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.


February 27, 2012

ADELE - 'Make You Feel My Love'

A Very "Touchy" Subject...

Touch is Vital, it is Healing, it is One of the Five Senses That God Gave Us. We Cannot Survive Without it.  Even in Romans 16:16 We Are Told to "Greet One Another With a Holy Kiss." God said in Genesis, "It is Not Good For Man to Be Alone." (Genesis 2:18) The Truth STILL Applies Today.
God did not call us to be little "Islands' - we are people who need people.  Even if we don't want to admit it - its the truth.  There is no shame in that. We need affection, we need friendship, we need love, we need touch. I read an article a year ago that is worth sharing with you.  It is called "The Benefits of Human Touch, The Need for Touch in the Development of Healthy Adults and Children" by Carmen Jochmann (Suite 101.com, Octoberr 15th, 2009).  (I will provide the link at the end of this blog, its a good read.)

I didn't realize, until this past weekend what was lacking in my life.  How very much "touch" matters.  A friend who squeezes your hand in encouragement and understanding; A mother's  embrace; A child's hug, A lover's touch. There is no substitute.  Touch is one of the five senses, and one that perhaps we take for granted and don't give a lot of thought to.  It ties in with our emotions, how we feel about "ourselves" how we feel about "others." Studies have been done on babies, and how in order to survive, thrive and grow, a "nuturing" touch is needed.  But I don't think this goes just for our children.  Adults need touch too.  Touching is a way of communicating, a way of expressing ourselves, of conveying love and happiness.  I agree with Carmen Jochmann's article - that touching is healing.  I think it has a powerful affect on our moods. Have you ever noticed if you are having a bad day, and someone gives you a hug, it might have "softened" a grizzley bear mood?

When Adam was in the garden of Eden, he had everything beautiful surrounding him - yet, he felt a lack.  He was not meant to be the only human being. God even said, "It is not good for man to be alone." (Genesis 2:18) So God created Eve.  Can you imagine the joy Adam felt at the touch of her hand? Or from the ability to share with her ALL the beauty of their surroundings? The companionship they shared?  I'm quite sure they must have walked all throughout the garden holding hands with Adam pointing out all the things God had given him the priveledge of naming to her.

When I first was diagnosed with breast cancer, it was incredible to me - the people who disappeared from my life.  As if I had leprosy.  As if they could catch it themselves...  Now, I'm not "judging" them because I'm sure to some people hearing what was going on with me made them think about their own mortality... So perhaps it wasn't "me" they ran from - just the fact that any time coming in contact with me, or hearing about me made them realize how "short" life is.  It hurt.  It made major life changes occur in my life.  It made me realize all the more - what I want and can accept in life and the things I can't accept. Going through breast cancer became a very lonely experience.  With couples, sometimes one partner can't "be" there for their spouse.  Its not as if they don't want to be - they just emotionally can't.  It's not the case with all couples - but I am told that it happens with quite a few.  No one could feel what I felt because they were not "personally" experiencing it. They couldn't relate. At times it seemed as if the only one who could truly hold my hand through though the process, was God Himself.  Yet, I was like a child who angrily took my hand out of His.  Because I couldn't get the answer of "why?" from Him.  It wasn't for me to know.... YET at the same time, the mother He gave me, held me up.  Wouldn't let me quit or give up, even when I wanted to. A friend who lived far away called me daily to check on me, which was a lifeline for me. God gave me (through Facebook) Pink Sisters - women from ALL over the WORLD who were going through breast cancer, the same as I. So we could share with each other, learn from each other. love each other, BE there for each other.  Cry with each other. Act SILLY with each other.  Build each other up and at times - literally pick each other up. Women who understood - what it was, even if I didn't have the words to say it.  Even if I couldn't express it myself, or understand it myself.  The strongest women I have ever known... I didn't think I would say that about anyone other than my sisters in Christ - yet many of them weren't there when I needed them.  The body wasn't there. And I say that without bitterness because we are an imperfect Church.  I say that without judgement because I (being a prodigal) cannot judge anyone because I'm too busy "getting the plank out of my eye" to get the stye out of theirs.  And, if I was to be completly honest - I'm sure I withdrew.

Touch is healing. If you can, show love and affection to those around you.  It can greatly encourage  someone around you who needs it (and you may not even know how much). Nurturing is not something that only infants and children need - grown ups need it too - no matter the age.  I think we'd best remember that.  We are not Islands, we were created to LOVE and BE LOVED. It makes a huge difference. It makes life, WORTH living.

February 25, 2012

Have You EVER seen a Lassie (or Laddie) Go THIS Way and THAT Way?

No Matter How "Worn" You Feel - "The Steps of the Righteous are Ordained by God"  (Psalms 37:23)
Even when you are uncertain of which step to take next.
*Image provided by Imagebank.org.uk

Sometimes don't you just wish that you were a kid again? That the biggest decision you ever had to make was what doll to play with? Life is so precious, and making decisions can be scary. I have often wished that I could hear God's "booming voice" like Charlton Heston heard as "Moses" in the "Ten Commandments" "THUS SAYETH THE LORD!!!" It was like, He had the BEST GPS in the whole world! God's voice!  Telling him which direction to go, what to do, how to do it!  Turn right... Turn left... Moses STOP!  I have to rebuke envy every time I watch that movie! (Smiling - One of my favorites) - and quite honestly, I've said to the Lord, "Okay - I've chosen you, in and of my own will. So, here is the steering wheel of my life... YOU DRIVE."  I visualize myself putting my hands behind my head (in the driver's seat) whistling and letting God steer.  Well - that's how I wish it was.  I think more often then not I've said, "What are You doing??? Nooooo - not that way! THIS way!!!" And have grabbed the wheel back from Him, only to end up pulling over, scratching my head and turning to Him and saying, "What do I do now Father?"

He's so patient with me. His grace is abundant. He never yells.  The few times I've sat still and quieted myself to hear His voice, it has been a quiet, patient - yet firm, loving voice.  Like that of a loving parent, yet still the one in charge.  Just thinking about the times I've heard His voice brings tears to my eyes because it is filled with LOVE.  While my own thoughts about myself are filled with criticism, fault-seeking, and well, often then not - not much love.  Is that how your voice sounds to YOU?  Just sitting here thinking about how patient God is with me.  How tolerant and forgiving He is - humbles me...  It truly is nothing but HIS grace, HIS love, His forgiveness that keeps me going.  It is very true the saying "Pride before a Fall."  I think that sometimes it is easy for us to puff ourselves up and think that we've got it all together.  But I really think that as long as we have breathe in our body - God continues to mold us, shape us, TEACH us.  No matter what state you are in.  We "can't" be good enough or "worthy" enough.  I think part of our problem is that God realizes that and even if WE DO realize it ourselves, we still beat ourselves up over it. Get discouraged. Feel like, "what's the point of even trying then?"  But here is the thing - once we reach the point of realizing that it is only by the grace of God that we can do anything. That He can gently say to us, "Okay... Now, let me take that wheel - you know the one you want me to have?  Here, let's go this way. Trust me. Allow me to lead." That we can turn our "wheel" over to Him to see what He is going to do with it.  To take us.  Oh if only we trusted more. If only we could quiet "ourselves" from all the noise of the world around us - and trust that God who sees in full will complete His good and perfect will in our very "un-perfect lives."

Nothing about us surprises Him.  I think sometimes He may "cringe" when we are going a "harder" route than He intended us to go.  (Just like we do when we see our children struggle, but realize that they *may* have to learn the hard way in order to go forward).  But His love is never-ending.  Our own grace and patience and love for ourselves (and maybe for even others) may change, but HIS never does.

I'm so thankful for that - when I've given up or become exasperated with myself. There He is, pulling me closer and sighing - wishing that I would just "give my wheel" to Him and let go.  And trust that whatever comes my way - He's got it.  He's got ME.  He's no respector of persons you know. He doesn't have favorites - so guess what - even if you are like me and stubborn and willful and well... a modern day prodigal. He's got YOU too!

February 12, 2012

Go On - Just Open It...You Know You Want To...

You Won't Know What's Inside Until You Open it Up

Sometimes we are the barrier in our own pathway to happiness... That just occurred to me this morning... Sometimes we are our own worst enemy and we don't even see it.  We are too busy blaming "Joe Shmoe" for this" and "the boss" or "the bad job" for that or lets go a step further - everyone stand up and give the devil around of applause.  Because we give him the credit for the bad stuff too.  But the truth is - sometimes the only one blocking us, is US.

It is easier to blame a circumstance or a situation than taking a good hard look at ourselves to see what it is we should be doing to change the things that need changing.

Have you ever looked in the mirror to see past the physical flaws "you think you have" to look deeply into your own eyes to determine what it is YOU want and what steps you need to take to make "those wants" happen?  I don't know about you - but I can say for myself - if I was to sit in front of a mirror (reluctantly I might add...) it would take me several moments to get beyond the "self-critique."  I can hear me now... "I have too many freckles, I need to lose weight... Why are my eyes a boring brown instead of hazel?" blah blah blah to the point where I would just get up and walk away... QUICKLY I might add... (LOL).  Why do you think it is that we can show a friend more grace, love and help to build her up if she showed up at our door needing a friend - but we find it so hard to give our "own selves" the same love, support and listening ear that we would a dear friend? (Hmmmmm.... good question isn't it?)  When is the last time you - you sat yourself down and had a conversation with yourself.  Really listened to YOU?  I know that sounds kind of crazy, but when you think about it - many of us don't do that.  Don't you think its time?

I sat down with "me" this morning and realized that I wasn't half-bad. That how I feel is important. That if I want something bad enough I DO have it within me to go after it.  I think its time we need to give ourselves some "thought."  Some "compassion." Some "understanding."  I'm not saying have a "pity-party" if you feel you need to - go ahead, allow yourself an hour really have one of those old fashion kid type of crying and screaming temper tantrums.  If you have to - go through the whole shebang.  Get down on the floor, roll from side to side, kick your feet, cry, turn your head! Get it ALL out of your system.  Allow yourself an hour if you need. THEN when you are done, get up.  Walk over to the bathroom, turn the water on - splash some on that beautiful face of yours, grab a towel, dry those eyes and then lean forward and look hard into that mirror and SEE YOU.  REALLY see you.  The Bible tells us in Mark 12:31 to "Love our neighbors as we love ourselves."  But here is the thing -how can we do that when we haven't been loving ourselves?  If we loved ourselves - we'd care about the desires of our hearts, we'd believe in ourselves, we wouldn't settle for less. We'd go forward and try to become what we want to become and if we fell - we'd pick ourselves up, wipe off our knees and with a look of determination TRY AGAIN.  Many of us have given up on ourselves.  Why? My guess is for many reasons.  Life happens, disappointments occur, problems occur.  We get weighed down by our own worries.  We put ourselves last.  We hold the door open for everyone else BUT our very own selves.  And behind our shoulder, just silently allowing us to do this because He has given us free will is our Father.  Who has given us all the tools we need to be successful within ourselves.  He has given us each different gifts, but you know - someone can give you a gift - but unless you "open up the box" you will never know what is inside it.

Don't you think its time you "loved yourself" enough to move forward?  Life is so short and time is precious.  And here is the other thing - YOU are important. You matter.  What is in that box? Where will it take you if you allow yourself to tap into all the potential and gifts God has given you?  Shouldn't you be excited? Shouldn't you want to know "what happens next?"  It's time you had a love affair - with a very special person. That person is Y O U.

February 9, 2012

Have You Become Bitter or Better?

He's Got You - Whether You Feel It Or Not
We've all gone through different situations through this journey called life - I can't help but think of how the scriptures refer to us as clay. Specifically put: "But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand," (ISA 64:8.)

Some days I feel the kneading of my Father's hands - molding me, shaping me into what I don't know. But I know that HE knows.  Some days I feel so raw, the emotions of what has happened in my life fresh and apparent before me. Maybe "exposed" is more the appropriate term to use  or "vulnerable" or "uncertain" or yes - even at times, scared.  I think once you go through a life-threatening situation you see so clearly how precious life is.  Every day is a gift. We take so much for granted.  We talk about "what are you doing tomorrow? What are your plans?" But the truth is - we are not promised tomorrow.  We think we are - but we are not.  Our minds generally don't go there.

I feel that rawness today. When you are a survivor you feel such a responsibility to LIVE, especially when you see some of your Pink sisters "earning their wings" and being called home. There is always that silent question in your head as to "why is she gone and I am still here?"  I am blogging about this today - because its so important for us all to remember to make every moment count and not to let the "little stuff" get us down. To "count your blessings." To realize that our lives truly are in HIS hands. Not to be fearful, but to be aware. To be thankful.  To recognize the things that we need to change within ourselves and strive to change them (or to pray and ask Him to help us change them - and my "stuff" may be different then yours.  But remember "There go I but for the grace of God."). This morning I saw a saying that was true and is worth sharing, it went like this.

"Although we pray for serenity to accept the things we cannot change, I continually strive for strength and courage to change the things I cannot accept."

You know, in writing this - it just occurred to me - Jesus must have felt something similar to a survivor when He sat in the Garden of Gethsemane and prayed, the Bible describes that He even cried before the Father. How it constantly amazes me that the Bible is the living Word. He contemplated his fate and begged that the cup be taken away from Him - yet still He went forward knowing what would occur (because He loves us THAT much). When you are diagnosed with a life threatening disease, there is no sense as to WHY it is happening to you - yet after the shock subsides somewhat (being a survivor I don't think it ever fully goes away) you realize that we truly only see in part - God sees in full and perhaps we won't truly understand why "this cup" has been given to us.  But we can trust that He will never leave nor forsake us.  (He says so and He is not a God that He would lie).  I think that there are times when we just need to picture ourselves physically in His arms.  That He is holding us, and we just need to allow ourselves to feel and tell Him what it is that we are feeling.  (I know that at times this is harder to do than it sounds).  I think this can go for not only those of us who are cancer survivors but for anyone who is going through a specific hard time in their lives and doesn't understand the "why" or the how to continue on from point "A" to point "B"  - its okay that you don't understand, maybe this is just a time for you to "trust."

There was a game we use to play when I was a Counselor at a wonderful girls overnight camp.  The game was "Blind Man's Buff" - we were blind folded and had to walk around and trust that the person partnered to us in the game was going to lead us - and not allow us to bump into anything or get hurt. I think sometimes we have to "trust" that whatever our situation - God is there.  We have to put our trust in Him when it makes no sense. Sometimes that is the hardest thing to do.  We need to keep our eyes on Him - and when the pain seems to be too much - give it to Him.  Literally visualize Jesus with His hands stretched out wide to receive that situation from you.  Remember He tells us in Matthew 11:30 "For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

I am not glad I have gone through breast cancer.  I'm thankful that I caught it early and that God has given me a second chance at life (please remember early detection is KEY and that if you notice any changes at all to your body - get it checked immediately. It's better to be overly cautious than to shrug something off that may be the difference between life and death. Please remember that if you want more information you should look at the top of my blog page and hit the pink ribbon). Yet at the same time I went through this horrible disease, and it has changed my life drastically in every way you can imagine, I'm not the same woman I was before my cancer experience (and I'm in fact, still learning this changed woman - physically, emotionally, spiritually.)  I have been made richer - in life.  Life use to be in "water colors" beautiful but now it's in more in vibrant bold and rich hues.  I can honestly show thanks to God with a sincerity that I did not have prior to my experience.  I think once again - that this can be the case for anyone going through any major upheavel or change in their life. Try to think about what you've learned from yourself because of this experience. How has it changed you? Have you allowed it to make you "bitter OR better?" 

Sometimes God needs people to go through certain situations so that they can extend their hand back to someone else who somewhere down the line needs advice, support and encouragement and that we in turn can say, "I hear you - I know because I've gone through it and I've come out stronger and more knowledgeable." Sometimes when we say, "Here I am Lord - send me." We really don't know how He is going to take us, mold us and use us.  But we can trust that if we ask, He will.  And if for myself, my experience, my words, my blog - can reach out and make a difference in just ONE person's life. Than I say it is and has been well worth the experience.

February 1, 2012

I'm Hungry - are YOU?

Are you Hungry? When we are physically hungry, we open up our mouths to receive food, nourishment. It is the same thing spiritually. You have to open up and receive whatever it is God has for you or that "hunger" won't go away.
*Photo compliments of publicdomainpictures.net
I woke up this morning with my heart yearning. For what? It wasn’t specific – but for something more. I think deep inside of us is tucked a way a desire that only God can fulfill. We try in so many ways to fill it with other things… But only one thing can “quench that thirst.” The thirst is for Him. The only way I can describe it – is this feeling that you are reaching for something, but you don’t know how to grasp it.  It’s in the inner core of you.  Sometimes its so raw and strong that there is no denying it. 

I woke up today around three a.m. which for me – not being a morning person, is not the norm.  I felt it. I sensed it, I recognized it – it’s like a calling or a lack... I don’t know how else to describe it.  We go through our lives filled with distractions. Caught up in problems and issues, and desires and we fill our lives with things that are trivial.  I think my soul was saying “I need MORE of you Lord. Fill those empty spaces.”

The one thing I have come to learn is that you can’t let people define who you are. After 18 years of being married – I am on my own and it is easy to feel like a “failure.” How many times have you felt like that? Here is the thing though. I’m NOT. Neither are you. We are an imperfect people. I think that we as long as we have breathe in our bodies – we will constantly be growing, changing, learning.  As long as we are open to it. I look at David in the Bible and I see all the transitions he went through.  Always loving the Lord – not always doing what he should, or even what he knew to be right. Yet still God loved him.  He never gave up on Him.  There are consequences to our decisions and to our actions, yet hopefully what those consequences are times we have learned from things we have experienced, or done.  I think that everyone has a bit of “prodigal” in them – and the important thing – is to recognize it, realize it and want to grow from it.  The scary thing is when you just shrug it off and deny it.  I always thought it was strange how in the garden of Eden Adam and Eve after having a relationship with God – hid from Him.  You can’t HIDE from God.  That is almost silly?  Kind of like the game we play with our kids “peek-a-boo.” Whatever state I am in – I am constantly aware that my Heavenly Father sees me. And here is where He differentiates from US – HE LOVES US REGARDLESS.

I’ve been thinking of how hard it must be – when God has our “best” interest in mind, and we go off course.  How He must want to wave His arms and say, “No! No my child! THIS WAY! Over here!!!!” But we in our stubbornness and willfulness don’t always listen and we go away. But the thing is – I think that He allows us to go only so far before He yanks us back.  There is something inside of us that was made ONLY for Him.  Nothing can fill it – it’s a void, its got only one key to it – and it is HIM.  Why are we so hard-headed? I know I am.  I thank God that even at my worst moments – He has never left nor forsake me.  It is truly His Grace, His Love, His mercy that reaches out and touches my soul and makes me realize that no matter where I am spiritually – He made me for HIM. And regardless of how I am feeling about my life or myself. He loves me unconditionally. He looks at our hearts. He sees US. He calls us by name.  Sometimes the hardest part – is seeing beyond our own faults to see what He sees.  It is just for that same very reason He sent His Son to die on the cross for forgiveness of our sins.  He knew that we couldn’t be “good enough” – we don’t have the ability in and of ourselves.  I think when we realize that – we realize why it says in the Bible “Abba Father!” (Romans 8:15) if your child cried out for help – would you stand there and look at them blankly? NO, you would go running. RUNNING to help your child. To be there, to wrap your arms around them and hold them close.  “If we being evil would give such good gifts to our children, how much MORE so does He want to bless us?” (Matthew 7:11) We need to let Him.  Simply let Him.  I think the best way of doing that – is recognizing the need.  Close your eyes for a moment and say it.  It helps sometimes to say it out loud.  “Lord, I need you. I recognize that need. I can’t fill that need by myself. It has to be YOU.  I feel lost. I feel sometimes hopeless. I don’t always understand the things I see around me. Or the things that are happening within my life.  Sometimes I feel claustrophobic.  Like there is no way out.  Sometimes I feel like I’ll never get it right.  That I’m like one of those gerbils on a wheel, going round and round and making no progress.  I need You. I don’t know how to accept Your help, so I just stand before you – confessing my need. Believing that because You are God that You will fill that need. That You (inspite of myself) will do Your good and perfect will in my life. I recognize the need for YOU Father. I believe Your Word where you say that You will complete a good work in me.  Even when I don’t believe it for myself. I believe it because YOU SAID IT. Be glorified. Forgive me for the times I have missed the mark due to my own stubbornness and willful spirit. Thank You that You don’t see me as I see myself.  Help me to see myself with Your eyes. I believe You at Your Word Father. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.”

Stand back and see the difference God is going to make and then, when you see it and you recognize the good work He is doing in your life. SHARE it with someone else who has been at the point YOU were once at. He allows us to go through situations so that we can extend the right hand of fellowship behind us and be there for the next person.  Isn’t that what fellowship is all about?”