Archive for the ‘CELEBRATE RECOVERY’ Category

Are you ever frightened or startled by a loud noise or sudden movement? I know I have been in the past but I hope, one day, to get to the place where I’m not. Sit back, get comfortable and let me explain what I’m talking about.

You all know by now that I attend Celebrate Recovery. You may not know, however, that we say the Serenity Prayer every time we meet. Last night we were given a challenge. I was actually given this challenge nearly a year ago but was just beginning to attend CR at that time and didn’t take the time to complete it. What was the challenge? To stop and REALLY take a look at the Serenity Prayer and come to truly understand how powerful it is and what it means to me. Do a “Serenity Check-Up”. As soon as the challenge was given, the thought went through my head “I need to do this during my quiet time in the mornings until I get it finished.”

So, I sat down this morning to get started and was immediately at a loss as to how to answer the very first question: “What does the “serenity” that you are asking God for look or feel like? Describe it in as much detail as you can.” Really? Is this thing serious? I had absolutely NO idea how to answer this question and was going to skip it and move on to the next question; but, the Holy Spirit nudged me and seemed to ask, “Why don’t you pray about it?” So I did. I asked God, “What DOES serenity look like?” All of a sudden, I knew I was supposed to look up the word – I mean, DUH! How can I know what something is supposed to look like if I can’t even define it to myself or anyone else? Serenity is one of those words where I tend to say, “Oh, you know what I’m talking about. It’s hard to explain in actual words, but you know what I mean, right?”

Then, before I could look it up in the dictionary, this happened……

BOTH my cats decided to plop themselves right on top of my notebook causing me to make a choice:  Shoo them down off my desk or enjoy the moment for however long it may last. I chose to enjoy. Patches (the white one) is pretty much ALWAYS ready for attention; but, Slinky has ALWAYS been the “typical” independent cat. However, she seems to be changing a little lately and seems to want  more attention.

As I began to pet them and they were purring their sweet little purrs, it dawned on me what a perfect picture of serenity this is. Yet, at the same time, I knew, if there was a loud noise (or ANY sudden noise) or something as simple as a door opening, their ‘serenity’ would be GONE. The cats jumped down and I looked up the word serenity. Here’s what I found: The quality or state of being serene. Yes, that led me to look up the word serene. Here’s what I found there: 1a – Clear & free of storms or unpleasant change, b-Shining bright & steady / 2 – Used as part of a title (His Serene Highness) / 3 – Marked by or suggestive of utter calm and unruffled repose (rest) or quietude. Synonyms of Serene are: Arcadian, calm, hushed, peaceful, placid, restful, quiet, still, stilly, tranquil

Truly my cats had been peaceful and utterly calm. But as I stated above, I knew the slightest disruption to the quiet moment would cause their ‘serenity’ to be gone in a heartbeat, which ‘dominoed’ my thinking to me and my serenity. I can be very peaceful and calm, feeling God’s presence all around me until there is a loud noise (most often in the form of a trial) or something as simple as Him opening a door to lead me somewhere new. Suddenly, I am no longer serene but frightened.

NOW I can answer the question! Now I KNOW that when I ask God to grant me serenity, I’m asking Him to help me get to the place where I’m not so easily frightened by the new or unexpected. I’m asking Him to help me get to Philippians 4:7 as a way of life: “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”


Something has been lurking in the back of my mind all day today. Earlier I attempted to post it as a status on Facebook but, as I began to type, it began to grow. So, I left it alone, hoping I would have a chance to get back to it later in the day. Well, it is definitely later in the day (10:00 p.m. to be exact – lol). Even though I know what is going through my mind, I am still struggling with trying to put it into words. I decided to just start typing and ask the Lord to pour the words out. I think the best place to start is at the beginning….

I accepted Jesus as my Savior many years ago, when I was a young teenager. I’ve ‘celebrated’ many Good Fridays and Resurrection Days (Easter) since that time. Yet, when I woke up this morning, I was experiencing feelings that I do not ever remember having before. I felt such a sadness and I didn’t know why, at first. As I went about getting ready for work and thinking about it being Good Friday, it dawned on me. It IS Good Friday to me and many others because we know that, even though this was a day of great suffering for Jesus, He rose again and lives in Heaven with His and our Father and is preparing a place for us. But my mind just kept thinking about the day it actually happened all those years ago. The despair those people must have felt as they saw Jesus hang on the cross and die. Yes, they had been told by Him that He would “rebuild the Temple in three days” but they didn’t understand what He was saying to them.

I realized I was experiencing a true grieving – for what those early Christians must have been going through on that day and for the sacrifice and true suffering that my Savior, Jesus Christ, went through on that day all because He loved me! In my head, I know what Jesus did for me, how He suffered for me and died for me, and it hurts my heart to think of what He went through – all for me. (He did it for YOU, too, just in case you are wondering.)

A few years ago when the movie, The Passion of the Christ, came out, I managed to sit through it. There were a lot of places (and I mean a LOT of places) where I had to close my eyes or turn my head or just look down. I was surprised that I made it through the movie because I have never even been able to attend Easter plays at a church because it bothers me so much to see even an extremely light re-enactment of what He suffered for me!

However, I attended a local church’s presentation last Sunday night, The Passion Play, for the very first time. They have been doing this for many years but I’ve never gone before because I know my nerves can’t handle it. It quite literally makes my heart feel as if it is going to burst right out of my chest – and what is presented is extremely mild compared to what He must have actually suffered!

As I said earlier, I know in my head that He suffered but, even though we can read about it and some can do their best to ‘re-enact’ it, I wonder if my heart will ever truly be able to comprehend it? I don’t think it will because I think it really is too horrific for me to handle.

Maybe all my feelings today were brought on because of the play I attended last Sunday night. Maybe they were brought on because I have been drawing closer to Him this last year through CR (Celebrate Recovery). Maybe I’ll never really know WHY or WHERE they came from. I only know that all day long today I have felt a sadness that I could not explain, one that I’ve never felt before, yet it wasn’t  for anything that had happened in ‘my little world’. This sadness, or grief, was for all those people so long ago that truly did not have the same assurance that I have today. They weren’t able to say, “It may be Friday but Sunday’s on the way” because I don’t think any of them knew (ahead of time) what was going to happen on Sunday.

In The Message Bible, Matthew 28:5-10 is translated this way: The angel spoke to the women: “There is nothing to fear here. I know you’re looking for Jesus, the One they nailed to the cross. He is not here. He was raised, just as He said. Come and look at the place where He was placed. Now, get on your way quickly and tell His disciples, ‘He is risen from the dead. He is going on ahead of you to Galilee. You will see Him there.’ That’s the message.” The women, deep in wonder and full of joy, lost no time in leaving the tomb. They ran to tell the disciples. Then Jesus met them, stopping them in their tracks. “Good morning!” He said. They fell to their knees, embraced His feet and worshiped Him. Jesus said, “You’re holding on to Me for dear life! Don’t be frightened like that. Go tell My brothers that they are to go to Galilee and that I’ll meet them there.”

So it makes me wonder, was it a Good Friday for them or was it just plain awful? They didn’t realize the joy until Sunday. What do you think? Do you have any thoughts about this? I’d love to hear them, if you do. And now I’m going very “old school” because there’s a powerful song that Carman sings and I’d like to share it with you. If you’ve never heard of Carman or never heard this song – listen to it now – you won’t regret it. If you know who Carman is and you HAVE heard this song before – listen again anyway and remember that even though it’s Friday night…….Sunday’s on the way! Praise the Lord!!!

I went to church for Celebrate Recovery. Mom went to the funeral home for the wake of the wife of a friend of ours that we used to go to church with. So, I’m in church, singing along with the worship songs and someone taps me on the shoulder. I turned, expecting it to be someone from church needing me for something, but there was this guy that I’ve never seen before. So, my mind is trying to process who he is and why he’s tapping me on the shoulder (all in the space of about a millisecond) and I hear him say, “We’ve got your Mom at the hospital.” Let me just take a second here and say to any men that might be reading this – NEVER start a sentence like that to someone! LOL He went on to say, “She fell and she’s ok but she’s at the emergency room.” See, guys, what he SHOULD have said FIRST was “She’s okay but your Mom fell and she’s at the emergency room.” So, needless to say, I immediately left church and went to the ER to be with Mom.

When I got there she told me what happened. She was leaving the funeral home and, instead of looking down as she was walking like she always does, she was looking up at the cars to make sure she went to the right car. There was a car very similar to hers parked right beside her and she was making sure she went to the right car. That’s why she didn’t see the parking lot curb and she tripped over it. Apparently, just as she fell or right before she fell, a nurse had pulled into the parking lot and parked. Mom said before she could even think about trying to get up or anything that nurse was right there, helping her and getting her situated the way she needed to be. Another couple was there very quick also and was helping her. She said God just had people all around helping her. They brought a chair outside for her to sit in and the nurse told her that the cut on her hand would definitely need stitches and that she may need some in her forehead, too. The couple that had come to help told Mom they could take her to the hospital or they could call an ambulance, whichever she wanted. She said that, if they were sure they didn’t mind, she’d rather just have them take her so she could go on instead of having to wait for an ambulance to get there. Although, she jokingly told them at first that if her glasses weren’t messed up she could just get in her car and drive herself! LOL Turns out that couple were the ones that owned the car right next to Mom’s that looked similar to hers! So she didn’t even have to walk far to get to their car. They took her to the hospital and the lady stayed with Mom while her husband came to get me.

It was a little after 7 when I got to the hospital. I took over holding the gauze to Mom’s head so the lady and her husband could go ahead and leave. Oh – and this lady also works at Baptist Hospital but in Pensacola, not the one in Atmore. She wasn’t a nurse though. Her name was Vanessa and her husband’s name is Mike. He works at EscoFab and apparently goes to Grace Fellowship but I’ve never met him before. You can be sure I will be looking for him Sunday, though! What nice people they are! The nurses name was Nora but that’s all we know. Sure wish I knew her last name and how to get in touch with her to thank her for what she did for my Mom, but I’m not worried about it. God knows who she is and I’ve asked Him to bless her in a way that I would never be able to and I know He will 🙂

The people in the emergency room were all very nice and treated Mom wonderfully! They cleaned her up as best they could – you know how head wounds bleed really bad even if the wound isn’t all that bad – and there was blood everywhere. The doctor, Dr. Sharp, checked her over good and then they took her to have x-rays and a cat scan done just to be sure everything was okay.

She came back from the x-rays and cat scan and then just had to sit there and wait til the doctor could get back to her to stitch up her head and her hand. He got her head stitched up first – 10 stitches – and then moved to work on her hand. He wasn’t quite sure how he was going to get to it because it is on the side of her left hand where she was trying catch herself where it was cut. He got it figured out and the nurse was standing at Mom’s head, cleaning up where he had put the stitches in and getting ready to put the dressing (bandage) on it. While she was cleaning up Mom’s head, my friend Beth got to the ER. She came and sat with us because she was going to take me to get Mom’s car, once we got Mom settled at home. When Beth and I walked back in where Mom was, I noticed the nurse wasn’t there and I was wondering where she’d gone. Next thing I knew she was back and was behind Mom again, WASHING HER HAIR! Talk about going above and beyond the call of duty – WOW! Her doing that also helped keep Mom’s mind off the doctor stitching up her hand.

All finished and ready to go home – at around 10:00 or a little after – and we were heading out of the emergency room when the nurse (Michelle) that had been helping the doctor made the comment about not living here. I asked her where she lived and she said “Loxley”! I told her that’s where my sister and my baby brother live – turns out she knows my baby brother! It is indeed a small, small world we live in. I told her I would be sure to tell my brother how good she treated our Mom. (And then I promptly forgot to tell him when I called him this morning to tell him what had happened! LOL)

We got Mom home and then Beth took me to the funeral home so I could get Mom’s car and bring it home. Poor Beth had no idea she would be going home SO late last night, but I sure do appreciate her generosity and willingness to be of help. Also want to mention that there was another friend waiting in the emergency room waiting area when we came out last night – Lounette was there to make sure I had a way to go get Mom’s car once I got her home. I truly appreciated that, also.

Neither Mom nor I could go straight to bed when we got home so we were up for a little while. Mom went to her bedroom around 11:00 or a little after and I was finally able to get in bed a little after midnight.

Hezekiah didn’t get to go to bed with his “Mommy” last night and I think he missed her 😦

I think he may be laying “paws” on her hand and praying for her – what do you think? 😉

It was truly a long night, but we are so thankful that God placed so many AMAZING people in my Mom’s path that were so willing to help, even though they didn’t know her at all! As for everyone working in the Atmore Emergency Room, that we had any dealings with last night – Dr. Sharp, Michelle, Jessica N – they were ALL just FAB. U. LOUS!

Before closing, I also have to add that Mom thinks it is quite funny that her foot doctor’s name is Dr. Dull (no kidding) and her doctor last night was Dr. Sharp! Too funny!

Love y’all!

Letting go – I didn’t think I had a problem with this. Seriously, I didn’t. I’ve heard people talk about how hard it was to ‘let go’ of their children when they had to take them to that first day of school but I didn’t have a problem with that at all. Probably because I’ve always had to work so I never had the privilege of being able to stay home with my little one – I was used to having to say goodbye in the morning and not see her again til late that evening. Even when she graduated and went to college two hours away, I didn’t really think of that as having to ‘let go’ either. I mean, it was only two hours away and that’s really not that far in this age that we live in. Not to mention, we had web cam and could ‘visit’ pretty much any time anyway.

I think instances like that is what gave me the false belief that I didn’t have trouble letting go. God, however, has been revealing something much different to me lately. I’ve had to reevaluate some things this year, I thought due to finances, but I’m realizing that was just God’s way of making me take a closer look at things. For the last couple of years, I have volunteered at several women’s events and last year He even allowed me to attend two events as an attendee and not a volunteer. I know He used all those events to stretch me and give me the opportunity to allow Him to slowly move me in the direction He had planned for me. I didn’t see it then; but, I am beginning to see it now. Because He slowly brought me to where I am today, I am more receptive to what He has in store for me. Had I not taken the opportunities He gave me to grow, I know I would never have been able to even think that I could do what He is asking me to do now.

What does all that have to do with me not being able to ‘let go’? It seems that I got ‘comfortable’ working at the women’s events and, in looking back, I think it made me feel ‘accepted’. Something I’ve never felt that much, as anyone who has read my story knows. I am beginning to see that my not being able to volunteer at the events this year was simply His way of showing me that I need to let go of that now and move on to the other things He is calling me to do. As I was cleaning and reorganizing my desk yesterday, I kept coming across different cards and other things I had collected from these events. Things from people I don’t even really know; yet, I believe I kept hanging on to them simply because, in some weird kind of way, it made me feel someone out there cared about me on some level. Yes, I know, I am very strange. The Lord continues to show me just how much I have still, unconsciously, been trying to find acceptance – somewhere, anywhere – it seems I still long for that ever-allusive acceptance. I began to recognize this more and more as I was cleaning and I began to chunk cards, notes, etc. in the trash. It seemed the more I put in the trash, the lighter and freer I began to feel. I could not believe how freeing it was to LET GO!!!

It seemed that with each thing that went in the trash, He brought to my mind something or someone who is close to me and allowed me to realize I AM accepted – and accepted for who I am, just the way I am. And yet, the main thing He made me realize was this: Even if I was never accepted anywhere by anyone, it really isn’t that big of a deal, after all. Why? Because I KNOW that HE LOVES ME and HE ACCEPTS ME just as I am – flaws, scars and all, and He will always be here for me.

The really neat thing about that? HE IS HERE FOR YOU, TOO!!! No matter what you may be going through, no matter how unlovely you may feel or think you are, no matter how worthless you may think you are, you MUST remember this one thing – He would not have given up His life for you unless He loved and cared about you. You ARE special! You ARE accepted! You ARE loveable!

I’m reminded of the words that Anne Graham Lotz shared: He is the Savior who has redeemed me, the Lord who rules my life, The King who will return for me and He is the most important man in the UNIVERSE! He is the God man. Jesus Christ is THE MOST IMPORTANT MAN IN THE UNIVERSE FOR EVER and EVER and EVER and the most important man in ALL the universe for EVER and EVER and EVER thinks that YOU are so important that He gave His own blood to redeem you. He gave His life for you. How can you feel unimportant? You are significant to THE MOST IMPORTANT MAN IN ALL THE UNIVERSE.

So God has given both His promise and His oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to Him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary. ~ Hebrews 6:18-19

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