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.


April 14, 2014

Touch and Be Touched - It's Called Restoration

"And Jesus asked, 'Who touched me?" Luke 8:45
I’ve been thinking lately about the woman described in Mark who just wanted to touch the hem of Jesus’ garment.  How focused she was! How deep her faith!  The story is as follows:

“And a large crowd followed him and pressed in on him. Now there was a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years. She had endured much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had; and she was no better, but rather grew worse. She had heard about Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, for she said, “If I but touch his clothes, I will be made well.” Immediately her hemorrhage stopped; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. Immediately aware that power had gone forth from him, Jesus turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my clothes?” And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing in on you; how can you say, ‘Who touched me?’” He looked all round to see who had done it. But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling, fell down before him, and told him the whole truth. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.” (Mark 5:24 – 5:34)

As a cancer survivor, I understand her desperation.  Her sole focus was getting to Jesus and touching Him. I think this pertains not only to those of us who have gone through a life threatening illness, but can also extend to someone going through a difficult period in their walk.  Does your heart cry out to the Lord for relief? For understanding? For direction?  He’s right there, touch Him.  He’s not playing “blind man’s bluff” Jesus came for such as these.  He’s not toying with you.  He’s there.  He wants you to touch Him.  Jesus said the following:

"It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners." (Mark 2:17)

There is a need, deep inside each one of us that is the core of why we were made; to worship and be close to God.  The devil has made many people blind to that and instead we try to fill it up with sex or addiction or food or even a hobby – something that distracts us from what our real need is.  You are hungry for God.  It is a soul hunger that cannot be satisfied with anything BUT a relationship with God, try as you may to fill that hunger with substitutes.  You CANNOT substitute your need for your Creator.  I think that is why there are so many people that have what they consider “everything” yet still they are unhappy.  The Bible says:

 “Taste and see that the Lord is good.”  (Psalms 34:8)

You cannot adequately explain to someone what it feels like to have a personal relationship with the Lord.  I think the reason for this is because – it’s personal.  The needs I have, the hurts I have, the person I am is different than the person you are.  The Lord knows where to meet me.  He knows me.  He has called me by name.  No matter where I am with my walk – I am HIS.  He knows every hair on my head!  And He is no respecter of persons – He knows every hair on YOURS as well!  To drink deep of Him is to feel what the Bible describes:

“And the peace of God that passes all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”(Philippians 4:7)

The Bible is the living Word.  It is the same today as it was yesterday as it will be tomorrow. (Hebrews 13:8).  You can still touch the hem of Jesus’ garment. Whatever your situation, He came so that you would reach out and touch Him.  He loves you in a way that no other ever will.  The one thing I noticed when I read that story about the woman in Mark is that she acted on her faith.  She was convinced that if she were to touch Jesus, she would be healed.  In order to do that she needed to step out on faith and follow Him and get beyond the crowds to touch Him.  She was focused on what she needed to do.  When I read that chapter, I visualize her focus.  She’s got a goal and she’s going to achieve it.  To touch Jesus.  And when she did, she felt it. She felt the change in her body, just as Jesus felt the power going out from Him.  I picture Jesus stopping, knowing who it was who touched Him, but questioning it to see if they will acknowledge there relationship with Him and what He had done.  I picture her coming forward, humble and thankful and perhaps a little nervous.  I picture Jesus turning around, seeing her, smiling at her with such love, taking her face in between His two hands as if she was precious to Him – because she is.  His sole focus at that moment was her.  He called her “daughter.”  Are you focused?  Are your eyes focused on Him?  When you believe something, you act on that belief. She did just that.

What was her life like before that? I can only imagine.  I know that as a breast cancer survivor, I often felt alone.  Some of the people in my life backed away from me.  As if I had leprosy and they would “catch it.” Although I think the truth of the matter is that perhaps my having a life threatening sickness may have made them think about their own mortality…  Some people don’t know how to act around someone who is sick, so they stay away.  What was that woman’s life like? I’m quite sure it affected all of her relationships.  I’m quite sure there were some who looked down upon her as if she had brought this on herself, as if she was “dirty.”  As if she had done something to deserve this.  I know that when you have a life threatening sickness that is one of the things that goes through your head.  You look over your life and see your sins and begin to think that this came upon you because of something you did (or didn’t do).  But the truth of the matter is God does not work like that.  When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden it brought death, sin and destruction into the world.   Sickness is part of this fallen world.  It is the reason God brought Jesus; For life, for healing and for restoration.

There is no greater purpose than to know that God cares.  That He longs for you to “reach out and touch Him.”  The thing is, when you reach out and touch someone, they are touching you back, it is a two way street.  When you reach out and touch Jesus your heart will overflow with peace and love and the knowledge of truth – that once you taste and see that the Lord is good, you will understand how very much He loves you, because He truly does.

April 11, 2014

Run Like The Wind...

"Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” (Hebrews Chapter 12)
I woke up early this morning (as has become a new habit of mine over the last several weeks), formally a night owl I have transformed into an early bird.  Last Summer I downloaded the “Couch to 5K” running program onto my IPhone at first I thought, “Me, run? That’s a laugh – it’s NEVER going to happen…” Nevertheless, I decided to give it a shot.  I joined an inexpensive gym, got on the treadmill and started the program.  Three or four times a week I made a commitment to myself to keep at it, each workout section ranging from  20 to 40 minutes, breaking me in slowly with a warm up, brisk walk, and eventually intervals of jogging then running over a 12 week period.   I completed the total program by October and much to my surprise (and this did not happen overnight…) found myself actually enjoying these sessions of steady runs!    Feeling a sense of completion and a bit of well-earned self-pride, I wasn’t a couch potato anymore! I boldly moved forward and downloaded the next program – “5K to 10K.”  Now this program is a bit more difficult, it includes intervals of jogging, steady run and a fast run.  It encourages me over a period of days and times to move forward.   It is not easy, and there are times when I wonder if I can keep going until the daily program is completed – but still I push myself to continue.  Being a divorced parent, the best time for me to workout is early morning when the gym first opens.  Now when I say “early morning” I mean wake up at 4:15 am and get to the gym by 5 am.   This morning, I woke up at 4:15 am and just lay there looking up at my ceiling.  I decided to go back to sleep instead of going to work out.  It started my day off on the “wrong foot.”
I grew up in a small town near Boston.  The Boston Marathon runs right across Beacon Street. I grew up off of Beacon Street.  Growing up, it had been a family tradition to go down the street and watch the runners run the race.  What perserverance it takes to run the Boston Marathon.  Those runners push themselves in the most amazing way.  It takes training and discipline and perserverance to run any race. It takes a mindset to continue on - even when everything in you doesn't want to keep going.
As I continued to stick to the program, I started to see a connection between my body, my mind and my spirit.  How the three are truly tied up in one.  Hard as it is for me to get up in the morning that early, how rewarding it feels once I have gotten up, driven to the gym and completed my workout.  I feel a sense of accomplishment, energized and ready to begin my day.  On the days I don’t get out of bed, I find myself lagging with a lack of energy, on edge, irritable with a lack of patience and just all around “yucky.”  This is not something that happened “overnight” it has been a process. 
The Bible tells us:
 1 Corinthians 6:19 “Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, Whom you have received of God.”
Therefore it is important that we take care of our physical bodies, for they are our “temple.”  I never really paid much mind to that before, never being an athletic person, but after getting into the habit of working out 30 -40 minutes a day, 3-4 days a week, I can see how it truly affects my attitude, my mind, how I feel about myself and even extends to how I treat others, not to mention what it does for my health.  Since I have begun working out I have seen my health improve, and being a cancer survivor this is a definite plus.    Often we are so busy with our lives that we neglect ourselves.  Now I am in no way a “gym rat,” I go in complete my 30 – 60 minutes workout, 3-4 times a week, hit the shower and then I’m outta there.   But the outcome is not only felt through my physical body, as I have indicated above, but through my mind and my spirit.
This also got me thinking about my spiritual walk.  How as in the case with the beginning of trying the “Couch Potato to 5K Program” there were times I wanted to stop, to give up, feeling like I couldn’t go on.  It was too difficult, too hard.  I was too tired.  But I didn’t – I persevered. I kept pushing myself forward.  Giving myself “pep” talks.  There are many times along our spiritual walk that we have to do the same thing, especially if you have had a prodigal period in that journey.  The Bible says: 
Hebrews 12:1 “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.”
There have been so many times over the last four years that I have wanted to give up.  Where I have really asked myself, “What is the point??!”  But even at my lowest of moments, I have perservered.   It says:
Galatians 6:9 “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
Why is it so hard to do that which is good for us?  Do that which benefits us? Physically, spiritually, emotionally, our bodies, spirits and minds are all tied together.  If you don’t take care of your body there are physical consequences.  If you don’t feed yourself spiritually or pray – there are consequences.  All of these affect your mind and therefore your life.
Honestly, it has not been until I got into the habit of exercising over the last 8 months that I can see the difference it has made in my life.  It has made me stronger, it has made my mind sharper, it has made me realize that not only do I need to exercise my body, but my spirit and my mind.  I have realized that there may always be something that I need to work on – that is okay, that is life.  As long as we have breathe in our body we will always have something to better.  I think that is a good thing, and I think it is humbling to have that realization.  Coming to the point I am at (and still have so much farther to go) I can see all of this, myself.  Just like it says in the Bible:
Psalms 34:8 “Taste and see that the Lord is good!”
There are realizations that can only hit deep when we experience them and realize them personally for ourselves.  My needs are different from your needs. My strengths may be your weaknesses; your strengths may be my weaknesses.  But it is something that you can’t discover for yourself until you try it yourself.  There is a big difference.  It becomes personal.
Romans 7:19 “For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do--this I keep on doing.”
That is a scripture that I find myself wondering ALL the time.  There is always room for improvement, always.  My motivation with my body being the healthiest it can be is not only due to the fact that I am a cancer survivor.  No one ever expects (at ANY age) that they will come down with a life threatening illness.  We were created to live forever – it is only because of the sin of Adam and Eve that sin entered into the world, and hence – death.  So you never feel as though “you have had enough life.”  When I was diagnosed with breast cancer four years ago, it was a shock (to say the very least).  It was a wake up call for my body, my spirit and my mind.  The three are tied together.  Your body is your tent, your spirit is housed in the tent and your mind – to me, is part of your soul.  All three affect your life.  They go hand in hand.  When you think about taking care of yourself – think about ALL three parts of YOU.
You matter to God.  Isn’t it time you mattered to yourself?  It won’t be easy – but nothing WORTH anything ever is.  Each new day that you are blessed with is a new blank sheet of life to write on.  Isn’t it time to start a new chapter?  Write well.  These moments never come back again…

April 1, 2014

Be Careful What You Pray For...

“Be careful what you wish for ‘cause you just might get it all, you just might get it all – and then some you don’t want…” ~ Daughtry

I was listening to a song entitled “Home” by the group, Daughtry. A certain section of lyrics in the song particularly stood out…

“Be careful what you wish for ‘cause you just might get it all, you just might get it all – and then some you don’t want…”

Have you ever wanted something so badly – you know the kind of “want” where you squeeze your eyes shut as hard as you possibly can and earnestly begin to beseech God for it?

You know, the “Oh please God, please God,please God – Puuuuuuhleaaaase God!” kind of prayer? And as you go about your life waiting for an answer, you hear silence. So you pray it again. “Come on Lord, please! I’m waiting! Oh I want this soooooo bad. Please make it happen!”

And still all you hear is silence… You scratch your head wondering when your answer will come through. And as you wait, you find yourself really thinking about what it was that you were praying for… 

That’s when the “maybes” start to filter in… “Well maybe there is more to this than what I can see…” 

You start to think. Then you start to doubt if you should even want what it was you were requesting in the first place. Then, if you have a wild imagination (like I do) – you start picturing just what it would be like if God did answered your prayer… And maybe that prayer request begins to not look so appealing anymore…

The truth is, the Bible tells that we only see in part… In fact 1 Corinthians 13:12 says:

 “For now we see only a reflection, as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall now fully even as I am fully known.”

In other words, we don’t see the “whole” picture. We see – in part. Only part of it; Not the full story, not the total outcome. Just a tiny piece of it…

Hmmmm… That has got me thinking, how about you? I am a mom. Part of my mommish job is to hear the hundreds of requests my kids have each day. My mother use to tease us when I was little and say she made up the parent song. Which goes:

“Gimme, gimme, can I have, will you loan me, can I borrow?” 

These requests range anywhere from buying something from the store, going to a friend’s house, doing an event, etc.” There are some that I say yes to, and some that I say no. God, being our Father, does the same thing… And here's the thing - the last part of that verse is "then I shall now fully even as I am fully known." God FULLY knows you!  He's got your best interest at heart. He KNOWS you.  He sees the WHOLE picture.  We only see a tiny little piece.  Maybe seeing the whole thing would be more than we could handle? Maybe it is God's grace which allows us to only see a little part?  I know that there are parts of my life that if God would have shown me - I would have turned tail and ran and said, "uh uh - not ME Father!!!"

I have found myself thinking during those times that I’ve been waiting on the answer of a prayer request, “What would it be like, if God said yes to this request?” Sometimes the different outcomes that I visualize, doesn't seem as appealing as how it started out...

“Father God? Ummmmm… This is me… Yeah, remember that request? You know the one, the one I’ve been bugging you about? Well, could you please just forget about it? I’ve changed my mind… I don’t want it anymore… And Father? Thank You…”

The “part” that you didn’t see was the Holy Spirit watching you, nodding His head and smiling a “mission accomplished” kind of smile…