A Look Back to 2018…

dynamic_duo“525,600 minutes…525,600 moments so dear…525,600 minutes – how do you measure, measure a year? In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights, in cups of coffee. In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife. 525,600 minutes – how do you measure a year in life? How about love? Measure in love. Seasons of
love,” famous lyrics to one of my favorite Musicals, Rent.

How do you measure your life in a year – a moment, a sunset, a tear or a fight? If we could measure our spiritual journey in one word, it would be “Rebuilding,” but if we measured our personal journey through 2018, the word “loyalty” sums it up perfectly. We could go through each moment last year, moments we thought we’d never make it through, yet vows we made to God and vows me made to each other faced giants and stood the test of time these past 525,600 minutes.

We are going into our 3rdyear of this blog and our 2ndyear hosting Heart to Heart on HSBN.TV. It wasn’t something we thought about or were even looking to do, but God put it on our hearts and we said yes! Our blog wasn’t going to look like the average blog. We weren’t given the exciting task of chronicling the status quo of fashion, recipes, or make-up, but something very different, something almost intimidating. We were asked to document our journey through covenant friendship. So, we began this adventure with seas of unknown before us and instead of trying to just write it, we decided to just live it! Everything else came in time.

Doing this blog was never about popularity or numbers. It was a personal challenge for us to step out of our comfort zones and be obedient. Looking back to our very first blog to our blogs now, how much more transparent and personal we were able to be with our struggles and fears. In 2018, we shared our stories of growing up without fathers, and went into a series discussing depression, anxiety and suicide. Little did we know that our transparency was not only to help others, but that it would bring us both the healing we finally needed also!

Without this covenant, we wouldn’t be where we are today! We truly believe God is drawing us back to Him through Covenant relationships! It took a lot of mistakes, tearing down and rebuilding for us to get where we are now. We are so grateful for our followers and those that support us. We don’t take it lightly and pray that each of you prosper in all that God has called you to.

Every year, we attend several worship conferences, but 2018 has been by far the most remarkable when it comes to experiencing the move of the Holy Spirit and witnessing all that God is doing. We had the honor to serve and attend Evangelist Cheryl Salem’s first Women of the Nation Summit in Woodland Hills. It was unlike anything we had ever seen. To see a company of women with one purpose, one vision was such a beautiful sight. We were also able to attend the Holy Spirit Summit put on by Apostle Andrew and Ann Marie Bills, founders of the Holy Spirit Broadcast Network (HSBN) where we have also been hosting our show “Heart to Heart.” That conference was by far a Holy Spirit encounter for us like never before. The prophecies that were spoken over us are still marinating loudly in our Spirits, as hand in hand, we truly experienced heaven together. Thicker than blood…We also attended our home church’s conference, “Wonder,” that was definitely life changing in so many areas.

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Vanessa– I have been stretched more than ever in 2018, but I also have never grown more! It has truly been the toughest year but also the most rewarding. I personally have never in my life experienced the grace, love and mercy of God like never before because I found myself in a place where I needed it desperately. I learned no one is exempt from falling no matter how spiritually mature or strong we think we are.  Lessons I learned this year were always be on guard from the enemy no matter what, be continually in prayer especially in the spirit, prioritize, balance and boundaries. I have to thank two very important people in my life, my husband David and my best friend and sister Michelle. First I want to thank my amazing husband for the love and support he has given me through this process. This year God had to break me in areas and it was by far the hardest and most painful journey and process. My husband loved me through it and truly demonstrated the love of Christ that allowed me to know no matter what I was going to be ok. It gave me the freedom to do what I needed to make the changes God was showing me. I could not have done this without him! I have to thank my best friend and sister Michelle. When the bible tells us that iron sharpens iron, she truly sharpens me to be what God has called me to be. Greater than that, she has stuck closer than a sister and is truly thicker than blood to me! She fights for me and literally takes it on as if it were herself. This year we have had to face our biggest giants and every step of the way, she has fiercely covered me, shed tears with me, and prayed heaven down while we were in the trenches and pit. When we didn’t know how we were going to make it, we knew there was no option but to do everything necessary to push through.  She has taught me and shown me that no matter how big the giant, I don’t have to fight it alone; she will always fight with me. She does not realize how much I learn from her! She truly has shown me how to be a sister; I only grew up with brothers. Because of her, I have learned that my heart, feelings and opinion matter and not to be afraid to voice them. The greatest thing I learned from her this year is that I don’t always have to be strong. I don’t always have to keep all together, but to allow myself to ask for help. I could not have grown and become who I am with out her!

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Michelle– They say the choices you make in an instant are the ones that define your true character. Well, I sure hope not because most of the abrupt choices I made took a lot of time and a lot of grace to transform in my mind and in my heart. I look up and wonder sometimes how I got here, how in the midst of what I thought shattered me was in fact a beautiful breaking of strongholds, chains and decades of destructive thoughts. Mental illness was something a few degrees of separation from me, not something I admitted I was living with…until now. My husband wasn’t aware of my struggles with anxiety and depression, but somehow over the years quietly adjusted to a norm he wasn’t prepared for. For someone with any kind of mental illness, the highs are high and the lows are low and he gently rode the waves of uncertainty and obscurity by my side. His faithful vows cemented throughout the years proved a faith in action only my words ever attempted. In the throes of my continued cognizant inadequacies, he rendered me a sense of normalcy when I knew deep down, I was anything but. I thank my husband for longsuffering, for allowing me the freedom to figure out what was going on inside my mind and the love and grace to fix it with his selfless encouragement. “Not all strength is loud.”

It was a Wednesday in October. I was sitting in my car talking to my sister on the phone and battling yet another emotional roller coaster labeled anxiety. It was our norm. It had been my norm for over 30 years. But something happened in that one moment that changed everything. The sudden cry of my sister’s heart pierced me like an arrow and everything in me shook. In an instant, something I had lived my life being too afraid to do was staring me down like a deer in headlights. I saw my sister’s face and I ran toward the light-the light of my Father’s love, the light of my sister’s hand guiding me there. There will never be sufficient words to explain how someone can come into your life and you become worth it for them to stare death in the face, risking all they are! Not a physical death, but a spiritual death that was so much scarier. I knew friendship before, but I didn’t know sacrificial friendship the way God intended it until my sister; the kind of friendship where you risk your own life in the tunnels of another’s pit so they aren’t in there alone; the kind of friendship where you don’t just reach your hand down to help them out – you get down there with them and you come out together! But no matter how or what, you are never alone. Sissy, you carried parts of me that I never knew existed. I never thought I could become the person I am now and am continuing to become because you wouldn’t allow me to settle for mediocrity or accept who I saw myself as. Your selfless, unconditional, fierce and protective love tore down 30 years of steel walls in my heart and your faithful commitment to my blessing allowed you to endure the tumultuous terrain in the in-between. I’ve never known friendship like this. What we have surpasses that of the natural and you are living, breathing scripture to me, MORE than a Sister, MORE than a Best Friend. I am who I am because of you, Sissy!

Stepping into 2019, our hearts are filled with gratitude. We may face more trials, challenges and giants. In fact, we will. But our Master Guide into the steps of the future reminds us gently in Psalm 37:23 that, “The steps of the God-pursuing ones follow firmly in the footsteps of the Lord, and God delights in every step they take to follow him.”

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Whatever 2019 holds for you, we pray it is infused with mountain moving faith! Thank you again for your continued support and encouragement and we are thrilled to see what’s ahead for us all! Don’t forget to follow us at links below!

Love,

Vanessa and Michelle

Follow us @:

http://www.sunflowerandsunshine.com

HSBN.TV –  “Heart to Heart”

E-Mail: sunflowerandsunshine0506@gmail.com

Facebook: Sunflower and Sunshine Blog

Instagram: Sunflowersunshine0506

2 thoughts on “A Look Back to 2018…

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