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.


August 25, 2014

Turn Around...

“Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit." Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that."… (James 4:14-15)
Time holds still for no one, as much as we would like to hold it tight in our hand and savor each moment...
Turn around
And the moment is gone.  Move on to the next one and there is nothing you can do to tie time down.
The 9 year old girl, who made wishes on daisies, ran through fields, no worries in her head, the same girl who twirled around and around giggling and laughing because it made her dizzy, excited because tomorrow she’ll turn those “much awaited double digits” – 10.

Turn around
That same double-digit girl, the one who did pirouettes at  the age of 9 looking forward to “13” sits on her bed looking at Teen Magazine. Barbie dolls now tucked away in a box on the attic floor, their former place of occupancy now taken up by ten different shades of neon fingernail polish and pictures of the latest boy band.

Turn around
That same girl’s sweet 16.  The world feels as though it is her stage, her thoughts are about the cute guy in English class, the upcoming weekend and her girlfriends blowing up her phone with texts.  What outfit she should wear tomorrow, which concert she should attend and how to successfully apply liquid eyeliner.

Turn around
She’s 18 and graduating from high school – hopes and plans gearing her up towards college and leaving home. Her car's packed up and that baby girl you brought home from the hospital just yesterday is off to begin her own life’s journey. Thoughts of the future filling her head, you stand in her empty bedroom looking at remnants of the years that have passed wondering how they have gone by so swiftly.  Remembering your own youth and in awe over the quick passage of time.  Time you can’t hold on to. Time you can’t bring back, time that has brought about many changes.  You were once that same girl and now you stand, looking at your daughter’s vacant room.  Reminiscing and wondering how time could go by so quickly.  Wishing there was a way to prolong each moment but knowing there is not.  Bittersweet moments – some you wish you could redo, others you wouldn’t change a bit.

Yesterday you were rejoicing over the pink bundle of joy you were just bringing home…
Yesterday - you were laughing in delight over the innocent tactics of a 9 year old…
Yesterday - you were wondering how you were going to make it through her teenage years…
Yesterday -you were staying up late waiting for her to come home from her first date. Thinking of all the ways you would maim the young man if he broke your daughter’s heart…
Yesterday – you were wondering when it was she had grown taller than you…

Turn around
And you’re wondering where the time has gone. Moments that you hadn’t known you had taken for granted, you realize you had.  Time waits for no man, stops for no one and you wonder why (as you have gotten older) those lazy days of summer have sped up?  What age did that begin to happen?  Why can’t they slow back down?

Turn around
Instead of looking ahead of you, you find yourself spending more time looking back.

Turn around
Your hair is grey, your body is older and simply not cooperating with you as it has done in days gone past... Yet you are the same person you always were.  Others may not see it.  They may view you as an “old person” but inside you are still the same.  You’re now known as a “Senior Citizen.”  And while it has some discounting perks, it’s hard to accept because:

Inside you are still  - that same 9 year old girl who lay on the grass and made shapes out of the clouds up above.  That same girl reappears when your grandchildren come to visit, and you revisit with them all those interesting discoveries of days gone past, as you introduce them to things your parents, aunts, uncles or grandparents introduced to you, when you were a child... Or perhaps you find yourself having that "how do youuuuu knowwww?" Argument with your grandchild at the table and your legs have suddenly shrunk down to the size of a 6 year old's and your feeling like your wearing those Mary Jane shiny black shoes again and your hair is in pinktails - all because your grandson questioned your "wisdom" with a "how do youuuuuuuuu know???" You shake your head and laugh at yourself for your childish response because you just realize he brought out that "inner child" in you.
Inside you are still  - that 13 year old who dances around the living room when a song from one of the boy bands you once worshiped comes on the radio, bringing with it all the memories of those teenage years.
Inside you are still  - that 16 year old who looks at that same boy band and giggles now at how old they look, but thinking how you would still “ooooh and aaaahhhh” over them if you saw them today in person.
Turn around

Life goes by so quickly. We don’t have any choice in the matter, time passes whether we want it to or not... The only choice we have is to live well, to make every moment count and to handle each moment as gracefully and sincerely as we can.  We have no control over how quickly it goes by or to some degree what happens in those moments we are given.  So laugh often, live fully, love greatly, hug tighter, don't forget to say your "I love you's" and thank God for each precious gift of a new day that He gives you.  Because that is what life is – a very precious gift.

Our cemeteries are full of markers of people who once had lived. They lived as you and I.  Real people, same worries, same problems, same laughter, same desires, loves and memories – only different eras. Each had their own story. What is your story? You may not be able to go back but you can live a life that is full of memories.  Memories you can bestow to your children and their children and their children’s children, so in a sense, we live on through others memories of us.
Turn around

Look, another moment is gone.. We are on to the next...  Hey, let's be that 9 year old, 10 year old, 13 year old, 18 year old, senior citizen - whatever stage we are at in life, let's make it count…

August 21, 2014

Creator or Creation - What is YOUR pleasure? Who are YOU Trying to Please?

Where do your priorities lie? With the Creator or with His creation? 
Who are you trying to please?
Things that should make you go hmmmmmm...

All of the Disney Princess stories dictate that we should teach our daughters that there is no better happiness (or “happily ever after”) than running into the arms of a man and riding off with him on the back of a horse off into a sunset.  While true love is certainly something worth looking forward to, the stories have it wrong.  The truth is our children should FIRST be taught that there is no better relationship than falling head over heels in love with one prince - the Prince of Peace.
What if we taught our children to sing love songs to Him?
What if we encouraged our children to find out who they are in Him?
To communicate with Him?
To grow in Him?
To develop a relationship with Him?

What would this give our children?  A confidence and desire in discovering who God created them to be.  A true self - confidence, not as the world gives – but as God gives.  It would teach them how beautiful they are in the eyes of their Heavenly Father.  It would set the example of how we are to love, because no greater love is there than what God gave us through the shed blood of His son, Jesus Christ who died for forgiveness of our sins.

“God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

I saw a great quote once.  It said this:

“And when the prince reached the top of the tower, he found an empty room because THIS princess wanted to have HER OWN adventure!”

There is no greater adventure a girl can have than discovering WHO she is in Christ.  It is an adventure that will last ALL the days of her life.  For we are ever changing, ever growing, ever discovering and I believe we will until He calls us home to be with Him.

For our boys, learning to love God and look to Jesus as their example would show them how to be the leaders that God has called them to be. 

“But I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. (1 Corinthians 11:3)

My own personal opinion is that God made man the head of each household, but He made woman the neck and everyone knows that the neck turns the head. J

The most important relationship a girl first has is with her father. We live in an imperfect world, in many circumstances a girl is in a situation where they have not/do not have a healthy relationship with a male figure and it skewers what a relationship with someone of the opposite sex should be like as that girl grows into womanhood.   One of the biggest mistakes that occurs is when a girl believes her own self-worth is based upon what someone of the opposite sex thinks of her or that she needs a guy to make her happy.  Instead of running after the Creator she runs after his creation.  I would call this “putting the cart before the horse.” True self-worth can only be found in knowing who you are in Christ FIRST.  The truth is you cannot find self-worth in the eyes of someone else, before you can learn to love someone else you need to love yourself (be comfortable in your own skin) and know who you truly are.

 In the book of Genesis God created Adam, Adam had fellowship with God before God brought Eve into His life (and notice God brought Eve into Adam’s life, Adam did not go “looking” for Eve).  God knew exactly what it was that Adam needed and fashioned a helpmate for him. (You can read all about this in Genesis Chapter 2).  There is an order to things and a reason for that order.

For those of us who are parents and have tried to instill a strong foundation and love for God and His Word within our children, we must also realize that God has only loaned our children to us.  They belong to HIM.  Our duty is to “train them up in the way they should go” (Proverbs 22:6) “and when they are old they shall not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6 continued).    

There are times when we try and our children rebel and go against ALL we have taught them to be.  This is where our trust in God has to come in.  This is where we recognize that while we can instill a foundation within our children with the best of our ability, we cannot give them our faith.  They have their own journey to experience.  They do not belong to US they belong to God.  We cannot give them our walk with Him, they have to develop this on their own.  Just as we have a “personal” relationship with God, we have to allow them to have their own personal relationship with God and this is where trust and prayer come in.

The BEST thing you can do for your child is pray for them and remember that as much as you love them, God loves them MORE and to remember that along with all the other qualities God provided you with, He gave you free will.  Just as you have free will, so do your children.  They have a choice.  How hard it must be for God to see us make choices that hurt us rather than help us. Wrong decisions instead of decisions that would benefit us… How wonderful that God can turn around and use our “bad” choices to glorify His work in spite of ourselves.  Hopefully drawing us closer to Him in the process… Trust your children to Him, even when you don’t see the “fruit” that you would expect to see having raised them in a Christian home, because like a seed you have planted in the ground, you cannot see on the surface what it is that God is doing deep below.  Keep praying, keep hoping and keep believing – even when it seems as though your prayers are in vain.  Prayers are never in vain.  God hears each one.  Sometimes we just have to give our son/daughter to God and trust that God knows what He is doing, because He does and sometimes He reveals it to us and sometimes He chooses not to.

"So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow." (1 Corinthians 3:7)

We live in a sinful world, one that does not teach the importance of having a personal relationship with God, so deciding to have a personal relationship and make Jesus your Lord and Savior goes against the grain of what the world is teaching, no wonder it is so hard for our children to keep their heads above the sewage of what the world dictates is important and calls how they have been raised or what they believe as “politically incorrect.” (Talk about peer pressure… Even grown -ups give in to it.  You must hold yourself to the standard of “The Jones’” and if you don’t, you have fallen below the proverbial bar).  Those poor Jones’, what constant pressure they must feel.  Honestly, who is it more important to impress other adults or God?  Because when they stand before Him, what has been deemed as ‘successful” in the eyes of the world and other adults will be mere rubbish to God and as far as my Word shows me – we stand before Him ALONE, taking nothing of this world with us, other people’s opinions won’t matter  – all that will matter is what GOD thinks…

We have it so wrong.  We are so deceived.   And oh yes – make no mistake about it, I have seen Christians also take that “Jones’ mentality” into the church with them.  If you don’t belong to “this school” or join “this Bible study” you are “not” an “in” Christian, or if you don’t live in “this community,” or socialize with “this family” you must not have enough faith or be strong with your walk or “right” with God.  Or God forbid if you have “fallen” or “sinned” or in “a prodigal state” (as if not all of us come up short every day of our walk…).  The dangerous part of this is the church should be a place where you can fully get the support and help you need for whatever point you are in your walk, for whatever you are struggling with and whether or not other Christians admit it – we ALL have things that we struggle with), what a shame that in most circumstances we don’t feel as though we can confess or admit them to one another without being judged… (Ouch… Someone just stopped reading this post…) It is a dangerous mentality to have.  How can a hurting church successfully minister to the outside world without first trying to get their own house in order?  I believe this is what the letters to the churches in the book of Revelations  (Chapter 2) is all about.  We ARE the body of Christ.  If your finger feels pain – the whole body feels it.  (Honestly, think about the annoying pain of a paper cut – who does not dread getting one of these???) We are called to encourage each other and build each other up – not rejoice in tearing one another down.  There is no perfect church – we won’t be “perfect” until Jesus returns.  The church that acknowledges that they are filled with “broken people” is the church that gets it.  We are to walk in humility and the knowledge that it is only the shed blood of Jesus Christ that differentiates us between those that don’t know Jesus at all.  And with that being said, if God has blessed you with a Pastor who recognizes this and encourages the body of Christ to be transparent and merciful and humble and encourages what Jesus said was the greatest of the commandments:

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ (Matthew 22:37-38)

Then thank God for him and pray and support your pastor in whatever way needed, because that is a pastor that as a friend of mine is in the habit of saying over and over and over again  “gets it” and understands and is fulfilling the calling that God has given him watching over His flock.

What else can we do?

We can walk humbly as Jesus did, looking to Him as our example.
We can pray and ask for wisdom and guidance and admit that we don’t have all of the answers, but recognize that we know who it is that does.
We can to the best of our ability give our children a strong spiritual foundation and pray that God will put in their lives people that will build upon it and help them grow and know their worth in Him.

The ironic thing is that one of our promises is:

"Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all else shall follow." (Matthew 6:33)

Who knows better than we do what that "all else" should be? (Be it a mate, be it provision, etc...) The thing is He desires us to seek HIM first. 

The best gift we can give our children is a strong foundation in Christ.  To teach them to look to Him as their example and IF they fail or fall or come short help them to understand  that we ALL  fail, fall and come short and that God is there to pick them up and give them a new beginning.  It is nothing but His grace, His mercy and His love that gets us from one part of our individual journeys to the next. And who knows better than God what is around the next corner? Things come as a surprise to us, but to the One who sees everything in full, it never does.



August 20, 2014

Three Golden Nuggets...

I took this picture of a bird getting ready to take flight over a beautiful large bay.  You were created to fly high - to soar! What is holding you back?
Throughout my twenty-seven years of being a  Christian, there are precious nuggets of wisdom I have picked up along the way. What better thing to do than share them?  After all, that is what we are called to do.   "As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another." (Proverbs 27:17)

  1. Be very careful, then how you live - not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity because the days are evil. (Ephesians 5:15-17) - God is no respector of persons - He loves you, He wants to communicate with you.  That is why it is called a "personal" relationship .  He doesn't need a "third" party involved to communicate with you, His Holy Spirit is enough.  If He wants you to know something and you are opening to listening to Him, make no mistake about it, He will reveal His will to you. I would be wary of people who think they know what God's will is for your life unless somewhere in your spirit you are in agreement with what it is they are saying. Now I'm not saying God doesn't work through people or that He can't give someone a rhema word to give to you - He can, BUT if your spirit is not in agreement with what they are saying chances are they are talking from their own point of view or own desire and not from the point of God.  If you don't feel a confirmation in your spirit over what they are saying I would seriously question whether or not it is indeed from God or from that person themselves.  Your relationship with your Father is just that - your relationship, bring everything to Him in supplication and prayer. He's not going to reveal something to someone else about you that He has not in someway revealed to you Himself, or at least given you a feeling of agreement as to what it is you are being told. I have risen my eyebrow many a time towards people who have told me they "think" they know what it is God has planned for me before He has yet revealed it to me, myself.  This is where wisdom comes in. If God gives you a spirit of discernment about someone else, use spiritual maturity and pray for who ever it is He has spoken to you about, don't assume that you know more about what it is God wants for that person than they do. God doesn't work that way and chances are more than likely that it will put that person on the defensive and what "you" think God is telling you for them will not be well received and may make that person run in the total opposite direction.  Better for you to pay attention to what God is telling YOU about YOU then what you think He is telling you about someone else...
  2. "Trust in the Lord with ALL your heart and lean not to your own understanding, in ALL your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path." (Proverbs 3:5)  This one is hard to do because we are use to looking at things with our physical eyes and not with our spiritual ones.  It is hard when you are going through a situation to do this.  But it is walking BY faith and not by sight throughout the Bible we are given examples of people who have done this.  Some examples?  Noah - He was commanded by God to build a boat with NO water around Him.  The people in Noah's day must have thought he was out of his mind crazy!  But still Noah did it!  David went up against Goliath - a giant!  God used Moses to deliver His people Israel from Pharoah, in the physical realm all of this looked impossible, but with God ALL things are possible - even the situations you are worrying or fretting about. God is bigger than your problems no matter how impossible they seem.  Believe and trust Him for a solution and praise Him and watch it come to pass. We are given examples of people and situations throughout the Bible for a reason - to know that they still struggled with the same things and situations we struggle with today.  We are to learn by their stories just as God gives US situations to go through to share and pass on with others, so that they can learn. God knows your needs, He's aware of them.  He wants to see how you are going to respond.  Trust Him.
  3. "Seek ye first the Kingdom of God  and His Righteousness and all else shall follow." (Matthew 6:33) - God desires your undivided attention.  He is a jealous God. He wants you to put Him FIRST. Seek Him first.  Honestly, there is no greater feeling that being in love with Him.  Reaching a point in your life where what you desire most to do is to please Him.  I think for me that has come with having done the opposite and realizing that that doesn't work.  There is a very deep part inside of you that was created (just as your heart, your mind, your body was made) that is meant to be filled totally and fully with God.  As you grow older in your walk with Him you mature as you learn (or you should be...) and you realize there is no greater joy that being in love with God.  It fills the deepest utmost part of you in a way that nothing else can.  There are no suitable words to describe how wonderful a feeling it is to know that God loves you and to be able to express that love back.  You can't "out love" or "out give" God.  It is the ultimate relationship and anything else falls short of that relationship, it is the most important relationship you will ever experience in your life.  Everything else is - frosting.
Three nuggets of many that I have gathered on my walk  that stands out to share with you, maybe they are nuggets that you have also experienced in your own walk... God teaches us things so that we can grow and mature in Him and pass on our experiences and wisdom to those who walk alongside us or who are new Christians, they are meant to learn from and share.  "We are many members but we are one in the body of Christ" (Romans 12:5).  As long as we have breath in our bodies we should be growing, maturing and learning in Him.  It is one of the greatest parts of being a Christian, if you are feeling "stagnant" it is a sign that you should pray and see if there is something that God wants to change about you.  

"Lord if there be any evil in me or anything displeasing about me to you, I pray that you would reveal it."  

And then trust, because He is your Father, that He will.  After all, He loves you special...

The Pathway Home...

This is a painting that I bought during a trip up to New Hampshire, I love it because it makes me feel like I could just step right onto the pathway. Whatever path you are on make sure that you include your Heavenly Father on your travels because those are the best trips of all! "Trust in the Lord with all your heart lean not to your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make straight your paths." (Proverbs 3:5)
At some point in your walk, if you haven’t already, you will probably experience a prodigal moment.   I would like to positively refer to this as a “growth spurt” in your spiritual walk…  For me it was a detour onto a road I had no business traveling. Thinking about it I could slap myself upside the back of my very own feminine head, but the truth of the matter is that what the devil meant for evil – God has used for good.

I will not go into specifics as to what my poor prodigal choice of action was; that is irrelevant because sin is sin and with God there is no degree of sin.  There is no such thing as a “little white lie” a lie is simply that – a lie.  I have shared my prodigal journey specifically with those that God has put pressed upon my heart to be totally transparent with so that they will learn from my unwise choices and perhaps will help them to avoid making the mistakes I made,  and as long as I have breath in my body (and God directs me) I will share it as a learning experience to those He puts in my pathway and indicates I should.   

If you are a prodigal and you are reading this post you need to know that a prodigal state is not one that God has meant for you to stay stuck in.  Actually, He never meant you to venture down that path in the first place, but just because you have does not mean it is where you are to remain; and should you feel down upon yourself to the point that you feel you can’t get out of whatever situation you are in,you need to not be afraid or ashamed to ask for help with either a counselor, a minister, a close friend/family member and definitely to your Heavenly Father who sees and knows all through prayer.
I know what it feels like to feel alone in a room crowded with people.  You feel as though you are screaming so loudly inside your head that you can't understand how or why it is that no one else can hear it! The pain is excruciating and while you may be able to smile on the outside; inside you are feeling like one hot mess.  Most of the time the situation is magnified much more in our own heads than it actually is in reality.  That is why it helps if you find someone you can feel comfortable sharing it or bring it to your Father in prayer. But you need to know that you are not alone. Nor are you the only person to go through whatever it is that you are experiencing.  You would be surprised to find out just how many others have been in the same boat as you.  But unless you share what you have/are experiencing you feel like you are alienated from everyone else - YOU ARE NOT.  Truly there is nothing new under the sun. 

"What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.  Is there anything of which one can say, "Look! This is something new"? It was here already, long ago; it was here before our time." (Ecclesiastes 1:9-10)

I speak from personal experience, so I know, dear prodigal.  I opened a door that I had no idea what lay behind it.  There were all kinds of warnings that should have made me back off, but I chose to disregard those warnings, curiosity and maybe even a sense that I could handle it got the best of me  and once I opened that door,  I was spiritually not strong enough to close it.  Actually, I could have walked away at any time but I chose not to.

"No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it." (1 Corinthians 10:13)

 Part of recovering from a prodigal period is taking full responsibility for your actions. 
Prodigal, hear me.  You are *not* alone.  Don’t go by your feelings because right now they are probably all over the page and they can be deceptive. God is WITH you.  He loves YOU.  You may have made an unwise choice but it doesn’t mean that God can’t direct you back on the pathway you need to be on.  How long you decide to remain in that position is totally dependent upon YOU.  This is where prayer comes in.  I know that there is a strong sense of shame going through your mind, I know you feel like you are too weak and don’t have the strength or the know-how to get out of the situation, but the truth is you DO and you CAN.  You just need to change your mind.  Get MAD. I did!  I found myself disgusted, discouraged, depressed and just at a point where I couldn’t stand it anymore! 

No one can tell me that God does not have a sense of humor – He does!  For me, I started thinking of things like the Christmas Cartoon “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” Where young Chris Kringle is encouraging the snow monster to change, telling him:
“Put one foot in front of the other
And soon you’ll be walking cross the floor
Put one foot in front of the other
And soon you’ll be walking out the door”
(Written by: BASS, JULES / LAWS, MAURY Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc. Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind)
But the truth is, that is what it takes – a change of mind and a willingness to take the ground that you have lost back.  Step by step, one step at a time with God's help.

It is strange, isn’t it?  We can be ever so patient with other people, but often times we do not give ourselves that same courtesy.  Of course with each step I took, I prayed and eventually God brought people into my life who had experienced the same prodigal experience I had AND had grown stronger for it!  Whatever your situation, you are not the first and you are not alone.

“Lord forgive me, Lord help me. I don’t know WHY I allowed myself to get in this situation but I know that I can only get through it with your help. I can’t do it on my own accord. I need YOU.”

I will tell you what you probably already know – that there are ramifications for whatever prodigal path you have chosen to take.  I am not in a prodigal situation anymore but there has been residue from the pathway I put myself in.  I think the hardest part is coming back to the question as to why I even allowed myself to venture down a pathway I had no business going down and then learning to forgive myself for it.  You see, once you ask God’s forgiveness the Word says:

He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west” (Psalms 103:12)

 Often time the problem is that we can’t forgive our own self and we continuously beat ourselves up by going over and over what we’ve done.  Rehashing it, dissecting it, or self-abusing ourselves with something we need to learn from, put behind us and move on.  You need to do this because once you have become an ex-prodigal, you  realize that you are really not a prodigal at all, you are a child of God, one that is growing, learning and realizing that it is only the grace, love, mercy and forgiveness of God (in other words the covering of the blood of Jesus) that allows you to enter into a relationship with God at all.  You are not under the condemnation of the Old Testament, but you are covered by the precious blood of Jesus and under the New Covenant - grace.

I’m not going to lie to you and tell you that it is easy. It’s not, although I am no longer a prodigal I still wrestle with some of what I experienced.  Coming back from being a prodigal is a painful journey home.  There are things that are hard to let go of and change.  But I have learned so much more from having had a prodigal experience in my life.  It has changed who I am.  It has made me more compassionate, more understanding, less judgmental.  I believe I have learned to listen clearer.   I can say that it has drawn me closer to God because I realize how much I need Him, how dependent upon Him I am.  How much I love Him.  How much I want to be in the center of His will because I know what it is like to step outside the will of God (and it is a very lonely, scary place to be). I am more convinced than ever that I don’t ever want to feel far away from Him again. I want to cleave to my Father.  I want to glorify Him and show others how GOOD He is.  Maybe that is why God gracefully allows us to experience prodigal moments because He knows that when we make the journey back home we will have a better knowledge of why He says “no.”  It’s not because He is being a “mean Father” it’s because He knows what is best for us ,what is good for us, what is not, what will hurt us and the truth is, we really don’t. 

I still struggle with decisions I make, I am less sure of myself and I believe this is part of the residue of bad decisions I chose and a door I had NO business opening.  I could spend my lifetime beating myself up over it or I can humbly decide to hold tight to my Father’s hand, squeeze it from time to time and know that He is transforming me into what He would like me to become. He created me, so who knows better than He all of the potential I have to be the beautiful masterpiece He has confidence I will become – the dark hues add to the beauty of the picture and the story that is ME, and because He is no respector of persons - He can do the same for YOU.

August 18, 2014

The Absolute BEST Place to Be.

The best place to be is in the center of His will where there is peace, contentment,  joy, fulfillment and  love.  You wonder how you can find out what His will is so that you can experience all of the above?  It is probably one of the hardest things for us to do, especially in this day and age…
“Be still, and know that I am God…” (Psalms 46:10)
Who would have thought that being still would be so hard to do, but with the noise of life surrounding us, with our own thoughts going around and around in our heads – it is really hard to make everything quiet and still.  It is in those moments of solitude and quiet where if you listen intently, you will hear His voice.  He’s not hiding it from you, He’s not trying to make it hard for you to know His will for your life.  He just wants you to focus on Him so that you can commune with Him.  Imagine being with someone you care about and really wanting to know their thoughts, what is going on with them, what their hopes are, what they desire.  God is sitting forward in His seat wanting to have an intimate conversation with you.  He just wants to have your total attention.  Isn’t it annoying when you are out with someone, and they are looking around them, checking their watch, texting on their phone, allowing any or all distractions to get in the way of their time with you?  Would you want to talk with someone who was doing all that?  I wouldn’t.  I would feel like they aren’t listening, they must not be interested in what I have to say.   How bad do you want to hear from your Father?  Are YOU sitting forward in YOUR seat interested in all He has to say? Hanging on for His next word?  There is nothing better than “Father and daughter/son time” especially with the One who has your best interests at heart.
Once you get to a place where you can quiet your thoughts, quiet the noise of life and listen expectantly to God, you may be surprised at all you hear.  I can honestly say that “being still” is one of the hardest things for me to do.  I am a planner and my thoughts are constantly going non-stop.  It’s hard for me to be still and spend quiet time before my Father, but once I do – it is the best thing in the world.  Fellowship with God.  God knows you need it, there is something deep inside of you that will remain unfulfilled until you try it.  Once you realize the need, your time with your Father will be a balm to your soul.
“Then Jesus declared, "I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” (John 6:35)
Looking for peace, joy, fulfillment, contentment and love? There is no way you can experience all of that complete with TRUE joy until you make that time for your Father.  Even Jesus rose early to pray, and He is to be our example.
“And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, He went out and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed. (Mark 1:35)
The truth is; we need that time alone with our Heavenly Father as much as we need food for sustenance.  We need to feed our spirit.  You may hunger for that time of sustenance where God needs to nourish your spirit.  We are a spirit that has a soul and lives in a body.  
When you spend time before your Father He shows you things about yourself, maybe reveals things about you that even YOU didn't know. You become closer with Him because a true relationship involves communication.  A healthy relationship is one that is a two way street. And that is what God desires to have with you.  You just have to be open to it.
I remember when God revealed to me that I was to write for Him.  I can remember wanting to just snort and say, "Write?!  Write?! You have called me to write???  That is something that I have done ALL of my life!"  It seemed odd to me - perhaps it was because I had just known since the age of three that I was going to be an actress.  That I had been in plays and performances throughout my whole life and was going to college to study acting. My own plans for my life was to get an agent and head out to California. But that is not what God called me to do.  He was adamant (in a kind, quiet, tolerating my outburst kind of way) that the calling He had placed on my life, was as He had put it during this conversation we were having, "as plain as the nose on my face." (His exact words to me). 
That was a long time ago.  I have learned in my 27 years of being a Christian, that life is a continuous learning process.  You can either take the lesson the first time and pass the class or you can repeat the class over and over and over again until you have finally learned what it is you were meant to get from it... I'm a bit hard headed, there are life lessons that I have had to retake until I finally gain understanding, pass the lesson and move on to the next.
When I was a little girl my parents took my brother and I up to see the herring run.  It was incredible seeing these fish swim against the current to go lay their eggs.  They were focused, they were on a mission to go lay their eggs!  And unless nature got in the way of them completing this life mission, that is exactly what they did.  We need to have that same focus. God has called you for a purpose.  It is one that will glorify His kingdom and will also bless you abundantly by giving you peace, contentment, joy, fulfillment and love.  I have found that when I am obedient and I walk in my calling, those qualities come into my life.  I experience a great sense of self-worth and I desire MORE of what God has for me. I think Jeremiah said it best:
"But if I say, "I will not remember Him Or speak anymore in His name," Then in my heart it becomes like a burning fire Shut up in my bones; And I am weary of holding it in, And I cannot endure it."  (Jeremiah 20:9)
True fulfillment is spending time before your Father, getting spiritually fed by listening and communicating with Him; knowing that He has your best interest at heart – and that HE sees in full, He knows what those interests are, trusting completely in Him, walking by faith and not by sight, can be difficult to do.  Find yourself in the center of His will, for there truly is unbelievable peace, joy, contentment, fulfillment and a love you cannot compare.  Strive to maintain and live a life worthy of the calling God intended you to live.  I believe it is why the apostles followed Jesus.  They tasted and saw that the Lord was good and in spite of the difficulties they endured (He didn’t say it would be easy – He DID say that through it all He would never leave nor forsake us) – they knew that once they had come to know Jesus, there was no turning back.  There IS no turning back.  Once you have truly come to know Him not only as your Savior, but by making Him Lord of your life – you will find ALL the true riches of living.  It is an ongoing journey, one that has hills and valleys and desert moments and will for as long as you have breath in your body. But one well worth the living.

August 11, 2014

Who Are You????

WHO are YOU?????
In the 1951 version of the movie Alice in Wonderland, a shrunken down small sized Alice encounters a gigantic pipe smoking caterpillar and part of the conversation they have during this encounter is as follows:

Caterpillar: Who... are... you?
: I- I hardly know, sir. I've changed so many times since this morning, you see...
: No, I do not 'C.' Explain yourself.
: I'm afraid I can't explain myself sir, because I'm not myself, you know.
: I do not know.
: Well, I can't put it any more clearly, sir, for it isn't clear to me.
Caterpillar: You? Who ARE you?

In 1978 Peter Townshend composed the song “Who are You”  which was the title track on The Who's 1978 release, Who Are You, the chorus being as follows:
Who are you?
Who, who, who, who?
Who are you?
Who, who, who, who?
Who are you?
Who, who, who, who?
Who are you?
Who, who, who, who?

In Matthew 16:30 Jesus asked the disciples, “Who do you say I am?”

As I got to thinking about all of the above  I came to the realization that it is important for us to know WHO we are and then be able to to clarify just who Jesus is to us.

Proverbs 23:7 says, “As a man thinketh within himself so he is.”

As you think about all of the above – who do YOU think YOU are?  I’m not talking about the title, “I’m a mom, I’m a wife, I’m a father, I’m a doctor, I’m the daughter of so and so…” I’m talking about who ARE you?  What have you believed about yourself?  And has what you believed about yourself been good things?
Sometimes we view ourselves through the eyes of what others have said to us throughout the course of our lives.  There is power in words, especially if they are what has formulated your viewpoint on yourself.  A lot of this formulation happens at childhood and what you were told as you were growing up, especially if it came from a grown up in your life.
We have the ability to either build someone up or tear them down based upon our own words.  That is why the Bible says that the tongue is a powerful weapon.  There is power in what you say and how you respond to what you hear.  The words you choose to use and believe in can have a profound effect on your life, not only in the way others view you but in the way you view yourself.

"Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit." (Proverbs 18:21)
I believe we are born as “blank as a sheet of paper.” What is written upon the pages of our lives begins even prior to our birth, even as far back as our conception, how our parents felt when they were told they were going to have a baby.  The way your parents felt about your upcoming arrival - the first sentences written down upon the blank sheet of your life began to have some kind of impact on you.  Good or bad.

What type of emotional nourishment did you receive from the people who raised you?   Did you internalize what was said? Did they build you up or tear you down?  There are no perfect parents, although most of us try to do the best we can – we are an imperfect people.  I think about this more and more as I raise my children in a divorced environment.  I try to give them positive reinforcement, love, routine and stability but I am ever aware of the messages I give them and I try to remember that most children crave their parents approval and affection.  How you respond to your child/ren will formulate a foundation of how they see themselves, their self-worth.  It is important to choose your words wisely because they have more of an effect than we can possibly comprehend.
I remember a close and dear relative once telling me when I was a young adult (probably in exasperation), “you will NEVER make enough money!  You will never get your finances straight and you will always come up short!”  I didn’t realize how much I took those words to heart.  I believed them, and as a grown up those words have affected me greatly.  I believed that I would never make enough money – I haven’t.  Because I believed that I would also be in want - I have!  I believed those words and those words became a very active and negative part of my life.  It wasn’t until recently that I learned to rebuke them.  I realized that even though it was unintentional – what that person did was curse me! They didn’t mean it as such, what they said was probably said in frustration and exasperation and I’m quite sure they meant it as a teaching point and not as a curse.  But the truth of the matter is – it was spoken and it was indeed a curse.  The power of it was only in the fact that I believed it! And because I believed it wholeheartedly, my life reflected that short coming and it reflected in my own self-worth.  I internalized those words spoken from someone who’s approval and love meant the world to me.  It was only recently  that God revealed to me, while I was praying, that I had believed and received a curse and because I believed it – it became powerful and was so.
Recently (as previously quoted) God brought to my attention:  Proverbs 23:7 “As a man thinketh within himself, so he is.”  

This really got me thinking.  It got me wondering what other “lies” have I believed about myself? I started searching the scriptures and as I read scriptures promises made to me as a child of the Utmost High King started to leap off the pages at me.
“I have made you the head and not the tail.” (Deuteronomy 28:13)
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will straighten your path.” (Proverbs 3:5)
“I will remember Jehovah God, for He it is Who gives me power to experience wealth.” (Deuteronomy  8:18)
“And you shall be like a tree planted by the streams of water that bringeth forth its fruit  in its season, whose leaf also doth not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” (Psalms 1:2-3)
I began to speak words of blessings into my life and not only to speak them, but to believe them. I gave my finances over to my Heavenly Father.  Things began to happen; I pled the blood of Jesus upon my bills.  As I have tried to make the adjustment of once having been part of a tag-team couple to post cancer being a single mom, I have struggled with juggling my finances.  I do not have any credit card debt but it has been hard getting out from “behind” the eight ball and begin a budget.  I got behind in my car payments and didn’t even realize by how much.  Because I was trying to juggle my finances – putting out each fire as they would pop up I found myself racing from one financial struggle to another.  As I began praying over my finances, I realized that I had been walking in fear and denial, not wanting to have to deal with it.  I also realized how much I had believed that I would never be able to get caught up or be in a position where I could feel in control over my bills.  But God kept His hand of protection upon me. He held back the devourer and helped me to see that greater is HE then my debt.  I knew I had to face it and trust in Him that He would help me get through it.  This meant having to contact the company I had used a year ago to finance a car loan. I called them up let them know I’d be getting caught up with my payments.  I was rudely interrogated by a very rude man.
“Where have you been?! Where have you been keeping your car? Where are you living?”
I was taken aback by his accusing tone of voice.
“What do you mean where have I been living?” I said confused.  “I am living where I have lived for the last four years.”
“No you are not!” He barked back at me.  “Where is the car? Where are you keeping it?”
Again I was confused as to the questions.  "It is parked and has been parked right in front of my house." I responded.
“No it has not!” He barked at me again.
I was surprised.  I had responded truthfully. I hadn't dealt with such a rude accusatory person before and didn’t know what more to say.
“We have driven by there to repossess it and have not seen the car for the last few weeks!  You could not possibly have been keeping it there!!!”  He was now yelling at me through the phone and I was shocked.  Here I was calling him up to pay the three payments I was behind and there he was accusing me of the most awful, dreadful of things.  Things I had not (and would not) have ever considered.
“I tell you the truth,” I responded. “ I have been home every night and the car has been parked out in front of my home every single night.  I have had no reason to hide, nor would I.”
“Yes you have!” He insisted. 
It was then that the Holy Spirit whispered me to me that while I had been praying that God would “hold back the hand of the devourer” in his mercy and grace He had shielded the car from their view.  They had been unable to see it.  God knew that as a single parent, one who needed her car to get around AND to get to work (as my job is not near public transportation) God made them blind to my car.  I was incredulous as this man ranted and raved on, God over road his accusation with His calm and steady voice and told me what He had done.  I could hear the man saying all kinds of slanderous and untrue things about me but God allowed the man’s voice to be in the background, while His spoke peacefully and calmly to me about what He had done.   God had kept my car.  You see?  God knew my heart, knew my circumstances, knew my character.  As this man got louder and ruder over the phone, I became calmer.  No one can take anything away from us unless God allows it.  Nothing can happen to us unless God wills it.  As surprised as I was by all this man loudly was accusing me of, I rejoiced because God allowed me to see that still His hand had been upon me in this circumstance.  And I was able to get caught up on my payments.  I share this with my readers as a testimony of what God can do.  HE is your provider, He is the One who makes a way where there is no way.  We are to walk by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7) no matter how dire our circumstances may outwardly appear to be.  God IS in control.  And if God had allowed my car to be repossessed He would have provided another way of transportation for me, because I am His daughter.
 I thanked God for His Divine intervention in the spiritual realm upon my finances. I commanded my finances to line up! I rebuked the lack I had believed! I asked the Lord for forgiveness over the mistakes I had made in my finances and I asked Him for healing! I asked Him to hold back the devourer.  I began to believe that God desires to bless me with abundance instead of believing I would always lack.  You see, it IS true that we ARE what we believe.  But the power is over what we allow to be digested into our spirits.  What do YOU believe about yourself? What have you been told that even reading what I just shared – makes you see falsehoods and curses that may have unintentionally been spoken over you?  You need to rebuke those curses. Cover them with the blood of Jesus. Deny them.  Walk in the authority and the promises that God has given you.  It may not have been financially for you.  Maybe someone told you as a child you were ugly and that you had no worth.  WELL your Heavenly Father created you in HIS image.  You are NOT ugly – you are a precious beautiful creation.  God lovingly made you.  There are many scriptures that attest to this.  Perhaps you were told that you would not amount to anything and you believed it!  Before you were born God said, “I have plans for you – plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future!” (Jeremiah 29:11)
What have you believed?  
Who are YOU? 
Who do you believe YOU are??? 

If you feel defeated and down chances are that you need to change your mind as to how you view yourself.  I’m not saying this is easy.  I’m 47 years old and I’m JUST GETTING THIS NOW.  Watch how you refer to yourself and also watch what you allow to take into your spirit.  This is one reason why we are to put on our spiritual armor.
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.  In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. (Ephesians 6:10-18)

And once you have really thought about who you are, you will realize through that answer, who it is that God is to you.  It all ties in together.   Is He your Savior? Your Deliverer? Your Father? Your God?  Once you realize who YOU are, you will realize who God is to you.  How He fits in your life, because the two go hand in hand.

Who am I? 

I am a child of the Utmost High God.  I am imperfect – yet He is made perfect in my imperfectness.  I belong to Him.  I have chosen to be His vessel. I desire that there be more of Him and less of me within that vessel.  I boldly testify and share what He is doing in my life so that it will aid and help someone else who may be going through the same thing.  The Bible tells us:

We are many members but we are ONE in the body of Christ. (1 Corinthians 12:12)

 Who am I? 

I believe that I am a “finger” in the body of Christ because God has called me to write for Him.  To be honest and transparent in my writings that He may be glorified in ALL that He is doing in my life.  I call myself a “finger” because I type 95 wpm.  My desire is to write for Him.  It is my passion, my calling and my love.  If through my writings God is able to minister to even ONE individual, than my life has been worth my calling.

"For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith;if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully. Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.  Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer." (Romans 12:4- 12:12)

What do I believe? 

I believe that God will not only have me triumph over my current financial situation – but that because I believe He is bigger than ANY problems He will indeed be glorified.  Because He knows my heart is one which I do not desire wealth out of greed  - but out of necessity so that my concentration will not be upon my debt – but upon my calling I know that He will bring me forth victorious from it!  Just as if you put your faith in God through whatever it is YOU are experiencing and whatever it is that is making YOU feel defeated – He will bring you forth victorious.  But first you need to know:

WHO are YOU?  Who Who, Who Who?  And then you will know what it is He who created you is calling you to be…. Oh yes, He is calling you… LISTEN and you will hear.

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)