Monday, January 30, 2012

What a Friend

Music is a constant in my life.. not that I have any talent what so ever but I have a profound love of song.. *rolls eyes* well some songs.. Usually silly camp songs.. but the other songs I adore are hymns.. I will find myself humming or singing to myself in a regular basis.. Lately I have been singing/humming What a Friend We Have in Jesus...

While this is a beautiful song it is an even more beautiful reality.. Jesus is the very best of friends and as is so often the case.. that makes it all to easy to take Him for granted. We, as Christians need to remember.. a true friend is always there for us.. BUT we need to return the favor, so to speak. We (make that I) need to always be there for Jesus.. Because we have this awesome friend who not only died so that we might live.. He also carries our burdens for us.

Matthew 11:28-30
King James Version (KJV)

 28Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls 30For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

Thus the reality of a Christ like life.. The thing NON Christians never quite get. Because we have this amazing friend, life's burdens are easy. I remember once being told that Christianity was a crutch, something people used to lean on in hard times.. It was said with a sneer, instead of in wonder. I remember thinking no, living a Christ like life is hard..really really hard.. choosing the right path over and over again.. then I realized, in a way they were right. We do have something to lean on, SOMEONE, someone who will bear our burdens for us. So if you need to call Christianity a crutch, go ahead.. so will I.. Although there is no sneer in my voice when I refer to my crutch, my Savior.. no there is joy, wonder, awe and amazement.. you can have the sneer.

So dear friends, I will tell you.. What a Friend I have in Jesus..

In case you don't know the words to the song, here they are..

  1. What a friend we have in Jesus,
    All our sins and griefs to bear!
    What a privilege to carry
    Everything to God in prayer!
    Oh, what peace we often forfeit,
    Oh, what needless pain we bear,
    All because we do not carry
    Everything to God in prayer!
  2. Have we trials and temptations?
    Is there trouble anywhere?
    We should never be discouraged—
    Take it to the Lord in prayer.
    Can we find a friend so faithful,
    Who will all our sorrows share?
    Jesus knows our every weakness;
    Take it to the Lord in prayer.
  3. Are we weak and heavy-laden,
    Cumbered with a load of care?
    Precious Savior, still our refuge—
    Take it to the Lord in prayer.
    Do thy friends despise, forsake thee?
    Take it to the Lord in prayer!
    In His arms He’ll take and shield thee,
    Thou wilt find a solace there
  4. Blessed Savior, Thou hast promised
    Thou wilt all our burdens bear;
    May we ever, Lord, be bringing
    All to Thee in earnest prayer.
    Soon in glory bright, unclouded,
    There will be no need for prayer—
    Rapture, praise, and endless worship
    Will be our sweet portion there.

I hope this touches your heart, it came from mine


Sunday, January 29, 2012

A Righteous Life

Do you find yourself trying to build yourself up by knocking someone else down? Trying to make yourself look like a worthwhile person all the while criticizing another? Do you know someone who does this? 

This is one flaw I have managed to escape.. but I know many people who bolster their self esteem this way. It is heart breaking to me to see it. Many of these people are talented, gifted, loving individuals who want nothing more than to be acknowledged for their accomplishments? That I understand.. I have a tendency to compliment others for their accomplishments then am felled by their lack of reciprocation. See, I don't need to drag someone down.. I do that enough on my own. I understand the need to scream, Here I am.. See me!! But I have to wonder why it bothers me so? 

Does it not serve me and others better to use what God has given me in the best way possible for no other reason than to serve God? Does not such behavior destroy links with God? Are they not destructive? Would it not be better to work towards living a life of righteousness for no other reason than THAT is what God asks of us? 

Hosea 10:12
12 Sow righteousness for yourselves, reap the fruit of unfailing love,
and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the LORD,
until he comes and showers his righteousness on you. 

What does this verse tell me and how does it apply to today's thoughts? Well it tells me.. Don't bother with accolades we are not here to please man but to live a righteous life and serve God. To represent God in a humble and honest manner.. and when the time is right HE will give you all the accolades you require. 

It always astounds me how God nurtures us, how His book shares that He is aware of our deepest secrets and inner needs.. He knows that there are people who thrive on attention and few who actually get it from man. He promises that His love will surround us and comfort us and yes offer us that very attention that we need.  That we will find great joy in living a righteous life, that we don't need to drag others down to make ourselves look better.. that God is always there.. ready to shine on us in His time..

Yes I know this is disjointed today.. but it is my thoughts from my heart.. hope it touches yours. 


Saturday, January 28, 2012

Prodigal Daughter

Yesterday I spoke of becoming the prodigal daughter.. how it wasn't one large leap of wickedness but rather a slow slide down that ever slippery slope. Today I want to talk about the fact that while I admit to this travesty.. that I admit to such acts of sin.. I do not have to dwell on them. I can confess my sins and relieved of the burden. That is one of God's most enduring graces..

All I had to do was confess my sin.. and God lifts the burden of my sins from me..
He tells us this in His book

1 John 1:8-9

New International Version (NIV)
 8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

 Is that not just so grand? Now don't get me wrong this is not a license to sin.. rather a license to be forgiven our sins.. If we confess our sins.. that means if I confess my sins.. admit to fault God will forgive me.. Now when we confess our sins, our wrong doings, most of us do so with the intention of never doing so again. If we flippantly apologize with every intent to resume our actions then we are not sincere.. 

Now there are times when we repeat our offenses, over and over again.. is that the same? No, I don't believe so.. it's a habit and habits can be broken, behavior can be changed.. With God's Grace.. 

It is a day by day struggle.. no different than any other addiction.. and yes such behavior needs to be confessed, daily, hourly, however often you need to confess.. but with each confession the prayer for strength and guidance should also follow..

I am a sinner, I stumble I fall.. and I rejoice that God in His Grace forgives me such behavior..


Friday, January 27, 2012

When Did I Become the Prodigal Daughter?

This is a blog long time in coming and one I have taken great pains on. 

I spent my entire life being the good girl.. Honestly, my teenage years were a parent's dream. Aside from an unreasonable fear of my parents (who never did anything to cause it) I was a parent's dream. I came home when I said I would, I did my homework, I went to and was active in church, girl scouts and school. Shoot I even went to a Private Protestant High School by choice.. yes I was the good girl. I had a strong faith and an even stronger support system. When I stumbled I was wise enough to go to people who were there for me. AND I was truly happy.. no doubts, no questions, no secret desire to become the wild child.


Over time my fortress fell.. I changed churches, moved, created a new life.. and in doing so I slowly sowed the seeds of my own destruction. Oh don't get me wrong I always believed in God.. but so do many non Christians.. I had become the worst of the worst a "social" Christian.. A Do Gooder with no anchor.

I stopped Daily Devotions I was too busy
I married unwisely and then followed so many of his questionable Christian beliefs.. instead of following my own convictions.
I went to a church that didn't support my convictions.. I won't critisize the church as I met plenty of God Fearing Christians who were devoted to God's work while there, but it wasn't the right fit for me.
I left that church and didn't fill the space with another
I floundered.. made excuses for lies and deceit
I got involved in some questionable websites w/some questionable people (nothing illegal just questionable)
I stole.. yes I actually stole things little things, shoplifting things that fit in my pocket but seriously for a girl who let the petty theft of a package of M&M's made as a child eat at her for years until she went back and paid for it as a teenager.. this was huge.. and it doesn't matter.. stealing is stealing..

Do you see the slow decline? Oh this didn't happen all at once I would say it happened over 20 years or so. Then one day I woke up and realized I was no longer walking in God's Grace.. I had become the Prodigal Child.. I had walked away from my heavenly father.. WOW..what a powerful conviction.. I was almost thrown to my knees.. and still I didn't rush back to Our Father and beg forgiveness.. no I considered it.. I worked around it.. and eventually I excused it. I oh yeah.. this is good.. I COMPARTMENTALIZED my life..

Yes I recognized my sin but had yet to address it.. It was hard for me to let go.. to un compartmentalize my life..  it still is..

I am happy to say I returned to Our Father's house.. oh it is still a daily struggle to remain the "good child" I haven't found that support system that anchored me in my earlier life. I struggle with daily devotions.. I know how can one not want to speak with God? I speak, I talk to God all the time, tell Him my thoughts and feelings, what is going on in my life.. what I fail to do on a regular basis is LISTEN!! And that is where the trouble always starts..

I am working on finding that support base I know Daily Devotions should be first.. but to me they seem almost intertwined. It's like AA.. yes quitting drinking is important but having a place where you can go and share your thoughts and feelings about quitting drinking helps.. I know how dare I compare my support base.. aka, my church of choice, to AA.. but to me the similarities are there so go with it..

I don't know if it was actually finally time to write this post.. but I was compelled.. so I think.. this was me finally LISTENING to what God has instructed.. I am halfway there.. well, I took my first foot steps and am on the path.

Hope this post finds a place in someone's heart.. it came from mine

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Using Your Gift to Serve God

It's an interesting conundrum many Christians face.. They are given an extraordinary talent then told by people in their lives, usually parents and teachers that they need to find something more practical to do with their lives. and maybe that is true but wouldn't we be better served if we also cultivated the talents God gave us?

I was a precocious child and was tested early for the gifted program.. labeled a creative genius all anyone ever focused on was the genius.. and that was truly everyone's mistake.. Yes I did well in school, passed with A's and B's got accepted into college.. but I never quite fit the mold.. I have previously announced on another blog that I am proud of being a square peg.. and instead of trying to force myself into round holes.. I am in search of square ones. But that has been a difficult road of discovery. The thing is I was basically told NOT to use the gifts that God gave me and focus on what was best for the world. I followed the advice of my eldars and have lead what can only be considered a life bordering on failure..

My failure was in not listening to God but man..

My verse today is

1 Peter 4:10-11
Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen. 

Would my life not have been richer, more fulfilled had I used my talents? Of course they needed to be used in Glory to God. I write.. I love to write and in many of my darkest hours I have heard God whisper write.. for years I ignored God's words.. then when I really started writing again it was of a questionable nature.. and that was just as much a travesty if not more than refusing to use my gifts all together.

I started my blogs as a means to write.. maybe not life saving, ground breaker stop the presses writing.. just my thoughts.. and gradually I have been able to use this format to share my faith. It took time to figure out how to do this.. but I am grateful for God's grace that He allows me the opportunity to stumble and fail and yet still serve Him


Sunday, January 22, 2012

I made it just a few days....

I made it just a few days.. and then life interupted!!

I plan to resume my daily posts tomorrow morning.. Hope you are all having a blessed day!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Memory Verse

This week's memory verse is especially compelling to me.. I think in many ways it addresses me deeply and directly...

for 1/5/12 through 1/18/2012:  Galatians 1:10 (We'll all use this New King James Version)
10 For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.

How often do we choose to please man? I know for a large part of my adult life I was so worried about pleasing the people around me that I literally lived in hell. I stayed in an abusive marriage and was petrified that someone would say I was a failure.. 
I hid my love of Christ from those in my community because I wanted their approval.. point in case they never approved of me so I ignored my God and didn't find favor with the individuals I thought to impress.. what a joke.. Had I served my God faithfully, I would have been happy in Christ and not bothered if it impressed others or not.. and yet I bet I would have impressed them.. Or not.. it wouldn't have mattered.

Why was there ever a question? Am I a servant of God or of man? Do I serve God? Or Man? Whom should I attempt to please?

Isn't it amazing how God's word touches us and teaches us?

Friday, January 6, 2012

A Cab Ride and A Promise

I had to go to the bank yesterday.. and since I don't have a car I use a local Cab service when I am

A) to lazy to walk
B) in a hurry and don't want to take the bus
C) the bus doesn't go there..

Anyway I took the cab and when I got in the driver was listening to a wonderful sermon. I found it so inspiring.. It was about how we have troubles in our lives.. you know that age old question if "God is so good how come He....?" All I could think of was wow.. God promises us so much but one thing He has never promised us was an easy life. As a matter of fact.. he promises us the exact opposite..

John 16:33

New International Version (NIV)
   33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Right there Jesus tells us, life is not going to be easy.. We will have struggles  but more importantly he will be there with us. He offers us His peace the knowledge that those struggles have purpose.. That we need to be joyful.. be consoled.. yes to take heart! Because when push comes to shove Jesus has overcome the world.. what does that mean? Well it means that no matter how hard life is, no matter what evil abides beside us..that if we walk through the evil on the path that God has given us then we shall emerge victorious on the other side. That Jesus is the winner that yeah life may get us down but His triumph should bring us up. 

There is no reason for fear, there is no reason to give up.. "soldier on" (had to use that phrase, I just love it).. that there may be a battle coming but if you follow Jesus, the battle is already won! Wow, what soldier wouldn't love that type of victory.. going into battle knowing that he has already won? Well, brothers and sisters.. Jesus gave us that exact type of battle.. HE HAS OVERCOME THE WORLD . and I say REJOICE


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

God's Grace

I had a conversation with a friend yesterday who said while she believed in a higher power she had a hard time believing that God had the time to pay attention to what was going on in her life. That made me feel very sad. All I could think to respond to her with was 

"Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows." Matt 10: 29-31

I see God's action in my life every single day. His attention to the details, His love and His comfort. I know for a fact that I should not be living such a protected life. I have made so very many bad choices, oh not the grand outrageous ones, you know drugs, sex, whatever, no the day to day life ones. The ones that pick at you and slowly destroy from within. And yet for every bad choice I have made God has graciously countered that with His love and protection. 
He cradles me in the palm of His hand and like any parent shakes his head at my stupidity while allowing me to make those choices, probably cringing as I do. And yet when life falls apart as it invariably does... God is GREAT and is there. Does He take away the problems that I have made? Heck no!! He stands resolute and offers me His shoulder.. shows me His plan and waits for me to listen. 

How can I ever question God's great love for me? I can never question whether or not He cares for me because I see it each and every day. In the way I manage to be able to live and raise my children. I am so very grateful for His attention!!

Sometimes like any child I wish God wasn't looking, wasn't aware cuz my actions do not reflect well on Him but like any child, I am also grateful that He is there! I can not doubt that God not only knows what is going on in my life but has a plan for me.. If I will just listen and wait upon His timing..

Monday, January 2, 2012

Memory Verses

I attend a small group for Bible Study, well I am a member of the small group, attendance has been a bit off but.. 

One of the things we do is week to week we have a memory verse. Remember memory verses? I used to love them For two reasons, first off it was always a competition for me even if no one else new it.. yeah I know I have serious issues. 

But more importantly it was a great way to really learn God's word.. As a child I of course didn't comprehend the importance of memory verses but throughout my life I have been grateful fro those diligent teachers, both Sunday School and HS Bible classes.. Those verses have sometimes saved my very sanity and very frequently helped me through some dark times.

Now as an adult, when you learn a Bible Verse you, in theory, should attach meaning to it. What does it mean to you? I am going to work on that. Both the learning of the verse but how it can apply to me. 

So this weeks verse is

through 1/4/2012: Galatians 1:3-5 (We'll all use this New King James Version)
3 Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, 4 who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, 5 to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.

Hmm, Grace to you and peace from God, so salutations.. hello, but more importantly hello and let God's grace flow over you and give you peace with your life. Remember Jesus gave his so that we could be saved and escape from the battles of this world. Yes we still have our struggles but Jesus died so that we may offer them up to Him and have peace in our daily walk..  That alone should be cause for glory!! and yet He promises us so much more..  

and here is a thought for the day... 

If nothing you do matters than what should matter is what you do..

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Making It Public - Part 3

Today marks the final part for my three pronged blog on taking my faith out into the world. I hope you have enjoyed the previous two. My finally personal verse that I took with me upon leaving school was Philippians 4:13

I can do all things
Through Christ who strengthens me

Is that not a totally empowering concept? I can do ALL things. As I have pointed out in previous blogs I was an arrogant child. The concept that I could do anything was not new to me. I honestly believed that all I had to do was set my mind to it and I could achieve whatever I wanted. In a way I still do believe just that, one of my personal crosses I carry. Did you note how I conveniently forgot part of the verse?

Upon leaving school I rushed forward ready to take on the world. After all I could do anything! Anything that is except succeed, everytime I tried something I failed. I self imploded no one was out to get my I was just unable to stay on course. I became best at was surviving.

Everytime a challenge came my way I did not rejoice and accept God's support, no I worked hard to battle on, on my own. Oh I would usually complete the challenge but each success took a piece of me. My survival became my triumph there was no praise to God. There was no rejoicing no there was a smirk my battle cry became I did this all by myself. Each victory was hollow and each failure consumed me. Oh I could rationalize, I could even make myself a hero in the eyes of the world my trials had been legion, my survival an accomplishment. Of course it was my success not one single Glory to God. Forgetting or refusing to apply the entire verse is an eventual recipe for disaster. The verse is "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me". It doesn't mean I am going to conquer the world, no it means when God shows His plans, no matter how hard, no matter how difficult it may seem, with God behind us, with the power of the Spirit flowing through us WE CAN DO ANYTHING! Conquer any crises, survive any trial and when we do it, it is not our glory no it is God's. The spotlight is removed from us and transferred to God. The glow that shines forth embraces us all

Over my adult life I have struggled and stumbled many times. I have gone without as often as I have had plenty. My life has been about feast as well as famine I have never quite managed that even keel, that nice balance, that sure and steady. Nope not me I am an all or nothing kind of girl. May I suggest if you have a choice choose a different way of living.

One of the most amazing things about God is He allows us our idiocy. He allows our struggles then when we finally admit we are lost without Him, He raises us up and uses those same struggles to bring Glory to Him. As a Child of God even our failures are God's triumphs.

As I prepared for this series I have written I went back and really read all of my verses. Went straight to the Bible and refrained from going from memory. I took the time to really do my research to make sure I do not take quotes out of context or misrepresent God's word. In doing so I was so amazed when I re-read this verse. I not only read the verse but the ones previous to it. Instead of just Phil 4:13 I think I should embrace verses 10-13

(10) I Rejoiced in the Lord greatly
that now at length you have
revived your concern for me. You
were indeed concerned for me
but you had no opportunity
(11) Not that I am speaking
of being in need for I
have learned in whatever
situation I am in to be content
(12) I know how to be brought low
and I know how to abound in any
and every circumstance
I have learned the secret of
facing plenty and hunger
abundance and need
(13) I can do all things through Him
who strengthens me.

WOW! Praise God for truly I have been blessed.
Looking back this almost 30 years I realized that I would choose these same three Bible verses to carry forth with me.. Oh I would hope I will do so with humility and grace. That I would take advantage of all the words God gives me through His book but I will always treasure these three verses.

For God so loved the world.
They that wait upon the Lord.
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me

LUCKY LUCKY me, I am loved.

Making It Public - Part 2

Upon leaving High School in 1980 I was completely prepared to go forth and live my life for Christ. Well as prepared as an 18 year old can be for facing the adult world. I was well armoured and ready to become a soldier of Christ (a phrase from my childhood) more than that I was excited. I had my armour, my shield and my banner and of course those three verses that I had claimed as my very own.

Number 2 was

Is 40:31

They that wait upon the Lord
Shall renew their strength
They shall mount up with wings as eagles
They shall run and not be weary
They shall walk and not feint.

One of the benefits of attending a private protestant high school is the fact that they not only teach you the bible they expect you to incorporate your learning into your everyday life. We used bible verses as part of each of our classes, clubs and teams. Each group would pick a verse that they felt best described them and would use it as part of their meditations, in a way it was another form of a mascot only this time it was the mascot of our faith. Is 40:31 was something of an "it" verse back in the day. It was used frequently it didn't hurt that it had been put to music and was sung often during chapel as well as at church. Our softball team even used it as our team verse so obviously it must be a good one..

Can anyone tell me what a child can possibly know about waiting, this is the age group that invented the phrase "are we there yet". As a teenager waiting means dreading that the phone won't ring and you won't have a date for the weekend or waiting for the results of a particularly difficult test, or waiting to see if you made the play or the team or won the election. Or standing at home plate and waiting for that perfect pitch. Needless to say I had no clue what waiting was and even less on waiting upon God.

When I left school I had such great plans, fantastic hopes and dreams. I had no idea how I was going to make these plans, hopes and dreams happen only that surely they would all fall into place. I knew God had plans for me I even had an idea of what they were. Even now all these years later I believe that. What I didn't understand was that God didn't just have plans for me He had a plan! I knew I was supposed to be a wife and mother. I knew that God had these plans for me, that this was where I would serve God best. Accepting these plans would be defying my family but I understood that I needed to follow God. And yes I said defying. My family expected me to be a doctor, a lawyer, president, a career woman. An interesting mover and shaker. So believe me when I say being "just" a wife and mother was a defiance. I was told "no one has a right to freeload like that" that I was "wasting my brain" and other such things.

Because of the way I was brought up I honestly believed I was "sacrificing" my life for God. But I am an arrogant fool, God gives you your gifts does that not mean He expects us to use them? And when you follow God's plan for you, you do it in His time not yours.

When I was 22 I met a man, a totally unsuitable man, one who had been wicked and wild
divorced not once but twice but he had turned his back on that and was dedicated to family or so he said. He was a good son a dedicated father, charismatic and sexy. He was the flame and I was the moth circling it until I was all but blind to God's plans. I knew I was getting older (ok, stop laughing I was 22 that is old when you are 22) and I needed to get on with God's plan. I was so afraid that no one was going to want me (again not waiting for God and certainly not trusting in Him) no one would love me that I would be alone for the rest of my life missing out on the chance to be wife and mother I rushed into a relationship. Looking back, knowing the two of us as I do now I have to admit I not only rushed into it I forced it. What a disaster!!! I survived a marriage that can easily be described as hell on earth. No joy, no happiness, no life of living according to God's plan. There was misery, despair, disdain, drudgery and contempt. God was not a part of my marriage! I am lucky that God did not abandon me but no instead He continued to protect me even in my arrogance. I stayed in that fiasco of a marriage for 10 long years before finally ending it.

Even then I did not as for God's guidance I knew what had to be done. Yet with every wrong choice, every time I rushed forward knowing what was wrong and ready to fix it all by myself. God blessed and protected me. Why? well not because I am some prize of a follower nope because He loves me and has plans for me. It took me a long long time to let go and really let God. I would pray but then I would start bargaining, then I would ask for forgiveness and say I knew I wasn't supposed to try and bargain with Him, then I would ask for help but I would lay out my plans and let Him know how I needed His help. I did not listen to what He wanted done and I certainly did not wait upon His plans.. Oh arrogant, arrogant child. Can you not just picture God sitting there shaking His head after we finished our little talks? I am so lucky that God did not give up on me.

Now I find myself praying not for what I need as much as for the ability to wait upon God's timing. That I will learn to listen not control. Even as I write this I wonder at my motives. Am I truly trying to share what God has done in my life? Or am I trying to manipulate God's plans again? See one of the negatives to rushing God's plans is that when He speaks you are not quite sure if it is Him. I mean we don't get a lot of burning bushes these days. So you tremble and pray it isn't once again your ego and arrogance taking charge trying to "fix" things.

I submit these words to God asking Him to use them as He sees fit, even if that means He doesn't use them at all. I hope finally I am on the right path and am using one of the gifts He gave me in a manner that becomes Him. and yes, I am praying that I learn to listen and wait.

Making It Public - Part 1

Recently while I was at church part of the sermon was about Making Your Faith Public. This caught my attention. I started writing about my faith and the three bible verses that have made the hugest impact in my life. Instead of writing one huge blog I decided to break it down into three parts this is part 1.

On June 13, 1980 I graduated from Whittier Christian High School. I was full of faith both in God's love and in my ability to accept God's plan in my life and to live a rich and full life in Christ. I left fully armed with the shield of my faith. I was well educated in my faith and inspired by three Bible verses. They were my banner that proceeded me, that declared my faith to the world.

The first was John 3:16 what I believe to be the very foundation of the Christian belief

For God so loved the world
He gave His only begotten Son
So whosoever believith in Him
Shall not perish
But have eternal life.

Pretty basic, God loved us enough to send His Son. To live as man, a perfect life then in His Prime, well I suppose due to the time He was probably pushing towards the end of the average life span but no matter. Anyway At the age of 33 He was accused, tried and convicted of I guess NOT being the Son of God. He was mocked, vilified and finally crucified left to die a horrid and torturous death. We all know the story it has been told over and over again, in film, on TV, in our homes, at our churches. It has been told so much it has taken on almost mythic proportions. Passed along until it has reached fairytale status. We will see the verse blazoned on poster board at a

What an arrogant child I was and like the sheep The Great Shepard claimed us to be I followed the path of least resistance. Seeing the verse I would shake my head, silently mock the person who dared post it, occasionally I would quote it to myself or to those around me, to show my intelligence and Christian education.

One day I started to think just what that verse means. I am a parent I have four beautiful, wonderful children. God more than blessed me with these fabulous shining stars. They constantly bring joy and light into my life. They make my world a wondrous place to be. I watch them grow and develop see them starting out on the paths of their lives, see the things they may accomplish and the people they may become. I have a fierce love for them, intense and proud as only a parent can be. Now as an adult a parent I look at that verse and think. God loved the world - ME - so much He sent His Son to die for me, to be mocked and tortured and crucified for me. So my sins can be washed away.

Let me put this into perspective, real honest perspective. I have a deep and true love for several people the love of a friend to others and general brotherly love to the world. The love that one of God's children should show to the world. Even then knowing that I care, that I want to spend eternity in heaven with you all. There is NO WAY, NO CONCEIVABLE WAY, that I would allow, let alone send forth one (let alone my ONLY one) of my children to suffer such humiliation. To sacrifice even a hair on their heads (ok that is extreme but you get my point) to die for anyone's sins. To let them go KNOWING in advance what would be done to them. Yet God, in His amazing grace did just that. He sent His perfect Son down to live among us, die for us, to die for me..

Oh arrogant vain me, never again will I presume to understand what real unconditional love is. I can only begin to discover what an amazing gift God gave me. Now when I see that verse, plastered on poster board waving in the end zone at a sporting event or on a leaflet, I will not mock that person. No I will give thanks to God because He loved me so much. I will give thanks to God that someone is out there reminding me how much God loved me. Shoot I may just go make a few poster boards myself. I will do what I can to make Jesus' sacrifice a commonplace fact. One every single person I know is aware of. Then I will rejoice that I was given such an opportunity.

A New Dawn

So life has once again gotten interesting... these past two years have been dark, very dark a difficult place for me to be. Me the woman who honestly believes that there is always good, always a silver lining, the glass is always (just a bit over half full)...

I have been known to drive those who know me completely bonkers with what they call my inability to face reality. What they don't understand it isn't not facing reality it is refusing to let reality run my life.. I mean I know my life is difficult, I know I have been a single mother raising four kids on her own for 12 years now. I know life has been a series of bad choices and rotten luck for many of them. But I also know I have met some amazing and wonderful people along the way. I know I have faced my demons and walked away from them. I know that I would not have done so had my life been different. So I choose to rejoice!! I choose to be grateful for what I have no longer wallow in what I have not!

I firmly believe the true miracles in our lives come not from grand sweeping gestures from God (and yes I have had those) but in the fact that tomorrow the sun will still come up. That eventually I will have worked my way out of these troubles and found joy in my accomplishment. That I remembered to lift my burdens to God along the way, that I remembered that I am not in charge merely along for the ride and that I have been given an amazing gift of the life I have. If that makes me an idealist, one who lives in fantasyland.. then hello fantasyland!! cuz I am so not leaving..

Did You Ever?

Did you ever express yourself for the sheer joy of sharing who and what you are and find out later that your words hurt someone else? Did you ever wonder why it is that no matter what you say it is the wrong thing? Did you ever try to live your own life and not make it about others and then find out that you are making it all about you?

Recently I have had some pretty crappy times, I have leaned on people and frankly I hate it. Because I hate taking from people I am not gracious with it yet with the way things have been going about in my life for the past year I have needed all the charity I can get.

The things is charity is an interesting thing, people expect something back from it. If you are lucky all they expect is for you to pick yourself up and pay it forward. The thing is picking yourself back up is hard sometimes seemingly impossible. Especially when you are being monitored and watched for mistakes.When your very words of growth are used as an attack on those who have loved you in the past.

I have been given a lot lately, by people who genuinely cared I accepted it in the vein it was offered but now I wonder should I have not.. should I have just accepted the consequences of my choices and moved on? and then I decided, I am so imperfect.. I am such a flawed and broken vessel... who am I to decide what I am worthy or unworthy of?

So today I am reminding myself of a simple and basic truth, choosing to live by it.. bring it close to my heart and truly listen to the words.. and sometimes it means remembering to love yourself..

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always preserves."
-- 1 Corinthians 13:4-7