It has now been seven years since I started this blog. How quickly time goes by! We are many members but we are one in the body of Christ. Therefore you do not journey alone! Hopefully through this site you will be encouraged by the fact that many things you are going through in your own walk, others are going through (or have gone through) as well. Sometimes we think we are "going through things alone." But we are not. God said that "He would Never Leave Nor Forsake Us." (Hebrews 13:5) and that "There is Nothing New Under The Sun." (Ecclesiastes 1:9). No man is an island. It's easy to forget that. May the words in this blog help you to think, encourage you in whatever spiritual state you are in and may the Lord use them to help us to grow in Him! He is the Author and Finisher of our faith!

I don’t want any readers to think that I am “promoting” being a prodigal. I definitely am not. But what I am hoping to do – is to encourage those of us who either have had or are currently experiencing a hard time in our walk to be honest about it. Personal conviction is a powerful thing, especially if you truly love the Lord. I think that sometimes the Body of Christ critiques and judges to the point where the person who is at the other end of that pointing finger feels ostracized, alienated and alone. I don't think that that is what Jesus intended. When I read through my Bible - I see a firm yet gentle restoration that Jesus ministered to those around Him. Look at John 21:15-19. When Peter who was at an all time low point in his walk - he was firmly, yet lovingly restored by Jesus. He didn't tear him down, or yell or make him feel any worse then he already did. He spoke to him lovingly and gently - and in doing so, Peter was able to repent and minister in a much more powerful, humble and confident way and it became one of the largest ministries ever.

Please note that I am only a vessel, my calling - to write. I dedicate this blog to the Lord and ask that He use it to reach out and touch whoever needs a special, loving, personal touch from Him. My hope is that the Holy Spirit allows you to see Him through the words (and not me). We go through things so that we can extend our right hand of fellowship behind us to assist and help someone else. Our Bible is the same today, as it was yesterday as it will be tomorrow. (I am far from perfect and do not profess to have all the answers...) but the good news is - Our Heavenly Father does! His love, forgiveness, grace and mercy is real!Nothing you are experiencing in your walk comes as a surprise to Him! May He be glorified through this blog and may God bless you at whatever stage in your walk you are in!~

I am a Breast Cancer Survivor

I am a Breast Cancer Survivor
I was diagnosed with early stage triple negative breast cancer on June 24th, 2010 - I have been cancer free for 7 years now. It was only a chapter in my life - NOT my life, but the impact is one that has changed my life forever. Its important for women to know that 80% of the breast cancer diagnosis come from women who don't have a history of it in their family (My family didn't). Early detection is the key. For more information please click on the pink ribbon above. It could save your life.


April 28, 2015

Are You For Real?

My style has always been one to try and reach people where they are at...  I guess if my friends were to describe me, most of them would say, “Kelly doesn’t sugar coat anything.  She’s the raw ingredients. She’s completely transparent and the ‘real deal… I know that if I want a direct and honest answer, I can get one from her...”
This is something that I learned as a new Christian under the tutelage of two Christian couples, The Claibornes and the Lewis’ Family, who took me, a baby Christian at the time, under their wings and gave me spiritual nourishment to help me grow.  (Thank you Lewis’ and Claiborne Families!!!!) :)

They taught me that the best way to reach people is to be your-self! To be real! 
In this day and age people can sense when someone is either putting on airs, being fake, not really interested in their situation, or acting “religious and pious;” and truly what they see is the response you will get back in return.  If you don’t really care – you shouldn’t be there!  We are called to truly love people!  LOVE THEM.  The way Jesus’ would want.  The way Jesus did! Be real!  When I meet someone who is either a prodigal or is hurting or who clearly needs to hear God’s message of redemption and love and shares their particular situation with me – I listen.  I share.  I care. It's not easy to be transparent with someone.  You make yourself extremely vulnerable.  You expose yourself in a way that most people don't do now a days and for someone to allow themselves to be vulnerable is something no one ministering should take for granted.

There is a reason you go through the things you go through in your walk with the Lord.  When you were a baby and you learned how to walk, you didn’t just “walk” on day one – first you learned how to turn your body over.  Remember the rejoicing that went on when you rolled over?  (Well…. You wouldn’t remember that – but I’ll bet your parents did!  They probably hooped and hollered in joy and praise like you graduated from an Ivy League University!) After you rolled over, you soon learned to crawl and eventually raise yourself up.  Your first step was one of uncertainty and hesitation.  I can still remember the pleased look on each of my three kids faces when they realized they were walking!  They were proud of themselves!  Kind of like a “hehehe look at me now Ma!” expression on their little faces.  Our spiritual walks are the same as our physical.  We learn over time - and sometime we fall!  But here is the thing, when/if we fall God wants us to get right back up!  We are not to sit there on the ground and cry and wallow in our mistakes but to know that God has redeemed us.  
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)
After being a Christian for 23 years, I entered the hardest time in my walk, where I willfully (and consciously not to mention gullibly and naively) chose to allow myself to go down a prodigal path.  What that means is that I, knowing the Word of God, still decided at a point in my journey, to go a route that I knew God had specifically made clear I wasn't to venture.  Instead of choosing God’s will, I chose MY will.  The ramifications of that decision have reverberated in my life over and over again, even though I have been an ex-prodigal for a while now. Quite frankly, I’m still trying to come to terms with myself as to why I allowed myself to become a prodigal in the first place. The emotional anguish that I went through because of my disobedience is one that God is still in the process of healing me of. He is faithful, it is just a slow process.  (Keep in mind, as I have said this throughout many of my blog posts – that there is a reason why God says NO!  It is not because He is being  a “mean” Father, but because He knows what is best for us, what harms us, what the consequences for certain actions are; He desires the BEST for us, yet sometimes we become willful, stubborn, disobedient children and think we know what that  "best" should be.  The truth is, we don’t. We only see in part, God sees in full. ) I learned a very valuable and painful lesson, one that my Heavenly Father had not wanted me to experience in the first place, yet I did.  Instead of beating me over the head with my stupidity, as with the prodigal son in the story of the prodigal (read Luke 15:11-32) I turned around from my prodigal pathway onto the pathway home and God in His love and mercy wrapped His arms around me and welcomed me home.   For every decision that we make there are consequences for our actions, even if we have confessed our sins and gotten right with God. (They can be either physical or emotional consequences depending upon whatever your sin is/was).  Ol’ Slewfoot would have you “stew” in your mess.  But God would say, “Rise up!  I have called you by name!  Child YOU are mine!”   So – what do you do?  You rise!  You confess your sins to God! (Who sees everything any ways!)  And you get back on that path He has for you, repent (which means turn from) your experience and go forward!
What good came from my prodigal experience?  You know, God can take our "mess" and turn it into a "message" - which is how I came about writing this blog.  My having been a prodigal taught me things about myself I didn't realize before.  That it is TRULY God's grace that saves us.  You can't "earn Heaven" or "be good enough."  It is totally JUST God's grace, His forgiveness, His love and the precious blood of Jesus that allows us to have a relationship with a Perfect Sinless God.  When I hit rock bottom, with a broken heart and no answers - I learned of God's grace.  When I repented - TRULY turned from my situation, I learned God's forgiveness on a personal level.  I became humble.  I became less judgmental (even though I hadn't known I had been judgmental of others in the first place!) I decided to become transparent.  I chose to be real.  I chose to use my prodigal experience to minister to others who feel alone.  Who are on their own individual prodigal journeys and need to know that God loves them for who they are, has better for them and wants them to return home.  I chose to use my pain and shame to glorify God with my experience.  It has become part of my testimony.  In being transparent and being “real” I am able to humbly share a time in my walk with others that I am not proud of so that they in turn can be real with me, open up and receive the knowledge of love and healing that their Heavenly Father has for them, and together we can approach the throne of God through the shed blood of Jesus and thank God for what He has done and who He is and they can grow from their own prodigal situation, be redeemed and use their prodigal experience to "pay it forward" and help someone else so that that "someone else" won't feel alone.
The only “perfect” person that ever lived is Jesus.  When He hung on that cross He looked ahead through the years and centuries and saw ME, saw YOU and STILL chose to die on the cross for forgiveness of our sins.  He DIED for US.  He made a way to God where there was no way.  A death He didn’t deserve.  So in my eyes, I feel like if I can glorify Him through my life (a life I turned over to Him on my own accord through Campus Crusade for Christ 28 years ago) He may be glorified.  Because I’ve been real and able to share my prodigal experience, I have met others whose lifestyles are like nothing this “Sandra Dee” type girl (me) has ever experienced.  While I’ve never done drugs or smoked cigarettes – I know what it is to hunger for something/one I cannot have. While I’ve never committed a crime, or been in jail, I can find common ground with someone who has a desire to have a second chance at life, to turn their lives around.  The fact is that we ALL sin, there is no degree of sin with God.  Sin IS Sin.  Jesus was REAL with people.  Shouldn’t WE be the same?  Not so that that person will see “us” but will see CHRIST in US and to know that God is a God of forgiveness and love.  

In fact, recently I met someone for the first time in my life who had been in jail.  They'd been in jail for a crime that they had committed, but now they were out.  This was someone with genuine remorse.  This was someone who honestly told me their story, when they hadn't had to.  I wouldn't have known anything about them at all if they hadn't felt comfortable enough to share their story with me. This is someone who has an absolute beautiful, incredible soul, someone who has gone through so much, but cannot seem to get a second chance by others judgmental views (including the system) because of their past.  This is someone who is trying to make a new start at life - but is having trouble getting over the hurdles of their past because others won't allow them to move forward.  THIS is someone who has recently come to Christ, honestly made Jesus Christ their Lord and Savior - has been born-again.  Someone who God has forgiven.  Someone who God dearly loves! Someone who deserves to have a second chance at life and happiness.  Someone God has a plan for!  My heart went out to this individual, because the stigma of the poor decisions they have made in the past is making it difficult for them to have a good chance at moving forward, and they are truly trying!  It's no wonder that there is a high percentage of ex-criminals who end up in jail again because they feel as though they are swimming against the tide! That they can't begin again! That society has given up on them and not allowing them to have a fresh start.  Not only is this person having to combat getting a fresh start at life, but also has to deal with mire of health issues because of their past!  This person has an absolutely beautiful soul, a gentle soul, and while God only had me be in their life a short time - to plant, I pray God will help them get their life on track, heal them and then use them as a powerful way to help others.  I know God is able! I pray that God will bring other people into this individual's life and assist them!  I know God will and I pray that when God does, this person will "pay it forward" with love and grace and help someone else (or many someones) that have been where they once were. So that God will indeed be glorified.  Thank God for a God who loves them and who is a God of second chances!  We ALL require "second" chances in our lives - no matter what our past situation has been.  We are not called to judge, we are called to LOVE.  We are called to minister.  We are called to help. 

"And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God." (1 Corinthians 6:11)

Often times God will bring such a person in our lives to plant, and then someone else into their lives to water and what a beautiful thing when God Himself provides the increase! There are so many wonderful testimonies of what God has done in the lives of others. Each story individually beautiful. Each of us has our own story - like handprints no two are the same. the truth is - God is ABLE.The truth is - that we grow by using our past mistakes and weaknesses to show others that God is not looking for a “perfect” people but for people who are willing to confess that they are *not* perfect and need a Savior to stand in the gap for them, the reason why Jesus "our Savior" came in the first place, God will truly be glorified by our transparency and our honesty... It truly doesn’t get any more “real” than that…! We are called to be transparent, we are called to be loving, we are called to be humble and to remember:
“I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and delivered Himself up for me." (Galatians 2:19-20).

I didn't know I would go through a prodigal time in my life.  In fact, if you had told me I would, I would have laughed in your face. ME??? Experience WHAT? You are so wrong! It is very true that there is pride before a fall.  I fell alright... I fell hard, on my face, with my heart shattered into a million pieces - and while it all came as a surprise to me - guess what?  It didn't to God.  He knelt down beside me and began to pick up each one of those shattered pieces, and as He picked them up, He kissed each one and He told me, "Kelly, I am going to put you back together.  I am going to make your heart stronger, I am going to fill this heart of yours with so much love for people (from ALL walks of life - especially for those so different from your own) that unless you decide to share it with them - they will never know how broken it once was.  I am going to fill your heart with a love for me like you have never had before.  I am going to renew you.  I am going to redeem you.  I am going to use you.  I am going to heal you - You are mine.  I forgive you, I love you and I am here for you."  And you know what?  I love Him all the more for it.  He is my all in all.  He is my Savior.  He is my God.  He is my Lord.  He is my Father.  He is the Author and the Finisher of my Faith.  When I am weak - I run to Him and He makes me strong... I am far from perfect - I am a work in progress - but Oh How I know who I belong to.  I know who I trust.  I know who I can talk to.  I know who I can be real with.  He is God.  He is the reason I get up in the morning and the reason I lay down at night.  The truth is - that as long as I have breath in my body, He will continue teaching me.  I probably will continue to make mistakes! LOL  After all, I am FAR from perfect.  But God did not mean a prodigal experience in our journey to last a life time - only a short time.  A time where we can grow and acknowledge and learn to love God in a deeper committed fashion.  And if dear one, you have - than allow Him to move you forward and use you.  Because if you do, He REALLY will...  Only the things we do for Christ will last. What are you doing for Him?  Isn't it time you took a real long look at you? Because that is really the "real" of it... Really...

No comments: