Affirm the WORD
Affirm the WORD
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A Walk through the Word
A Walk through the Word
An ongoing series of things I learned in the Word
An ongoing series of things I learned in the Word
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
January 7, 2021
Paul’s prayer for Spiritual Growth is found in Ephesians 3:16-21 I read it while I get each morning because opening my mind to spiritual growth is as part of my morning routine as it is to wash my face. I use the words Paul prayed to lead me into prayer. I use his words to guide and direct me in what to pray because that was a prayer between he and God this is my prayer between me and He.
Father, I thank you that from Your glorious, unlimited resources You have empowered me with inner strength through Your Spirit. I thank You that both You and Jesus have made Your home in my heart as I trust in You, Your Word and what he did while here on the earth. I thank You that my roots grow down into Your love for me, not a love for the things of this world or even the love of people of this world because it is Your love for me that keeps me strong, that gives me strength each day.
I am so grateful that You have given me the power to understand this love, as all Your people should. A love that is wider, longer, higher, deeper than any love I can experience here on the earth. You have given me a family to show me just a glimpse of what this love feels like but even still I know Your love for them and me is even greater than my love for them. Thank You for the eyes to see, the ears to hear, the mouth to taste and the hands to feel this thing called love that I can experience the love You have for Christ,
Your anointed one is the same love You have for me, though it is too great to comprehend. I know I will understand one day.
In this way You make me complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from You alone. Now all glory to God, who is able, through His mighty power at work within me, to accomplish infinitely more than I might think to ask for in prayer or think of on my own. Your plans for me are even greater than any human plan. All glory to God my Father, the Father of my Lord and brother Jesus Christ Amen!
Never to Forget
Never to Forget
December 3 2020
But watch out! Be careful never to forget what you yourself have seen. Do not let these memories escape from your mind as long as you live! And be sure to pass them on to your children and grandchildren. Deuteronomy 4:9
I just celebrated another year around the sun and as much as the world would like me to believe it wasn’t a good year when I looked over my journal entries at first glance I would have agreed but most of the entries were not about me but about the people I loved, the people I was hoping with, praying for to make it through. When I took a second look I can honestly say God has been good to me.
Has the LORD redeemed you? Then speak out! Tell others He has redeemed you from your enemies. Psalm 107:2
For 365 I woke up to a new day. I may have spent the night in a hospital room with someone I may have had to take someone to the hospital but I myself remained fine. I got to see the sun rise to each new day. I got to see the stars every single night. Even when the days felt emotionally long I still survived them all. That is something to praise God about.
Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night, nor the arrow that flies in the day. Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness, nor the disaster that strikes at midday. Though a thousand fall at your side, though ten thousand are dying around you, these evils will not touch you. Psalm 91:5-7
When tensions were high and every news outlet was reporting war, loss, crime, death I have to admit there was peace in this temple, I did not suffer loss, there was no crime or death. Except for the time someone scratched my car in a parking lot it still runs the only thing bruised was the outside of my car not me. A few days of illness but when you weigh those few days against the other 300 healthy plus days I was given I would say they were merely a fog, a mist. Nothing to boast about, no taste of death.
Trust me I made up my mind long ago that death is not the worst case scenario. For me it is going through this life having not truly lived it. I don’t want my life to be so treasured that I lived it afraid of letting it go. I don’t want to wake up regretting all the missed opportunities I was given because I was afraid of all the shots I would of missed, I want to take everyone.
“His father said to him, ‘Look, dear son, you have always stayed by me, and everything I have is yours. Luke 15:31
There were so many reasons for praise this year. Each day was a victory over the other. Each day gave reasons to raise my hands and shout in victory yes I made it, yes we did it, yes thank you Father, yes. I started my year driving back from a prison. Then COVID hit our house it started with my son, then me but we brushed it off as a cold. I slid down the stairs and tore my rotator cuff but here I am still today what didn’t kill me then made me stronger for today.
I met a girl who lost both her parents one to death the other to prison. I can’t complain about my body aches and pains when I see her still smiling, still loving through a pain deeper than I will ever know she is living proof the devil can’t take the goodness of God from your heart.
I learned my son is a wonderful counselor. A listener, a keeper of pain. Who suffered with and for all the hurts his friends suffered and I couldn’t help but see just a glimpse of what Jesus suffered for us. How Mary felt to be helpless to stop, helpless to prevent what her son was born to witness. The world might have shouted hey look at what is happening over here but God made sure He kept my attention this year.
I began the new year rushing my son to the emergency room for a drug overdose. He gave in to peer pressure just one he thought unknowing that it would almost cost him his life. While the world was living in fear I was praying for a peace the devil tried so hard to rip from my hands so when the world went further into darkness I rose higher. Darkness is a familiar foe I know how deep that hole can go. The devil was thrown down to earth and the world seems to forget Jesus called Satan the ruler of this world so when things go from bad to worse I am not surprised, I don’t expect any less from hell it just serves to confirm yup, not my home.
A friend turned 90 and at 89 had a goal to walk 500 miles before her birthday she exceeded it. Reminding me no matter what age that the Spirit is always willing. Another friend lost her beloved husband to a battle with illness at a young age. A neighbor, single mom with two young children furnace broke in the dead of winter and she couldn’t afford to get it repaired so we bought her room heaters and a heated blankets to keep warm. I don’t need the news to tell me I live in a world of loss and gain I just need to look up. And all that was just January.
My February a month that was supposed to be about love had its own ups and downs. New friends. Suicide attempts. Sherriff called. Change. Counseling. Birthday milestone celebrations. March defined by new beginnings. New job. New ride. Repair fence. Loss of work hours. Oh and then there was COVID.
April was our first hand experience. May felt like Spring had officially arrived though it began with a hospitalization and crashed new ride, it taught me to get back on again not to let fear win this battle. Next generation of family purchased first house. June we changed our view to see higher ground. Love was new in the neighborhood. Upgrade ride. New baby. New garage door. New look.
In the Summer a dragon fly swarm made me stop for a moment in time as I watched them dance in my yard reflecting on the first half of the year. Angels surrounded us hundreds if not thousands. We saw the entire neighborhood put on a firework show that would make the pros jealous. We brought the gym amenities home. Replaced half of fence. Installed new sprinkler.
Learned the unexpected the hard way that when you drive too fast in the dark and not pay attention, a rock the size of a soccer ball can ruin your transmission and cost hundreds of dollars in repairs. Neighbor gave live concert. Roommate of two years gave two month notice. A less than 24 hour stay in an emergency room cost over 3k with insurance. Bridal shower celebration in the midst of contagion. Life won fear loss. Surprise birthday BBQ. First job. Vision the devil spelled backwards is lived the past is not a place to live the present in. Humbled by a homeless woman whose life and loss fit in a suitcase. Wildfires. Red Moon. Ash fell in neighborhood. Air smelled of smoke. Started to spend more time in a chapel during the week for refuge, bible study and prayer. Met the joy of a person whose smile lights up a room there are some things the enemy can’t take that are within not what is happening around you.
Fall brought new driver on the road and a new used car that ended up being towed 4 times before being sent back. 17 years ago two became one. And like a cloak once again attempted suicide in the family. Alcohol abuse. A wedding. Furnace repair. Flip this room. Fireplace to heat living area because a bird doesn’t depend on the branch to hold him he depends on his wings. Celebrate recovery. 36 treaters walked up the driveway and we slid down candy bars on a table 6 feet long. Who lives in the white house doesn’t govern me I am governed by the LORD as I was the day before and every day after till I go home. Visit with extended family. Simple luxuries.
Grateful lockdown finally lifted for nephew after 7 months. I can’t yet see but I can hear his voice again and know that when I left him last year that he remains well. My baby bird is spreading his wings. And there you have it another year behind me.
I remember everyday like it was yesterday. Every triumph. Every tear. Every battle fought. Every trial. Every sorrow. But what I remember most was not the fight. Not the struggle to let go. I remember a God that carried me through each one. Who never let go. I don’t know what this year will bring. No one does. What I do know is that God is still alive. He lives among us. And if I am not careful I could miss Him at work in my life if I fail to look up. So my prayer for this year is that I take more notice of Him in the unexpected places.
Then I will live among the people of Israel and be their God, and they will know that I am the LORD their God. I am the one who brought them out of the land of Egypt so that I could live among them. I am the LORD their God. Exodus 29:45-46
Novemeber 18 2020
What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? James 2:14
You see, his faith and his actions worked together. His actions made his faith complete. James 2:22
Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other, let us show the truth by our actions. Our actions show that we belong to the truth, so we will be confident when we stand before God. 1 John 3:18-19
I have heard this quoted many times Romans 5:8 and 1 John 4:9 God showed His love for us by sending His Son to die for us while we were still sinners. Yes I agree my sin, guilt and shame were the first thing that had to be dealt with in my life. This is where it began but it is not what sustained my love for Him. The truth for me had to be more personal. I needed to know that of all the people in this world I wasn’t just a face in the crowd. That God knew me specifically and loved me. That is great to know He gave His Son for the world but I had to know He gave His son for me. That I was the bride walking down the aisle whose groom had eyes only for me. I wasn’t a spectator in the crowd peering over others. Whose face was blurred in the background. I was seen. That He thought so much of me that his thoughts of me out numbered the grains of sand. Before I could love even just one person in this world like that I had to know that I was loved first. 1 John 4:19
It began with a question. He asked if I was okay? Clearly I was not, to which He already knew the answer but wanted to hear me say. He asked if there was anything He could do to ease my pain? A need He could meet that I had no power to? As He watched me struggle to live my own way, He waited for my response. It took me awhile to let go of control to even think to ask for His help. Think to pray for Him to meet a need, though He is a God who created all that I see and is fully capable of many things. In stubborn pride I still didn’t think to ask Him even if the answer was no. He stood by quietly patiently waiting after all my God is a gentleman Isaiah 30:18. I am mostly physically alone so from the time I wake till about late afternoon it doesn’t come naturally for me to ask for help outside myself. Trust me that has since changed. I bring every need to God and let the chips fall where they may. But lately these days I find my first prayer, my first thought with the first conscious deep breathe I take is Father, I need you.
In my own little world, separated from family and friends due to their fears. If it were up to me nothing would change but I respect boundaries, I respect the need for privacy and safety. I understand that not everyone lives fearless of dying, that there are still people who think this life is the only one we have so I pray: Father, I need to know I am not alone John 16:32. That You still see me Genesis 16:13. That You are with me Genesis 28:15. That You walk among me Leviticus 26:12. That You have my back Isaiah 52:12, 58:8. That You are beside me Psalm 16:8. That You hold me by my right hand. Psalm 73:23 That You carry me when I can’t stand Psalm 68:19. That You are going before me Exodus 23:20 Making my crooked places straight Proverbs 4:11 Help me to know I am loved. Isaiah 43:4
You see my Father didn’t just say He loved me. He didn’t send me a text. He didn’t call me on the phone. We didn’t even video chat. He showed up in my life when I need Him most, He made Himself known. He held me. He comforted me with His touch. He spoke with words I could not just hear but see at work in my life. Love does more than just says it loves, it does. What good is the love of God in me if just to be kept hidden? If to just be thought of frequently. What good is that kind of love?
I don’t need a pen pal God, I don’t need a God that speaks and shows no action to back it up. I need the kind of God that stands and says even if this life results in death, which we all know it does. That his life means nothing to him if not to be laid down, shared, given up and poured out. What changed me is I didn’t just hear God I saw the Son of God that day.
I have shared it many times and I will keep sharing, it is the reason I am here today. On bended hands and knees, weeping for eyes to see. What I can only describe as a Roman soldier came to me. Not a feeble man on a cross. With shield held high toward the sky a shadow that cooled my skin fell on me. Protecting me from the flaming arrows that the enemy sent to destroy me. No more would these kinds of thoughts harm me. I was given faith to believe.
He claimed me with a voice that broke through the sky like thunder “Enough! She is mine!”. I felt the weight of his red velvet robe drape over me. Forgiven. Redeemed. Grace fell on me. I felt a single drop of rain fall from the sky landing on my outstretched left hand reaching for something I could not physically see, causing me to open my eyes. My first human thought “O Great, here I am pouring my heart out to a God I can’t see and it's going to rain on me.” But when I looked up the sky was clear. No thunder clouds. Not even white clouds above me to form the shadow that cooled my skin.
Weakened by my experience the strength of his hand lifted me and helped me to stand up. Helped me to take the next step in life. Helped me to see I wasn’t alone as I thought I had been. That even when I can’t see physically there is a force above pulling me toward something greater that I was seen. I just know that from that day on I wasn’t the same me. Changed by a love that risked his life, reached across the heavens, across time and stood beside me. We walk hand in hand often now. He walks slightly in front leading the way and I walk a step behind enjoying the journey through life he is taking me on.
Hear my prayer, O LORD! Listen to my cries for help! Don’t ignore my tears. For I am Your guest- a traveler passing through, as my ancestors were before me. Psalm 39:12
You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. 1 Peter 1:8
In an Instant
In an Instant
November 8 2020
“Yes,” he told them, “I saw Satan fall from heaven like lightning! Look, I have given you authority over all the power of the enemy, and you can walk among snakes and scorpions and crush them. Nothing will injure you. But don’t rejoice because evil spirits obey you; rejoice because your names are registered in heaven.” Luke 10:18-20
I sat in a meeting last week and said “Hi my name is…I am a firm believer of Jesus Christ. I am 11 years recovered from…and 8 years from…then I shared my newest struggle, to let go of control. The need to control everyone and everything around me around me in order to maintain my peace and I wasn’t doing a very good job. You could say over the past few weeks I had been white knuckling it, trying to hold onto peace.
Every time my son drove away he took a peace of me with him. Every time my sister’s car stalled a peace of me stalled with it. Every day that passed that my husband didn’t hear back about his interview my peace took a deep breath and held it with him. Every week a close member of my family went without a job and an added large expense arose with her car or house my peace sunk even lower. My breaking point was on the lowest temp days of the season my house heater broke leaving me confined to my room. The car that kept stalling was towed to the shop for an indefinite number of days and the call we waited for wasn’t the news we had held our breath for all those days. I was reminded that even though God had given me authority over the power of some of my greatest enemies in my life He was still the only One in control. There would still be many battles, many struggles that would come against me that He has given me the power to walk through even if it felt like I was failing miserably.
Then they will come to their senses and escape from the devil’s trap. For they have been held captive by him to do whatever her
wants. 2 Timothy 2:26
I have heard it said many times that change happens in an instant. I was always skeptical of that until it happened for me. The sin I battled with for 30 plus years I honestly had no intentions of stopping I had surrendered to the defeated mentality that this was just who I was incapable of change. It took my hearing the voice of God to see the power Satan had over me fall from me like lighting.
I can’t remember the exact day only that it was in December because when I walked away from the battle I was given a Christmas gift for my son. The gift of being free of this battle was greater than anything I could receive. I had made up my mind to leave my sin behind that day and every day since till a single day became a week, then a month and now almost 11 years.
Unfortunately, I went from one pain killer to another thinking well at least I am not doing what I used to do. The pain was still there and the need to numb the pain was also there. The things I used to kill the pain eased the sting of the struggles I faced. I might have been able to walk among the snakes and scorpions, but I had not yet learned that I could crush them. I limped along several years better than I was but, in some ways, the same. Even though my brother had said “nothing will injure you” I know the physical injury this world brought on him. As Isaiah 52:14 would describe that he was beaten beyond recognition. The pain I felt was not written on my face or body it was a pain I carried in my heart that nothing of this world had been able to heal.
He reached down from heaven and rescued me; He drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemies, from those who hated me and were too strong for me. They attacked me at a moment when I was in distress, but the LORD supported me. Psalm 18:16
I waited patiently for the LORD to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along. Psalm 40:1-2
Before I knew these words, they were true of my second “pain killer” that was killing me. This time it wasn’t a voice that made me stop it was coming face to face with my own mortality that what I was doing to numb the pain had only one purpose to kill and destroy me. People call it hitting bottom. I call it hitting the bottom of my own grave. Hebrews 2:9 says Jesus tasted death for me but my Father had other plans for me, He gave me the smell of death, like smelling salt to wake me from my destructive ways and I haven’t looked back since that day over 8 years ago.
Then the LORD told him, “I have certainly seen the oppression of my people in Egypt. I have heard their cries of distress because of their harsh slave drivers. Yes, I am aware of their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the power of the Egyptians and lead them out of Egypt into their own fertile and spacious land. It is a land flowing with milk and honey- the land where the Canaanites, Hitties, Amorities, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites now live. Look! The cry of the people of Israel has reached Me, and I have seen how harshly the Egyptians abuse them. Exodus 3:7-9
I returned from the grave realizing that there were things in my life I had not dealt with, losses I didn’t mourn, disappointments and discouragements I had not made peace with yet, things I wanted to do but never attempted because fear made up my mind I couldn’t, a discontentment I carried with me through life that I was unable to break free from. Why was I afraid to feel the pain, walk through the things that hurt me, to admit that I am human, that I am weak, that humility, shame and sorrow are a part of my story. It took my coming to His Word page by page, verse by verse to find my truth in His truth. That every time He saved; He didn’t show up for perfect people. It was because He saw His children in trouble. He heard their cry. He saw their suffering. Every time He showed up it was because they got themselves in place they could not recover, get up from on their own, by their own strength. Help or some form of the word is written in the NLT over 500 times.
They will be like mighty warriors in battle, trampling their enemies in the mud under their feet. Since the LORD is with them as they fight, they will overthrow even the enemy’s horsemen. Zechariah 10:5
Who am I to live apart from the ways this world had taught me, to want to live in such a way that though I live in this world, I am not of this world? Who am I to put an end to generational bondage, generational slavery, generational sin in my life? To believe that I can cross the raging river inside me on dry ground even if I have to get wet, that I can tear down the walls that kept me from knowing God’s promise, that I can take down the roaring giant that threatens to destroy me with a single blow, that I can climb higher, do the impossible. The only reason I believe I am able is because of a God that said I am His. He is with me. Just as He said to my ancestors before me Moses, Joshua, Ruth, David, Esther, Daniel and Jesus just to name a few.
Liked Zechariah 10:11-12 taught me, I come from a long line of people who decided in an instant that they had enough. They passed safely through the sea of distress; the waves did not deter them to go back. God caused their emotional suffering to dry up as He wiped away every sorrow, every tear. He gave them the power to crush the enemy of doubt that stood in their way, the one that made them question God’s Sovereignty and strength and put an end to the fear that consumed their thinking. By His power God made His children strong, by His authority they went where He desired them to go. All because He said You are mine and I am Yours. That was all they needed to know.
You are my flock, the sheep of my pasture. You are my people, and I am your God. I, the Sovereign LORD, have spoken! Ezekiel 34:31
My Father's House
My Father's House
October 24 2020
“But why did you need to search?” he asked. “Didn’t you know that I must be in my Father’s house?” Luke 2:49
I noticed recently that not a single day has passed that there wasn’t a report of something random to be disappointed, frustrated, confused, worried, stressed about. So I have been spending a lot of time in my Father’s house sometimes in a building, other times as my brother Jesus did just stepping away to an isolated place so that I can cast my cares in prayer to the LORD. To let go of the things too heavy for me to bear, too great for me to understand. When the only sense that can be made is this is not my home because I know the One who cares for me.
I am seeing how quickly His Word is forgotten as foretold in Matthew 13, Mark 4 and Luke 8:4-15 how the evil one is snatching His Word from the hearts of those I love so that their problem becomes greater than God. Dwelling on the difficulty is always on the throne of their mind, no longer is there reason for praise. I can still remember a time when they heard His message and received it with joy like it was a gift, as though a hidden treasure was found and nothing else mattered but His Word, what He promised and what He spoke but now their worries matter most.
How quickly their love of His Word faded when the trials and sorrows of life arose, words like hope and faith became wishful thinking. All too quickly the Message was crowded out by doubt. A call to worship was now considered a sacrifice of their time over the opportunity to create more wealth, make more, produce more, work more rather than spending time in my Father’s house. So when chaos descended for “a little while” on their house, when a great time of testing the things they put their trust in fell silent, it had no comfort, no encouragement, no reply. Indeed there are things that happen in this life that no amount of wealth or work can buy.
In my prayer of Psalm 89:9-10 I was reminded me how God “rules over the oceans and subdues the storm-tossed waves.” For me the mere mention of ocean waves brings to mind what my own emotional turmoil looked like within me. Grateful to God who is greater than my feelings (1 John 3:20) Who tells the waves this far and no farther can you come (Job 38:11) who calms the storm at His command with two words ‘I Am’. (Matthew 8:27, Mark 4:41, Luke 8:25)
I was also reminded in this verse that God crushed the great sea monster and there it was in the footnote that read in Hebrew this monster is known as Rahab, a mythical sea monster that represents chaos in ancient literature. When chaos is what I have seen all around I am reminded that God scattered my enemies with His mighty arm. Reminded of how God brought order into my own chaotic world.
For the LORD is God, and He created the heavens and earth and put everything in place. He made the world to be lived in, not a place of empty chaos…Isaiah 45:18
For God is not a God of disorder but of peace…1 Corinthians 14:33
I sat silently in my Father’s house as Paul taught me in Philippians 4:6 to lay my needs at the cross and lift up a sacrifice of praise for all that God has done. I prayed for every person God has brought across my path. Then I affirmed the things God said of me. The way I see it I spent forty years of the world telling me who I was not my Creator can have the other half of my life to tell me who I am.
Afterwards I sat in silence and thought of the wonder of God. The greatness of His power and who He is to me.
In Psalms alone He is…My rock. My refuge. My healer. My redeemer. My Savior. My strength. My victory. My honor. My shield. My hope. My grace. My fortress. My provider. My goodness. My King. My glory. My God. My Master. My Father. My inheritance. My cup of blessing. My place of safety. My shepherd. My light. My salvation. My helper. My rock of protection. My hiding place. My LORD. My Lord. My joy. My safe refuge. My helper. My protection. My shelter. My song. My delight.
When I am in my Father’s house whether in a building of wood and stone or a Temple of flesh and bone. I can tell you I am not fixed on the worries of this world. My mind is not concerned about what will I do if God knows what happens because this I know, I was never created to white knuckle anything or anyone more than I hold onto God. My mind is convinced that God is still in control, still on the throne. That He is Sovereign He hasn't given up that throne. Whatever chaos is allowed to roam for “a little while” it is not greater than the glory that will be revealed when my Father makes Himself known in any given situation, circumstance, problem, worry, fear I know that the glory of His presence will come in two words, not alone.
The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it. John 1:4-5
October 14 2020
Are Your wonderful deeds any use to the dead? Do the dead rise up and praise You? Can those in the grave declare Your unfailing love? Can they proclaim Your faithfulness in the place of destruction? Can the darkness speak of Your wonderful deeds? Can anyone in the land of forgetfulness talk about Your righteousness? Psalm 88:10-11
In Hebrew Abaddon means destruction. While praying through Psalms 88 yesterday the oddest thought came to me as I made the effort to sound out a word I don’t read often Abaddon. How similar it sounded to “a bad done”. It made me think when I did what was evil, wicked, displeasing to God, I was essentially doing what was bad, A bad done. It might not have been physically bad for me at the time in fact it might have even felt good to do seems like every bad I have done there was a good feeling to it, but it was definitely bad for me spiritually, mentally, emotionally. Where all my battles against the enemy are fought and won.
He was probably cheering me on in the act of the bad so that when all was said and done I had given him even more ammunition against me for the bad I have done. He now has a truth about me he holds dear and uses to tear me down every chance he gets by simply whispering things like “Remember when you did what you did. You should be ashamed. You will never…you could never…you will always be…You are not…you cannot…”
Once he has covered me in guilt and shame and condemnation, I have now fallen into a pit of depression of my own digging, a pit about the size of my own grave. I am paralyzed by guilt and shame. Believing I cannot move, I cannot be changed. The farthest thing from my mind are the wonderful things God has done for me in the past. The only thing I can think of is the past that buried me. In this past there is no reason to get up just stay in bed and hope the painful memories pass but it never does. I have no reason to praise God. God is not the reason I am in this pit, I am useless to do anything good for Him.
No reason to declare His unfailing love, all I see is reasons why I do not deserve to be loved. How can I proclaim His faithfulness when I can’t even be faithful to Him in my place of destruction, in the place where my bad was done. I am blinded to see how God has been good to me all my years surrounded in darkness not even remembering the good things only focused on the bad I have done. I have forgotten all the times He saved me. I cannot speak of His righteousness because I know that what I have done is nothing compared to what He has done for me. So I lay silent in the grave, refusing to lift my head, refusing to look up.
They say change happens in an instant. What they don’t say is it is a choice you have to make every single day of your life. “What are you doing?” God said to me right after the bad that I had done. The voice wasn’t accusing me with “What have I done!” This voice knew what I did, this voice wasn’t looking to condemn me. This voice was gently trying to wake me up, force me to confront my enemy but not alone.
Then sometime later the same voice said “Be still and know that I am” my thoughts were far from stillness. I was thinking of all the bad done to me. I was thinking of all the bad I could do. I was thinking how am I going to move forward as though I were alone. What am I going to do? As though I was the only one. There is no moving forward. I am stuck. I am paralyzed. I have no choice but to stay in the grave I have dug.
I watched as a dragonfly danced in the yard. Carefree. Life cycle only a season. Before I knew about the living beings found in Ezekiel. Living beings watched over me and still do. Not a worry in the world. I wished I were that dragonfly and I could escape, fly far away from the pain and destruction the people of this world caused and never look back. Always moving forward.
Behind sunglasses to hide my tears I watched as my neighbor furiously chop down her apple tree like a mad woman on a mission. Her dog had one too many apples and was kept in the house locked up while they worked. Long enough to cause destruction and she knew in her heart it had to do with this apple tree. She had asked her husband to cut it down several times after the first few accidents in the house. Chopping with a vengeance I thought of the fruit of sin that was eaten that caused the downward trajectory of all mankind the same fruit that was still causing destruction in my own life, my own family. I hadn’t read the Book but I knew all about Adam and Eve and the fruit taken from the forbidden tree. The same fruit that made God say to me “What are you doing?”
When He said “Be still and know that I am” I shot off a bunch of questions “Know that You are what? Going to save me? Going to change this? Be still and know that You are what?” And then the truth was made clear to me that I didn’t know who God was. I knew who others said He was but I didn’t know Him for myself, personally. I didn’t read His Word I had it read to me, like a child who could not read and comprehend yet I was near 40. I didn’t know God at all only what was told to me.
The weight of His hand lay on my shoulder like when a parent stands behind a seated child and places their hand on their shoulder to let them know without saying a word I am behind you. You need not fear I am here. Perhaps He was trying to tell me in these few words “Be still and know that I am…with you.”
In what could have been seconds, minutes, hours, I closed my eyes with relief for the first time in my life to know that I wasn’t alone He was with me. And in that time He showed me who He had been in my life. Why I had been chosen to survive in this place of destruction, this barren land where I still found blessings. Like a flashback movie reel- just scenes no sound, the memory of every wonderful deed He performed for me when I thought it was just me against the world.