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A Walk through the Word

An ongoing series of things I learned in the Word

 

The Battle Belongs to God

February 15 2024

Don’t be afraid of what you are about to suffer. The devil will throw some of you into prison to test you. You will suffer for 10 days. But if you remain faithful even when facing death, I will give you the crown of life. Revelation 2:10

 

God dropped this into my Spirit Feb 10th 2024 and I have been carrying it these last 5 days. Knowing you are going to suffer doesn’t make the suffering hurt less. It doesn’t make the pain of losing less painful. But I could never have imagined this.

 

Once again I lay my life as an offering so that many will be saved just like my brother Jesus taught me.

 

Thursday Feb 9th began like any other day. I went to my sermon discussion group. I was excited to share. We just finished our series on the book of Ruth ordinary faith. How God uses even the ordinary things we do everyday to show Himself faithful. He doesn’t speak a word in Ruth but you see His fingerprints in the details with the protection, the provision, the favor, the grace and the ending no one could have ever seen coming.

 

My sister in Christ picked me up and afterwards I usually shop for things I could find on the clearance rack at Barnes and Noble for my Landing kids in the Celebrate Recovery group but that day I picked up 2 devotionals on hope and encouragement for my sisters in Christ as we walked through a difficult study for Valentines. One of us is seeking intimacy with God, another seeking intimacy in her marriage and another seeking fulfillment in God not her marriage, her kids, her grandkids just God.  We are calling on Him.  Our names mean Christ follower, pure and God is gracious. The presence of God is always in the room when we sit to lay down the trials and sorrows that have brought us to this place in our lives. We carry each others sorrows and burdens and give each other wisdom of past life experiences to encourage and hold each other up. You see the battles we face people can’t see, the scars we have no one would know by just looking at us. So hope and encouragement seemed fitting for a day usually focused on love.

 

My sister in Christ took me to the store to use my gift card. A gift form one of the 14 days of Valentines I was blessed with. I used it to buy a decoration for my upcoming Womens worship I was facilitating. And then as we walked around another store I picked up a Valentine for my love. She dropped me off home as I walked in the door I told Alexa to play KLOVE while I gathered my décor to see how I would display it. I stood on a chair to take a picture of it and that is when I noticed 2 police vehicles at my neighbors house. My first thought was I hope everything is okay. Then I saw 4 deputy sheriffs walking up to my yard.

 

Everyone at home was at work. So my first thought is O GOD something has happened and they are here to tell me the news. I opened the door before they could ring the doorbell. And asked how I could help them.

 

They asked if I was…they called me by my first name. I said yes I was. And then they asked to see my ID. I came into the house and went to my purse by this time adrenaline is pumping and I forgot where I usually leave it so it took me a minute to get it. Already shaking.

 

The looked at it and then asked if I ever went by…I said that is my maiden name but I haven’t used that name for 30 years. They said do you know why we are here? I said no. They asked if I ever had my wallet taken in the last 30 years and I said yes. They were certain this was identity theft. They said there was a warrant issued out for my arrest 27 years ago, the charge was grand larceny. I said What did I steal?! I don’t remember robbing a bank or stealing a car.

 

They said they couldn’t say much only that another county issued the warrant and asked if I had ever lived there. Again I said yes, 30 years ago. They said lets do some more leg work convinced I was not the person they were looking for. So one officer went to his vehicle while I chatted with the other 3.

 

I asked why the presence of 4 officers the woman explained 2 were training. I asked wouldn’t this have shown up in credit report they said not usually. I said I work with kids. I have had several background checks done over 30 years and this has never been brought to my attention. Our cat was banging on the glass door wanting to be let out. He is an indoor cat. He knows nothing about the outside. Just a fish in a bowl looking out. The woman got a call on her radio and asked me to confirm some names of last known street addresses where I grew up in TX… when I was 19. I confirmed them with her.

 

After some more small talk I noticed a chill. I said can I get a jacket they said no mam but you can step inside.  So I came inside and began cleaning up my decorations. Putting scissors (sharp objects/weapons) away. Welcoming them into my home. And then the officer in his vehicle reappeared in my home. This time I saw what appeared to be a red light on his vest cam.

 

And he said I’m sorry mam it is you. I looked at him bewildered and said so what does that mean? And he explained that they would need to take me down to the station and the other county would transfer me unless I post bond before then. I asked how much bond was they said it was set at $2500.

 

God put it on my heart in December to save 3-6 months of expenses in case of an emergency. And we just so happened to be coming off a no spend January where we only spent money on shelter, transportation and food. And that was equivalent to what we saved for one month of expenses.  I know that we lose God will give me double for. But it still hurts.

 

They suggested I call my husband. When I called him he was already heading toward me he said he was 30seconds away he saw the whole thing on the Ring Camera. He asked if they could wait. They agreed. I was wearing slippers so I asked if I could put on tennis shoes. They said that was fine. And then I came out and my husband was speaking to them. They suggested I also take my jewelry off including my wedding ring. So I went and did that and went to the restroom. I think everyone was shocked that they were having to do this. I met my husband in the hall and with a look of powerlessness I hugged him and said it’s going to be okay. I did nothing.

 

I am doing a legacy bible for my son. It takes 5 years to complete. I just started in January. You read one page a day and highlight anything that resonates and explain why. So that future generations can know why you loved God and believed in His Word as you do. I had just written to my son that of all the characters in the bible I relate to Joseph in Genesis from the pit to prison to the palace. Each a representation of an area in my life not a literal meaning.

 

They asked me to put my hands behind my back. It was at this point the Spirit of peace that surpasses my understanding had me convinced that this wasn’t real.  Someone was playing a trick on me. I had seen a reality show called Jury Duty on Amazon which was a reality series about the judicial system and it was about a juror who had no clue but everyone was a paid person except for him. I thought for sure Ashton Kutcher was going to come out and say I was punked or that John Quinoes was going to come out and say what would you do? All I knew is there are a huge crowd of witnesses around me and I was going to give a good witness like my brother Jesus taught.  The cuffs were on…and all I could think was okay here we go…if this is truly happening God is going to get the glory.

 

It was hard to find a comfortable way of sitting back in my seat with cuffs on and the female officer instructed me to scoot forward like a slouch to create a pocket for my hands so I complied. The partition between me and the officers was open so I noticed the radio and asked if they listened to music in their cruiser they said some times and I asked if they could put it on KLOVE 91.1 that I needed some positive and encouraging music about now. They complied.

 

Then they took the scenic route into the station as I shared my story of Recovery. I told them how I taught middle to high school kids the recovery lessons to help them manage their emotions so that they would not need to seek recovery as an adult. I shared how I mentored an at risk teen for the Save our Youth program and how I was teaching on hope that week. I shared my intro to Celebrate recovery and how and why I was on the road to financial freedom using the Dave Ramsey plan. Then I asked them about themselves, married, kids, years on job.

 

The ride was my opportunity to testify to God’s saving power in my life. I even thanked God for giving me this opportunity to be arrested so that I can relate this experience to the teens I teach. I explained that I just had a conversation with a woman who received the Holy Spirit and asked if she was going to speak in tongues now. I told her I don’t think it happens like that. That if she was fluent in a language say Spanish, French or Portuguese she could speak to people in their native language about God. And then I said it is also life experiences that God gives you. For example I can speak to people who were raised by a single mom, who have had abortions, who have given up a child for adoption. There are life experiences privy only to me that I can relate to others who are on the same road I traveled. I can speak their language. I said and now God is going to use this to help me speak to the prisoner. I already speak regularly to my incarcerated nephew but I believe God is going to use this for even more good. So I was kinda excited. Almost giddy.

 

We made a pit stop. They were at the end of their shift and he dropped his partner off at his car and then he took me into the basement where the holding area was. He graciously asked me to watch my step and brought me into the holding area where I arrived smiling, certain this is where the cameras were waiting.

 

Picture a big waiting room like the emergency room except plastic chairs all along the walls. Maybe 20. Probably 4 officers walking back and forth doing paperwork. Processing people. Half the room had men the other half had women. And everyone was wearing orange scrubs except me in my maroon leggings, lace trimmed pink dress that covered my kibbles and bits, and a pink tank and long sleeve maroon t shirt on top of that to complete the hardened criminal look I was going for.

 

Mind you the officers came to my house around 230pm so I was arrested around 3ish. I had no sense of time there are no obvious clocks so I was in a time warp but this is what I remember…

 

They told me to take a seat beside the nurses station. I was the only one hand cuffed. There were probably 5-6 men and 5 women in the holding area with me. I asked an inmate beside me her name, and if she had been there before she said yes and I asked how long it usually takes, she explained it could take upto 10hours.  I thought well that sucks but good to know. Again no sense of time. Just lots of waiting.

 

A woman officer asked me my shoes size and uncuffed me. I told her and she said she didn’t think she had shoes that would fit me but she came back with a trash bag and told me to put my shoes in the bag and handed me tube socks and flip flops. I guess so that I couldn’t run.

 

Then another officer asked me to go into the nurses station. They took my blood pressure, temp, and did an oxygen finger heartbeat and asked if I had been sick. I explained I tested positive for COVID Sun but the onset of my symptoms took place the Thurs before so I should be fine. She asked me when my last period was I told her I was perimenopausal so about 6 weeks ago. And she said I would need to take a pregnancy test. She gave me a cup and I said do I drop trough here? She said there was a bathroom on the other side of the room that I would need to just knock.

 

I thought for sure this is where the cameras would come out. So I knocked and no one answered so I entered. There was a steel toilet covered in pee and a dirty sink with hotel size bar soap. She said she didn’t need a whole cup so I gave what I could and rinsed the cup because hard to balance and not touch the seat. Then I was given my clothes. And taken to a shower stall where I was asked to go to the back the opaque plastic door made a shadow. And she told me to give her my clothes. Commenting on the thickness of my leggings. I replied yeah, fleece lined.  I was given white briefs, a white sports bra, a white Tshirt and orange scrubs. She said they didn’t have petites that I would have to roll up my pants. Then she took me back to the holding area.

 

By this time mostly everyone was gone and another woman came in crying as they took her through the process. I crossed my legs and listened to the chatter. And smiled like this is quite the group of folks the Lord had me with what was He doing?    

 

Then a female officer escorted me to my holding cell. She gave me a brown blanket, a disposable cup and 2 wipes for my mat. It was empty and I asked if I would be alone? She said no unfortunately someone would be in there with me. I said okay. Thinking why is she apologizing, it is not like I had a choice. As far as this world was concerned my choices no longer mattered.

 

The cell was as wide as two twin mattress on the floor. White cinder block walls and a metal bench attached to the wall on each side. The bathroom was located in the back, a public bathroom door stall with views from top and bottom and a steel toilet, a third of a roll of 1 ply, a sink with 2 used hotel bars.

 

As I sat on bench with head on wall I noticed a large sign in front of my cell This area is audio and video surveillance and a camera on my ceiling. It was still in my head that this was a reality series or joke someone was playing on me. So I began to sing. Amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me….praying Father now would be a good time for angels to bust open those doors and come and get me. Please refer to Acts 5:19 and 16:25.

 

The officers opened the prison door and the woman who was crying came in. She took her seat across from me. And another officer called me by my maiden name because apparently my married name of 20 years is my alias. And I looked at him and I looked at her and I did what Jesus would do. I hugged her and told her I would be back, not to worry. That God was with her.

 

You see if God lives in me and I am in that cell with her well common sense tells me God is with her. It is no longer me. It is He that lives in me.

 

The officer said it was for medical and my response was am I pregnant? He said surprised no should you be I said no but I already saw the nurse and the last thing she gave me was a pregnancy test. He said no its for a medical Qand A evaluation. I said oh okay. I asked how long he was working said he was on his 15th hour he said he worked a double they were short handed. I thanked him for his service. He took me down the hall to see an office where he sat at desk and on opposite wall a chair with a micophone and computer screen. A nurse came up and asked me to state my name I said…. She said I wasn’t in the system and sent me back. So he walked me back. And apologized. I told him it was okay. He said at least you got to walk around I thought. Yeah I guess but I wanted to get back to my new found friend.

 

When I walked in I sat down by this time she had composed herself. I think God took me out so that He could calm her. I crossed my leg and leaned in and turned into a missionary. I said I don’t know how much time I have but it’s obvious to me God brought me here for you. What is your name she said it. I spelled it she nodded. I told her my name. Our names were separated by one letter in the alphabet. The beginning and the end. She explained hers was the last 4 letters of her name. I thought that was cool. Then I asked what she was there for.

 

She is a 57 year old woman who was caught with drug possession. Methamphetamines. She was sentenced to 6 months in a half way house. It is her belief that she started to take drugs because of her ADHD meds. Which are the legal form of amphetamines. So she was trying to wean herself off her ADHD meds.   When they did a shake down, she was holding more than she should have and they called it hoarding with intent to sell. She was going to jail for 5 years. No bail. Just like that. Her life was so she thought ruined. I said I can’t help you but what we can do is pray that God have mercy, leniency and grace. I asked if she believed in God. She said she was raised by an atheist and a roman catholic. I shared my story of God’s saving grace. I said the best way I can explain God to you is this…

 

He is every good and perfect thing in your life. He is the light in the darkness. And I don’t know if you noticed it but this world is a pretty dark place. Not a whole lot of good in it. In fact being here is a dark thing but He sent me here to be with you to let you know that you are not alone. And that is good. He is good. She nodded.

 

And the officer came back in. He asked why I was there I told him apparently grand larceny 27 year old warrant. He was in disbelief. I said exactly. I sat down stated my name and she tells the officer she wanted someone else. I am still not in the system. So he apologizes once again and takes me back to my cell.

 

My cellie asked why I was there I explained and we exchanged stories about our life married, kids, family, work, friends. Trying to find common ground. Love was the common ground. I couldn’t relate to her, her upbringing, her life experiences but I could relate to her love for the people in her life. And the distance in her family. And the sorrows she carried.

 

She was getting sleepy blurry eyes she was wiping, she could have sworn my blanket and cup were colors and a coloring book. I suggested she lay down. I asked if she wanted to use my mat to double up the mat on the ground she said no. I said you sure? I don’t plan to sleep here. I asked if she wanted my blanket and she insisted she wasn’t going to take my things. I said okay.

 

The officer came back and apologized. He said 9 times out of 10 people say they are innocent. But you are the real deal. He spoke to my arresting officer and said you know this is bullshit. I said yeah. He said you are getting an attorney right? I said yes. He said and you are posting bail so don’t get too comfortable I said I know.

 

My cellie chimed in after he left. You better visit me when you get out. I said I will.

 

And then the reality hit me. This was real. This was happening. And I prayed and sang…The pathway is broken. And the signs are unclear. And I don’t know the reason why you brought me here. But just because you love me the way that you do. I’m gonna walk through the valley if you want me to. This may not be the way I would have chosen. When you lead me through a world that’s not my home. But you never said it would be easy. You only said I’d never go alone….

 

When I meditate on God in solitude. Quiet my mind and come into His presence He appears to me like a blue dancing orb. Every time I closed my eyes in jail that is what I saw the blue dancing orb. So I wasn’t afraid.  There was a peace in me I can’t explain. God had me there for a reason. For His good purpose for me. For reasons I may never know. Trust me I’ve done lots of things and some that may have deserved me going to jail for but definitely not what they accuse me of, I am not guilty of grand larceny.

 

The officer called me back to the nurses station once more time. She asked my name and this time it was right. She asked if I had all sorts of illnesses, needed to see a doctor in any pain and the last question stuck with me. Has anyone in my family or friends committed suicide. I clarified friends? She said yes it is their belief that when someone close to an inmate has taken their life that it gives us suicide ideation. I said well I work with Celebrate Recovery and our CR brother committed suicide a couple weeks ago. His funeral was yesterday. She asked how I was doing? I lokoed down at my orange scrubs and said if you are asking me I am suicidal the answer is no. She said okay we just needed verbal confirmation. She asked the officer for my stats and he read them off to her.

 

He walked me back to my cell. Apologized for my loss. And it helped to put my life into perspective. You see I am walking down a corridor being on trial for a crime I didn’t commit. All the while there is a woman who will never see her husband again. Never hold him. Never hear him say He loved her except through the last text he sent her before he took his life. This corridor doesn’t seem so bad, this place I am in, in my life is nothing compared to the sorrow she has to carry. My battle has just begun.

 

My cellie was asleep her snore brought me comfort she snored like my husband when he is sleeping on the couch. And I found peace even in that. I laid on the steel bench. Gave in to using the blanket as my pillow and prayed. And then another officer came. A different one. He said my maiden name and that he needed to process me. I got up as though I would be back. And as we walked down the hall he said we are also going to exit you out. I said okay.

 

They took me around the corner where they had me sign some documents. Then they digitally fingerprinted me. When they went to print my palm a void kept showing up in the center and rejecting it. She had to press my palm on the plate to get a good read. Reminding me God is with me, in me, working through me, fighting for me. My name is written on the palm of His hand.  

 

They took a DNA swab and photographed me facing forward and side. And then she game me my clothes and escorted me to a changing room. I folded up my clothes and laid them in the garment tub to the side. She is clothed with dignity and strength no sense balling them up. Christ already paid the price for me. He folded his things up before he left this world so why shouldn’t I.

 

They took me back to the holding area this time it was empty. They had the SYFY channel playing Snow White and the Huntsman was on. And I read the court papers for appearance. I am being charged with Theft of rental property. And it came to me…

 

In 1997 my then fiancé car broke down he worked as an account manager for Coca Cola and needed a car to work but didn’t have a credit card. I didn’t have a license. They took his license and my credit card. For reasons I can’t remember he couldn’t return the car so he called the car rental place to pick it up. They sent a tow truch and had it towed away. We moved to TX shortly after. Got married. And returned to CO. On our way to work he was pulled over for a traffic infraction making a  right turn on no right turn on red, sign posted. The officers took him in on a warrant “theft of rental property” I bailed him out. He was suspended from his job pending further investigation. I bailed him out. He went to court and when he returned I asked what happened? He explained case was dismissed because they have their car. And I never asked or thought anything of it. Until now, he never was allowed to return to work. He got another job. And we never brought it up again. I have been divorced from him these last 20 years. I have had no contact with him.

 

And why it is coming up now has everyone bewildered and baffled. Statue of limitations on this is 3-5 years. This happened Thur I was arrested at 3 and when I walked out of jail it was 1030pm. My husband had been there since 5pm. He said they didn’t even have me in the system till 8pm and he gave the bond as soon as my name appeared. It took another 2 and a half hours to take me out.

 

When I got home I wept. After all I am having a human experience. I trust and believe that nothing happens without reason. Countless things have happened since that prove God is in this with me. That there is a battle taking place in the spiritual forces but I am not backing down. My lawyers name is Michael. Also not a coincidence. The week leading up to my arrest my cousin released a book giving me special acknowledgement for my spiritual guidance on his journey, we received unexpected blessings, I was supposed to attend a meeting to pray over the new place we were hosting Celebrate Recovery. I was asked to submit a video to teach mentors how to better engage in conversation with their mentees to help them share their thoughts and manage their feelings, I was getting ready to host my 2nd womens worship night, which happens to also be the day after my court appearance, and all I can think is I was shining too bright.  The enemy had to dim this light. But God…

 

In Celebrate Recovery we are taught to do an inventory when our emotions get the best of us. Each column we write who, what they did, how I felt, what it damaged, how I reacted even how I wanted to react because you can sin in thought just as much as in deed and how I responded. Who hurt me I looked at my paperwork and wrote the people of the State of CO because that is who is against me. The next day in my devotions they asked who is my enemy? And I responded the accuser is my enemy. Then they asked what would it take to love your enemies to pray for them. I said I don’t love or hate anyone. I honestly have no feeling for the men and women God is using to do their job for all I know they need to be a witness to His saving power in my life. The next day my devotional read. “Share my word of overcoming grace with others, for their hearts are now ready to hear the song of triumph.”

 

As I said the battle is not over yet but today I realized the battle is not mine. I can do nothing but wait and the enemy has made me suffer spiritually, mentally, emotionally, physically and financially finding his satisfaction in the wait. And I decided today am done giving him the satisfaction of my misery. So just as I allowed this to rob me of my life these last few days. I am now taking my life back up.

 

I share this story so that people will know to prepare yourselves. Come what may. I don’t know any other way to live in heaven and still be attached to earth except to spend every moment I can coming to know my Father through devotionals, prayer, praise music, teachings, fellowship with others in Christ. The AM is my I Am time. My ordinary faith proved to be my strength in the trial. In this trial. The armor of God my shield. I knew through the study of His Word that the testing would start with God’s children. So in a way this was no surprise it has actually been rather comical.  Proving the Scripture she laughs without fear of the future Proverbs 31:25 Throughout my life I have been tested by the fires many times over but there is something different about this, like the balance of darkness and light is shifting. Feb 20th I will arrive at Jeffco to face my charges but I do not come alone as 2 Kings 6:16 reminds me I need not be afraid for there are more on my side than theirs.

 

Who dares accuse me whom God has chosen for His own? No one-for God Himself has given me right standing with Himself. Who then will condemn me? No one- for Christ Jesus died for me and was raised to life for me and he is sitting in the place of honor at God's right hand, pleading for me. Can anything ever separate me from Christ's love? Does it mean He no longer loves me if I have trouble or calamity or are persecuted or hungry or destitute or in danger or threatened with death? As the Scriptures say “for your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.” No, despite all these things overwhelming victory is mine through Christ who loved me. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate me from God's love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither my fears for today nor my worries about tomorrow-not even the powers of hell can separate me from God's love, Romans 8:33-38  I wonder if that can be my closing argument. lol   

 

Recovered Relationship Part Three

July 1 2023

I am a grateful believer of Jesus Christ who Celebrates Recovery from…financial struggles.

 

What was the insanity of my life before recovery…my most recent bought was right before COVID we helped my sister move from TX to CO with nothing but an overnight bag. We offered to help her rebuild her life…on credit cards. We believed we would have plenty of time to pay them off. What we couldn’t predict was when the pandemic hit 9 months later my husband would be reduced to working part time. By the grace of God my sister was working full time at a nursing home and was able to pay us rent for her space to make up for part of the loss. When we added up the debt we had accumulated 25k in debt and our income was about to be cut in half. 

 

What are some of the circumstances that others can relate to… growing up my mother never openly talked about money. I never saw her budget or use credit cards. My step father was an investment banker and my mother was a bank teller.  They raised 3 kids including myself. I got new clothes and shoes once a year for school. I didn’t have the desire to sign up for anything “extra” curricular. Content to read in my room or hang out with friends. My parents didn’t encourage me to do anything.

 

We never left state for vacations, our vacations consisted of drives to theme parks in Houston and Dallas, 3 day trips where we stayed in a hotel 2 nights, one day to arrive and swim in the pool, then one day to play at the park and early the next day we checked out, visited the surrounding cities before driving back home. We drove to the beaches like Port Aransas and Corpus Christi several times a year. But those were day trips we never stayed the night. But it never occurred to me we were not wealthy. Wealth was defined as something different if I had a roof over my head, utilities, clothes and transportation we were living large.

 

In the 5th grade when my mom divorced my step father we moved in with my grandmother I think this is when I experienced poverty. All I know is I didn’t have a roof to call my own for the first time in my life and so began the 28 moves till I was 28 years old.

 

 

My mother passed away when I was 13 and this is when I learned to budget. My mothers’ death benefits gave my brother and I $300 a month till we turned 18 my sister turned 18 the day we buried my mother so she had no benefits. Shortly after school let out we moved out of my grandmas. My portion of the rent on a two bedroom apartment in 1988 was $150. I shared a room with my sister as we always had growing up.  $50 for utilities. $20 transportation for a bus pass. Leaving $80 for food, entertainment, clothes, shoes and medical each month. And that’s how I survived till I turned 18 my senior year of high school. Looking back I see how the grace of God was with me. Within a year my sister and I moved into a 1 bedroom apartment on our shoe string budget. We always budgeted and spoke openly about money every penny. Because we had to survive on every penny. I didn’t start keeping money in a piggy bank till my son was born. There was no such thing as spare change. Every penny had a purpose.

 

I got my first job working as a movie theater attendant. Anything above $300 and I thought I was rich.

I took a gap year after high school to work even more. Became an assistant manager of gift shop. Learning the benefit of not having parental authority is I became what was called a “ward of the state” meaning my education was mostly paid for. So I tried to make up my freshman year of college in summer school. After all I had graduated with honors how hard could it be but found out how foolish that decision was.

 

By the spring of my sophomore year I managed to get off probation and start making sense of things when I met a boy on college leave at work. He was going to a school in CO and invited me to visit for spring break. The 1 week visit turned into 2 weeks and I dropped out of college, pawned everything I owned of value and with a backpack and suitcase I moved to CO.

 

I got a 1 room place just off campus that I paid for with a credit card and so began my descent into debt, I worked two jobs to survive. My life was work, sleep, eat repeat.

 

And finally a breakthrough I got a job across from where I lived. Then I met my first husband who promised to take care of me and in exchange I took care of his 1 year old son. His job transferred him to TX where he immediately lost his job. I quickly learned he couldn’t hold a job for more than a year. In that time we lived in garages, motels, in extreme poverty, By the time his son was 3 we gave him up for an open adoption due to the financial burdens we carried. And I went back to working, 3 months after I was hired the company relocated to CO. So back to CO I went.

 

We lived with his siblings before we found our own place. Several years later my job filed for bankruptcy and I was out of a job for 1 week because even though I didn’t know God He was watching out for me.

 

I was applying for a retail position and someone in the dressing room overheard me. It was the manager of another store around the corner from where I was applying. Her district manager gave me a manager position in a mall near where I lived and I was quickly promoted to a larger store so we moved to live closer to it.     

 

Within 2 years I left my first husband and moved in with the man who would become my second husband. He worked for the airline industry and during our time together he showed me most of the 52 states. He took care of the finances. I gave him a portion of my check each month and the rest I was able to keep for myself. I never had money to spend before so I felt like a kid in a candy store. By the time I left the world to serve God 10 years ago I was 12k in debt.

 

And then Dec 2015 the unthinkable happened. My husband fell off my neighbors roof head first and suffered a traumatic brain injury among other injuries but that story is for another testimony. The rest of the debt was revealed while he was in a coma.  Numbers started adding up, bills started arriving and payments were due. I didn’t know the life he gave me was all on credit. 40k to be exact. And when the medical bills came due after the insurance paid out almost 5million dollars our cost was 120k for his 41 days in the hospital and rehab.   

 

 

God found me in 2009 and for 21 years of making ends meet on my own I never looked to Him for help with my finances until that year.

 

As I said before by the time I left the world to serve God I was 12k in debt that I paid off immediately when my 401k was cashed out. Then when my husband fell off the roof for a year we added to the credit card debt trying to pay off the medical debt first.  I tried to get a job to help but I kept being turned down for being what they called “overqualified”. Even in the denial it was God’s saving grace. At my last application submission I heard God say in my Spirit to wait and by the end of Oct a month later we learned my husband had been paying into an accidental death and dismemberment insurance that covered medical expenses outside what insurance covered.

 

We had up to 1 year of the accident to file a claim. And by the end of Nov we were medically debt free. Now came the credit card debt. By this time we found ourselves 60k in debt. We had been living on credit cards the entire year paying for food, gas, our sons needs. Basically, whatever wasn’t a medical bill, insurance or mortgage and utilities was put on the credit cards.

 

In Dec we laid it all out for the first time in our marriage. Humanly speaking it should have taken us 7 years to pay it off. When I saw what God could do with our medical debt, it gave me faith to believe He was able to do it with our personal debt. After all I was only believing for half the miracle He performed the year before. So we became faithful to paying it all off.

 

We began our debt journey by reading The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey. Saved a 1k emergency fund as suggested, stopped using credit cards, created a cash system for tithe, food, transportation, housing and then put every extra penny we had on the debt.

 

We kept the internet, turned off the cable service. Watched public TV and for movies we had our DVD collection.  We didn’t eat out. Had breakfast for dinner and soup and salad at least twice a week to cut back on food expenses and learned to live on a $5 a day per person food budget and gave $10 to our son to manage as he saw fit.  

 

We found other ways to save like the 3 squares of toilet paper for pee and 4 squares for poop method, we shopped at goodwill for clothes, and took my husbands 401k to a minimum contribution. We cashed in life insurance policies, relying on company sponsored ones instead. Made coffee instead of buying it at our favorite coffee shop, used reusable coffee pods instead of kcups and asked family and friends for gift cards for Christmas and birthdays to cover anything we couldn’t afford.  We started with our lowest debt snow balled it into our highest debt including car payments. Even put our taxes toward the debt. By Aug I owned my car free and clear and had no debt to my name. By Feb the following year my husband was also debt free. It didn’t take us 7 years by the perseverance, endurance and grace God provided it took us just over a year to pay everything off.   

 

As a child I found joy in buying new things to make me happy- clothes, knick knacks, crafts, jewelry. As an adult that joy got more expensive in taste. I soothed myself by shopping when I wasn’t engaging in my other addictions. I tried to escape the pain of my past by shopping on the internet. Holding onto my anger and resentments affected me when I depended on the joy in physical attachments, possessions, vacations and people. I thought my husband was taking care of everything. It wasn’t till his fall that I realized  it was too much for him to carry alone.

   

 

About a year after the debt was paid we realized we didn’t need that much to live on. So we created a bare minimum budget and whatever we brought in over we gave away above our 10%. We could have never fathomed that in 1 year we were able to bless those in need with over 25k in tithe. And we lived comfortably on 50% of what we made. That triggered a give it all away response hence the start of this testimony helping my sister the next year but that experience was a learning one too.

 

I should have been enslaved to my debt for 7 years but God freed me in less than a year. Every time we paid something off it was like giving ourselves a raise. You could say my husband got 9 raises over that year because what we didn’t have to pay a credit card or make a car payment. Everything was cash in our pockets. He didn’t have to work as hard anymore. No more overtime. He actually took his two days off for the first time since I met him. We still have our struggles it’s a monthly battle to stay mindful of how much we are spending we have not perfected it but God is still working in us to do what pleases Him. Right now we have a 3k debt we are tackling when I became comfortable and thought we didn’t need a budget anymore. Lesson learned again.

 

I love people with my time, my talents, my acts of service and less through physical gifts. I have nothing I can offer but I offer everything I have.

 

I rely less on physical things to make me happy and more on just enjoying the conversations and learning about people and their stories than the money we spend.

 

I gave God control of my resources, now He gets the first portion and we live on the rest and rely on Him for the wisdom to distribute it effectively. I can officially call myself a philanthropist who manages how we give.

 

I learned through Celebrate Recovery that I don’t need to feed my needs with anything but God to fill me. It’s all connected physical, Spiritual, emotional, financial, He is the source of it all. So when one area of my life is out of balance the other areas compensate. There should be a daily sifting and sorting and checks and balances. Before it gets out of balance.

 

 

My relationship with my husband has improved because a lot of the stress we carried came from the financial stress. The time I spend with God is free so I spend lots of time with Him. When I am hurting I pray. When I am tired I rest. When I am angry, resentful or stressed I work through my feelings by doing an inventory worksheet so that I can see it from a black, white and red perspective. Blank ink, white paper, blood of the lamb and the word of my testimony.  I fellowship and break bread with people. I send out weekly accountability reports because I hid a huge portion of my life from people for so long now I live for all to see what Christ has done in me.

 

 

All my life I searched for love in everything but God. And Celebrate Recovery helped me to find that love only comes from Him. Not in Family, not in friends, not in relationships with people, not in my job, not in what I do. I am loved not because of these I am loved because I belong to Him. Period. And nothing and no one can separate me from that.

 

 

I encourage a newcomer with the ministry motto “one day at time”. We have been given 12 hours. I can’t change yesterday, what I did or who I was. The only power I have is in this present moment right here, right now with who I am today. I try to make it matter, make it count, cause I won’t get this day back again. And I may not have tomorrow, as my husbands’ fall taught me. But what I did today will matter to someone because I shared it with them.

 

 

When it comes to finances Psalm 37:19 They will not be disgraced in hard times; even in famine they will have more than enough. And Ephesians 1:3 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ.

 

There are things in this life money can’t buy love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness and wisdom…these all come from God the benefits He gives and if I look in each day hard enough I will find them all in my day without having to spend a single cent. They are found in me to give freely and in the people God puts in my life to share it with. Wealthy is the person who has the things that money can’t buy.

 

Recovered Relationship Part Three

July 1 2023

I am a grateful believer of Jesus Christ who Celebrates Recovery from…financial struggles.

 

What was the insanity of my life before recovery…my most recent bought was right before COVID we helped my sister move from TX to CO with nothing but an overnight bag. We offered to help her rebuild her life…on credit cards. We believed we would have plenty of time to pay them off. What we couldn’t predict was when the pandemic hit 9 months later my husband would be reduced to working part time. By the grace of God my sister was working full time at a nursing home and was able to pay us rent for her space to make up for part of the loss. When we added up the debt we had accumulated 25k in debt and our income was about to be cut in half. 

 

What are some of the circumstances that others can relate to… growing up my mother never openly talked about money. I never saw her budget or use credit cards. My step father was an investment banker and my mother was a bank teller.  They raised 3 kids including myself. I got new clothes and shoes once a year for school. I didn’t have the desire to sign up for anything “extra” curricular. Content to read in my room or hang out with friends. My parents didn’t encourage me to do anything.

 

We never left state for vacations, our vacations consisted of drives to theme parks in Houston and Dallas, 3 day trips where we stayed in a hotel 2 nights, one day to arrive and swim in the pool, then one day to play at the park and early the next day we checked out, visited the surrounding cities before driving back home. We drove to the beaches like Port Aransas and Corpus Christi several times a year. But those were day trips we never stayed the night. But it never occurred to me we were not wealthy. Wealth was defined as something different if I had a roof over my head, utilities, clothes and transportation we were living large.

 

In the 5th grade when my mom divorced my step father we moved in with my grandmother I think this is when I experienced poverty. All I know is I didn’t have a roof to call my own for the first time in my life and so began the 28 moves till I was 28 years old.

 

 

My mother passed away when I was 13 and this is when I learned to budget. My mothers’ death benefits gave my brother and I $300 a month till we turned 18 my sister turned 18 the day we buried my mother so she had no benefits. Shortly after school let out we moved out of my grandmas. My portion of the rent on a two bedroom apartment in 1988 was $150. I shared a room with my sister as we always had growing up.  $50 for utilities. $20 transportation for a bus pass. Leaving $80 for food, entertainment, clothes, shoes and medical each month. And that’s how I survived till I turned 18 my senior year of high school. Looking back I see how the grace of God was with me. Within a year my sister and I moved into a 1 bedroom apartment on our shoe string budget. We always budgeted and spoke openly about money every penny. Because we had to survive on every penny. I didn’t start keeping money in a piggy bank till my son was born. There was no such thing as spare change. Every penny had a purpose.

 

I got my first job working as a movie theater attendant. Anything above $300 and I thought I was rich.

I took a gap year after high school to work even more. Became an assistant manager of gift shop. Learning the benefit of not having parental authority is I became what was called a “ward of the state” meaning my education was mostly paid for. So I tried to make up my freshman year of college in summer school. After all I had graduated with honors how hard could it be but found out how foolish that decision was.

 

By the spring of my sophomore year I managed to get off probation and start making sense of things when I met a boy on college leave at work. He was going to a school in CO and invited me to visit for spring break. The 1 week visit turned into 2 weeks and I dropped out of college, pawned everything I owned of value and with a backpack and suitcase I moved to CO.

 

I got a 1 room place just off campus that I paid for with a credit card and so began my descent into debt, I worked two jobs to survive. My life was work, sleep, eat repeat.

 

And finally a breakthrough I got a job across from where I lived. Then I met my first husband who promised to take care of me and in exchange I took care of his 1 year old son. His job transferred him to TX where he immediately lost his job. I quickly learned he couldn’t hold a job for more than a year. In that time we lived in garages, motels, in extreme poverty, By the time his son was 3 we gave him up for an open adoption due to the financial burdens we carried. And I went back to working, 3 months after I was hired the company relocated to CO. So back to CO I went.

 

We lived with his siblings before we found our own place. Several years later my job filed for bankruptcy and I was out of a job for 1 week because even though I didn’t know God He was watching out for me.

 

I was applying for a retail position and someone in the dressing room overheard me. It was the manager of another store around the corner from where I was applying. Her district manager gave me a manager position in a mall near where I lived and I was quickly promoted to a larger store so we moved to live closer to it.     

 

Within 2 years I left my first husband and moved in with the man who would become my second husband. He worked for the airline industry and during our time together he showed me most of the 52 states. He took care of the finances. I gave him a portion of my check each month and the rest I was able to keep for myself. I never had money to spend before so I felt like a kid in a candy store. By the time I left the world to serve God 10 years ago I was 12k in debt.

 

And then Dec 2015 the unthinkable happened. My husband fell off my neighbors roof head first and suffered a traumatic brain injury among other injuries but that story is for another testimony. The rest of the debt was revealed while he was in a coma.  Numbers started adding up, bills started arriving and payments were due. I didn’t know the life he gave me was all on credit. 40k to be exact. And when the medical bills came due after the insurance paid out almost 5million dollars our cost was 120k for his 41 days in the hospital and rehab.   

 

 

God found me in 2009 and for 21 years of making ends meet on my own I never looked to Him for help with my finances until that year.

 

As I said before by the time I left the world to serve God I was 12k in debt that I paid off immediately when my 401k was cashed out. Then when my husband fell off the roof for a year we added to the credit card debt trying to pay off the medical debt first.  I tried to get a job to help but I kept being turned down for being what they called “overqualified”. Even in the denial it was God’s saving grace. At my last application submission I heard God say in my Spirit to wait and by the end of Oct a month later we learned my husband had been paying into an accidental death and dismemberment insurance that covered medical expenses outside what insurance covered.

 

We had up to 1 year of the accident to file a claim. And by the end of Nov we were medically debt free. Now came the credit card debt. By this time we found ourselves 60k in debt. We had been living on credit cards the entire year paying for food, gas, our sons needs. Basically, whatever wasn’t a medical bill, insurance or mortgage and utilities was put on the credit cards.

 

In Dec we laid it all out for the first time in our marriage. Humanly speaking it should have taken us 7 years to pay it off. When I saw what God could do with our medical debt, it gave me faith to believe He was able to do it with our personal debt. After all I was only believing for half the miracle He performed the year before. So we became faithful to paying it all off.

 

We began our debt journey by reading The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey. Saved a 1k emergency fund as suggested, stopped using credit cards, created a cash system for tithe, food, transportation, housing and then put every extra penny we had on the debt.

 

We kept the internet, turned off the cable service. Watched public TV and for movies we had our DVD collection.  We didn’t eat out. Had breakfast for dinner and soup and salad at least twice a week to cut back on food expenses and learned to live on a $5 a day per person food budget and gave $10 to our son to manage as he saw fit.  

 

We found other ways to save like the 3 squares of toilet paper for pee and 4 squares for poop method, we shopped at goodwill for clothes, and took my husbands 401k to a minimum contribution. We cashed in life insurance policies, relying on company sponsored ones instead. Made coffee instead of buying it at our favorite coffee shop, used reusable coffee pods instead of kcups and asked family and friends for gift cards for Christmas and birthdays to cover anything we couldn’t afford.  We started with our lowest debt snow balled it into our highest debt including car payments. Even put our taxes toward the debt. By Aug I owned my car free and clear and had no debt to my name. By Feb the following year my husband was also debt free. It didn’t take us 7 years by the perseverance, endurance and grace God provided it took us just over a year to pay everything off.   

 

As a child I found joy in buying new things to make me happy- clothes, knick knacks, crafts, jewelry. As an adult that joy got more expensive in taste. I soothed myself by shopping when I wasn’t engaging in my other addictions. I tried to escape the pain of my past by shopping on the internet. Holding onto my anger and resentments affected me when I depended on the joy in physical attachments, possessions, vacations and people. I thought my husband was taking care of everything. It wasn’t till his fall that I realized  it was too much for him to carry alone.

   

 

About a year after the debt was paid we realized we didn’t need that much to live on. So we created a bare minimum budget and whatever we brought in over we gave away above our 10%. We could have never fathomed that in 1 year we were able to bless those in need with over 25k in tithe. And we lived comfortably on 50% of what we made. That triggered a give it all away response hence the start of this testimony helping my sister the next year but that experience was a learning one too.

 

I should have been enslaved to my debt for 7 years but God freed me in less than a year. Every time we paid something off it was like giving ourselves a raise. You could say my husband got 9 raises over that year because what we didn’t have to pay a credit card or make a car payment. Everything was cash in our pockets. He didn’t have to work as hard anymore. No more overtime. He actually took his two days off for the first time since I met him. We still have our struggles it’s a monthly battle to stay mindful of how much we are spending we have not perfected it but God is still working in us to do what pleases Him. Right now we have a 3k debt we are tackling when I became comfortable and thought we didn’t need a budget anymore. Lesson learned again.

 

I love people with my time, my talents, my acts of service and less through physical gifts. I have nothing I can offer but I offer everything I have.

 

I rely less on physical things to make me happy and more on just enjoying the conversations and learning about people and their stories than the money we spend.

 

I gave God control of my resources, now He gets the first portion and we live on the rest and rely on Him for the wisdom to distribute it effectively. I can officially call myself a philanthropist who manages how we give.

 

I learned through Celebrate Recovery that I don’t need to feed my needs with anything but God to fill me. It’s all connected physical, Spiritual, emotional, financial, He is the source of it all. So when one area of my life is out of balance the other areas compensate. There should be a daily sifting and sorting and checks and balances. Before it gets out of balance.

 

 

My relationship with my husband has improved because a lot of the stress we carried came from the financial stress. The time I spend with God is free so I spend lots of time with Him. When I am hurting I pray. When I am tired I rest. When I am angry, resentful or stressed I work through my feelings by doing an inventory worksheet so that I can see it from a black, white and red perspective. Blank ink, white paper, blood of the lamb and the word of my testimony.  I fellowship and break bread with people. I send out weekly accountability reports because I hid a huge portion of my life from people for so long now I live for all to see what Christ has done in me.

 

 

All my life I searched for love in everything but God. And Celebrate Recovery helped me to find that love only comes from Him. Not in Family, not in friends, not in relationships with people, not in my job, not in what I do. I am loved not because of these I am loved because I belong to Him. Period. And nothing and no one can separate me from that.

 

 

I encourage a newcomer with the ministry motto “one day at time”. We have been given 12 hours. I can’t change yesterday, what I did or who I was. The only power I have is in this present moment right here, right now with who I am today. I try to make it matter, make it count, cause I won’t get this day back again. And I may not have tomorrow, as my husbands’ fall taught me. But what I did today will matter to someone because I shared it with them.

 

 

When it comes to finances Psalm 37:19 They will not be disgraced in hard times; even in famine they will have more than enough. And Ephesians 1:3 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ.

 

There are things in this life money can’t buy love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness and wisdom…these all come from God the benefits He gives and if I look in each day hard enough I will find them all in my day without having to spend a single cent. They are found in me to give freely and in the people God puts in my life to share it with. Wealthy is the person who has the things that money can’t buy.

 

Recovered Relationship Part Two

June 9 2023

I am a grateful believer of Jesus Christ who celebrates recovery from alcohol misuse since Oct 2011

 

What was the insanity of my life before recovery… I replaced my tenacity for foolish things with a career as soon as my son was old enough to be enrolled in full time school. By the grace of God I found a job that allowed me to work Mon through Fri with weekends off. It even allowed me to drop him off and pick him up and work the remaining hours of my shift from home. I know that was God sent, I had never heard of a job like that before. I had the hope that one day I could afford to provide for us on my own. I turned to alcohol to drown the painful memories of the life I had before.

 

I stayed sober Sunday through Friday and drank till I threw up and passed out Friday and Saturday. At first it started as a celebration for my sexual sobriety. Instead of a coin I treated myself to a glass of wine and that turned into a bottle and several shots, a few years later I hit bottom literally.

 

I had my first drink after my moms funeral. My brother got a hold of 2liter California Coolers for us. And with every sip I took a Tylenol trying to take my own life at 13. I woke up the next morning with a hangover and threw it all up. Guess it just wasn’t my time to go.

 

 

The lowest points I can remember during my drinking was on Halloween I had a highly flammable costume and almost fell into a fire pit at my sister in laws house. On the way home I opened the car door while it was going 40mph to vomit all over the side of the road and side of my seat and seat belt. It was snowing so I convinced my husband it would be a great idea to go sledding. We took our son to the school nearby he took my son up first then myself. After our runs we both jumped back in the car to shield ourselves from the cold as I reached over to turn the heat up I heard the loud sound of what can only be described a deer hitting our car and saw my husband in the fetal position on the ground. And all I could think was where is the sled?

 

 

It had slid under the car and was on the other side of the parking lot. My son heard sirens and immediately thought the cops were coming after us. And in a panic told his Dad “We gotta go!” Which sent my husband into a lauhgter he couldn’t control. He hurt real bad for several weeks after that. Come to find out he fractured a few ribs sledding down that hill like Chevy Chase from the Christmas Story. By the grace of God he hit the car sideways crushing his arm into his rib cage. It was then I made the unspoken promise not to drink heavily with family. It was one thing for my drinking to hurt me but to get the two people I loved involved was a hard limit for me.      

 

 

So I drank with coworkers instead. While away at a work conference I drank myself into a druken stupor, after work of course. I almost lost my sexual sobriety with a married coworker. Walked back to the hotel room from the bar with a woman coworker who wasn’t as drunk as I was. She saw me safely to my room. Not before I gave my number to the last guy I saw on the street. I tried so hard to forget only to go back to what I knew.

 

I took a shower and passed out with the water still running and the bathtub plugged. I woke up drowning. Crawled out of the tub. Looked in the mirror to see if I had any noticeable gashes the last time I fell in the tub at 5 years old resulted in 6 stitches on my eyebrow. I still had to show up for the conference the next morning. It was team introduction day. Once I saw that I was fine I passed out on the bed. Only to be woken by my boss already in the conference room. I confessed I overslept.

 

I snuck in just as team introductions began. I sat in the back trying to pull myself together. Not doing a very good job. Seated beside a complete stranger. I threw up in my water glass. He nursed me back to health like the good Samaritan and handed me his business card and said “If you need someone to talk to I’ve been in your shoes.” I didn’t even know what he was referring to.

 

When my name was called I stood up, smiled and waved at the room. And flew home happy to put it behind me. I would later learn a coworker took a photo of me passed out at the airport and sent it out as an office meme. That feeling of never being taken seriously wasn’t a fluke. The next day I was called into the office I thought I would be fired for sure but my boss showed me that grace wasn’t just a prayer and gave me the number to the employee assistance helpline. I guess I wasn’t doing a good job at holding it together.  There was a crack in my cistern and I was leaking.

 

By the next conference I was 3 months sober. In a small business room of 20 people half co workers, half executives of a multibillion dollar corporation we played the getting to know me game. 2 truths and a lie. I told a lie and did a cartwheel to prove it. Yes an actual cartwheel at the front of the room. I was wearing dress pants and made sure my dress shirt was tucked in. I was memorable I got some applause, the life of the party. At dinner an executive approached me and gave me a high five. I made an obvious impression but to my boss not a good one.

 

Once again when I got home he called me into his office. I thought it was to give me props on my performance. After all I didn’t drink. I didn’t make a fool of myself, so I thought. He had me sit down and asked me how I thought it went. I said fine. Then he looked me straight in the eyes leaned forward in his desk and a said a set of three words I had never heard in my life. When they landed on my ears, tears immediately overwhelmed my eyes. I couldn’t even look at him blind sided by his response.

 

He said “you are qualified. I wouldn’t have created a position for you if you weren’t. You don’t need to do cartwheels to prove your worth. Look at me when I say this. I need you to hear me loud and clear… you are enough.”

 

 

In the past I used sex, alcohol, spending, binge watching TV, reading, internet surfing to escape the pain of my past. Anything so that I could numb and not have to think about it. But the drinking was different. I drank to forget it, to have a good time, to relax. I expected people to be reason for everything. Reason for love, joy, peace and when they fell short of my expectation I was more than disappointed.  

 

It’s been 12 years now since I passed out from drinking. Communion taught me over the years that what God created for celebration the enemy quickly misused.  I drink for the new life God has given to me and a drink for the promises to come is all I have these days. He has given me more ways to experience and celebrate lifes joys and drinking isn’t a must.    

 

My son knows the addictive genes he comes from and we talk more openly about the things that weigh heavy on our hearts. We don’t try to hide or deny them anymore.

 

I don’t drink as much or as often as I used to. I share my problems in safe places. I am more honest about what I am feeling not afraid to face the feeling head on.

 

 

Since being a part of Celebrate Recovery I learned the importance of fellowship. That it is more than just going to bible study, more than just showing up for church. It is having real conversations with what is going on in the key areas of my life. Who would have thought that my problem was not the only thing going on in my life. I had a whole life separate from my problems, that were actually going pretty good. And it was important for me to see that.  

 

The relationship with my husband and my son have been restored. It’s not the same as it was but it’s a good kind of different.

I am grateful for the testimonies of people who have been through the fire and come out not smelling of smoke. You’d never know to see these people what they have been through. I love the small groups where we have a safe place to share our feelings uninterrupted. And the continuous bible study as we put the steps into practice. A motto in recovery is that it works if you work it and you are worth it. Meaning if I don’t apply the steps I have been taught they will go in one ear and out the other the only way to stay in the learning frame of mind is to keep applying, keep getting through each day with these 12 steps 12 hours in front of me.   

 

I felt lost, I didn’t know where my tribe was till I came to this small group in this small chapel Fri nights. Its like going to church with family. They know me by name. Not by my sin, my name. And even though they know my sin they love me the same.

 

 

2 Corinthians 1:8-10 …We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. In fact we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead. And he did rescue us from mortal danger, and He will rescue us again. We have placed our confidence in Him and He will continue to rescue us.

 

 

I turned to alcohol because I didn’t have the ability to process the pain I was in. But Celebrate Recovery showed me I could handle it with God and even more than that with people who had been hurt, were hurting so that they would give me the same comfort God gave to them and we’d get through it together. 

 

Recovered Relationship

June 2 2023

I am a grateful believer of Jesus Christ who celebrates recovery from sexual sin since Dec 2009

Every testimony starts with a story this is the insanity of my life before recovery… I was married twice, my second husband was the first man I committed adultery with toward the end of my first marriage. I had more than 20 partners in the span of 20 years, multiple abortions and STD’s, obviously I didn’t know God then but even still He knew me.  

I had my first sexual experience at the age of 4 watching Jaws. Trembling from fear on my stomach resulted in something I couldn’t explain till I lost my virginity at 15 years of age. I was sent to my room where I perfected sin in privacy. I used sexual gratification to soothe myself to sleep, to wake up, when I got home from school and when I was bored. It wasn’t till I was 15 that I realized all the fuss was about something I had done for myself for the last 10 years of my life. So you can imagine how this shaped my mind. Dictated my life. 

At that time I did not have a relationship with God. Growing up my religion is what I would call a holiday catholic making church a priority in times of great grief or to mourn Easter and celebrate Christmas or weddings. Baptized as a baby. I was raised by my single mother from 9 years of age and completed communion at 13 after my mother died. I was asked to leave confirmation class until I knew what I believed but I believe it was because I had too many questions. So the extent of my belief was non existent and it was reflected in the way the relationships I had with people. I used them to get what I wanted. If I couldn’t get anything from them, well my truth was then they were of no use to me. Steeped in sin from the start.

The lowest point of my addiction was Dec of 2009….

I was driving home after leaving the hotel from my last act of adultery. I must’ve put the sun visor down to give myself one last look and when I got in the car I couldn’t even stand to look at myself.

When I turned out of the driveway the sun was in my eyes and my sunglasses had fallen off the passenger seat so I drove into the light refusing to put the visor down. That is when I heard a voice inside mind say “What are you doing?” I was on my way to pick up my son from his Christian private school. We may not have had faith but we knew if he had any chance of hope for a better tomorrow we’d point him in the direction we heard was right but didn’t receive for ourselves.

 

I thought it strange, gifted in word, if I was talking to myself I would have asked “What am I doing?” But the voice said “What are you doing?” As though it was something apart from me. I didn’t reply.

 

I parked beneath the cross in the pick up lane and again the voice asked “What are you doing?” and I thought okay either I have lost my mind or I am having a conversation with God, my Maker and Creator about what I was doing with my life. And thought with animosity well, lets go. I confessed to myself and to God what I was doing and why I was doing it. I argued with God how I didn’t know what love was because no one had ever shown me and that is when my son jumped in the car. Buckled himself in the backseat. And said I love you. And it hit me all at once love was no longer about me, it was bigger than me. It became my son that day.

 

All my life I had I coped with my hurt through sexual gratification. From this world I learned to get attention by the way I dressed and I protected myself by secluding myself. Our family secret was adultery. I was born into. The day I was born my father chose to be with the woman I would later label my step mother. When I was mad I roared and cursed, I lashed out, I hit and as I got older I learned to pay back evil with evil.  I escaped my past by reinventing myself in new jobs. New relationships. The fruit of my past sins made me a very bitter, cold-hearted person. Yet love was born of this, came through this person I had become who thought relationships were supposed to be like Disney and hallmark movies. Boy meets girl, boy chases after girl, she falls in love with him, he takes care of her and they live happily ever after but my life was far from that.  

 

 

How did recovery find me…

In 2019 I met a woman at my womans bible study who introduced herself by her Celebrate Recovery introduction. I was shocked by her honesty. I was going to invite her to my church and before I could mention it she said she attends celebrate recovery meetings at Colorado Community Church. I said with excitement that’s the church I go to. She said she lived in a sober living house and had not chosen a church yet but went to different ones each week in the area. I wished her well. I was glad she joined our group. Then as I drove away from class I kicked myself for letting her stand in her truth alone and not admitting to my own recovery. By this time I was 10 years sober.  I figured I would tell her next time I saw her. But she never came back to class. Several weeks went by and she was still on my heart. Then my pastor  made an announcement on the pulpit that Celebrate Recovery was back to meeting in person on Fri nights after COVID and I thought two things. I could casually run into my new bible study friend and let her know she was not alone. And two my husband could use a support group for his own recovery so really I went for them not me. I thought at 10 years of sobriety I was a veteran at recovery. 

 

That was almost 3 ago years. Since joining the ministry I spend more time than I ever had before with God through my Word and studies. The program mapped out the tools I was already using in my faith it just put them in a step by step format that I could easily understand so that I wasn’t all over the place a little here and there. It also gave me a safe place to express my emotions and not be ashamed for having them.

 

The most significant step that had an impact on me was the Principle One, I am not God. I cannot fix or change anyone only myself.

 

After God and I had it out in the carpool lane. I stopped committing adultery in my marriage cold turkey. I became a faithful and devoted wife. I started watching teaching on TV not yet ready to go to church and listening to nothing but Christian music. That was the extent of my Christian journey but I knew there was more I wanted more. So I started watching more teachings Monday through Friday and thought that was enough. Then a year into my sobriety my husband took the day off to take our son to kinder and his girlfriend texted looking for him at work.

 

I admit I attacked him when she tried to reach him a second time while I was holding his phone asking him about her. I hit him till I was exhausted, which didn’t take long. My hands were bruised, bloodied and swollen. I wanted him to hurt physically as bad as I was emotionally hurt.  When the dust settled. I cried out to Jesus. It wasn’t enough to confess my sin I also cried out for my deceased mother and my grandmother. Who left men because of adultery. I felt a single drop of rain fall from a cloudless sky and a voice in my head shout “Enough! She is mine.” I went back to the church Mothers day 2013. I was baptized in a horse trough June 2013. And Sept of that year our basement flooded and I learned my husband was still talking to the woman that brought me to my knees.

 

 

I didn’t speak a word to him. Instead I waited on a Word from God. I didn’t want to speak till He spoke to me. 7 days of silence in prayer waiting. Knowing He spoke to me not once but twice before I wanted to hear from Him again. And I sat in my backyard and waited. My neighbor furiously chopped down a fruit tree in her backyard. I hid behind sunglasses the tears wouldn’t stop flowing. I was listening to Christian music on my ipod hoping to hear a Word. Something. Watching dragonflies dance in my yard.

 

 

And then it came “Be still and know that I am.” I didn’t know enough of the Word to know what that meant so I said know that You are what? Going to fix this. I am going to need more than that I argued with my Creator. And I felt the weight of a hand on my shoulder. I closed my eyes almost afraid to know who or what was behind me and in that moment a flashback sequence of my life came to mind of every time I thought I was alone and afraid and He was with me. Beside me. Holding me. Carrying me through. Peace beyond my understanding washed over me and I knew that He was always with me, would always be with me even in this. So I went inside and asked my husband for a divorce. I explained I had found what makes me happy and for the first time it wasn’t a man. I wanted him to be happy even if it wasn’t with me. I knew it would be well with me with or without him.

 

   

 

I learned in recovery that it is very important that you allow God to replace your character defects with positive changes. So one of the biggest changes for me is that I am faithful. To God and being faithful to Him overflows in faithfulness in all my relationships. I no longer turn to sexual sin to please myself or others in times of distress I turn to God now. In prayer, in praise, in all of it, with all of it. He can handle my feelings.

 

 When I am not working on the things of God in my personal life I am working to serve my family and others to make their lives better.

 

Labor Day weekend 2014 I left the world to serve God after all He had seen me through. When I understood the brevity of my life. I asked God what I should do? What He would have me do? I heard Him say I should share His Word. I thought like Moses who would listen to me. I gave Him every reason why I was not a good candidate for what He was calling me to do and I heard Him say “with the gift I have given you.” Been sharing my walk of faith ever since. To anyone who would listen.

 

Sometimes it is difficult in recovery to see the positive changes that God is making in our lives. I

have been able to accept and enjoy my growth because I see the fruit of my life is that I don’t need to feel joy to experience it. No longer a physical but emotional, mental, spiritual growth that makes me feel good about who I am in Christ. I know that He died for me and my sins and for that I am indebted with my life.

 

The way I see it, I was made this way for a reason. The hardest thing I have ever had to give up was myself. To have the opportunity all the time to gratify my flesh and not give in to the temptation is all God.

 

I went from someone who found satisfaction in myself almost 4 times a day for 31 years and now my life is less about me and more about the people God has given me to share it with. I call the morning my I AM time because that is the time I get to spend with Him and receive His love for me through self care trust me when I say not self pleasure. It is when I get to rest in His Word, pray, sing praise, watch teachings, take care of my shelter for His glory, and take care of my temple for His glory, even something as simple as lighting a scented candle, applying flavored lip balm and body spray just to workout are some self care practices I find joy in.

 

 

I learned that fellowship is a key to my recovery. Before Celebrate Recovery I saw two people outside of my family once a month or once a season. I went to church and a womens bible study but I didn’t have relationships with anyone. Now my calendar is full. I keep one day for me but make a plan to see people 6 days a week, wether it be for study, working out, breaking bread, mentoring or church. I am the one that arrives early just to fellowship first. I no longer find comfort in isolation. I am more accountable. I am a better friend, sister, aunt, mother and wife because of my relationship with God first, me second so that I can give to others. CR has given me a compass for my faith and when I get distracted or veer off the path I know I can always just get back on it.

 

My journey of recovery involves more study time in His Word. It’s taught me that when I am hurting I know I can reach out to my forever family for prayer. When I am exhausted I can here’s a thought I can rest and not feel guilty about it. And when burdens weigh heavy on my I can turn them over to Him. I celebrate my weekly victories when I dance during worship, I lift my hands to pray, I give glory to God for all that is good in my life, even if that good came from somebody God gets the glory. His presence has been a blessing.

 

 

Grateful for my Sponsor for walking me through this journey, for my sisters in faith who prayed me through it, for brothers in faith who helped me to give grace to men in my life who hurt me by sharing their hurts with me and showing me what men of God should look like. The big group becomes small when I share my feelings in a safe place, through classes and my time teaching.

 

As I said in middle of my story I didn’t think this place was for me. And when I heard the honesty of women with courageous hearts to be vulnerable and go deep so that they could walk on water with God Himself I wanted to go with them.  I serve God by teaching kids the same tools that helped me in my own recovery because no matter the age we all have hurts, hang ups and habits God is working with.

Like when I decided to share His Word with others I know that if I didn’t give back to the ministry that gave me so much I could lose what was given. By not being in it, not making it a part of my daily part of life. The tools are useless unless they are applied.   

 

To the newcomer I would say you are looking at someone who has broken all 10 commandments multiple times and even made some up that aren’t even written on stone and now I live by the 9 fruits of the Spirit they are written on my heart and always on my mind. And I am happy to share that walk of faith through teachings and with anyone that will hear it.

 

 

Before the world had me, I belonged to My Father, He held me in His arms before He sent me down. He knew I would forget Him and like the prodigal son I would return to Him one day. Greater than a wedding band He shed His blood for me. He called me His before this world did and one day I looked down and saw it my own hand… Isaiah 43:1 …listen to the LORD who created you…the one who formed you says, “Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine.” And I have been His ever since.

Forgiven

June 28 2021

…and forgive us our sins as we have forgiven those who sin against us. Matthew 6:12

 

When a paralyzed man was brought to the foot of Jesus in Matthew 9:2 he said to the man “Be encouraged, my child! Your sins are forgiven.” Before he died on the cross for sin, sin was already forgiven. But still the world needed his blood. Later in verse 12:31 He says every sin and blasphemy can be forgiven- except blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, which will never be forgiven.”

 

Blasphemy is defined as the act or offense of speaking sacrilegiously about God or sacred things. Profane talk. In Greek to slander. For me the Holy Spirit represents the wisdom of the Word. The wisdom of His Word. So anyone who mocks this wisdom. Scoffs at it, is in danger, in danger of being a fool for thinking they don’t need God. I know that when I didn’t know His Word I still knew what was right and wrong but chose not to pay attention to it. I reaped the consequences in my life for the things I did that were wrong. Because even in the Word it says you cannot mock the justice of God. Galatians 6:7

 

When wrong was done to me. I justified the wrong I had done. Blaming others for my inequities. Like my ancestor long before me when Adam who blamed Eve for his reasons for doing what was wrong in Genesis 3:12. Or like Cain in Genesis 4 who could justify killing Abel because by comparison his offering was greater causing God to reject his own. What if there was a better calf, a fatter calf that Cain could have offered the LORD but chose to hold back, keep for himself. The day that greed was born. Perhaps God knew this had nothing to do with what Abel gave but Cain looked directly at him and disregarded his own lack. By comparison his only defense was to hide his lack of trust in God. Was he so different from his parents who also took, wanting more. Not content with what they had? I understand no amount is too large or small for God as long as it is the best you have is what I have been taught in the widows offering in Mark 12:42 her two small coins was more than those who gave even more because she gave all that she had. Talk about trusting in the LORD.

 

I was watching a documentary the other day about a psychologist who interviews death row inmates. And it said in a sense people who grow up to do wrong were not born this way they were made. We breed a society where differences are frowned upon. We make people afraid of being themselves. We teach them how to hate through our own hatred. The psychologist ends with ‘Can anyone be a murderer? I believe so. People who kill others are made not born. The more we understand the genesis of violence the harder it is to draw a line between guilt and innocence. Sanity and insanity. As human beings we struggle to cope with the need for protection, the desire for revenge, indecency, morality, to understand sometimes means to forgive. These days people are not in a very forgiving mood. Ted Bundy was right we are more fascinated by what the crime was, the gory details of it than why it was done. It is the act of sin that fascinates us. Tickles our limbic systems. No wonder people fight for seats when a crime is being committed rather than respond they want to view it. Is that part why I do what I do, perhaps, I wouldn’t be surprised.’

 

When she said this I immediately thought of Hebrews 12:24 You have come to Jesus, the one who mediates the new covenant between God and people, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks of forgiveness instead of crying out for vengeance like the blood of Abel. And yet even this sin could still be forgiven, he suffered the consequence but again God still protected him.

 

You were blameless in all you did from the day you were created until the day evil was found in you. Ezekiel 28:15

 

Can I pinpoint the exact sin in my life that lead me to this life wrought with immorality, indecency, that made me to believe I was unlike everyone else. That my difference was impurity. The moment fear enveloped me and protection from those who were meant to love me was taken from me. When men sought to do harm to me that made it okay in me to inflict harm on others because of what was done to me. Or was it the day that I learned to find satisfaction in something that wasn’t God. To please my flesh in such a way that I could get it to relax drift away. In sexual sin, in a bottle, in a drug, in an act of anger in the fits of rage.

 

For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. 1 Corinthians 15:56

 

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23

 

Dying every day since that day. To myself. To this creature of instinct. I could place blame on everyone and everything for becoming what my life represented, death. Easily find every person in my family that came before I was made the wage I paid to become. Jesus said in Luke 17:1 There will always be temptation to sin but what sorrow awaits the person who does the tempting. I made up my mind one day that Jesus paid the penalty for all the things I did because the moment I refuse to believe otherwise will result in a wage I can’t afford to pay. People see death as finality. But someone can be dead while still being very much alive. I stand before you today as a child who can count the times on one hand I have seen my biological father, have spoken to him. I am dead to him even though he is a priest, I am his sin, a reminder of his unfaithfulness to my mother, his own adultery. Yet still Jesus calls him forgiven I have to live as though he is because to try to get back the years stolen, the years he didn’t give a damn what happened to me is a burden Christ also carried on the cross.

 

What do I gain by holding onto to vengeance and hate, what power is there in that? Only weakness can be found. I cannot begin to understand the ways and thoughts of God. Perhaps God saw that by his influence I would not become who I became. Following a false teaching. Being led astray. Instead I lived my younger years under a heavy hand guided by harsh discipline and punishment no child should be subject to. Because of this upbringing I sought to do more in my life than I had ever done even if the price of discipline was at a cost. God turned what was meant for my harm it into a skill of perseverance, endurance and strength. I knew that I could separate myself from the comfort of what my flesh desired because I was trained to do so at an early age.

 

And even then God knew that I would be without my mother at an early age he set the plan into place to remove the grip from my step fathers strong hand permanently. But still the scars remained. I look back with grace and can see how the events of ones life can lead to the outcomes of ones doing.

 

I have a nephew, my brothers son who grew up unwanted, he was taught that his life had no meaning, no value so when he and his friend didn’t think twice to take what wasn’t theirs to take by force in order to be set free of the life they were given it cost both the mans life and their own. And even still I know that he is forgiven. He could blame the way he was raised, his absent father, his unloving mother, his sexually and physically abusive grandfather or the friend who convinced him to commit the crime in order to fit in, be loved and accepted in a world that didn’t accept or love him from birth and still nothing would change. So even a broken justice system needs to be forgiven.

 

‘To understand means to forgive.’ The psychologist said. To that I would add to live as though you are forgiven, because that is the only way I can live with the life I was assigned to carry in spite of holding onto the belief there was a better way perhaps this was God’s best for me in order to get me to where I became.

 

Like John the Baptist in prison in Matthew 11, I had my doubts about a God who could save. I had my doubts about a Savior who could stop the pain. He had a message sent to John in verse 5 and 6 the blind see- I didn’t see that God was with me the way he was with Cain in spite of all he had done protection and provision still followed him all the days of his life as they followed me.

 

The lame walk- my life could very well have resulted in me not doing anything. Choosing to stay as I was. Blaming my past hurts and pains on why I couldn’t move on, paralyzed by my pain but instead I choose to get up from it and walk toward a future hope I couldn’t imagine for myself only knew where I was I didn’t want to remain. I had a choice to get up.

 

The dead are raised to life- the way I was raised I was given a dead life, nothing in it gave life or hope to anyone. I was taught to survive because everyone was out to hurt me from the start, to take my life. So I turned my life to God at 39 I gave it to Him to raise me. I made the decision to live as though He truly was my Father and I had no other. He raised me to a new life.

 

The good news is being preached to the poor- and the good news was He did. My life is shared among many. Some might say their survival guide. He adopted me as His own. I call Jesus my brother because we have the same Father born of Spirit not of flesh. I know this flesh all too well it resulted in my death. But through the life of Jesus the way he lived I have life in it. I have a life in Him.

 

And God blesses those who don’t turn away because of me-on the cross Jesus forgave my sins. He forgave every one of the 10 commandments written in stone and the ones I created that weren’t even on the list. By His suffering He forgave every time I committed each sin not once in my life, multiple times. And even more so than that He forgave everyone who sinned against me. He didn’t stop it, he didn’t remove it, he didn’t prevent the wrong that was done to me. He simply forgave them so that I could be forgiven for the things I did in vengeance in retaliation. Like Adam I could easily say to God I sinned because of the men you gave to me. Or like Abel I could deny my wrong because of those who came before me but instead because of Jesus I can live forgiven I can't turn away from that, it is the only way I live.         

A Righteous Story

June 12 2021

I was listening to a song the other day called Write Your Story by Francesca Battistelli and I thought to myself it sounded a lot like “righteous story” I began to think that when His story becomes my story it is a righteous story. When the story in my mind is connects to my heart and my soul of who He created me to be. I am no longer the victim in this tale the victor emerges from the ashes.


In the last few weeks I watched our house crumble from the weight of a storm. I saw sparrows feasting in the rain before building up the courage to take down the giant that defied my LORD. I walked in silence around the Jericho wall of hostility I know well that my brother, Jesus had already torn down. I waited for the wisdom of God before I took the wisdom of this world. And as is true to His word he didn’t speak till I shared Matthew 13:12 Mark 4:24-25, Luke 8:18. As I explained to my husband why would God give you more understanding when you don’t share what He has already given. What good is the Good News if not meant to be shared, God gives wisdom to share not to keep for oneself. 1 Corinthians 7:25. Now taking the next 52 days give or take at the least to rebuild the wall that was washed away. Just another week in the life of us.


The house that was built on sand was none other than my other half. He heard the same Word I did at church and Sunday messages. We even shared the same devotionals daily but when the storm hit us both it became obvious he didn’t apply the Word to his life. As he crumbled under the weight of the situation with frustration and confusion. Just like the story of the two men that built their house one on rock the other on sand. Matthew 7:24-27


I didn’t have the answer right away but I knew that getting upset wouldn’t change anything either. I remained standing waiting on the wisdom of God to help us out. Tell me what to do God. How to figure this out. The story of Elijah 1 Kings 19:11-12 taught me that I am not going to hear God huffing and puffing like a windstorm, he isn’t going to be in what shook the ground like an earthquake or in the raging anger of a fire. I needed to calm my mind and heart in order to hear the gentle whisper.


The emotions may have come like waves but Christ taught me how to control the waves Matthew 8:23-27 Mark 4:35-41 Luke 8:22-25. Silence! Be still! I said to the wind of my racing thoughts and they subsided therefore calming the ocean of my emotional sea of distress but my husband did not. He let them roar, he let them get out of control till he had no control of the emotions overwhelming him and so he drowned die to lack of self control. Proverbs 5:23 Job 36:12


Just when I thought the worst was over a different man approached that seem like my husband. He attacked me with anger and rage that could only be described as Satan himself of all places in a church parking lot. For what you might ask? Hitting the back tire of my car on a curb when I tried to turn the car around. He didn’t care that he was on holy ground or that he was speaking to Gods own daughter. All I could say was Wow, I see who you really are. This wasn’t my husband I was talking to this was the enemy himself. As soon as we returned home I got ready and left without so much as a goodbye because if anything my ancestor Eve taught me you don’t speak to snakes, you crush them underfoot. My brother Jesus taught me in 1 Peter 2:23 retaliating wouldn’t change what he had done a battle to big for me to fight that was going to be between he and God.


I fled to my sanctuary, my place of refuge to get away from the hardened parts of this world with its brick and concrete walls, black top I needed a minute to figure out how to repay evil 1 Peter 3:9. My thought was to humble myself in silence, give in to what it wants. I wept overwhelmed by the tumults of wave of emotions that flooded my mind. Than a courage rose up this wasn’t the first time but it would certainly be the last time he handles things as a man. The Spirit of David rising up “how could this mere man defy the living God. Yell, curse, throw things hard enough to break them on the ground and slam a door to prove what exactly? That he had the power and might to destroy me? Why make me feel small so that this giant could feel tall? The words of David rang in my ear “Who is this, that I should fear his sword, spear and javelin” 1 Samuel 17:45. I began to think I really don’t like who I become around hatred. How his anger gives me permission to lose control. God is nowhere to be found in division. He is neither friend or foe my brother Jesus is the commander of His army and He said Enough. As I sat in silence peace being my prize. I noticed sparrows darting all around. Every color red, blue and speckled. I didn’t realize they feast in the rain.


Reminding me that God prepares a feast for me in the presence of my enemies Psalm 23:5 whatever comes of this I would be alright. 

That my value and worth do not come from man, I am more valuable to God than even this whole flock of sparrows and the very hairs on my head are all numbered so I need not be afraid Matthew 10:31 and Luke 12:7. The only way to take down a wall of hostility is to walk around it in silence for seven days to be exact. Joshua 6


The next day he went to work. I built two walls in the living room so that he could sleep in semi private I placed an air mattress in the ottoman and his pillow and blanket on the couch. If he couldn’t speak to me with respect he lost the right of speaking to me at all. He could speak all he wanted but from me he would not get a response. If my presence made him so angry to sin against me than he could be without me for a little while. This is what anger, hatred reap. A house divided must fall. No sense causing him further anger and rage we are not trees, we cannot be moved. When I did speak to him it was to share Scripture as God revealed it the sword of the Spirt which is the Word of God Ephesians 6:17 was the only weapon that would win this war.


In the silence I sought God as I did every day. I stopped sharing daily devotionals with him instead the good that came from it is I now share them with my nephew in prison he could benefit even more. I began to see that was the extent of his time with God and that wasn’t saving or changing his ways. God said he needed more time with him. More than an hour. Well in 24hrs he sleeps 7 that’s 1 hour for God 16 in the world. That wasn’t going to work. He only worked 8 hours so where were the other 8 going? Commute? Getting ready? Time in this world? I wasn’t asking him to rearrange his life or even give it all away but if he was ever going to become more than the man he was 1 hour just wasn’t enough. That was clear from the start.


I suggested he find time for God. Find it while he got ready for the day. Find it while he drove into work and left for the day. Find it in the quick bathroom breaks. Any time was time well spent with God. The Holy Spirit needed more time with him. One message a week was not enough. Even God worked 6 days a week creating something different each day. Perhaps there was more to be learned. It wasn’t going to happen 52 times in 365 days. God needed more.


His fear was it would take time away from me. But anytime He gave to God he was also giving to me. See I don’t just speak to speak. If I talk I am sharing what I learned. But we all see things differently it would be nice to share how we each see the same thing differently. Iron sharpens iron but his sword was rather dull. I don’t know why I never noticed that before.


I am grateful for the wisdom of God for showing me that we were trying to build a foundation mixed with iron and clay. Daniel 2:43 Some parts were strong while others were weak. He is still perfecting us. Nothing that could break us but definitely showed us our areas of weakness. So we march on.

There is a Difference Between a Shining Star and the Morning Star

May 24, 2021

I could ask the darkness to hide me and the light around me to become night- but even in darkness I cannot hide from You. To You the night shines as bright as day. Darkness and light are the same to You. Psalm 139:11-12


When I lived in darkness defined as the absence of light, apart from God, separated by my sin there was not a single day in my life He didn’t show up. He was in my hot mess and my wholeness. I am surrounded by people that worship the darkness and by His Word I can testify to the truth of it.


And the judgement is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil. All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed. But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants. John 3:19-21


When I was a slave to my sin. I did it behind closed doors where I thought no one could see. I did things in private so that no one would know. I did things when the sun was down covered by the darkness of night. Why? Because that is how much I cared of what people thought of me. Who doesn’t like to be described as good, kind, funny, helpful, happy, wise, thoughtful, caring, loving. Well I was none of these when the only person I intended to serve was myself.


The other day I was reading the description of “the shining star” found in Isaiah 14:12-14 when God says of the enemy “How you are fallen from heaven, O shining star, son of the morning! You have been thrown down to the earth, you who destroyed the nations of the world. For you said to yourself, ‘I will ascend to heaven and set my throne above God’s stars. I will preside on the mountain of gods far away in the north. I will climb to the highest heavens and be like the Most High.’


Jesus is referred to as the Morning Star in 2 Peter 1:19…until the Day dawns, and Christ the Morning Star shines in your hearts. Revelation 2:28 They will have the same authority I received from my Father, and I will also give them the morning star! and 22:16 I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this message for the churches. I am both the source of David and the heir to his throne. I am the bright morning star.


And I thought to myself there is a difference between the shining star and the morning star not just in the spiritual realm. A shining star is what I got on my papers when they were good. They served as a mark that I had done good. I had to earn the stars on my chore chart when the task was done. I didn’t get a star if the duty was not complete. A shining star is what you work for it is something you earn. As the enemy said to itself I will ascend, I will preside, I will climb so I said to myself as a child I will be successful in school/work, earn high marks/take on special projects/sell more because the world taught me if I worked hard and earned it I could climb higher and higher on the corporate ladder and make more and more money so that I can buy more things, bigger things all for myself.


Now lets look at the flipside, the closest star to us is the sun. I like how Day is capitalized in 2 Peter 1:19. And how the Sun of Righteousness is capitalized in Malachi 4:2 Just some things that make me smile to know. The morning star on the earth not the spiritual realm is the sun. It rises whether I wish it to shine or will it to shine or even hope it shines each and every day of my life.

Sometimes it is covered by clouds but I have flown enough to know it is still shining above the clouds. I don’t have to work or earn the light it simply shows up day in and day out. When it is night the surface of the moon reflects the light of the sun. The moon doesn’t give off its’ own light. It is a rock that is reflecting the source of light, the sun. The lights helps things to grow. The trees, grass and plants outside my house aren’t worried on a cloudy day, they aren’t pleading with God to allow the sun to shine on them again one day. They are at peace, at rest, with a knowing that the sun will show up.


This is how I came to know God my Father and Jesus my brother. One day I thought I was alone. That all my life I had been alone. And then one day I was aware of their presence in my life. I love my son not for anything he did to earn my love I love him because he showed up. My husband and I remain together in relationship not because he earned or deserved my love I love him because he keeps showing up. The moment my neighbor moved in next door I loved her. Not for what she did or earned. And we’ve been showing up for each other ever since. There are people God placed in my path that I loved from the first moment I met them. They having never did anything to earn my love. It was because they showed up. My love for family, friends, neighbors and people I share my life with are loved not for anything they did but because they showed up. And so it is with God.


Throughout my life darkness thought it could prevail. It tried to extinguish the light but the light kept shining, kept showing up. Whether darkness willed it to or not. He rose. He has risen. He keeps rising. Whether people look up or not. Whether it can be seen by the those who are blind and without sight and choose to walk without the light. The light keeps shining, keeps showing up. As do I.

So whatever it is relationships, gifts or talents, for everything good that makes up your life. Know that you don’t have to work or earn love, just keep showing up for it. This I have found is the key to my life. 

Crushing It

April 22 2021

Journal entry April 22, 2020 my sister tested positive for COVID. She more than likely got it from my husband who was not tested. I have been exposed for 8 days.


I have a confession to make. 8 days before this entry the desire to control others came over me. I had heard about this illness from the headlines. I am not one to sit and watch the news or read the articles. I find my time is better spent in the Word not the world so when God saw to it that it would become part of my story. I stopped sharing. Because I was so busy monitoring everyone in my house like I was an ICU nurse who lived in the emergency room. Every hour from the time I woke up till the time I went to bed for 3 weeks straight I was checking and bring fluids to my husband, then my son who I thought caught a cold. As I said I don’t watch the news so what I treated as cold/flu symptoms was greater. I pushed fluids, monitored temps hourly, administered medication, made light meal, and when each reached their limit on fluid and food consumption I allowed them to rest and let the body fight what I could not see. My son recovered within 2 days. My husband took just over a week. But my sister well if you follow my blog you know how that turned out. As for me aside from one day of explosive diarrhea I remained healthy.


I would later put the pieces of those weeks in my life together when I looked back on journal entries and find that me, my roommate and my son were all sick the first of December with a cold we couldn’t shake. We all had a cough that wouldn’t go away till February. So by April we were all exposed and immune to what swept over our house a year ago today.


As I mentioned above this would infect me with something greater than a virus it left me with an addiction to control others. In my need to “help” others I thought if I could control every action they would be okay. My husband followed my instructions for 7 days religiously so by the time my sister was commenting on the tickle in her throat he was breaking his fever and back at work again.


I am not a stranger to addiction. I battled with sexual sin for 34 years. Then misused alcohol for 3 years after to drown out the painful memories of the way I lived. The night I hit bottom I almost lost my 3 years of sexual sobriety but instead passed out naked in a hotel bathroom and woke up drowning. Only to rise and pass out in my bed and be late for a work conference. Had it not been for the grace of finding a seat in the back beside a man who battled the same addiction and later of my boss who believed in second chances I would not be here today. I replaced my addiction to numb a painful life with the Word until this day a year ago.


Truth is I didn’t have time for the Word in my life I was too busy healing the sick, raising the dead, giving the blind sight. The Word was right there but I just didn’t make time for it. I was too busy trying to survive the battles I faced in this world. The people in my own little world. So when I needed the power it gave to save me from slipping it was no where to be found because I was no longer searching for it. I was searching for physical food, physical water, physical rest, physical medication that would bring physical healing and a physical rest from this hurting world not in His Word.


“The time is surely coming” says the Sovereign LORD, “When I will send a famine on the land- not a famine of bread or water but of hearing the word of the LORD. People will stagger…wander…search for the Word of the LORD, but they will not find it….they will grow faint in that day, thrsting for the LORD’s Word. Amos 8:11-13


Don’t misunderstand me I read the Word through daily devotionals one line at a time each morning to share with my husband. We decided at the new year that maybe we should cut down from 8 to 4 to give him more time in the morning without rushing through them. I still watched a daily teaching while I worked on my Temple. Your Move with Andy Stanley, Joel Osteen, Elevation with Stephen Furtick, Enjoying Everyday Life with Joyce Meyer, Christine Caine, and Living proof with Beth Moore. I would watch each one once and delete. I attended church the moment the doors opened back up. I heard the Word but my mind was filled with the things of this world that His Word would go in and out as fast as I recieved it.


The seed that fell among the thorns represents others who hear God’s word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life…Mark 4:18-19

The thorns I battled with were the concerns and cares of the people that surrounded me. I couldn’t get the message because the physical desire to help them was greater. When everyone was well in body my heart was hardened by the things I saw in this world so my eye was bad. I had a critical way of looking at the world through the things I let my eyes see in it daily and that thinking seeped into my home. As far as my self-righteous way of thinking was concerned I was going to heaven but I was living in hell with everyone else.


I long for the years gone by when God took care of me, when He lit up the way before me and I walked safely through the darkness. Job 29:2-3


I no longer saw people I loved who were made in the image of God I saw them as people with problems that I could fix. I could do something about. I spent my days “helping” “fixing” the broken that I barely made time for the things I used to do when I was fixed on His Word.


By October I noticed I had developed this tick that when I wasn’t “helping” the people I loved a nervous anxiousness would come over me and I would self soothe by scratching my head to the point of bleeding and giving myself head sores. I was not choosing to exercise self-control so this allowed the enemy to control me like a marionette. When I tried to share the Word it would come out like a fire hydrant drowning my listener instead of like a gentle rain as before. Deuteronomy 32:2


That is when my base camp announced it was now hosting in person Celebrate Recovery. I had never attended a specific recovery program. I was moved to attend by a movie I saw on Prime called Thank You for Sharing a fiction movie based on a real life struggle with sexual addiction. As I watched I realized the way I recovered from my obvious addictions was by His Word. It was a Spirit led recovery. Not just watching teachings, listening to praise music, sharing devotionals but also bible studies. I attended my first one in 2013 Breaking Free by Beth Moore and hadn’t stopped being a part of a bible study till COVID.


Fortunately a few years ago a friend introduced me to the idea of completing studies on my own when I couldn’t be in a group or I wanted more study on a particular area of my life. So I always had a workbook I just wasn’t faithful to complete it. Then I started to share the studies with my nephew in prison and he helped me to have some accountability but when I fell weeks behind while he kept in step I felt guilty for not having, making the time for it.


I made the decision to attend my first meeting. In group I began to meet people not just with drug, sex or alcohol abuse but multiple characteristic traits oppostie of the Spirit that they struggled with. In big group I would hear not just teachings but also testimonies making it almost better than just attending a church service. People in the group were brave enough to share their hurt and how the love of God saved them. It inspired me to write my own testimony I haven’t shared it yet only to a handful of people but I will.


Afterwards we would break up into small groups and share freely how our week had been struggle or achievement, our thoughts on big group, really anything. The number one rule was that during our share we would have the floor and be uninterrupted, no advice, no counsel, just be heard and so that it gave us the healing opportunity to hear ourselves think aloud.


For everything that is hidden will eventually be brought into the open, and every secret will be brought to light. Mark 4:22


Then Good Friday came and the Celebrate Recovery Group hosted the evening with Scripture reading of the moments leading to the darkness. They had 3 wooden crosses at the front with a small table of hammers and nails. When we walked in, we were given a piece of paper to nail to the cross. I nailed my desire to control others and even stubbed my thumb in the process. The echoing of the sound of the hammers hitting the nails brought me to tears envisioning what my Christ did for me.


Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Galatians 5:24


I was finally able to proclaim a week of sobriety from my desire to control others and exercise self control instead. God showed me that in my desire I didn’t trust Him to heal my people. I didn’t trust Him with His plan for them. In my wayward way of thinking I trusted my plans for them. My ways for them were somehow better than His. I got back in my Word. The studies. The sharing with my nephew consistently. The sharing with my friends. To limit my sharing to text messages not blogs just yet.


A verse that felt like a splinter in my soul was “It was the LORD’s good plan to crush him and cause him grief.” From Isaiah 53:10 I should have known better than to put myself in a position that would prevent or prolong the inevitable crushing of ones’ life. No amount of money. No amount of preaching. No amount of putting my life on hold to make someone’s life pain free would heal them. Only God can and He sent a Savior to the job I do not have in me to do.


In my second week of sobriety I began to see that the things that crushed me actually gave life to many. Like my brother Jesus when people see me they too can believe that God raises people from the dead even still today because the truth is I was dead to God by sins when I chose to live apart from Him by my life choices I just didn’t know it. Romans 6:13 Ephesians 2:1 ,2:5 and Colossians 2:13 yet here I stand because of He that had the power to save me. So even if crushing is part of their story I know they can and will survive it.


Yet I am confident I will see the LORD’s goodness while I am here in the land of the living. Psalm 27:13


By week three I had let go of the desire to control others and gave that over to God. I felt more confident in my stride of self-control. Nothing has changed but once again I have. The way I see the people around me. Not through a hardened heart or critical eye but through eyes of faith what I believe they can be one day. Through eyes of unconditional love not for the things they do but who they are. And through hope believing one day they too might see the goodness of God all around them, not just in this life but the one to come, even in the crushing.


Then Jacob woke form his sleep and said “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I wasn’t even aware of it!” Genesis 28:16

A Thousand Minutes

March 8 2021

Since my website was revamped I lost alot of my old postings thought I would share some of my favorites because the same truth is still true for me even still today. *Originally posted 9-8-16


Stop a moment and think about what you do on average a thousand minutes a day? There are exactly 1,440 minutes in a single day. A thousand minutes is the equivalent of 16 hours and 40 minutes of the day.


I began to make a written track record of what I did with my days from the time I woke up to the time I went to bed. Call me crazy, but I actually enjoyed it. I looked forward to seeing how each day would unfold. If the plans I made worked out or were changed and how I responded to that change. As I flipped through this tiny notebook by my nightstand I noticed patterns in my routine some good things and some things that were probably not so good for me. But as the wisest man once said in Ecclesiastes 7:16 So don’t be too good or too wise! Why destroy yourself? (He also said in the following verses) On the other hand, don’t be too wicked either. Don’t be a fool! Why die before your time? Pay attention to these instructions, for anyone who fears God will avoid both extremes. (and it’s important to also mention) 20 Not a single person on earth is always good and never sins.


So with this in mind I set out to make the most of each day He gives. There were some ordinary or what I like to call extraordinary days that make this life of mine complete when I got to experience something amazing or unique. When I learn something new or do something I had never done. When I took notice of something no one else does. Each day was different no two days I had written are exactly the same. Even in my routines the times had changed. Always distracted by something unexpected, the things I didn’t plan for.


If I thought I could plot every hour of my life this was definitely proof for me to give up. Thankful I learned that lesson a long time ago. Part of this summer did not go by in blink. Thanks to this little notebook I took a slice out of my life and I can tell you exactly how it all layered up. So why did this book intrigue me today? Because my bible verse word study search was a “thousand” found in 82 verses to be exact. And these particular ones stood out for me as black lettering on a white page:

A single day in Your courts is better than a thousand anywhere else!... Psalm 84:10

For You a thousand years are as a passing day, as brief as a few night hours. Psalm 90:4

But you must forget this one thing, dear friends: A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day. 2 Peter 3:8


In Revelation 20 in a teaching titled “The Thousand Years” without quoting the entire passage it basically says that Christ bound Satan in chains for a thousand years so he could no longer deceive us until the 1,000 years was finished then he would be released for a “little while”. During which time we would reign with Christ. The teaching right after this is titled “The Defeat of Satan” (I feel like I need that piano music background where you press multiple keys and it goes da-da-dum) It basically says when the thousand years come to an end, Satan can then deceive interestingly in verse 9 he and his army “went up” on earth meaning they were down below and though they surrounded God’s people fire from heaven “came down” from above on the ones who attacked us and instead consumed them in the flames. They were sure to note the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the fiery lake.


As someone once said “I said all that to say this” I began to think what if I was looking at this the wrong way. When I interpret a thousand years in human terms it is beyond my life let alone anyone’s life on earth. But what if to God a thousand years is exactly what He said it is…a single day. A single day of my life. Obviously my life is comprised of thousands of days as Moses said

Seventy years are given to us! Some even live to eighty. But even the best yeas are filled with pain and trouble; soon they disappear, and we fly away. Psalm 90:10


If I live to be 80 I will have lived just over 29,000 days or less than 1000 months. But as Christ once said we are all given the same amount of time each day. Jesus replied, “There are twelve hours of daylight every day. During the day people can walk safely. They can see because they have the light of this world. But at night there is danger of stumbling because they have no light.” John 11:9-10


So I flipped through my book and sure enough on average I spent 16-17 hours awake or 960 to 1020 minutes a day. It got me thinking what if for every single day that I trust in and lean on Christ to make it through each day he has promised to bind the enemy for a thousand minutes each day. During that time I can come and go freely. Free of fear. Free of guilt. Free of worry. Free of distress. Free from slavery to and the power of sin. Free from the law. Free to trust. Free from blame. Free from being judged or condemned. Free from the spiritual powers of this world. Free from anger and controversy. Free from the penalty of the things I had done. Free to carry out all the good things He planned for me to do in those thousand minutes each day.


In case those freedoms sound familiar I pulled them all out of the Word - John 10:9, Job 11:15, Psalm 19:13, Micah 7:18, Luke 12:22,(Psalm 106:44, 107:13,19 & 28, 118:5) Romans 6:18, 22, Galatians 5:1, John 14:1, 1 Corinthians 1:8, Colossians 2:14-16, Colossians 2:20, 1 Timothy 2:8, Hebrews 9:15, Galatians 5:17, Ephesians 2:10


To be led by the Spirit of His power and courage and love. No longer fearful, timid and afraid even when it looks impossible because I don’t have to believe the one wrapped in chains whispering lies that I might not have or be enough or worse yet I might fail so why even bother. As Jesus once said in Matthew 4:10 Get out of here Satan…I serve a Higher power. And if I know my truth well, Jesus has already “bound” Satan up. Interestingly enough, the past tense form of bind. Or it can also mean he has already marked off his boundaries. His opinion no longer has power over me. What if it were that easy to believe in something…that has already been done.


(The LORD’s response to) Job 38:8-15 Who kept the sea inside its boundaries as it burst from the womb, and as I clothed it with clouds and wrapped it in thick darkness? For I locked it behind barred gates, limiting its shores. I said, ‘This far and no farther will you come. Here your proud waves must stop!’ Have you ever commanded the morning to appear and caused the dawn to rise in the east? Have you made daylight spread to the ends of the earth, to bring an end to the night’s wickedness? As the light approaches, the earth takes shape like clay pressed beneath a seal; it is robed in brilliant colors.


The other night my husband pulled me out of my office to watch the sunset as the day was coming to a close and for the first time I realized my thousand minutes will soon be up. We stood on our back porch as I gazed at the fiery sky thinking of what I just read a few hours, a few hundred minutes or so. “Fire from heaven” came down consuming those who attacked his godly ones and he was thrown into a fiery lake. Fleeting memories of watching the sun sink into the ocean the reflection it gave of setting it in flames.


Father, is this fiery sky a symbol to remind me that Christ, the light you called forth in Genesis 1:3, the one you called “day” in Genesis 1:5 Your Son/Sun has already defeated the deceiver in my life, the one who whispered all those lies. The one that tricked me into believing, so many times of who I was not or could ever be or what I could not or ever do. That the way I had lived the first half of my life, the things I had said and done and probably still do separate me from not only Christ but from Your love too. Does this day in my life mark a thousand minutes I believed Christ won and I am free. If I dared to believe in the what if, then I also know he will be released in a “little while” but only for a “little while” because of your unfailing love the Sun will rise again giving me another thousand minutes to live many more days, unafraid. What if.

Spiritual Growth

January 7, 2021