My Hope Is God Alone (Even If He Doesn’t Save Through The Fire)

Scripture teaches us that it only takes a little faith to move a mountain. Well, I am grateful that I always have at least a little faith. Looking back over the past seven years of walking fully sober with Jesus, I truly believe that I have developed mountain moving faith. I have prayed and believed that God would move some mountains in my own journey and those mountains did get tossed into the sea – a mountain of alcohol abuse, a mountain of a cancer-causing virus, and a mountain of depression. I have seen God move mountains in other lives as well which is so awesome for a young Christian to see God answer prayers in such powerful ways.

Even so, there have been times where I have felt disappointed and maybe even a little shaken. I am sure we all experience this from time to time. Some of us grow stronger and closer to God, and some of us give up. I never want to give up. I never want to go back to a life of hopelessness ever again, so I keep pressing on even when life hurts. There was a time not very long ago when I prayed so fervently for a woman by the name of Peggy who was suffering from cancer. She had such amazing faith and had touched so many lives as a teacher. She was a Kingdom builder for sure. She was not ready to go. I heard her say so. She tearfully prayed for more time to serve the Lord. She knew my pastor and when she could, she would come a pretty good distance to visit our church a few times for prayer. Shortly after, she became too week to come anymore. I never saw her again. I did not personally know her, but I was honored to be one who got to place hands on her with other powerful prayer warriors taking turns praying. I will never forget that moment. When I touched her and spoke God’s Word of healing over her, I felt such a deep spiritual connection with her. After that morning, God put her on my heart to continue praying and believing, and that is what I did. My personal prayer sessions speaking God’s Word of healing for her were so powerful. Tears would stream down my face every single time and I would be thanking God that He had answered. I believed with all my heart that I would be hearing praises that God had miraculously healed her like we have heard for others. I felt like a little child who had no doubt that her Mighty God would hear and save Peggy from cancer. But God didn’t move the mountain. Not this time. I had received word that Peggy’s mountain of cancer overcame her and she passed away surrounded by family. I celebrate the fact that Peggy is now whole and with Jesus, but I would be lying if I said that it did not sadden me greatly that she was not healed on this side of heaven leaving behind her husband and family. I guess it really hurt because I had been so excited for that miracle that I had no doubt would come. And when it didn’t come, well, I do not think I need to describe any further how my heart felt at the time.

Now I could have let that stop me from pressing on in this journey of faith, but I am thankful for the strength that God gives me to keep pressing on no matter what comes. I think it will help me to remember that I am to be walking in His will, not my own, so there will be mountains that He chooses to leave unmoved. I have learned that nothing can get in God’s way for His purpose to be done, so I think I need to be okay when certain mountains do not move. Just because they seem to be in my way or the way of loved ones, it does not mean that they are in God’s way. At least, that is how it seems to me.

There are a lot of mountains – fiery health trials happening lately with people I love. I keep lifting them all in prayer knowing that God is able. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that He can save every one of them through the fire with His mighty hand. But what if He doesn’t? I mean, He didn’t for Peggy, so what if He doesn’t for others that I pray for as well? Well, God is God, and I am not. I cannot know His plan, so, I will continue in faith and pray for healing. I will also pray for the strength for all of us, no matter what, to be able to say, “It is well with my soul.” Our only hope is God alone. Let us not forget what He did for us! (John 3:16) Amen?

While my heart was struggling with unmovable mountains and fiery trials, a Mercy Me song (Even If) was playing and really touched me. If you listen to the song, you’ll see that it inspired this writing from my heart. I hope it will encourage your heart like it did mine. It reminded me of the OT Bible passage in Daniel 3 where Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were about to be thrown into the fiery furnace for not worshiping the king’s golden image. They fully trusted Almighty God to deliver them from the fire, but stood strong in faith stating that even if He does not deliver, that they would not serve or worship the king’s false god. Wow. Super strong faith. They knew they had God on their side no matter what and had nothing to fear but God alone. That is the kind of faith I hope that I continue to develop. When we fear God, we need not fear anything else.

I dug a little deeper into this passage and read a Matthew Henry commentary and I love what he said about Daniel 3:17-18, and I hope that it helps you as it did me. Henry said, “God will deliver us either from death or in death.” Yes! It was no accident that I came to that commentary. I really needed to hear those words. It made me realize that Peggy WAS delivered after all. God delivered her from cancer and took her home to be with Him forever. She would have liked to stay longer, but she was not afraid because she knew where she was going. That is a beautiful truth and God will deliver every single one of His faithful ones so we also need not be afraid. I know we would like deliverance and healing on this side of heaven, but whether it is here or in heaven, it is a win-win for those of us in Christ.

If you are struggling like I was, I hope you will remember that the Lord is near the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit (Psalm 34). It is okay to grieve the loss of our loved ones who leave us behind, but it is not okay to grieve like those who have no hope. We are going home to Paradise, to be with our Lord for eternity. We have the blessed hope of heaven and it is not wishful thinking kind of hope!

Oh, breathe on us breath of God, so that we will never die. Be blessed my friends and may God’s peace, which is so great we cannot understand it, keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus whether your mountains move or not.

Psalms 34

Surviving Sadness — Let us not feel bad for feeling bad

When I suddenly find myself in another battle against sadness, I want to hide when those hard days of melancholy hit. When I think about how many times I have claimed victory over depression only to get knocked down and begin suffering once again, I feel embarrassed and ashamed. I actually feel bad, for feeling bad.

Some people who do not understand what this is like think we who deal with bouts of depression need to just snap out of it. Believe me, if I could, I would. My mind starts to wonder why God does not fix me when I have cried out asking Him to. I start to wonder too many things. Eventually, I pick myself up the best I can and try to pretend all is well although I feel like my heart is being crushed. I go to work, I go to school, and I go to church like normal. Even though deep down I do believe all is well, I still seem to always choose to suffer alone at first because I am too embarrassed to let those around me know that it is happening again.

Please do not do what I do. Do not choose to suffer alone, it can be dangerous. When my mind starts to go to old thought patterns, I start to become a bit concerned. That is when I know that I need to reach out to a trusted source. For me, that is my pastor. She never judges and always points me to God for direction and guidance and she encourages me and prays for me. I am grateful for her. Recently, she helped me to see through the dark clouds that I really am victorious in this fight! I needed to hear that. I can see clearly now that I am still a strong woman of God. I have not given in to the depression. I am not empty or hopeless like I was before I came to know Christ. I am still alive. I still believe and hope in Jesus. I continue to walk the walk. I continue to show up in church and Bible Study. I continue to sing my heart out to the Lord even through the pain. I continue to intercede for others. In addition to all of that, I am still sober! I am celebrating 7 years of this incredible miracle of God in just about a week. Wow. If that alone is not a sign of Victory, I don’t know what is. THANK YOU, JESUS.

So, it is okay to cry. It is not okay to give up. Do not feel bad for feeling bad, we are human. Let’s stop being hard on ourselves. You are not alone. My suffering returns more than I care to admit and I know that I am not alone. There is no shame. Let’s pray for and encourage one another in the Lord. Thanks to Jesus, we fight from victory, not for it! Remember that God is bigger than all of this and it has been my experience that as I wait on the Lord’s hand to move through the suffering, I grow even stronger and even more important, I grow closer to Him. So, I want to encourage you to seek and “Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.” (~Psalm 27:14) He will not let you down.

Heavenly Father, I pray that You fill us with Your peace that goes beyond our understanding. May we feel it fall like rain in the middle of our hurting. Let us feel Your arms surrounding us. Let us know that it is okay. May we choose to rest in Your peace that only comes in the waiting. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Never give up. Choose Jesus, choose life – even when it hurts. ♥

It does not matter what the world says…

I thank God for rescuing me from this present evil world. If I were still believing and listening to what the world has to say, I would still be a worthless, depressed, suicidal drunk. I am eternally grateful that over six years ago, godly people came into my life who have taught me how to seek God with all my heart so I can find out for myself that He is as real as the air I breathe. He really is. He was so real that I put down the bottle and picked up a Bible. The Spirit of God has touched me powerfully. I discovered that Jesus is real and now He is truly alive within me. He is my Savior and Lord. He is my way. He is my truth. He is my life. He is my only means of going to the Father (John 14:6). Jesus died so that I may live and I am grateful I that I choose to live today! I am sad that not everybody believes this enough to choose life in Him like I have. The god of this world has so many captive through confusion and blindness and I am not going to give up praying for those hearts.

Anyhow, I shared last year that I was wondering if I was a bit crazy for becoming a part-time freshman in community college at the age of 49. At 50 I am still pressing on and I am only half way there. Or maybe I should say that I am already halfway to transferring to a university so I can someday earn my undergraduate degree…that certainly sounds more encouraging to me. I try not to allow myself to get too overwhelmed that I am getting older, growing more tired, and have such a long way to go, and even though I do struggle at times, I push through and it is so worth it.

The world may think I am nuts for doing this, it probably seems pointless to some. I just read an article today that mentioned the 20 worst bachelor degrees to get in today’s world of business. Dare I share that my major is psychology and that according to this article, it is the second worst degree to go for? Nice. I knew I should not have read that article, but what is done is done. I can let it bring me down and cause me to give up, or I can keep pressing on. I am choosing to keep pressing on.

Now, prior to my faith-walk with the Lord, I would have let that article discourage me enough to consider quitting on my delayed education once again. But that is not going to happen this time around because my faith has becomes super strong and I have learned not to care what others say or think (total freedom!!). I have come too far and have overcome too much to quit now — that would be crazier than anything else that I can do. I did not muster up the courage to return to college for my own sake or to prove anything for my own life. God has become the center of my life and He is the only reason that I am going for it because I believe His Word that all things are possible with God (Matthew 19:26). I truly believe.

So even though I admit that it bothered me for a minute, I choose not to care what the article says because it is of the world and about the world’s economy. I happen to be walking and living in God’s economy, not the world’s. My God always supplies to the full my every need according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19). He truly does. I am not in this for the money. I am in this because my heart’s desire is to shine God’s light in the darkest places. Secular college is where He wants me right now so that is where I will be until it is time to move on to wherever He may lead next. I believe the goal is for the degree to open some doors where I can work with others struggling with what I used to struggle with and perhaps have opportunities to minister to those hurting souls. I wish I had someone ministering to me in the darkness that almost took my life, but then again, I would not be where I am today if I did not go through everything that I have gone through. I am blessed!!

I do believe that I certainly would be crazy to try any of this on my own. I am forever grateful that I have learned to commit my works to God and entrust them wholly to Him. It is He who is effectually at work in me and causes my thoughts to become agreeable with His will so that my plans shall be established and succeed (Proverbs 16:3; Philippians 2:13). How incredibly awesome is that?! I am “doing” His Word! I take Him for His Word, and His Word never returns to Him void but always accomplishes what it is sent to do (Isaiah 55:11).

I so love God’s Word. I pray that His Word and promises that never fail, will encourage someone else’s heart like He has greatly encouraged mine.

Do not let the world discourage you in your journey. It does not matter what the world says about you or about what you can or cannot do. It only matters what God says. Nothing is impossible with God and nothing is too hard for Him to do. My life is proof of that. Never ever give up because where He guides He provides. Do not quit and miss out on His best for you!

Be encouraged. God loves you.

Father, be it unto me (be it unto all of Your beloved) according to Your Word (Luke 1:38). In Jesus’ name, amen. ♥

God’s ongoing miracle of keeping me sober through the obstacles that life brings.

It is hard to believe that it has been about 20 months since a routine exam came back with results that had the doctor concerned that I might have cervical cancer. I remember well how my life was thrown into such a state of confusion at the end of 2014. The unfavorable results had me going through a procedure that had caused physical trauma as well as emotional trauma — it was for nothing. Well, that’s what I thought when I was in the midst of the challenge. But like God always does, He worked it all out for my good. Anyway, the procedure was unsuccessful, so it was discouraging that there were still no answers. The unknown can really be a scary thing. I had to be sent to a different specialist who could do a special surgical procedure that gave hope that it would be successful in cancer prevention. After that initial so-called “simple” procedure turned into something super complicated and extremely painful leaving me in tears wondering what was next, I was so relieved to hear that they would not keep me awake for the more invasive procedure.

The whole ordeal brought me down for a bit. I blamed myself for what I was going through. I blamed it on my past choices in life. I was finally dealing with the consequences of my dark past. But I had some amazing people of faith there for me praying me through and reminding me that nothing from the past defines who I am today. I know who I am and even better than that, I know Whose I am. I belong to Jesus! I hope others who might be struggling with past mistakes will see this about themselves too. It is amazing freedom.

I am grateful to share that God opened doors for me to end up with the best specialty doctor I have ever had in my entire life of having to deal with specialty doctors. My sobriety of over six years is truly an ongoing miracle and I just have to keep sharing about it. To get through this whole thing sober is nothing short of a miracle. As I was having to go through different tests with the new doctor, I cannot tell you how many times I had to take a pregnancy test before some of the pre-surgery tests that were being done. I cannot tell you how many times someone from the medical staff asked me “are you planning on having children?” It really brought me down in spirit for a while. It was a constant reminder to me that I am childless and this procedure would make bearing a child difficult. It reminded me of my choices that took away my chances of ever experiencing the joy of motherhood like most women in my life. Never mind the fact that I am single. Never mind the fact that I have chosen to stay right with God and remain celibate, especially after God rescued me from the last dangerous relationship that had me wanting to drink myself into a coma. And never mind the fact that I was 49 years old (I have turned 50 since). I really struggled with my past choices, the painful procedures and those pregnancy tests along with too many questions about children really could have had me reaching for the bottle once again. But God is bigger than all of that and I kept holding on. I am so grateful for how real He is in my life. Trusting Him gave me the strength to not throw all the great things He has done in me away. GRATEFUL!!!

The doctor ended up removing a portion of my cervix to kill off the potential cancer in March 2015. Six months after that, she confirmed that there was no sign of cancer or pre-cancer cells — God is so good. I need one more good report before the doctor will be satisfied that I am completely healed so since it has been another six months already, I went in for test #2 just today. I am believing God for complete healing! The results should be back by next week, but no matter what, I am so grateful and in awe of the peace He has given me. I am grateful for how this whole challenge has grown my faith and trust in God. We cannot be overcomers if there is nothing to overcome, right? I am grateful for this faith-walk filled with challenges that bring me closer to the One who breathes life into me and gives me a reason to want to keep living.

I hope someone will be encouraged by this testimony of God’s power to stay sober through some of the darkest days that life brings on this side of heaven. Don’t give up hope. Many of us cry ourselves to sleep in the midnight hours when we are overwhelmed by life’s circumstances. God promises us healing and joy among so many other promises. I pray that you will keep holding on, just like me.

These words from my devotion this morning said this and I hope it will encourage you like it did me: “Look beyond today’s pain and sorrow toward the promise of joy and healing tomorrow.”

Here is a Psalm from the Holy Scriptures for the road, be blessed by God’s Word to you: “Trust Me in your times of trouble, and I will rescue you, and you will give Me glory.” ~Psalm 50:15

Jesus carried our sins in His body to the cross. We are dead to sin and now live for what is right. By His wounds, we are healed. (God’s Word, not mine!) I believe! Show us Your glory dear God, in Jesus’ name.

Getting through a patch of darkness when it feels like God has left me.

.It is time to be super transparent again and share this very personal part of my journey to heaven because I think someone who is experiencing something similar needs to hear it and take heart. I think that this time my vulnerability might not be just for a fellow servant of God, but perhaps it will also help me to get past any unresolved feelings of failure and shame that I seem to experience whenever I go through spiritual darkness as I have been for several weeks. I had a dark spell last year as well and I thought that it was pretty bad, but I almost think that this year has been a little darker for some reason. I have been going through it more than I care to admit, but I am willing to be open about it if it means helping another get through theirs.

Those of us who are wholehearted servants of the Lord who have become threats to the kingdom of darkness know (should know) that we are going to be harassed and sometimes tormented by the invisible enemy. It is a given. It comes with the territory of saying yes to the call and putting our faith into action for God with no compromise. Therefore, we must remain steadfast in our faith and remember that we are not the only ones going through whatever we are going through for the Lord’s sake. Amen? To back this thought up, I am reminded of Scripture that says:

Blog - 1 Peter 5_9

I think it is always encouraging to know that we are never alone with the difficulties that come with this amazing journey on the pathway to Heaven!

When my battle gets fierce like it has been, I try to convince myself to count it all joy because these dark patches are really “training with Jesus” in this incredible journey of spiritual growth. Many times I am successful at counting it all joy. Then like more recent times, things happen that cause me to feel ashamed because I somehow managed to allow the overwhelming negative voices take over in my head. I want to give up and disappear and I have a hard time sharing these thoughts with people who have been walking closely with me on this journey. Especially the strong leaders that God has blessed my life with. I tell myself that it is doubtful that they would understand my torment and I do not want them to think less of me. My heart knows they would not judge me nor give up on me, but my mind tells me otherwise.

These horrible thoughts have been accusing me and telling me the reason I am going through the darkness is because God has left me. The old familiar “Loser”, “You are not worthy”, “You are a screw-up”, “Just go ahead and give up already”, and “Where is your God?” They torment my mind, knock me down, and then I feel like the depression that God had already given me victory over tries to sneak its way back into my life to take me out for good. Does this kind of battle sound familiar to anyone out there? PLEASE. Tell me it is not just me!

So why am I taking the risk of sharing all of this? I do not really fully know!! But I think I am sharing because first, I hope that someone out there gets me! If not, then I cannot help but wonder if this is going to be my last vulnerable piece of writing. That probably is not going to happen since God always wins. Even so, it is so difficult not knowing if sharing this personal stuff is really of any use to anyone out there. My second reason for sharing is that I want to share what I feel the Lord has been revealing to me as I have persevered and have taken each step seeking my God all the way through the dark patch back into His light of grace. Thankfully the Light is shining bright once again. I was listening to the enemy’s lies that God had left me, but I know now for a fact that He never left because I have been faithful. I know this as truth because God’s Word is truth. And if you have been His faithful servant, He has not left you either. THE DEVIL IS A LIAR. I am going to say that as many times as I need to until my last day on this earth.

I want to share Scripture straight from God’s heart to yours that I hope will help you like it has helped me to keep pressing on. There is so much more than this to share, but these are the ones that God reminded my heart of recently and I am passing them along. You may already know these truths, I have known them for a while, yet the evil lies still got through. So I believe we all need to be reminded of God’s truths on an ongoing basis in this dark world we are passing through. Of course this long writing is not for everyone, but I pray it reaches someone who is struggling the way I have been.

Here are some things to ponder:

Do you think God has left you even though you have remained faithful to Him? Then you must know and believe the truth that He has been there all this time, because His Word tells us that He NEVER forsakes His faithful ones: “For the LORD loves the just and will not forsake His faithful ones.” (Psalm 37:28)

As a faithful servant of God you are one of His anointed. Take heart and be strong in Him for He is your refuge: “The LORD is the strength of His people, He is the saving refuge of His anointed.” (Psalm 28:8)

We all sin and we should all know that sin separates us from God. So if you feel He is not near, it is a good time to check yourself — search your heart and repent of any sin. You know what they are. If they are not obvious, ask God to help you. He will reveal sins that you may not even realize. Remember that God is quick to forgive. You cannot buy or work for His forgiveness so do not try. Just confess to Him, pour out your heart as a sacrifice to Him (I am SO grateful for this truth): “My sacrifice, O God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.” (Psalm 51:17) If you repeat the same sins over and over, you need to ask for God to help you turn away. Ask Him to remove the ungodly desires and replace them with His desires. He will! He did for me!

Want to ensure your success on this journey? “In everything you do, put God first, and He will direct you and crown your efforts with success.” (Proverbs 3:6) All we have to do is put Him first!!

And finally, ALL will go well for us if we obey God and commit ourselves wholeheartedly: “If you obey all His laws and commands, you will enjoy a long life. Listen closely…be careful to obey. Then all will go well with you…Hear O people! The LORD is our God, the LORD alone. And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. And you must commit yourself wholeheartedly…” (Deuteronomy 6:2, 4-6)

I want to encourage you to continue to seek God and His face — seek His Word daily if you are not already. May you become as hungry for Him as I have become.

And two more for the road that I pray will never happen to you. God DOES leave people, but it does not have to be:

“But I assure you of this: If you ever forget the LORD your God and follow other gods, worshiping and bowing down to them, you will certainly be destroyed.” (Deuteronomy 8:19) Remember other gods can be anything (harmful vices, etc.) or anyone (husband, wife, children, etc.) who you put first before God. I am human too, so I know this is a great challenge. But God gives us the power and desire to do right by Him. We must want it and seek His power and desire with our whole heart. I do, I hope you do too.

“The LORD is with you when you are with Him. If you seek Him He will be found by you, but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you.”  (2 Chronicles 15:2) To me, this is easy…STAY WITH THE LORD, ALWAYS!!! But even if this did happen, just return to the Lord. His Word also says that He will return to us if we return to Him. You need to search His Word to see for yourself, but here is just a few you can start with in this truth: Malachi 3:7; Zechariah 1:3; Joel 2:12; then of course there’s the wonderful parable that Jesus spoke of that you can read again starting in Luke 15:11 — an amazing picture of our Heavenly Father waiting with arms wide up for His children to return to Him. How awesome is that! I serve a wonderful God of love. The God of second chances…I wouldn’t be alive today if this were not true.

So let’s keep holding on to His promises dear faithful ones. Let’s keep on keeping on our pathway to Heaven where we will see God face to face when that great day comes. Until then, follow His ways, follow His laws, and you cannot help but lived a blessed life. Remember, this is not our home, and we are never alone. Thank You Lord Jesus!

Thanks again for all who choose to listen to my vulnerable heart for God. May God bless you richly. ♥