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.


March 25, 2015

Spring! A Time of Promise and Renewal!

Spring has always been my most favorite time of year… It’s a time of fresh beginnings; a new start. A time when we can re-evaluate our priorities, our lives and do our own "emotional Spring cleaning." Are you unhappy? Do you feel like your life has become stale and stagnant? Perhaps it’s time to make changes. Re-prioritize your life. Out with the old in with the new! Formulate a new perspective! Sit down and create a bucket list of things you want to do or places you want to travel. What would lift your spirits? How about recreating yourself? Formulate a new workout plan? Maybe go out and get a makeover to make you feel fresh and new? Take a class on something you've always wanted to learn! What can you do to feel good about yourself? Think about it, formulate a plan and go with it! You may be surprised at how good the changes you decide to make change the way you feel.

There are things in life that we can change or continue to wallow in. I never liked that word, "wallow." (I'm scrunching up my nose in distaste as I write it). Are you feeling stuck in the mud of a situation? Come on! Gather up the strength to pull yourself out! You are stronger than you think you are! If you determine that you are worth the change, you will gather up the energy and strength to do just that! If you can't - call a friend, someone who can encourage you and give you their strength! There is no shame in asking for help. Most importantly of all, you've got a Heavenly Father who is just a conversation away. There have been times when I have simply cried out, "God!!!! I neeeeeeeed You!!!! Help me!!!" And you can bet, even if you can't see it or feel it - there is help going on behind the scenes. All you have to do is change your mind and sometimes that is the hardest step of all. Everyone has met someone with an "Eeyore" mentality. You know who Eeyore is? He is the sad, depressed donkey in the Winnie the Pooh stories written by A.A. Milne

“Why me? Oh well… I guess that’s just the way life is… Ho hum…”

What Eeyore has needed is a good quick kick in the pants to get him motivated!  If you think about it, everything really comes down to perspective.  The Bible even says:

“For as a man thinks within himself; so he is.” (Proverbs 23:7)

Change is not always easy, but if you think about it – nothing worth anything ever is.  Isn’t it ironic that sometimes it seems easier to give someone else advice than to take it yourself? If you were sitting next to yourself – what would you say? What advice would you give?  Sometimes we are harder on ourselves than we are on anyone else. Maybe it’s time you gave yourself a break? Think about working towards an attainable goal – break it down into bits and pieces; maybe even give yourself different dates and reward yourself at each point for what you have accomplished.  For example, two years ago I decided I wanted to learn to run.  Me, Ms. Theater person, Ms. Never-Have-Been-Involved-In-Sports EVER.  Just the mere thought of running exhausted me.  I knew that if I was going to obtain that goal, I would have to find a plan that would go slowly and work me up to running.  I decided to purchase the “Couch to 5K” program for my iphone.  It started out by slow walking sped it up to speed walking to intermittent jogs to running.  By the time I was running I was surprised at how quickly I had switched over a course of weeks to actually becoming a runner!  It was not an overnight thing, it happened slowly over a period of time.  I finished the program and switched over to “5K to 10K” which has been a lot harder, but I’ve been up for the challenge and when the going gets tough (and it does) I work through it.  Now I should mention that my running is on a treadmill, inside.  I ran into quite a few problems this winter with being able to get out to the gym due to the tremendous amounts of snow we got this winter in Massachusetts.  I was not able to get to the gym as often as I had in the Fall, which set me back a bit.  Instead of beating myself up over this, I have decided to be kind and patient with myself (as I would be for someone else) and allow myself time to get up to the speed I was at previously, even though it is more effort because my expectations for myself are higher.  There were times when I could have thrown my hands up in the air and said, “Forget this!”  But instead, I keep pushing myself and strive to move forward.  My future plan? Once I feel ready, I want to transition myself from running on the treadmill to running outside, which is a whole different feeling.  My own experience has been that it is harder to run outside than in.  But eventually I will graduate from the treadmill, run outside and maybe eventually participate in a 5K race, not to race someone else but to challenge myself with the goal that I can do it.

It’s Spring, a time of renewal.  A fresh start, a new beginning – just like those promising buds that are on the trees, how are you going to welcome the Spring season? It’s time for a change, you are well worth it and you'll be glad you did.

March 17, 2015

What Zone Are You In?

Our God is the God of second chances... He is a God full of grace, mercy, forgiveness and love. Throughout the Bible we can see examples of this through Jesus' ministry.  If we call ourselves "Christians" (which by definition means to be Christ-like) we are called to do the same.
This is something that I try to remember with each person that comes into my life, Christian or non-Christian.  Everyone has their own story, some are so vastly different from my own and out of my realm of experience that there are times when I have had to remove my own unexpected prejudices and view them as I believe God would have me view them. This not always easy to do. Sin is sin and with God, there is no degree of sin. So my sins are no greater or lesser than someone else's or vica versa.

How did Jesus do it? When I think about it, I am amazed.  God came down out of Heaven in the form of man to meet us right where we were at.  He left His "comfort zone" to be amongst lowly us.  Why? Because He loves us.  When Jesus was here, He went where no one would have chosen to go - amongst the lepers, amongst the tax collectors, the prostitutes - the lowest of low.  How many of us would have wrinkled up our noses, lifted up our chins in pride and disgust, not realizing or willing to see that we are just as low in whatever our own sins have been as those that Jesus decided to be amongst.

How can someone see the love of Christ if no one is willing to venture out? If everyone decides to stay in "their place of comfort."  Jesus left His place of comfort for YOU shouldn't you be willing to do the same, should God bring an individual in your life who shares experiences that shock you, shakes you and makes you feel uncomfortable?  Maybe God wants you to be uncomfortable so that you can remember that the Bible says:

"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)

What changes and transforms all of us who are open to it, is the love of Christ .  If someone did not come forward and tell you about Him, you would not have come into the knowledge of Christ and what He did for you. We are all called to be missionaries in whatever part of the world God has us situated.  We are missionaries in our own daily lives.  We must keep in mind that perhaps the only "Christ" people will see is what they see in you.  They should see love, mercy, forgiveness, humility and a non-judgmental spirit.  We need to learn to leave all the judging to God.  He is the one who looks at the heart.  It's okay to struggle with the stories that you may hear of things that have occurred in someone's life.  But its not okay to sit upon a royal, pompous seat of judgment and judge that person because their lives have differed so vastly from your own.

There is a story that Jesus tells (and one that I have blogged about and you can find in my post listings posted in January, 2015 entitled, "A Modern but Very Old Tale") that speaks of this, about a woman caught in the act of adultery. Jesus said to those who were surrounding her, preparing to stone her:

When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her." (John 8:7)

Are you without sin? Look at your life.  I think not.  You may not admit it to anyone else - but at least admit it to yourself. Take a good hard look at your own life and think about what you need to change. Stop worrying about what someone else does. If you are worried about someone else - PRAY FOR THEM.

There are some hurting people out there, in THIS day, in THIS age and what they need is not our condemnation and judgment - but our love.  Let me rephrase that - Christ's love through us.  That is the only thing that makes a difference in ANYONE'S life.  Jesus said:

Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6)

He is the God who forgives, the God who shows love, the God who shows mercy, the God who transforms, and He is in the business of using people.  He came down in the form of a person (Jesus) to meet us where we were at.  He command the disciples:

"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." (Matthew 28:19-20).

"Thank you Lord, for leaving your place of comfort for ME.  Thank You for giving up Your life for mine.  Help me to follow Your lead and show others Your love so that You may reach them through me so that they may know that there is hope.  That you can heal, that you can change, that you forgive, that You renew that You transform. That the Bible is filled with examples of those You chose to use to glorify Your name who felt they were "unusable."  It was David the eighth and youngest son of Jesse, a shepherd boy yet you chose him to defeat Goliath. Thank You Lord in seeing worth in me.  Help me to view others as You view them and help me to be Your vessel so that I can show them how You view them as well. Give me a loving and merciful heart in Jesus' name I pray. Amen"

God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things--and the things that are not--to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God--that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: "Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord." (1 Corinthians 1:28-31)

When you allow God to direct you where He wants you to be, and use you to interact with others - He is glorified. When you allow yourself to get "out" of your comfort zone - God is able to work through you more affectively because you are getting out of the way and He can enter in.  Next time you start feeling uncomfortable, think upon these words, because there is no greater feeling than knowing that God did a work through you and because of your faithfulness, brought someone to salvation using you as His vessel. 

"I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent." (Luke 15:7)

And ALL of Heaven rejoices.

March 10, 2015

Deer Me!!!! (Yes, I meant to spell it that way...)

One Saturday morning, last Fall, I was driving down a country road with my children.  It was a beautiful Fall day, everything was bathed in color.  There is nothing like the beauty of an autumn day in New England, trees with leaves bathed in gold, orange and red hues, breathtakingly beautiful.  The kind of day where you just know that you know that you know there is a God and He’s amazing, the kind of day where you are so glad to be alive. We were driving along, listening to the radio, enjoying the scenery and each other’s company, when suddenly, out of nowhere a deer comes flying out of the woods and jumps over the top of the hood of our car, like one of Santa’s reindeer doing a flying leap.  It happened so fast we could hardly believe what we were seeing!  It was so graceful a move, like a ballet dancer doing a beautifully choreographic leap in the air, we were astounded.  It would have been a beautiful and precise action if only the deer did not run head first straight into the side of a door of a car driving in the opposite direction.  Shocked, we slowed our car down, turned the car around to see if the driver of the other car and the deer were okay, still floored by what we had witnessed.  We started praying as we turned that the deer and driver would be okay.  By the time we had turned the car around and driven back the way we had come, the other driver (unhurt) had gotten out of his car and was standing by the deer, who was clearly dazed, sitting on the ground with her feet tucked beneath her.  She didn’t appear to be injured, just stunned.

“Are you okay?”  I rolled my window down and yelled out to the driver.
“Yeah, but my car’s not.” The driver called back to me.  I took a glance at his car and could see that there was a huge dent in the driver’s door and the window was broken.

“Is there anything I can do? Is she okay?” I called out to him.
“No, I’ve placed a call to see if we can get her some help.  I’m just standing by her so that she doesn’t get hit by another car, but I think she is just stunned.” 

Even as he spoke, the deer shakily rose up on her legs; she shook her head as if to clear it.  She had a few cuts and probably plenty of bruises, but stood on her legs and at that moment, bounded off into the woods.  We all watched her in silence, releasing breathes we more than likely did not know we’d been holding, glad to see she was alright… Our eyes followed her as she bounded off into the woods only to watch as she head first smacked right into a tree trunk.  I had to laugh.  Poor deer, I imagined her thinking, “oh what a day I am having!” As she continued on into the forest; we’ve all had days like that. I totally sympathized with her plight.
Sometimes life feels like that, I imagine a male buck was probably pursuing her and running from the situation she found herself in  a situation she didn’t expect to be in, worse than the first or we get lost because we feel we are running blindly into one situation after another.  The best thing to do, is just stop.  Stop, look and listen.
Stop – because your thoughts are probably going like your heart rate, a mile a minute trying to figure out what you should do.  You’ve entered what they call “survivor mode” or having a “flight or fight” response.  Your thoughts are all over the page – “Oh no! Oh no! What am I going to do? What am I going to do? How am I going to get out of this mess I am?” Panic mode when you can’t think clearly.  All you see are the problems that are before you. STOP.  You may be surprised at the situation that you are in but God is not.  Your thoughts are going at such a rate that you are in “hyper-ventilating” mode and that’s when you are unable to think clearly. JUST STOP.  In fact the Bible says:
“Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalms 46:10)
Look – after you have stilled yourself.  Look to God; bring the situation right there to the foot of the cross.

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” (Psalms 46:1)
We were not created to be dependent upon ourselves.  We were created to be dependent on God.  He is so much greater than our troubles, He wants us to bring our worries and our cares to Him.  So many times we try to figure out things on our own and we can’t. He wants us to come to Him in prayer, believing that He desires to help us.
“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." (Matthew 11:29-30)
The only way you can understand this, is if you recognize your need to have Him in your life. You were not made with the intent to carry everything yourself.  We are not strong enough, nor are we able. God wants us to recognize that we are dependent upon Him.  That’s not a bad thing either, there is peace in that, there is security in that, and there is rest in that.
Once we’ve stopped and looked up to Him.  Then we are to be still and to listen.  Listen - Hear what God is saying about the situation.  Listening can sometimes be the hardest part, especially when we live in a world filled with so much noise.  But if we’ve followed the first two steps – stopped and looked we should be at a point of expectation – listening and expecting to hear from our Father.
What situation are you in? What are you anxious about? What is it that you are worried about? Anxiety and worry are not of God.
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:6-7)
I think that God allowed my family and I to see that sweet troubled deer for a reason that day, to remind us that when we try to run away from situations we just crash and get dazed before confusedly running off into another direction all over again. What we should do is stop – gather our thoughts take a deep breath; look – to our God who is the source of all answers and who clears away all confusion and listen – to the God who promises to guide us and keep us and to never leave nor forsake us all the days of our lives.  He is the lifter of our heads, the director of our path who sees the fullness of us.  All we need to do, is trust in Him.
“The LORD God is my strength, and he will make my feet like deer's feet, and he will make me walk upon my high places.” (Habakkuk 3:19)

March 5, 2015

I Forgive You...

Let It Go... Remember when you were a little kid, and you use to make wishes on dandelions and you would blow real hard to make all the little petals blow away? Release the hurt and pain and let it go.  Give it to over to God. Forgive.
We often forget that when Jesus was crucified on that cross, He was crucified for YOUR sins and MINE.  He took upon Himself all the sins of the world.  That is amazing to me…  He looked through the course of history, down the road straight at you and I and added our sins to the load he was carrying.  Everyone else’s too.  We contributed to the pain and anguish Jesus took upon Himself on the cross.  It’s really humbling when you think about it.
Forgiveness - We are called to walk in it.  It is not a choice it is a command. The truth is that in order to receive forgiveness from God, we need to forgive.   You can’t move forward in your life if you are stuck on what someone else “did or didn’t do” to you, and in not walking in forgiveness, the only one who remains hurt by it and stagnated by it ultimately is – you.  You won’t be able to get past it.  You won’t be able to move forward – forgive.  The peace that floods your soul is well worth it.
It is easier said than done.  One of the hardest things to do; is to forgive.  Or even to ask for forgiveness.  But God commands us to do so.   The Bible says:
“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:31-32)
We need to stop pointing the finger at someone else and take a good, hard look at ourselves.  “He did this to me!  She did this to me!  They said this! They did this!”  What did you do?  Examine your own heart.  Stop pointing the finger at someone else and take a good hard look at your own self.
From the beginning of time, beginning with Adam and Eve, people have blamed someone else for their own sins instead of taking responsibility for their own actions.  We feel ashamed when we go against God and therefore look to alleviate the blame and guilt by blaming someone else.
Why didn’t Adam dispute what the serpent said to Eve?  Why didn’t he protect her?  He was there.  He knew that what the snake had said was totally opposite to what God had told him.  He not only allowed her to listen and eat of the fruit, but also ate some himself.  Eve was quick to blame the serpent and Adam was quick to blame Eve.  They chose not to take responsibility for their own actions.
“They (Adam and Eve) heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” (Genesis 3:8-13)
This is something that many of us still do today. Instead of taking responsibility for the hurt and pain we have inflicted on someone else – we blame the individual, instead of taking responsibility for our own actions.  It is the same thing that Adam and Eve did.
“If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.” (1 John 1:8-10)
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged.  For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7:1-5)
It is easy to see the wrong that someone else does, without first examining our own hearts to see what wrong we have done.  It has been the course throughout history.
The best thing we can do is pray.  Ask the Lord to check our own hearts to see if there is anything we need to correct within our hearts and trust that if we have given our lives over to Him, He will help us to change whatever needs changing if we ask for His assistance.
It’s not easy to forgive someone for hurting you.  It may take time; it may take a lot of prayer or even fasting to get through it.  Be honest with God, let Him know that you are struggling with this.  Ask for His help.  There are some things we can’t do in our strength; we need to ask Him for His.  In forgiving someone it releases the “sting” of the pain of whatever the situation is and allows you to move forward resting in the knowledge that just as God has forgiven you, you have forgiven them, even if you have to start out by just faithfully saying what you are not yet feeling in your heart.  As you verbalize it over and over again it will eventually happen to be a reality, in God’s time.
“Lord, I’m hurting. I’m angry, I don’t feel forgiveness in my heart for this situation I feel deceived.  I ask you to help me forgive _____________________ (name of individual(s)) as you have forgiven me for my sins. I ask you to help me to release (her/him/them) from the pain they have caused me.  I willingly forgive (her/him/them).  Help me to let walk in that forgiveness and make the words of my mouth be the truth in my heart.  I plead the precious blood of Jesus over this pain and ask that you make my forgiveness a reality so that I can let go and move forward.  I pray that (her/him/they) would come to know You as Lord and Savior so that they too can experience the forgiveness I have experienced in personally knowing you as my Lord and Savior.  In Jesus’ precious name I pray. AMEN.


Go Ahead! Whack That Mole! Another One Bites the Dust!

Another One Bites The Dust.
I've been having one of those seasons in my life that I can only describe in this fashion... Anyone who is a parent of a young child will get my connotation. When my children were little we use to take them to this kid favorite restaurant/game center called Chuck E. Cheese. A place where they could run around and play all kind of games, climb up and go through overhead tunnels and just run themselves ragged. When they got hungry, Chuck E. Cheese (also being a fast food restaurant) had pizza that you could purchase. Oh by the end of the day both parent (from chasing after their child) and kid were exhausted.

Well, I remember one of the games they had. It was called "Whack a Mole." A mole would pop out of one of several holes (you'd have to guess which) and you would take a big hammer which was tied to the edge of the game and whack whatever hole you thought that mole would come out. Your goal, to whack as many moles as you possibly could.

That game has come to my remembrance because it has felt as though that has been the way my life has been lately. A situation comes up - I whack it! There's another one - OOPS another one! And there is another one... The faster I whack them the quicker another one comes up; to the point where I'm emotionally exhausted. Have you ever felt like that? It is to the point where I just want to pull a Clint Eastwood move and yell to the dang things, "Go ahead make my day!" and pull out a big ol' gun and shoot the whole game clear off the board of my life! Then blow the smoke off the tip of my gun, tuck it back into my  hip holster and ride off into the now-everything-is-fine sunset. If only it was that easy!

There used to be a commercial that came on TV for a bubble bath product called "Calgon." The commercial showed a harried woman at home. The phone was ringing, the dog needed to be let out, the children were screaming and there is this woman - looking straight into the camera crying out, "Calgon take me aaaaaaaaawaaaaaay." And the next shot was of her luxuriously lounging in a bathtub full of bubbles, with not a worry in her head.... If only a bubble bath could be THAT good!

What do you do when you feel that way? I wish I had an easy answer... I guess it is during this time, when we are truly to walk by faith and not be led by our feelings. Sometimes it feels like we are walking blindly, not knowing which way to go. It is hard not to feel frustrated when seasons like this occur. I don't know about you, but I am a very emotional person. The Bible tells us not to be led by our feelings and to me, that can be easier said than done.

This is a time when it is important to stay in communication with God. Even if you don't feel Him, don't see Him - He's there. He said He would never leave nor forsake you. (Hebrews 13:5)

When I feel this way, I simply try talking to Him and share my frustration with Him. Even when I don't feel it I know that He is my Father and He cares. Hey - He is the BIGGEST mole whacker weapon there is! Not only does He whack them, He obliterates them! Prayer and reciting your promises are two of your biggest life mole whacker weapons!

Mole whacking bring out anxiety. God said in His word: "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." (Philippians 4:6)

Maybe this is a season of refinement. One where the "yuck" of things within us that need changing are being burnt off.  Sometimes the plans we have for ourselves are not the plans that God has for us.  He has something better in store, if only we can trust and believe Him for it.  Sometimes we just need to do what Jesus did and go away from the crowds, go some place where we can get quiet before Him, shut out the noise of our lives, the noise of our thoughts and just listen.  It's not easy to shut out the noise of the world around us, but when we are able to do that, quiet down and determine that we won't let those pesky worries (which is what those annoying moles are) get the best of us, we might just experience a renewal of peace,restoration, direction and focus.

March 2, 2015

It All Begins With a Whisper...

How many of us are familiar with this "But Why God?!" look?! LOL!

My Pastor mentioned something in this past Sunday’s sermon that has stayed with me… He talked about how all sin starts with a whisper in your ear and a thought and then a decision you make based upon that thought. So the sin is actually birthed with the decision that you decide to make, prior to any actions that occur based upon that decision.
Since he preached this, I have been trying to weigh my thoughts carefully before making any decisions.  This is really hard for me, as I am an emotional person, which I suppose is both a good AND bad thing, it is important to bring our thoughts under submission, carefully analyze them before making any decisions.
A whisper into your ear
A thought
The birth of a decision

As someone who hasn’t made “wise” decisions during her 5 year prodigal time, I see this as a perfect tester to decisions I now make, (notice I didn’t say it makes it “easier”) it just helps me try to measure what decisions I make, why I make them and whether it is in line what God would have me do.  I’m not saying that this is something that I am “successful” at 100% of the time, but I figure if I bring every thought under submission to Christ, it will save me a lot of pain in the future!  When you have become an “ex-prodigal” you have sensitivity and a humbleness set inside of you that makes you keener and more aware of where your decisions might lead you.  Hopefully my prodigal experience has made me wiser because I sure as HECK don’t wanna journey down THAT emotional pathway again, I got my emotional butt kicked badly and I have NO desire to make bad choices that result in further pain or anguish.  (Chalk that up under the “fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice shame on me” line of thinking)... There are consequences that we have to experience that comes along with any decision we make and even if you get out of a prodigal situation (based on poor decisions) the consequences of those actions follow you. There is no turning back the page, although God makes it so that through Him you can go forward, and each new day of life is a fresh new page to write upon.  YOU are the one who chooses what you will write and what you write is based upon the decisions that you choose to make.
There have been times when I have felt led to share with someone what my prodigal experience had been and even though I am an ex-prodigal, it has been something that has not been easy for me to do. Each prodigal type situation differs from person to person. Mine was not a crime or drug or alcoholic or addiction related situation - but there are those prodigals who have experienced that as their mistaken pathway.  ANY type of prodigal, sinful situation is hard to share with someone else. It's humbling, if God leads you to share your experience with someone, it is probably to help them know that they are not alone (and  to let someone know others who have experienced the same).  It is scary to feel as though someone will judge you for what you've been through or the "bad" decisions you have made and it makes it hard to open up to people, but the thing is - EVERYONE whether or not they will admit it makes bad decisions at one point or another and there is NO degree of sin.  ALL sin is the same.  If you have made Jesus your personal Lord and Savior the Bible tells us that He throws your sins as far as the East is to the West!  He throws them in the sea of forgetfulness! (Read Micah Chapter 7 verse 19).  No one has the right to judge you, they should be MORE concerned about themselves and what they need to get right in their own lives, and we should be more concerned with what God thinks and not what others do.

What is being whispered into your ear?  Is it coming from the flesh?  Is it coming from the evil one? Bringing every thought under submission is not an easy thing to do.  I don’t know about you, but I am probably one of the least patient individuals you would ever meet!  My thoughts are ALL over the place, bringing every thought that I have under Christ’s submission is an exhausting thing, kind of like being an older parent with a young toddler who is asking 100 questions a minute and then adding the question “but why?!!” to each of those 100 questions! (LOL~ that’s me!) We are human and every decision we make won’t always be perfect – some of the decisions we make lead us right into the next lesson God allows us to experience in order to grow, but there are consequences to each decision we make on every thought we have, if we recognize that we need to stop, think and measure each thought and categorize it for what it truly is – a temptation, a course of action that will make a certain effect on our lives if we weigh it as to what God would have us do, it either becomes something we totally toss out or something we decide to go upon.  Oh how I wish I could just push my thoughts over to God and say, “Here, I’ve made you Lord of my life, my Savior, YOU do the thinking for me from now on and I will just sit back in my easy chair with my hands behind my head, whistling a tune and leave ALL the thinking to YOU.” To which God has said to me, “Sorry Kelly Girl, it doesn’t WORK that way.  I have given YOU this life to live. So live it, in ME making wise decisions, I've given you a guidebook in the form of the Bible... Try reading it, you won't gain understanding by osmosis.”  That’s when I stomp my feet and give him my best childish not-happy-with-what-my-Father-has-said-to-me frowns.

But the thing I’ve truly learned from the pain I experienced as a Prodigal – is that I love Him more.  I know what it is like to be outside of His will (and believe me when i say it is not a place you want to be).  I desire to please Him, hopefully more than I desire to please myself.  I want to live a life that gives Him glory, honor and praise.  I KNOW what it feels like to fall into a pit I can’t get out of and struggle and struggle and struggle climbing out of it and how it was only by Him rescuing me, forgiving me, guiding me, loving me, putting up with me, cleaning me off and setting me on solid ground that I am standing outside of that deep pit (mine was called the pit of heartbreak, maybe yours is/was different).  And I’m SO thankful I’m out of it – yet if I turn around I can see it from where I am and I have absolutely NO desire to venture right back down into that pit (or any other for that matter).  Now don't think I am always successful in making "wise decisions" because I'm not... I think I have probably had more childlike toddler temper tantrums before my Father than ANY child should have (or any parent wants to experience).  But they have been fruitless because God's no means NO.  There is no finagaling around it, and there is usually a reason for that NO that we don't see because our minds are not God's mind.  However, I'm quite sure there are many of us who have disobeyed that "no" at times, gotten our fingers burned bad and then been like - ooookkkkaaaaaaay now I see WHY you said no.  After the fact... Thank God for a Father who sighs, shakes His head at us in exasperation and then leans down to kiss our self-inflicted, caused by disobedience boo-boo with His forgiveness, grace and love. Even when we make unwise decisions, you have a Father who stands not too far off in the distance willing to direct you back towards the way you should go.

What thoughts are running through your mind… Remember there is a pathway to each decision.  You get to choose because you have free will.  What will you choose?  I find myself having to declare – I CHOOSE YOU LORD.  Even when I’m fussing and having a temper tantrum because things have not turned out the way I want them to.  I constantly have to remind myself that I only know “part” of the story.  God knows it all.  He knows my story in its fullness.  It makes me love Him more because in spite of myself – He still LOVES emotional, impatient, rollercoaster moods – ME and that goes for YOU as well.

I believe that no matter what your situation, God can turn your life around – but HE is the only one that can do it.  It’s not something we have the strength to do on our own.  The difference is when HE turns your life around – He turns it around for GOOD.  There is no denying that it was God who did it.  You just know that you know that you know that it is not something you can take the credit for.  It’s ALL Him.

What decisions are you making based upon those thoughts based upon those whispers into your ears?  God knows your heart.  He knows the desires that you have, He is the Creator of the whole universe, His thoughts are so much greater than ours. He is able to do and give and be all that you need and so much more… As I’m thinking about the desires of my heart and the prayer requests I’ve prayed I realize how tiny they are and the truth of the matter is I need to have MORE faith, faith that God hears me.  Faith that God will meet those needs in my life in such a more significant way than ever… A whisper… that becomes a thought… That becomes a decision that leads down a pathway… The choice is yours.

MY SONG for 2015 - T R I C I A - "What I Know"

My Song for 2015 - The Lyrics to "What I know" Sung by Tricia Brok

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. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
It’s been another day when it seems like faith eludes me
Everything’s been so confusing
Fear got the best of me
Now I’m lying here worried about tomorrow
‘cause the weight of everything I don’t know
Is so heavy I can’t sleep

But the truth remains the same
Even when I don’t know what to pray

But what I know
Is You, my God are real
No matter how I feel
You’ve never let me go
And what I know
Is there will never be a day
You aren’t just a breath away
And through it all I’ve gotta hold
To what I know

I could throw my fist in the air demanding answers
But in spite of all the questions
I’m still giving You my life
And if it doesn’t turn out like I think it should
It doesn’t change the fact You’re always good
Your ways are higher than mine

And the truth remains the same
Even when I don’t know what to pray

But what I know
Is You, my God are real
No matter how I feel
You’ve never let me go
And what I know
Is there will never be a day
You aren’t just a breath away
And through it all I’ve gotta hold

To love that’s never failing
To hope that keeps on saying
“carry on”, “carry on”

what I know
Is You, my God are real
No matter how I feel
You’ve never let me go
And what I know
Is there will never be a day
You aren’t just a breath away
And through it all I’ve gotta hold
To what I know

Gonna hold to what I know……
What I know……
What I know……