September 26, 2014


Confession time again. I feel like I am always confessing to you guys, but I figure if my struggles are going to help other people... why not?  God puts things on my heart for a reason, and I know that God has called me to be an encourager so.. since I have no idea who he wants me to encourage, I will just write about it here.

Lately, I have been feeling rather overwhelmed.  Over the past month, I have dealt with one thing after another. Some of these things may not seem like a huge deal, but when you have four or five of these things piled on top of you at once, it feels like a crushing weight on your shoulders.  For the past several weeks, I have felt like I've had the weight of the world on my shoulders.  I've been feeling very “off” for lack of a better word.  I haven't felt energized... at ALL.  I have been feeling rather down in the dumps, stressed out.. haven't been sleeping the greatest... you get the point.  I've tried and tried and tried to not be so stressed out.  I've prayed about it over and over, but... nothing changed.  That is until last night.  Last night I finally just cried out to God.  I was writing how I felt in my prayer journal and I finally realized.. like REALLY realized that I can't do it alone. I can't handle all this weight on my own.  So I started giving it to God and laying this burden on His shoulders.  I found myself going through highlighted verses on my Bible app.  The following verses are what I was drawn to:

Matthew 11:28-30 “Then Jesus said, 'Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you.  Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.'” (NLT)

Psalms 55:22 “Give your burdens to the lord, and he will take care of you.  He will not permit the godly to slip and fall.” (NLT)

All of Psalm 91 too.

Ya know.. God doesn't expect us to go through struggles on our own. In fact, He doesn't WANT us to.  The Bible tell us over and over again to give our burdens to Him.  The above references are only a few.  As I read these verses, I felt a peace wash over me.  I laid my head down on my pillow, and I think I actually felt the hand of God on my shoulder helping me relax.  Our Heavenly Father does not want us to be stressed out or down in the dumps.  He doesn't want us to try to do this thing called life on our own.  He wants us to reach out for Him and cling to Him as our lifeline.  My favorite verse came to my mind again over the last 24 hours.  Jeremiah 29:13 “You will seek me and find me when you seek me WITH ALL YOUR HEART.”  That is the key right there.  God is not really interested in half-hearted seeking.  He is waiting for you to seek Him with your whole heart.  He is waiting for you to come to the end of yourself where you are finally ready to give it completely to Him.  It's hard to do because we, as humans, like to control as much as we can, but when we finally realize there's nothing we can do about it... then we are ready to give it to Him and watch Him work miracles.

I want you to know that if you are struggling with feeling overwhelmed, you are not alone.  I also want you to know that our Heavenly Father does not want you to go through this on your own.  Cry out to Him with all your heart, and He will meet you.

Father, I pray for those that are reading this and are overwhelmed right now... whether it's financial burdens, emotional, spiritual, physical.. whatever it is Father, I pray that you will meet them in their weakness and be their strength.  Lift them up when they can no longer stand on their own two feet.  Give them peace where they are currently feeling turmoil.  Heal their broken spirits and restore them.  I have seen you work miracles before my very eyes, and I know that anything is possible with You.  You have raised people back to life, restored broken marriages, done things that have been deemed impossible.  Lord, I pray that you would show up in a mighty way and work miracles in the lives of those reading this right now.  Show them Your awesome power.  These things I pray, in Jesus' Name, AMEN.
If you want to hear a great song that I absolutely love, check out the song Overwhelmed by Big Daddy Weave. Also their song Redeemed is great too.  These songs remind me of just how amazing God is, and how much he loves us.

July 20, 2014

God is our refuge and Strength

It's been a long time since I wrote a blog. My life has been crazy over the past few months. Normally my summer is rather boring, but I've been almost constantly busy and haven't had much of a chance to slow down. The past month has been filled with a lot of goodbyes and a lot of heartache for myself, my family and my church. This alone isn't necessarily what is the hardest part for me though. Satan has been attacking me over the past month or so... more specifically over the past few weeks. I've been struggling again with fear and depression: two of my lifelong weaknesses. I've also been rather self-absorbed giving myself a pity party without entirely realizing it. All I've been able to focus on is how awful this is for ME and how this is going to affect ME. I haven't thought much about the other people involved.

A few weeks ago my great aunt died. This is my grandpa's twin sister. That was a very sober thing because, as far as I know, nobody knew if she was a Christian or not. About a week later my uncle died (dad's brother). This was another hard one because we weren't sure if he was a Christian or not, but thankfully I have been told that he may have become a Christian before he died. Thank God! One week after his death, an older lady from our church died. She was a wonderful lady that loved everybody and God. I will always remember how she asked me how I was doing and how my son was doing. She was sweet and feisty. :-) A few days after this lady died, our pastor announced his resignation as lead pastor for our church. He is leaving in a few weeks. I have to tell you, that this last announcement has hit me the hardest. I will explain why.

About five years ago my now ex-husband and I were having another rough patch in our marriage. Pastor K and his wife decided to meet with us every week for several months to try to help us out. That was my first insight as to what these two were like. :-) Three years ago to the day, I moved back to Nebraska and to this area after leaving my husband. Pastor K was the main one to help me through the most difficult times. I remember going to him crying because... I just didn't know what to do. I hit the point where I was scared of everything and totally depressed. He listened to me and gave me words of wisdom and was basically like a father to me. The church would call this a shepherd.... someone who looks out for the flock. The flock being the church. (Disclaimer: This does NOT discredit my own father and how he has helped me over the years.) He is also only one of several people who have been there for me over the years. He's just the only one leaving.

Pastor K gave a sermon this morning based off of Psalm 46. The first three verses go like this:

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.

I love these verses. They seem to fit so well with what is going on right now. I have been feeling so uneasy about everything going on right now. I know that God has great plans in store for me, but I'm having a really hard time looking past my current circumstances. On my way home from church, I was really thinking about everything and these verses. I realized that I have been holding on to all these things going on and not really giving them over to God. I have been carrying this burden by myself. Sure, I've been crying out to God and basically begging and pleading for answers, but I've still kept myself worrying about everything. God is my refuge and my STRENGTH, an ever-present help in time of trouble. I don't have to carry these burdens on my own. God promises that He is our STRENGTH. He will carry these burdens for us. We just have to give them to Him. And when troubles come our way, we don't have to worry about them because he is ALWAYS there for us when we need Him. This verse in John keeps coming to my mind: “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.” These are the very words of Jesus. He never promised life would be easy, but He did promise that He is greater than our troubles.

Wherever you are right now... I hope you realize that God is right there waiting for you to run to Him with whatever is going on in your life. You don't have to take this road on your own. Reach out to Him. You will NEVER regret it.

Father, I pray that you would be with all those that are hurting right now. Give them Your peace that transcends ALL understanding. Reach out to them right now, Father, and comfort them in their grief and sorrow and desperation. Reveal yourself to them in a very real way. These things I pray, in Jesus' name. Amen

March 28, 2014

Oh, to be pursued by God!!!

This past month has been an interesting month. It's been fairly busy, but.. it's been pretty good. Problem is...I haven't been spending as much time with God as I should be.  I want to feel close to Him, I just have a hard time getting the motivation to do it.  It amazes and frustrates me how easy it is to get distracted and find yourself doing things that aren't as important. Next thing you know... you're not spending any time with God except maybe a couple minutes here and there.  This morning I was driving and "Closer to Your Heart" by Natalie Grant came on the radio.  After that, "Middle of your Heart" by For King and Country came on.  Let's just say, I got the message. After that song, "Kings and Queens" by Audio Adrenaline came on.  Then a few minutes later as I was pulling into my destination, "Closer to your Heart" came on AGAIN on a different radio station. I love it when God speaks to me, especially through music. I can't tell you how many times He has used a song, or in this situation multiple songs, to speak to me.  It brings a smile to my face and tears to my eyes when I realize I am being pursued by God and that He loves me. I love those reminders, especially when I have felt pretty dry for awhile.  My heart's desire really IS to be closer to God's heart. I've felt what it's like to be close to Him, and it is the best feeling in the world.

I have been doing a lot of thinking over the past several weeks, and I have come to the conclusion that I am pretty content with where I am right now.  I am completely content, if not happy, being single.  There are even some days where I'm really glad I don't have somebody else to deal with. lol  I have my son, but.. that's a different story.  I know that I do not need a man in my life to make me happy or to help support me.  I may not make a lot of money, but I make enough to have what I need, and that's just fine with me. I really am blessed.  I may not have any friends to hang out with, but I have a family who is extremely supportive and helps me out when they can.  I also have people from church who I can talk to and who pray for me when I need them to. I have other friends who live far away that I talk to, who make me laugh and also pray for me when I need them to.  Best of all, I have a God who is crazy about me and loves me no matter what.  What more do I need?  Sure, I still deal with conflict with certain people, but.. oh well. That's life, right?  Why in the world should I feel sorry for myself when there are people out there who have it far worse than me?

Oh, to be pursued by God!  :-)

March 2, 2014

Desires of the Heart and Relationships

I have been having a hard time with relationships lately. I find myself feeling guilty a lot about things I've said or done, and the hardest part for me is knowing whether or not I've really done anything wrong. It's easy to figure out when you've said something hurtful (most of the time), and I usually feel convicted when I say something like that and feel bad until I apologize. But there are also times when I feel bad about doing or saying something that just doesn't really seem wrong, and I can't get past the guilty feeling. Satan has made me feel bad for basically being me and for wanting friendships with people that could very well be valuable to me. He has been bringing up a lot of my insecurities again too which is really frustrating because my initial reaction then is to withdraw and isolate myself.... which is what I have been doing. I have found myself shutting down, even when I am talking to people that I really love, simply because I am afraid of getting hurt. I take everything personally when I shouldn't, and that just feeds on my insecurities. I have found myself thinking lately that I thought it was easier when I was going through a really difficult time than it is now to talk to people and to trust them because what did I have to lose then?

I find myself really frustrated because I have nobody to hang out with, nobody to talk to face to face and share my heart and my struggles with. I have nobody to hold me accountable and nobody who confides in me (which may or may not be true). I guess I have just been longing for something that I may never have in another human being.

Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

I like these verses, but.... how do you get past a desire that just seems to keep burning inside of you? It is so hard, and it makes me wonder if that desire is supposed to go away. I've prayed and prayed and prayed and it's still there. I guess it's those times when you really have to trust God and wait on His timing. If you are going through this same thing, I want you to know that you are not alone. I struggle with this very thing a lot. I trust God in my head, but it is so hard to trust Him in my heart sometimes.

Father, I do not understand sometimes where these desires inside my heart come from. I do not know if they come from You or if they are just my flesh trying to weigh me down. Give me and others going through the same thing discernment and guidance, Lord, and if these desires are not from You, I pray that You would remove them from my heart and from the hearts of others. I pray that my words will bring comfort to others who are struggling with the same thing. In Jesus' Name. Amen

After writing this, a lady from my church sent me a message inviting me to a Women's Study and fellowship on Tuesday nights. I am amazed at how quickly God works when we reach out for help. Please be in prayer for me that this fellowship will be just what I need, and I really want to thank those of you who have read these blogs I post and have walked beside me on this journey called life.  I am very thankful to God for the friendships and relationships He has brought into my life.

February 17, 2014

Heaven is For Real, But So is Hell

Matt 13:24-29 and 36-40
The Parable of the Weeds

24 Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. 26 When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.
27 “The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’
28 “‘An enemy did this,’ he replied.
“The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’
29 “‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’”

36 Then he left the crowd and went into the house. His disciples came to him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.”
37 He answered, “The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the people of the kingdom. The weeds are the people of the evil one, 39 and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.
40 “As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. 41 The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. 42 They will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears, let them hear.”

There has been so much hype over the past few years about heaven and how it is real and all the wonderful things that go with it.  I admit to reading the book, and I really liked the book. It gave me peace seeing some of the things I get to look forward to when I get to heaven, but we need to see both sides of the coin here.  Heaven is real, but so is hell.... and the truth is many will be going to hell simply because they have not believed in Jesus/God and have not accepted His free gift of salvation.  The truth is, if you don't have a relationship with God, you will be going to hell.  That sounds harsh, but it is true.... and hell is not to be taken lightly.  You can't even imagine how horrible it will be.  I recently started reading the book “23 Minutes in Hell”.  The imagery that he describes in that book is horrifying.  Imagine having foot-long claws ripping the flesh off your bones and seeing it just hanging there... feeling the pain, but not being able to die.  The heat is unbearable, and there is absolutely no water there for you to quench your thirst.  Some people will be burning in a pit of fire for eternity.  Can you imagine your flesh being on fire yet not being able to die?  Some people think that hell will be no big deal. They say that they will be able to party with their friends there.  The truth is, you will see other people there, but you will be in so much torment that your main focus will be on yourself.  You will be able to remember people from your life on earth, but that will not bring you any comfort.  Also, imagine being surrounded by humungous scary-looking demons who hate you because you were made in God's image.

It makes me so sad to think about all the people that are going to be going to hell simply because they did not believe.

Matthew 7:13-14:  “Enter through the narrow gate.  For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”
Those verses are talking about heaven and hell.  Wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to hell, and many enter through it.  But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life/Heaven, and only a few find it.  Think about that. What does that say?  That says that there will be far more people going to hell than go to heaven.  This is not what God wanted for His creation.  He wants that none should perish.  2 Peter 3:9 says “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness.  He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”  I love this verse because it talks about how patient God is with His creation.  He is waiting patiently for the right time to come back because He doesn't want anybody to perish.  Think about that. God loves His creation.  It hurts him far more deeply than any of us could imagine when He sees people going to hell.  The end is coming people... far sooner than any of us will be ready for.  Are you ready?

If you want to find out how you can know God/Christ personally, send me a message or leave a comment. Also, if you would like to learn a little more about the End Times and what to look for, read Matthew 24.

Father, I pray that You touch the hearts and minds of those that read this.  I pray that their eyes will be opened to the truth and that, if they do not have a personal relationship with You yet, that they will seek You and find You when they seek You with all their hearts. Amen

February 9, 2014

Where is my focus?

I have been struggling for several months now with getting and keeping my focus where it needs to be.  After getting back from Mexico last June, it was so easy for me to spend hours praying and reading my Bible, but then I started working at a job that totally flip-flopped my schedule and my Bible reading became pretty much non-existent, and my prayer life was hugely lacking too.  Ever since then I have been really struggling with getting back to that place where I enjoy and look forward to spending that much time with God.  I really want to get back to that place, but I just keep finding myself distracted by so many other things.  The past couple weeks have been especially challenging for me because I have found my mind preoccupied with something that it should not be preoccupied with.  I kept pleading with God to take it away, and over time, He has, but this morning I was really convicted by a couple verses that our pastor shared.  These verses are out of Colossians:

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.  Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. (Colossians 3:1-2)

While the pastor was reading these verses, I was brought to tears because I felt God speaking those words to me, reminding me that my focus has not been where it needs to be.  It was then that I felt really convicted to give up something that has been taking a lot of my time.  God's desire is that we be His top priority. In fact, He commands it. I long to follow God more closely; I just get so distracted with the things of the world.  Our pastor's main scripture was Matthew 6:25-34.  These verses tell us not to be anxious about anything.  The pastor talked about how Jesus told us to consider the birds of the air.  To consider means to stop and really think about something.  So if we consider the birds of the air and how God takes care of them.. what conclusion do we come to?  God provided everything for them that they needed.  They didn't have to worry about where they were going to get their food, which is something essential to their livelihood.  So why in the world should we be concerned about things that do not matter?
In our Sunday School class, we have been going through the book of Hebrews.  Today we talked about verses 10-18 of chapter 3.  We talked about unbelief and what that meant.  In this context unbelief is not a weakness in faith, it is the opposition of faith.  Unbelief is basically choosing not to believe, and to me, that is what worry is.  What am I missing out on because I am worrying about things that are not important and am filling my time with those same things that are not important?

Heavenly Father, thank you for your gentle reproach and for reminding me, once again, what is important.  Help me to set my eyes, mind and heart on things above and not on things of this earth that are only temporary.  Lord, I pray that you would continue to use me to encourage and help others.  I pray, also, that I would be sensitive to your leadings and that I would gladly drop anything to do what you want me to do.  Thank you for the many blessings in my life that I often take for granted. I pray that I will always have a spirit of thankfulness. Give me boldness in my actions and speech so that I will not worry about what people think or say about me. Amen.

February 5, 2014


It's days like today when all I can do is ask the question: Why?

My nephew is on his way to the hospital in an ambulance because his hemoglobin levels are really low, and he has lost a lot of blood again.  My grandma is in the hospital needing surgery on her heart and doesn't seem to be doing well.  My family has been hit hard in the past year and a half with three deaths, this stuff and other stuff that has gone on.

I know God has a plan in everything, and I know His ways are not our ways, but I just wish I could understand even remotely why this is happening.  I've tried to remain strong.  I've tried blocking out the pain, but I just can't do it.

God promises that when we are weak, then, we are made strong in Him.  He also says He will never leave us or forsake us.

Psalm 91 says:

1 Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.[a]
2 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
    my God, in whom I trust.”
3 Surely he will save you
    from the fowler’s snare
    and from the deadly pestilence.
4 He will cover you with his feathers,
    and under his wings you will find refuge;
    his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
5 You will not fear the terror of night,
    nor the arrow that flies by day,
6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
    nor the plague that destroys at midday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side,
    ten thousand at your right hand,
    but it will not come near you.
8 You will only observe with your eyes
    and see the punishment of the wicked.
9 If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”
    and you make the Most High your dwelling,
10 no harm will overtake you,
    no disaster will come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
    to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands,
    so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
    you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
14 “Because he[b] loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
    I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call on me, and I will answer him;
    I will be with him in trouble,
    I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
    and show him my salvation.”

Heavenly Father, I pray that You would make Yourself known to those that are suffering today, whether it be internal suffering, family problems, illness... whatever it may be, Lord, I pray that You would comfort those in need.  Give strength to the weary and peace to those in turmoil.  Amen

January 29, 2014

The Awe Factor of God

I have to tell you that the past week has been pretty difficult for me. When I started writing more frequently in this blog again, I felt Satan starting to attack me. He started putting frustration in my head and doubts and all sorts of things that do not belong there. My flesh and my spirit have really been battling. I decided to take a day this week to just spend time one-on-one with God. At first, it was easy. Then, it got really hard, but after that, God really blessed me. After I finally let go of something that was really bothering me, God met me and.. it was amazing. I still smile when I think about it. Just feeling God's presence surrounding me is such a wonderful feeling. It's like you feel like you're glowing or something. That “high”, as we Christians like to call it, lasted for about a day. Then, Satan started attacking me again with frustration. I know that there is a reason for this struggle I am facing right now. I just don't know what it is yet. I thought about not writing about this, but I felt like it was important for me to share with you my struggles so you know you are not alone. The Christian life is going to be hard at times, but we have to remind ourselves that the end prize is absolutely worth it. There are days when I can't wait to get to Heaven because I'm struggling so much or just being impatient. There are other days, though, when I'm excited about what God is doing in my life, and I want the whole world to know. Regardless of whether I am having a good day or a bad day, I remind myself that God is still there with me, and He will never leave me. All I have to do is truly seek Him, and He's right there, waiting for me with open arms. When I think about that, it almost makes me giddy, and that is the best feeling in the world. Way better even than feeling loved by a spouse or a parent or a child. To think that the Creator of the universe is madly in love with you and will never leave you is... beyond words.

I'm going to try to post a link below that Francis Chan did. It shows how vast the universe is. When you see that and then think about just how much God loves you... your mind will be blown.

January 24, 2014

My Epiphany (or Aha Moment)

I have spent most of the past few hours just thinking and praying and reflecting on my life, and I think I have come to the realization that my relationship with God didn't really feel real until a few years ago.  I grew up in a Christian home, as most of you probably know, but.. I wasn't “born again” until I was almost 13.  Even then, I didn't really understand what it meant to be a Christian, and I didn't really feel God close to me.  I thought I was a good, strong Christian because I went to church, read my Bible and didn't do bad things, but I was wrong.  Aside from occasionally “experiencing God”, my Christian life was pretty hollow and lackluster.  My motivation for doing the right thing was simply because doing it was the right thing.  I didn't do it because I wanted to please God.  I did those things simply because they were right, and that was what I was taught to do.  I never realized just how lonely my life was.  I dealt with depression for most of my life and couldn't figure out why.  My marriage was miserable. I was depressed and lonely and completely unhappy with everything.  The only times I felt happy were when I felt close to God which became more frequent, but.. was still lacking in my day to day life.

I'm not really sure exactly when all this changed, but it was some time after I left Jon Paul in the summer of 2011.  It was after I hit my rock bottom and had nowhere else to turn and no one else to turn to.  Sure, I had people I could talk to, but.. they couldn't fulfill my deepest longings and desires.  I guess it was then that I figured out that true peace and joy only comes from having an intimate relationship with God.  It was only after I found myself crying out so desperately for Him that I began to be filled, and not just a temporary filling, but one that lasts.  Most of my life has been filled with depression and loneliness, but I don't feel that way anymore.  I find myself with peace and hope and even joy in the midst of the most difficult circumstances because I know without a doubt that God is right there holding me up.  He will never leave me, nor will he ever forsake me. He will never turn His back on me, no matter what I do.  Thank God that He is so merciful and loving. Oh to be so in love with God that nothing else matters!  That would be so amazing.  To be able to love others simply because you are overflowing with love for your Heavenly Father!

I will tell you that I still have problems with loving others, especially ones that I feel don't deserve that love.  It is hard for me to forgive somebody who just does not want to change, but God tells us to forgive.  In fact, He commands us to forgive.  I think at the heart of my unforgiveness lies disrespect.  I found something out about myself earlier while answering some questions in a workbook I'm going through:  I do not respect people, and really, I do not respect God.  That is painful for me to say.  Don't get me wrong, I love God, but I just don't find myself giving Him the reverence that He deserves, and that really bothers me.  I have had a hard time respecting people all my life, and I think that is why I have such a hard time revering God.

I will let you in on a little “secret”.  Throughout most of my life, the main, if not only, reason I did the right thing was because I was afraid of the consequences of doing wrong.  I rarely went out with my friends in high school because I was afraid I would get in trouble.  I didn't obey the rules because I respected them or because I wanted to do the right thing.  I did them because I was afraid of getting in trouble.  Fear has been my biggest motivator for most of my life.  Not love, not respect.  FEAR!  I hate that realization, but it is true.  I'm not really afraid anymore.  Well, not as much as I used to be.  But I'm pretty sure my motivation is still not where it needs to be.  I want to follow God's commands because I love and respect Him and simply want to do them out of that love of respect. I need a lot of help in this category though. But at least there is hope for me, right?  If you think about it, please pray that my love and respect/reverence for God will continue to grow daily.  It bothers me that I can love God but not revere Him.  If you go through the same thing, remember that you are not alone.  If you need somebody to talk to, let me know.  I am far from being where I need to be, but.. maybe we can figure this thing out together.

January 23, 2014

I Surrender!

I ran across this song just a little bit ago, and while listening to it, I was reminded of last summer... and, well, the past couple years.  In the last three years, God has demanded that I give up to Him the two most important relationships in my life:  First, my marriage, then my son.  I'm not saying that God ended my marriage, I'm just saying that He told me I needed to give it to Him and trust Him with the outcome.  Last summer, I felt God demanding I give up my son to Him.  I fought that so hard since I had worked the previous year trying SO hard to keep him to myself and hold him as tightly as possible.  After struggling with God for weeks, I finally gave my son over to Him.  I just kept being reminded of how God told Abraham he needed to sacrifice Isaac to Him.  If God demands that of Abraham, why wouldn't He expect it from me?  The best thing about surrendering everything up to God is that it is so freeing.  It is extremely painful in the process, but God gives you so much peace in return.  So.. if you're struggling with giving something up, just do it!  The results will be so much better. :-)  Getting to the point where you are willing to do anything for God, is so amazing.  Your heart just becomes so full of love for Him that it just overflows.  It almost makes me giddy sometimes, and I absolutely love that feeling.

This song talks about surrendering everything to God.

January 21, 2014

I Commit To Pray

Today, I was reminded of something.  Over the past couple years, I have felt a tugging in my heart for missions.  Last summer, our church had a former Middle Eastern pastor speak at our church.  This pastor works closely with the Voice of the Martyrs program.  I signed up to receive the VOM monthly newsletter and also received a free book entitled “Tortured for Christ” written by Pastor Richard Wurmbrandt.  While reading through that book, I felt God putting a passion in my heart for the persecuted church.  I prayed daily for them. Then, all of a sudden, I stopped.  My life got busy, and I forgot.  I forgot about the Christians being persecuted around the world and the suffering they endure daily for the sake of Christ.  Many of them are rejoicing in their suffering while I, on the other hand, forget.  I take my relationship with Christ for granted and begin to basically ignore Him.  Imagine ignoring the person that means the most to you!  Why?  Satan has ways of distracting us.

Well, today, God gave me a reminder.  I've been getting the monthly VOM newsletters but haven't read one in months.  Today, I decided to open one of them.  It happened to be the one from this month, but there was something else in the envelope with the newsletter.... A map!  The map that is attached below.  A few months ago, I remember hearing about the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church.  Along with it came a request to visit the website  I went to this website months ago, but it was still under construction so there was nothing I could do.  Our church had a card in our bulletin one Sunday with information on it for iCommitToPray.  They even got a map like the one in the picture below.  I prayed and felt God telling me to pray for two specific countries.  I circled them on the map in this picture.  I am committing to pray for these countries and also the countries on my VOM Prayer Calender.  Please commit to pray with me!  These people desperately need our prayers.  I am also going to post the video for last year's IDOP for the Persecuted Church.  I request that you visit the above website and look at the prayer requests and then Commit to Pray.

January 12, 2014

Love is All We Need

You know, maybe the Beatles were right when they sang that “all we need is love”.  I would agree that all we need is love, but I'm sure my definition of love is totally different than theirs.  To me, true love comes only from God.  He is the only one that will love us unconditionally.  In fact, He is also the only one who can truly fulfill our longings.  Think about it.  You can have as many material possessions in this world that you could ever want, but would you really be happy? Would you be filled with joy and peace?  I think not. How many celebrities do we hear about who have every kind of worldly possession you could ever want who commit suicide or turn to drugs?  Material things do not create happiness.  Having other people love you doesn't even bring true happiness.  True happiness comes when we are in communion with our Heavenly Father.  I've been down many roads in my past, but the only road that has ever given me purpose, fulfillment, peace and overflowing joy is being in the presence of my Heavenly Father because, really, all we need is His love.  Everything else pales enormously in comparison to that.  If you are struggling right now, seek the Father.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:11-13)

Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.  Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this:  He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.  Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. (Psalm 37: 4-7)

Did I mention that God's longing is for us to long for Him? Something to think about.

Check out the video below. GREAT song.

January 10, 2014


I have to tell you that I have really been questioning my motives lately.  I find myself doing things, and then, I wonder, “Why did I do that?” or “Why did I just say that?”.  I have been hearing a lot lately about how we should check our motives.  What are our motives for doing things?  Are the motives pure?  Are we doing these things because they are the right thing to do or are we doing them for selfish reasons?  Is what we are doing going to build somebody up or tear them down?  The Bible says:

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. (Ephesians 4:29)

This verse can be very convicting at times.  I find myself saying things I probably shouldn't say either to tear somebody down or try to bring attention upon myself.  Neither one of those motives are right.  I'm not saying I beat myself up over wrong choices, but.. I believe God convicts us sometimes of things we need to change, and I know I need to evaluate my motives before doing and saying a lot of things.  Our focus should be more on what is pleasing to God and what will help others instead of how something will benefit us.  That's a really hard lesson to learn and even harder to live by, but it is something that is absolutely necessary.

If you have problems with wrong motives, know that you are not alone.  I struggle with this every day.  I pray that God will help us to think before speaking or doing so that everything we do and say will be for God's glory.

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.  Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God – even as I try to please everybody in every way.  For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.  (1 Corinthians 10: 31-33

January 8, 2014

God is madly in love with you

Let me just start off by saying God is absolutely amazing.  He has shown me over and over again His love and faithfulness.  It blows my mind and makes me blush to think about how much He loves me, and how he will NEVER stop loving me, no matter what I do or how badly I mess up.  Take a minute to think about that. God is absolutely CRAZY about you.  He will love you more than any person ever could, and it has nothing to do with YOU. It's just who HE is. God is love (God=LOVE).  And Love comes from God.

"Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.  Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love." 1 John 4:7-8

I have to tell you that this epiphany as I will call it took me a long time to come to.  For most of my life I dealt with depression.  When I was in grade school, I got picked on a lot. I used to come home from school almost every day and just cry because it hurt so bad. I remember thinking about suicide a few times but quickly dismissed the thought because I was too scared to even consider it.  I grew up in a Christian home, but never really understood what it meant to have a relationship with God.  I used to cry out to Him. I knew I needed Him, but I just didn't understand.  When I was almost 13, I went to a Christian convention with one of the youth groups I went to.  I remember the speaker had just gotten done giving his message and gave an invitation.  At that time, I felt God really tugging at my heart.  I knew at that time that it was time to finally commit my life to God.  After saying the prayer, I wept. I wept because I was so relieved.  It felt like tons of bricks were taken off my shoulders. I cried for quite awhile.

Some people seem to think that once you become a Christian life is all peaches and cream, but it is far from that.  My life since Christ has been hard.  I'm sure it hasn't been as hard as some. I mean, I haven't really been persecuted for being a Christian, but Satan has still found ways of getting me down. I could go on about a bunch of stuff that happened early in my Christian walk, but.. I won't.  Instead I will skip to a couple years ago where I hit my rock bottom.

Three years ago, I found myself in the midst of a miserable life: miserable marriage, etc.  I was depressed all the time. I was at a point where I didn't laugh; couldn't laugh, really.  My relationship with my husband was pretty much non-existent unless we were arguing.  I won't go into details because they really aren't important. About two and a half years ago, I left him.  I did it for very good reasons... biblical reasons, even.  Shortly after that, I hit my rock bottom.  I was at a very dark place in my life.  I was absolutely depressed and scared of absolutely everything.. and when I say everything, I mean EVERYthing... and I hated it.  I went in to talk to my pastor at that time and told him what was going on and asked him if he could find a woman in the church for me to meet with. Of course, he volunteered his wife. :-) But.. she wasn't the one that really helped me out the most.

God blessed me with some pretty amazing women in the church I was going to, and most of them I had known for at least half my life.  Two of them had been divorced and had gone through very similar situations.  These two women became a huge support to me.  They would walk up to me after church and ask me how I was doing, and I would just start spilling everything out that I was going through and talking to them about how I was feeling and how frustrated I was and they would listen.  After I was done talking, they would encourage me and/or give me advice.

God really used this time to reach me.  I'm not sure how or when it happened, but gradually I felt myself being released from the depression and stress.  I found myself laughing again and gaining confidence in myself (something I had never really had before).  Through various different people, books and whatever, God started revealing Himself to me more and more.  I read a book called Do You Think I'm Beautiful? by Angela Thomas, and it really opened my eyes and heart to just how much God loves me. (Totally recommend this book).  She basically painted this picture of how God is like our knight in shining armor... how he is absolutely, madly in love with us. I think that book may have very well changed my life.  I actually started believing that I was beautiful and that I was really loved... and I will tell you, that is life-changing.

The past two and a half years have been the hardest years of my life, but they have also been the BEST because God has done some amazing things in and through me.  If you want your life to be drastrically changed, give God the chance to do it.  It will not be pleasant.  In fact, it will be very difficult, but it is totally worth it.