Thursday, February 28, 2013

Blessings.

They come in all sizes.  Some come in - others we have the pleasure of being the "giver." I would say that my favorite is being the 'blesser' - but I like receiving too.

Life is full of them.  Rich with them.  Blessings happen everyday.  I thank God for my abundance, because I live an abundant life.  If a person were to look at my circumstances, they would think, are you crazy?  However, to me, I've blessed.  It is the simple things.  Loving and being loved.  I've ached for it my entire life.

When I first moved here (in the locale that I am now) I did not know anyone.  Now I have several friends, and an entire church family.  This  makes me feel rich beyond measure.  I no longer have those days of misery - when I did not have anyone to call to talk to -- nor did my phone ever ring.  An, it's not just that, it's an internal deal.  Since I've come to love God the way that I do - I never feel alone anymore.  I know intrinsically that I am not alone.  I've had times, when I've had low moods - where I've asked God to hold me, and I've felt the warmth of just that.  Do I miss relationships?  Sure.  I'm sorta human -- but a Godly human.  I no longer consider myself a creature of this world.  I don't adhere to the things of this world.  This is the  kind of blessings that I speak of.  I know what my Lord has in store for me.  I'm anticipant.

I had an opportunity yesterday that I seldom get.  My neighbor stopped by and had asked a favor.  I always try and be helpful.  In midst of the conversation, that usually ends up being a counseling session -- (praise God) she revealed to me that she doesn't eat - because she has no food.  Well, this was a RIPE opportunity for me to help.  I got the biggest bag I could find and started filling it with food.  I did this, and I write this not to be the Peacock --- but to acknowledge that God has given me abundance so that I can give to others.  It felt so wonderful, so wonderful, to be able to help her.  I noticed that the more food I put in to the bag, the more she seemed uncomfortable.  It is hard to receive.  She kept telling me, "I don't want to take from you," and I told her "you are blessing me!!!  It was a very humbling experience for my neighbor - and I held her and she cried.  The richness that I felt was extensive, but I also, felt for her.  How could I not?  I've been in her shoes...  There has been a time, when I've had food given to me, because I had so little.  The beauty of this is that I'd prayed for God to let my branches - bear fruit.  Yesterday -- it did.  How awesome is that?

Yesterday was an absolutely incredible day.  Church Bible study was amazing.  We studied all of the "In Him" passages.  Mostly out of Ephesians.  I adore my church, as anyone who reads my blog knows.  It's transformed my life.   It (it's message of Grace) has brought alive in me, what I never knew existed until now.  I am going to be baptized into Grace in a few Sundays.  I'll blog about that experience.  My life is just so expansively rich.  I don't have words to describe it.    However, it is all about blessings.

The man that I loved with all my heart (well there's two of them) but the ONE is back in my life - albeit via Skype from time to time -- but at least I get to talk and see him.  I don't even care if he reads this.  He knows how I feel about him.  And I've made a new male friend that is a Godly man.  He has been helping me, I went to the hospital over the weekend - and he took care of my pooch.  And me too.  So I've made another new friend.  He goes to my church.  Another blessing.

I'm awaiting the call from the interview.  If God intends for me to have it, it will manifest.  If not, then He has something more in store for me, something greater.  I have very  positive feelings about it - but with my Lord, who would not?  Things just take time.  God's time.  I've already told the Lord that I accept whatever may come.  It's His will, not mine.

Be blessed, in all that you do.  Thank God for your abundance - your family, your friends, your home, your food, your life.  I thank God every time I take a shower for hot water.  There are many third world countries that don't even have bathrooms.  We are a 'blessed' civilization.  We don't think about it, because we take it for granted.  Gratitude, for the blessed lives we lead.  My life is very simple - but I see richness in everyday details.  The birds are starting to return in preparation for spring - and I just thingk it is the most loveliest of sounds.  Their chirping makes me happy.  New life, the earth will come alive again, just as God promised.  Thank God for the seasons - the seasons of your life.  Even the hard ones, for without them, like the rain -- how would we ever glorify the sun?

Be a blessing to someone today.  However small, however large.  Listen to the small (or loud) voice inside you.  Go the extra mile for someone you don't even know.  Don't let it matter who knows or why it matters.  Because it does  matter.  It matters in our hearts.  It matters in our minds.  Blessings, receiving and giving always matter.  Be a person that matters.  Be a blessing.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Love


Love is a little word with a multitude of meanings.  It is a word that crosses cultures, races, and great divides.  I suppose what I'm saying is, it's pretty much universal.  At least, it is supposed to be.

I liken it best as the unconditional kind.  It's the way I try and love people.  Perhaps it seems simple - but yet it is not.  Unconditional love is either (I believe) inborn or learned through lessons in life.  The kind of lessons that are the hardest, usually when one endures heartache or some kind of soul suffering. I used to think that to suffer was to know that we were alive, but I no longer believe this - I now know that there is peace in living.  I just does not have to be so hard.

Loving some folks is difficult.  Liking some people - is down right hard to do.  However, being the person that I am - I will try.  Actually it's more than mere trying, I apply myself to it.  I make it a way of life, because it is one of the few commandments that Jesus gave us.  I'm not speaking of "Law" - the ten commandments - for when Jesus came He brought us a new covenant.  Galatians 2:21 (KJV) states: "I do not frustrate the grace of God:  for if righteousness come by law, then Christ is dead in vain." - This means we are not under the "Law" and longer of the Old Testament.  Christ life, death, resurrection - brought us a new set of laws --- The Law of Love. 1. Love thy neighbor as thyself, 2.Love the Lord your God with all your Heart, with all your soul and with all your might.  These are the commandments of Jesus.  We are no longer under jewish law any longer.  Christ paid the price for our sins - on the cross.  When Christ said, "It is Finished," He meant it.

Grace is a gift.  It is our salvation.  It's free because Jesus paid for it with his life.

Now, I am not a religious person, at all - but I do believe in the Bible.  I don't know how a person can follow Jesus and not.  What I 'm getting to here is however, love.  Love that we all have, love we receive, love we give and love, as a way of life.  It sounds pretty - but how easy is it to do, especially in these times?  Loving nice people is easy.  Unless you have problems with them.  Then the mind goes elsewhere -- the judgements start.

We categorize folks.  Good, bad, okay, sorta okay - and awful!  I think it's human nature -- the stretch is to stop doing this.  If we look inward - and wonder what it feels like to have this done to ourselves, we are much less likely to do it to others.  Hence, the Golden Rule.  I think it's pretty cool actually.  Then there's "walk a mile in my shoes" -- for no one know's another circumstance - yet we are so quick to delve out our opinions.

What would happen if we just saw people as good humans?  What would happen if (as the little plaque above my computer states) we just believed the best of everybody?????  How radical is that kind of thinking?  I bet we wouldn't be trying to kill each other for cutting someone off in traffic.  Our mindsets today are all me, me, me.  What if we actually tried to first acknowledge our neighbor?  Then, tried to get to know them?  Set aside judgements - and let them be what they are-- what we all are, flawed human beings.  No one among us has it all figured out.  I don't.  You don't  - and what if we just lived knowing it was okay to be wrong sometimes?  To not know the answers.  What if we just tried to live in a state of loving each other ~~~ just the way we are?  Letting people BE.  Stop the tall, skinny, fat, sweet, pretty, ugly, ETC.  I think it is illuminating.  It is evolving.  Rise above the crowd of simple thought.  Enter into the realm of unconditional love.

I adore the mindset.  I adore the thought processes.  I love people in such a way that allows them to be who they are - at their own expense.  And just keep loving them anyway.  I see people's potential.  I don't look for flaws.  I don't want to see flaws - I don't look for them because most folks know that they have them.  It ISN'T MY JOB.  It isn't any of our jobs.

Unconditional love is freeing.  It really means that I'm okay with me - and I'm okay with you - too.  It gives us permission to grow and take risks, to be vital and alive.  It make people know that they are accepted.  We all need that.  It validates our humanness.  And I believe it reflects God.

Love - be the person who spreads it - who contributes to it, at your work, at your home, everywhere that you go.  Let it be your "heart-condition."  Most of all, let it begin in your soul.  If you do not love yourself, it will be difficult for you to exhibit it to others.  The journey towards inward love is filled with hard work at times, but the price of freedom always is.  It is well worth it's fee.  Peace, fulfillment, illumination, and evolution is it's gift.  As so is love.





Sunday, February 17, 2013

Seven Wonders of the World Movie

Seven Wonders of the World Movie: It's so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle today that we naturally begin to take some of life's most beautiful gifts for granted. I love watching this story unfold through the eyes of a child. It's a reminder that our most priceless possessions were given to us free at birth.

"Your Love is So Amazing" by Michael White



My Church - Our Praise Music - Our Michael.........Praise God!!  One of my favorites.

Glorious Day (Living He loved me) ~Casting Crowns

Friday, February 15, 2013

God - Part ll



What does one now, say about God.  I've shared my experience, my struggles - and that I knew (not as much as I do now) that God was with me...  The only part that I did not include was the surgeries, the infections, and the like, but that isn't what I want to write about.  I doubt that this is anything one would want to read.  Those were extremely hard times.  However, I did heal.  

Healing is to me multifaceted. There are times when the emotional pain is so brutal, you do not think you will survive it.  I've had times when I've been so ill, I've actually prayed for death.  I look back now and regret this - but I could not see an end to the suffering.  And this, would cause some people to say, "there is no God."  I'm here to tell you - He brought me healing, in a most unusual way.  God always does things in such a way that is unique.  It has happened in my life where I absolutely knew, it was a miracle from God.  It is usually a subtle, quiet answer that comes from an unlikely source.  God does not do things boastfully.  At least He has not in my life.  He is gracious, humble, and so compassionate - working through other people most of the time.  This is where I think most people don't see that it is really God, nor give Him credit where credit's due.  God works through people, all the time.  

People expect great and wondrous things to happen with God, like Santa Claus- and God can do this - no problem, but often times he chooses to be quiet and work in the background of our lives.  I've said it over and over, the miracles are there, if a person chooses to look for them.  He wants us to have new eyes.  To be open to beauty - kindness - compassion - to live a open hearted life.  The Holy Spirit (if a person is a believer) will guide and direct you.  That nudging, that gut feeling, I call it - is the Holy Spirit guiding you.  A person has to get still enough, and quiet enough to listen, and know themselves to recognize this inner voice.  It is easy to blow off - but if we want the lives He would have us to have - we will listen and be obedient.  

God is not vengeful, angry, nor wrathful.  Much to many's identification of Him. How could He have given His only Son for us, if He were?  How much more compassion could He have had for us?  To have planned to (it began back in the Old Testament) become man, come to earth - heal, teach, mentor --- everything that Jesus did during His life - all while knowing He would eventually die a horrible death.  Jesus did this willingly, for US.  All of us, and future generations.  So that we may have life, and life everlasting through His suffering, death, and resurrection.  He bore all of the burden, upon Himself.  He did this in human flesh.  He bore it for our salvation, and did so willingly.  This to me, is the ultimate of sacrifices.  What a heart of compassion beyond man's comprehension!!!  Then for man (and women) to think that God is mad, vengeful, and wrathful?  This I don't understand.  

The God that I know, loves beyond any earthly understanding we will ever have.  A love that we will never fully comprehend at any time while we are on earth.  The problem being, in most churches today - we are told what we do wrong - over and over - every Sunday - it's pounded into us.  As if we have to be "re-saved" every week, we're so unworthy.  A person gets saved once, once you believe upon Christ - you are saved FOR LIFE.  We may struggle, but we do not loose our Grace.  The free gift of Grace that Jesus gave to us upon the cross.  Just read the new Testament - read Apostle Paul's Grace messages - and you will know unequivocally that you are saved, "by Grace alone." We are not under the Law, any longer.  Law brings sin consciousness.  No one could live under the Law, that is why Jesus came.  Jesus was the final Lamb of God.  The final price was paid in Jesus, on the cross when He said, "IT IS FINISHED!"  

We do a disgrace to the price Jesus paid, when we feel like we have to work for our salvation.  Do good - to get good.  Grace is a gift - you never have to work for a gift.  If you have to work for it, it isn't a gift.  Jesus paid it all.  God knew what He was doing - and we cheapen the cross when we feel like we have to pay for it.  Once a person understands, Christ shines through you.  You have no desire to sin.  This has radically changed my life.  It's called radical Grace.  I've often spoken of my church - Midland - and Paul White Ministries.  All of his sermons are free online to download - and listen to online.  The website is www.paulwhiteministeries.org.  It is a message like no other - The Grace message.  Grace churches are popping up all over.  

I join my church this Sunday - and I am so excited.  God has done amazing things for me this past year.  I had an interview yesterday for a counseling job.  I have not interviewed for my chosen field in 12 years.  I'm doing freelance work - and the thing about it is that God has healed me, throughout this past year.  I could not even bring myself to do a resume, because of the way that I felt about myself.  The regret and shame that I had from the mistakes from my past.  I know now that I am a child of the Living God.  I am the righteousness of God in Christ.  My life has been transformed - in the year I've been at Midland.  God has done for me, what I could have never done for myself.  I'm deeply loved, and highly favored - God knows the desires of my heart.  I love Him more deeply that I ever have before - and it just keeps growing.  I cannot tell you all of the good things that have/are happening in my life - and two short years ago I was as close to homelessness as they come.  Everything that I owned (basically my clothes and shoes) was in my car.  I was a wreck.  But God has changed all of that, and so much more.  

So God?  It is personal, He is my closest confidante, my hope, my everything.  He is loving beyond our comprehension.  He is infinite, omniscient, omnipresent, and real.  I love Him with all my heart.  This is God.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

God



How does one begin to write about God?  For me, it has to be my personal experience.  

My Father took me to church as a wee child.  I learned about Jesus and the disciples.  I was taught all the bible stories, by very kind people.  From there, it was my Grandmother that took me.  My Grandmother was, and still is even though she passed a long time ago now, one of the best versions of the Christian walk - I've ever known.  She was the kindest, most giving, humble person I think I've ever known.  She did not just talk the talk, but she walked the walk.  I admired her greatly.  As I did my Father.  My Dad was very gentle as well as kind - but Daddy had a bit of an ego in him.  I know what pushed him to this limit -- as many things in life will.  However, I am immensely grateful for both of them - for laying the foundation of a Godly life for me.  I believe that it is the greatest and most important task that a parent has, to teach them the things of God.  

I went astray in my teens - until a friend asked me to go to church with her.  She was so excited about her church.  Being that I knew this was "the right thing," and looked up to her - I went to a revival that her church was having.  It changed my life forever.  I was a mere 13 years old.  

Now this could be then end of this blog - but as with life -- things happened, as with the period between when I stopped going to church with Grandma.  Life was not kind.  My family was very dysfunctional.  The church that I joined was glorious, and my experience, wonderful.  Then there came the day when the pastor was leaving.  I had adored him.  Brother Bill was the glue that held us together - or at least in my ripe christian life, so I thought.  I had made him sort of an idol.  I was not mature enough to understand.  I was devastated.  God was strong in me, but I was not strong in God - and there is such a circumstance.  My foundation had not been built.  Yet and still, the Holy Spirit was inside of me.  I would find my way back home, but it would be many long years.  

I attended church throughout my life.  I would feel God's presence and I never forgot how to pray.  I knew that I was a child of God - but because of the things that I'd done, and would do- felt so unworthy.  My addiction actually began in my teenage years.  I had two brothers that we active users, and I knew all about drugs.  My middle brother got me high for the first time in sixth grade.  I was drinking by age 11.  My addiction plagued my school years and I barely passed high school.  I married right out of school and proceeded to use in my marriage - until it too ended.  I nearly had  a nervous breakdown at 21.  I had health problems -  chronic headaches and migraines.  I became addicted to pain killers.  I really would do any drug that I could get my hands on because of the abuse that I'd suffered as a child - and having had a narcissistic mother.  To put it bluntly - I was a wreck.  A shell of a person, overcome with emotional pain.  I had no idea how to deal with any of it.  So I'd swallow anything that I thought might make it go away.....But God was with me.  

After several more years of this and a divorce - bars, bad relationships, and my addiction taking to heights I hate to even think about - I agreed to go to treatment in 1987.  The ripe age of 24.  Before I knew it I was on a plane to Minnesota - my first plane ride ever - to meet someone at the baggage claim to take me to Hazelden.  I was terrified.  It had been actually, by divine intervention that I'd came to the help that I did.  And God was with me.  

I sobered up - for 9 years.  Went to college - and became a counselor.  It was the highlight of my life.  I had succeeded for the first time in my life.  But - after a while I started making bad choices.  I was in pain after a fall - a bad fall.  At the tale's end of nine years, I was in a bad relationship that I could not seem to get out of -- and a doctor prescribed a muscle relaxer.  It was not supposed to be narcotic - nor habit forming.  It was.  I knew better - but I kept on taking it.  It was my downfall.  What a downfall it was.  I was soon using and counseling at the same time.  I regret this to this day.  The pain of this has ran so deeply in me, it has taken me years - to try and overcome it.  I lost everything that meant anything to me.  But God was with me.......

The pain ruled my life for the next 12+ years.  I've been reclusive - so full of shame.  Shame is a horrible emotion.  One that tells you, you don't have the right to exist.  It tells you, everyone would be better off if you didn't.  I was so wounded - because I am such a creature of integrity - but I'd went against everything I stood for.  I blamed myself for my addiction.  

So much happened in those years. I was sexually harassed at the last job I worked.  It was a nightmare.  I feared for my life.  He was insane.  I began drinking daily when I'd won the case - and he got 18 days off without pay.  When he returned - he started in on me again and I broke down.  They gave me two weeks off with pay.  I drank for two weeks straight.  Pain once again had almost devoured me.  I went to treatment again - and this time is was humiliating.  There I sat, as a counselor - being taught what I already knew.  One can imagine the pain of this.  But God was with me.....

These last few years have been just as hard.  The medicine, the surgeries.  I've had no choice but to take the medicine.  High doses of it.  To the point of passing out.  Often times I'd wake up on the floor in my apartment - especially when I had the internal pain pumps.   The pain was so intense, they could not give me enough medicine to stop it without almost knocking me out.  My family stayed angry with me because I was forever falling asleep.  It was a horrible existence.  So I stayed to myself.  I grieved, even in the midst of the medicine - I talked to God.  I grieve and grieved and grieved.  I prayed and prayed and prayed.  I had various infections due to the pain pumps.  I once had to have antibiotics shipped in dry ice and administered I.V. I had such a bad infection.  I did that for three months.  It was horrible.  Nurses in the house everyday, and I could not go anywhere.  I had a two inch deep hole in my side - that had to heal from the inside out.  It was where the pain pump was.   But God was with me.......

I tell you all off this to let you know, I've been through some things.  Some very difficult things.    About 17 surgeries - from assorted things.  My life has not been an easy one.  I've been in and out of church.  I've came off massive amounts of pain medicine... and the withdrawal was horrific.  I've struggled with depression for 22 years.  The tip of the iceberg was when my Father passed in 2010.  The events that ensued then, were life changing.  I got my Medtronic stimulator a month prior to his death.  This was to be a new lease on life.  Little did I know that my life was about to be torn apart.  But God was with me..........

Geographical cures, spending spree's, relationships, food, drugs, just about everything there is to try to cover the wounds of life -- I've tried it.  The only thing that works, is hard grief work and God.  I've had years and years of therapy as well.  Therapy helps, but Jesus is my ultimate Counselor.  Him, I don't have to pay to listen to me.  He speaks to me through my heart.  

For all intensive reasons, I shouldn't be alive - some of the really insane things that I've done.  The dangerous positions that I've put myself in.  The mixing of narcotics.  I cannot tell you the number of times I've passed out.  I've shared that I woke up once after catching my hair on fire with a cigarette.  I've burned mattresses, couches, and everything in between.  But God was with me.  

God's mercy.  It's almost unexplainable.  Most people see God as angry and revengeful.  I discovered, He is not mad at me, and He is not mad at you.  This is Grace - what Jesus gave us upon the Cross.  Grace.  It is the only thing that keeps me going.  My faith, and the internal knowing that if it had not been for Him, I could not have made it through what I did - little alone have healed from it.  I found a church that is indescribable - and it is my home.  I'm at peace for the first time in my life.  Even with all of the junk (to put it mildly) that I've been through - He still loves me and has a plan for my life.  I've seen miracles happen in my (as messed up as they come) family.  God's grace is astounding.  If He can turn my life around - to where I live in peace just think what He can do for you.  He did not come to save the righteous - the righteous don't need God.  He came for those of us with difficult lives - to heal and restore.  And heal and restore, He does.  Prayer works.  God is greater than I can comprehend - yet my personal Savior.  God is:  My everything.