This blog contains affiliate links. If you click on them and buy the product, then I receive compensation. It helps me to run this blog.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

He holds me Secure

We all have heartaches and challenges in our lives. Anymore it seems for every obstacle I overcome, there are two more trying to defeat me. Sometimes it would be so much easier to just throw my hands in the air and admit defeat, rather than fight. But I’m so thankful that when all my strength is gone, God extends His strong hand and lifts me up.

I had never faced, nor will I ever, anything too big for my God to handle. Often times I have found, my problems are never as big as they seem. To God they are all simple and so small. Sometimes it seems as if God is ignoring us. Or that’s how I feel occasionally. When I’m crying and begging God to help me, but nothing seems to change. However, what I have learned is that God works out of our sight. And when it is all worked out and my prayers are answered—I’m always awed!

The part that always amazes me is how God prepares us for each phase of our journey and how everything always happens in the appropriate time.  So often I will find myself afraid of the unknown or the next phase, but when God opens my eyes, He shows me He has been in control all along—and it was never as bad as once seemed to me.

He knew when I first picked up my pen seven years ago, I would be writing this blog and have two books contracted for publication. He knew when I would cry, over and over, I couldn’t write that through Him I could. He knew when the first pains attacked my hands; the day was approaching when I would be unable to continue working. He knew I would be devastated. He knew I would wallow in self-pity and blame Him, silently in the deep recesses of my heart. He knew I would feel betrayed and worthless, and above all defeated.

He knew I would cry myself to sleep, begging Him not to allow me to be totally disabled or sign up for a disability check. He also knew that I would come willing, if that was His will for me. He knew that is wasn’t about pride for me, but about not giving up on my dreams—after all He is the one who gave them to me. He knew I had so much I wanted to do and so much left to give. He knew I had fought so hard and tried with everything inside me to prove I was able. He knew I needed more than being a housewife and stay-at-home mom. He knew I needed to make a difference and that I would never be satisfied with anything less than what I knew I was supposed to do.

He knew, when He spared me from death, life would be hard for me. He knew I would struggle with everything. He knew I would need wonderful, loving parents to guide and help me, who accepted me and my scars and never tried to change them.  He knew I would need an extra special family, with so much love and encouragement to give me. He knew I would need a husband who adores me and needs me, too. He knew I would need kids to brighten my life and help keep things simple. He knew I would need special friends to help carry my burdens and lift me up in prayer, and above all, really love me.

He knew, when He allowed me to live, that I would always need Him. He knew that in order for me to find acceptance and happiness, I had to seek Him and His righteousness. There haven’t been any surprises for God. He knows and understands it all. He knows exactly what it will take to make me be obedient and thankful.

Through it all, I’m so thankful that He holds me secure! He loves me with a love that is boundless and free. He wants me to succeed. He wants me to be happy. He wants to help me. And every once in awhile He wants me to lift my eyes toward Heaven and thank Him for ALL that He does for me.

Every tear is for my benefit. Each heartache and pain strengthens me. Every single part of my journey is important. It’s kind of like a recipe, each ingredient has a purpose and they all work together to make something wonderful.

While we would all like to exclude the heartache and pain every once in awhile, it is necessary. And it makes the happy, wonderful, amazing, awe moments more special.

Thank you, God for turning my heartaches into blessings! For helping me smile through the pain. For always encouraging me and allowing me to glimpse the rainbow through the storm.  I’m so thankful that you bless me with enough heartache to remind me that I need you, every minute of every day. Thank you, God for loving me—regardless of the situation and for always holding me so secure in your arms of strength and love. Thank you for reminding me when I feel overwhelmed and afraid, you’ve got everything under control and it will all work out to the good.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Signs and Wonders

God amazes me! Every single day that He blesses me to live is a miracle, if you really think about it. Every breath we take is a gift and I want to use at least one of those breaths to thank Him and praise Him for all I’ve received—especially the blessings unawares.
Sometimes things happen to us that we don’t like or understand. And I tend to throw a temper-tantrum when things don’t go my way. I cry and whine and wonder why the Lord allowed that to happen to me. All I can see is what I want and am often blinded to what I need. That’s why I’m so thankful for this verse.

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28 (KJV)

It helps me to put everything into perspective. It helps me to realize there is a reason for every trial and heartache. I believe God has a plan for each life created. I believe those who accept Him into their hearts have a greater purpose—and that’s to show the world about God. I believe when we look to God and desire to do His will, from the very depths of our hearts, He will bless us. Sometimes we have to forget about everything of the world, including material possessions, and desire God’s will to be done, above and beyond everything else.

And I’m not going to lie to you that can be very hard to do. It’s hard to walk in faith, when it doesn’t always make sense to our mind. It’s hard to believe that the impossible will be possible. But I have found when we look to God and listen for that still small voice of encouragement and comfort, He will always give us exactly what we need.

He knows what is around the next corner for us. He knows what will satisfy our soul. He knows what will help us and also what will hurt us. He knows what is best for us—always. And I’m so thankful, I just can’t say that enough, He never gave up on me and never allowed me to totally give up on Him.

Every single time, along this writing journey, when my strength began to fail, He lifted me up and carried me in His arms. He comforted me and encouraged me. He always knew what I needed to help me continue.

I remember thinking one time; I wish I knew someone who could help me. Someone who would give me favor with the publishers and someone who would speak on my behalf. At the time, I just didn’t realize what all I had with God. He’s my comforter and guide, my counselor and friend, my burden carrier and strength, my Father and the wonderful Potter who molds me into the person He wants me to be. He is everything I will ever need and so much more than that.

And every once in a while He will show me why something didn’t happen the way I had wanted it to happen. In those times, I can’t help but be so thankful that He didn’t listen to me. I’m so thankful for the prayers He wouldn’t allow me to pray. I know that sounds kind of crazy, but if He had listened to my tears and pleas, I would have messed everything up. I would have interfered with His plan for me. Instead of giving me what I wanted, I’m so thankful He gathered me in His arms and comforted me. He knew that I had to endure the pain to grow in my life and get to the point to where He could use me.

And even when I tried to mess everything up by going in my own direction, He was long suffering. When it really matters, He won’t allow us to mess up—especially when we listen and heed to that still small voice directing us.

Sometimes we try to rush things, but I have found when we wait on the Lord it will always be right. And as long as we follow our hearts, we will always be where God wants us to be. This evening, I went to the grocery store. As I was waiting in line, I noticed a man bagging groceries. He was talking to the customer, but the customer was ignoring him. There was just something in that scene, unfolding before my very eyes that touched me. I mean really touched me. The man bagging groceries looked as if he had Down Syndrome or some similar condition. He had a beautiful, contagious smile that lit up his whole face. He was trying to talk to the man about the weather. I noticed the frustration on his face as he was ignored, but he turned toward me unfazed, as if the incident never happened. When he turned his attention toward me, there was a part of me that wanted to turn away as well. I guess that’s our nature to shy away from situations that make us uncomfortable. But I couldn’t turn away from his smile. So I smiled back and talked to him about the weather. I even switched lanes, when the woman invited me to, so he could bag my groceries.

As I handed the woman my money, I noticed that her eyes drifted to my hands and stared. And it slammed into me, in that moment, that the man and I are a lot alike. We’re both different and some people are uncomfortable around us. Some look at us as if we are contaminating their air. They don’t know what to expect or how to handle the situation and that makes them uncomfortable. And God has given me a beautiful gift—to be the voice of those who are different. To show people there is a beautiful person underneath these scars, who has feelings. Who never asked to be born with these scars, but has learned to accept them and be thankful for their meaning. Who faced tragedy and beat the odds.

So the next time you see someone scarred or different in any way please remember they suffered greatly for their opportunity to live. They face limitations and challenges every day, but they don’t allow it to take their life or the enjoyment of it away. They have to work harder than you to do the same job, but they do it and are so thankful they can. They realize they almost died, but they’re so thankful to be alive.

I’m so thankful that God blesses me to write this blog and that each and every one of you take the time to read it. I’m so thankful that God blessed me to write both of my books and that they will be published soon. I’m so thankful that God blesses me to tell the world just how great that He is to me. He didn’t make a mistake with me. I’m exactly as He intended for me to be. And those who always focus on my scars, miss my smile.

As I was putting my groceries in the car the tears welled in my eyes. Not for the man who was different, but for the ones who treated him so coldly. We should all be careful how we treat others—we never know when we have entertained angels unawares.

Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Hebrews 13:1 (KJV)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Great Comforter

Have you ever felt as if the walls were closing in on you? Overwhelmed and confused? As if you can’t take your misery a moment longer. You want your answer, NOW! You want God to answer your prayer, right this very moment. You’re tired of waiting and hoping, only to be disappointed again and again.

I think we have all been there. Life is hard for everyone! We all struggle with some type of adversity, daily. We all have battles that bring us to our knees and threaten to break us. We all struggle with the inner turmoil of heartache and grief, but during the darkest times of our lives, we find, we all have a Comforter. Whether or not we admit it or recognize it, God comforts us all.

Sometimes we just need to embrace our comfort and not fight against it or ignore it. So often when I feel overwhelmed, I know I just need to pray. Anytime I bow my head and began to cry from my heart, I know God hears me and I know He will always HELP me. He doesn’t always answer my prayer and fix my problem right then, but He will calm me and give me peace with it all.

Sometimes He will put a song on my heart and bless me to sing it. The words often give me hope and reassurance that everything will be okay. They help me lift my head and look toward God, the author and finisher of my faith. They remind me that He has a plan and He will take care of it all in His time.
Sometimes He gives me scripture. A place in the bible will come to my mind and I will look up the verses God wants me to read. And not only will He bless me to read them, but every once in awhile He will bless me to understand them.

Right in the middle of writing this blog entry, I found out a dear sweet friend passed away. She had battled cancer for a long time, with her faith and trust in God. She was a warrior for Him. Regardless of her battle she always praised God. She always saw the rainbow, instead of the storm.
I’m heartbroken. I always believed she would get better. I wanted her to be able to raise her kids, and watch them grow. I can’t imagine how her family feels. I can’t imagine the pain a child must endure when they lose their Mommy. I can’t imagine the pain of losing a child, nor a sister or spouse. But I do know they are not alone. God is holding each and every one hurting. He is comforting them with His strength and love.

When I think of her, I think of a beautiful smile and kindness. And when I look to God, I can be thankful she lived and that I was blessed to know her. I know this is the best day she has ever had. I know God sent His angel to carry her home. She’s not in any pain. And she accomplished more in her short life than many will in their lifetime—because she believed in God and told everyone about Him and His greatness.
That’s something we should all leave behind to our loved ones—a testimony of our faith and belief in God. None of us know when our time will end. We don’t have the promise of tomorrow. But we all have a chance to believe in this great God.

We have the opportunity to be saved. We have the opportunity to live our lives so someone may see God in us. We don’t always understand why good people suffer. We don’t understand how they can praise God during their dying hour. We don’t understand how they can love and believe in a God who allows them to suffer. But the bible tells us it is a great honor to suffer for Christ’s sake. And that’s where that Great Comforter comes in. He can give peace during the storm and allow the rainbow to triumph. I’m not saying that I’m good, but one night I was lying in bed in terrible pain with a smile on my face because God has blessed my life so abundantly. When His sweet peace stirs our soul the worry, fear, pain, and heartache disappear.

God has a time and reason for everything. And His grace and mercy are boundless. We just have to be patient and wait on the Lord. In His time He will give us the desires of our heart—even though we can’t see it at the time. How many times have we prayed for a loved one who is sick and we ask God to heal them—to stop their suffering?  When they die we often can’t see it as a blessing, but to them it is because their suffering is over and they’re resting in the arms of the Lord. Our tears are for us. Our loss is Heaven’s gain.

One night, a few years ago, I was sitting on my deck wondering about the purpose of my hands. As I stared at my hands a great light shined upon them, which resembled angel wings. Please don’t misunderstand me in no way do I think I’m any type of angel. In fact, at the time it bothered me because I couldn’t understand it. But God showed me that sometimes we suffer so that others may see Him through us. When people see me struggle to do a simple task, with a smile on my face praising the Lord, it shows them there is something inside me far greater than anything of the world.

Whenever we watch one of God’s mighty warriors in battle for the Lord, it strengthens us all. We watch how they handle adversity and strife. We watch as they exemplify remarkable faith and trust in the Lord. We watch as they show us all how we should live our lives. And in their dying hour, they will show us how to die. As the tears roll down our face, we feel as if we’ve been in the presence of a remarkable angel—one meant to lead us to God and give us a little glimpse of His love.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

To Be Made Whole

It’s easy to judge other people! It’s easy to assume that we would never do anything horrid. But, how do we know? I don’t know what I will do in the next five minutes, not to mention, next week. A sin is a sin! And none of us are above it. But I’m so thankful that we have a forgiving God; who made a way for us despite our faults and failures. His way is unconditional love and He wants us to show others this great love.

He knows how weak we are, especially me. He knows the only goodness in any of us is Him. He knows that in our weakness, He is made strong. He knows that all we have to do is call to Him and He will help us. He knows that through Him we can love everyone, even those who hurt us and spitefully use us.

Growing up with scars has been a real blessing for me. It has taught me so many things. One of the greatest is to treat other people the way I want to be treated—not as I have been treated. I have always been stared at and, by some, treated as scum on the bottom of their shoe. And what people don’t understand is their reaction to me is in their eyes. So even if they never say anything hurtful, their eyes reflect their feelings. I realize this could have made me a bitter, angry person who hated everyone. But I’m so thankful God had other plans for me. He placed compassion in my heart and helps me pray for and love those who hurt me.

I couldn’t make it without my Lord. I couldn’t make it without His strength and wisdom, love and forgiveness, grace and comfort, guidance and understanding. To sum it all up—God is my everything.
However, I didn’t always feel that way. There was a time in my life when I felt empty. I remember wondering what is my purpose in life and what does it all mean. I didn’t understand what it meant to live or die. I didn’t understand how I could love someone who hurt me or someone I didn’t even know. In all honesty, I didn’t understand love at all.

I didn’t understand how God could create good and evil. I didn’t understand why I had to suffer. I didn’t understand the heartache that consumed me, nor the emptiness. But one day, God gave me a way out of my misery. He offered me a better way.
He offered me an eternal home in heaven, without any suffering or evil. He offered me His unconditional love, forgiveness, mercy, grace, strength, understanding, comfort, etc. And all I had to do was believe in Him and His greatness. All I had to do was move toward the Spirit drawing me to Him.

The day I believed in Him with my whole heart, He made me whole. There is no part of me missing or scarred—not on the inside anyway. Inside I am as God.
Of course the outward part still holds scars. It suffers with aches and pains. It gets hurt and has the devil to contend with daily. It gets angry with people and judges them, unfairly. However, despite the situation, I have learned if I look to God, He always has the solution to my every problem. He has the power to open my eyes, blinded by sin. He has the power to calm me during the strongest storm and shine a light during the darkest times. He is my answer to every question.

He has taught me that instead of putting my foot on those who are down, drowning in their sin, I should lift them up to Him in prayer. Tomorrow, I could do worse than what they’ve done today. And if I was in that shape, I know I would want someone praying for me. God loves everyone, even the ones who do horrible things. He died for them, just as He died for us all. And when we really think about it, it was our sins that killed Jesus. Prayer and love can take those that are broken, and make them whole.

Author shares message through Zippy the zebra