Tag Archives: courage

My One Word for 2016

  
I am looking forward to 2016, I believe the Lord gave me the word advancement to be my theme for 2016. Interestingly my scripture for 2016 is the same as 2015:

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.””

‭‭Joshua‬ ‭1:9‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

2015 was a hard year as my word was courage. I was excited when I got that word but had no idea how many things I would need courage to face. It was a year of learning, pruning and growing. 

I’m ready for 2016 and whatever the word advancement brings. 

Happy New Year!!

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Where Does The Time Go? 1st Year Anniversary and a Contest

celebrateCan you believe it? I started this blog on October 1, 2014 and it is now over 1 year old by a of couple days! I cannot believe it! Where does the time go?

I have been so blessed by YOU. Know that I am here for YOU! When I write my blogs I am thinking and praying for you and asking the Lord to give me the topics that are relevant to you. I hope and pray that I have accomplished this.

I would love to get your input so to celebrate the past year I think it is time for a contest and giveaway! In order to gain an entry into this giveaway all you need to do is leave a comment and let me know what topic you would like to see here. That’s all there is to it!

Each comment will receive 1 entry per day. You may enter once per day as many days as you have a topic to share.through October 31, 2015.

I will hold the drawing at 8pm CST on October 31st and the winner will receive a $25.00 Amazon Gift Card via email. Remember, your comment or comments will only award you 1 entry per day. I want to make this fair for everyone. You may comment every day as long as you share a topic that you want to see here on this blog. I look forward to hearing from YOU! God bless you!

Official start time Midnight October 3, 2015. Drawing to be held on October 31, 2015 at 6PM. No purchase necessary.

contest btmc

FEAR NOT

  
For I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand, Saying to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you.’ (Isaiah 41:13 NKJV)

One verse, that’s all it takes when Holy Spirit wants to get your attention. Read these words today…slowly…”For I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand, Saying to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you.’” What are you facing today? Raise your right hand to The Lord your God! Let’s read that again because you don’t get it yet…”For I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand, Saying to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you.’”

Now close your eyes and picture it. You are a little child and you are afraid. Your Father is saying to you give me your right hand and He holds it tightly and He looks you right in the eye and says Fear not, I will help you! This is not the father who may have let you down or hurt you in the past. No this is your Heavenly Father who loves you with such love that you cannot even comprehend with your natural mind. This is the Father that is Greater than all earthly fathers whose mercy is new every day. He loves you with an everlasting love and He is jealous over you and wants you to know Him more and spend time with Him more each day.

Hear His words “For I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand, Saying to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you.’” He will help you through that job loss, the loss of your loved one, the loss of your home, your car, even your health. He will hold your right hand through it all and He says to you today “fear not”.

Do you see it? Do you feel it? Do you know it? It is TRUTH! Don’t let the things of this world sway you away from this truth today. Look up with your child eyes and see your Abba Father as He takes hold of your right hand and walks you through every storm of life and reassures you “Fear Not”. He will help you. He has already been helping you and he will not let go of your hand.

Praise be to The Lord God Almighty for He is our help. He is our strength, He is our provider. He is our Abba Father. If Jesus Christ is your Lord and Savior then you can be assured of this fact today.

God bless you all!

My One Word for 2015

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I haven’t made New Year’s Resolutions for a while now but each year I usually feel impressed by the Holy Spirit to focus on one area where He is dealing with me and it usually boils down to one word. That one word typically becomes the theme for my year. Well on Christmas Eve I happened to choose a Reading Plan on my Bible.com app called “One Word That Will Change Your Life”. It was a 4 day devotional plan that helps you simplify your life by choosing one word to focus on for the year. Interestingly I had not been trying to figure out my 2015 word yet so I thought this devotional was timely. I finished the plan and chose a word but I wasn’t sure about my choice so I just tucked it in my heart. This morning I was challenged to re-think my choice. I’m pretty sure that my new word choice is Holy Spirit ordained and makes much more sense to me than my first choice.

Let me step back for a moment and share what has led me to my one word choice. When I wrote about not wanting to be depressed for the holidays I was truly in a good place in my life and had absolutely no reason to think that I would succumb to depression in just a short period of time. Just a short time after posting that blog I got one bad report, then another and then another and suddenly the familiar stench of the miry pit had encapsulated me once again. It was not just one set of circumstances, it was a myriad of problems that all popped up within a very short time span. Isn’t that the way it always happens? Most of us can handle a problem without losing it or falling into a depression but when we are caught in a seeming ambush of problems from all directions it further complicates matters. In just a moment of weakness and vulnerability I found myself in the miry pit just a few days before Christmas.

All of my good sense obviously went out the window because instead of reaching out to my prayer partners to ask for prayer I turned away from everyone and shut myself off from the world like I used to do. My reasoning was that I needed to shut myself away so I could be alone with God as I knew He was putting His finger on something in my life. That something was fear. Fear was all up in my face and I didn’t want to trouble any of my sisters in Christ because it was Christmas you know. How could I intrude on anyone’s joy with my issues? Oh that’s the lie of the enemy right there because it only takes 10 seconds to reach out to someone for prayer. I know I would never have a problem with someone coming to me for prayer so why do I think my friends would not do the same? But you see when the miry pit overtakes you it’s hard to see past the darkness.

Thankfully the Light of Jesus dispels the darkness and just when I thought I was stuck in that pit again the Lord sent a praying friend my way. That was just to let me know that He was still there. Over the next couple days the Lord picked me up once again, brought me out of the miry clay and set my feet back on solid ground. My problems are still surrounding me but I am no longer looking at them. My gaze and my focus is on Christ alone. This leads me to today and my one word for 2015. My word is COURAGE. You see the Lord has been speaking the verse from Joshua 1:9 to me for a few years now…

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” (‭Joshua‬ ‭1‬:‭9‬ NKJV)

It’s time I change my perspective of this verse from just knowing that God is with me and that He tells me not to be afraid. He says “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage”. This is not a suggestion, it’s a command. As I look over 2014, I’ve counted 5 times that fear has overtaken me and caused me to go back into the miry clay. Each time it has been a shorter time span and I see the gap has been closing. I’m declaring right now that it is time to put this fear problem behind me. I’m asking God to give me revelation to show me what courage looks like and how to walk in it. There is too much going on in this world for me to be held back by fear and it is time to get this settled.

Lord Jesus, I am surrendering to You once again. I’m asking that You reveal to me what courage looks like and how to walk in it. I know that You are my source and I trust that as I keep my focus on You that I will continue to move beyond the miry clay.

Lord Jesus, I ask that You speak to each reader of this blog and bless them to be able to surrender whatever issue or area of their life that You want to heal in 2015.

What will your one word be for 2015? Please check out the GetOneWord.com for resources to help you discover your one word. Most importantly ask Jesus for the word He wants you to focus on. Feel free to share with me in the comments when you get your word. Thank you for following my journey. Happy New Year!! God bless you all!!

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I DON’T WANT TO BE DEPRESSED THROUGH THE HOLIDAYS

Depression

I can’t remember not being depressed on one or more holidays in the past 20 years or more. It seemed every time I tried to shake those awful feelings of despair, loneliness and sorrow it would just overtake me. One Christmas my brother called me Scrooge McDuck, that was back in 2009. It was one of the first times since my brother had grown up that we were spending Christmas together and we both were acting like Scrooge McDuck! Thanksgiving was another holiday that always caught me in the grip of depression. No matter whether I providing a meal for my family or spending it with another family that graciously invited me to spend the holiday with them, I was miserable. Yes I smiled and tried to hide my pain but the reality of it all was ~ depression was my best friend.

Depression has been a constant in my life from a very young age. My mother also suffered from depression and for all I know it could have been passed down to me from her.  However, I am sure that the source of my depression was from the deep, hidden wounds that began to build a cement wall around my heart from a young age. It was my way of protecting myself from others or so I thought. It drove me to a place of deep isolation where I was hidden in plain site and yet I was deeply lonely and desperate to reach out to those around me who appeared to be safe yet I couldn’t trust, no one could be trusted in my mind.

On Thursday November 27th, Thanksgiving 2014, somewhere around 4pm it hit me that I was not feeling depressed at all! I was actually quite happy and content. I cooked myself a nice meal of spaghetti, collard greens, corn bread, candied yams and pecan pie. My son was home with me part of the day but we really weren’t interacting much and I was very content with that as well. I started to think about all of the holidays that I’ve spent being sad and depressed. I began to pray about why all these years I ended up in that miry pit of depression. My mindset used to be “today is just another day when everyone else has something to do besides me”. Unfortunately that is what I passed down to my children because we didn’t make our own traditions for the holidays. I didn’t know how to make new traditions with my family because I was so locked inside my own misery. I remember trying to make things different but it would never turn out as planned and at the end of the day I would beat myself up because I had failed again.

I spend some time really pondering this whole dilemma and I think I may have discovered the problem – memories have power! I have some really bad memories from different holidays that I revert to when the holidays approach. I don’t think I was doing it consciously because I could never figure out why I kept falling back into the same pit time after time, year after year. Quite frankly the time from mid-October until the first week of January was usually the time I spent in full blown depression. My doctor called it seasonal depression and put me on medication. Maybe he was right but I think the reality of the depression was more about me re-living the bad memories from my past. One would think that after being away from abuse and living in a safe environment that it would move me to want to create new fun memories with my family. Not me, nope, I succumbed to the feelings and the memories instead.

This year will be different. This year I refuse to allow myself to go back to that pit of seasonal depression that has ruined almost every Thanksgiving and Christmas that I can remember. No way, this year I am going to rejoice in the freedom that I have because my Lord Jesus Christ has picked me up from the miry clay and set my feet on SOLID ground. No more living on shifting sand! No more crying over things I cannot have or control! No more phony smiles hiding my tears! NO MORE! NO MORE!

I praise God Almighty today for the freedom I have found in Christ Jesus! I know that I have had a horrific past that I lived through and there were many ruined Holidays but I don’t have to re-live those memories every single year! I will press forward and renew my mind through the reading of the Word of God, the Bible, every day! I will pray and sing praises to Jesus for all He has done for me and YOU! I will find ways to be there for people who are still struggling with the pit of depression and I pray God will use me to speak joy and peace and love into their lives. I will walk boldly with my head held high knowing I have peace within because of the Holy Spirit that resides in me. No more depressed Holidays for me. Thanksgiving 2014 was just the beginning!

Philippians 3:13-14

 Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead,  I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Romans 12:2

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

Psalm 40:1-2

I waited patiently for the Lord;
And He inclined to me and heard my cry.
He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay,
And He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm.

How may I pray for you today? Please go to my prayer page and send me a request. God bless you and thank you for reading my blog!

“Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.”

 

I DON’T WANT TO BE FAT, UGLY AND STUPID!

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“Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me”. Those words ring in my head as I recall myself saying them in a sing-songy way with my red pony tails flapping on either side of my head to the boys who were hurling insults at me in second grade. I learned early in life how to handle those insults by stuffing them deep down in the reservoirs of my heart and making sure nobody knew how much they hurt me. My mother hurled insults at me regularly but people in the family told me not to let it get me to because she was sick and really didn’t mean it. As I got older the words became harsher but I had learned how to be a bully by then and I knew how to fight back with words. My mom and I hurled all kinds of ugliness at one another and my dad said we acted more like sisters than mother-daughter. Actually as I got older my dad and I hurled insults at one another as well. I just stuffed all those words deep in my heart pretending that they didn’t affect me.

You’re stupid, you’re never going to amount to anything, you’re fat, you’re ugly, you’re slow, you’re just like ______, you’re an underachiever, you’re a mess, you’re a loser, you can’t do anything right, you’re a _____! That’s just a sampling of the things that I struggled with as an adult because I heard those words over and over in my head. Then I used those very words against my own children, at times I still go into a place where I beat myself up for bringing those words into my own vocabulary against my beautiful children. The verbal abuse that I had sustained was not just from the boys on the playground or from my parents but it was from my boyfriends too. It tainted my perception of love.  I didn’t really understand what love meant because love to me was a series of insults without apology. Oh there were family members who didn’t use those words and didn’t belittle me. They tried really hard to show me what love was supposed to look like and I was very grateful but it just wasn’t enough.

All of the words that were spoken over me that were negative took root deep in my heart and caused me to believe that these things were true. So if it was true that I was fat, ugly and stupid then I was going to be the best fat, ugly and stupid girl I could be! My eighth grade teacher told my dad that I was an underachiever right in front of me. I figured well I will be the best underachiever I can be! My boyfriends added to the mix lots of vulgar words and heaped more insults on me in addition to re-enforcing what had already been spoken over me. So I would be all those things because since so many people had said those things, it must have been true. I believed it all to be true or else my mind wouldn’t continue to play those old tapes over and over. I became a very bitter and angry woman as a result. I withdrew into what I like to refer to as my turtle shell. Inside my shell no one else could hurt me. Outside my shell I was angry and people thought I was mean so they left me alone.

I remember when I gave my my life to Christ I thought that I was completely set free from the affects of all those words and to be honest, I was, because the finished work of Christ made it possible for me to be free. However, walking out that freedom would be a laborious task for me. See I thought that all that stuff I hid in my heart would just go away. Well I found out that Jesus doesn’t work that way, He walks us through the pain and then we are set free. It’s a process though. It was a long process for me that began in 2006. I had to learn how to live, how to love, how to think, how to act and how to just be. I was like a little baby in Christ even though I had been a christian for several years. What was missing in my life was discipleship. I knew the gospel but I just didn’t know how to walk it out.

One of the biggest lessons I needed to learn was how to recognize love. True love, the love that comes from God. Then I needed to learn who I am in Christ. Here’s one of the scriptures that I needed to understand that was a challenge for me.

Colossians 2:9-10: – “For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form,  and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority;”

What? I have been made complete! No, that’s not possible because I am a broken, tattered and abused woman so there’s no way I am complete. I mean hey, I am fat, ugly and stupid! Remember?

John 1:12 – “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name,

What? I am God’s child.

Romans 8:1 – “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Wait, no condemnation?

Ephesians 2:4-5 – “But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,  even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)”

He loves me? God loved me even when I was dead in my transgressions?  But, but, but??

No, there are no buts. It’s true I am no longer the same tattered and abused woman that I used to be. All those words that were spoken over me no longer have power over my life.

Galatians 2:20 – “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.

Christ lives in me and He has made me to be a new creation. A new woman. A loved and complete woman of God. I wish I could have believed those scriptures the first time I read them but it took a long time for the truth to get deep inside my heart to pull up the tangled roots of lies that I believed about myself. It was a long process but today I know who I am and I am not fat, ugly and stupid anymore. If someone thinks that about me, well, that’s just their problem.

Psalm 40:1-2

I waited patiently for the Lord;
And He inclined to me and heard my cry.
He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay,
And He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm.

 

“Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.”

 

 

 

I DON’T WANT TO LIVE ANYMORE!

Yes those were the words that I found myself saying over and over before I surrendered to the Lord all of my past and all of my pain.  I don’t want to live anymore! That was the cry of my deeply wounded soul. It was such a pain filled thought and yet it was at the forefront of my mind every day. I was a believer in Jesus Christ, I knew I was saved and I knew that God held my life in His hands. Many times I would write in my journals, if I wasn’t so afraid of going to hell I would kill myself.

This was never a thought that I would share with anyone. After all when you are in the depths of despair you really have trouble reaching out to someone with this type of thought. What will they say? What will they think? How will they react? Will they call the police on me? Will they commit me to a psychiatric ward somewhere? How do you tell someone that you are in so much pain that you just want to die?

I remember the time that I drove up to the train tracks and sat right there in the middle waiting for the train to arrive. Tears poured out of my eyes as I screamed at the top of my lungs “I don’t want to live anymore”. Honestly I firmly believe it was the Presence of God that filled my car that night and moved me to drive away from those tracks. I remember driving to a friend’s house after that and just sitting in front of her house. She didn’t know I was there and I never made it to her front door. How could I tell her what I was planning to do? What would she do? The last thing I needed was a lecture. I didn’t need her to tell me what the Bible said or anything like that but I was desperate to just find someone who would hold me and say “it’s going to be ok”.

The next day I saw her at the church lunch and told her what I had done. She hugged me and asked if she could gather a few people to pray for me. Yes of course.  I can’t recall if it was three or four people but each of them loved on me and prayed over me. I am so thankful for that moment in time over 8 years and I will never forget it. It was a beginning for me so to speak. It put a desire in my heart to be like those precious non-judgmental people who just loved God and loved people.

This subject comes up because a couple days ago a woman jumped in front of a train in my town. It caused me to pause and wonder what happened? What was going on in this woman’s life that would cause her to jump in front of a train? It grieves my heart each time I hear that someone has taken their own life. I grieves me because I know that I’ve been there. I’ve been at the place where I could not see anything good in my life. I couldn’t see anything to live for because my pain was so devastating and I could no longer handle it.

As a Christ follower I know that this is a subject that is kept pretty quiet in the church. It’s not something people talk about very often. It’s a difficult topic but the truth of the matter is we need to talk about it. We need to know what to do when someone in our midst is hurting so bad that they just want to check out of this world.

Save.org states that suicide takes the lives of nearly 40,000 Americans every year. That’s 109 people every day. That’s 4 people every hour. In the time that it has taken me to write this blog 2 people have taken their own lives. That should cause us to weep.

I have experienced two sides of people trying to help within the church. I have encountered times when I was so deep in the pit of the miry clay that I couldn’t see any possible solutions to my pain. I couldn’t even see God because I was convinced that He didn’t love me anymore. On the one hand I had a very well-meaning sister in Christ push me overboard by sharing scriptures at me and trying to re-assure me that God still loved me. I asked her to just leave me alone but she persisted and I found myself parked at the corner of a busy intersection in the parking lot of Walgreens just weeping. I stopped there because I just wasn’t convinced that my foot would not go along with what my head was thinking. I wanted to just put the pedal to the floor and slam my car into a brick wall. Right there in the midst of that horrible moment in my life I believe God sent the right person to talk to me. However, I couldn’t even talk to her at that moment. She respected my wishes when I said I didn’t want to talk and we hung up the phone. I didn’t tell her that I was sitting contemplating my death or anything like that. But I know that I know that I know when she hung up she prayed for me. I know that because soon I felt a peace come over me and I was able to drive home.

How can we help someone who has come to the end of their rope? How can we be sensitive to the needs of others who are in so much pain that all they want to do is die? I don’t have the answers. All I know is that we need to pray and cry out to the living God on behalf of these loved ones and allow the Holy Spirit to minister to those deep wounds. We cannot heal them, we cannot change a thing in their lives. We have to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s prompting of whether we should call in authorities or just allow God to work on their hearts. It’s such a sensitive subject and I only know what I have experienced in my own life. I have a close friend who has always shown me a great example of what to do when you just don’t know how to help someone. She prays and she listens to the Holy Spirit and if He says don’t press she leaves me alone and if He says go forth and speak she speaks the truth in love to me. We all can learn from her example.

I praise God today that He preserved my life. He kept me from following through on the plans I had to end my life each and every time. I know that many times it was the enemy attacking me and other times it was just my flesh feeling tormented and desperate. Each time the Lord saved me from those thoughts and kept me alive. He has a purpose for my life and he has a purpose for your life too.

Today if you feel that you are at the end of your rope and cannot see beyond the miry clay, be patient and look to Jesus. Seek help from professionals if needed and don’t be embarrassed to talk about it with your Pastor.  I don’t know all the answers but I know that Christ has all the answers.

If you need prayer, I would love to pray for you, please send me a prayer request on my prayer request page.

Psalm 40:1-2

I waited patiently for the Lord;
And He inclined to me,
And heard my cry.
He also brought me up out of a horrible pit,
Out of the miry clay,
And set my feet upon a rock,
And established my steps.

Looking for books about Suicide? Click here.

Change Part 2

As I was preparing to share with you about some of the discoveries I’ve made over the past few weeks about my dislike of change I realized that from the beginning of my saying YES to Jesus and making Him Lord of my life I have been in a non-stop cycle of changes. The reality is that is the way it is supposed to be! Let’s take a look at this verse:

2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. “

When we make Jesus the Lord of our lives and receive His free gift of salvation we become a new creation. I believe that with all my heart. However, the reality is that sometimes we don’t walk in that newness of life unless we have someone to take us by the hand and disciple us. I cannot tell you how many times I went weeping to an altar asking Jesus to be Lord of my life before it really took hold and began to change me.

I was so messed up in my thinking and the baggage from my life was so huge that I was like the ones in the parable of the sower according to Mark 4:16-17 – “These likewise are the ones sown on stony ground who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with gladness;  and they have no root in themselves, and so endure only for a time. Afterward, when tribulation or persecution arises for the word’s sake, immediately they stumble.

I had so much to learn before true change would become a reality in my life. I wanted to serve God and I did really well when I was in church on Sunday but as soon as Monday came I fell flat on my face. Fortunately Jesus never gave up on me and soon I was connected with a group of women who would begin to teach me the Bible and teach me how to pray. That was back in 1993 and I really miss those ladies, unfortunately I was only connected with them for about six months. This was the beginning of many changes that would take place in my life.

One of the biggest problems back then for me was that I was trying to live with one foot in the church and one foot in the world. I was trying to continue living in sin and then I would repent every week. I thought it was the right thing to do and no one told me any different to be honest. Oh I am completely sure that the Holy Spirit was telling me that I was in the wrong but I didn’t pay much attention. I didn’t realize that living with my boyfriend and having sex was wrong. Truthfully I didn’t want to believe it was wrong because then I would have to stop doing it. At that point I was too afraid to stop though because I was afraid of being a single mother.  Not only that I was too afraid to tell my boyfriend that we couldn’t have sex because I didn’t want to make him angry.

Thinking back to that time in my life I thank God that He didn’t give up on me. I know that it was just the beginning of my walk with Him and over time there would be many changes in my life. Some would be very hard and some would be easy. It wasn’t until 2007 that I truly began a journey of being healed and set free from all the abuse, sin and addictions in my life. It was a process that continues to this day. I truly believe that discipleship is key to being able to truly walk out the verse – 2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. ”

To be continued…..

Change

Change is hard!

Yes indeed it is. I do not like change. I realized this early this year as my life was moving quickly from one change to another. I used to think I liked change but the reality is I just get comfortable with where I am and unless something really forces me to change, well a lot of times I don’t change.

Even the thought of writing about my dislike of change brought me to a place of procrastination. This is actually pretty much my regular repertoire. God is working on me though. He is really stretching me to step out of my comfort zone. This blog is really a stretch outside of my comfort zone to be honest. But if we don’t allow Jesus to change us then we may never realize our true potential.

It has been three weeks since I started this post. The content flowed really well in my head and then somehow I just couldn’t bring the words to the keyboard. I have written and revised many times already but today I decided that it has been long enough so I need to get this done and posted.

As I was walking to work on October 7th I was admiring the beautiful trees that had been changing colors and the leaves on the ground. I was feeling really lazy that morning and I didn’t really want to walk to work. It’s literally a 9 minute walk but there’s this hill that I absolutely dread every time. It’s really not a big hill but for me it has been a challenge. So as I am walking up that hill I was praying about how I didn’t like the hill and the Lord reminded me of something that was said to me not too long ago about how when things get hard I tend to stop and withdraw. Ouch! The reality of that truth hit me hard.

I began to think about the hard things that I’ve endured in my life as I considered the idea of change. When I encounter change that is hard I tend to quit, give up or stay stagnant. Well life changes all the time. We have to either roll with it or we do become stagnant and quite frankly stagnant water stinks. When I was living under tremendous stress from abuse it took me a while to get out from under it because even though the situation was difficult it was something I thought I could control. I didn’t know what would happen if I just stepped out of that situation. All the “what if’s” were flooding my mind. What if I can’t get away fast enough? What if he finds me? What if something worse happens? What if I can’t find another man? What if I can’t handle raising my kids by myself? What if_______?

I have to wonder how many women stay in abusive situations because it is just so much easier to endure than to change. I remember the first day I spent at a domestic violence shelter. I wouldn’t speak to anyone there with the exception of the staff. My head hung down and I never looked up to speak to anyone when they tried to talk to me. I didn’t want to be there. I didn’t want to have my life turned upside down. I just wanted to go back home to the life I was used to and even though it was difficult I knew the routines. I knew how to walk on eggshells and I was familiar with playing the game of pretending that I was happy. Now I was in this house with 8 other women who had their own stories. It took me three days before I was able to talk to anyone. There was a sweet woman on staff who took me aside and forced me to look at myself in the mirror. She challenged me to say I love you to the reflection that stared back at me all battered and bruised. I couldn’t say it. I cried. She challenged me to keep going back to that mirror until I could say it. It took a while but a few days later I said it. That simple act helped me to begin to speak with the other women.

It would be many years before I could truly look in the mirror and say I love you to myself. Even though I was able to say it back then at the shelter and it helped a little bit the real change of beginning to love myself didn’t start to take affect on my life until I began to surrender my life to Jesus. Still it took another several years for me to really understand love and to receive love.

All these memories came flooding into my mind that breezy beautiful morning three weeks ago as I walked up that hill. When I got to the top of the hill I smiled and yelled “Thank You Jesus”.  I walked the rest of the way with a quickness in my step and a smile on my face as I realized that just as I had conquered the hill that morning I could conquer anything because truly I can do all things through Christ. So I planned to write this blog post that day and somehow I just couldn’t get it together. The result of that day and then the candlelight vigil the next day began a journey of self discovery over the past three weeks. Now that I have finally finished this entry I believe I can go on to share some of the lessons I have had over this short period of time. I will continue to talk about change in the next post.

God bless each and every one of you that has read this blog today. I would appreciate your feedback.

How many times?

Joshua 1:9 NKJV
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

How many times will The Lord tell me that He is with me? How many times will He tell me to NOT be afraid? How many times will I hear the words and it just doesn’t sink in? When will I get it? When will I live it?

This is a command not a suggestion. I have to wonder if Joshua was like me in that he heard the words but didn’t really believe it. I mean God told Joshua several times as well and we only know the times recorded in the scriptures. I’m sure that there is a reason that He told Joshua several times and if I’m right then Joshua and I have some things in common. Lack of confidence! Fear! Feeling weak and vulnerable! I’m sure it was a little different for Joshua since he was a man and all. I just know that for the past four years God continues to remind me of this command.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

He is with me wherever I go. God is with me wherever I go. Wow! That’s powerful. So if it is true that God is with me wherever I go then there really is no reason to be afraid. In human perspective I guess it’s like having your big strong father or big strong brother with you all the time. No bullies would think about messing with you when you have a big strong father or brother with you. Right?

So why do I still fear, lack courage and become dismayed? Unbelief. I don’t really believe it. I don’t like admitting that but it has to be true. We act on our beliefs, right? So if I truly believed that God is with me everywhere I go then I would never be afraid. I could walk in confidence knowing my Heavenly Father has my back in all circumstances. All! As in everything! Everywhere!

I pray that this will become a truth in my life. I pray that the Holy Spirit will bring such revelation to my spirit that I will no longer need The Lord to remind me of this verse because it will be so ingrained in my life that no reminder will be necessary. It will be lived out in every breath I take, every step I take, every moment, every day of my life. Let it start today Lord. In Jesus name.