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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Next Chapter

In the midst of heartaches and adversity, God is there. He is our beacon of hope during the strongest of storms. He knows our thoughts, ways, the paths we take and the exact combination of it all to help us weather the storms. He knows during these difficult times we need inspiration and encouragement, so He gives us God moments.

When I started writing my book Underneath the Scars, it felt as if a great warfare was raging inside me. It was one of the hardest, trying, most painful moments of my life. There were so many times when I wanted to quit; times when I wanted to be stubborn and refuse God. There were times when I couldn’t understand the purpose of the book and very seriously doubted that my story would ever touch another life.
And my God was so patient with me. He was so kind, gentle, and longsuffering. He knew my heart. He knew I wasn’t refusing Him out laziness or disrespect. He knew I was terrified and hurting. That’s when He gave me a special gift. He gave me this picture.
Calen drinking from a straw.

It is the most precious picture I think I have ever seen. The first time my eyes glimpsed it, I was heartbroken. All I could see was a baby with no hands, in a world that demands them. I thought about all of the trials he would face in life and I would cry—desiring a way to help him and others affected. When I thought I couldn’t write another word and I couldn’t possibly finish my book, God would take me to this picture. It was my reminder to write from my heart. God reminded me that there was a purpose and a great need for it.

As the words filled my blank pages, a change took place inside of me. With every grain of acceptance I received, my thoughts and feelings began to change. And then one day as I come to the ending of Zippy and the Stripes of Courage, my perspective changed as well.

When I glimpsed this picture from my heart, I saw a baby who survived! He went through the trauma; he has the scars to prove it, but he survived. He lived when so many die. God gave him life, hope, love. He gave him determination. In this picture, he didn’t know he was different. He didn’t know that he wasn’t supposed to be able to do it. I believe that whatever heartaches, trials and challenges he faces, God will deliver him out of them all.

Through it all, God showed me about strength, perseverance, and the power of our thoughts and beliefs. He showed me that anything is possible through Him. He taught me about thankfulness and hope.

I love it when He reminds me my life belongs to Him and shows me the beautiful gift of life and love. The last few months have been hard for me. I’ve battled pain and so many different emotions. At times I feel like I have been knocked down and the devil is kicking me.

And then I get this picture—unexpectedly. They say a picture holds a thousand words and I agree.
Calen holding Zippy and the Stripes of Courage. That smile reminds me Calen is a SURVIVOR of Amniotic Band Syndrome!
I know that it’s time to open my heart and write more books for my Lord. Honestly, I had hoped the next ones would come easy, but I realize that won’t be the case at all.
We have to be in the valley to work for the Lord. We have to come to the end of our strength before we start searching for His voice. We have to seek our own understanding and guidance from God, before we find the gift of knowledge and wisdom to help others.
Ecclesiastes 1:18 KJV
For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.
I desire to be obedient to my Lord. I pray that I will do whatever He places on my heart to do. I hope I can get my thoughts, feelings, and fears out of the way and walk by faith for Him. He deserves praise, honor, and glory.
I don’t know why He chose me as the bearer of this beautiful gift. I feel so unworthy and then again so thankful. There is a part of me (my flesh) that truly dreads this process. It’s hard and painful at times. Especially, when my heart becomes burdened to write and I struggle against it.
However, the blessings are far greater than the grief. There is one thing know for sure. I don’t write for money or fame, I write because my Lord blesses me to write His word and sometimes share it with others.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Window

I love it when God and I talk. I love it when He opens the scriptures to me and shows me things I’ve never considered before. I love it when He moves and blesses me to write books. And I love it when He blesses me to share them with others. I was lying in bed a few nights ago with a smile on my face so wide, I couldn’t sleep. And He reminded me of all the times I cried myself to sleep; when the burden to share my books weighed so heavy on my heart. And now people around the world enjoy my books. That’s amazing!

Anyway it’s often during the writing and thinking process that He blesses me with new perspectives on life. This week He showed me about the window. Did you know we are His windows? People look through us to see God.

Think about how wonderful that is. To know another soul could look at your life and see a little glimpse of God. Granted we all fail. I know I do on every level, but I try. I want to extend the amazing, unconditional love God shows me to others. I want everyone to have this wonderful feeling deep down in their heart.

We all wonder at times why bad things happen to good people. We wonder why God allowed something bad to happen to our loved ones. I’ve thought about that numerous times this week. And all I can come up with is that God loves us so much.

He is so merciful and longsuffering that He makes ways for people to hear His gospel and be saved. He makes ways for people to receive invitations for Heaven. He loves us all so much that He makes sure every soul gets their opportunity.

We tend to always look at the bad side of things and forget to look at the beautiful side. Death is the doorway to Heaven. God has an appointed time for us all. That’s one thing we cannot escape. It doesn’t matter the state of your life—when death calls we will answer. There will be no more time to make things right with God or our family. That’s why we should strive to live everyday as if it were our last.  

When we hear of tragedy, what is the first thing we do? Pray! Then we ask others to pray. We go to church and extend out love to those suffering. We suddenly remember God in times of trouble. However, the sad part is that many don’t remember Him any other time. We forget who wakes us up each morning and who gives us rest. We often forget who gives us every breath and watches over us.

People love to use words like “luck”, “mistakes”, and “coincidence”. It seems as if we are always trying to find a way to discard God in our lives. There are no such things as mistakes, luck, or coincidence. We are blessed not lucky. We ignore God’s voice and go on our own wisdom and knowledge not mistakes. God is moving in our life not coincidences.  

We are the ones who don’t go to church nor take our children. We are the ones who create our own realm of serving God, while neglecting the ways of God. We are the ones who neglect to read His word and understand His ways. So He uses whatever is necessary to get our attention. He will get glory out of His children—one way or another. We cause much of our own heartache. I know I do.

However, the good part is that God can mold us into what He wants us to be. He can use us to reach others. He can bless us to help others. He can use us to comfort others. He can use us as a guide for others. All we have to do is lift our eyes toward Heaven and follow His instructions.

The journey won’t be easy. It will be a battle every step of the way, but the blessings will be abundant. God is a wonderful Paymaster.

Think about this. If He didn’t have work for us to do after we got saved, then He would call us home immediately. There would be no need for us to suffer. However, that’s not the case. He needs warriors in His army to fight for the lost and dying. He needs someone to stand during the storms of life and praise Him. He needs our lives to reflect Him in some way.
We should be like Paul and Silas. We should be thankful for every opportunity to suffer for our Lord. And always telling whoever will listen about His greatness.

Also you can check out my article in my hometown paper. I was so humbled and blessed by the kind, sweet words.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Time to Go

Regardless of what I’m going through, writing always helps me. Sometimes it’s good for me to step back and analyze my feelings through words. Things are never as bad as they had once seemed. God always has a ray of hope for every situation. And His goodness continues to awe me every day.

There have been so many beautiful souls die recently. It leaves our hearts broken and torn. There are times when I think I can’t bear it to never see their smiling face again and never have the opportunity to hug them anymore. Regardless of the time we were blessed to spend with each other, I always have an aura of regret and desire for more. There are always things I wish I would have said or time I’d like to get back.

And the moment we hear of their passing, grief settles in. We already miss them the moment they leave us. Death and grief for a loved one is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to encounter.

But I’m so thankful for God’s amazing comfort. He holds me so secure in His strong arms. It’s during the darkest hours that we discover how much God loves us.

This week He gave me a different perspective on death. It pleases God to call us home. It pleases Him to take us out of our pain and suffering. It pleases Him to give us rest and a glimpse of the beautiful treasures awaiting us.

I guess it would be like Christmas. You know when you buy someone a special gift and you just can’t wait to give it to them. I believe that’s a little fraction of how God feels when He gives us Heaven. It’s the best thing imaginable.

Sometimes I like to think about what Heaven will be like. I can’t even imagine its beauty or the greatness of never being sad, hurt, lonely, disappointed, worried, tired, weak, troubled, burdened, afraid, etc. That will be a wonderful day, when we reach our eternal home.

This world is not our home. We are all just passing through. This is a place to get ready for eternity. And one of these days I’ll join them in that great city where we’ll never grow old. What a beautiful day that will be!

On this side I’ll cry and hurt, but one of these days my suffering will be over. My mind can’t even imagine how great that will be—to be with my Lord forever and to feel His amazing Spirit always.

Until then, I have work to do. There is a reason I’m still on this Earth and I intend to do the work of my Father. I want to give the world a little glimpse of my amazing God through my life. I pray that someone may see God in me and desire Him for themselves.

And whenever He calls for me, I’m ready to go. What about you? Are you ready?

Author shares message through Zippy the zebra