Dear Christian: Do you love your friendship more than you love your friend?

I was listening to Mark Hall from Casting Crowns mention how we live in a time where we love our friendship more than we love our friend. It is so true and it is a tough place to be as a Christian. We all want to be liked, we do not want to be hated even though Jesus warned us that we would be hated and to remember that the world hated Him first. But that does not make it any easier for us. Many of us are more concerned with offending people than we are concerned with offending God. If a friend is headed down the wrong path (according to what God’s Word says is the wrong path), we tend to look the other way because we do not want to come across as judgmental. We want to mind our own business. I know I do not want to be that way — I need God’s help.

Think about it. How can we claim to love our friend if we are willing to see them continue in ways we know are not pleasing to God? If I am headed down a path that leads to destruction and causes me to be sinning against God which also means that I am separated from Him, I sure hope that someone would be brave enough to pull me aside and give me something to think about and pray that I would listen and turn the other way.

When I was drinking and driving all those early years of being depressed, lost, and careless, I wish I would have had people care enough to tell me that I was headed down a path of great destruction. It was many years later, but I was fortunate to have God’s Divine intervention in my life before I lost it. Even so, I do not think that God will always move in that way. I think many times He guides people like us to help our friends. He gives us the strength, the courage, the words, the timing, etc., when we seek Him to do the right thing. I think we as Christians need to do the right thing and speak up even if it means there’s a chance of losing our friendship – a chance of being hated.

We need to speak God’s truth in love and we should not be surprised if we are hated by it. It’s the right thing to do. I just wanted to put this out there to give something to really think about. I have had this on my mind for a while, but it took a while muster up the courage to post it. I hope it pulls on some heartstrings. Jesus does not want anyone to perish and we should not want that to happen either. Let’s be strong and courageous and be bold to speak God’s truth in love at the risk of losing. Because that is love. Besides, I feel that if I am going to lose, I would rather lose loving the souls of my friends more than loving their friendship.

Mark Hall reminded me that Scripture says that we can love people with truth. As we know, the truth can really hurt sometimes, but I think that’s when it also becomes life-saving. I cannot help but also remember that Jesus cared so much that He died for us sinners. He never felt the pleasure of sin like we have, but He sure knew the pain of it – ALL of it. We do not have to die for our friends, Jesus took care of that. So how can we not do our part? How can we not love our friends enough to save them and turn them toward the life-saving love of Jesus?

I hope you will join me in being strong and courageous in doing the hard stuff. I’ll pray for you, please pray for me too. We can do all things through Christ who gives us strength. Amen?

A Christmas miracle, no matter what…

God blessed me with an incredible miracle this year. I’ll be sharing more about it, but in the meantime, click here for a little preview: The Holy Spirit of Christmas 2015

I know God can touch more hearts like He’s touched mine so I am praying for your Christmas miracle no matter what you’re going through. May your heart be filled with the Holy Spirit of Christmas and may your Christmas miracle come too!


Breaking Free From the Man Who Said He Loved Me (Because Love Should Never Cause Emotional Trauma)

L-O-V-E. I do not know why I cannot shake the thought about love lately. It is not the kind of love that many of you are blessed to have. I am talking about the so-called love that causes emotional trauma. Real love does not hurt like that — it should never hurt like that. It is hard for some to understand why it is not as easy as it seems to just walk away and let go. I know because I spent most of my adult life thinking that way. That is, until it happened to me…

I am writing this because I had suffered in silence for too long and I know there are some out there right now going through this very thing. I know you feel trapped, alone, and perhaps too embarrassed to reach out to someone close to you. You do not want anyone to know. Why? Only you can answer that. For me, it was shame. I was too ashamed to let anyone know the situation that I had gotten myself into. It was all my fault and I was stupid to let it happen. That is the lie that I truly believed. I hated that I had become so weak and needy. I used to be so strong. I just wanted someone to love me, so I pretended that he did when things were good. And when things were bad, I drank myself through it. I regret that I suffered in silence instead of reaching out. It almost killed me. I was only able to break free because I discovered that God is real and He helped me. He sobered me up first, then gave me the courage and the strength to walk away. So now, what I used to keep a secret, I openly share because I want others to know that suffering alone does not have to be. You do not have to be trapped. You too, can be free.

I have shared in older posts that I was in a mentally abusive relationship. It caused severe emotional trauma. I never knew that love could hurt the way it did. It is not supposed to be like that. For the longest time I was so alone and ashamed and I did not believe that mental abuse was really abuse so I kept my mouth shut and allowed it to continue. But I was so wrong. It is abuse. I saw someone put it this way in a recent blog: “Abuse doesn’t always manifest as a black eye or a bloody wound. The effects of psychological abuse are just as damaging.” I could not have said it better myself. It is the truth. All that time I was silent, I had wished I was getting hit thinking that it would help me to cry out for help. That makes me sad today because I think there are others thinking that as I write this. I was able to break free before the first hit came. I believe it was just a matter of time before it did. I say this because of an evil explosion of anger that came that really put fear in me like I had never known before. It wasn’t something I caused, but because I was there, I suffered for it. Then I heard the words “I warned you about my anger.” Hitters usually say that, don’t they? Thankfully, I will never know.

Because I was too weak to break away (after all he did tell me he loved me), I endured his abuse for too long. I was in too deep. I did not know how to let go. I believed that nobody else would ever love me. I convinced myself that I was damaged goods and that no one else would ever want me, so I stuck around and kept taking it. And as for reaching out to someone on the outside, I would rather have died from alcohol poisoning or from mixing alcohol with pills than admitting to anyone the horrific things that I was allowing to happen to me.

Now that I have God in my life and I am 100% sober, I know that it was never love. This guy was a master manipulator and being that I was such a lost soul with zero self-esteem, he caught on to that right away and used it. Boy, did he use it. I get teary eyed when I go back there in my mind and remember how it was.

After the newness of the relationship had worn out, I found myself slowly becoming more afraid of him. I was afraid to speak. I was afraid that I would say something that he would turn against me. I remember an instance when we were talking about something he was going through and all of a sudden I was accused of saying something about him that he took offense to. He then proceeded to tell me that he needed to take a step back and examine my character. There was another time where I was with friends, men and women, for a gathering that I had asked him to go to. He did not go, but of course he called me and because he heard a man’s voice in the background I was suddenly accused of cheating on him. I’ll never forget that hole he ripped into my heart later that night. I tried contacting him after the party and he hung up on me and shut his phone off. Later, he decided to send me a text and said “I hope you’re happy with your new boyfriend.” My tender and already broken heart sank even more when I read that. He had shut off his phone again so I couldn’t respond or call. That was torture. There were so many times when I had called where he would answer, but wouldn’t say a word and would hang up on me. He would later explain he was working or something — we were in a long distance relationship at that time. It was craziness that I kept going back for more for. Other times if I did or said something that he didn’t like, I would find myself getting intense silent treatment. I remember one time I just sobbed because I didn’t even know what I had said or done to deserve it. He would just shut down on me with no explanation. Then there was the intimacy. I practice abstinence now, but back then I did not know God so I did not care or think much of it. What a big mistake that was. I was literally sleeping with the enemy. He was addicted and there was just something about him that managed to tear down my self-esteem even more. I had no idea that it could get me deeper into the dark pit of depression the way it did. Things got worse from there. There’s so much more I could share, but I think this is enough. Why did I stay? I have no idea. The only explanation that I can come up with today is that I was truly a lost soul.

I am grateful that is no longer the case. God saved me. He not only saved my life and gave me a new hope, He gave me the self-esteem of Christ. He became my first love and this will never happen in my life again because I have a whole new set of eyes and I will see the wolves that come in sheep’s clothing. I am eternally grateful for that.

I do not know if what I have shared has been any help to anyone. I am sure praying that it does help because putting myself out there like this is HARD. I am praying that someone will be encouraged — someone whose circumstance is similar to what I was saved from. Do not give up hope and do not stay suffering in silence. You too can break free, but you need God’s help to do it. There is no shame in reaching out. Reach out to God first, then reach out to others. If you do not have anyone close to you that you can trust, know that there are others out there who truly understand what you are going through. We can only understand if we have been through it ourselves. There are support groups out there and they will walk with you as you walk with God to overcome. What God has done for me and others, I know He will do for you. Cry out to Him, He is listening. You WILL overcome.

I am praying for you, with all my heart. God bless.

A FATHER’S DAY POST: Some Heartfelt Words For Dads – The Good and the Bad


The last time I opened my heart about Father’s Day was in 2014. I thought that would be the end of it because I believed that I was completely healed. I guess I thought that when I first wrote about it in 2012 too. Ah, healing is a process. So Father’s Day 2015 is only a few days away, and I discovered a few weeks ago that this time of year is still a trigger for me — a negative one. I am glad I can share that things are turning around and I am getting better. For the first time recently, I shared things that I had not shared before with my Bible Study sisters. They are amazing women of God who bless my life and they make it so safe for me to pour my heart out and to cry when I need to. Why I held stuff in for so long, I do not know. I just know that vulnerability still does not come easy for me. I am so grateful that I finally opened up because since I poured out my troubled heart to them few weeks ago, I have found more freedom and more healing. God is so good. I pour out my heart to Him all the time, but for some reason, it took sharing with my sisters that brought me more healing from things that have been weighing my heart down for the past 5 years or so — since my dad was found dead in his home. I know this additional healing has come because my sisters lifted me up in prayer. I can see now that God made it all happen and I am so grateful!

For those who do not know anything about me, since I was sixteen years old, I dreaded Father’s Day because my dad pretty much abandoned me. He did much more than divorce my mom. He completely crushed my spirit. Maybe it would not have been so bad had I known my Heavenly Father, but that was just not how life was for me back then. I have shared in the past that I felt robbed. I hated not having a father as I was growing into a young woman. I missed my dad. I cried myself to sleep many nights from a crushed heart and every time I would see the good Dads loving their children, that just made it worse for me. I was happy for them, it was a blessing to see, but when I was alone at night it was nothing but tears and emptiness. I love my mom dearly. She worked so hard keeping a roof over our heads until I could get a job and help, I did not want to burden her with what I was going through. That was the beginning of a pathway to rock bottom that finally happened when I was 44. I get a lot of hits on my “Praise God for Rock Bottom” post and I hope it has touched some hearts. Rock Bottom is where I met God for the first time in my life. It is where I discovered that He is real. He has done amazing things and has completely turned my life around. I no longer desire to drink my life away and I no longer desire to die. I cannot say enough about God in my life!

Anyway, enough about me…what I mostly wanted to say is “Thank You!” to all the Dads out there who are there loving your families. I want to especially thank the men of God out there. I have many brothers in my journey that make my heart smile as I watch them be the amazing godly fathers that they are. What a blessing it is to see that they do exist! Just because I did not have a dad like that, does not mean that they are not out there and I am grateful that God has opened my eyes and heart to witness it. To those of you whose fathers are in heaven, I pray for peace and comfort and wonderful memories that warm your heart. May our Heavenly Father be enough. May you be filled with His amazing love that fills any void that you might feel in your heart.

I pray for the fathers who are denied access to their children. There are a lot of tragic circumstances where I know that dads who want to be there for their kids are not being allowed to. I pray for the fathers who do not know how to be there for their kids and decide to leave and not make contact like mine did. Now that I am much older and wiser, I do not hate my dad. He just did not know how to be a dad when I needed him most. I am grateful that God gave me strength to forgive. I am beyond grateful that forgiveness and restoration took place before my dad died. I pray for the children who are caught in the middle of ugliness between their mom and dad and I pray for the children who are left behind like I was. Lord, let there be more healing, restoration, and forgiveness, I ask that You do for them what You have done for me.

So, Happy Father’s Day to the Dads out there. But above all, HAPPY FATHER’S DAY to the God of my life — my Heavenly Father who loves me more than anyone ever can. I love You too Daddy. Please tell my earthly dad who I know is with You in heaven now, that I said hello and that I will see him when You bring me home. ❤

“Sing to God, sing praises to His name; Extol Him who rides on the clouds, by His name YAH, and rejoice before Him. A father of the fatherless…” ~Psalm 68:4,5 (NKJV)

He is my Father and I love Him with all of me!

“They are better off without me.” If these words mean anything to you, I hope you’ll read this…

I know in my heart that I am not the only one who battles dark thoughts such as this. Some who are close to me may be surprised to find that I was fighting this thought very recently. I was fighting hard. For a bit there, I felt like I was losing. I think until I decided to write about this just now that only my pastor and one or two others in my life that I trust were aware that I was hearing and starting to believe those words again. It brought me back to my old dark days of depression and isolation – the horrible days when I tried so hard to drink my way through tormenting thoughts of suicide. The difference this time though, is that I did not keep it to myself. I did not withdraw from people and isolate, although it does get tempting at times. I did not relapse and try to drink it away again. Instead, I reached out to God and I reached out to my pastor and trusted Christian friends for help and I am grateful for this amazing and lifesaving change that God has made in me over the last five years.

This morning with my church family, I had the wonderful opportunity to share another testimony of God’s greatness in my life and it triggered my heart to share it here too. I have spent the last five months trying my best to be strong and courageous, trusting and leaning on God as I walked what felt like the longest and darkest valley of my journey into the unknown with Him. It did not come easy for me at all. I had some very good days, but many bad ones and shed many tears through it. It took five months for doctors to be able to tell me whether or not I have cancer. I have had amazing people of faith, much stronger than me, claiming in Jesus’ name that I am healed and that there would be no cancer. I received and I claimed it. However, because I am a weak human being, the long wait for the medical report to confirm it became quite challenging for me. The enemy knows my weaknesses very well and when I am not careful and allow him and his lies to distract me, he attacks and I get knocked down hard. I had to wait for consultations that kept getting cancelled. I had a painful procedure in December that did not go well and the attempt for a biopsy failed. So, more waiting — more of the unknown and more distractions. I started losing my focus on Jesus and started listening to the deceiver and believing his lies that I am a bad person and I deserve what’s happening to me. I started believing his lies that everyone would be better off if I were not around anymore. I was not doing anything good for anyone, I was too busy feeling sick and defeated.  I felt shame for what I was going through because I believed that it was caused by my past choices when I was living a godless life all those years before God had reached down and revealed His power to me. The enemy seemed to be winning this battle of my mind. But thankfully, I can share today, that he has lost once again. He’ll always lose with God holding me by His right hand. He will always lose, as long as I never give up.

I am so grateful that no matter how many times I get knocked down, God gives me incredible strength to keep getting back up and to keep pressing on. I am so grateful that I never give up on Him. Not that I don’t think about it once in a while, especially when I become exhausted, but I really do know better by now. Going back to the way I used to live is not an option. Not if I want to live…REALLY live.

People who are isolating and battling tormenting thoughts on their own are in danger. Isolation is the devil’s trap so he can be free to go in for the kill, but first he likes to take his time and torture for as long as he possibly can. I know. I was there. And I believe this because he almost killed me there. Isolation brings darkness, loneliness, hopelessness…basically, it brings death. A slow and painful one. I pray that if you are in this situation that you will do something about it. Stop trying to fight it alone. Let go of pride. If you haven’t called out to God yet, just do it. He’s listening! Reach out to a pastor. Reach out to others, but make sure those you reach out to are godly people. Surrounding myself by a team of godly people was not easy at the beginning, but I have a safe place to be each week where I can open up and cry and ask for help if I need to. They don’t judge and they do not make me feel ashamed. They just love me with the love that God pours through their hearts. Love I have never known before. They aren’t just a team of godly people, they are my family. Everything I have shared here is what I have done myself and is why I am still here to write about it. I was not sure what all to write about today, but I felt my heartstrings being pulled to write something. Too many are suffering alone right now. Too many have already given up on hope and too many are about to. It does not have to be. Hope in Jesus saves lives. He saved mine, in so many ways.

I have seen many miracles in the lives of others and in my own. I have prayed for miracles. I keep praying for them. But lately, I started thinking that maybe I should do more than just pray for a miracle. Maybe I should start praying that I would BE a miracle for someone else. How awesome would that be? This gives my life amazing purpose. Each of us has a special purpose for being here so let’s not give up on finding out what that purpose is. I believe it will save your life. And how amazing will it be when you find that you can be a part of God’s plan in helping other lives to be saved? What if your life and testimony helps someone else to choose Jesus — the only Way to eternal life? Is that not worth living for? I certainly think it is. Imagine if each of us touched just one heart. I get overwhelmed at the thought of what God can do with that. That’s what keeps me going in this dark and fallen world. And when I get tripped up and fall hard, which happens more than I care to admit, God helps me to get up and to keep on keeping on for Him. I am so grateful.

My heart goes out to those suffering things I suffered for too many years. If you are one, I am praying for you, that God would intervene and do for you what He has done for me and so many others. I pray you will open your heart to Him like never before. I know He will meet you right where you are. And you need to stop believing the lies and believe this…no one will ever be better off without you! It is the truth. It is not my truth, it is God’s truth!

God’s love is amazing. I am so grateful for all He is to me. I am ALIVE!! I hope you or someone you know will be encouraged by my openness today. It’s never easy, but it is always more than worth it. Oh, and I almost forgot…that unsuccessful procedure to remove only a part of the abnormal cells was a blessing that led to a minor surgery that removed ALL of the abnormal cells for biopsy. I got word the other day…NO CANCER. I am healed! Praise the Lord! Ah, God is SO not finished with me yet. And friend, I don’t believe He is finished with you either. I hope you will join me on this amazing pathway to heaven. And if you do, FASTEN YOUR SEATBELT. It is going to be the ride of your life… just sayin’.

Thanks for listening to my heart…God bless.