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.


September 23, 2014

A Life Worth Living

Make it Count...
The one thing we can be certain about in life is change, whether we "like" change or not it is the one thing we can count on happening. Fighting against it is going against the tide.  It's fruitless.

When you think of your life, what do you think about?  What do you yearn for?  In the quiet of your heart what is your desire?  The Bible says:

"For where your treasure is, there your heart will also be." (Matthew 6:21)

What is your treasure? Where is it? Is it in your possessions? The things that you have compiled throughout the course of your life?  Is it your job? Your family? YOU?  When you are alone, what are your deepest thoughts?  You know what I mean, when no one is around you, and you think about your life, what comes to mind?  Whatever comes to your mind, is what your treasure is.

Here is what my treasure is... I have found throughout the journey of my 47 years (so far), the greatest treasure I have found has been coming to know Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.  He is my greatest treasure.  Why is that?  How could I put Him above my family? My children?  I can because He is the One who gave my family to me.  When someone gives you a gift, do you look at the gift and not the giver and say, "thank you" ?  Imagine it is  your birthday, and someone gives you a birthday present, do you look down at that present and thank it?  No.  You look at the person with gratitude and thank them warmly for what they have given to you.The Bible says:

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believe in Him, shall not perish but shall have ever lasting life." (John 3:16)

When God created Adam and Eve, He created them to live FOREVER.  They were NOT supposed to die.  Death, sickness and sin came into the world when they disobeyed God and chose to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

"But you must not eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die." (Genesis 2:17)

He had explained it to them before hand. There were no surprises, it happened as He said it would if they disobeyed.  There are reasons why God tells us not to do something.  Honestly, when you think about it, we are no different today then Adam and Eve were back then.  The Bible is full of direction and examples that were meant for us to learn from, and still we sometimes choose to go against God's Word, and when we do we often open up a whole lot more then we know how to handle...  Here is the good thing though, nothing surprises God.  He had a plan ready to bring people back to Him.  He loves us so much that He had a plan in place to bring us back to Him.  That plan was Jesus.

"For 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)

There are those of us who have taken the "hard way" or gone off the pathway that God had originally chosen for our lives for a season and experience a "prodigal" time in our lives. We are the "hard headed ones." (I'm joking)... We chose the "hard way" and many of us have kicked ourselves all the way back down the road to our Father.  When you open up a door that God never meant you to open (and for good reasons) you have to deal with the consequences of your action, whatever that door was.  Even once you have returned to the Father, ol' slewfoot whispers constant accusations in your ear.  Oppression is a real thing and hard to recover. There are reasons in love that God has given us rules to live by.  One of them is because He knows what the pain and agony of breaking them can do to us.  But one of the many gifts He has given us, is free will.  We choose.  We live with whatever we choose... But again, even if you have made a "bad decision" in the past - God can take what has been meant for evil and turn it around for good.

Where is your treasure?

Each of us has to answer that individually.  I will say, that the greatest treasure that I have is knowing that I am a child of the Utmost High God.  That I belong to Him.  I gave my life to Him at the age of 21 and through this journey, He has been my greatest gift.  Not because of what He provides for me or has given me (and He has given me much), but because of who He is.  He is trustworthy, He is reliable, He is unchanging.  He is ever present.  He is my life. He is my Father.

There is a joy beyond any words I can describe in knowing Him.  It is referred to as a "personal" relationship for a reason, it's unique and it is extremely personal.  Afterall, "He knows my thoughts before I even think them!"(Psalms 139:2) . How can you possibly hide from the One who made you?  He is Lord of my life and King of my heart.  And I can say that in spite of all my waywardness and hard headedness and as an ex-prodigal having come to know Him has been (and is) my greatest treasure.  Why?  Because He gave my life true purpose.  In knowing Him there is a peace that God's got my back, no matter what I go through in this crazy life.  He is steadfast.  I can count on Him, even when things don't go my way.  Even when my plans are not His plans, I know that the plans He has for me are better than ANYTHING I could plan for myself.  I have gotten to a point in my life where I realize a life worth living is being smack in the center of His will. That's the BEST seat in this house of life.  It's upfront and personal.  It's "First Class" its peace and love and contentment and even in the midst of all the craziness going on in this world, all of that craziness flows around you when you personally have accepted God's gift of salvation, it passes over you because you know Who it is you belong to. God is in control.

We live in a sinful, dark world that is getting darker and darker around us. Common sense is something that is not so common any more.  There is a fury that is getting stronger as the last days come closer. 

"Many shall run to and fro and knowledge will increase." (Daniel 12:4)

"But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people." (2 Timothy 3:1-5)

I think that Jesus recognized this because in John 17:15 He prayed:

"My prayer is not that You take them out of the world, but that You protect them from the evil one.  They are not of this world, even as I am not of the world."

It can be hard to stay focused, even as a Christian, there are so many things tugging at us in this life. And whether or not you believe it, we are in the middle of a spiritual storm that is growing in its fury.  It is hard not to get caught up in the storms around us, or the darts that the evil one tries to throw our way, or even caught up in our own fleshly desires; but if we keep focused we can rise up above the storm - keeping our eyes focused on Him, just as when Peter in Matthew 14:29 walked out of the boat onto the water his eyes were focused on Jesus.  His mind was set on Jesus before him.  When he started to look down and realize the incredible actual fact that he was walking on water, he started to sink.  When we focus on our situation and not on our God who ultimately is in control of the situation we lose focus, and we too sink.

A life worth living is realizing how short life is.  Realizing that we have a hope. That death is not the end.

"For me, to live is Christ, to die is to gain." (Philippians 1:21)

Where is your treasure?  Is it one that can be stolen?  Is it one that you can take with you when this life's journey is over?  Is it one that can withstand the pressures of life? Does it give you peace, joy and contentment that is everlasting? Whether or not we want to face it or believe it, we are living on borrowed time.  The Bible tells us:

"Man is like a mere breath; his days are like a passing shadow." (Psalm 144:4)

and also:

"Come on now you who say, 'today or tomorrow we shall 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 should say, 'If the Lord wills we will live and also do this and that...'" (James 4:13-15)

Maybe we need to look at what our treasure is and re-evaluate what is of value to us.  Rethink it because denying the truth doesn't stop the truth from being true.  God has given us His very best.  But it is a gift to be appreciative of and thankful for and most of all to accept because the gift His Son, Jesus gave us - His life, is the greatest treasure one can receive of all.  And its yours for the taking, you just have to open up your heart, your soul and your mind - and in return, you will find a life truly worth the living. One that will last through ALL eternity.

September 13, 2014

More Puhhhhhleaaase!!!

“More Puuuhhhlease, Mummy,” demanded the toddler sitting in the grocery cart seat pointing earnestly to the candy on the check-out shelf as his mother wheeled the cart forward in line. “No, I’m not buying any candy,” his mother responded with a sigh wearily gearing up for the latest temper tantrum to erupt like a meteorologist with their eye on an upcoming storm.  
Sure enough, first came the scrunching up and reddening of his little face as the storm began to brew, next came the ear wrenching battle cry loud enough to make even the deafest of person’s hear or a hearing person go deaf; then the twisting of his body and the banging of feet as little sneakers methodically banged against the steel cart. “More! More! More! More!”  His cries rained down upon unresponsive ears, becoming more intense as his mother refused to respond to his demands. Slowly she put items from the cart upon the checkout counter more concerned with whether or not she would have enough money to cover all the items, or if she would have to put some back…
Sometimes we act the same demanding way towards our own Heavenly Father.  "I want this!" We say pointing urgently towards something in our lives and when He either is silent in His answer or says, "No." We pitch a full fledged temper tantrum forgetting that God knows what is best for us, better then we do.
What about being thankful for what we have? What about taking the time to acknowledge the blessings we have in our lives?  We focus so much on what we don't have or what we want that we often don't take time to thank God for ALL the things we do have, including the people that we have in our lives.  It is not until something major occurs that we look back and think how blessed we are indeed.
 "Oh the good ol' days, remember when we..." We need to be thankful in the present tense. Now.
What about "paying it forward" even in some small measure towards someone else?  This past weekend I went away with my family to the Cape, when I came back home I realized I had left the book I was currently reading at the Inn.  A really good book on obtaining financial blessings.  I called the inn to see if anyone had turned it in and no one had (of course not, it was a REALLY good book). At first I was disappointed, but then I got to thinking that maybe someone who needed it more than me (if that is even possible...) would benefit from it.  In fact, I started praying for that person - that the book would minister to them and that God would use it to financially bless them.   It made me feel better looking outside myself, and thinking of someone else.  I shared this line of thought with a few of my girlfriends, and much to my surprise, this week I received a package in the mail.  It was another copy of the book, from one of my friends who felt led to "pay it forward" and be a blessing to me.  She had gone out with a friend for lunch earlier in the week and had brought money with her to pay for the lunch, but her friend had decided to be a blessing to her and treated her to lunch instead, so she decided to "pay that blessing forward" and use that money she had set aside to be a blessing to me.  And she was.  And in turn in being a blessing, we ARE blessed.  We should do things not so that we will get back - but because it is a blessing to be a blessing, so in turn we ARE blessed.
"Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” (Luke 6:38)

Maybe we should think about "paying it forward" in our lives.  Not being so concerned overly much about what WE want, what WE need and think about the needs of someone else.  A small gesture means so much.  When I was a child my mother had a saying (actually she made it into a chant), one that she said she had created over things we would say to her it went like this:
"Gimme, Gimme, can I have? Will you lend me? Can I borrow, I need, I want!"
It may have been something she could tease us about as children, and as a parent she taught us to think about others by teaching us how to give.  As grown ups its not something that is very attractive. 
Last February I was taken by surprise when I drove through Dunkin' Donuts to get coffee.  As I pulled up to the window to pay for it, the cashier said, "two dollars of your order has been paid for by the person who was in front of you.  They said to apply their change to the car behind them, and that car is you."  I was touched, I was moved.  A gesture so little made the start of my day so wonderful.  They didn't even KNOW who I was, or that I was struggling financially in my new status of being a divorced, single parent.  I immediately prayed that God would bless them a "double portion" of how He had used them to be a blessing to me.
What a joy it is to be a blessing to someone else.  I truly believe that it is better to give than to receive.
"Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver." (2 Corinthians 9:7)
"More puuuhhhhlllleaaase Lord.  More.  More of YOU, less of me.  Use me Father.  Help me to look outside of myself and be a blessing to someone else.  Show me how I can be used by You to make a difference in the life of someone else.  Not so that I will be glorified because of it, but so that YOU will receive all the glory, honor and praise.  You gave Your life for me.  The greatest gift of ALL.  Help me to follow by your example and be a blessing to others in my life, however I possibly can - be it financially or with the gifts you have given me (my skills) or in some particular way you choose to reveal to me that I can be a blessing to someone else.  In Jesus' most precious name I pray. Amen..."

September 3, 2014

Are You Blocked?

One of the awful side effects for a lot of breast cancer survivors (like myself), who have had lymph nodes removed during surgery is a something called lymphedema.  

I Googled the definition of Lymphedema and it came up as this:  
Lymphedema involves blockage of the lymph vessels, with a resulting accumulation of lymphatic fluid in the interstitial tissues of the body. The lymphatic system consists of lymph vessels and lymph nodes throughout the body. The lymph vessels collect lymphatic fluid, which consists of protein, water, fats, and wastes from cells. The lymph vessels transport the fluid to the lymph nodes, where waste materials and foreign materials are filtered out from the fluid. The fluid is then returned to the blood. When the vessels are damaged or missing, the lymph fluid cannot move freely throughout the system but accumulates. This accumulation of fluid results in abnormal swelling of the arm(s) or leg(s), and occasionally swelling in other parts of the body. (Definition taken from the Free Dictionary by Farlex)
How amazingly intricate God has made our bodies to function.  We cannot fully comprehend how wonderfully we are made.  Just as we have a physical body, we also have a spiritual body.
I have had a lot of doors opening and closing in my life lately; and as I was driving to my office today, I had a realization; just as the physical condition of lymphedema can cause a flow blockage in our physical bodies, we can allow or entertain things into our lives that can cause a spiritual blockage that keeps things from flowing in our spiritual bodies (or spiritual life),  and this doesn’t only pertain to cancer survivors, but to everyone.  Stress and anxiety can reveal itself and cause physical blockages in the form of other ailments or diseases. 

For me, I have found the symptoms indicating a spiritual blockage to be uneasiness, lack of peace, anxiety, lack of sleep, and a restless mind.  To be honest, it can feel like torment because it feels like you can’t seem to get it together, or get your life under control.  Sometimes it’s because we don’t want to examine or face whatever the reason for that blockage is.  It could be pride, or the flesh or just plain stubbornness keeping you from doing what needs to be done.   If you have given your life to Christ, your life is not your own anymore.  You have invited the Holy Spirit to come into your body and take residence there.  He moves things around and changes things about you that only He could do and if you fight against those changes, you can find yourself at war with yourself and that can also cause a spiritual blockage.
“I have been crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ lives by faith in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)
I have experienced both trunk lymphedema and spiritual blockage in my life. God healed me of the physical lymphedema through acupuncture (something I never before believed in).  I had believed solely in Western medicine.  After having countless appointments of special lymphedema massages with a lymphedema specialist (which felt wonderful when going through it – what massage does not feel wonderful when getting one?) but which effects didn’t last long after the massage was over.  I was told by the specialist that I could try one of two things:
  1. I could purchase a huge jacket-like garment that I could sleep in that would be plugged in and would compress and decompress throughout the night helping to get the flow of my lymph nodes going again.  This jacket of course would have cost me thousands of dollars.
  2. I could try something that has been successful with some other breast cancer survivors who experience lymphedema – acupuncture.  My first reaction to that suggestion was to wrinkle my nose up in distaste. I’m not a fan of needless and I did not believe in acupuncture, I instantly “poo-poo’d” that suggestion with a wave of my hand.  However, I did not want to sleep in a contraption that I had to pay thousands of dollars for (which wasn’t even an option because I didn’t have it) and which *might* not even resolve the issue. Ironically, following my appointment, I had a discussion with my brother about my options and found out that he had tried acupuncture for back pain and it had worked!  So I decided to give it a try, after all, nothing ventured, nothing gained.  
I went to the appointment with a skeptical this is a waste of time, I don’t believe this will work kind of attitude; much to my surprise I left the appointment feeling better than I had in a long time.  The needless did not hurt, in fact the fascinating thing is, truthfully you don’t even feel all those needles when they are placed at whatever point they are strategically placed at (depending upon what your symptoms are for coming there).  The truth is, it actually worked!  I was astonished, I was humbled and I became further convinced that there is more to the human body then we can conceive.  I went through about 12 treatments of acupuncture, and my lymphedema was healed.  The only thing that causes it to “flare up” occasionally is when I get under a lot of stress.  When that happens, it is usually because I’ve allowed a “spiritual blockage” to occur in my life and it in turn affects my physical body by having a flare up of lymphedema occur.  When that happens, I make an appointment with my acupuncturist and I re-examine what I have allowed in my life to cause that spiritual blockage.  (In saying all that – if you are one of my Pink sisters reading this post, and you are experiencing lymphedema – I would seriously consider giving acupuncture a try, God used it to work wonders for me). 
In the same way, allowing something to occur in my life that does not line up with the Word of God, or if I have allowed myself to put the desires of my flesh (and become spiritually stubborn to what God wants me to do – in other words “throw a spiritual temper tantrum”) above what God wants me to do or how God tells me to live, I have experienced spiritual blockage.  It is not until I have faced the reason for the blockage that I have been able to do what needs to be done in order to get back on track in my life again.  It is not something that is easy, especially if you are or have been a Prodigal.  In fact I can guarantee that most Christians going through a prodigal time in their walk know exactly what it is I am talking about.  The only way to break down that dam that has risen up and is causing uneasiness, lack of peace, anxiety, lack of sleep, and a restless mind is to face whatever it is that is causing it.  No matter how painful letting it go can be or how hard you want to hold on.
For those who truly love God and desire to be in His good and perfect will, He will bring you to a point where you want His good and perfect will in your life more than you want whatever it is that is holding you back from it.  It could take days, weeks, months or years for you to reach that point – that is ALL dependent upon how much you are willing to put up with or how long you are willing to fight against the Holy Spirit, because God never makes you do anything.  He has given each person free will to choose.  However, what some people refer to as “their conscience” is really the Holy Spirit nudging you to “change your mind” and eventually it will bring you to a point where you can’t fight against the flow anymore.  Sometimes we are our own blockage and we need to get out of the way of our own selves…
The most ironic thing is – that we think we know what is “best” for our lives, which is why we refuse to let go of things and trust that God has our best interest in mind.  You could be missing out on the best thing in your life because you don’t feel you “deserve” better, or you are not willing to let go of your concept of what is “best” for you.  All along God is shaking His head at your stubbornness because He has something so wonderful in store for you, but you stand before Him tight fisted holding on to what you believe is the best.  Your hand has to be open to receive what God has for you.  Are you happy with your life? Are you sleeping? Do you feel at peace?  Are you content with your life? Is it going the way you want? Do you feel as though you are in a spiritually good place?  Or are you filled with anxiety, trepidation, depression, uneasiness with a lack of peace?  If that is the case those are symptoms of being spiritually blocked and it’s time for you to re-evaluate your life and your situation and make the changes necessary to let all good things flow once again. It’s not easy to unclench those fists and release whatever you are holding, but believe me, from someone who personally knows, if you do, you will find that God has a flow of blessings headed your way that you never even imagined... And the first thing you should do - is start believing that.
“Above all else guard your heart because it is the wellspring of life.” (Proverbs 4:23)
“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)
“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 path.”  (Proverb 3:5-7)