More Than Ever…

More than ever, my heart is broken. More than ever, I feel like a little girl lost in the midst of a huge crowd of uncertain souls looking everywhere but God for comfort and peace. God blesses with these things in ways that nobody in this entire world ever can. That’s why so many hearts are never satisfied and are always looking to fill an incredible void that can never be filled by anything or anyone of the world, yet they keep searching and never find. And although I pray with all that I have left in me, many still do not put their faith in the One who holds the whole world in His hands and can give us more than we can ever imagine to ask for. And so my heart breaks more.

More than ever, I am a loner wanting to be alone and just keep my sorrows to myself. The problem with doing this, is that it feels like my heart is going to wear out before my body does. I can choose to give up on living this life—even though this is not how I thought life would be after walking the last ten years sober with God. The truth is, after these ten years, I feel like I have never really learned to live sober. It seemed like I was just getting started when the whole world shut down about five months ago. My mind grows tired and confused more than ever. I have battled with the shame of becoming so weary after all I have seen God do in my life and the life of others. Even so, I am still here pressing on because I have the victory in Jesus Christ. And in EVERYTHING, I am strong in the One who gives me strength (Philippians 4:13)!

The weariness and wanting to give up is where I was for a while, but it is not where I decided to stay. I have a choice. I can choose death, or I can keep choosing life, which is what I will continue to do as long as God allows. Even when I cannot see the way. Praying for those who feel like giving up. Don’t do it. Seek God. His Word says, if you seek Him with your whole heart, you will find Him (Jeremiah 29:13). This, I know is true. There is so much more I can say, but if you just seek Him with your whole heart, He will start something in you that you never thought possible.

Thanks for listening to my heart. I actually wrote the above words down a couple of months ago and never shared them. I am still here and I am grateful, and it seemed like a good time to share. I am in a much better place today compared to a few of months ago. Even in the midst of this darkness caused by the pandemic and civil unrest and election chaos in America, life is still worth living. Because GOD—not just any god—The Lord GOD Almighty, the maker of heaven and earth, is here. He’s never left, and He never will. He is still on the throne.

I am glad that I know that I need my God. I need His love. I need His power. I need His sweet peace and rest. I need Him today and forever. He supplies ALL my needs. Yes, I still believe, and I want to live this life He is making for me…more than ever. ♥

Fighting the Good Fight

Amazing that this old blog is still alive… barely alive. It has been nearly a year and a half since I have attempted to write. Not sure exactly why it came to a halt, but for a while, I know that I simply did not have it in me. I am posting something I wrote 16 long months ago—way before COVID-19 presented its ugly self and changed everything for everyone around the world. I am not sure why I never shared it. It was the last thing I wrote until now. At times I wonder why I allow myself to be so vulnerable. I believed that it never seemed to be doing much good, and I know that I do not have what it takes to get this blog really out there, so I figured I would take a break. I just did not expect it to be so long. I wanted to quit altogether, but at the same time, I thought why give up now when I have put so much of my heart out there with the hope that someone else would be encouraged. There’s a lot of great things of God through life’s challenges to share. So here I am again giving it another try. We will see how this goes. My only hope for this blog has always been to touch a heart or two through life’s challenges.

The below writing ends with “I will keep you posted…” Hopefully this time, I will. I am pretty sure I will because amazing things have happened since. Especially during the toughest and most heartbreaking challenges. I have grown so much since this 2019 writing which I happened to find saved on my laptop today that I had completely forgotten about. I am so grateful, especially during this crazy time of uncertainty we are all in right now. I pray someone will find encouragement to keep standing and keep pressing on no matter what through the following words from my heart to yours…God Bless.

January 2019:

I think God revealed to me that I had stopped fighting. I had given in and stopped fighting for my heart. This came to me after too many nights of crying to Him not understanding how I had become so low that I began to wish for relief through death again. I felt so bad for feeling bad again.

One of my recent daily devotions was called Fighting for Mental and Emotional Health – one of the mornings was reminding me how I am not alone in the battle – many followers of Jesus battle depression and of course it gave me the examples of leaders and prophets in the Bible that battled and how God used them regardless. It also said that my faith is not broken and God is still for me and desires to walk with me to victory. Another day gave me Proverbs 4:23 (HCSB), “Guard your heart above all else, for it is the source of life.” Mental and emotional health flows from the heart – I must stand and keep fighting for my heart! It’s so beautiful, what a daily devotion, God’s Word, and seeking Him wholeheartedly each morning can do. Praise the Lord, I am back in the fight.

So much has been flowing into my heart since this recent awakening. I learned or re-learned that I do not need to try and hide (which I think is ridiculous that I even try) my emotions from God. King David did not hide his emotions, he was honest with God and I am following his example the best I can.

I am grateful he gave us Psalm 42:5 (HCSB) “Why am I so depressed? Why this turmoil within me? Put your hope in God, for I will still praise Him my Savior and my God.” I must remember this Psalm when I go through these seasons. Sometimes I feel like I can barely stand at the altar and sing in church, but when I do, WOW the presence of God fills my heart. He takes everything from me and I feel His love pour through. I am grateful that I am up there singing each Sunday. It is so true that when I worship God, I become aware of His magnificence and suddenly my circumstances pale when compared to His greatness.

Now that I am back in the practice of fighting for my heart every day, another devotion inspired me to try something I have not done before. I was to pray for God to reveal one word to me that He wants me to keep front and center of my life for the entire year of 2019. I had two words that came to mind and I was not sure at first if either of them was from God, but after daily prayer for about a week, He gave me JOY (the other word was Fight). I am to live this word out every single day this year and that has been what I have done since the 1st. It is amazing. For the last few months of 2018, I was asking God to teach me how to enjoy this gift of life. I felt like such a loser that I have not been enjoying life. I thought that have been living out God’s Word as much as possible, but I allowed circumstances of life to get in my way of enjoying anything. I was feeling ashamed about it, but I am not feeling that way anymore. Everything that I have experienced have been some of the greatest lessons of my life!

I have been reading and meditating on Joy every day. I printed things out from Bible Study Tools and another great resource, the other day. Suddenly, Philippians 4:4-9 spoke to me so loud and clear. I printed different translations from Bible Gateway for those verses and I am reading them aloud every day. It is changing my heart! This is the year of much Joy of the Lord, and I believe it is going to change my life in an incredible way by the end of the year. I am going to keep fighting, I cannot give up!

One of the many things I printed on joy said, “Joy is a permanent possession while happiness is fleeting.” I really like that…permanent possession. It is deep, abiding, and permanent. 😊 It’s awesome reading Scripture on Joy plus finding what other sources say about joy every day is already changing my heart. I pray that I will not allow distractions to stop me from this practice. I am hooked after only four days. I think it’s going to change my life more than ever. I will keep you posted!

I hope you too, will seek the Lord’s Joy that never depends on life’s circumstances. He promises that NO ONE can ever take it away from you. Take hold of your permanent possession today!

I Cannot Do Anything from the Grave

The god of this world is relentless. I do not need to tell any of you that, the news media does a good job of it. Every day, we hear about tragedy upon tragedy of the lives that have been lost to violence. We hear and see lives without hope. We do not need news media for that, if we are paying attention, we are surrounded every day by it. Maybe it is just me, but sometimes I think we feel some things are so hopeless and we believe we are too helpless, so we go about our days the best we can. The battlefield of my mind gets brutal at times, and if I am not careful, I know that I can end up losing big. There is no doubt that the evil one never gives up on trying to get me to turn away from God. How is it that I have not lost this battle? Well, because I have learned how I can be equipped to fight, not by my own might, but by the Lord God Almighty. My mighty weapon is His Word and not a day goes by that I am not studying and living out God’s Word. It is never done perfectly and that is OK. Getting to this point in my life has taken the last eight years of learning and growing through painful lessons and it will continue through the rest of my time on this earth. However long that might be, only God knows. I am grateful for this surrender that has taken place in my life that keeps me alive–truly alive.

The Bible warns us through Peter in the New Testament – 1 Peter 5:8: “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” Friends, we do not stand a chance in this present evil world if we are not wholeheartedly seeking out God (“sober” from distractions of the chaos near and far)—the Creator of ALL, through His Living Word. God’s truths cancel out the enemies lies—lies that we are nothing and can do nothing worthwhile in this life, so we might as well just live for ourselves in the now and forget about God. His perfect LOVE cancels out the enemy’s fear that keeps us stuck and many of us in the pit of despair. If you are in God’s Word, not just hearing and reading, but DOING, He will protect you from those lies that want to draw you away from Him and draw you to all the temporal things in this dark world that leave you empty and hopeless. It is like being led to a cliff that you cannot see, and the pending doom does not appear until it is too late.

My heart hurts to share that two people in my area fell off such a cliff this week: Recently, a woman refused help to leave her mentally dangerous boyfriend during his short stay in jail. The boyfriend was off his medication and relatives thought he was about to snap and hurt somebody. The woman rejected the offer insisting that although she knew he was struggling mentally, she believed that he loved her and would never hurt her. This week, only a few weeks later, she is dead—murdered by her boyfriend during a heated argument. The other tragedy was a man with no hope decided to end his life by jumping in front of a moving train. You can imagine the gruesome scene moments later.

Two unfinished lives that mattered, are finished on this earth. I did not know these people, but I know they mattered because their Creator is also mine and nobody cares more than Him.

I struggle with deaths like this. When I become vulnerable, no matter what the cause, the enemy wreaks havoc in my heart and mind to the point where I feel mentally sick and tearfully wonder “Why I am still alive, God?!” When I grow weary, I start to go where I should not go—the old familiar place of darkness and feel like I will never be able to help anyone else in this journey. But then, “lies, lies, lies” is spoken to my heart. God reminds me of everything that He has done in my life, not only in the last eight years of when He made Himself real to me, but He shows me how He was there before I even knew Him. God was there before, during, and when I finally chose to leave the abusive relationship I was in for over five years. I see now, that it was a deathtrap. I chose to give God a chance and surrender my entire life (not just the easy parts of it—ALL of it) to Him. I chose (and continue to choose) to reach for Him, rather than consuming deadly amounts of alcohol in failed attempts to fill the emptiness and numb the pain that only became worse with each drink. I chose to live, not just any life, but one that leads to eternal life and hopefully encourages and draws others to Him so they will do the same. He was there then, and He is here now. My amazing God…

Currently in my daily devotions, I am in the Old Testament book of Jeremiah and I want to share the encouraging Word that God has brought to my heart through it. It came from Jeremiah 10:12—“But God made the earth by His power; He founded the world by His wisdom and stretched out the heavens by His understanding.”   Through this I learned, “Once people admit their need, they should turn away from their emptiness and focus on God’s fullness. True wisdom is to be found in God alone (James 1:17). Ultimately, there is nothing and no one who can successfully substitute for God.” AMEN. This, I know to be true because I am now living it.

I found that after my struggles this week with those tragic losses that did not have to happen, I realized something amazing that came to me through my time in seeking God, and He put these words on my heart: “You made a choice to admit your need for Me and chose to turn away from your emptiness! They chose not to! You are alive, and I plan to use your life to help others to choose life too. Trust Me!” I cannot spend time wondering why they made their choices, but I can spend time thanking God that I am still choosing His gift of life and perhaps others will see and want to live too. No matter how painful this life can be, it is only temporary and does not compare to what He has in store for us. So, every day I can say, “Yes, Lord! I trust You, with my whole heart!”

I cannot encourage people enough to surrender all to God and daily live in His presence and seek out His will for their lives. Every answer to every question, every comfort for every pain, every need for every want, absolutely EVERYTHING, can be found in His Word, The Holy Bible that teaches us how to live in this fallen world. The Spirit of God is here with us now. He is waiting to help more and more to discover a whole new life, an abundant one. I can keep sharing my heart so vulnerably, it is a chance that I am willing to take. I cannot save people, I cannot not heal the pain, I cannot fill the emptiness, but GOD CAN. Say YES! to Him today.

I have learned, and I keep learning and believe, especially in those times when I am thinking the dark thoughts that want me to give in…I cannot praise God, I cannot share His greatness in my life, I cannot share His life-saving HOPE with others, I cannot do anything from the grave. THAT is why I choose life and I pray that it touches at least one heart. It only takes one…amen?

May God bless you all richly as He has blessed me.

Thank You, Jesus, my Lord and Savior. I am grateful to be alive. †♥

From Damaged Goods to Broken and Beautiful – Learning to see myself through God’s eyes…

So my heart brought me back to one of my first writings from 2012, the year this blog came alive and my heart poured into it wanting only to share the greatness of God in my life. It’s not a popular blog, but it is a blessed one. When I started writing, I was very new in my Christian walk and only a couple of years sober and in this particular post I wrote about how I had wondered how God could love someone like me. I was remembering a past dark, drunk, and extremely depressed moment in my life before I had cried out to God, so I wrote about it and here is a little piece of it:

 …I happened to catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror as I was headed to the refrigerator for another cold one. I don’t know why, but I stopped and took a long look at the reflection of what was a lost soul. I can still picture those lifeless eyes staring back at me. I hated who I had become. I didn’t blame anybody, I knew I did it to myself and I thought I’d never be able to climb out of that big black hole that I had dug for myself. I was seriously wondering how God could ever love someone who had spent just about her entire life with her back to Him—no love, no trust, no surrender. I also wondered why He didn’t let me die like I wanted to. I was certainly ready to go. I wasn’t doing anybody any good being alive.”

Wow, I just got all teary eyed again with gratitude looking back at all God has done since I surrendered at the bottom a little more than seven years ago now. The miracle sobriety continues. Thank You, Jesus. I know there are still some suffering like I used to. I used to think I was worthless, dumb, ugly, and deserving of nothing good in this life. I was nothing but damaged goods, especially after that horrible stretch of being a victim of mental abuse before I finally escaped it (another miracle of God). Damaged goods – that was my main identity when I thought of who I was. I was Depressed, Drunk, and Damaged. Hmmmm, “D” for devil…pretty amazing to see, isn’t it? There’s also Discouragement, Discontentment, Defeat, Doubt, Deception — just to point out a few more words to be aware of (thanks to my mentor for helping me to recognize those words!). They are never loving words from our Heavenly Father. Anyway, I was believing all the lies of the devil and was caught up in his snare for so many years – he came close to destroying me, but he lost.  I am so grateful that those days are long gone. The moment I started opening my heart to the Lord and letting Him work in me and through me, He changed everything about me. He saved my life! He gave me a new heart and gave me new sight, and helped me to change my thoughts. And with the help of someone dear to me, well, it’s more than one walking this incredible journey with me, and they have all helped me to see myself as God sees me. And I believe He sees me (and so many others) as His beautiful bride. In time, I started to see that I am not damaged goods. I am broken and beautiful. I am chosen. I am set-apart. There’s so much more and I am grateful that His truths now overpower the lies. My identity is in Christ alone and nothing or no one can ever change that.

How amazing is that truth for all who believe, my friends! I hope that anyone who is struggling the way I did will not listen to anyone but God and what He has to say. It is all in His Word, I hope you will seek Him with all your heart if you haven’t yet. His love is amazing.

Your Heavenly Father saw you and approved of you even while you were in your mother’s womb. Read Psalm 139 with an open heart seeking God’s Presence while you read it. I pray that you will feel His Sweet Presence and will start to receive the self-esteem of Christ. He did it for me, I know He will do it for wholehearted seekers like you too.

May God bless you. Please know that you are loved. ♥

When Christians Hurt with Words…

Are we helping or hurting with what we say? Are we truly walking in God’s righteousness as He has called us to? I see and hear the word idiot and other harsh words about people and things out of our control quite a bit, so today on I want to focus on words. I think most of us have heard how powerful our words can be. The words we speak can bless and bring life into the hearts of others, including ourselves, or we can speak hard or hard words and word curses that hurt others. Did you realize that these types of words can also create strongholds in our own lives? Did you realize that they can block God’s blessings? So, I have to ask. Which words are you choosing to speak?

I will never claim to be a perfect Christian, but I have learned how to NOT be a blessing blocker — as much as humanly possible. I have learned some difficult and painful lessons in my journey, and as someone who used to be a blessing blocker more than not, I must put this out there. I know of several Christians (many that I care deeply for) that are in need – some are in desperate need of breakthroughs. For example, some need restoration, physical healing, financial, or emotional healing. I have seen some things that have triggered concern and I am being led to put this out there for others to seriously consider – please be aware that the words we speak (think and write–God knows all) may keep us in bondage if we are not choosing our words wisely.

Our mouths can really run away from us and I think it can happen easily if we are not spending enough quality time seeking God with our whole hearts. Some of us try to squeeze God into our lives but it never works because we never have enough time when we do not keep Him as priority time. We might make a better effort to be with Him only once in a while, but then the busyness of life usually gets in the way. We might praise Him in the good times and try our best to praise Him during the hardships, but sometimes we are just too weak to do it because we are operating under our own strength which cannot compare to His. We then humble ourselves and pray in the name of Jesus, and then we wait, and wait, and wait some more for the breakthroughs to come. When it seems that nothing is happening, we start to wonder how long we must wait for an answer – we may ask, “Does the Lord really hear me?” Sometimes the wait seems forever and we have no idea that we might be the ones causing the delay.

If you feel that you might be at this point, I want to encourage you to not give up. Do not lose hope. Do not lose heart! But know that it is a must that you still yourself before the Lord more than once in a while. You might even do what I like to think of as a self-check. If you cannot see what might be wrong in your life, ask God. You can ask something like, “Lord, am I getting the way of Your blessings? If so, please show me and give me strength to change. I want to bring You glory.” If you go to Him wholeheartedly, He will listen and He will answer. But you need to be still and listen. This is also a perfect opportunity to grow in your trust relationship with the Lord. For me, I am so grateful that I have learned to make it a constant practice to do a self-check because I certainly do not want to ever block the blessings of God. Been there, done that. When I am on the right path, I grow stronger in my wait for the Lord. When I am not on the right path, He shows me and lovingly corrects me. It is a win-win for me.

Remember, the invisible enemy is behind the temptation to run off at the mouth so as it is written in James 4:7 (New Century Version): “So give yourselves completely to God. Stand against the devil, and the devil will run from you.” Amen! The enemy and his minions always run in terror in the name of Jesus.

How can you learn to always be mindful and speak in a way that brings glory to God? IMMERSE YOURSELF IN THE WORD OF GOD. Do it day and night. If I sound like a broken record to some of you who know me, I am glad. I speak the truth from love and I speak it from experience of a 7 year journey (and counting) of many trials and triumphs. I am so thankful that I have learned many things the hard way because God has used it all for good and has made me confident and bold in what I share. And just like my wonderful and loving spiritual leaders, I now get to lead by example and I am extremely grateful for the gift to share my heart.

The more time you spend soaking in God’s Word instead of participating with the harshness (to put it politely) of the rest of the world which is Satan’s snare, the more you will desire to change your words and your ways. You will not be able to help but be drawn in and grow in knowing and loving God and wanting to glorify Him more and more in everything you do. You will be living out Scripture (God’s Living Word!), like it is written in James, for example. James taught us about becoming “doers” of God’s Word, not just listeners. I encourage you to read the entire epistle of James. It was a part of this inspired writing.

God wants to bless us abundantly, but it is hard for Him to do when we do things that His Word clearly tells us not to do. If you have a problem controlling your tongue, you are not alone. As a side note, I love how Joyce Meyer shares about her struggle with her tongue. I am sure she must have a book on it. Controlling our tongues may seem impossible at times, but with God, ALL things are possible and we can do ALL things with Christ who strengthens us, Amen? Do not let it hold you back from God’s best in your life.

I am praying for those who struggle with this. I am praying for your breakthroughs. The saying is true — change your words, change your life. Remember, in Christ Jesus we are Kingdom builders but we are not going to be able t draw people in for God with words that tear people down.

God will do His part, but you need to do your part in breaking the strongholds and enslaving yokes today. Stay out of His way. Choose to speak words of life. Just do it. You will be much better off (just like when you forgive). I will pray that the floodgates of heaven pour upon you like never before – I believe breakthroughs are in store! Thank You, Lord!

To God be the glory, forever. ♥

“God’s righteousness doesn’t grow from human anger.” James 1:20 (The Message)

19 Understand this, my beloved brothers and sisters. Let everyone be quick to hear [be a careful, thoughtful listener], slow to speak [a speaker of carefully chosen words and], slow to anger [patient, reflective, forgiving]; 20 for the [resentful, deep-seated] anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God [that standard of behavior which He requires from us].” James 1:19-20 (Amplified Bible)