Caption This Photo

Quick, caption this photo!

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This picture is of a boy in Compassion International’s child sponsorship program in El Salvador. He looks to me as if he feels like a superhero flying around with his cape blowing in the wind.

He has his hand up as if he is boldly proclaiming the words, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!”  So my caption is “I can do all thing through Christ who strengthens me!” 

What about you? How would you caption this picture? Please leave your answer in the comments section below.

Have a blessed day,

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If you would like more information on how you can help change the life of a child in extreme poverty click this link -http://www.compassion.com/sponsor_a_child/default.htm?referer=121431

 

 

 

 

Trampling Lies

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I was reading my Bible this morning when I stumbled across this verse in Luke -

I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. Luke 10:9 

I have read Luke before but for some reason this verse never caught my attention like it did today. How awesome it is to know that with the power of Jesus I have authority to overcome the power of the enemy. I don’t ever have to listen to his lies and as long as I choose to not listen to him he can never harm me.

I can Trample on feelings like RejectionUncertainty and failure

When the enemy tries to say things to me like “you are worthless”, “you are ugly”, “you are unimportant”, or “Nobody loves you” I have authority to trample all over those lies because the voice of Jesus tells me, “I am beautiful”, “I am worthy”, “I am important”, and “I am loved”

Pretty awesome huh? :)

Now it’s your turn

Trample on this –> “I am worthless” “I am ugly I am not important, “Nobody loves me

and instead KNOW this –>“I am beautiful” “I am worthy” “I am important”, “I am loved”

Because its true, you are beautiful, worthy, important and loved.  Nobody can ever take that away from you.

Have a blessed day ,

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Don’t Look Back

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Most of my childhood life was spent moving around the country. Sometimes our family moved twice a year and one year we moved three times! I was always a bit of on outcast because I never seemed to talk or dress the same as the other kids.  A lot of the time I was picked on and I hated gym class because I was always picked last for the teams or made fun of because I was not really much of an athlete.

Friends where something I did not have a whole lot of and usually if I did make a friend it was with the new kids or the ones like me that nobody else liked. It was really hard moving around and I never really became to close to anyone and I never really had a whole lot of self confidence and I never felt like anything was permanent.  The feeling of nothing being permanent was a good thing though because if I did not like where we were I always could count on that we would be moving again soon.

At the beginning of my 9th grade year of school we finally moved somewhere that we stayed for 3 whole years.  Things started the same way for me in this town as all the rest, nobody wanted to be friends with me so since I had a brother I hung out with him and his friends.  Because I hung out with the boys soon the girls in the neighborhood decided I was chasing after their boyfriends and so one day they decided to send a little boy as their messenger to invite me to come up to a little get together that they had planned… His exact words to me where “Terri, those girls up there are paying me a donut to tell you to come up there and they said they are going to kick you’re ass.”

Like I said earlier I never really had a lot of confidence and a fight was not really something I ever had any practice at either but I think something inside of me snapped that day, because I went up there.  I soon arrived at the top of the street where about 6 girls and most of the neighborhood kids were waiting for me, I remember being petrified but determined not to show it.  Still to this day I can hardly believe I went.

The girls began accusing me of stealing their boyfriends and other things that were not true and I remember telling them, “You all won’t talk to me so I hang out with my brother and his friends, and I don’t want your boyfriends!”  I can’t remember a whole lot more of the conversation but what I do remember is that nobody laid a hand on me that day.  I acted tough, they acted tough and I walked away with my dignity and a new sense of bravery.  The following day I was riding my bike down the street and one of those tough girls called me over and asked me to come to her house and hang out.  I did and from that day on we became friends and I became one of them.  It felt so good to be a part of a group.

I went on to become a real jerk after that day.  It was a time in my life that I figured out that acting tough kept me safe from being picked on. All my years of being a nice person never got me anywhere except shoved around and picked on and now here I was acting like a meany and people “liked” me. Being liked was what I always wanted.   I see it now but did not see it then …I still never really fit in and I am not sure if I was really ‘liked’ it was more like I was just left alone because they were scared to pick on me.  I still never was that popular girl everyone wanted to hang out with first and I usually was still chosen last for most things.

When I was 17 years old I met my husband who I am still married to and began my life as an adult.  Over the years as I grew older I feel as if I did a pretty good job of raising my children but no matter how good I was at  something I never ever had that feeling that I fit in or was good enough.  I had friends but I stayed on guard never letting anyone get to close. I always seemed to have a feeling of insecurity following me around that I could not shake.

In the early 1990’s I was running a very successful Tupperware business.  I had moved up in the company to an Executive manager position, had earned a company car, won many awards and was in the top 10 managers in our region.  On the outside life was good but inside I cringed at my success.  I did not like being on stage in the spotlight.  I really never tried to be successful it just seemed to happen.  I loved Tupperware and told people how much I liked it so they bought it, they booked parties and the people at the parties would decide to join me in the business. I remember at the time just being shocked each week at our sales.  I would be excited at how well it was going but at the same time I would be scared to death because the more successful my business became the more I had to be on stage at our meeting each week which really made me sick with fear.

You would think that success would have given me more confidence but instead I think what happened is I saw myself standing alongside people who I thought were really good, people who I looked up to and I did not feel worthy at all to be standing alongside of them.  Each week I would go on stage with a smile on my face while fear trembled inside of me.

Eventually one day the fear finally caught up to me.  I was standing in front of a group of people at one of my Tupperware demonstrations and my ears began to roar.  I barely remember anything much after that except for me standing in front of everyone telling them about a product, ears roaring, my heart racing and all the sudden feelings terror inside of me so strong that I wanted to run and hide.  Run and Hide is exactly what I did…. I looked at my hostess and said, “I don’t fee so well’ as I excused myself to go into the bathroom where I stayed for the next 30 minutes sitting on the edge of her bathtub trying to pull myself together.  I remember thinking I was going to die in there because I could not breathe, I was sweating and my heart was pounding so hard in fear I thought I would have a heart attack. I did not know it at the time but that was my first panic attack of many more to come in my life. I did eventually come out of the bathroom and I told the guests that I had a stomach bug of some sort and went home.

From that day forward I feared being in front of people because I just knew in my mind that it would happen again, the fear snowballed and eventually I quit selling Tupperware and found a job driving a school bus where I did not have to be in the spot light ever.

I spent about the next 15 years of my life staying away from social occasions.  My panic filtered into many life things like baby showers, weddings and funerals, I still went to what I had to go to but I spent a lot of time hiding in the bathroom and always sat by the door at most events so I could escape easily if I panicked.  It eventually got to where I could not even go with friends shopping unless I was the driver of the car.  I had to be the one in control.  If I was not in control I would panic and end up making up the ‘I am sick lie’ and leave.  Eventually I found myself running out of meetings at work, and avoiding most social occasions It just kept getting worse and worse to the point that I  would get an upset stomach so when I said I was sick I truly was physically sick now too. I lived this nightmare alone, I never told anyone except my husband, one friend and also my doctor who diagnosed me with social anxiety and gave me medicine that did not help.

I went on like this for many years and then….I discovered wine…..

I never was much of a drinker but it just so happened one day I connected that drinking helped take the edge off my panic, actually it took a lot of the edge off.  When I drank I became a social butterfly.  It did not take much just a few sips before I went to the gathering and I would be fine, but the problem was I never could stop at just a few sips.

When I drank I was bold, I was free and did not care what anyone thought about me. It drowned out a lot of things one being my common sense.  What I did not realize at the time is that the drinking did not fix a thing.  It just masked things.  No matter how I tried to cover it I was still the same person I had always been.  I still hurting from all the years of rejection and I was still afraid of people. I had no trust in people or confidence that someone could actually like me for who I was.

It sounds really silly doesn’t it? But that is how I lived for many years. I became a social person I knew lots of people but I just could not attend anything social that I would involve having to sit in a room with other people that would notice me leaving unless I drank or if I did not drink I sat on pins and needles trying hard to keep myself composed. Over the years I was also a Realtor.  I know this makes no sense but I could meet with  strangers to look at homes and actually had moments that others would probably think I was a very outgoing person. Around the office I was friendly with everyone and even managed to teach a website building class at another real estate office but most of the time if you were to put me in a room for a meeting and I would fall apart in seconds and be running out of the room.

Fast forward to 2010….I found Jesus.   You can read about that here  http://astorybyme.wordpress.com/2012/02/04/your-gift-2/

Since 2010 I have been learning to trust again.  I have found confidence in Jesus.  I have gone into meetings and had him take over my fear allowing me to do what he calls me to do.  There is so much more I left out of the story on my journey begins page because it is a crazy story and I will tell you some of it is not very pretty, but the outcome thankfully is pretty.  I am not bold enough to put it out here on my blog yet but what I can tell you is that many times over these past 4 ½ years I have made a lot of huge mistakes that I was sure God would never forgive me for but he did forgive me and I have learned so much about his redeeming love, his mercy and his grace.

Over this past year I have had a lot of health issues and a lot of instances that I felt sad over my mobility issues I felt afraid sometimes and lonely. As I told in another post I kept my sad feelings to myself and my closest friends the ones I had let ‘in’ seemed to be going away.  Let me make it clear that no friends dumped me or anything they just have their own lives going on but because of my past I gradually I began to feel those old feelings of rejection creeping in and my confidence started going down again. that coupled with the pain in my legs just made a recipe of sadness inside.   To top that off one day about 6 months ago I found myself running out of a Bible study class having a panic attack.  After that first attack and it happened again and again until eventually I quit going to Bible study class.  It made no sense at all why I would act this way because I am in a whole church of people who love me and I love that class and wanted to be a part of it really bad.  Oddly I only had panic attacks when I was a participant in class, If I was in teaching a class I never would feel that way. It sounds crazy I know….

I actually worry about hitting the send button on this post because it will let anyone who reads it see the real me… it’s really hard for me sometimes to allow people to see the real me. I am not very brave, I am weak, and I am not always right where God would like me to be.  I know when I am strong that it is only due to his power.

Today at church our pastor gave a very powerful message about forgiveness.   I realized something while he was speaking…I think I have been carrying around feelings of rejection and anger for a very long time.  I realized I had put my hope in people when my hope really belongs in Jesus though I do believe that God puts people in our lives to help him and also sometimes they help hold us accountable to him.  If not for some of the people he put in my life who obeyed him and were there for me holding me accountable to God I am not sure I would have gotten as far as I am now.

I have a friend who is very humble, this friend was one of my biggest cheerleaders when I was trying to quit drinking.  I know that my friend will say that it was all God…My friend will be right because it is all God, I never could do a thing without God’s strength, but I also know that in the beginning, I would have caved so much more easily had I not had a live person to hold me accountable and remind me that God loved me.

I got to thinking today why doesn’t God just wave a magic wand and just fix it all?  After all he is God and he can do anything right??   I think He wants us to help him do his work; He wants our loyalty, our faithfulness to him.  He wants us to be able to give up our own life plans to do his plan.  If we do not take care of what he puts right in front of us we can never be at peace because it’s up to us to show others the HOPE that only he can give… He puts hope right in front of us to give away when he gives us someone who needs him.  He is the hope among all the hurting and suffering people and we have a job to do.  We pass that hope along and I am so very thankful that someone took the time and helped  to show me the hope I have in Jesus.

I started this post talking about my past and how I still get old feelings of rejection inside even when I know in my heart that I am really an okay person.  I think that the enemy knows my weaknesses so he gets to me where he knows he can hurt me the most. Thankfully I now know my weaknesses and by knowing that it makes me stronger.  I also know I am a child of the King and he loves me and guess what!? NOBODY can ever take that away from me.

Today after the sermon my pastor offered the chance for everyone to give their lives to Jesus.  He also offered those who had already given their lives to Jesus a chance to start over again. Today I found all of my past insecurities boiling up to the surface and I found myself forgiving all those past hurts from many years ago, things I never even realized I had been carrying around for 30+ years .  I found myself asking once again for God to make me new and told him I wanted to start over and one more time I asked Jesus to be my savior. I am not sure how many times it will take but if I have to start over every single day for the rest of my life 20 times a day then that is what I will have to do.

I know my blog post today is very long and all over the place If you are still here reading you will be happy to know that it is almost over but not before I tell you that your past does not have to define who you are today.  You can rise above it.  It may try come back once in a while but you can choose not to revisit it. There is no reason to ever look back because you are not going backwards, you are going forward.  Remember most of all that you are loved and worth so much more than you can ever imagine.

Thank you for reading,

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If you have never asked Jesus to be your savior and would like to have him come and help you change your life, all you have to do is ask.  Ask him to forgive you of your past sin and then tell him you would like to live the rest of your life with him leading you.  If you have said that prayer before and need reminding as I did then say it again and again.  If you said it for the first time let me know, I would love to hear about it.  Also don’t ever forget you are loved and adored by the creator of the universe.  That is a pretty awesome feeling isn’t it?   <3

Here is a really good song by Francesca Battistelli I think you will enjoy.

He knows My Name

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_la8CUQWyN0

 

You Take My Breath Away

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Rays of golden light

shine down from the heavens

you don’t have to see them

to know that it’s me.

you feel it

you breathe it

pleasure

peace

come to my safe place

rustling

my spirit

blowing through you

encircling you

like a cocoon

hear peace

billowing in my breath

 Father I feel your spirit

It takes my breath away

“Today as I sat on the deck His voice was rustling in the trees.  It was cloudy day but all at once golden rays of sunshine lit up the woods.  He then spoke to me, telling me to trust in him.  He filled me up with peace almost taking my breath away at times yet at the same time I was also breathing him deep into my soul.  It was awesome.”

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A Few Thoughts about Forgiveness

The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant – Matthew 18:21-35

21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”

22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.

23 “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold was brought to him. 25 Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.

26 “At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ 27 The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.

28 “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded.

29 “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’

30 “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. 31 When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened.

32 “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33 Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ 34 In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.

35 “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”

When I first read the parable above the last two verses confused me.  At first glance I took it to say – ‘if we do not forgive someone we will be put in jail and tortured.’  Is that how you read it?  After all it does say in verse 34 “in anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured until he paid back what he owed.” It then goes on to say in verse 35, “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”

When I asked to be forgiven of my sins and accepted Jesus Christ as my savior I know I did not become a perfect person. I still continue to make mistakes and yet he always forgives me.  There also have been times in my life that I was so hurt by someone that I had a really hard time forgiving them and it took me a long while to do it.  Thankfully eventually I did forgive them but what if I hadn’t?

If we don’t forgive someone is God going to throw us in jail and let us be tortured until we do? Or if we ask God to forgive us for not forgiving them are we then forgiven and given a get out of jail free card?

I would like to say that forgiving is an easy thing to do, but when we feel like someone has taken something from us, or they have done something that hurts us, we want them to know it and we want them to pay for it.  I often see in the news about horrendous acts of violence in which someone has been murdered and then later I will hear that the family has forgiven them, I know that has to be a really hard thing to do.  Something that terrible has never happened to me so I have no idea how that feels at all but I do know that to forgive is what Jesus has said we have to do here.  We have to forgive the debt, no matter how big and no matter what it is.

After thinking about this scripture for a while I got to thinking about how I have felt in the past when I have been angry at someone and did not forgive them right away.  What I realized is that when I don’t forgive someone anger and resentment starts building up inside of me and gradually my vision becomes clouded to the point that I can’t see God as well.  With all that anger clogging my mind it separates me from him in a way that makes it really hard to be at peace.

If we don’t forgive someone as time goes by we may think those feelings of anger and resentment went away but when we see the person again or think about them it comes boiling back up. Not forgiving someone boils underneath the surface, it never ever fully goes away it just sits there festering until it takes away our joy and it takes away our peace.

In a way isn’t that like we are locked up in a prison of our own making?

So could this parable mean that when we don’t forgive we are allowing ourselves be in our own prison right here right now until we choose to forgive?

This scripture doesn’t say we won’t get into Heaven or that God will be mean to us if we don’t forgive…what it says is ‘He turned him over to the jailers to be tortured’…  So maybe #34 & 35 mean to us that by not forgiving we are allowing satan to torture us with these feelings we harbor of anger and resentment and that we will not have peace until we pay back what we owe which is forgiveness.

The forgiveness that we owe is the forgiveness that Jesus gave us on the cross.  Jesus died for our sins while we were still sinners, so we need to die to our feelings of wanting to be paid back by others in what we think is rightfully ours, such as an apology, revenge or money.

God wants us to forgive others without expecting to receive anything at all back in return…forgive from our heart.  When we forgive from our heart then we can fully let all the anger and resentment go.  When we let all that stuff go then that is when we will experience true peace and the full gift of the forgiveness that God has given to us.

What are your thoughts on this parable ? Let me know what you think by leaving your  comment in the section below.

Thanks for reading,

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A God Inspired Decision

 

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Walkiris – Dominican Republic

It’s been over two weeks since I was given this Compassion Blogger assignment and I am not sure why but of all the Compassion blogging assignments I have received this one for some reason gave me writers block. I know that’s sounds silly because if you are a friend of mine you know that the children of Compassion are where my passion is and I usually cannot stop talking about those kids.

So why then would this assignment be so hard for me?

The assignment this month was to write about what it was that inspired me to sponsor a child. I do know the answer to this question and my answer to the question is – My decision to sponsor a child was God inspired.

I know that sounds like a simple answer and I guess I could have just left it at that and been finished with my writing assignment way before now but there was just so much more to say and I had a hard time putting it all into words. So tonight I decided to just start writing in the hopes that it puts into perspective all the things floating around in my head.

I will start with the first time I was asked to sponsor a child…It was 2010 and I was a brand new Christian. My friend David asked me to sponsor a child and I told him no.  I knew nothing about Compassion except for a few status’s that he had put on his Facebook page and what he had told me about his own sponsorship’s. I really did think I meant no at that time but gradually I found myself becoming very intrigued by Compassion’s website. What I did not know at that time was that God had used my friend to plant a seed for those children in my heart.  I soon began visiting Compassion’s website almost every evening and while I was there I found myself reading about poverty and looking at pictures of the children who were waiting for sponsors. On May 3, 2010 as I was looking at the pictures of the children a cute little face with a big giant smile jumped out of the page at me.  The more I looked at the little girl’s picture the more the pull to sponsor her became stronger.  Even though I still had reservations there was  no fighting it, I knew without a doubt that God wanted me to sponsor Walkiris from the Dominican Republic.

I didn’t know it at the time but that day 4 years ago was the beginning of something that has now become a very important part of my life!

Choosing to sponsor Walkiris was a God inspired decision for sure and the thing about something that is God inspired is it usually turns out in the end way bigger than you could have ever imagined it could.

Some God inspired things seem to me to be way out of my comfort zone and sponsoring a child may sound easy to some people but for me it was way…WAY out of my comfort zone!  First off I was going to be making a commitment to a monthly payment I wasn’t sure I would always have the funds for. Sponsoring a child also meant taking a chance on something I knew nothing about. I did not know a whole lot about Compassion and back then I had big time trust issues. From where I stand now looking back to that time in my life, for me to sponsor a child back then was pretty huge!

At that time in my life Jesus was also very new to me and I had only been a Christian for about 2 months. I did not feel equipped to be writing about him in a letter to a child and to me the letter writing seemed like a big responsibility because I didn’t have a clue what I would say to a child that I didn’t know and to top that off she was from another country so our cultures were different and she spoke Spanish (thank you for Compassion translators).  I will be honest with you when I sponsored Walkiris though I said yes to God I was not totally sure if I was really all in on the whole sponsorship thing.

Thankfully it did work out and I soon found out, letter writing was easy, it was fun, the funds always seemed to be there and I also eventually realized I was really ALL in.

Since the day I sponsored Walkiris several other things have been God inspired.

God inspired sponsoring Thierry… 

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Thierry – Haiti (Thierry has now graduated from Compassion’s program)

God inspired me to become an advocate for other children who are waiting for sponsors…

God inspired me to start this blog… 

God inspired letter writing with Sanbor…

Sanbor

Sanbor – Bangladash

God inspired a visit to Haiti to meet Thierry. (Read this story here)…

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Me and Thierry March 2013

While in Haiti meeting Theirry God inspired sponsoring Rose (Read her story here)…

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Rose – Haiti (in the mint green dress)

God inspired me to join Compassion bloggers and He inspires me to write about the kids at Compassion…

And just this past year God inspired sponsoring Ericka…

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Ericka – El Salvador

God has inspired writing letters full of words of encouragement and full of love…Tears of joy have sometimes flowed down my face when I read the letters from my children. I cry because I see the love in the pictures they draw for me…or the first time I saw Walkiris’s tiny blue finger print signature because she was to young to write. I loved watching as over time the finger print was replaced by her own crooked signature and then finally the joyful day that the letter arrived fully written by her in her very own handwriting.

I love how the letters from these kids give me a glimpse into their lives. The most profound thing I have learned through all of this is that I could fall in love with someone I have never met in person.  The love I feel for them is real and I feel like they are my own children.  I have also found out that these children love me as much as I love them.  Their letters to me are written with love and also full of encouragement for me.  Every single one of them has told me that they pray for me and my family. What I have received out of all this has been a totally unexpected gift.

What started out as me helping them I think somehow has also been them helping me?!?  

During the past 4 years God has taken this heart of mine and broken it into a million tiny pieces while at the same time he has been picking them up and putting them back together again, molding them into a heart that is full of trust, hope and love.  Those things all rolled together form a heart so full of  joy at times that it feels as if it may burst.  This whole ‘God inspired’ thing has blessed me beyond anything I could ever have imagined and I am thankful to be a part of something so life changing on all sides of the story.

When looking at Compassion’s website and seeing all those faces of children looking back it can be really hard to imagine that sponsoring just one child could make any difference at all, but I know now without a doubt that it really does make a difference. The truth is sponsoring a child not only makes a difference for that child’s life but also for his whole family and it can also change the sponsor’s life too.

Below is a video by Caitlin Jane.  She is a singer songwriter and also a Compassion sponsor. When she was visiting her sponsored child in The Dominican Republic she was inspired to write this song.

What is God inspiring you to do? If he is inspiring you to do something then go for it! I know you won’t regret your decision to do it if it’s God inspired.  If you would like to share what God is inspiring you to do please tell me about it in the comments below, I really would love to hear about it.

If you feel God is inspiring you to help make a difference in the life of a child consider leaving this blog post by way of clicking the link below which will take you to Compassion International’s website. While there you can view pictures of children who have been praying for someone to choose them and to be their sponsor. YOU can be that person…YOU can make a difference…YOU can change the world — one child at a time! http://www.compassion.com/sponsor_a_child/default.htm?referer=121431

Thank you for reading and have a blessed day,

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Mr. KB Wishes He Knew the Plan

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This is my cat, Mr. KB.  The poor little guy is sick today  :(

He has an appointment with the veterinarian at 3:00 but until then the doctor has asked me to keep him confined to his pet carrier. He told me that they will be running some tests on him and needs a full bladder. He said confining him to the pet carrier will make that happen though I don’t see how because instead of drinking his water he keeps dumping it all over himself and though I have dried him off several times he is still a soaking wet mess.

I feel so bad for him because he is just sitting in his pet carrier looking sad and frightened and I can tell he is also very angry at me. Every once in a while he will let out a sad howling meow to let me know he is not happy with this situation one bit.

I can imagine that right now to him the situation he is in seems very scary and he can not see that his confinement is really for his own good.  What he also does not know is that things are going to get a whole lot worse before they begin to get better.

Things Mr. KB does not know yet-

  • In a little while we will be going for a ride in the car which scares him terribly.
  • He will then arrive at a place where there are people and animals he is not familiar with…he hides when company comes to visit so I know he is not going to like this one bit.
  • Then he will be poked and prodded by the doctor.

Even though all of this will be for his own good he will not understand at all and I am positive this whole ordeal is going to be very very scary for him.

Hopefully a few days from now when he is feeling much better he will know that everything that happened today was worth all this scary stuff and he will be over being angry at me.

Watching Mr KB’s behavior today has got me to thinking about how his situation is exactly how my situation is at times.  I have been dealing with a lot of health issues, I have a friend who is very sick and a few other friends and family members going through some pretty tough things right now.  Some of this stuff has been going on for quite some time (4 years) and at times I have questioned God as to why it all keeps happening and I also have wondered if this stuff will end anytime soon and I will also admit that a few times I have also been angry.

Waiting on God can be really hard sometimes and just like Mr. KB does not know what the final outcome is for him today; I don’t have a clue what the final outcome of God’s plan is for me either.

Though Mr. KB is feeling sick and scared right now the truth is that he is actually in very good hands.  He may have to go through a few things that he doesn’t like and what seems like a really bad situation to him right now is actually going to be over soon.  All of this is what is needed for him to get well.

Just like Mr. KB we all find ourselves in situations that we don’t like sometimes.  During those times things may seem scary and out of control, but we have to trust that God IS in control, He does have a plan and it’s always a good plan and in the end it will all work out for the best. Unfortunately sometimes we may have to go through some pretty hard stuff before we see what the final outcome of that plan is.

No matter how tough things get we have to hold on to God and trust him through it all. Remembering God always knows what’s best for us, His plan is always a good plan and no matter what happens God is still good and He loves us.

Thanks for reading,

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My Broken Hallelujah

stormy

The events of this past week are running though my head tonight.  I keep thinking about how this time last week it felt like everything was whirling out of control and my heart was aching in sorrow for someone I love.  I felt so overwhelmed by it all that when I went to church last Sunday morning I just sat in the back row feeling like I was watching the service in slow motion.  Tears kept welling up in my eyes and I tried really hard not to let them escape.  Several times I didn’t succeed at stopping the flow of tears and I had to leave the sanctuary to compose myself.  I remember feeling like there was just no way things could ever be good again.

I spent the next two days trying desperately to make my world stop spinning so fast. I kept giving it all up to God and then a few hours later I would take it back. I have no idea how many times I did that before I finally excepted the fact that things were out of my control, had never been in my control, and were not mine to control.  There was nothing at all I could do to help except pray, give it to God, and then let him keep it!

I have been hearing a song on the radio a lot lately called “Broken Hallelujah” by the Afters.

This past week every time I turned on the radio it seemed like that song would be playing.  Each time I heard it I always found myself singing it to God. It may sound strange but I just felt so overwhelmed with thankfulness for who He is that I would find myself throwing my hands in the air and singing at the top of my lungs.  Each time I sang that song I found peace. God kept meeting me right there in the middle of a song turned into a prayer.

“Broken Hallelujah”

By, The Afters

I can barely stand right now.
Everything is crashing down,
And I wonder where You are.

I try to find the words to pray.
I don’t always know what to say,
But You’re the one that can hear my heart.

Even though I don’t know what your plan is,
I know You’re making beauty from these ashes.

I’ve seen joy and I’ve seen pain.
On my knees, I call Your name.
Here’s my broken hallelujah.

With nothing left to hold onto,
I raise these empty hands to You.
Here’s my broken hallelujah.

You know the things that have brought me here.
You know the story of every tear.
‘Cause You’ve been here from the very start.

Even though I don’t know what your plan is,
I know You’re making beauty from these ashes.

I’ve seen joy and I’ve seen pain.
On my knees, I call Your name.
Here’s my broken hallelujah.

With nothing left to hold onto,
I raise these empty hands to You.
Here’s my broken hallelujah.

When all is taken away, don’t let my heart be changed.
Let me always sing Hallelujah
When I feel afraid, don’t let my hope be erased
Let me always sing Hallelujah.
Let me always sing Hallelujah.

I will always sing
I will always sing
Here’s my broken hallelujah.

THE AFTERS lyrics are property and copyright of their owners.
“Broken Hallelujah” lyrics provided for educational purposes and personal use only

Today it’s been exactly a week since everything seemed to go out of control, but now I can see that everything was always in control and things are also looking up now.  Though they are far from being over things are moving toward a place of healing for all of those involved and I know its all in God’s hands.

So once again I will sing, “Hallelujah!”

How about you?  will you join me as I praise God today?

Are things swirling out of control?

“Hallelujah!”

I know it may sound strange but why not praise God right there where you are?

“Hallelujah!”

Praise him for who he is.

“Hallelujah!”

Praise him just because he is God.

“Hallelujah!”

Praise him right there in the middle of the storm.

Praise him even when you feel so broken you think things could never be put together again.

Praise him knowing that your loved ones are safe in his arms.

Praise him and know  that he has everything under control.

“Hallelujah!”

No matter what you are feeling right now…you can trust God and believe he is right beside you because he is!

“Hallelujah!”

Get on your knees and pray or throw your arms in the air and sing.  However you choose to praise him He will be  there.

Give God your broken Hallelujah today.

“Hallelujah!”

Thanks for reading,

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Speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. ~ Ephesians 5:19-20

 

A Sister’s Cry

Sometimes things just don’t make sense. How can it be such a beautiful day and something so terrible be going on inside someone that they would try to take their own life? How can someone be hurting so bad that they no longer want to exist while at the same time others are on top of the world? How could I have missed it? Why did I not see the hurt or feel the pain? How could I have been so blind?

I asked the Jesus, “Why must there be so much pain? Why must there be death?”

He replied,

“I give healing and life, those who come to me will never die”

“I am the love that never leaves”

“I am the one who hears the cries of those who call”

“I am the one who will catch them when everything comes crashing down

“I am the strength when they can’t fight anymore”

“I am the hope when it feels like hope is lost”

     “Right now things may seem out of control but never forget that I am in control.

Yes! He is in control!

Right now

Right this moment

I lay my broken heart at his feet, reach my hands out and shout “Hallelujah!”

I will praise him because he deserves to be praised.

Right now things seem so terribly out of control but I know God is in control!

He is the hope.

He is the strength needed to fight the good fight.

When everything came crashing down he caught it all.

He heard my call.

He never leaves.

He is protector, healer, and almighty comforter.

He is love.

I have seen his power and I will continue to put all my hope in him.

I know He will hear the cries of those who are hurting.

He will reach down and wrap them his loving arms.

He will hold them, protect them and heal them.

He will give them peace.

Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:16

This is what I pray for today will you join me?

T

Butterflies in the Darkness

butterly1Yesterday as I was leaving work I noticed a Monarch butterfly sitting on the ground. Just as I decided to take it’s picture it decided it was time to fly around for a while, so I followed it around the parking lot snapping its picture each time it landed. I just loved watching it flutter about. It would flutter fast and then float for awhile and then sit somewhere looking as if it was going to stay put.  But just as soon as I would think it was going to stay still it would flutter around some more. It seemed so peaceful and so free. As I watched it fly around I got to thinking about butterflies and how they are so beautiful and how God created something so small but yet it can be so hugely beautiful.

Not knowing a whole lot about Monarch butterflies I decided I wanted to know more about them so when I got home I looked them up them up to see If I could find out more about them.  In my search I found out some pretty interesting stuff…If you are not a nature geek like me then you may want to skip the next few paragraphs :)

Do you know that the Monarch butterfly only lives in its adult butterfly form for about 2- 6 weeks and that it’s whole entire life cycle is only 6-8 weeks long?  I did not know this.

In it’s life cycle it goes from egg to caterpillar to chrysalis, pupa, and then butterfly all in that very short amount of time.

The beginning stage in its life which is the egg lasts for about 4 days, and then the egg hatches into a caterpillar which lasts for about 2 weeks. The caterpillar then attaches itself to a milkweed plant where it sheds its skin and then the left over skin hardens into a cocoon (chrysalis) where it stays (pupa) for 10 days.  After the 10 days it emerges as the adult butterfly which only lasts for 2 to 6 weeks.
Another interesting thing about the Monarch butterfly is that there are 4 generations inside of their life cycle.
March/April – 1st generation Monarchs are born in Northern United States and Canada.
May/June – 2nd generation is born
July/August – 3rd generation is born
Then this is the cool part…
In September/October the 4th generation Monarch is born but this generation does not die as fast as the other generations do. This generation migrates about 3000 miles South to Mexico or Southern California where they live for about 6-8 months and then In February or March they fly the 3000 miles back to the United States and Northern Canada where they mate, lay their eggs, and then it starts all over again!
Another thing about the Monarch Butterfly is that since it spends 10 days in its cocoon that means this insect spends about 1/5 of its life in darkness!  Spending time in a tight squished up dark space seems pretty awful to me but later it dawned on me that while the caterpillar is in the darkest time of its life that is where it is actually turning it into something very beautiful, a butterfly.  This place is also where he is being prepared to do the job he was created do….pollinate plants.

Then I also realized that in a way aren’t we people kind of like butterflies? We all go through times in our lives that seem dark and we all are always changing and growing.

I recently went through a pretty hard time in my life.

During this time I had been dealing with depression which was due to loss of mobility and pain due to surgery and arthritis in my knees and I also have had eye issues going on again. Though I had a lot of really good things going on in my life during that time I still had a lot of really hard days.

Like the caterpillar in its dark cocoon, I cocooned myself into my own dark place by trying my best to keep my pain and depression hidden from everyone.  I am not sure what it is about being a Christian and being sad but for some reason though I know I don’t have to be all happy all the time I still did not want to come across as a downer to those around me.  The few times I did dump it on someone I felt guilty like I may be dragging them down too because a lot of the closest people to me are going through a lot of their own struggles and the last thing they needed was to be burdened with mine.  So I tried my best to look to the joyful things in my life and most of the time I did find them.

Thinking about the butterfly made me realize something… while I was in that dark place of my life I too had been growing and changing… just like the butterfly I have been turning into something better and more beautiful and God has been preparing me for the job he created me to do by teaching me how to rely on him more and actually making my faith stronger.

During my dark time I spent a whole lot of time struggling with thoughts of things like “what is wrong with me that I can not get over this? I felt like everyone could see through me but really nobody ever acted like they did so most likely they did not. I also work at a church and I also have what I feel like is a good relationship with the Lord so that left me feeling like somehow maybe I should be able to get over this easier.  But when I didn’t I began to feel like maybe I deserved what was happening to me or maybe my faith was not strong enough. I felt close to God during all of this but at the same time I had days that I would wonder if he was really there and then he would always show me that he was.

I am sure my life seemed to look as if it was going good to everyone around me because I said it was good. I would have days that I felt joyful and thankful but then also I had days I could barely drag myself out of bed, it was a very confusing time.

I remember a time when old me would have thrown in the towel and went back to my old way of living and maybe had a drink or two… or three… or four to drown my sorrows away.  Thankfully God has changed that part of me and I never had the desire to do that.  I did know somehow that this is the life God wants me to live and that I just had to hang in there, keep on praying and wait on him to show me what was going on.

So every day I kept on going, I had prayer time almost every day.  There were some days that I felt like God did not show up but on most days when I had my prayer time he met me wherever I was at at that moment.  He always came through if I would let him.

Another thing I noticed during this time was that it always seemed like on my worst days God would always put someone in front of me who needed encouragement or love.  During those times is when I began to realize that each time I helped someone else for some reason I felt at peace. Gradually over time I began turning my focus off of me and trying to pour as much love as I could into other people and oddly the more that happened the more I began to realize that was exactly what God wanted me to do. I began to understand more and more that it’s easy to fall into a pit of despair and stay stuck in it down hiding in the darkness. But when we chose to climb up, even if it’s just a few small steps to help someone else we begin to see the light glowing at top. The more I saw that light the more I saw God’s plan.

Gradually over the past 10 months I have finally admitted to myself that God had been calling me into things that seem pretty scary to me. I had known a lot of this for well over a year but I chose to ignore it because truthfully I did not feel worthy or equipped for what he is asking me to do and I was scared.

Even though I thought I had been living my life for God I still had things I needed to surrender to him.

One of those things being who I depended on.

What I realize now is that when you have nobody but God you begin to depend on nobody except God.

When you are down like I was with my legs and can not run around shopping and doing busy work you have more time to read the Bible and talk to God. I spent a whole lot of this time down just learning how to be still. I tend to be the type of person who needs to fill empty space. If I am with someone and they don’t talk I will fill the silence with chatter, if I am at home alone I will do chores to stay busy. I never just sit and watch television; actually I don’t like television very much and if I do watch it I usually have to do something else at the same time. To just lie around and do nothing is really very hard for me.

Over the past 10 months after work most days I spent in the evening time lying around with my legs propped up and iced and during this time God was working on me.  During this time He has shown me what he wants me to do with my life, where I don’t belong and where I do belong. What is not important and what is important.  He has shown me that he has had me right where he wants me all along and that I needed to learn to trust him more and also trust that he has the power to equip me for anything he asks me to do.
Like a caterpillar that goes into a dark place to metamorphosis I think that is what I did. A caterpillar stays in its dark place while God works on it and prepares it to do the job it was created to do. While in the dark place it begins to change growing beautiful wings so that it can fly. Once the caterpillar turns into a butterfly it goes around pollinating plants so that they can grow seeds. They are very important in keeping the flow of seeds going; this is God’s plan for them.

And Like a butterfly God also has a plan for each one of us and sometimes I think we may have to be in the dark to be able to see his light. When a person comes out of the dark they are transformed into the beauty that God created them to be, so they can start flying from person to person, spreading Jesus just like the butterfly spreads pollen.

Since climbing out of my cocoon I have been feeling this sense of wanting to be even closer to God. I feel more aware of him in every second of my day now. I feel his presence and want to talk with him as much as possible. I know his plan for me involves Speaking in public, though I suffer from social anxiety and I can not memorize or remember a speech to save my life. I know this is where he wants me to be, without a doubt.

It seems as if everywhere I turn lately I am hearing a sermon about God using weak people to do his work. Even the Bible study class I am in right now is about that.  Though I don’t know the full plan yet I do feel very sure that I am where I am supposed to be right now.  I feel a closeness so different from what I have ever felt before.  I feel his love and I feel confident that his plan will unfold even more each day as I spend time with him and I finally feel at peace.

Note: I wrote what is written above about 3 weeks ago
About a week after I started writing it I was finally able to get an injection of Monovisc in my knee that is supposed to put gel in my knee where the cartilage is missing. Now Here I am 2 weeks after I had the shot and I am moving around a whole lot better and my constant knee pain is finally gone when I am not standing on them.  I am walking better and hopefully soon I will be walking without pain too.   I find it very interesting that when I finally started healing emotionally shortly after I began healing physically. I wonder…had my legs healed first if I would have realized that the time in the darkness was what was needed for me to be able to grow? Would I know that I can be joyful even in a dark place?  Would I know that even if my knees don’t heal I am still capable of doing anything God asks?  Looking back now though hard I am pretty sure this whole ordeal has been good for me.

With Jesus in your life anything can happen. Just like he turns the caterpillar into a beautiful butterfly He can also turn a messed up messy me into his own beautiful creation and he can also do that for you too!

With Jesus we get our wings, with him we learn to spread our wings and with him we also learn how to fly.

Thank you for reading today, and have a wonderful day,

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P.S.  I would also like to thank Abby over at Abby’s Faith Walk for her encouraging post about depression.  I had been working on this post and many times wrote other posts about my struggles but never had the courage to post them.  When I saw her post last night I decided to go ahead and finish this up and post it.

After I wrote this post another blogger friend posted a very insightful and beautiful analogy using the butterfly that I thought you may like.  Click here to enjoy ->  A Whole New Creation by Karina at Karina’s Thought.

 

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