Behind the scenes: Sam and I grew up together…yes, the awkward years of braces, acne, and emotional roller coasters. However, neither of us got stuck in those times. Rather, she has become a powerful whirlwind of love, advocacy, and of freedom. She and her husband–Jared–just unveiled their own ministry named “Cedar & Palm” and she has the soil of Redding, California underneath her feet. Those who know her, adore her; and, those about to meet her are the lucky ones…because she has much wisdom and joy to give.

What has God written on the Tablet of your Heart?

“He has written and continues to write on my heart a story of being beautiful, enough, valued, known, wanted, worthy of love, and chosen. And I believe He is doing that because my greatest pain in life has come through not feeling those things and rather feeling that I’m seeing “proof” of the opposite. Through many different life experiences I have felt that I don’t matter, that I’m not beautiful enough, and that I’m a loser.

But you see, I’m a lover — I love people and Jesus passionately. I love life, food, my hobbies, and my work. And when my genuine love and zeal for people and Jesus have been misunderstood–and even rejected, it has left me feeling alone, not known, not worth knowing, and just unlovable. Call me sensitive, but my heart is fully awake (praise God) and so I feel! And sometimes that does indeed come at a cost. But while the enemy has tried MANY times in my life to prove to me that I am the opposite of what God has written on my heart and what He has called me, Jesus has fought for me faithfully and with a steadfast LOVE to show me who I am. When I live out of that truth, I have a healthy, whole, free heart, and it is contagious. 

And that leads into what He has written for me to DO: to teach this and empower people to live whole and redeemed. He’s shown me how important it is to be rooted in my relationship with Him, first. When I’m not choosing to be connected with Him daily, I am shorter with people and feel like I’m running on fumes in life. That is simply because I can’t GIVE to people what I haven’t RECEIVED from the Lord. My heart, while fully awake, is like a broken canister — it’s miraculously whole and overflowing when in connection with the Lord, but when not in connection, it’s leaking and needy and desperately searching for that filling in other places and people. That broken canister comes out in anger (which really is just a DEEP sadness in my heart) both toward myself and toward those who love me most, but it once came out in an addiction to pornography many years ago.

And what the Lord has written on my heart by me understanding my own story is to teach others about being rooted deeply in the Lord and bearing fruit from that place. When we don’t, we wonder why our lives (or as I like to refer to them, “trees”) bear bad, tasteless, and even painful, fruit. I may have once born fruit of a porn addiction but just because that fruit is gone doesn’t mean my tree is fixed…because now there is anger being produced. And I get to ask myself as well as others, “what’s going on to produce this pain/sin?” It’s about the “why” – the root issue. That answer is the key to living an abundant life with a whole heart.”

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