From Turtle to Butterfly

Posts Tagged ‘hope

NO APOLOGIESI offer no apologies for anyone that comes in contact with me or is contacted by me today. I am having one of those days where I am feeling overwhelmed by the love the Father has for me! I’m reminded, too, that as much as He loves me, He also loves those that we, as humans, tend to think of as ‘lowlifes’ or ‘good for nothings’. Here on earth we put people in different “statuses”; but, God – He loves us all the same and sees us all the same. He loves each one of us so much that He sent us a very precious gift, His Son, to die for us so that we could live with Him forever! The only difference He sees is those who have accepted His gift to us or those who haven’t – yet! He still loves us all the same, though, whether we have accepted His gift yet or not. He still wants each one of us to eventually accept His gift. 

HOW TOTALLY AMAZING IS THAT???? It absolutely blows my mind and is the reason for the tears that were slipping from the corners of my eyes this morning as I was thinking about it while driving to work. They weren’t sad tears. I really don’t know what you would call them but I like to think of those kind of tears as the overflow of His love for me. I feel His presence and His love for me so strongly that I can’t hold it all inside and it comes out in the form of tears. I wish I were poetic enough to describe how I’m feeling when it’s like this, but either I’m not or the words just haven’t been created yet, so I have to do the best I can with what I have to work with.

My prayer today is this: If you have never accepted Jesus as your Savior, don’t wait – do it today, this minute! You are not guaranteed another breath. He loves you as much as the Father does, He is standing right there at the door of your heart, knocking and knocking – He is just waiting for you to say, “Come in”. He is a gentleman and will not force His way in; but, know this, He also will not knock forever. There will come a day when He will determine that you have so hardened your heart that He will leave you alone, as you seem to want. I can only say that I pray that day doesn’t come for you. No matter how much you may think you want nothing to do with Him, the very minute you let the wall down and open the door to invite Him in, you will feel this wonderful, awesome, overwhelming love and you will be forever grateful that you let Him in.

I’m reminded of what I read in an Anne Graham Lotz Bible Study that I did several years ago. This is how she put it: 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 & EVER & EVER! And the most important man in ALL the universe for EVER & EVER & 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.

I also offer no apologies for the turn this blog seemed to take. I truly only wanted to share with everyone how overwhelmed with His love I was this morning; but, apparently, He had other ideas. Trust me, these words came straight from Him. As I was reading over what I had written, I was, once again, astounded at what He does when we allow Him to use us.

One more thing before I go – if you decide to accept Jesus as Your Savior and invite Him in, not only to your heart but your entire life, I would love to know so I can pray for you and with you. Just leave a comment here, a simple “I accepted Jesus” and I will definitely be praying for you.

Love y’all so much!

WIND BLOWN DOG“WOW! This wind is blowing the car everywhere! I am having to keep both hands on the steering wheel to keep it under control.” True statement I made today as I was driving to Auburn. As soon as the thought went through my mind, it made me start thinking about life, in general. How many times do I allow things to ‘blow me everywhere’ and get me off track from where God would have me to be? When I don’t “keep both hands on the steering wheel” – the steering wheel being God – it is not only easy, but inevitable that I will be blown off course by the “winds of life” – the enemy.

Passing the exit for Taylor Road in Montgomery reminded me of all the times I took that exit to go visit my daughter when she was attending AUM (Auburn University in Montgomery). She graduated high school in 2004 and began attending AUM in the fall of that same year. I remember during one of my visits there she said, “It’s nice here. I like it. But one day I am going to be at the “REAL” Auburn. I don’t know how or when, but I’m going to be there.”

Then life happened. She left AUM after one semester due to the cost. While away at AUM, having her first taste of ‘freedom,’ she had let go of God and let life’s winds begin to ‘blow her around.’ She was blown around like a little, limp, rag doll until she finally realized where she had gone wrong. She grabbed hold of God again with both hands and a fierceness she’d never known before. Still, one more really strong wind caught her off guard and blew her around for a very short time. This time, though, she had not completely let go and God held her tight and helped her get steady on her feet again when she called out to Him. She can certainly testify that, when you give God complete control of your life and do your best to do what He has for you to do, He WILL give you the desires of your heart. She will be graduating from the “REAL” Auburn in December of this year (2013)!

Remember I said when she was at AUM talking about being at the “real” Auburn one day? I don’t think I ever told her, but I was thinking to myself, “Dream big, honey. I don’t think that’s ever gonna happen, but dream anyway.” Yes, He recently reminded me of that and showed me that I could learn a lot from her about having faith. Even at a time when she was far from Him, she still believed she would be there one day!

He recently set me on a new path. One I never would have seen myself on, but one that He has already blessed in more ways than I could have ever imagined. Surprising me so many different times on so many different levels that I have quit trying to figure out what might be around the next corner. By setting me on this path, He has also opened up other areas and given me His strength, and His courage, to step up and do what He is asking. Just last Saturday, at a women’s event in our church, I was asked to say the blessing over the lunch – I could have said no and someone else would have done it. That is exactly what I wanted to do, but because of the course of events that led to me being asked, I knew in my heart that God was really the one asking, and I did not want to say no to Him. So, I did it! And I survived! That might not seem like such a huge deal to you but it was a HUGE, GIGANTIC step for me. Then, only two days later,  I was asked to do a short devotional in front of another group of women – a much smaller group, by far, yet still showing that He is wanting to stretch me and grow me even more in Him.

So, today, as I was pondering the wind blowing outside and the winds of life that blow us around, if we allow them to, I was reminded that, as long as I hold on to Him with both hands and keep my eyes on the road He has before me, He will guide me and give me everything I need to make the journey and make it well.

“But when you ask Him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind.” ~ James 1:6 (NLT)

All day today I was joking that I threw myself in front of a bus this morning. I made comments like, “I threw myself in front of a bus this morning but I’m having a great day now” or “Considering I started the day by throwing myself in front of a bus, it’s going really good now”.

Of course, I was mostly trying to laugh it off and convince myself the pain wasn’t so bad. I mean, it really could have been a lot worse than it was. I was able to go back in the house, clean myself up and get out the door and go to work. So, you may be asking yourself,  “Why in the world did she throw herself in front of a bus?”

Here’s what really happened – someone was coming by my house this morning to pick up some merchandise she had ordered from me. When she arrived, she just pulled over on the opposite side of the road from where I was. I looked to see if I could cross the road and I saw a school bus coming but it was far enough away that I knew I had plenty of time to cross the street and give the lady her merchandise. I stepped out with my right foot (most likely a little ‘quicker’ than I would have if nothing had been coming) but, when I moved my left foot, it hit a hole instead of solid ground. The next thing I knew I was falling and the only thought in my head while I was falling was “Oh no! The bus is coming! I have to get up!” I truly wish I could see it on video because, in my mind, it had to be the funniest sight ever! All I can imagine is that, anyone who saw it, saw me hit the pavement and jump right back up as if I’d hit a trampoline!

I gave the lady her merchandise, assuring her I was fine and that I only had scraped knees and jammed fingers. I was trying to hurry up and get done and get back across the street (without falling this time) and get in my car so I could leave for work. Once inside my car, I made sure she had gone on and made sure the bus  – anyone that had witnessed “the spectacle” was gone – and I pulled my pants legs up to reveal two scraped, bloody knees. I knew I needed to go back inside and clean them up before I left for work, so I did. Right before leaving the house, I managed to post this on Facebook  (still trying to see the ‘humor’ in the situation instead of my embarrassment): Tupid hole! On the bright side, I’m sure I gave all the kids on that school bus a huge laugh for the day. OUCH! My fingers and knees hurt! Bring on the ibuprofen and let’s try this leaving for work thing one more time!

And so it went with me all day UNTIL I was taking my shower tonight. I was remembering the accident that happened yesterday right in the church driveway after church and how that lady had to be taken by ambulance to the hospital. {She wound up being okay, though, and walked out of the hospital on her own to go home. 🙂 } Then something a friend posted on Facebook earlier today came to my mind – this was her post:

Did you hear Moses (Pastor Glenn Weber) talk yesterday at Grace Fellowship? He said, in 6 weeks ONLY, the people who loved and trusted God turned away! He told us to “stay on the road”, “dig into your Bible” and “seek God”. 6 weeks ????? I want to share what happened to me this morning. I went to get some eggs from dollar general. I was praising and thanking God for giving me courage yesterday and jamming to 88.5! On the road, by myself. As I made the turn with the yield sign ahead to the right, I made sure there was no traffic coming in the turn lane (on the highway). Still thanking the Lord, I looked up at the beautiful blue sky. Tickled like a kid, I delayed in looking….right in front of me was a 18 wheeler! I crossed the line, he blew the horn, my heart started racing and my thankful excitement changed into thankful to be alive. I swerved to the far right and noticed the long stretch of road ahead of me. The 6 week example of how easy God’s people forgot about His laws turned into a reality of a split second….how easily we can be gone. Hummm 6 weeks to 1 second…the reality of we don’t know what the future holds. But, God does. I’m so blessed to be alive, to cook breakfast, and pick my son up from school. Just thought I would share a little bit of my reality this morning. Have a good day everyone!

No, I did not remember her entire post. What came to my mind was how she mentioned our service yesterday and how, in an instant, her life could have been over today. I remembered how nervous she was yesterday morning about sharing part of ‘her story’ during the service and how God was able to get glory because she overcame her fear of speaking in front of people and shared. I thought, “Yeah, she made the enemy mad and he tried to take her out today.” THAT is when it clicked in my mind! Of course I had not “thrown myself in front of a bus” – I was THROWN in front of that bus! Instead of joking about it all day, like I had done, I should have been giving God the praise for having His angels there to jerk me right back up as quickly as they did. It made me start to wonder how many times I have “missed” giving Him glory because of my own embarassment in a situation. In fact, it made me realize that I had no reason to be embarrassed. Why should I be embarrassed because somebody pushed me onto the street? How many times has God rescued me from something and I’ve never taken the time to realize it was HIM that rescued me and never even bothered to thank Him for saving me?

I remember as I was back in the car this morning, getting ready to pull out and head to work – still crying like a baby – the thought went through my head, “Thank You, Father, for always being there for me. I don’t do half what I should for You and yet You are always right there when I need You, ever so faithful. Please forgive me.” Guess I should have thought on that some more and maybe it wouldn’t have taken me all day to realize what had happened this morning; but, I am thankful that He got through to me tonight and I am thankful that I have a way (this blog, Facebook and Twitter) to SHOUT to the world of how THE ENEMY TRIED TO DESTROY ME TODAY BUT GOD HAD A DIFFERENT PLAN! Do you remember me saying at the beginning that it must have looked like I jumped right back up “as if I’d hit a tramploline”? Maybe so, but I now KNOW how I got back up so quickly – I KNOW it was His angels that jerked me right back up and from this day forward I will give HIM all the praise, honor and glory for it!

What am I thinking? Taking my car to have it serviced without an appointment? Really? I’m gonna be there all day! I better take plenty of things to keep me busy. – These were the thoughts running through my mind as I was preparing to leave for Daphne this morning. So, I packed my computer, daily devotional, notebook, note cards and was ready to go. At the last minute, I thought “I should take The Story with me and re-read the chapter for tomorrow’s message.” Now I know why He wanted me to take it – read on…

Reading Chapter 15 again – I must confess I was mostly ‘skimming’ over it until I got almost to the end. I was still ‘skimming’ when suddenly it seemed He opened my eyes to what I was reading. As if He was asking me, “Are you even paying attention to what you are reading? Don’t you see this is where you live today?” Read the following and see if you agree. Please note that anything in italics is what I have added because I truly think the substitution could be made – see if you agree. I look forward to reading your comments about this.

Taken from The Story – Chapter 15
Hosea 4:1-2; 5:4, 7, 14-15; 8:13b-14; 9:7; 14:1-2

Hear the word of the Lord, you Israelites {Americans},
because the Lord has a charge to bring
against you who live in the land:
“There is no faithfulness, no love, no acknowledgment of God in the land.
There is only cursing, lying and murder, stealing and adultery;
they break all bounds and bloodshed follows bloodshed.”

“Their deeds do not permit them to return to their God.
A spirit of prostitution is in their heart;
they do not acknowledge the Lord.

They are unfaithful to the Lord;
they give birth to illegitimate children.
When they celebrate their New Moon feasts,
He will devour their fields.”

“For I will be like a lion to Ephraim,
like a great lion to Judah.
I will tear them to pieces and go away;
I will carry them off, with no one to rescue them.
Then I will return to My lair
until they have borne their guilt
and seek My face – in their misery
they will earnestly seek Me.”

“Now He will remember their wickedness
and punish their sins:
They will return to Egypt.
Israel {America} has forgotten their Maker
and built palaces;
Judah has fortified many towns.
But I will send fire on their cities
that will consume their fortresses.”

The days of punishment are coming,
the days of reckoning are at hand.
Let Israel {America} know this.
Because your sins are so many
and your hostility so great,
the prophet is considered a fool,
the inspired person a maniac.

Return, Israel {America}, to the Lord your God.
Your sins have been your downfall!
Take words with you
and return to the Lord.
Say to Him: “Forgive all our sins
and receive us graciously,
that we may offer the fruit of our lips.”

So, I ask you – Israel or America? What do you say? I don’t see how anyone can read these words and not recognize this is the America we are living in. Do we want it to continue this way? Don’t start playing the “Blame Game” and pointing fingers at politicians or your neighbor or anyone else – we are each responsible for our own individual actions and reactions. When each individual makes the choice to give HIM control of their life, that is when change will come. I need to focus on my life and whether or not I am truly allowing God to have control or if there are some things that I am still trying to control myself. When He shows me areas where I have not given complete control to Him, then I need to immediately take steps to release those to Him also. I can only do this for me – only you can do it for you. Oh what a difference we will begin to see if we will begin to do this. Don’t you agree?

Oh and if you would like help in giving Him complete control – check THIS out 🙂

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

This past week was a really hard week for me, filled with so much raw emotion! I may as well have been surrounded by lions and tigers and bears! I really don’t even know where to begin trying to sort it all out. I guess, if I really think about it, it all started on Dec. 29 when I saw this post from an old family friend on facebook: All Prayer Warriors…please please please pray for my nephew.  He was in an accident this morning and needs your prayers.  Please God, hear these prayers and magnify the healing. Her family and my family used to be pretty close when we (kids) were all younger, so this really hit close to home! (Side note: I was just reminded as I started writing this that Dec. 29 was also the birthday of the sister that posted the prayer request). Of course I immediately began to pray for her nephew, Dusty, and even posted a blog asking others to pray for him, too. You can read that post here. I can’t even begin to explain the URGENCY that filled not only my heart but my ENTIRE being to pray for Dusty and to get as many other prayer warriors praying as I could possibly get. There were days of good news and not-so-good news. Then after our church service last Sunday, January 29 (exactly one month after the accident), I found out that Dusty had gone to be with Jesus earlier that afternoon.

Another factor contributing to my many emotions was, two weeks ago I was asked if I would be willing to share My Story in large group at CR (Celebrate Recovery) in two weeks and I said I would. MAJOR step for me because I can write and let people read what I wrote all day long and it doesn’t bother me – but to have to actually READ what I wrote in front of people is a very scary thing for me. So, I was already feeling a sadness from Dusty’s passing and I was extremely nervous about sharing my story Tuesday night in front of everyone. No big surprise here, but the Lord helped me get through it.

The next thing that had my emotions in such turmoil is going to sound like a very minor thing to most people and, had it happened at another time when my emotions weren’t already so raw, I don’t think it would have had the same effect on me. However, on Wednesday, just before Mom and I left to go to Dusty’s service, I got a notice in the mail that the bank where I have my account, RBC Bank, is going to be changing to PNC Bank on March 5! Since PNC is not going to handle changing all the direct deposit information for their customers, I will have to notify my employer – State of Alabama – of the change and that will result in my direct deposit being interrupted for about two months! More raw emotion in the form of aggravation and exasperation just piled on top of everything else.

I was so honored that I could be at Dusty’s service on Wednesday. How hard it is to understand how an entire church of people can be filled with so much grief and sadness yet at the same time be filled with joy and gladness! I was never given the privilege of actually meeting Dusty on this side of Heaven but how wonderful it was to hear his pastor, family and friends tell of what a fine, Christian young man he was. As much as I, too, felt grief and sadness for his family and loved ones, I also felt much joy and gladness in knowing that I will get to meet him one day on the other side of Heaven.

As if all of that wasn’t enough, right before I left work on Friday, the news was reporting about a Mobile Police Officer being stabbed by a prisoner and that the prisoner had taken the officer’s gun and car. By the time I got home thirty minutes later, the suspect had crashed the car and was hiding (either under or in) a house and had shot two more officers. The news continued to stay on this story, instead of going to regular programming, until around 7:00 p.m. You can get more information on this awful tragedy by checking out Fox 10‘s website. The officer that was stabbed, Officer Steven Green, did not make it and the suspect did not make it out alive either. This just added more feelings of disbelief, hurt and compassion to the week.

I’m reminded of the message from last Sunday morning – Where is God in all this? HE IS RIGHT HERE WITH ME – and, if you’re His child, He’s with you, too! Here’s a question I wrote in my notes from last Sunday morning – How would I respond to situations if I TRULY realized that God is with me even though the circumstances may not show that? Do I tend to get bitter in bad situations or do I make the best of it, KNOWING He is with me? (Psalm 23:4 / II Corinthians 4:16 Genesis 50:20 / Romans 8:28)

I didn’t too well this past week in remembering that as often as I should have. I am, however, glad that He has reminded me of it today as I was working on this post. He reminded me that He has it all under control – even the paychecks – and no matter what happens, HE is with me and I can rest in Him. I have to remember this other note from last week’s message, too: Sometimes instead of taking away the pain, He gives me the promise of His presence. There’s that word again – PROMISE – my word for 2012, which is why I bolded and underlined it. And, no, I DON’T believe in coincidence.

I don’t know if this post was for anyone but me today. It has helped me sort through a lot of things, though, and I am grateful that He reminded me of His presence. In my humanness, it is so easy to forget that He is always there.

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If you want to see what having a pure heart for God can do for you, read the following that was posted by Dusty’s mother, Dee Propst, on her Facebook wall today (Monday, Feb. 6, 2012) around noon (posted here with her permission):

 We prayed for GOD’S WILL to be done in the hospital. We prayed for God to heal Dusty. We prayed for God to heal Dusty completely and leave Dusty with us. We prayed for strength. We prayed for love, forgiveness, we prayed and God gave us miracle after miracle, after miracle. God is good to us. God showed us love through all of this. Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Son of God, is in control of everything we do in life. Dusty was borrowed from God 21 + years ago. Jesus needed him back, so when God gets ready for us we will join them in heaven. God is in control of life. God answers prayers, maybe not the way we want or understand, but we have to realize God’s plan is perfect. We accept God and His mercy. We will worship, praise, honor, and give thanks to God because He is Awesome and is in control of all life’s storms.

 
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It is only by the grace and mercy of our Lord, Jesus Christ, that she is able to say those words and truly mean them. If you would like to leave a comment of encouragement for her or let her know how her words ministered to you here, I will see that she gets it.

This is going to be my shortest blog post yet. Something has been on my mind today and I want to share it with you all. I know what the word PROMISE means in the dictionary and in the Strong’s Concordance. What I want to know is what does it mean to YOU? When you hear the word PROMISE, what does that say to YOU?

I would love to hear some discussion on this. Would you please click below where it says LEAVE A COMMENT and tell me what the word PROMISE means to YOU? This could be very interesting.

Love y’all =)

So long 2011. You were not very good to me. I’m glad to see you gone.

I believe 2012 is going to be a better year!

2011 was no friend of mine! I’m glad to see it gone.

The above statements are just some I’ve heard the last few days and yesterday, when I woke up, all the negative statements I’d been hearing were absolutely swirling around in my head! Along with part of a song – and I just didn’t know what to do with it all. It was in the back of my mind all day. I tried to sit down last night and put it into a post; but, still it just wasn’t coming together. I finally gave up and went to bed with this prayer: “Lord, I know You have these thoughts in my head for a reason. Please show me what You want me to do with them.”

This morning He let me know. It was as if He whispered to me “Who or what are you trusting in? Are you trusting in Me or the days on a calendar?” How fitting (and confirming) when I looked at my Promise Calendar today and saw one of the promises on it:

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NRSV)
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make straight your paths.”

Maybe you had an awful year and are ready for it to be over or maybe you had a great year and are hoping to have another just like it – No matter which category you fit in, would you take a minute to consider something?

Lamentations 3:23
Great is His faithfulness, His mercies begin afresh each morning

It doesn’t matter if we’ve had a good year or a bad year. Why? Because His mercies are new EVERY MORNING! Every time the Lord is gracious enough to allow you to wake up from your sleep, you have a fresh, clean slate to start with. You don’t have to wait an entire year to make a new start. In fact, I am going to do my best to start every morning from now on as a new beginning. After all, that’s what it is.  I am going to put my trust in HIM and not a year on the calendar.

Oh – and the song that was on my mind along with everything else? The part that kept playing over and over in my head was this:

Seek justice,
Love mercy,
Walk humbly with your God.

And, I have to add, that I find it very fitting that as I was sitting here working on this post, I saw a young friend post this as her status on Facebook:

the only way we’ll ever stand is on our KNEES with LIFTED hands …make us courageous

That is another part of the exact same song. The song is COURAGEOUS and is sung by Casting Crowns. If you’ve never heard it, take a minute to not only listen, but REALLY pay attention to the words (which will be on the screen) and let them soak in.

What about you? Don’t you think it would be much better to start new every morning instead of waiting an entire year? Would love to read your thoughts about this in the comments.

Good morning everyone!

I was sitting here working on another post and suddenly I just felt that I needed to stop and do this instead.

Last Thursday (Dec. 29, 2011) the son of a good friend was injured in an accident at his workplace. He was crushed by a 100 ton forklift! His name is Dusty Roberts and he is 21 years old. In the days since the accident, God has done miracles in this young man to the point of amazing even the doctors.

Even though you may not know this young man, I am asking that you PLEASE PRAY for him and his family. If you are on Facebook, please go to this page PrayersFor DustyRoberts and request to be a friend so you can share prayers and encouraging words there and keep updated on his progress. I don’t know why God has impressed on me to do this, but I do know that we need as many prayers going up for him as we can get. I also know that he comes from a very special family and that family (even though I don’t see them often now) is very near and dear to my heart. As for Dusty, the last time I saw him he was probably 10 or 11. I just keep feeling this urgency of calling as many as possible to pray and it will not go away, so here I am asking you to please join with us.

For now, please pray specifically for his: Mother (Dee), Dad (Terry), Grandparents (Frank and Shirley) and Sisters (Amie and Jamie) and other family members. Also please pray for the doctors and nurses that are caring for Dusty.

You can get more updates on his progress at the facebook page. If you aren’t on facebook and would like to receive updates, then leave a comment on this blog and I will make sure you receive updates.

If you have a blog of your own, would you please consider posting a similar prayer request for Dusty? I know not very many people read mine and I really would like to get the word out to as many as possible. I would also like to know if you do post a prayer request, so would you leave a comment and let me know that, too? Thanks!

Thank you to those who decide to join in and pray. Our God is an awesome, miracle-working God!

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. ~ Proverbs 3:5 (NLT)

God never wastes a hurt: I borrowed that line from Celebrate Recovery because it is SO true!

I was born in Pensacola, Florida. I have an older sister and brother and a younger brother. I was also blessed with the most wonderful parents a person could have, too. When I was in the first grade, my parents moved us all to Bay Minette, Alabama. I finished first grade there and continued through third grade. Then, we moved again during the summer and I attended Crossroads School for the fourth grade. During those years I don’t remember being really introverted. I guess I wasn’t what you would call extremely ‘outgoing’ but I had a lot of friends and enjoyed spending time with them.

Then it happened. We made what would turn out to be our last move for many, many years. During the summer before my fifth grade year we moved to a very small town, which wasn’t so bad until school started. That is when everything began to change for me. It’s true the last school I had been in was a small school, also. However, everyone was just as friendly as could be and it was not a problem. This new school was very different though. If you didn’t have one of a few certain last names or if you weren’t there from Day One, you were considered a nobody and you were treated as such by most of the kids. That is when I experienced what Sheri Rose Shepherd calls “Identity Theft”. (If you don’t know anything about Sheri Rose, please go check her out by clicking on her name.) I allowed the things they said about me and the names they called me to define who I was. I realize now, that I was not ‘outgoing’ enough to stand up and defend myself against the verbal attacks, so I chose to withdraw instead. Since we didn’t move any more, I attended that school through the ninth grade, which was as far as it went. In tenth grade, everyone that lived in our area attended high school in Bay Minette. I was happy to be going back to that school. I had loved it when I was there in elementary school. Unfortunately, things weren’t like they were when I attended elementary school. One bright note, though, was that in tenth grade I reconnected with a friend from third grade. She actually remembered me (though I’m not sure I remembered her – lol) and we became very good friends and still are to this day, even though she now lives far away in Virginia. I miss you, Denise!

I guess I should also say that at some point in my junior high years, I asked Jesus into my heart. I can’t remember exactly how old I was or what grade I was in and I don’t remember the exact date; but, I can tell you to this day who was standing beside me because I remember asking her if she wanted to go with me. She was afraid to go; but, I went anyway. Back then the only thing that was talked about was ‘getting saved’, being baptized, becoming a member of the church and then a long list of DON’Ts! You didn’t hear anything about having a RELATIONSHIP with Christ like we do now.

I graduated in 1977 and was sure life would get better once I could be out on my own. Wrong! It’s sad to say, but like so many others, I was still suffering from my identity theft. I had been treated like I didn’t matter and been shown that I wasn’t wanted around for so long, that I believed that as truth. I naturally assumed that I wasn’t wanted anywhere and that no one, other than family, wanted me around.

In November 1980 I met the man that would become my husband. He was in the Air Force and on his way to Japan when we met. He came to visit me in February 1981, asked me to marry him and we were married that same month before he had to go back to Japan. Yes, I did love him and still do; but, I didn’t really have a relationship with the Lord then and I never even thought about asking Him if this is what I was supposed to do. I went to church and called myself a Christian but, as I said before, I had no clue what a relationship with Him was like. Anyway, even though I was ‘in love’, I think the main reason I agreed to marry him so soon is because I was surprised that anyone would even want to marry me. After all, I thought I was “not wanted” for so many years that I think I was truly afraid that no one else would ever ask me and I wanted to be married and have children. That’s what most young women want, right?

So, we were married and he went back to Japan until September. Then he was assigned to a base in Georgia and he came home and we moved to Georgia. We were married for ten years and had a beautiful daughter in the fourth year of our marriage. Many things happened that led to the death of our marriage but I am glad to say that God has brought us back to the place where we can be friends again.

I moved back home to Alabama in July 1990 and my Dad helped me find a house for myself and Jessica (my daughter) and it was just us two for the next fourteen years. Jessica graduated in 2004 and after that she made some not-so-wise choices that eventually led to her moving to Georgia to live with her Dad and Stepmom sometime in 2006. On July 20th of that same year, God FINALLY got through to my heart. If you want to read about that, just go to My Testimony page and it is there. For this posting, I will just tell you that is when I had the most wonderful experience that I can EVER remember. That is the night when I finally understood that God TRULY loved me for ME and that it was okay for me to love me and that He just might have someone else out there that would love me.

In April 2007, He introduced me to Jeffery Champion. We became friends and that is all I was interested in being. One night as we were talking on the phone, Jeff said something that I didn’t react to very well. He said something along the lines of he just might have to “court” me. I let him know in no uncertain terms that I was not interested in that. However, that night as I lay in my bed trying to go to sleep, I was reminded of the prayer I had prayed back on July 20, 2006. I told the Lord, “I’m open to whatever it is You have in store for me.” And I really felt like He was asking me why I had been so quick to reject Jeff. Like He was asking me if I meant what I said to Him in my prayer. So, the next time I spoke to Jeff, I apologized for what I had said and told him I would be open to the idea, if he was truly interested. As you can tell from my name, he was interested – lol. This time it was totally different for me. I truly felt that the Lord had put us together. To this day, I still believe that. However, I also know that the Lord is a gentleman and will NOT override man’s (or woman’s) free will. One month before our first year anniversary, Jeff decided he didn’t want to be married anymore. Instead of celebrating our first anniversary on April 8, 2008, I was served with divorce papers toward the end of that month. I went through all the emotions – anger, sadness, guilt and I even grieved for a time. We didn’t actually go to court for the divorce until over a year later. The day before our court date, I spent the entire day in the prayer room at church and asked God to show me what I needed to do. I pleaded with Him to save my marriage, if it was at all possible. He gave me words from many different scriptures that day and through other means, also. I knew what I was to do. The next day at the courthouse, Jeff and I were given time to talk with each other, alone, to see if we could come to an agreement on our own. I had several things I shared with him that I felt led to share and I also offered to quit my State job, only five years away from retirement, and move to Georgia with him, if he really felt that was where he was supposed to be. But he wanted no part of it – or he wanted no part of me anyway. Once again, I was being rejected. It seemed no matter how hard I tried or what I did, I just wasn’t good enough one more time.

There was one thing a little bit different this time, though. The month after Jeff left, God began showing me that I was not alone. He used many different ways to let me know there are SO many hurting women out there. So many of us that have believed the lie of shyness and “you’re not good enough” from the enemy for many years. This gave me a strength and a courage that I never had before. I began to feel that He was calling me to do something. I had no idea what, but SOMETHING. I felt He was getting me ready for a new direction in some type of ministry – women’s ministry maybe. I’m still not completely sure what He has in mind, but since I began going to Celebrate Recovery, it may be something there. I always joke and say the Lord ‘tricked’ me into going to Celebrate Recovery (CR) because I went with someone else to support them. I thought I didn’t have any reason to be going to CR since I’d never had a problem with drugs or alcohol or anything like that. I did not realize that it was about so much more than that. It’s not just for people who have had or have addictions – it’s for ANYONE that has ever suffered a hurt or hang-up as well.

Just want to insert a little note here – when I was growing up, my family, and everyone else for that matter, called me Kathy. Well, the first job I had in Georgia was in a small office (three people) and there was already a ‘Kathy’ that worked there. They asked would I mind if they called me Kathryn to keep everything straight and I said I didn’t mind at all. Then, the next job I took in Georgia had a similar situation so I continued to go by Kathryn. I never really thought much about this until I was working through the Step Studies with CR. The Lord showed me that the reason I like going by my given name, Kathryn, instead of my nickname, Kathy, is because I associate the nickname with the rejection I received when I was in school. Yes, my family mostly still calls me by my nickname and that doesn’t really bother me so much, but it’s nice to understand why I now prefer to be called by my given name, Kathryn.

God is where I get my strength but He is helping me learn how to do that even better by going through the step studies at Celebrate Recovery. He has surrounded me with people that I know truly care about me. Even though I had a church where I was happy and ‘comfortable’, He wanted me to grow even more. He wanted to ‘stretch’ me and He gave me a new church family at Grace Fellowship. As I look back, I believe that was just the beginning of Him continuing to give me the strength needed for my journey.

Anyway, that’s kind of where I am today – still trying to be available to Him and be sensitive to where He is calling and leading me. I’m not going to lie to you and tell you that I’m “over it” now because I’m not. I still battle with my automatic assumption that people don’t want me around, though I am working on it and making some progress. I still battle the enemy when he starts telling me his lies such as, “You don’t need to go to that gathering. They don’t want you there. They’ll never even know if you don’t go. They certainly won’t miss you. A blog? What? You really think you have anything worth saying? You’re not a blogger. You don’t write every day. No one cares what you have to say. You don’t even know how to explain or express yourself very well. Why would you even want to try that? A leader? HA! You have never been a leader. What in the world would make you think you could do that? You aren’t good enough.”

But now it is much easier for me to recognize his lies and now I have scriptures and songs stored up to come back with.  One of my favorite verses to come back at the enemy with is: Out of all the people on the face of the earth, the Lord has chosen ME to be His treasured possession. ~ Deuteronomy 14:2 (NIV – and I changed the word ‘you’ to ‘me’) and my favorite song to come back with is “Voice of Truth” by Casting Crowns.

I am learning to count my small victories – every Sunday that I make it to church instead of giving in to the enemy’s lie that no one would miss me if I didn’t go, that is a victory for me and Jesus! Every time that I attend a gathering with the church or even with family, that is a victory for me and Jesus! Every time I go to a Life Group (or small group) meeting, that is a victory for me and Jesus! Every time I attend CR and plow through yet another CR Step Study, that is a victory for me and Jesus! I may get to events or gatherings really early, because I have learned that it is easier for me to be there ahead of the ‘crowd’, but as long as I make it there, that is a victory!

He is doing this for me and I know He can do it for you, too! Do you have anything that you are strugglinig with? Give it to Him and He will show you the way through it. If you’ve never accepted His gift of salvation to you, then why not do it now? You will see that, while life won’t become easy all of a sudden, it is much easier WITH Him than without Him. I would love for you to leave a comment and let me know if my story helped you in any way or just to know that you even read it – lol (oops! Yep, guess the ol’ enemy tried to sneak in there again and make me wonder why I think anyone would even read this anyway!) But, you know what? Even if there isn’t one single person that reads this, it doesn’t matter. It has helped me just to be able to write it and get it out there.

For those of you that did make it through my story, thank you from the bottom of my heart. If you have any questions for me or comments, I would love to hear them.

Love y’all!


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