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journey8journey6I left Jacob’s Well in 2013 with the best of intentions. I was sold out to God and I was more than willing to follow His ways. Coming back was NEVER an option for me. Then….crazy came to the party uninvited. I believe wholeheartedly that God used people I allowed back into my inner circle as His servants to get me back to where He wanted me all along, not necessarily in a physical sense, but spiritually.

journey15journey14In the world, I had everything I ever wanted…money, fame, a wonderful job, and success. But soon, my prosperity became a curse because I focused on it as a means unto itself. Everything I did then became a chore, even the things I was doing for the Lord and in His Holy Name. I faltered under the weights of doubt, scrutiny, and fear. Then it happened. I was led back into captivity and I went without looking back. I was carried back into exile.

journey13journey12Jeremiah 24:1-7 (NIV) – After Jehoiachin son of Jehoiakim king of Judah and the officials, the skilled workers and the artisans of Judah were carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, the Lord showed me two baskets of figs placed in front of the temple of the Lord. 2 One basket had very good figs, like those that ripen early; the other basket had very bad figs, so bad they could not be eaten. 3 Then the Lord asked me, “What do you see, Jeremiah?” “Figs,” I answered. “The good ones are very good, but the bad ones are so bad they cannot be eaten.” 4 Then the word of the Lord came to me: 5 “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘Like these good figs, I regard as good the exiles from Judah, whom I sent away from this place to the land of the Babylonians. 6 My eyes will watch over them for their good, and I will bring them back to this land. I will build them up and not tear them down; I will plant them and not uproot them. 7 I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the Lord. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart.

journey11journey10I love how Jeremiah says what he sees in the physical, but our God is patient and He will show us what HE needs us to see in the spiritual. He used my captivity to refine me. He knew my heart would survive walking through the fire. He knew every move that I would make that would lead me down the lonely road toward the heat. I sought relief, but He made me wait. He would eventually preserve me and bring me back to His land, His Jacob’s Well. He never stopped loving me and He never gave up on me!

journey9journey16Jeremiah then sent a message from the Lord to the exiles:

Jeremiah 29:4-14 (NIV) – This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5 “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. 6 Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. 7 Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” 8 Yes, this is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: “Do not let the prophets and diviners among you deceive you. Do not listen to the dreams you encourage them to have. 9 They are prophesying lies to you in my name. I have not sent them,” declares the Lord. 10 This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. 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.12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”

journey7journey5The world is the world and I was sent out into it for a purpose. I settled down, I put roots in the ground, I sought peace and prosperity. I prayed diligently. I moved ahead with my life. Troubles came and went like waves on a beach but I did not allow them to grow me or make me stronger. For three days, I gave up completely because of fear and uncertainty. When I came to my senses after putting myself in a near fatal condition, God brought me home, back to the place flowing with milk and honey, back to the loving arms of my beautiful family and friends. He shut every single door and opened the one that would sustain me and said to the enemy, “Enough is enough.”

journey4journey3Today, I have boundless hope for a bright future. Gone is the arrogance and pride. God is preparing me for a NEW beginning. He is developing things inside of me I did not know existed and today I can say I am a preserved good fig!

journey2journey1Esther 4:14b (NIV) – And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?

I am embarking on a new journey soon, one that will have it’s own moments of ups and downs, but I have been trained in the way I should go and I shall not depart from it. My gratitude will speak as I carry the message that was bestowed on me at the hands of His willing servants, the family and staff of Jacob’s Well. I am forever blessed and grateful!!! Always and forever, #JWGirl