When-I-Am-Not-Enough-blog-title-graphic

When I Am Not Enough: Beat Doubt and Follow Your Calling in Spite of Fear

Jerusha Agen Fighting Fear 68 Comments

Jerusha: I’m excited to welcome Michele Morin, blogger extraordinaire, to the Fear Warrior Blog today! Michele always challenges and inspires me as she digs deep into Scripture to highlight the truths we need to apply to our lives. Let’s give her a big FW community welcome!

By Michele Morin

Bible-coffee-mug (1280x936)Three-hole punched and organized into a shiny new notebook, my teaching notes were ready to go. The call had come, I had done the long work of study and heart preparation – and I was terrified. Tiny voices of doubt nibbled away at my confidence:

“You’re such a spiritual lightweight! Nothing you can discern from Scripture could ever be helpful to these women!  You’re wasting your time – and theirs!”

When I allow anxiety and my feelings of inadequacy to be the loudest voice in the room, I’m tempted to hand my notes over to someone else:  “Here, you do this.  I’m not experienced enough. I’m not brave enough. I’m . . . not enough.”

Smiling as I read Scripture, it’s clear to me that I’m not the first God-follower to plead inadequacy in the midst of an assignment. Moses famously “reminded” God that he had never been granted the gift of gab. Jeremiah waved his birth certificate under God’s nose, as if the One who had formed him, chosen him, and assigned him to a prophetic ministry might have confused His young servant with a much older, more experienced servant of the same name.

In the moment, saying yes to God can feel risky. The outcome of obedience is hidden from view, for the following life is like a film that we experience one frame at a time. My fiery and faith-filled yes at the outset may lead to blessing and fruitful outcomes; there may be Red Sea crossings and miraculous provisions of nourishing bread and refreshing water at just the right time.

Or – my assignment may be more like Jeremiah’s.

Who in her right mind is eager to embrace a call to “pull up and tear down,” to “tear apart and demolish,” and then, after the dust has settled, to “build and to plant?”  (Jeremiah 1:10)  Certainly not Jeremiah, but it’s interesting to note that God did not respond to Jeremiah’s anxiety with a slap on the back and a “You’ve got this, my boy” pep talk. Instead, he gently turned Jeremiah’s anxious eyes away from his own inexperience and toward a greater reality:

man-on-mountain-overlooking-mountains (1280x881)“My presence will go with you,” God promised, “and when you need words, my son, they will come to you at My holy command.”

God demonstrated his intentions in a pair of visions, the first a comforting view of an almond tree – shaqed in the Hebrew and a providential pun on the word shoqed for watching  (Jeremiah 1:11,12). God wanted the young prophet to know that He was watching over the course of history. He had prepared the way and set the conditions in place for Jeremiah’s prophetic ministry. The time was right, and the eyes of God would follow Jeremiah like a floodlight at center stage.

The vision of the boiling pot revealed the conditions under which Jeremiah would serve. It was true that evil would overtake the land as Babylonian armies were poised to wash over the nation of Israel in a scalding wave of destruction, but even in this, God reassured Jeremiah’s sensitive spirit with promises of supernatural strength (Jeremiah 1:13-16). How else could he have expected to become “a fortified city, an iron pillar, and a bronze wall” against corrupt rulers, the religious establishment, and a wayward people (Jeremiah 1:17-19)?

Over and over, God made it clear that Jeremiah’s ammunition against anxiety was not found in backbone and bootstraps, but, instead, in the strong presence of a delivering God. Living one’s way into this view of the world requires what Francis Schaeffer called a “moment-by-moment faith,” a taking stock of the adequacy of God – and taking it often. Schaeffer said it plainly:

This morning’s faith will never do for this noon. The faith of this noon will never do for supper time. The faith of supper time will never do for the time of going to bed. The faith of midnight will never do for the next morning. Thank God for the reality for which we were created, a moment-by-moment communication with God himself. We should indeed be thankful because the moment-by-moment quality brings the whole thing to the size which we are, as God has made us. (True Spirituality, page 92)

Do-not-be-afraid-of-them-graphicWhen the weight of my own small assignment bears down and I feel the excuses begin to bubble up, I’m learning to let truth inform my feelings. Sure, it’s true that I do most of my studying on the fly, and that I scrawl rough drafts longhand into half-used homeschool notebooks. It’s also true that the percent of time I spend doing laundry and feeding ravenous teenagers exceeds by far the moments spent in loftier, “more spiritual” pursuits. Even so, for this moment, I am called:

God has given me this class to teach; He has set the words for this blog post afire in my heart or nudged me to make this phone call to a troubled friend. If I am operating at His command, I can rest in the same assurance that carried Jeremiah:

“I made you.
I called you.
I will go with you.”

Have you ever felt inadequate? Is fear holding you back from doing what God has called you to do? Please share!


MicheleMorin (753x1134)Michele Morin is the wife of a patient husband, Mum to four young men and a daughter-in-love (soon to be two!), and Gram to one adorable grandboy (with another on the way!).

Her days are spent homeschooling, reading piles of books, and, in the summer, tending a beautiful (but messy) garden and canning the vegetables. She loves to teach the Bible, and is privileged to gather around a table with the women of her church.

She blogs at Living Our Days where she writes about the books she is reading, the grace she is receiving, and the lessons from God’s Word that she is trusting.

Connect with Michele on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Comments 68

  1. Bev Murrill

    Oh gosh, Michele, I’ve been so blessed at your timely words on so many occasions… and this is no exception. I bless God that you are wiling to put yourself out there and never would have guessed that you are overcoming these feelings… Emmanuel.

    1. Michele Morin

      Really? Funny how we perceive ourselves so differently than others see us. There are days when I picture myself fairly bristling with question marks. I do know, however, that the encouragement of friends like you has spoken confidence into this heart of mine.
      Blessings to you, Bev!

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  2. Michele Morin

    Good morning, Jerusha! Thank you for the warm welcome here, and for sharing my story — and the story of Jeremiah’s trust in God — with your readers.
    Blessings to you!

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      Jerusha Agen

      Thank you, Michele, for being my guest today and sharing so honestly about your own struggle with doubt and anxiety. It’s a struggle we all have, but we can win–in Christ, we have the victory! Thank you for showing us through Scripture how we can defeat such anxiety. It’s a pleasure to have you on the FW Blog! 🙂

  3. Bev @ Walking Well With God

    Michele,
    Oh yes, I have felt fear and anxiety….especially with an anxiety disorder. I almost didn’t go to She Speaks conference because I had this anxiety about walking into a large room of women I didn’t know. I was convinced that they were all better writers and speakers than I was. What place did I have among them? But I had to continually remind myself that God goes with me…I am not alone. In His strength I am adequate. I love the idea of moment-by-moment faith. God’s grace and mercy is sufficient for the moment I’m in…not the future. Great reminder. When we are about to embark on something big for God, the enemy will come after us with a vengeance….go get ’em Michele (in His Strength).
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

    1. Michele Morin

      Thanks, Bev. And I’m so glad that you overcame the comparison and the fear and took yourself and your gifts to SheSpeaks.
      I’m thankful for the courage you have brought to your recent surgery, recovery, illnesses, etc. and am trusting along with you for the next step in this journey!

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      Jerusha Agen

      I can relate, Bev! I, too, struggle with anxiety. You’re so right, God’s grace is sufficient for you and me in whatever moment we’re facing. And His awesome strength is more than enough to defeat any danger, evil, intimidation, or anything else that we fear. Your comment reminds me of one of my favorite fear-fighting verses: “I have set the Lord always before me; because He is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken” (Psalm 16:8). I hope you’ll stop by again to be encouraged in your battle against fear!

  4. Petra

    Michele, Thank you for that beautiful reminder that the Lord will always be enough for the task that He directs us to. I have always tended to allow my feelings to mask the truth and it is encouraging to know that others deal with that same struggle. Blessings! And thank you for sharing your story with us.

    1. Michele Morin

      Petra, I was so encouraged by the story of Jeremiah — an aspect of that Old Testament book that I have missed on previous readings! And this question: would I want to miss the joy of God’s good plan in order to serve my fear? Jeremiah devotes many pages to the idolatry of Israel in his time, and I’m in danger of making my fear an idol when I bow to its wishes.

      I’m thankful for your presence here, today, Petra. It’s always good to know that there are others who share the same struggles.

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        Jerusha Agen

        Oh, yes, Michele! You’re right–even fear can become an idol in our lives when we allow it control. We start choosing our actions and thoughts based on our fear and–yep–it’s an idol! Thanks for this reminder. Petra, your are definitely not alone! My feelings so often shroud the truth–I need God and His Word to cut through the emotions and remind me of the truth again and again.

  5. Judy

    Michele–thank you for this excellent expression of the hearts of so many of us, and for the encouragement the scripture brings! I love your writing–thank you for letting the Lord make you an encouragement to many readers!

    1. Michele Morin

      Thank you, Judy. I have been studying in Jeremiah for some time now, and it’s great to have the opportunity to share his words and his life and the impact they are making on my own story.

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    1. Michele Morin

      Hi, Patricia! As a reader of your Logan Point series, I’m honored to be able to share some words with you. Thanks for all the encouragement you offer to readers along with the delight of a great story!

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  6. Robin Revis Pyke

    I love these words, “saying yes to God can feel risky” and “I made you. I called you. I will go with you.” Stepping out in faith can be intimidating to me. I’m an introvert who loves to support women. When words of the enemy pervade my mind and I hear, “who do you think you are?” I’ve learned to reply, “A Daughter of the Most High King.” It’s not always easy and some days it may take a bit more time to step out but I will remind myself – He made me. He called me. He will go with me. Thank you Michele for always sharing your heart.

    1. Michele Morin

      I feel like I’m on a game show and want to shout out: “Good answer! Good answer!”
      Robin, you’re so right in thinking (and acting upon) the truth that in Christ we are enough, and God’s calling always comes with God’s enablement! Thanks for your encouragement here, there, and everywhere!

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      Jerusha Agen

      I’m an introvert who’s called to speak to others, too, Robin! I can definitely relate to your the battle, as I go through struggles with my fear (stage fright, anyone?) when I’m simply trying to communicate what God says about fear. Ironic? Or maybe just God’s plan. 🙂 I love your answer to the “who do you think you are?” question. Thanks for joining the conversation today!

  7. Helene

    I laughed out loud at the thought of Jeremiah waving his birth certificate under God’s nose! I always love swinging by and seeing what you’ve written Michele!

    1. Michele Morin

      Aren’t we just that presumptuous thought? At least, I am! I act as if I have secret knowledge that God has not taken into account. And, therefore, His promises do not apply to my situation. “Congratulations, Michele! You have lived your way into a mess that God cannot fix!”
      And I love how God responded to Jeremiah with such love and patience. Thanks be to God, He is “gracious, merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness.”

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        Jerusha Agen

        Love that, Michele–I certainly seem to make such exceptions in my mind, too, as if God’s promises somehow aren’t true in the situation in which I’m afraid. But they’re ALWAYS true! And the times of fear are when we most need to remember and cling to them. (Btw, I chuckled at that image of Jeremiah and his birth certificate, too) 🙂

  8. Sue Donaldson

    Totally relate in all ways. I don’t even like being called “a speaker” bc I don’t want to fall from whatever platform God puts me on. On the other hand (there is usually at least one other hand) – I love speaking! So I had to sit down in the fact that God called me, enables me, strengthens me, empowers me – all by Him and for Him. And each time, I go through all of it again. Humility is where He can use us best. I’m not enough w/o Him. PS what I don’t like on the blog waves is the battle cry: YOUAREENOUGH. because we aren’t. writing on that next week…

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      Jerusha Agen

      Love your point, Sue. That popular opinion that “you are enough” irks me, too, because we’re NOT enough. The only good we can ever accomplish is only by, through, and because of our God who enables us. It’s all Him! I’ll have to check out your post next week on that topic! Thanks for joining the conversation today.

    2. Michele Morin

      I get that, Sue. It’s so easy to misplace our trust. I’ll look forward to hearing your words on this topic, because the truth is that we are in need of a great salvation. Anything beyond that is so much grace!
      Smiling because the whole “speaker” thing shifts me into uneasy as well. Not sure if it’s a cop out or not, but I really prefer to call myself a teacher — and I’ve been doing that so long I don’t get the shivers over it.

  9. MJ

    Your post definitely resonated with me, Michele. As believers, God so often has us grow by asking us to do things for which we feel inadequate or are afraid to do — just as He did with Jeremiah and Moses, as well as Gideon, Mary, the disciples, and so many other Biblical figures. Your post is a great reminder of how God does this to show us (yet again!) how inadequate we are, how much we need Him, and how only His power and His Person are enough for us to make it through the day, or even just this moment. By stepping out in faith into His all-sufficient grace, we prove His faithfulness and Christ gets all the glory. His frequent reminder to me is what He said to Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” Thanks for your encouragement today!

    1. Michele Morin

      What a great scriptural reminder! And I come back all the time to the truth that God did not say to Paul, “My grace is sufficient because my strength is made perfect in your gifting” or “in your winning personality.” God may choose to work most visibly in an area that I would consider my weakness because His power will be put on display most beautifully in the miracle of it all.
      Thanks, M.J., for reading and for taking time to comment.

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        Jerusha Agen

        Such a great point, Michele and MJ! Thanks for this reminder that we need not fear being weak, for it is then that Christ’s power is magnificently on display and He is glorified!

  10. Cheryl

    Have I ever felt inadequate? Oh, my friend! Just every day! I cling to the song, “I Need Thee Every Hour”…I do not know how anyone makes it through one hour without the dear Lord. I totally understand your feelings of inadequacy. It seems that I am continually reminded of Jesus’ words to His disciples, “Without Me, you can do nothing”, then I hear the words “I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me”, immediately after. Nothing without Him, but all things through Him. He is our strength. Thank you for your edifying, comforting words. You are such a dear blessing to me!

    1. Michele Morin

      Cheryl, you bless me as well, and I love your vulnerability here in sharing the truth that we are completely dependent upon God for everything “that pertains to life and godliness.” I’m reminded of John the Baptist and his right alignment of himself beside Jesus: “I must decrease.” This is the path of life for us.

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      Jerusha Agen

      So beautifully said, Cheryl! You have such a rich perspective that I need to strive for. Too often, many of us (or maybe just me), go through our ordinary days depending on ourselves, thinking we’re capable of handling all but the big tragedies or problems that may crop up. But that isn’t true. You’re so right that we can’t make it through even one hour without God, whether we’re aware of it or not. Bless you for this reminder today!

  11. Lisa notes

    Excellent commentary, Michele! We all can use your words because surely all of us feel inadequacy at many points in our walk. But this: “Over and over, God made it clear that Jeremiah’s ammunition against anxiety was not found in backbone and bootstraps, but, instead, in the strong presence of a delivering God.” It’s not about us; it’s about God. I’m glad you let God lead you because it helps lead us as well.

    1. Michele Morin

      I come back to this truth all the time, Lisa, because I’m always tempted to muscle my way through things — stiff upper lip, game face, and a good stiff cup of coffee, and I’ve got this. Never mind that I’m chewing my stomach lining out or wide awake at 3 a.m. It’s a vulnerable feeling to trust more in an invisible God than in “backbone and bootstraps,” but I’m learning . . .

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      Jerusha Agen

      I love that, Lisa–“It’s not about us; it’s about God.” I’ve found that fully grasping that truth and applying it is the way to beat my stage fright and other pride-rooted fears. Thanks for joining the conversation!

  12. Candace Playforth

    First I must say just from following your blog, the word inadequate would never come to mind thinking of you teaching a class in scripture, Michele. I always learn something new when I read your words! But I truly get it. Fear and anxiety grip me far too often. Thank you for this perfect reminder: “I made you. I called you. I will go with you.” He lays opportunities to serve in our path for our reason and He will always go with us.

    1. Michele Morin

      Funny, just hearing those three phrases from the post: “I made you. I called you. I will go with you.” brought such incredible peace to me even as I read them this evening. I require regular doses of truth to counteract the lies I tell myself every day.

      Your words of encouragement about my blog content are so important to me, Candace, because I want to be sure that what I write is meaningful and God-honoring.

      Blessings to you!

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      Jerusha Agen

      Lol, I agree with you, Candace! It’s amazing to discover some people struggle with fears and doubts just like us, even when they seem to have it “all together.” You’re so right, God will enable us for the opportunities He brings our way. Thanks for stopping by!

  13. Anita Ojeda

    Thank you for this beautiful study of the verse. I love how God uses plays on words! I love even more how he sets things up ahead of time and provides a way where we can see none.

    1. Michele Morin

      Yes! I read and re-read that section with the almond tree and God watching over the course of history. It caused me to wonder if Jeremiah might have been sort of a “word nerd” (like us), and because of his infinite care and knowledge of his children, I like to imagine God throwing that little word play in just to capture Jeremiah’s heart in one more way. All I can think of is that whenever Jeremiah saw an almond tree anywhere, anytime, he would forever be reminded of the presence of God.

      Thanks, Anita, for reading and for meeting me here.

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  14. Meghan

    Michele, what a timely message for my heart. I can not thank you enough for being brave and writing this. The whole post spoke to me wildly especially that of the complete middle. Just wow. Thank you, God. I want to come through the screen and hug you. Thanks for having her here too, Jerusha!

    1. Michele Morin

      Meghan, you never fail to encourage me, so I can’t begin to tell you what a thrill and joy it is to know that my words (and my experience of flailing around in the presence of a holy God!) have been helpful to you. May the truth of God’s gifting, His calling, and His presence be our mainstay and our biggest hope in this life!

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      Jerusha Agen

      Meghan, I’m so thankful for the chance to host Michele here! How awesome that the Lord used her post to minister to you in such a powerful way. Isn’t His timing amazing? Thanks for sharing that with us!

  15. Julia Dale

    Michele,

    Your words are perfectly timed as I consider my own assignment and whether or not it really matters, is worth the effort, and even beneficial to anyone. The enemy is such a liar and we do well to remember that as we battle our doubt.

    1. Michele Morin

      Whoa, powerful thoughts, Julia. I can tend toward being such a materialist — ever practical and earth-bound — that I forget we have an enemy who is intent on our demise. Not all the lies are my own material.
      Great that you’ve mentioned this aspect of the struggle here.

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      Jerusha Agen

      Isn’t the Lord’s timing amazing, Julia? So glad Michele’s post reached you at the right time, and I pray God will grant you wisdom and assurance as you complete the task He’s given you. Thanks for stopping by!

    1. Michele Morin

      It does come down to an issue of identity, doesn’t it, Debbie. We forget who we are, just as Moses and Jeremiah forgot their position as called sons and prophets of God. He gave us our feelings for a reason, but we need to be continually in the process of informing our feelings with the truth of Scripture.
      I appreciate your presence here, Debbie.

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  16. Lois Flowers

    This was a super timely message for me too, Michele. I’m not doing much online right now, even in my own space, but I’m really glad I stopped by here today. (Jerusha, it’s nice to “meet” you via your blog as well!) Jumping in with a hearty “yes,” feeling certain that it was prompted by the Holy Spirit, followed by “What on earth am I doing?” I know exactly what that feels like! The Schaeffer quote is just what I need to remember right now.

    1. Michele Morin

      I’m glad you stopped by, as well — and I’ve enjoyed your pictures on Instagram. That “moment by moment faith” that Schaeffer wrote about keeps us close to the Source when that “What on earth . . ?” question shows up.
      Thanks, again, Lois, for your encouraging words.

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  17. Heidi

    Hi Michele, I loved reading your words. There have been many times in my life that I have “reminded” God that I wasn’t the best recruit for the job. I actually struggled with starting a blog for about a year, even though He clearly had told me to start writing. It’s amazing how we can fool ourselves and think that the stories of Moses or Jeremiah aren’t just like ours today. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Heidi

    1. Michele Morin

      Ha! I distinctly remember “reminding” God that I wasn’t good at technical things when my pastor suggested that I start blogging. We’re so short-sighted!
      So good to hear from you, Heidi, and thanks for your insights!

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      Jerusha Agen

      I can relate to that, Heidi! Since starting this blog, there have been certain posts the Lord has laid on my heart to write that I keep putting off for various reasons, most of them related to my own fears and insecurities. Praise the Lord that He is patient and faithful to remind us of the truths we see in the stories of the Old and New Testaments, often through other faithful servants like Michele! Thanks for stopping by!

  18. Nicole Kauffman

    I love this! We really aren’t the first to feel inadequate. But look at all God did through His children who were afraid and followed Him anyway! Thanks for this powerful reminder 🙂

    1. Michele Morin

      Sometimes I wonder why God included some of the “dark sides” of His servants when He set down the canon for Old and New Testaments. And then I remember my own feet of clay and realize that sinners were what He had to work with . . .
      And it’s amazing what He can accomplish through a mortal soul that is completely yielded to Him!

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      Jerusha Agen

      It really helps to know we’re not alone, doesn’t it, Nicole? And especially that the “greats” of Christian history struggled with fear and doubt. But we also have the evidence in their stories that God is bigger than our fears and will enable us to conquer them. Such hope there! Thanks for stopping by, Nicole!

  19. Brenda

    Love this, Michele. *This* task at *this* time — that’s all I’m required to focus on — and He does the rest. And, funny how that requires faith. How silly are we humans?! Great post, Michele, thank you for sharing. (And nice to meet you, Jerusha. 🙂 ) ((hug))

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      Jerusha Agen

      Yes, YES, Brenda! I’ve realized through writing for this blog and battling against fear that faith is our number one weapon against so many things, especially fears of all kinds. Nice to meet you, too, and thanks for joining the conversation! 🙂

    2. Michele Morin

      Such a clear-eyed observation, Brenda. I’m constantly trying to live in the future — borrowing against today’s grace for thing that isn’t even real yet. What an arrogant posture! Thanks for emphasizing this small phrase and reminding me of its truth for this day.

  20. Karissa

    “I made you. I called you. I will go with you.” I LOVE this! What an amazing reminder and inspiration to wholeheartedly pursue the things God has called us to despite any fear or reservation we might have!

    1. Michele Morin

      And that light must have shone so brightly for Jeremiah, for he lived in a dark time and there was so much about his ministry that could have been stamped “FAILURE!” if he had been looking for traditional, measurable results. I want to hold those three loving reminders from God very close as a deterrent to my own own fears and anxieties. Thanks, Karissa, for reading!

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      Jerusha Agen

      I love how you put this, Karissa–we are truly called to do what God wants us to do regardless of the fears that try to keep us from completing our task. Thanks for joining the conversation!

    1. Michele Morin

      How did you know that I have all those little scraps of paper with three words on them in my planner? (And that they fall out when I drop it, and I keep meaning to get organized but there are beans to pick?)
      Susan, you have the heart of an encourager, and wherever we meet, I come away thinking better thoughts about what God is doing in my life and behind the scenes. Thanks so much for finding your way over here and leaving behind encouragement and love.

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