A Father’s Love…

That’s something I had longed for almost my entire life. At least since I was sixteen years of age—the time my father decided he didn’t want to be a husband or a father any longer. Here I am 32 years later, and there is still a part of me that feels a void inside my heart at this time of year. When I hear other people, especially around my age, refer to their fathers as “Daddy” that’s when I really feel the void. It makes me a little sad that I can’t even remember how old I was the last time I called my father “Daddy”. OK, enough of that. God has been too good to me to stay stuck in that kind of thinking.

I wrote a post for Father’s Day two years ago: http://wp.me/p1g1Ud-4S. Wow, time is flying. I just read it for the first time since I wrote it. I could have written that again for this year. I hope you’ll take a moment and read it, it’s from my heart and I pray it will be a blessing. It’s amazing that I still feel the same about everything I wrote. I am so grateful that I have received tons of healing of my deepest wounds since then. However, I’m discovering that this time of year still seems to bring a little heaviness to my heart. I really thought that wouldn’t happen this year, but at least it’s not so bad. It’s not even close to being like before.

I felt like sharing from my heart again this year. I know there are a lot of people like me who were not blessed with a good earthly father who was present and loving. Some of you have suffered way more than I have. I’m not in competition to see who has suffered the most by their dads. I just know that a lot of us suffer from depression and I don’t care how it happens, depression is depression. It eventually will destroy us if we let it.

My way out of depression (although I still suffer from occasional heaviness in my heart) is by reaching for God. The only One whom I’ve discovered that can take away my emotional pain like nobody or nothing else ever would be able to. I used to numb myself with alcohol. I used to wish I would just die. But I thank God that He has delivered me from all of it. God is the only One who has ever loved me unconditionally. I just didn’t know it for all those years because I kept running away from Him. I didn’t want to find out if He really existed. I didn’t want to believe He would let me be in so much pain. But now I know that He just wanted my heart. Now that I have given it all to Him, wow. Life has never been more hopeful. It has never been more meaningful. It has never been more blessed.

Now when I think of my earthly father, I no longer cry from pain that he caused me. Instead, I shed a few tears because I miss him and I wish that he could have seen the great things of God in my life. I would have loved to have seen the hand of God move in his life like He has in mine. But since I can’t, I will just keep my hope in the Lord and hold on to His promise that I will see my dad one day when I finally join him in heaven. That really makes my heart smile. For those whose dads have passed away too, my heart is with you.

So just like I have learned to do over the last couple of years, I am mainly celebrating Father’s Day by celebrating my Heavenly Father and His amazing love for me. He sent His only Son so that I may live with Him forever. THAT IS LOVE. Thank You God, for loving me that much.

Happy Father’s Day to all you dads out there. I pray you will be with family and your children are there celebrating you. I am blessed to see fathers loving their children. Thank you. For the broken families, I’m praying for you too. Don’t give up hope that your relationships will be restored. Anything is possible with God. Don’t forget to celebrate Him too!

And most of all, Happy Father’s Day to my amazing Heavenly Father who loves me no matter what. I love You too.

New Life: A story of God’s amazing life-saving love at a time when unbearable depression had me begging Him to take my life.

My heart breaks for the lives that give up hope. I used to be hopeless like them. It wasn’t too long ago that I wanted to give up. I was giving up. I tried so hard for so long to drink myself to death, but all that the drinking did was put me into a deeper pit of depression, isolation, and darkness where I was tormented by thoughts of suicide. I could barely breathe. I remember hoping for things like dying in my sleep, but I kept waking up. Each day, I felt worse than the day before. Since the alcohol wasn’t killing me quickly enough, then I would hope to die in a car crash. I always thought it would have to be a single car crash because I didn’t want anyone else to be hurt. I just wanted the pain to stop. I really didn’t want to take others with me. I thought of other ways to die, but for some reason I would always be concerned about my mother or other people. At least I thought about others when I wasn’t too drunk and depressed to care. I remember there were times when I was concerned about what it might do to someone who cared about me if I died by my own hands. It would have been a surprise, at least I think so because since I’ve been sharing my story, some people have said to me that they had no idea that I was suffering from severe depression. Is it weird that I cared so much for others when I was in such a dark place? I don’t know. I’ve always been different I guess, but being different is what kept me alive long enough so the Lord could come in and save my life for eternity. For that, I am GRATEFUL.

My idea of the Lord taking my life meant that I wanted Him to end it. End the pain. End the suffering. It was a wasted and worthless life that didn’t deserve to live. I believed that lie for most of my adult life. I am so grateful for God’s life-saving love and that His idea of taking my life was completely different from what I had begged Him for. He still took my life, but He took it so that He could make me a new creation in Christ. That was in February 2010. His love is truly life-saving. It took me a long time to really get that I am a new creation. I’ve heard it and have read it over and over through God’s Word, through my pastor, and through other godly people in my life. But for some reason, it’s something that I really needed to more than just hear to believe. I needed to believe by feeling it in my heart. I wanted to feel it and believe it so badly, but I had a difficult time doing it. Something was missing. Although I had an idea of what it might be, I wasn’t completely sure. That is, until recently when God led me to something beyond incredible and fulfilled a longtime desire of my heart.

Pastors Sheila Coleman and Jim Penner

Thank You Jesus…

November 24, 2013, was the day. It was one of the greatest days of my three plus years of walking with the Lord. I will never forget it. I am so excited to share that I was one of three women who were baptized in the Pacific Ocean in Corona del Mar, California!

Pastors Sheila Coleman and Jim Penner

…by Your blood, I have been cleansed!

People, it was COLD! Cold, but beyond amazing. For the last few years, I had been praying to be baptized by full immersion. I figured that when the time was right, the Lord would make a way for it to happen. However, I figured that it would probably be in a swimming pool. A heated one, if it was wintertime! I did not plan to be baptized on that day (silly me thinking I’m in charge of things again). I didn’t take a change of clothes, I showed up at the beach with my camera because I wanted to capture some photos of a dear sister in Christ getting baptized. But the Holy Spirit prompted me and reminded me how long this desire had been on my heart. He said it was time and to follow Him, so I did. I did not want to miss out on the blessing He had there waiting for me. I saw how God answered my prayer and how He put things into place to make it happen at the most perfect time in my journey and with my own pastors which was such a wonderful blessing. I am so very grateful. This baptism is what I had been missing and I really had no idea how incredible it was going to be. It has triggered something in me that I cannot seem to find the words for. But those around me have seen me glowing. Even as I write this, I can feel the glow and it has already been eight days. I can feel the tears welling up again—such tears of joy every time I think or share about it.

Pastors Sheila Coleman and Jim Penner

A day I will never forget…

I AM A NEW CREATION. The old Debbie is dead and gone. The new Debbie is ALIVE IN CHRIST! The Lord has given me another new beginning–a new life, a very joyful and extremely blessed one. The old depressed, drunk, and isolated me has been gone for a few years now, but it seems like it just happened. My sins are forgiven—I finally got that too. The captive has been set free. There is Hope in Jesus and I pray for those who may be where I once was. I pray that you will find Hope in Him too. He’s waiting to hear from you and will meet you right where you are. Jesus is always just a prayer away.

Lord Jesus, Thank You. I pray that You will take many more lives like mine…AMEN.

Here is a video of the November 24th baptisms through Hope Center of Christ, which is my wonderful church home. If you can spare a few minutes to watch it and listen to it, I think you will be blessed to see what God has done for a few souls who have given their lives to Him. I am thankful to God that I am one of them!


HCOC photos of this beautiful day:


“If You Build It, He Will Come”

Okay, so that’s not a scripture verse…I think I might be getting a little loopy from not getting enough hours of sleep in lately, but since God just opened a big door for our church, Hope Center of Christ, I couldn’t stop thinking of those words. I remembered the famous quote from the movie Field of Dreams, I’m not sure why that would come to me, but it did and I can’t stop thinking about it. Actually, I was thinking about “If you build it, they will come” which is how most people misquote the movie. Anyway, instead of wanting to build a baseball field to bring back dead baseball players, I can’t stop thinking about the potential of bringing the Celebrate Recovery Ministry to our church. I believe Jesus will cause “them” to come when the CR ministry gets implemented at Hope Center in the future. It is becoming more real since He led us to a new church home! The cool part is that I’ve been in training at CR for a while already. I have a ways to go, but I’m definitely off to a great start.

This is an extremely overwhelming position to be in. When I said yes to God a few years ago, I just wanted to stop hurting. I wanted to stop drinking, and I am eternally grateful for the Lord’s miracles that saved my life. Once the Lord sobered me up and lifted the depression, the desire was placed in my heart to get close to Him. In time I found myself wanting to give my life back to Him in service. That’s what I’ve been doing (He’s really got me sold out for Him). I so wanted to find purpose in life, but I never could have imagined I’d be given a mission as big as this one. He has made it very clear that CR is my God-given mission. It’s not only so I can be healed, it’s so I can help others in their recovery. It’s why I’m alive. There’s only one problem with “If you build it…”, I’m not a builder of anything! It is IMPOSSIBLE with me. But I do realize that’s what is so great about it. We know what God does with what’s impossible for man (or woman). Thank You Lord, that ALL things are possible with You for those who believe…I BELIEVE!

I believe God wants to keep doing miracles through Hope Center of Christ. I don’t know why, when, or how I became so blessed to be a part of something so incredible. I keep waiting to wake up from this dream, but He keeps reminding me and showing me it’s not a dream. It’s mind boggling to be dreaming God-sized dreams and living them out with Him. I am so grateful for Pastor Sheila and other dear friends who pray for me and encourage me to keep going in this tough journey. They listen every time I cry and they love me anyway! This journey would sure be much more difficult without their continued support.

I pray a lot, I cry a lot, I talk to God a lot, and He is growing me A LOT! I even manage to get some laughter in there now and then, I’m sure I make the Lord laugh a lot. He sure has done such amazing things in my life and I am willing to do whatever it takes to become the leader He needs for me to become—to be the hands, feet, voice, and heart for Jesus so that through me (and whomever He provides to help), He will build this very important ministry at Hope Center of Christ. And I believe with all my heart, that once HE builds it, THEY WILL COME!

To God be the glory. Amen? AMEN!

(The amount of worshippers in this photo is a God-sized dream to have…I’m dreaming big. After all, we have a BIG GOD!)

They will come to worship Him!

“I’m sorry I didn’t die…”

For a long time, those are words that I have wanted to say when people are mourning the death of a loved one who chose to take their own life. Even though I have nothing to be guilty about, I fight thoughts of guilt that I am still alive and someone else is gone. I would sometimes feel like I need to apologize that I am still alive. It is a difficult situation for me. I am so grateful that I chose to reach out for God instead of dying. It it is a challenge for me to share about it in sensitive situations like successful suicides. I am no one special. I’m just me. Someone who was as desperate as anybody to make the pain in my heart go away. I wanted nothing more than to die to end it because nothing else was stopping the pain. The alcohol was making things much worse, but I kept drinking. Tempory relief was better than none at all. I thought maybe I could drink myself to death, I was hoping to. Thought it would be an easy way to do it, but I was so wrong. Well, I didn’t die. I am alive. I chose to live. I chose to let the Lord help me live. I chose to walk in His light so that I would never walk in darkness again. His Word tells us we’ll never walk in darkness again. I am finally able to stop apologizing for making this wonderful choice to live.

So how do I share how God reached down for me at the same time I was reaching up for Him and that He saved me when their loved one is gone? Why didn’t God keep them alive too? I understand now that we can’t begin to know why, so I stopped trying to understand. I don’t think anyone wants to truly die that way and I am so sad for those who weren’t able to see the light. I am so sad that they chose to end their suffering in death instead of allowing God to come in and give them abundant life. I am not saying it is an easy thing to do. It takes complete surrender. It takes a lot of effort to completely surrender control to God, but anybody can do it if they really want to. We all have choices. I was so tired of living in the darkness of severe depression. So as I was reaching the end of my rope, I made the choice to reach for God and asked Him (more like begged) to do something because I didn’t know how much longer I could bear the pain. It is not like He waved a magic wand and the depression and alcoholism were immediately cured while I did nothing. I had to get up and move. It has taken a lot of difficult and sometimes painful effort and complete trust in the Lord to do His part.  But He has done miracle after miracle in my life since I made that choice. Like I said, we all have choices and I chose to live and I am forever grateful for the amazing things of God in my life.

Whenever I hear of another suicide, it literally brings me to tears. My pastor pointed out that my heart is especially tender due to my own broken heart. I know she’s right. I know so well the depression and despair—the desperate need for the pain to go away. The feelings of emptiness and loneliness because nobody can possibly understand what it’s like. I understand the thoughts of suicide. I was tormented by them for years. I believed at the time that suicide was going to be the only way to make the pain stop. I remember those dark days so clearly. When someone dies by their own hand today, my heart breaks and I weep as if I have lost someone close to me. But I have learned that ALL who believe in Jesus–who have given their heart to Him go to heaven when they die. That brings me as much peace as it does their loved ones. But that shouldn’t give anyone a reason to end their life. I long to be with the Lord myself, but when I see Him face to face, it will be in His timing, not mine. I am SO grateful to have been rescued from all of that suffering, and I now live the life that the Lord intended for me. Today, I know the Lord and I am grateful that I didn’t miss out on getting to know Him. Every day I learn something new about Him. Every day, I want to get to know Him more and more. He is the only reason I am alive, He is the only reason I want to live. My life is an amazing example that suicide is NOT the only way out of the deep dark pit of depression.

For all who are stuck in this dark place thinking there’s no way out, I pray with all my heart that this will give you hope that there IS a way out without having to end it in suicide. Jesus is the ONLY way. The devil wants to take down as many as he can while he still has time. Please don’t let him win. If you are ready to live, I mean really live for the first time, choose life with the Lord today. You will never regret it. I can certainly testify to that.

Thank You Jesus, for this wonderful gift of abundant life. May my life continue to be an example of Your wonderful gift of Grace. Your Grace is more than enough for me. ♥

God healed me, but then He used it to do something even greater than that…

I am still so in awe of what took place in the hospital on November 15th. I’m sure there are some who aren’t as confident as I am about my healing and that’s okay. It’s not up to me to convince others. All I know and believe is by His stripes I am healed! I am claiming my healing and I will keep sharing about the great things the Lord has done!

************************************************************************************ If you haven’t read my previous post, I hope you will take a couple of minutes to do so: https://dblives.wordpress.com/2012/11/16/a-true-story-of-healing-i-prayed-with-faith-that-god-would-heal-me-and-heres-what-happened/. I think this new post might make more sense if you do. More than that though, it’s just a great story about how wonderful God is and I think it’s worth reading! ************************************************************************************

The greatest thing that came from this experience (in addition to my actual healing of course) was seeing my mom’s faith in God, her belief in His healing power, increase significantly. What an incredible blessing for me that the Lord used my circumstance to do this!

After the procedure, when I was in the recovery room, she wasn’t able to see like I do through spiritual eyes. She was puzzled, like I’m sure some others were, when the surgeon found absolutely nothing wrong with my heart. He didn’t find the abnormal extra nerves that just a couple of weeks prior he was convinced were there. I honestly don’t believe he would have scheduled this procedure otherwise. The symptoms I had been having on and off for the last couple of years convinced him I still had a problem. I was convinced as well because I suffered those identical symptoms for 17 years of my young adult life before they did the first procedure. I was very familiar with what was happening inside of my heart. When my mom was wondering why the surgeon didn’t find anything, the first thing that I said to her was: “Mom, there was nothing there because the Lord healed me! What happened is exactly what I had prayed for! His power is real, please believe!” I told my mom how this time around I had so many people praying for me and that I had specifically asked the Lord to heal me and have the surgeon confirm that there was nothing there. Immediately, I saw the puzzled look in her face fade away. She looked at me, her eyes opened up a little wider and she started to cry and she started to praise the Lord with me in that room! The Lord keeps blessing me with such special moments like this one. We hugged and cried tears of joy together. I will never ever forget that entire day, especially that moment with my dear mom.

The Lord’s healing is another miracle to me and I am so grateful. But I am even more grateful that He took that healing a step further and increased my mom’s faith with it. If the Lord allowed me to go through all of this just to reach one person’s heart, which happened to be my mom, then all of it was beyond worth it!! I will never regret praying for the Lord to use my life…just look at what He’s doing! Wow!!

I was told to never to give up praying for those we love and I will never give up. Until now, I don’t think my mom was able to truly comprehend how powerful the Lord has been in my life. She was thrilled to see my life change so drastically and I know she loves the Lord. But because she hadn’t learned yet to give Him every area of her life, I know it was hard for her to understand what has been happening these last couple of years. I was transformed before her very eyes. Watching someone go through transformation is one thing, but I think unless someone experiences the power of God in their own life, it is difficult to understand how real He is. I believe November 15th is the day that the Lord opened my mom’s spiritual eyes. She is sharing about His miracles now! I pray that she will soon start to experience His power in her own life. I know He has a wonderful plan. It’s His will, His way, His time…and I am EXCITED!

Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. His power is available to all who believe…I BELIEVE! I pray many more will believe in Him too.

Thank You, Jesus!! ♥