Into the Garden – Book Pre-Release

“Its not just me.”

That was the response of Selam, one of the women who had come out of the commercial sex industry into our rehabilitation home, as I shared my testimony in a group meeting one morning in Ethiopia. Even though my story was far removed from their stories of brokenness, it was still a story of brokenness. Something that is broken has no measure of HOW broken it is. If its broken, its broken.

We are all broken. And if my story of brokenness, shared on the pages of this book, resonates with someone, it was worth it.

If my being vulnerable and open allows someone to share their story so that they can find healing too, my reward is received.

If an illustration I used speaks into the life of one individual so that they see that there is hope beyond the struggle, then my goal is achieved.

Its time.

April 2019 is the time to let you all Into the Garden…

I’m opening it up and hoping that you will join me on the journey of restoration that God so beautifully displays in the Garden.

We were created for The Garden. The Garden of Eden was the perfect plan God had for humanity but we were displaced from there because someone ate some fruit! *insert face plant emoji* Yet somewhere in the depths of our being, our heart longs to return.

Actually, that fruit had power that God knew we couldn’t handle. He knew it would kill us because our minds and heart would start bearing the burden of things we were never meant to carry. We end up boxing ourselves into confined spaces that keep us from flourishing and being all that He wanted us to be.

This book invites you into the journey of discovering that journey of the Garden. I share my life story so that people can connect their stories and know that there is hope that goes beyond their current circumstances. I write it to encourage people who may feel like they’re not growing, not flourishing and not being all that they were created to be. My prayer is that what God shared with me as I wrote this book, will break you out of your current situation and launch you into your destiny.

In her first published book, New Zealand author, Michelle Zombos, compels the reader to live outside the comfort zones of their existence. In that place (portrayed in this book as the Garden), restoration is able to take place. As the undoing of the “known” makes way for the unveiling of your best self, a new identity is formed. If you have been through situations where abuse, addiction, poverty mindsets or cultural expectations have tried to keep you bound, this book will help to set you free. Through her story of healing and freedom, Michelle hopes to inspire each one of you to live out your best life and break the chains of whatever has held you back!

If you purchase before March 20th, you’ll get the first chapter emailed to you! Subscribe to my blog so we can keep you updated on the actual launch date!

Lots of Love, Michelle


The January’s and February’s of our Healing Heart

being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
‭‭Philippians‬ ‭1:6‬ ‭NIV‬‬

When the first of February rolls around and you’re looking back on the year so far, perhaps like me, things haven’t turned out as you planned. Maybe you’ve messed up a New Years resoluttion, or failed to reach a monthly target. Hard times may have deflated the zeal you stepped into this new year with or maybe a streak you were on got missed for a day.. or two.

Well there’s good news. Every January is followed by a February. (At leasr in the Gregoria calendar- in Ethiopia they have 12 thirty day months and one 5 day month. But we have the luxury of a mixed set of days for each month we face.)

Why is this a luxury, you ask? Because when you’ve done a long 31 day month, a 28 day one doesn’t seem so bad. The month is cut shorter this time around, making it bite sized and easier to digest.

Recently I went to a circuit class at the gym and it consisted of three rounds of ten stations. The first round was a minute and a half, the second was just a minute and the third was thirty seconds. The first round seemed so long! My body was adjusting to the new demands I was putting on it and my mind was about ready to tap out.

The second round wasn’t so bad as now I knew what I was doing and there wasn’t as much thought put into it, but it still went on long enough to make me want to give up!

The third round was easy! In fact, in the third round I was actually starting to enjoy it and felt like I could go another round at that 30 second rate.

And I thought about how this applies to life:

Life is hard. No one said it was easy and no one promises there won’t be pain. There will always be pain. But somehow we manage to push through the pain and our lives are adjusted to take on the next round with a little more ease.

As life continues to progress, and you find Your Trainer who hovers over you and motivates you to keep pushing through, your focus starts to shift. You start to see the benefits of what you’ve been through- even if it was ugly and traumatic, something good will come out of it.

Relationships are formed that would never have been formed if you didn’t go through that thing, or a career move may have been initiated because you were forced out of a position, or maybe you just started taking better care of your health because your diagnosis made you aware that it was more of a priority than you thought.

While change is uncomfortable and difficult, there’s always a point that you get to where you start to gain momentum and find your flow. Things start to become a bit easier and not take so long anymore. Then you actually find yourself enjoying that thing you used to loathe and you feel like you could go another round.

So it is with the January’s and February’s of our healing heart. Maybe you had some work done on a layer of your heart in January and it was hard and took longer than you expected. My encouragement is this:

Because of what you learned in January, your February will be shorter. The next lesson you have to learn won’t take so long. Though you feel like you have to start all over again, you’re already one step ahead of your game. You did the hard work. You broke some ground. Now you’ve just got to till it. Now comes the sowing and then will come the reaping. Coz guess what? January is coming around again next year.

Let’s pray.

Father God, we thank you that you heal our hearts and that you do it in layers. Thank you for your kindness and your mercy and your grace. Help me to be kind to myself in this journey of not yet and still becoming. Help me to remember that things will get easier and they won’t take so long next time because you have already built in me what I need from the lessons I learned last time. Bless me with a greater wisdom as I learn from my past and help me to pursue You when I’m not sure if I can get through. You are the greatest Teacher and Trainer of all. I love you Lord. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.

This is the last devotional in my series


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Wholeness is a Choice

And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked.”
‭‭John‬ ‭5:9‬ ‭KJV‬‬

He had been an “invalid” for thirty-eight years, this man. Sitting by the pool of Bethesda, waiting for someone to help him into the miracle stirring waters, he met a man named Jesus.

Jesus has pity on him knowing that he had been there for years and He asked him a question I believe He asks all of us at some point in our lives… “Do you WANT to be made well?” Or in the KJV it says something akin to “will you be made whole?”

See, being whole and healed is a choice. We can have the best excuses as to why we don’t need healing, why we’re not qualified to receive wholeness or why we are satisfied living a broken life for another season; but none of them will get us in the water.

Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

This man found out he didn’t even need the water. He just needed Jesus. Jesus can change us in a moment if we let Him. But in order to take in His living streams of healing, we need to step out of the mainstream way of thinking.

As holistic beings, we need to be ready to make sacrifices for holistic healing. Denying yourself of the comfort zone you live in will ultimately free you to be in a zone that’s laced with grace. Grace for your weakness, grace for your ignorance, grace for the changes that are so unfamiliar to you that you feel like an alien in your own skin.

But be encouraged.

Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the LORD, The Creator of the ends of the earth, Neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, And the young men shall utterly fall, But those who wait on the LORD Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭40:28-31‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

This tiresome work of pursuing wholeness and healing, is not a journey you have to go at alone. It’s not a place that you’re left at in order to fend for yourself.

It’s actually a beautiful space where you can discover the renewing strength of an Almighty God. It’s an opportunity to be aligned with His power- because when you run out of your own, you’ll find yourself running into His. He has a greater knowing of who you are becoming and He will fight with you to make sure you get there.

So choose wholeness. Choose healing. And choose to keep moving forward even when you don’t feel like it.

In Jesus name.

Let’s pray.

Dear Jesus, thank you that you see us by the water. Thank you that you stop and ask us if we want to be made well. Today I choose to be made whole and to do the hard work it takes to be healed. Please grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference. In Jesus name, Amen.


When Life Gets too Hot to Handle..

But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the Lord will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness,”
‭‭Malachi‬ ‭3:2-3‬ ‭NIV‬‬

A wood fire burning to cook food in Ethiopia. Photo Cred: Samira Messner

During my first summer in Sydney, Australia, I remember feeling like I was literally going through a fire. The heat was so hot that I felt like I could hardly breathe. My body was telling me to go back to Ethiopia where the sun shines but cold winds always blow. Yet, My spirit was telling me to stay in Sydney and so an internal fire was ignited too.

Internally and externally, I felt like I was going through a fire. It didn’t feel good. It was so uncomfortable and it brought ugly parts of my heart to the surface of my mind.

God is kind. We always have to remember that when we feel like we’re going through a fire. In His kind love for us He wants us to be better people. He wants to restore us back to His original intent for us by burning away the aspects of our character that weren’t meant to be a part of us in the first place. Those aspects that continually bring us pain and hurt our relationships; those aspects that came as a result of hurt that we have been through or misguided judgments that have never been addressed before. He knows what’s best for us and in His kindness, He draws the best out of us.

But in order for the best to come to the surface, the dirt and grime from our past needs to escape first. These usually manifest in the fire and we might be the only ones who see it, but if it’s ugly enough, it will make even us feel like we need to escape the heat of being confronted by our weaknesses.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”
‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭12:9‬ ‭NIV‬‬

You know what? Your weakness is an opportunity for Christ’s power to be displayed. He’s not ashamed of your weakness so you don’t need to be either.

You aren’t expected to be perfect- we all have flaws. And as He highlights areas of your life that you need to work on, He will help you work on it- that’s how His power is displayed. He doesn’t bring it to the surface to block you from your destiny, He brings it to the surface so it doesn’t.

Remove the dross from the silver, and a silversmith can produce a vessel;”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭25:4‬ ‭NIV‬‬

He skins away the dross in your life so that you can be a better vessel of His. Remember-You’re His vessel and the vessel is in safe hands when it’s in the hands of a King. Trust His wisdom as you go through the fire with Him.

Let’s pray

Heavenly Father, thank you that you have a plan and a purpose for my life. I thank you that you know who I need to be in order to fulfill that plan and purpose. Help me as I go through this fire to trust you and to persevere. Teach me daily how to let go of the parts of me that don’t bring you glory. And may You be glorified in the process, in Jesus name I pray. Amen


If you only knew!

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭2:8-10‬ ‭NIV‬‬

If you only knew
How much God has in store for you. How much He wants to do through you- despite your broken heart; despite your messy past and your mishaps and failures and what nots.

Before you were even born, God had a plan for your life. It wasn’t conditional on you being “good.” He’s not Santa, making a list and checking it twice- trying to find out who’s naughty and nice. He promises to deliver on His promises anyway!!

God is always working where we do not see. He’s always doing something on your behalf to set you up for something great. When He says He will do something, be assured that He will do it.

Your own dreams and aspirations to do something good and noble, something prosperous and positive, something beneficial to the community or just to your family- He was a part of putting those desires in you. And when He puts an idea in your head, He will guide you into making it become a reality.

for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.”
‭‭Philippians‬ ‭2:13‬ ‭NIV‬‬

He is the best dream giver. The best dreams you have- when they’re not about selfish ambition or causing harm to others, they’re His dreams for you.

When you’re exceptionally good at something- that thing that you find easy but all your friends marvel at your ability to do it- that’s His grace on your life to do it. It’s a part of you fulfilling your dream. It came in the package called You and it’s a gift to the world.

If you only knew. What a gift to the world you are. Don’t keep that gift unwrapped under the Christmas tree anymore. Don’t let the package of your life be all that people get to see. Let them see the good thing that God has put in YOU and only you to do in this world.

Me, ten years ago, as a 30 year old, stepping out into the great unknown and making the dream I had as 6 year old of mine a reality. That trip changed my life forever

Beware of no man more than of yourself; we carry our worst enemies within us. Charles Spurgeon.

Don’t let yourself or your insecurity get in the way of what God wants to take you into in this next season. He’s been working on putting all the things in place for you to be successful at it since you gave your heart to Him, if not, before.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.””
‭‭Joshua‬ ‭1:9‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Let’s pray.

Dear Jesus, thank you that you gave me life and new life in you. Thank you that you have a plan for me to do good things on this earth in the short time I get to live here. Please show me your will for my life and give me the courage I need to go forward in it. You’re the great I am. Help me like Moses, to do what you have called me to do- to step out in faith and obedience and know that many many people will live better lives because you have used me to set them free. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.