Wednesday, July 9, 2014

He Loves







I had prayed a lot about what to write today.  During my weeks and weeks of pain and crying, I also went through weeks and weeks of questioning and wondering.  

I came out on the other side wanting to just say this.  

God Loves You

HE LOVES YOU

Beautiful, wonderful, marvelous YOU.

This is one of those head things that I get as far as I have been able to parrot it back.  I knew it, but it really had not sunk in.  It just kind of floated in my mind.  See my mind likes to play tricks on me and my mind also doubts BIG TIME.  I would read a verse that would share how much God loves me and then I would hear in my head a voice from the past saying "Well, God would REALLY love you if..." or "The thing is, you really don't deserve that love.  God knows this about you..." or "God would love you more if..."

Does that happen to you?

If not, I truly am happy for you.  I am thrilled.  Now that may be hard to convey right here in a post, but knowing the difficulty I have had, I am really happy if you haven't had to worry about that.  If you took God's word and by faith believed even that thing that can be so hard for me to grasp.  HE LOVES YOU.

He loves me.

Knowing God loves you no matter what creates this amazing feeling inside you.  There is a freedom yet there is this incredible humbling moment.  His love is a big deal.  It is a party kind of deal.  It means you can (and really must) let go of all the other voices and incidents that have made you feel unworthy or made you feel that you had to try harder to be worthy.  

God's love is not dependent on how your father treated you when you were growing up or even how he treats you now.  It is not about how clean and tidy your house is today.  It is not the sum of every employer you had or every person you dated.  It h as nothing to do with how well you did in high school or college.  Being loved by God has nothing to do with your weight gain, weight loss or how snarky you were to others last week (thank God cuz this girl can get snarky). 

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:18

All of those other things are temporary.  God is eternal.  God's love is eternal.  It is unconditional, powerful and beyond compare.  You can't earn it.  He gave it to you freely.  

That is good news.  

No.  That is great news.  If only we could grasp it.

Remember this:

Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.  
John 1:12

So if the son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
John 8:36

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith -- and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--
Ephesians 2:8

Oh...and for those random scattered "if only..." thoughts remember this too:

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
1 Peter 5:7

 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Woman I Long To Be



First let me just say that I am not hating on myself here.  I know that God loves me and I do not need to compare myself to anyone else.  However, I have come to realize that I simply desire to do more than I have.  I have goals, but I haven't been doing too well at drawing closer to them.  

I so often have thought about "someday."  Someday I'll lose this excess weight.  Someday I'll get up early and write and read the Bible all the time and not just occasionally.  Someday I will have a little self discipline.  Someday I'll stop procrastinating.  Someday I will change things.  Well, today is someday.  Today is the first day that I will live as the woman I long to be.  Let's call it a mini experiment.  You read about the woman in Proverbs 31.  Well, I'd like to be like that woman.  Actually no.  I want to be the woman that God has called me to be.  So I am going to live the way I think I would be living IF I had it a little more together.  

Make sense?

Hopefully it will.

Basically I am going to take action.  Some of these things I do often.  These are things I want to do all the time.  I want to live the life I want to live.  It is high time I get started.  I guess that is what a phantom back injury and a bout of depression will do to you.

The woman I long to be:

--Gets up early to spend time in God's word.
--Writes daily.
--Eats breakfast each day.
--Gets the exercise she can even with an injury at least five days a week.
--Makes healthy food choices.
--Encourages others daily.
--Drinks more water than coffee or even iced tea.
--Prays for her husband daily.
--Prays for her son daily.

You know what?  I'm excited!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Why I've Been Away

**My husband took this photo.

A little over a month ago, I woke up in excruciating pain.  Pain so dramatic that I literally screamed.  Somehow in the middle of the night (or so I thought), I slept in such a way that absolutely tore my back up.

Every movement was accompanied by my own screams as my body protested.  I could not dress myself in anything but maxi skirts (thank God they are in style) because I could barely bend.  I could not wear shoes other than my Birkenstock sandals because I could not handle the pain of trying.  I could barely handle working in the office but being at home was pointless too as I only fitfully could rest.  

After a week of this, I finally saw a chiropractor.  After my x-rays and other testing, it turns out I have an old neck injury and some impingement in my hip.  Funny thing is, I don't recall doing anything that would cause a neck injury...well...other than falling down a flight of stairs OFTEN in my old home in Rhode Island.  

There is something about pain that you cannot control that really knocks the wind out of your sails.  I could not sit long enough to be online so I simply stayed away for the most part.  My on-air work was rough too as I tried desperately to not scream out at the sudden sharp pains while on air.   

The roughest yet the best part was going through the pain during the weekend of the Elevate Music Festival here in Arizona.  Three long days of amazing Christian music.  Three long days of wonderful testimonies.  In many ways, I felt God really renew me there.  I do plan on sharing that part at some time. 

The screaming pain is now behind me.  My wandering and scattered mind is still with me.  I think my thyroid might be a bit off.  I am very emotional now, but grateful.  Grateful that my physical pain is dull now.  I think it was all a part of a breakthrough.  Kind of the storm before the calm.  More than ever, I feel that God has some special plans, and I just need to buckle in and be ready.

I haven't had anyone clamoring at me asking where I have been, but I do miss writing.  I do miss visiting with others, and I do miss the goal of it all.  I am still on hold for many activities, but I am free to do this again, and I am more determined to get on it.

I have a new goal in mind.

I wont share that now.

But I will.

Checking in and very happy to do so.  

God bless you.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Limitless Life Study - Verse of the Week - Ephesians 2:22


I'm starting a new study this week with Proverbs 31 Ministries Online Bible Studies.

The book is "Limitless Life:  You Are More Than Your Past When God Holds Your Future" by Derwin L. Gray.  Join in!  It is not too late.  In fact, if you don't have the book yet, you can read the first two chapters at Proverbs 31 Ministries Online Bible Studies page

The above is the first verse of the week for the study.  I figure I'll put it everywhere I can so I can nail that all down in my head.

I decided to take the study because honestly, labels have run my life.  I am the ever present work on self-esteem and self-doubt.  I have the knowledge that God has a perfect plan for my life, and I know that the slip ups and rough parts have a purpose.  I think I need to move beyond some of those things of the past in order to get there.

Here's a little bit about the book: 

Is your life limited by labels the world and other people have used to define you? Labels you have internalized and apply to yourself every day. Labels like Afraid. Or Addict. Orphan. Damaged Goods. Failure. Maybe even Religious. These labels might be sewn into your life with such tight little stitches that they feel like a part of you. They feel like they define you. But that’s a lie. If you let Him, Jesus can remove those old labels and tattoo new ones onto your soul. Then you’ll begin to see yourself as God the Father sees you. The limits will be lifted, and your life will be transformed. It’s the truth. Join Pastor Derwin Gray on a fascinating journey into what can happen when you offer your head, your heart, and your hands to the only one who can offer you truly limitless life.

Because I am taking this study through Proverbs 31 Ministries, I am using a link to their site to give a purchase option.  I think that it is only fair since this study, other than the book, is free.  

 

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Five Minute Friday (A Day Late) Close

Five Minute Friday




Today I celebrate a little bit late, the joy of Five Minute  Friday.  A time when writers all over the world...love that.  Take five minutes and write with complete abandon and total freedom.  It all starts with a prompt from Lisa-Jo Baker.  No edits, no freak outs, no worrying if you are doing the right thing.  Just a time to let go and let it be.

The important thing about Five Minute Friday is the encouragement you receive to just let go and the encouragement you give to others who have done the same.  You do not have to visit everyone, but a stop at the person who posted before you is requested.  Honestly, you wont want to stop there.

Today's...oops...yesterday's prompt is the word "CLOSE"

Let's  GO!!!!!!!

Sounds of a dining room buzzed in the back of my brain.  It was all I could do to not explode with the anger of my situation.

Here I was.

THREE THOUSAND MILES FROM HOME!!!

And I had to start a life here.

15-year-old girls weren't supposed to live without their parents unless they were part of some boarding school sitcom life.

I wasn't.

I was just stuck paying the price for my own mother's paranoia.

Misery and grief settled in, but I could do nothing but hold it all inside.  Weakness was not going to take over.

"You are alone" a voice that was not my own whispered menacingly "your life will never be the same."

"Hello!" another voice broke into my space.  She had dark hair and lively blue eyes and was smiling ear to ear.  I groaned a small greeting and prayed she would just step off and leave me alone.

She didn't.

That was my introduction to my oldest and dearest friend Lisa.  She reached out to me as I sat miserably in a restaurant with my grandmother.  I was miserable because I knew that in just a week it would be just me.  I did not want to be part of this new life living alone without my parents.

Lisa was a gentle gift from God.  A girl who just couldn't help but reach out to others and encourage.

As we grew through our teens and 20s we went through times of being inseparable to having  separate social circles.  I was the drifter girl who hung with artsy types.  I was a free spirit who would up and move to a new state at the drop of a hat.  I explored.  I lived with passion.  I also ran (I learned how at a young age after all).  She was the solid church girl whose goal was to be a stay-at-home mom and became one. 

As alike as we were different, we always remained close.

Over 30 years have passed since our first meeting.  We are thousands of miles apart physically, but we know that being close...for us...has nothing to do with proximity.

It is about our minds.

It is about our hearts.

It is about being different yet the same.

It is all about picking up the phone after a day, a week, a month and even a year...and still never running out of things to say.






STOP

So how about joining us?  You can learn more and jump aboard by following this link.  

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Fly a Little Higher by Laura Sobiech (Book Trailer)

I haven't read this book (Fly a Little Higher by Laura Sobiech), but I stumbled across it at LitFuse, and I am mesmerized. I had to share.  I simply happened to be at Litfuse today and read today's Sunday Refreshments with author Laura Sobiech.  I was floored by the post.  Read it here.  

My son is simply a few months older than Zach.  I had such pull in my heart to read more about Zach that I stepped away from what I was already reading and found myself online reading, watching and listening to Zach and those who loved him and were impacted by him.  Take a moment if you will.  I believe between the above link and this trailer, you are going to want to know more too.  

PS The book link above goes directly to Fly a Little Higher's website in order to purchase.  It is available at many sites, but I am hoping that by purchasing by going to their site, they will get extra funds.  No idea.  I just really again, was so moved by what I saw, I wanted to make sure that any affiliate link would be from there.  Make sense?




Thursday, May 8, 2014

Grateful - Oh Yes I Am



Five Minute Friday

So...it has been a few weeks since I have participated in Five Minute Friday.  It was a case of me letting busyness rule.  No more. 

Five Minute Friday is all about letting go and being free.  Lisa-Jo shares a word prompt and we go for five minutes.  Five minutes of being free and unedited.  It is an amazing time with amazing people.  After you write, you share and you read, you learn and you grow.  It is pretty amazing.  Join us by heading to Lisa-Jo's Five Minute Friday Post

Today's prompt is GRATEFUL.


GO


If I look back at my life to where I am right now, I can't help but be grateful.

Back story:  In 2005, I moved 3000 miles away from home to get away from an abusive relationship.  That relationship was five years too long.  Through those five years, I lost all confidence in myself and lost all hope.  Moving was a desperate act, because no matter how hard I tried, I could not get away from this man.  He showed up everywhere.

For two months, my son and I lived off of savings, and I decompressed.  I spent a lot of time in prayer and a lot of time healing.  My family in California counseled me and loved on me.  I needed those two months, but when month three came up, I needed to find a job.  I began sending out resumes and filling out applications.  I took lots of tests and waited. 

Nothing.

Finally when down to my last $40, I knew I was nearing the end of my rope.  I had to get a job.  I was on the way home from a job interview, and wanted to head home to freshen up before heading out for another step in an application process.  I began to cry.  I was scared.  Things weren't working out too well.  I just didn't feel good about my last interview.  Even the ones that I had felt good about didn't end up with a job. 

Suddenly the song that had been playing in the background seemed louder.

"Just a face in the city
Just a tear on a crowded street
But you are one in a million
And you belong to Me
"


As tears streamed down my face, I pulled the car over and listened to the song.

"I love you more than the sun
And the stars that I taught how to shine
You are mine, and you shine for me too
I love you yesterday and today
And tomorrow, I'll say it again and again
I love you more
"


It was as if God reached right out to me right there in my car.  At the time, I didn't even know who sang the song, but I knew God used it to show me His love.

I pulled myself together and drove back home.  I freshened up and headed out to the next opportunity.  I timidly applied for the job and was given an interview immediately.  I was then hired, and I passed a background check in an hour.  When I shared this with my co-workers they were stunned.  It took them months to complete the process.  The uniform for this job was supplied.  All I needed was to get shoes.  Twenty of my $40 paid for my shoes and the final $20 went to gas for my commute. 

I am so grateful that God saw me (never stopped watching over me really) in that moment and showed me His deep love.  

Here's where it gets pretty crazy cool.  Eight years later I was married to my soul mate (6 years married now), working in Christian radio and was given the opportunity to interview the person who wrote and sang that song.  Best of all, I got to thank him for it (minor PS - My program director only told me I was interviewing Matthew West 10 minutes before it was to happen, because he didn't want me to freak out...PPS I freaked out anyway).  It was like God gave me the opportunity to go full circle.

Life is not always going to be easy.  I know this.  I also know that God saw me through the worst and shared with me His best.

How cool is our God? 

How grateful am I? 

Very.

STOP

Oh...here's a link to that song.  Still gets me every time.