and I will glorify Him in it with thanksgiving.” Through living with a physical impairment, divorced parents, the loss of two children and now the loss of a limb, I have discovered the source of my strength is joy. How in the world can I have joy during loss? Joy is a byproduct of thanksgiving. Through living is achieved through active, vocal, intentional expressions of gratitude. When gratitude is expressed in difficult situations it elevates our perspective above the storm or pain. When we see above the storm we find joy in endless measure. We can have joy and even have fun in the middle of a battle or a storm. Reflect on images of soldiers in seasons of war, they even take time for a game of cards or a movie night in the barracks. To survive, and yes even thrive, during difficult seasons, we must remember that no season lasts forever and we can always find a reason to be grateful for something.