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.


June 24, 2014

The Pathway Continued...

A gentle reminder - some of life’s most precious moments happen when you least expect it…
As previously referred to in another wrote (see post from March 2013 entitled "The Pathway)  – I was traveling down a beautiful  road, one that I thought I was destined to travel upon  all the days of my life only to have been chased off the road but the fattest, ugliest, sexless looking of trolls.  It was a private way and the disgusting troll had reminded me that the road belonged to her, pulled out her ownership papers, barked at me to be on my way off her property. Heartbroken – I had no other choice but to change route and cross over upon another path.  Looking behind me at my beloved road one last time, I realized that the road was subservient to its troll and would always be.  The pure natural and vibrant beauty of the road would remain unrecognized, unappreciated and neglected - its location taken for granted –all the days of its existence,  which was a shame for its beauty was such that had I been able to remain upon it, I would have danced and frolicked and appreciated its natural beauty all the days of my life.
My head downcast, and being such, I did not see the different kind of beauty in the new path I’d taken.  Different from whence I had come. Golden sunshine peaked down in between tree leaves; birds sang joyfully, honeysuckle pungent and thick filled the pathway with a natural wild sense of beauty.  Yet, I missed it all for my gaze had gone to my feet – not in front of me, and my shoulders were slumped in defeat, I cared not where I roamed.  Like a leave flitting about in the wind, I went mindlessly forward, all that had been vibrant and full of color now in my present state of mind, had become black and grey. I couldn’t venture on the road I longed for, so I no longer cared, the beauty had dissipated in the world around me.
Walking with downcast eyes and a heavy heart I did not see the tall oak of a man until I bumped right into what apparently was a set of trunk sized knees, it  startled me (so lost was I in my own thoughts of sorrow).  Like a startled deer poised for flight I froze in the headlights of this unexpected intruder.  (Although truth be known, I suppose I was the intruder, since I was the stranger upon the path).
“Whoa…,” Said a strong steady voice.  He stretched out a solid arm with large hands to keep me from toppling over.
I lifted my head up. This man was so tall I had to lean back and stretch my neck waaaaaaay up to see. Hazel eyes in a heart shaped face looked down at me with amusement.  A red beard handsomely mapped his lower rectangular jaw. He looked like a combination of a woodcutter and a leprechaun gone giant, but there was a gentleness that exuded about him that looking upon him, made me feel unafraid.
“Why are you so downcast?” He questioned, raising a large pointer finger to lift up my chin so we could be eye to eye.  “You should be looking ahead of you, not down.”
“I suppose I should,” I responded with a sigh, “yet I care not where I go.  I am journeying wherever it is my feet choose to lead me…”
“Such a lovely face should not be wearing such a solemn look.” He stated.  “Come, no doubt you are hungry and I am pleased to share my lunch with you along with some words of encouragement to make it all the more palpable.”
He led me along the pathway to a small flowing stream.  This gentle giant of a man sat cross legged on the ground and encouraged me to do the same.  Sighing, I obliged. He opened a lunchbox, which I had not noticed was beside him; broke off a piece of bread and a chunk of cheese and handed it to me.  I was about to decline except for the dead giveaway sound of rumble from my stomach, so I decided to partake of his generosity.
“Tell me your story,” He said encouragingly, leaning forward to listen attentively. His face so close to mine I could count freckles that danced upon his nose.  His red well groomed beard gave him an almost regal look, and the kindness in his eyes encouraged me to share my tale… About the unexpected beauty I had fallen upon, the temptation to proceed, which I gave into, the joy and love and completion I felt walking along what I had thought was my own little beautiful road… How I got chastised and commanded off by the horrible troll and found myself alone, discouraged and at a loss as to where to go. When I was finished, I rubbed my hands together to free them from the crumbs and looked up into the face of this gentle giant to see his reaction to my tale.  How astonished was I when I saw eyes filled with tears and compassion.
He was quiet for a moment, this giant of a man. When I gazed up at him I saw a range of emotions cross his face and it seemed as though he was trying to gather his thoughts.  Why should one feel so strongly for the journey of a stranger?
 He was quiet and I was uncertain whether I should stand and leave or sit and stay.  And then he spoke…
“In life you will encounter many various roads and pathways… I have found that the best ones are those that travel wide enough for two and go “both ways.”  Even those that are not easy on your feet teach you endurance and perseverance; and though you may not realize at it the time, strengthen you for the journey ahead.  The most important thing is not the beauty in the surroundings around you or the context of the road itself – but how you travelled it… Life is a journey down many roads.  Think on this – what did you learn from this last road you took?”
I listened to his words and thought long and hard before I answered.  “I learned of love and friendship. I learned that life is much better when shared.  I learned that there are many more meanings to “unequally yoked” than what I had been originally taught.”
“So you see,” said he. “Although you no longer journey down that road (and not at your own choosing) you have gathered a lot of insightful treasures along the way.  Hence, the roads that you travel end up coming together and forming a map called, “YOU.”  Think now, what else did you learn?”
I tapped a forefinger to my lower lip as I recalled my journey through the road that I loved.  “I learned more about myself.  Humbleness, compassion, mercy… I learned forgiveness and most importantly of all that each person’s journey is their own and not to be judged by the observer.”
“Well then,” he exclaimed, “It seems to me that was a road worth traveling no matter its end… You are a better, wiser person for it. Or so it would seem to me.” He rose from his sitting position and once again loomed high above me. He reached down to extend a hand to me to help me up.  I could not help but notice how small my hand was in his immense larger one.
“Who ARE you?” I couldn’t help but ask, curiosity taking over and then blushed with embarrassment at my straightforwardness, for surely it was not my business.
He grinned at me – such a boyish grin for a gentle giant and responded, “Just a traveler like yourself.” He gathered up the remainder of his lunch box, closed it shut and tucked it under his arm.
Looking around at my unfamiliar, yet beautiful surroundings – seeing the newness of the path for the first time, shyly I asked, “would you journey with me a while?”
He looked at my shy expression and laughed a deep laugh, his hazel eyes filled with amusement.  “It seems as if we already are – for you stand upon the same path as I.”
“Very well, “I said my own laughter ringing with that of his. “Lead the way…”  And, although he took up most of the pathway with his size and his girth - He did.

The moral of the story is to always try and find the beauty in whatever path life leads you.  Abraham Lincoln once said, “We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.” The choice is ours, it may not be the pathway you imagined you would journey on – maybe it’s not the one you wanted or perhaps the choice has been taken out of your hands, not yours to make… It just might be better than anything you would have chosen for yourself…
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not to your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.” (Psalms 3:5)

June 14, 2014

Gettysburg - Fare Thee Well

"I walk slowly, but I never walk backwards." ~ Abraham Lincoln

Gettysburg. How I loved you. How unexpectedly you came into my life. How you surprised and delighted me - you touched me in ways I never imagined you would.
Intimately left me breathless with the discovery of you. 
You delighted me. I will never be the same.
The past rides into the future.  You will stay in my heart forever.
The history of you.
The passion of you.
The purpose of you.
How I loved you.
Battlefields that once ran with the precious blood of men committed to their cause. Opposite sides of the fence - fighting for what they believed in to the point of death.
I believed in you. I fought for you - and I lost.
Fields covered with bodies of so many soldiers they could not bury them fast enough, now beautiful fields with breathtaking sunsets overflowing with honeysuckle. 
An oxymoron of what once was.
Yet - a sign of hope.
The past is gone yet hope remains.
You are gone. Your choice, your decision, your life.
I remain.
History - the study of past events. 
You are my history, not my present and certainly not my future.  
The past is the past and the future turns my attention now. 
I am looking ahead and not behind.
I am stronger now and committed to holding fast to what I deserve and what I want.
Final acceptance.
Unbelievable blinding pain - but still alive. Still fighting, still believing.
Marching forward leaving you behind me in the past.
Hopeful for new beginnings and happy endings - and lots of beautiful breathtaking sunsets.

Day is done, gone the sun, From the lake, from the hills, from the sky;
All is well, safely rest, God is nigh.

June 8, 2014

Are You Captivated?

He Came to Set the Captives Free - And That Freedom Includes YOU Too!!
"The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free." (Luke 4:18)

There He is, Jesus - with the key to your jail cell.  I have a vivid imagination, as I read that scripture, I picture one of those large old fashioned skeleton keys - you know the kind, you see them in every old cowboy sitcom or movie.  There Jesus is standing there, outside your cell, unlocking the door with a key only He has.  The door creaks as it opens wide, Jesus is telling you to come forth! That you are free!  What is your reaction?

You have been in the dark for so long - You think you are having a mirage.  There stands a man, in blinding white light outside your cell.  You can hardly look upon Him for the light surrounding Him is blinding. You say to yourself: "This is not real, there is not a man dressed in white with a beard and a key outside of my cell.  I'm having an illusion."  You blink your eyes from the brightness and turn your head to face the wall which you have faced for many a season...


You run out that door as quickly as your legs will carry you, stopping only at the opening to throw your arms around the man who has rescued you, throwing your arms around Him and say, "Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!!!!" Tears of joy and relief and thankfulness streaming down your face...


You look at the man releasing you with a look of distrust wondering what is in it for Him.  What will this cost you? Thinking that this is another trick.  "No thank you, the devil that you know is better than the one you do not..."  

Jesus came to set the CAPTIVES free!  He can set us free, but He cannot MAKE us accept that freedom!  The cost was His life for YOURS.  He gave it willingly, obediently and with more love than we will not fully understand until we truly stand before Him.  What are you going to do??

I understand all of the above reactions - because I have felt them.  Have you?  I say that humbly and with shame.  Often times when we don't walk out of our situation thankful for Jesus having made the ability for us to do so, is because we lack enough faith... (Ouch...)  Faith to believe that God is BIGGER than any situation or problem... Or that He even cares enough about us to do anything about it.  If we don't become discouraged or depressed we become mad at God because we think He doesn't "love us enough" to help us get through whatever situation we are in.  Even if it is a situation that is of our own doing... And yet that is another reaction we have.

"Lord, this is my mess... I made it.  It is my fault - Mine! Mine! Mine!  I deserve whatever hell I have allowed myself to be in..." 

That is an absolute LIE from the pit of HELL.  There is not ONE of us worthy! Or Righteous! NOT one!!!  The Bible tells us:

"As it is written: "There is no one righteous, not even one." (Romans 3:10)

and also:

"All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away." (Isaiah 64:6)

There is no degree of sin.  And all of us sin!  (Oh yes...) But the good news is that Jesus took those sins upon the cross with Him! He died for forgiveness of our sins!!  The problem that we have is that we dishonor Him by believing that that is not ENOUGH to get rid of them!  We believe we deserve to be miserable or to stay in the cesspool we have probably created ourselves.  And that is simply not true...

If you were in the ocean drowning, and you were to be rescued - say they threw out a floaty to you.  Would you reach out and take it? Or would you continue to drown, thrashing your arms and yelling, "Help! Help!"

Your help is right before you!  Take the hand of Jesus and allow Him to pull you out of whatever mire you are in.  It doesn't MATTER the reason.  The Bible tells us:

"You have searched me and known me.You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thought from afar. You scrutinize my path and my lying down, And are intimately acquainted with all my ways.…" (Psalms 139:2-3)

Nothing comes as a surprise to Him.  He knows you intimately.  Let Him love you, let Him heal you, let Him deliver you.  He is there at this very moment that you are reading this.  You may not be able to see Him physically with your eyes.  But if you soften your heart, and just quiet your thoughts - you will by the Holy Spirit feel Him.  TRY IT. Don't just take my word for it - experience it for yourself, what do you have to lose? Listen...

"Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me." (Revelations 3:20)

Do not allow your own captivity to keep you from experiencing the freedom that Jesus bought with His own blood...  Do not allow doubt, or sorrow, or depression or self-hate to get in the way of allowing Him to free you.  He is BIGGER than your situation.  He loves you.  Truly loves You.  Don't hold yourself back.  Walk through those cell doors that Jesus has opened - rejoicing.  Thankful.  it is WHY He gave His life.  He gave it for YOU to walk freely away. 

The price is to turn away from whatever it is that held you captive previously.  Believe that God has better in store for you.... It is true you know.  He wants you to walk through those gates or doors that have held you captive so that you can live the life that He has created you for!  You have a purpose!  You have a reason for being!  Isn't it time that you found out what that was?  There is nothing more satisfying than walking in the purpose that God has for your life!  Take time to discover what it is, if you don't know already!

"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, And before you were born I consecrated you." (Jeremiah 1:5).

Now that is a loving Father, don't you think?  You are consecrated!!!

"Come now, let us settle the matter," says the LORD. "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool." (Isaiah 1:18)

Take His hand. Talk to Him.  You don't need fancy words - just talk to Him.  Share yourself with Him, it is not as though He doesn't know you already, He does... But He likes to hear you share your mind with Him.  It's called "having a personal relationship."  And that is what He desires.  The Bible says:

"Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him." (Psalms 34:8)

It is the only way that you can discover it and enter into a relationship with Him.  Just like that floaty, you have to reach out and grab it.  It is there - just receive it! Accept it! And when you do - cling to Him.  He is your forever eternal life line.  Once you have tasted and seen that the LORD is good - you won't ever want to let go!  And guess what?  If you find yourself walking back into that "cell" - you'll stop and turn around and say, "No!  I have been there and done that! No!  Once those God has freed are free indeed!!!"

"So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed." (John 8:36)

You will reach a point where you know - whatever place you are at in your life that what God has for you is so much better than what you had for yourself!  And no matter how many times you turn around - God will be there directing you, strengthening you, encouraging you, loving you, believing in you...

Go! Be Free! Walk out of that cell that has held your mind captive!  And believe in your freedom that He has bought with His own precious, precious blood.  

"God paid a high price for you, so don't be enslaved by the world." (1 Corinthians 7:23)

Look! The door is open! Fly high! Glide! Soar! Walk in that freedom and don't look back!  The best is YET to come!

June 2, 2014

Smoke Screens...

When I was a young girl I use to watch a show on television called “Star Trek,” my favorite episodes contained scenes that included these holodecks where a crew member would go to a door, push a button and create a fantasy that they wanted to participate.  My guess is that this is the way crew members spent their days off.  Oh how I loved those rooms!  You could make anything in your imagine come to life! Everything seemed so real it was surreal.  The surroundings, the people, everything in that holodeck with that fantasy you created touched upon all of the five senses. I couldn’t help but wish these rooms really existed.
I thought of this as I was driving into the office today, then it occurred to me how hard it would be to leave a “make believe world” and come back to reality if these holodecks were to exist.  People would not want to go back to their normal daily lives.  The holodecks would become an addiction; families would go neglected as would regular daily life.  The lows that would follow the highs of being in such a fantasy world would cause many a mental health worker to have full rooms with people having emotional issues.  There would be great consequences to having these fantasy rooms, not to mention how it would affect our physical bodies, our heart rates, our blood pressures and other aspects. And what if you were to fall in love? So much for guarding your heart! What if you opened your heart to fall in love as they did in some of the episodes? How devastating reality would be!
As I thought about this I thought about the smoke screens we allow ourselves to walk into in our lives.  Something that feels so real until you reach out and try to grasp it and you touch nothing.  A mirage, maybe something that you believed so strongly was real you actually thought it could be.  That it was within reach. Truly and completely yours and yours alone, sweet, tender, desirable. But in reality, it never was.  Have you had a “smoke screen” moment? 
I found myself thinking about a snake charmer and how he plays a song that puts the snake in a trance.  Sometimes that is what ol’ slewfoot allows to become one of our biggest pitfalls.  We step right into his trap and become “entranced” into whatever illusion we want so much to be a part of our lives. Like when a magician puts his assistant into a trance like state and levitates her and she is unaware of what has happened until she wakes up.... 
Next I found myself thinking of Adam and Eve.  They had all of Eden as their world.  They had intimacy with God.  They had absolutely everything!  What entrancement did the snake use to make Eve desire a piece of fruit so strongly that God had forbidden?
The serpent said to the woman, "You surely will not die!” For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.…” (Genesis 3:4-6).
He appealed to her senses, he contradicted what God had told them and he entranced her into believing something that was forbidden.  Notice how Eve didn’t seem surprised that she was talking with a snake, which leads me to believe that Adam and Eve communicated regularly with the animals in the Garden of Eden. All the blessings God could bestow on her, and still she wanted more.  How devastating it must have been when she realized that she had been deceived, and what a high price they had to pay…
Smoke screens… At some point in your walk, you will run into one of them, if you have not already.  Perhaps an awareness of them will make the temptation less appealing.  Perhaps if we forewarn ourselves we won’t be susceptible to becoming like that charmed snake.  We won’t be lulled by something that simply will never be… When we are entranced, depending on how long it last – waking up is painful.  Coming to the awareness and reality of the fact that what you wanted, what you believed in, what you held so tightly will never come to pass is difficult to accept.  In fact, it is heart breaking, especially if you believed wholeheartedly it would. 
Perhaps this is why God tells us:
“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” (Proverbs 4:23)
When we enter into a smoke screen, our hearts become unguarded.  When we come to the realization that what we wanted, will never be – our hearts hurt; the kind of hurt that a band aid cannot help.  The kind of deep soul hurt that God never meant us to experience, no matter the cause. The kind of hurt that some never recover from.  How do you trust your own judgment when what you believed that what would be would not? How do you move forward?  When that smoke screen clears and all that is left with you holding on to your heart, your emotions, your reality – how do you proceed?  My guess is that some cannot.  The sweet essence of what you wanted is hard to let go – even when you realize you never truly HAD it in the first place. 
In a fairy tale, Rip Van Winkle fell asleep for a 100 years.  Can you imagine what his shock would have been like in the waking?  What did he dream so deeply of during that period? Wasn’t it hard to grasp reality and the fact that so much time had passed? Times had changed. People had changed, places had changed.  What a shock to his system it would have been to realize that he had slept for so long…
What has been your smoke screen?
What or who has deceived you?
What have you held on to so tightly refusing to let go?
Did you wake up slowly, reaching for someone to find they were not there?
Did the high of your smoke screen dissipate leaving you with nothing to face but the reality that was before you?
Did reality enter into your smoke screen clearing it out until you had no choice but to realize you could not have what it was you wanted? No matter HOW hard you tried to hold tight to it?
Was it something that appealed to your senses and numbed you from reality?  Or was it something that captured your heart?  Did it entrance you?
You could stay in that shell shocked state blaming others, blaming yourself, blaming situations but what good will that do? It will not change the reality.
There is nothing better than God’s best and that is what He desires us to have.  It is not an illusion, it is not a “smoke screen” it is not something that will appear for a moment and be taken away from you.  It is not something/someone that will disappoint or hurt you.  I think that God can only heal these hurts by the balm of His Holy Spirit.  The pain is to extensive and numbing.  The deception too deep. 
Thinking of the Garden of Eden, created out of such love by God for His people.  It lacked nothing and held everything.  Who knows more than your Creator what it is you need?  He is not like people, who will hold out something, deceive you and then snatch it back.  He is not a God that He would lie. 
The blessings of God are not fantasy, but are genuine and real; they fill the heart and the soul.  They are never ending, not deceptive; better than anything we could have imagined – even if some little fantasy room were to exist.
However, as it is written: "What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived" -- the things God has prepared for those who love him. “ (1 Corinthians 2:9)
Perhaps that is why in some near death experiences, people have indicated they did not have a desire to return. What God has prepared for us is simply beyond any words that could accurately describe it.  But here is the thing - He wants us to walk in that abundance now; to believe that He desires to bless us NOW, in THIS life.  He doesn’t want us to settle for anything less than what He has for us. 
I am thinking of magazines I have read in which there are two scenes to compare against each other.  If we were to compare what God has for us to what we ourselves would have for ourselves – there would truly be no comparison…
I no longer desire those Star Trek style holodecks to become real.  I would not walk into one now if they existed because I think the emotional damage and the cost to me would be far more than the worth of the experience itself… I don’t want a “replica” of what God has for me, I want the genuine thing, I don’t want second best or second helpings, or a fallacy of what is to be mine.  I am holding out for God’s best, because I truly believe that “best” can only come from Him, the best is yet to come and its mine (and yours if you want it)  - and that’s not  blowing any smoke…