0% chance

Yesterday was a cool and windy day. We saw a bit of snow flurries and was of course excited! (even though it was a small deal to people around here who are used to it, it was a big deal to us ) But here’s the thing .

Every news station station forecasted a 0%chance of snow . It wasn’t a 20% or 30% chance . It was flat out 0%. When I see that number , it means absolutely no chance . Literally NO chance . No expectation! So even flurries is more than 0% chance . Right ?

Ok, I think I got that point across . So now …

Fast forward to later that night. I was on the phone with my parents , laying on the couch with my husband and our youngest child , when suddenly I heard this loud wind ! 💨 Not only did I hear this wind , it also pierced through the drafty window sending a chill down my leg . I thought to myself , oh it’s been windy all day , just more of the same. You know , be “logical”, even though deep deep down I am like , what if it’s snow? Well, A few seconds later I heard small pitter patter on the window . Then I thought ,oh my gosh maybe it IS snow foreal! Then I said to myself no, it’s just leaves and continued on with the conversation with my parents on the phone.

After all 0% means no chance.

Well , then again I felt another blast of air and said , hold on let me check outside . I finally decided to look out the window . My eyes got wide and jaw dropped ! IT’S SNOWING ! It’s SNOWING ! It wasn’t only snowing , It was FIERCELY snowing and accumulating .

I immediately said mom and dad , it’s snowing! You know since they didn’t hear me scream it already .I honestly forgot the conversation we were having and looked over to my husband said “Michael ! look it’s snowing .”

Unfortunately for them .It didn’t stop there .

I opened the blinds and kept telling michael “look , look! ” I then told my parents that I was switching to video chat, so they could see why I was so excited. Oh the snow fell so beautifully as if it were dancing around like glitter in front of the porch light . It caught my full attention.

You see , Everything I was distracted by, was put on hold , I was in such awe ( I love snow) and I kept saying “look look look ! “

That’s when the revelation hit ….

I thought of how many times in my life have I hoped for something , prayed for something , and constantly watched for it, only to become logical by the fear of sounding ridiculous. How many times have I been so hopeful only to be told there is NO chance ? How many times have I missed the signs of favorable conditions and the beautiful reminders of what was promised to me ( like those beautiful flurries throughout the day), only to be distracted by something else going on .How many times did I lose excitement and hope because people around me wasn’t excited.

Honestly too many times to count .

Today I was reminded …How this world judges whether or not something is possible , is by things we can see . Today I was reminded… that being told that I am not the right fit by the world’s standards , doesn’t mean that I am not the perfect fit for God’s assignment.

To the world the wayward son or daughter has a 0% chance of being trusted or used in this society.

To the world , the stay at home mom doesn’t have enough connections or intellect to think for herself or let alone be something bigger than herself.

To the world, a man who has consistently made poor decisions , will never be respectable or trustworthy .

To the world , the homeless drug addict , will never be anything more than one step away from a relapse .

To the world, the color of your skin ,has some sort of measurement of how trustworthy or capable you are .

To the world , the church member who doesn’t know the lingo , who doesn’t have a clique or family ties , will never make it anywhere in the church ministry.

Oh but God has shown time and time again, he doesn’t choose by world’s standards or opinions . He takes the world’s 0% chances and turns them into a mighty wind , a storm that rushes in and grabs the attention of everyone who didn’t believe.

It’s isn’t about what is forecasted by worldly gauges or assessments . It is about the unseen favorable conditions, and it has nothing to do with the outside , it is about what only He sees on the inside .

I heard recently , that no one understands what is happening when it’s happening.

I don’t understand everything right now, I don’t know how everything will turn out , but I do know this . My 0% chance and your 0% chance ,with Christ, has endless possibility .

Don’t give up hope , don’t miss out on the tiny reminders , don’t let distractions and blinders keep you from seeing everything you prayed for and everything God has called you to do unfolding right before your eyes .

This is the season of putting away your distractions, the world’s expectations, and faulty gauges. This is the season where your strongholds become weak ! This is the season of things happening that YOU don’t even see happening. This is the season that you finally stop doubting in this area and you will peek out of those blinds and see this mighty storm bringing what you believed could be true . Oh this season you will be in awe , you will shout look , look, look … look what the lord has done !

This season I have decided ….

I won’t take my chances , I’ll take my promise!

How could he ?

We all have that family member or friend that likes to come to your home , examine every inch of it, and start “calling out” small areas that are not in order. Sometimes they even go as far as telling you how to rearrange your home like “they would.” Then later you find yourself visiting the very same person, only to find that their home is in complete chaos. I immediately think …. “ wait, I was so embarrassed by a few simple things that needed touching up In my home that was called out by this person …. only to find out that their house is looking like this behind that beautifully decorated door.

When I started writing this, I was reminded of a quick revelation I jotted down weeks ago about my children in this very area. I decided not to post it because a similar revelation was posted by someone else . So I thought , ok, no need, so I stopped writing it . At 5 am I woke up and yeh , I couldn’t sleep until I finished what I initially started writing. Turns out the message is different . So it’s needed lol … ok back to the story.

Autumn is our child that delights in doing the right thing. She absolutely loves order, rules, and structure. She loves the straight and narrow. She knows how to let loose and be fun and she will help ANYONE In need ,but she lacks patience with anyone that is not the same way as her.

With that being said . One day Autumn walked by Nathan’s room , then literally out of nowhere , she announces on the echo dot, “Nathan Bradley Stripling, your bed is not made and your toys are not put up .” Nathan said “well close the door , it’s not hurting you .” She then announced again , “ I’m telling mom to go look at your room because it’s bothering me and I can’t stand how you are ok with this mess.”

I decided to intervene , but this time I felt prompted to go get Autumn and bring her to her OWN room. I said Autumn , “why are you so upset about Nathan’s room ? “ she said ,”mom, I had to get up this morning and clean up my room before I started the day, why doesn’t he ? I just don’t see how he can live with his room like that? I don’t see how you aren’t telling him to clean up?”

Or Better yet, explain to Nathan, why it’s important to keep his room clean . For example , if an emergency happens or if he is trying to run around , he can trip and fall if all that mess is on the floor . It’s best to maintain your room daily so that you won’t trip later .” She said “exactly mom!”

I said Autumn , “when I came to get you I felt prompted to come to your room, and not his.” I know you like things in order , but, if you are that concerned , why don’t you gently correct Nathan and then offer help to clean it up.

That’s when the revelation began ….

I then realized from past experience, that when she is so deeply concerned about Nathan , more than normal , there is definitely something deeper going on. So I asked ,” Autumn , what is going on with you. “ she said “mom, nothing, I just want Nathan to do what’s right because I am.”

I then said Autumn ,” let’s inspect your room the way you inspected Nathan’s” she said “ ok, fine.” I walked around and everything looked great. Her toys were in order , her bed was made , her dresser was dusted . She was standing their looking so proud . Then, came the closet . As I opened the door , I could see she immediately remembered that she stuffed everything she didn’t feel like dealing with as she cleaned up her room that morning .

I said “Autumn, why are you telling on Nathan, when your closet looks like this . Did you think I wouldn’t see it . She said “no, mom I forgot.” I told her “ you forgot about your mess in your closet , because you walked by Nathan’s room and got so caught up in what he wasn’t doing right, that you were blinded from seeing your own mess . Isn’t it more dangerous to come into a room you think is clean and trust that it’s ok, only to open the closet and be hit with all this mess piled up.”

She looked at me and said “ mom, I am sorry , can you please help me so I don’t get hurt by this stuff falling down .” I said , “ yes , and then afterwards we are going to help Nathan . Now that you have been humbled by the mess that you needed help cleaning up, you will no longer be concerned with being right or that you did more than him, now you are concerned with his overall safety and his ability to walk without stumbling . “

See correction is great , It doesn’t always feel great, but it’s so appreciated when it’s done in love and with a humble heart. I truly believe it’s not what you say , it’s not even always how you say it … it’s why .

Are you correcting because you are in so much chaos yourself , that focusing on someone else’s house is just easier to live with than facing your own disorder ? Are you correcting because you have gotten so good at decorating that door ,that you yourself have forgotten or even ignored the mess that is behind it?

I have done all of the above . Sometimes without even realizing that’s why I was doing it. One verse that changed my walk with God from religious to relationship , was this very verse .

““Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?”

Matthew 7:3

Ouch ! Yes ouch ! Not only does it hurt imagining a plank in your eye , but to realize you have been walking around with a plank so big ,that you have become blind and now your eye is becoming infected , is excruciating.

I remember the time in my life when I really started allowing God to expose and work on my heart.

It got UGLY ! but just as quickly as Autumn got help by me , Jesus said I am here to help you clean this up.

Then your concern about the dust in the other person’s eye will be dealt with properly .

See , now that you have two healthy eyes , you can use tweezers to carefully help them remove the dust that they are unable to see themself. Without damage !

See , we all need daily maintenance or self evaluation. Tackling our mess with the help of Jesus is absolutely necessary . Correction in love with the right intentions is so beneficial.

So today I choose to be so concerned with Jesus helping me clean my mess, that I will be in the right position to help someone else .

I will choose today to take a good look at what’s in my closet . In the process , humility will immediately set in and when I do correct someone , it will be received the right way .

Today I ask you, are you more concerned with everyone else doing right because you know what’s right and have done it? Or are you concerned with everyone doing right with a haughty heart and a messy closet ?

Either way Jesus is the best organizer and mess cleaner ! As soon as you search for the mess and find it, he’s over there like Mr. clean , ready for you to ask for help to clean it up !

If you realize that this is you, just pause,ask God to search your heart and your whole House .

What are you forgetting about in your closet because you happened to walk by and get fixated on someone else’s dirty room ?

We have all done this ! So you are not alone .This is so crucial in our spiritual health and the lives around you.

The real question … How could I ?

Blessings !

Nathan and Autumn working together. When they are in sync , they achieve amazing things !

“Rebuilder”… I am willing to be well.

If someone asked if they could tear down your house right now , would you let them ? No! right ?

But ….

What if they asked if they could tear down your house and promise to rebuild a brand new one ! For Free!!!

I can’t speak for Anyone else, but I would run, jump ,skip, and hop to the opportunity.

See, we know our homes better than anyone. We see the things we need to fix everyday, but the task seems so daunting. Don’t get me wrong , I love a good DIY ! I love a good renovation show ;however, I lack the skill to know how . So for a builder to come in and offer to tear it down ,then completely rebuild it, would have me running straight across town to purchase a sledgehammer and start DEMO Day. ( as Chip Gaines would say.)

Well… you would think so … right ?

In the process of tearing down the home, memories start to flood your mind . You start doubting how can all of this be torn down and built into something brand new. .

What if I don’t know what I want the new one to look like ?

What if In the process of tearing down my home I harm other homes around me ?

What if I don’t know how to live in a home that is brand new , what if I don’t like change and even though this home is hurting me and my family it’s all I have known.

Change is scary ! What if this new house can’t be built ?

What if I don’t know how to live in a new house ?

What if the debris hits an innocent bystander ?

I am scared to have a brand new home , I will feel like I can’t touch anything or that every mistake is magnified, because now everything is new.

But you see my old house already does that. When the wind blows shingles blow off and hits my neighbors . When the rain comes it leaks through the roof and onto my family.

When the cold comes warmth escapes through the huge cracks in the foundation.

What do I have to lose? A broken, leaky, house on a foundation is bound to collapse …. What do I have to lose? The constant reminder everyday that this and that needs to be fixed . What do I have to lose ? A hefty debt that I will no longer owe because I am offered this gift completely free .

With this arrangement I will no longer be paying for the old house and it’s problems to be fixed . I will remember the old house and what problems needed to be fixed but I am no longer living there.

Of course the new house will have things broken and torn along the way , but now you no longer have to worry because the builder also comes with 100% free maintenance . Here’s the catch out of all this .

All you have to do is ASK !

But In order to ask you must believe , because why ask for something you don’t believe will happen ?

See with God we are promised that if we die to our old selves, let our old houses tear down ,He will build us a new home . We don’t need to know what it will look like, or even the interior .. leave that up to him ( the builder) . Not only will He build a strong foundation , fill it with beautiful things, but as the inside and the framing is being done , you will see the outside start coming together . You also do not need to worry because if someone messes up your house or you mess up your house you have 24 hour maintenance .

Our job is not to build, fix , or even inspect the home . Our job is to ask for the inspection,Acknowledge the repairs, then ask for the builder to come repair them ! We must believe he will come, even if we made the damage and choose to follow the plan perfectly paved for us. This is so important because we don’t know the plans the builder has , so how will we know where to start ?

Then we continue to read the manual and ask for an explanation of the instructions to avoid these damages in the future .

Most importantly. We must not let the house start looking like your old house . Because of a lack of maintenance and because you feel like you have too many repairs too frequently . God is the maintenance man and the builder ! His warranty has only one catch ! You must ask and believe he can do it and take the steps to avoid damage. His maintenance is available at all times and there is no limit to how many times he will come repair the damage!

My friends , don’t be afraid of leaving the old home ( your old self) that caused you hurt , pain , instability, and a foundation that was one storm away from collapsing .

I understand being excited about your future with God , but also not knowing how to accept a gift freely. I understand being weighed down by all the building and repairs being done , that you want to end the deal and just stay in the comfort of your broken home.

You see , I have been riddled with anxiety, fear, and depression from a very young age. It wasn’t until I met the lord that I realized I am not really sure I ever really had peace. When I received peace , it was foreign and honestly I was a bit apprehensive . For anyone who meets Jesus after only knowing being sick , really understands that , yeh, health sounds amazing … but do I even want to be healthy? How scary is it that I have managed my sickness all these years by helping others to feel alive and dosing myself with half of the medication Jesus offers .

Like half sick 😩 ….

There is a story in the Bible about a man who was unable to walk for 38 years and Jesus asked if he wanted to get well ! When I heard the story , I did NOT think .. wow , why did God have to ask him if he wants to be well ?

No, I sat there bawling my eyes out because I truly believe God was asking me the same. I understood why the man had to be asked .

Of course I want peace , of course I want healing . But , I have never had it before …. I’m not sure I can live without anxiety and depression it became my identity since I was a child . I don’t even know what it feels like . Peace used to be a scary word , because then comes destruction.

But oh let me tell you, there is life after anxiety and depression. It tries to creep it’s head but is no longer my identity. This is why .

See Jesus is one of those top notch builders . He not only builds the home , he is also there giving you strength and slowly revealing to you progress. Along the way, others who have had him come and remodel their homes,brings words of affirmation to assure you that you are in good hands . Your community reminds you to keep a good line of communication at all times with the builder , because I mean …. This is a God size job after all.

Today my friends God is asking , do you want to be healed ?

God is asking , are you willing to let that house come down and allow him to rebuild it this time?

Are you half sick like I was so many years , not ready to go all in and let the lord transform from the inside out.

For me, I first had to read some reviews. I needed to know others experience . I needed to know what this builder could do. That’s why it so important to share your testimony.

When you are ready to seal the deal.The first step is believing . John 3:16! Then Get to know him and trust him. Daily call the builder and let him inspect and handle all the repairs needed and thank him for a job well done. Read the instruction book daily in order to get to know your new home and the one who built it. Remember, Reading this contract and knowing exactly what is being offered also reminds you of what you are promised.

The good news…

The terms of agreement is infinite so no need to worry about renewing your contract ❤️.

Hebrews 3:4 For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything.

Rebuilder by Carrolton Band
Family DIY project 2019

More than a shape…

This morning as I was headed downstairs, I was eagerly anticipating what sort of message my husband left for me. When he drives to work by himself he leaves a sweet, funny or encouraging note and sticks it somewhere he knows I will see it .

Most of the time the kids find it first because they rush down the stairs also looking for it .This morning his message was different than the rest and the kids quickly took notice . Jayden said, “mom, he didn’t write anything … he just cut out a shape.” Then she quickly handed it to me in disappointment. She was so used to seeing a message written down on each note , that even though there was a note ,there wasn’t a big obvious message written down that she could plainly see . To me though, being the recipient, very quickly I saw that the beautiful shape was a sweet freshly cut out heart …

I reminded Jayden ,”daddy couldn’t write a message because he didn’t have a pen 🖊, since we brought them all to the basement .” She said “ooooooooh yeah!!!! “ in her funny Jayden voice . She then looked at the shape again and said “it’s a heart ! Why didn’t I see that before ? “ I said ,” it’s because you looked for a message that was obvious and written down to know what daddy was trying to say . When you didn’t see it you got discouraged . Also you were trying to receive the message that was for mommy.

We can so obviously see what God is trying to say when the message is written plainly or through revelations of others . They know how the father speaks to them and they share the excitement. Only through a personal relationship will you begin to see how God communicates with you . Oh how I wish I knew this years ago.

See, I spent most of my life doubting the way God spoke to me because of a pastor that told me God didn’t reveal things to women. Despite reading truth, I figured I missed something because I wasn’t raised in the traditional church setting. For years I kept quiet and wrote in my journals and felt like I was in a relationship I had to hide .

Through trials and tribulations I finally reached the ultimate low . I literally went to bed knowing I was somehow a mistake and that Living was not for me. I had this yearning for speaking truths in a different way then I have seen , but didn’t have anyone before me that I knew, that was a woman and did the same . ( thank God I do now) I was done anyway , so I finally spoke out loud all the hurt and pain that I have held onto for so long. Then morning came . I had joy! I can’t explain it. It was literally just like that ! after two years of just, yeah serious hurts.
I was refreshed, I was seeing these beautiful revelations I used to see back when I was in “hiding” of sorts . The more I shared with others the more frequent these moments would come to me . I also realized it never stopped , I was just so clouded by depression and anxiety that I couldn’t see or even think clearly.

You see , like Jayden I thought God stopped showing these moments to me because others were right about God not revealing truth to women ,only through men . Instead of mere moments , I spent over two years in the dark staring at message after message but I was so discouraged I didn’t see it . This morning michael didn’t have a pen , so he used what he had . Just because something has changed doesn’t mean God just says , oh ok … she’s lost . Next person haha !

To my friends . Eagerly anticipate God’s voice in your relationship. He doesn’t hide himself from us. He doesn’t just stop speaking when we need him most . If you feel the way I did, remember this . It may not be a clear written out message everyone understands or even the typical way God speaks to you . This time he is doing a new thing and showing you things in a different way . Sometimes it won’t make sense to others because like my sweet daughter , the message wasn’t for her , it was for me .

So , whether you are in your valley or scaling the mountain tops , he is still speaking to you . God is good whether we are or not .❤️ He chose us , even when we fail to keep choosing him.
He doesn’t give us the cold shoulder , he actively pursues us!

Rest easy in His promises my sweet friends.

Here we go …

Today I walked outside all geared up for the typical cold day that chills even your bones . Watching me, each of my children braced themselves before I opened the door as well . I thought to myself “here we go.” As I opened the door our bodies immediately reacted as if we were walking into the bitter cold . We were literally clenching our fist and straining our faces. We walked to the car saying our ooohs and ahhhs . Once we got in,we immediately sighed with relief .
As I drove down the road I happened to look at the temperature and it was a nice 42 degrees .
I smirked and continued driving . We got to our destination headed out the car door and I said . “Ok kids, leave your heavy coats in the car .” They looked at me crazy … “what?” So again , I said “leave your heavy coats in the car.” So they did .
As soon I opened the door they braced themselves again with their heavy sweaters and said “wait, it’s not even that cold.”

I said “exactly! We braced ourselves for the bitter cold when it was only cool. We reacted too quickly without really taking a chance to realize the conditions we were actually in .

This is what happened to me in life. I was getting so used to the bitter cold that my body no matter the situation bad or good, always reacted as if it were bad. I had grown so accustomed to bracing myself that my body reacted accordingly.

I missed out on great opportunities to get to know people because I was so tired of even allowing myself to be in a situation at all. God showed me that it’s time to leave the “heavy coat” in the car because he already knows what is in store , and it’s just not necessary for this next season.

To my friends, do not miss trying new things or even old things that you loved , just because it was a bad experience. Even if it was a bad experience several times. Step out again… this time, with confidence . Step out again and maybe just maybe you keep experiencing the bitter cold in this area because you have not been able to step in it long enough to realize it’s actually pleasant .

This year I am Cheryl Stripling created by God for a purpose ,with an understanding of my identity in Christ.

This year , I will try not to step into any condition already bracing myself for the worst .
If I get hurt again doing what I love , it’s a heck of a lot better than avoiding it and feeling lost.
This year, the phrase, “Here we go” will have a new meaning. Instead of anxiously grumbling the phrase awaiting discomfort , I will joyfully speak it with hopeful anticipation and faith !

The thorn in my side…

There are times in life where you feel like you have given it your all , then other times you feel like you’re not enough. That’s when God steps in and says now use my strength .

I have realized there is an area in my life where I feel so wronged that I just can not be consistent . I so badly want to do good, but I am always caught off guard Every Single Time. I know any person can say … well don’t be caught off guard . I tell myself that too..here’s the thing … When something is cleverly schemed and orchestrated it will not present itself when you are strong and ready for the battle . No , see the scheme is meant to be sneaky and catch you by surprise. The scheme sometimes reveals the rotten fruit that you didn’t realize was still there . Unfortunately when that fruit is exposed in a situation , once you puncture that rotted fruit it leaks everywhere and even though you know you want it to stop, its foul juices just spew and linger.

Then here comes regret and a completely devastating feeling that somehow all the progress you have made is now meaningless.

Here is the good news . God works all these weak times out for his good. You can’t take back what you do, say, feel or even yell ( 😉) however you can quickly shift your attention away from the other person involved, to yourself. I don’t know about anyone else, but I can come up with some pretty convincing arguments to God about how this other person is this and that , and so on …. They can even be true attributes of that person. You can even be right in your stance . But ultimately it boils down to your reaction and who you can change , and that’s you.
It doesn’t seem fair .. I know . Why do I have to do all the work on me and this person doesn’t ? The reason is this . This is your weakness, your thorn … this is an area where only God himself can heal and when that happens he will be completely glorified because let’s face it , you have tried everything you can.

In this area I am weak and at the end of my strength . So now I can only work on me , pray strategically , and know that Gods power is completed in my weakness.

It’s uncomfortable and even awkward to pray this . Trust me , I know . It’s Going against every part of my being and honestly annoyed attitude. But I pray and Thank God for this exposed fruit sent to humiliate me and make me believe I am a lost cause in this area. Just Turn the tables and thank God, because now it is brought to light and you can turn from it and actively choose to chip away at it ! Yeh the smell of the rotted fruit may linger for a little while, just remind yourself … you have thrown it out and don’t let it stop you from moving forward.

Trust God and do good . He’s not surprised by us!

You will be ready to Walk…

Good morning ❤️ 

This morning as I was taking our youngest child out of her car seat , I already knew throwing on her socks and shoes was going to be a part of the task . I knew as her mother , that these articles of clothing are essential during the bitter cold months .So skipping this step could result in her being unprotected from the cold. I also like to throw a blanket over her because of the added cold breeze that Creeps on to the parts of her skin that is slightly exposed.

After all the steps I have taken to protect her from the cold she is about to face , she still has a reaction when I pull her out of the car from the cold hitting her face and she buries her face into my chest . As she is wrapped up and completely shielded at this point , we still have to walk through the cold temporarily. But, what my child has grown to realize is , when we walk into our home , she will experience a warmth right when we step foot in the door. As soon as that happens, she lifts her head up and wants to walk. She doesn’t know that In order to have that assurance of warmth I had to pay the light bill, she just knows it will be there .

That is how it is in this season with God right now . I am in the warmth of my season but I know uncomfortable conditions are coming. I have to face the cold , but my father shields me . Even though he shields me , I take an extra step of precaution to cling tighter to him because in the time of walking through the season of bitter cold, I want my face planted on the chest of my father. As I am held, shielded, and planted during this season of bitter cold, I know that the warm step that overcomes the cold around me is coming . My sweet child just knew without a doubt that her relief was coming . I too know it is coming , but not because I sat there and warmed the house on my own , but because my father already paid the bill .

For my friends today I would like to say this. Don’t be discouraged if you are headed in the right direction and are walking through the bitter cold still. This time you are shielded, protected, planted firmly in the father who has promised a way out . Stand firm and stand firm ❤️ Because when the father brings you into your season of warmth, it will be time to raise that head up and walk !