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Friday, May 27, 2011

Dreams Come True!

When I was a little girl my right arm came out of place, leaving it in a sling and me only one finger on my left hand to function. However, I managed to feed myself.  In fact, I insisted upon it. Why? Because I didn’t know it was supposed to be an impossible task. I was too young to be affected by pessimism. I was stubborn and believed if I tried hard and long enough, eventually, I would be able to do whatever I needed to do.
As we get older, not only does our innocence disappear, but our optimism seems to vanish as well. Most often times our glass is not only half empty, but it has a gaping hole in the bottom. We adhere to the constraints of the world and forget we have a powerful tool in prayer and determination. It’s easier to believe it will never happen because that doesn’t take any faith nor trust in God. However, it’s considerably harder to stand in the midst of the fire and believe it is possible to walk right through it without being burned.
It’s hard to believe in something that others claim is impossible. It’s hard to believe with my heart, when my mind can’t make sense of it at all. It’s hard to believe God is all powerful because I have a tendency to put Him in a box filled with restrictions. It’s hard to listen to that still small voice when my mind is yelling otherwise. Yet, that is the only way to succeed; to believe that God can make our impossible—very possible.
Regardless of our obstacle God has a plan. The things which are His will cannot be changed. We can worry ourselves sick trying to come up with a solution, but unless it is in the center of God’s will, it’s useless. Even though I know this, still, I usually try everything myself before I ask God to help me from my heart. It’s kind of like a child throwing a temper tantrum. I cry, my mind races and I pout, until I finally wear myself out. In doing it that way, I don’t change the outcome at all. All I do is cause myself a lot of unnecessary heartache and misery. We still ALWAYS do it God’s way; that I can promise you.
However, if we stand with our feet planted just right, void of doubts and fears, knowing God will take care of it all—He will. The bible tells us He will give us the desires of hearts. I’ve thought so much about the true desires of my heart and I know God will grant them because He put them there.
I wasn’t going to say anything until everything was finalized, but what good is hope and faith when it is already settled? We need to tell of the hope that fills our hearts. We need to tell about the good and powerful things of God, through an eye of faith.
A few weeks ago, I was asked to write an article for the newspaper. I have long since retired that part of my life, but every once in a while I will write an article for someone if they ask me. However, the night before, God placed a blog entry on my heart. I tried to write it that night, but it just wasn’t there yet. And I knew I had to choose. I hate letting people down when they are counting on me, but I knew if I didn’t write it, when God gave it to me, it would be lost. So I cancelled on the article and wrote the blog entry.
It was probably the hardest blog I have ever written. I cried the whole time.
A friend on Facebook shared the blog entry and, as a result, a woman who works for a publisher contacted me, completely out of the blue. She felt God through my writing and recognized the wonderful gift He has given me. She wanted to know if I would be interested in writing a book for their company.
All I could think as I read her message was WOW—God is so good! God blessed me with a wonderful Awe Moment. Every since I finished my memoir, I wondered what God wanted me to do with it. Every time I would pray about it, I would always feel like I just needed to stand still and let God move.
I’m not saying that everything will work out because I don’t know, but I do know that I have hope and peace with it all. Regardless of what happens, I know it will be God’s will and what is best for me.
 This whole experience has renewed my faith and showed me more than ever God is in control. Even though I feel so small and insignificant, my God is mighty and strong. He can open the doors that are impossible for me to open. He can answer my prayers and make it look so easy. But, I believe, first He requires my trust. He wants me to believe, well actually he wants me to know, that not only is He capable of answering my prayer, but that He will! He expects me to keep my eyes on Him and not waiver when the storms of life start raging.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Touch of the Master’s Hand

This is the front of my Mother's Day card from my parents.
I love it when God opens my eyes and gives me a glimpse of my journey. I love it when He shows me just how blessed I truly am.
Last night I found myself once again on my deck (it’s my special place, where I go sometimes to talk to God), looking for answers and searching my heart. Sometimes I go there just to cry. Those are the times when I’m overwhelmed with all of life’s pressures and heartaches and I don’t know what to do, but I’m so thankful God understands the tears of my heart. Sometimes I go there to pray for those burdening my heart. And sometimes, I just have a feeling that God wants to talk to me.
It helps me to get away from everything during those times. When I open my back door and step outside, it’s as if I’m leaving all of the things of the world inside. On my deck, it’s just me and God. And when I go to Him from my heart, He’s always waiting for me.
He always knows what I need. He’s my answer to every prayer and He’s everything to me. Last night, He took me by the hand and reminded me of the person I used to be. He showed me how He has molded me for His honor and glory.
I remembered the little girl who cried every night and begged God to heal her scared hands. I remembered the girl who hated summer, open toed shoes and sleeveless shirts because they revealed the scars she tried so desperately to hide. I remembered the girl who was afraid she would never fall in love or find anyone to see beyond her scars. I remembered the girl who almost denied herself the opportunity to have children because she was so afraid they would have her scars. I remembered the girl who begged God to give her something, anything to allow her to help others. I remembered how she held her head down in public and tried to blend into her surroundings. I remembered how she wanted so desperately for people to like her and how she feared they never would.
I remembered how it felt the first time I ever held a pen and recorded God’s words. I remembered the power and the fear. I remembered the fear of rejection and the power of accepting my scars. I remembered how it felt to step out in faith not knowing what would happen, but believing God would see me through it all.
I love it when God turns my heartaches into blessings and shows me the power of His greatness. I love it when He allows me to share those blessings.  
I love it when God reminds me that He didn’t curse me with scars, He blessed me with life. God blessed me with scars and limitations to remind me I need Him every moment of every day. God blessed me with heartaches so I could appreciate my blessings. God blessed me with my loved ones to brighten my life. God blessed me with strength and determination to show me how to fight for Him. God blessed me with rejection to show me how to believe in myself. God blessed me with the gift of words so I can tell everyone who will listen, how great He is to me.
And for the first time, since I started writing seven years ago, I believe I am good enough. Not because of anything good I have done, but because God has molded and prepared me for this my whole life. He said I’m good enough to do His work, when He saved me and gave me the first thought and word to record. He knows I will mess up. He knows I can’t do it on my own. He knows I struggle getting my thoughts out of the way and waiting on His spirit to move. He knows I’m not capable of writing anything to touch anyone’s heart. He doesn’t expect anything from me, but obedience and trust, anyway.
When He first gave me the gift to write, I had a million excuses as to why I couldn’t do the job He gave me to do. One by one He removed them all. Every time I think I can’t do this, I don’t know what to write I hear that still small voice speak to me and say— just tell them how great that I AM.
I love telling all of the wondrous ways God blesses my life. At first I worried about repeating myself, but God’s word is worth repeating. While I know that I am absolutely nothing, I’m so thankful that every once in a while God comes through and makes me look good.
A few weeks ago, I had lunch with Jordon’s second grade class. They all gathered around me with me their smiles, hugs, and infinite questions. As usual the conversation eventually drifted to my scars. When they asked me about my arm and hands, I didn’t allow it to affect me. I beamed my smile at them and told them tiny bands attacked me before I was born and tried to take my life, but God spared me and allowed me to live. I braced myself and tried to prepare for more questions, but what happened next, both surprised and touched me. They all started searching their arms and hands for scars the bands had left on them. They wanted and tried to convince me they had scars, too.
In that moment, God displayed His greatness. He reminded me that His beauty, which reflects from the inside out, is far more superior to anything the flesh may behold.  He allowed the children to see me before they ever saw my scars. He allowed my kindness to touch their hearts and prevail. He turned my once believed to be ugly scars, into something beautiful because everything God touches is transformed into a work of beauty.
I’m so thankful I was created and I am being molded by the wonderful Touch of the Master’s Hand.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Unconditional Love

To me there’s nothing worse than seeing pain reflect from someone’s face, especially knowing that I put it there. Most often it’s the subliminal things we do to hurt others. Regardless of our efforts, we will all hurt another person at some point in our lives—whether we mean to or not.
That’s why forgiveness is so important. Without it bitterness and hatred fester and infect so many lives, destroying the tiny fragments of love. However, love that can be destroyed or forgotten is not really love at all.
When we love someone unconditionally, it is without restrictions— totally from the heart. We love completely, not expecting anything in return. The only way to do this is through God. I believe we need to look to God for all things in our lives.
When He joins two together, they will stay together, forever. As the storms of life batter and threaten to destroy them they will not drift apart, but cling to each other. Marriages that last a lifetime are not without problems. They are filled with heartaches and hard times, too, but the love always overshadows the troubles.
When I got married I thought it would be easy. We would love each other and live happily ever after. After all, my parents had made it look so easy. They never fought or seemed to struggle at all. Let me just say, I was very, very wrong. It wasn’t easy. It was hard—so very hard. More times than not, I wanted out.  I wanted to run back home to the safety of my parents. But there was something that grounded me to stay—LOVE.
Regardless of our struggles, I loved him more than I could explain. At first I hated being so dependent on him and feeling so much love. I thought it made me weak to love another person so much. The deeper we love the more they can hurt us, right? So I fought against the love, as crazy as that sounds.
But then one day, God opened my eyes. Whether I try to build walls or not doesn’t stop me from loving or getting hurt. Real strength is not walking away when things get hard, but standing and fighting with everything inside you. Loving someone unconditionally doesn’t make us vulnerable or weak, it makes us happy. And you know what else; when you learn to love unconditionally you don’t get hurt anymore because you don’t expect anything in return. So often we put those we love on a pedestal and expect more than they could ever give us, anyway.
When we treat others the way we want to be treated, we stop keeping score. And let’s face it; we are all guilty of this at some point in time. We keep up with who called last, who done what and we remember everything hurtful ever done to us. However, if we would learn to push all of this aside and just follow our heart, then we would have better relationships and stronger friendships.
We should never let fear prevent us from loving someone. I remember when one of my friends was diagnosed with cancer, I avoided her. I didn’t want to be around her. I knew it would break my heart if she died and I didn’t want to be around to see it. I was a coward and almost allowed my fears to take away so many special times and memories. I’m so thankful God intervened and blessed me to love her even deeper than I did before. He’s blessed me to pray for her and share so many wonderful moments that my heart cherishes. And this weekend my little boy, who wasn’t even born when she was diagnosed, is running a race for her—to help her fight her battle with cancer. Not only did I almost deny my heart the opportunity to really love her, but I could have prevented his little heart from ever knowing and loving her.
Fear has no place with love. My Daddy, who is also my pastor, tells me we need to be there for people when they need us. Instead of getting mad and hurt at people, we just need to love them. It does hurt when they die and leave us, but instead of being sad that they’ve died, God can help us be thankful they lived and that we got the opportunity to love and be loved by them.
Daddy often visits people when they are sick and sometimes he takes me with him. One time he took me to visit a man I didn’t know. God blessed me to stand by his death bed and to sing to him. Even though we had never met before God joined our hearts with love. It broke my heart when he died a few weeks and visits later. Instead of being mad at God, I was so thankful He blessed me to love him. My memories and love will last right on and on.
God has blessed me with so many amazing people in my life that are so easy to love. They hold me up when life tries to get me down. They plead to God on my behalf with prayers and tears. They cry with me, laugh with me, and love me unconditionally. They support my efforts and praise my accomplishments. They forgive my shortcomings and pray for my happiness. They know I’m not perfect and don’t expect me to be.
So many people come and go in our lives, but every once in awhile God blesses us with special people to brighten our lives. And I’m so very thankful for each and every one.
Love is such an amazing gift from God. When you feel it don’t allow anyone or anything to take it away from you. What if God only gave us one chance?

Saturday, May 7, 2011

My Wonderful Mom

With Mother’s Day approaching I have spent lots of time and energy looking for the perfect gift for my Mom, but with no avail. I have picked up items and studied them carefully, but nothing so far has portrayed her greatness. Nothing has screamed nor even whispered, thank you Mom for loving and nurturing me and giving me a wonderful example of what a mom is supposed to be. Nothing I buy could express just how wonderful I believe she is and how blessed I am to have her in my life. While I don’t wait until Mother’s Day to show her my love, I take the time to do that every day, I believe we also need to tell those we love the words of our heart.
I hope God blesses me with the perfect words to express the love in my heart for my Mom.
First let me say I believe God picked out my Mom especially for me. He knew I would need someone strong to give me the kind of love I needed. He knew it would take someone strong to see beyond my tangible scars and love me anyway. He didn’t just give me any Mom— He gave me the best He had to offer.
To my wonderful Mom,
When I think about the day I was born and the beautiful story you tell of my birth, I’m awed by your strength and love for me. I know it was so hard for you to see my scars and accept them and love me in a way that I needed to be loved. I know it was so hard for you to stand by and watch me struggle to do things normal children do automatically and not rush to help me. I know it was so hard for you to constantly watch me fall and find the strength to not always pick me up.
I know it was so hard for you to see other people stare at me and not be able to shield me from the cruelty of the world. I know it was so hard for you to find the perfect balance of love and discipline to help me become the person I needed to be.
But you did! Regardless of your struggles, you never faltered in my eyes. You never referred to me as handicapped or made me ever feel anything but unconditional love from you. You never hid my hands for pictures or reflected any type of shame. You told me over and over again there was nothing wrong with me and showed me by your actions everyday that you meant it.
You knew one day I would have questions that you couldn’t answer and heartaches your magic kisses couldn’t comfort, and you took me to church so I could find both. You assured me God didn’t make a mistake, I was exactly as he intended for me to be.
You taught me the beauty of friendship and the power of love. You taught me to dream big and believe in my dreams. You taught me to be kind to others and treat them how I wanted to be treated. You taught me that I was never disabled, but very able to do anything I wanted to do.
I don’t know how to thank you for all that you’ve done for me. I know that you are the reason I live a normal life because you taught me to never settle for anything less than everything. I’m so thankful you turned to God for your guidance and allowed Him to direct you. I’m so thankful you’re my biggest fan. Regardless of what I face or endure, just knowing that you believe in me gives me the strength to keep going.
Thank you, Mom, for everything! I’m so thankful you loved and accepted me first and helped me to love and accept myself. I’m so glad God gave us each other!

God's Word

I love words. I love how they explain things and blend together to paint a picture in our minds. I love how they give comfort to a broken heart and strength to a battered one. I love how they praise and brighten someone’s day. I love how they encourage and offer hope. I love how they give a little glimpse of what’s in my heart and the love that dwells there.
But I especially love the power behind the words. When God whispers them to me and allows me to record His word. I love how He blesses me to share it with others and blesses them to feel Him through me. I’m so thankful God blessed me with the gift of words.
The bible is filled with words of comfort, warnings, love, charity, hope, faith, forgiveness and peace (and so much more). God left us all examples for each aspect of our life. He’s showed us how to treat others and how to live our lives for Him. And that’s exactly how I want to live my life. I want God to take me and use me according to His will.
I want to live my life so that another person may see God through me. I want to shine my light to others and tell of the hope and love that is in my heart. I want my life to have meaning. Maybe this sounds crazy, but I don’t want God to be sorrowful He spared me and allowed me to live, when I should have died before birth. Most of all, I want my Lord to be satisfied with me.
I have found it’s through the trials in my life where God proves His love to me and teaches me of His greatness and power. The last few weeks have been really tough for me. I’ve had some health problems (a nodule on my thyroid) and was faced with the probability that it could turn out to be really serious. The first thought that occurred to me was I hope God is merciful to me and will allow me to raise my children. My next thought was I want the church to pray for me.
Since I stay at home and take care of the kids, clean the house and write for God, I don’t have any health insurance. Since I don’t actually get a paycheck for doing those things, I don’t have much money. And I wondered how in the world I was going to go to the doctor, and get the treatment I needed. There was a few times when the thought that maybe I should just get a job with health insurance plagued my mind, and then lingered. However, I had already had this conversation with God previously and He would always tell me to stand still and let Him handle it. That might seem easy enough until you’re faced with the overwhelming knowledge that you’re sick and need treatment, but you’re too poor to pay for it.
But as always, God had a plan for me. The ultrasound I had was free. The doctor I saw didn’t charge me a dime. And God had someone there waiting to pay for my other test. All of this was done without me asking for them to help me. They each volunteered. I won’t mention their names because I don’t know if they would want me to or not, but God knows who they are and I believe He will bless them greatly for their charity. Because you can’t out give God.
Waiting for my test results was so hard. All I could do was cry and beg God to allow me to raise my children and He heard my prayer. When my test results were read, there was absolutely nothing wrong with me. They will recheck the nodule in six months, but right now it isn’t causing any major problems. God is so absolutely, incredibly wonderful to me.
This whole experience reminded me just how fragile life truly is for us all. No one has the promise of tomorrow. We always think we have more time and put off important things for another day, but what if that day doesn’t come? What happens then? It’s a great experience every now and then to stop and evaluate our lives—honestly. That’s what I’ve been doing for a while now. So often we say I’m doing the best I can, but are we really? Usually, I don’t do the best I can; I do what I can get by with.
I’m so thankful God is so merciful to me. And I’m so very thankful that He reminded me once again, if I put Him first in my life, do whatever He puts on my heart to do, and trust Him to take care of me He will. There’s nothing too big for my God to handle.

Author shares message through Zippy the zebra