When I was a mere 22 year old, I packed up my Honda Accord and moved across the country from Tennessee to California. As with most young people, the first year out of college is a hot mess. Everything you thought you wanted to be wasn't what it was. And everything you thought you were going to do was different. Oh, glorious transition. I had three jobs my first year out of college--worked for a minor league baseball team (what was I thinking?) then an administrate assistant (which I was terrible at) and finally a ministry job. It took all those steps to get me to California.

I moved across the country to work for Saddleback Church as an unpaid intern in their high school ministry. (Not sure what my dad thought about me moving across the country to take a job that wouldn't pay me which meant I was going to still be under his dime for the foreseeable future). One of the perks of being an intern was living with a family while there. And let me just tell you that I hit the jackpot. I lived with the Hamers. These people are simply amazing. I believe wholeheartedly that they will be sitting at the right hand of Jesus one day. I cannot express how much I adore them.

While living there, Kathleen, the mother, dreamed up an idea of having a conference that put mothers and teenage daughters in the same room. She wanted to create an environment that fostered the relationship at the exact moment when tensions pull that very relationship apart. She wanted a place to guide young women who are at a place in life that is so easily caught up in believing the “lies of the world” and help them discover the freedom of the promises of God. The verse we set this  event on was Luke 1:45...

"Blessed is she who believed in the fulfillment of that which was promised by God."

That whole experience truly shaped how I ministered to female students. Whenever I spoke to girls, my burden was for them was to believe the promises of God. And now, as a mom of two young girls, I continue to dwell on Luke 1:45. In fact, in 2013 I chose the word "blessed" to be the word of the year for me. And I didn't choose that word because I wanted or desired a physical blessing, but I chose that word based on what it means. In the greek, the word "blessed" means "to be indwell by God and thereby fully satisfied." In 2013, I strongly desired God to move on our behalf in certain circumstances. Life was strained and tense. We had a huge home that we needed to sell in order to move to a new state. My husband started a new business with a friend. I was in a temporary full-time job that was stressful all the while having two little girls. It's not that we wanted happiness. More than anything, I desired blessedness--understanding that I am fully satisfied by God because He dwells in me. Happiness has nothing to do with blessedness. The Lord never promises happiness, good luck or favorable circumstances but He promises blessedness. You can take that to the bank. This means as a believer you receive His indwelling and the consequent peace and satisfaction no matter what the circumstances may be. Blessedness.

James 5:11 says, "Behold, we count those blessed who endured. You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome of the Lord's dealings, that the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful." That verse should be translated: Behold, we recognize those who endured as blessed (having been indwelt by God and in Him finding their full satisfaction in spite of their suffering). "Endured" means to remain under. It's the picture of an umbrella. To remain under or sustain a load of miseries, adversities, or persecutions in faith. Some of us maybe need to carry around an umbrella even if the sun is out just so we can remember that. "Sarah, it's not raining." "I know. I'm remaining under the protection of a God who fully satisfies." You who are enduring, remaining under His coverage, are blessed because you are indwelt by the living God--the one who remained under throughout the worst possible circumstance of death. God has promised you blessedness.

What would it look like in your life, in your circumstances, if you picked up your umbrella and claimed the promise of blessedness? What areas of your life seem to be falling apart? Your health? Your marriage? Your lack of marriage? Parenting? Blessed is she (you and me) who believed in the fulfillment of that which was promised by God."