It has now been seven years since I started this blog. How quickly time goes by! We are many members but we are one in the body of Christ. Therefore you do not journey alone! Hopefully through this site you will be encouraged by the fact that many things you are going through in your own walk, others are going through (or have gone through) as well. Sometimes we think we are "going through things alone." But we are not. God said that "He would Never Leave Nor Forsake Us." (Hebrews 13:5) and that "There is Nothing New Under The Sun." (Ecclesiastes 1:9). No man is an island. It's easy to forget that. May the words in this blog help you to think, encourage you in whatever spiritual state you are in and may the Lord use them to help us to grow in Him! He is the Author and Finisher of our faith!

I don’t want any readers to think that I am “promoting” being a prodigal. I definitely am not. But what I am hoping to do – is to encourage those of us who either have had or are currently experiencing a hard time in our walk to be honest about it. Personal conviction is a powerful thing, especially if you truly love the Lord. I think that sometimes the Body of Christ critiques and judges to the point where the person who is at the other end of that pointing finger feels ostracized, alienated and alone. I don't think that that is what Jesus intended. When I read through my Bible - I see a firm yet gentle restoration that Jesus ministered to those around Him. Look at John 21:15-19. When Peter who was at an all time low point in his walk - he was firmly, yet lovingly restored by Jesus. He didn't tear him down, or yell or make him feel any worse then he already did. He spoke to him lovingly and gently - and in doing so, Peter was able to repent and minister in a much more powerful, humble and confident way and it became one of the largest ministries ever.

Please note that I am only a vessel, my calling - to write. I dedicate this blog to the Lord and ask that He use it to reach out and touch whoever needs a special, loving, personal touch from Him. My hope is that the Holy Spirit allows you to see Him through the words (and not me). We go through things so that we can extend our right hand of fellowship behind us to assist and help someone else. Our Bible is the same today, as it was yesterday as it will be tomorrow. (I am far from perfect and do not profess to have all the answers...) but the good news is - Our Heavenly Father does! His love, forgiveness, grace and mercy is real!Nothing you are experiencing in your walk comes as a surprise to Him! May He be glorified through this blog and may God bless you at whatever stage in your walk you are in!~

I am a Breast Cancer Survivor

I am a Breast Cancer Survivor
I was diagnosed with early stage triple negative breast cancer on June 24th, 2010 - I have been cancer free for 7 years now. It was only a chapter in my life - NOT my life, but the impact is one that has changed my life forever. Its important for women to know that 80% of the breast cancer diagnosis come from women who don't have a history of it in their family (My family didn't). Early detection is the key. For more information please click on the pink ribbon above. It could save your life.


January 30, 2011

Tenth Avenue North - You Are More

Are You Half-Baked?

I saw a quote today that made me think... It said "Just be true to who you are."  It made sense to me. So often we spend time "worrying about what others think."   You know - I'm NOT saying that doesn't matter to some degree, but you can't get all "wound up about it." Because the truth is - people will think whatever they want to, regardless of what you do. We've all heard the saying - "You can please some of the people some of the time..."

As a Christian I believe that if we are honestly asking the Lord to change the things within us - He Will. All we have to be is open to it. There are times will He will change things within us right away, and times when He may decide it will take longer... Maybe He wants us during those times that take longer to really understand what it is He is changing, what brought us to that point.

I was making oatmeal chocolate chip cookies for my kids today and it just occurred to me.  Maybe we are like those cookies... If we rush whatever it is God is trying to do within us we will come out "half-baked." (LOL).  Cookie dough taste good - I'm sure of that we can all agree - but a fresh outta the oven - hot, slightly brown chocolate chip cookie oozes with a flavor that is incomplete when it is "just the dough" itself. Maybe we should let God do whatever it is that He is trying to do with us, instead of playing "tug of war."

If I've said it once - I've said it a thousand times - I don't have all the answers... And I don't think we were meant to "have" all the answers during this journey called life... That it's "okay" not have all the answers. So don't beat yourself up over it. There is a song that we use to sing in Church the words go like this: "In His time, in His time (in your time Lord) God makes all things beautiful in His Time. Lord my life to You I bring, may each song I have to sing. Be to You a special thing. In His time..."

I've just completed 16 rounds of radiation - the last part of my treatment against the breast cancer I was diagnosed with last June.  The cancer was removed with a lumpectomy I had last July. I was "cancer-free" but because I had "one bad node" I had to undergo four months of chemotherapy. Everything I thought was "me" has been stripped from me. My eyebrows were gone, my hair (is gone - that is a wig), my eyelashes. Anything that made ME feel outwardly beautiful. Not only did I have to contend with a deadly disease - but also it stripped from me anything I might have been "prideful" of. It took away my self confidence. But I'll tell you something the Lord gave me a year before my diagnosis. He gave me the saying that "Sexiness is an attitude one wears.  It is NOT a weight, it is NOT a style. It is NOT a look.  It's WHO YOU ARE on the INSIDE. That confidence shines through better than anything you could do to your outward appearance. It is what is on the inside that radiates on the out." He gave that saying and that confidence to me a YEAR BEFORE my diagnosis. Why? Because He knew I would need to remember it when I stood in front of my mirror - bald, looking literally like what I was - a "cancer patient."  But here is the thing. That is NOT WHO I AM. It never was.  When I saw the quote today "Just be true to who you are." I thought of myself. I thought of what this has done to my marriage.  I thought of the fact that other than my mother, my best friend in KY, a hand full of friends and an online Pink Community that has kept me from despair - that I could have become a bitter person through this experience.  I went through emergency visits and treatments by myself.  I did not have a husband by my side who called me every night or went through emergency visits with me.  I envied those women that DID have that kind of support.  But I realize that no one is perfect.  Not one of us. We all have our issues and things we are dealing with.  When I was diagnosed with Triple Negative Early Stage Breast Cancer it not only affected ME - but my whole family.  And it is easy to forget that it has not only been "about me."  Or affected "only me."  But my husband, my kids, my family and those close to me as well.  I thought of changes that are occurring - outwardly in my life as well as inside me. I am more humble, less quick of judging. I also see the beauty around me in each day. Quietly I feel sorry for the people I see around me who are caring more about what other people think of them - then what they think of their selves.  They will always be striving to live for, or please other people.  Instead of looking to the Lord or within themselves for what they need and who they are.

I don't know the whole picture yet - of my life. But I trust that He will make it into something beautiful. Who are you trying to please? Maybe its time to re-evaluate and chew on that for a while... "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding... In all your ways acknowledge Him and HE will make straight your path..." (Acts 20:24)

My eyebrows are back.  I have baby eyelashes.  My hair is growing like a "chia pet's" (LOL).  I am not the same woman I was 7 months ago. I am only half way through the last part of my treatment - 17 more treatments of radiation to go through.  And then I have to figure out how to put the "fear" of reoccurence to the back of my head. Otherwise it will "taint" the beauty in the days God has given me.  Hang over my head like a pendulum. I won't let it. I won't live my life in fear. I have learned that NONE of us are promised tomorrow.  I praise God for this second chance and I willingly admit that "He is not done with me yet."  I'm still figuring out the rest as I go.
And you know what - that's okay!

January 26, 2011

Amy Grant - That's What Love Is For

Are You Like Shrek - Do You Have "Layers?"

How Many Layers Do You Have?

Have you ever had a word just come into your mind... This week the word that stuck in my head - and I don't even know WHERE I got it, so it must be God whispering in my ear - was the word, 'Character." 
I thought about myself, I thought about my life... CHARACTER... I'm still chewing on it... And am letting God take His time in revealing to me... Well, ME.

There are so many "layers" of who we are. I don't know about you - but I find I am finding out new things about myself almost daily. Still trying to discover just "who" I am. Growth is a process and I believe that God will continue revealing things to us about ourselves until the day we go and be with Him. I think we are always changing, discovering, growing... I am not the same person I was ten years ago. Are you?  The Bible tells us in 1 Samuel 16:7 "For the Lord sees not as a man sees: Man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart."

I'm so glad... God looks at the heart. I think about how many people I "formed" in my head opinions of. I've learned through my stretch of being a prodigal that although we need to be "gently restored" it is up to God to do the judging. Why do we do the things we do? We automatically take what little knowledge we have of people and form our own opinion of "who they are."  We can't do that. The picture is not complete. We only know what we know - but God sees it all! What is there about you that needs changing? Have you asked God to help you change it? Have you given yourself time to understand why you feel that part of you needs changing? We can be so hard on ourselves sometimes... I've had a lot of time to be able to think about this myself. And I came to the decision that I need to spend more time with the Creator. Because the truth is - He knows me better than I KNOW me. Also, I think as long as we are open to allowing Him to change the things in us that He wants to change - it will happen. Not perhaps in "our time" but in His.  I didn't become a Christian until I was 21 years old. That is 21 years of formation in my life prior to my knowing Jesus as my Lord and Savior.  There is no perfect family. Parents make mistakes, we make wrong decisions - and things happen that make us the person that we have become.  However, the good news is that God is a patient God.  That He is a loving God.  That we can come before Him, trust Him, be honest with Him and have Him restore anything that needs to be restored within us.  I'm so thankful for that.

Maybe we need to be kinder to those we "think we know." Maybe we should be less judgmental and more willing to understand. Even those that hurt us. I think there are times when we need to step back and try to get a bigger look at our situations. Ask God for understanding. Ask God for wisdom. Ask God to help you to be more like Him. Isn't that what we are suppose to be doing as we go through our walks anyways?

Sometimes the person we are cruelest to - is ourselves... The Bible tells us in John 13:34 "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another."

I've been thinking a lot about this... Maybe we need to go back into our Bible's and see the example that Jesus set for us - in loving others.. And not only apply it how we love others - but also, how we love ourselves...

January 15, 2011

Third Day - Cry Out To Jesus

If He Asked You for Dinner - Would YOU Go?

Spend Time with the One Who Cares... He Doesn't Mind if You Are a  "Dork" or a "Goofball" He Created You That Way!
I saw a movie once - it is called "The Perfect Stranger" its a Christian movie. It's about a woman who gets the opportunity to sit across the table from Jesus and pour out her heart to Him. I own a copy of the movie - but it can also be found on youtube.com the link for the first part (it has seven parts listed on youtube) I am including in this blog: http://youtu.be/Bp5UgNO2dEU. It is a definite must see.

I woke up this morning wanting to just sit across the the table from Jesus and pour out all the things that are in my heart, not even knowing where to begin. But I've been feeling like I have "writers block" with my prayers. Its sooooo very easy to feel alone in a room crowded with people. The thing is - I KNOW he's there and ironically I also know that my Bible tells me: "Oh Lord, you have searched me and know me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar, you search out my path and my lyin gdown and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether."  (Psalms 139:1-4)

He ALREADY knows! And yet He still wants us to come to Him and TELL Him. Why is that sometimes so difficult??? In all the examples I have found in my Bible - Jesus was affective with people because He listened! Because He cared! Because He was compassionate. Because He was direct - AND He met people "where they were in life." Just by being Him people wanted to follow Him. People wanted to listen to Him. People wanted to share with Him. He spoke the truth and He directed people in the way they should go - but He did it in a manner that people could receive!  Why can't we be like when ministering to others? Or even ministering to ourselves.... I don't know about you - but lately whenever I try to pray - I see all my sins before me and I'm so busy judging myself that I don't even allow myself the opportunity for the Lord to minister to ME.... Hmmmm even typing this I'm having a self revelation!!! (LOL)  Sometimes we are so busy saying "Yes, I know - I need to change A,B,C and I don't know what to do about X,Y, Z" that we aren't allowing ourselves to hear from Him. He is sitting across from us - blinking, looking compassionate and being extremely patient (In my 23 years of being a Christian I've never once pictured Him looking annoyed at me...) while we go off on our self diagnosis tangents.  Can you imagine telling the Creator - What you need to do to fix yourself? While being before Him?  (Laughing Out Loud). Then of course - we have our brothers and sisters in Christ - some of who are JUST waiting for you to lay out "your dirt" before them so THEY can feel superior or better than YOU because "OMG you are in such a sinner's state! You need to get right with God! You are standing on the brink of hell..." Come on now - Really???! Really??!!! Does THAT make a person want to share??? Does that make a person feel better??? Does that make a person want to repent or get right with God??? HONESTLY.  I think maybe I was once like that - unintentionally. Maybe that is why over the last 4 years God has humbled me. Has brought me to my knees. I realize more and more that I shall leave the judging to God. Some brethern would say "Well the Bible is the judge." Yeah - but I never saw Jesus beat someone over the head with the Word of God. Every time He ministered to a sinner - Even the thief upon the cross - He did it with LOVE. He did it with compassion. He did it with understanding - so He could REACH who that person really was inside.

We don't always know what it is happening inside a person before we judge them. Instead of helping deal with the heart of the manner - we look at the symptoms. When was the last time you really listened? Really?

I realize more and more - that I've been looking for someone to listen to me. But afraid they'd be shocked and judgmental in all I've been through - so instead, I've kept it to myself. What I really need to do - is get in my "quiet place" and spend sometime alone with the Lord. Talk with Him. Pour everything out - and then, LISTEN.  Just listen and receive.  Think I need to plan a Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner date with Him - myself... How about you?