His name is Steven and God loves him too.

How many times do we walk past those who appear lost, broken, and dirty because we are too much in a hurry to go about our daily business? I’ll be honest, I am guilty of it more than not. In the last couple of years alone, I have probably stopped (reluctantly) to speak with someone who society usually tends to ignore only three or four times. That is a sad truth. For me, most of the time it is because I am simply afraid to. Afraid of the unknown of what the person might say or do or being afraid of not knowing what to say. Fear has caused me to shy away from saying anything at all. I am tired of being afraid. More and more on this miracle journey to heaven, I am recognizing where my fear is coming from and that is from the devil. He uses it to keep us from helping others. He uses fear to keep us from spending time seeking God with our whole hearts. He does not want us to move forward in our lives, he wants to keep us captive to fear and sin. And of course he uses fear to keep us from praying because he knows how powerful prayer to the Lord God Almighty is for those who believe. Just like the Scripture says, “When a believing person prays, great things happen.” (James 5:16 TLB) Great things of God that is. That is why I believe we must fight fear like a plague, I do not want to keep letting the enemy win that battle and finally I am at the point to where he is losing more and more.

Today as usual, I was in a hurry as I was leaving the grocery store. As I was exiting quickly with my basket, I happened to look to my left and there was a young man sitting there. I could tell he has been living a rough life for who knows how long. He looked at me and I am not sure if he was trying to say something to me or not, but all that came out of me was “hi” as I kept walking toward the parking lot. That was it. Just “hi.” Well, I am grateful for my connection with the Lord these days because He was not going to let me off that easy. I knew I could not leave without going back after I loaded everything into my car. I won’t lie, I was reluctant as usual. I said to the Lord, “what can I do? I am afraid to speak to him. He’s not going to listen me. He’s probably going to give me a hard time if I talk about You, God.” Can you believe how I was trying to talk myself out of it? I can believe it, because it is usually what happens. Or I find myself relieved the person has walked away out of view and then I feel I am off the hook and say “well I was going to but they’re gone now…oh well, next time.” Next time turned out to be today since that actually just happened to me about a month earlier.

So I mustered up the courage. I grabbed a bottle of water and instead of taking the easy way out (I could have placed my cart next to where I was parked), I walked my cart all the way back to the store building where the young man was sitting. All the way there I had absolutely no idea what I was going to say, but in all my training with the Lord, I suddenly had His boldness and strength in me. I felt confident that He would help me say whatever it was that this young man needed to hear. I did have a thought that maybe I am just supposed to give him a bottle of water, but thankfully God had more in store. The young man watched me coming toward him and I was still wondering what I was doing. I put the cart away and I looked at him and said “What is your name?” As I was handing him a bottle of water he softly spoke and told me and said “God bless you” to me. I immediately became overwhelmed with the Presence of God over both of us. I know this was a divine appointment because the tears started coming from my eyes even before I was able to speak. I got choked up because the love of God was not only pouring out of my heart, it was pouring out of this young man’s heart too. That was the first time that had ever happened to me in the few times that I have mustered up the courage to speak to a soul going through hard times. I got down on my knees so I could be eye level with him. I put my hand on his shoulder without a thought. He opened up to me and told me about what landed him on the streets. I could tell that he had been “roughed up” a bit because he had cuts on his face that had not quite healed yet. He said that he had been jumped a couple of times. He said “today is the day I am going back home to be a man for my family.” He mentioned that others had prayed for him and that he finally had surrendered to God. He said he had been stubborn for too long and he had given his heart to God. He said he needed to go help his mother who was having a hard time. He had already lost his wife due to his choices, but I was so amazed about how he took responsibility and did not blame God or anyone else for his consequences.  I shared my testimony of how God rescued me too and he smiled. Mostly, I think I was there to listen and reassure him of God’s love for him.

I will never forget today — how God moved. This was such a good lesson in seeking God for guidance and letting Him lead. He gives us what we need right when we need it. There is no fear when God is in control!

I thought I was supposed to be a blessing for this stranger who looked lost, broken, and living on the streets for too long, but God turned it around and blessed me more than I could have ever imagined. I cannot believe the emotions that came out of me as I was speaking to this man, but it was God’s incredible love pouring through wanting this man to know that he is a child of God and is loved no matter what he has done. The cool thing is, he already knew. Someone else had already broken through and told him. It seems that I was just supposed to be the one today who watered the seed a little more and I trust God will send someone tomorrow and every single day and will keep drawing this man in and will restore him.

On my drive home I cried happy tears thanking and praising God for allowing me this experience. A Natalie Grant song “Clean” played on my radio and I started to cry even more. If you haven’t heard it, please look it up and listen, I believe you will be blessed by it like I was.

Please pray for this man, his name is Steven. I never expected to be blessed the way I was with what happened today. Thank You God and thank you Steven (wherever you may be). There are so many Stevens out there, please pray that they will hear, see, and believe that God has not forgotten about them either. There are so many like me out there, the difference is that I still have a roof over my head. That does not make me better than anyone else.

We see shattered, broken, and dirty but God sees whole, and beautiful. There’s nothing too dirty that He can’t make worthy. He washes us in His mercy and makes us ALL clean. Thank You, Jesus. ♥

Love’s Healing Hands Will Pull You Through

God is LOVE, and His love heals the deepest wounds. His love healed mine. Every heartbreak and every scar reminds me of this truth – the truth of how the love of Jesus Christ has carried me this far. Over six years ago, I could not have shared about God’s love — I was so lost in the dark. I was hopeless. I was severely depressed, I was drunk, and I was as good as dead. I had a hard time even wanting to know if God was real, so I tried to drink myself to death because my spirit was dead and I wanted my body to die too. I thought, you can’t hurt any longer when you’re dead, right? My plan was a bad plan and I am grateful that God intervened. As you can see, I am still here. I am sober, filled with His Hope, and I am alive – my heart beats again like never before. I am no longer barely surviving this life, I am thriving in it! It is a challenging life, but it is a beyond blessed life. I am only here because the Power of God, the same Power that raised Jesus from the dead, also raised me from the dead and I am forever grateful that I am still here sharing my tender and grateful heart with the world. Even if it is just one hurting heart that sees this and is inspired to cry out to God to rescue them as He has rescued me. Heaven rejoices over one!!!

My sinful and shameful past kept me from reaching out for too many wasted years. I was so lost that I actually believed the lies that God would never forgive me for my horrible choices in life. Well, those lies almost killed me. I cannot say this enough on this blog: THE DEVIL IS A LIAR – stop listening to the lies!! Jesus’ death on the cross was not in vain. Too many people think that they need to clean themselves up before crying out to the Lord for help. I used to think that, but I am glad I got desperate enough to stop waiting. If I had waited, chances are it never would have happened and I would have died in my sin. So if you’re anything like I was, I hope you will just surrender it all to the Lord right now. He’s waiting. You don’t have to do anything but surrender. God will give you desires to do what’s next. There’s nothing you can do to make God love you less and there’s nothing you can do to make Him love you more than He already does, so just do it. Give Him your broken spirit as a sacrifice – Scripture tells us that He does not despise a broken and contrite heart. (Psalm 51:17) That is awesome news. That is TRUTH. So don’t delay, there’s no promise of tomorrow.

I pray that you will step into the Lord’s Light of Grace today – Love’s healing hands will pull you through. You will start a new life of love, healing, and freedom that you have never known before. Thank You, Jesus. ♥♥♥

Give Up Your Life But Don’t Give Up On It!

Earlier this week I was with my amazing sisters in Christ and at the end of our evening of being in God’s Word, we broke into one of the most powerful prayer sessions we have ever had. We prayed for many lost hearts for friends and other loved ones that we want to see in heaven someday. We prayed for their salvation. We prayed for prodigals to return to the Lord. We prayed for healing. We prayed for protection against the invisible enemy who tirelessly roams around seeking to steal, kill and destroy every one of us.

Remembering the powerful presence of God the other night prompted me to write this post. My heart is so heavy for the lost. Especially those who have lost or who are losing the desire to live — those who have lost all hope. I am praying against the enemy – he will not win this fight!

Like so many have, I almost gave up on life. Sometimes I wonder what might have been for those who could not hold on.  What if they held on long enough for God to intervene like He did in my life? I try not to spend too much time thinking about what could have been for people I do not know. It can mess with my mind and heart too much and I have enough trouble with that on my own. I have been through a lot of painful healing and growing through the past six years of this sober life I live, but I do not regret one moment of it. I am free from the pit of hell. I am sober. I am ALIVE.

Someone out there needs hope. Someone needs the hand of God to move in a mighty way. I can feel your pain in my heart at this very moment. It is gift – it is not one that I asked for and it is not easy to deal with, but I am grateful for it because I can stand in the gap and pray for many who are like I used to be. I don’t know who you are or what you are going through, but God sure does. He knows your name. He sent His one and only Son to die for you on that terrible beautiful cross. He wants you to give up your life to Him. He wants to give you His best. All He wants is your heart. He wants you ALL IN. He’s an all or nothing God.

If that someone is you, it is the devil’s lies that have brought you this low. He is a good liar. He is a powerful liar. But God is LOVE, TRUTH, and much more POWERFUL than any enemy we face. God’s Word promises that we will enjoy a long life – that all will go well with us IF we obey all His laws and commands. He wants to be our one and only God. We must love Him with all our heart, all our soul, and all our strength and we must commit ourselves wholeheartedly (Deuteronomy 6:2, 4-6). I am so grateful for what He has done for me. It took me a while to get to where I am today, it is definitely not an overnight transformation. But my first 44 years of life did not go well on my own. Thankfully the pain of staying the same finally became greater than the pain of changing. I almost died in my unwillingness to surrender all control to Him, but I finally surrendered. I believe I’d be dead today if I hadn’t. And loving and trusting and giving my life up for God gave me life like never before. I am glad to be alive and living on purpose today. Sometimes I go through a lot of training that is difficult and brings tears. Sometimes I feel like it is in vain. Sometimes it feels like I am not making any kind of difference in this world. More lies of the devil! That is why I never give up. That, and because I choose life today and every day because of God’s amazing grace and love. I thought this tonight…what if He spared my life so I can pray for YOU? Wow. If I am alive for just one person, that is a life worth living. My pain is not in vain!

Friend, I pray for God to touch your heart and change your life like He has mine. Give up your life, but don’t give up on it! God loves you! May He bring amazing men and women of God into your life who will help you to keep seeking Him wholeheartedly and may you also become someone who is willing to pray for another heart who has lost all hope. Imagine how many lives God may save because we said yes to Him – Yes to His precious gift of life. I think I can hear heaven rejoicing again. God bless you friend.

Thank You Lord, for bringing me and so many others from death to life…  ♥♥♥

 

 

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. I am not proud of what these say of me…

 Smiling but Dead on the Inside Drunk –  Sept. 2008

I never ever thought I would be brave (or crazy) enough to post old drunken pictures of me. It is not pleasant seeing this old truth about me. But I am grateful to God that my past is in the past and God is using all the bad stuff for good today. I would not be sharing these horrible pictures if it were not true! It took me a while to get courage to do this, but I feel like keeping it real about my alcohol abuse. Besides, how can I share about my miracle if I cannot openly share the hard stuff about the old me?

Anyway, I am celebrating my miracle sobriety milestone early because…well, because I am ALIVE and because I can! My heart hurts and rejoices at the same time when I look at those old photos. What I see in my eyes, the windows to my soul, is nothing but darkness and death. The smile means nothing. At least that is what I remember all too well — I just wanted to die. Actually, I was already dead inside. I was just using alcohol to try and finish the job, but it did not work the way I wanted it to. THANK GOD.

I do not want to wait for my official milestone date in order to celebrate. I am celebrating right here, right now. I am celebrating that I am alive when I should be dead. After twenty plus years of trying to drink myself to death and no end of the darkness in sight, I am celebrating that I found the Light – the Rock at the bottom — my Lord Jesus Christ who has saved me in so many ways! I am 27 days away from turning 50 years old and 28 days away from celebrating six full years of discovering that God is real. I discovered His power to change and because of that, I am sober, free, and living on purpose!

My life story is all over this blog so I am not going to rewrite it here. I just want to take this opportunity to Praise God for saving my life. I thank Him for pulling me out of the pit of hell and for setting this captive free. It has been a tough six years, but NOTHING is too hard for God to do within us when we get out of His way and let Him have His way. Soooo grateful that I caught on to that.

I am forever grateful and I pray with all my heart and soul that others will experience life like I am. I make a daily choice. I choose to be free from harmful vices. I have not relapsed, nor have I traded one vice for another. I am truly FREE. But only because of my Lord and Savior Jesus for giving me the power to change. It takes work, it takes faith and trust and the willingness to do some super hard stuff, but man is it so worth it. If you are struggling with something tonight, I am praying for your freedom. You can do it…JUST DO IT and reach for God above all and get ready to LIVE like never before.

God bless you and someone please…celebrate God’s mighty miracle with me! To God be the glory, amen? AMEN!

Nothing is impossible with God. This photo speaks for itself. Ah, the sober life with Him…cannot imagine any other way. Thankful!!! ♥

SURRENDER IS FREEDOM.

Enduring the pain of life on this side of heaven…

So here we are in January 2016. It is another new year and I find myself struggling a little once again. Although my health challenges are not over like I had hoped, I am grateful that I am not going through anything worse than I did last year. Last year was tests and minor surgery for the prevention of cervical cancer. This year I am going through testing as a precaution to rule out bladder cancer. I would be lying if I said that I was not a little bit discouraged to have to face more tests that I consider torture. I am quite tired of being prodded in such a private and sensitive area of my body. But even so, I am grateful that I have insurance and doctors who care and are doing what they think necessary for my own benefit. I am trusting God that once again, there will be no cancer. But whatever the outcome, I am amazingly ready because God has made me so strong through every single challenge He walks and carries me through. It is all for His glory, not mine.

It is incredible to stop dreading the hard things in life because I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God is for me and He is SO with me. He has shown me day in and day out. I thank Him for how He continues to watch over me and provide everything that I need to keep on keeping on in this journey to heaven with Him. And of course I have to share that through all the challenges, I have had zero relapses back into alcohol abuse and I continue to hold strong to my 100% sobriety of 5 years and 326 days. Yep, still counting because it is an ongoing miracle that only God can do in my life and I have to keep sharing with the world. My heart is too grateful not keep sharing because I really should be dead today. Jesus truly brought me from death to life and I am GRATEFUL.

My other struggle that I am facing as I write this is that I have a 13 year old kitty who has been an amazing blessing in my life. I think those with pets who never had kids (like me) truly understand. I just found out three days ago that she has cancer and I also got to confirm my suspicion that she has lost her vision. She is an amazing creature. God certainly has created beautiful creatures and allows us so much joy through them. I lost my 16 year old pup quite a while ago and somehow a kitten one day stole my heart. Now I have a few of them. But this one who is dying, Zoe, I have a close bond with compared to the others. They are loving and amazing too, but there is something extra special about Zoe. I held her when she was six weeks old. She came from a feral litter and she took to me right away. If she were to make it to June this year, she would be 14. My sweet Zoe is at the vet at this very moment getting a biopsy that I hope will help me to determine when her time to drift into permanent sleep may come. I cannot have her put down without knowing if it is really time or not. I am surprised that I am not crying as I write this. I guess I got enough tears out for now trying to prepare my heart which is never easy to do for any animal lover. I am really going to miss her when the time comes to let go, but until then, I am going to appreciate and enjoy every moment I have left with her and love on her like crazy.

I think what is helping me through this better than I thought it would is learning not to hold on too tightly to my blessings from God. That includes blessings like my Zoe. I remember when I lost my little dog, how hard it was and how much I drank that sadness away. Just like I used to drink every other painful moment of loss in my life away. I am so beyond grateful that those days are over. Feeling the pain and learning to deal with it has brought me so close to God and now that I have discovered that He is real, I would much rather feel the pain and turn to Him instead of the bottle that almost killed me. This is the better blessing. God really does use ALL the hard things in this life for good.

I keep holding on to God’s promises and the assurance of the wonderful life awaiting me in heaven with Him and that is what helps me to endure the pain of life on this side of heaven. I apologize if this post is all over the place. I am just allowing my heart to pour out and this is what is coming of it. I hope in a small way that perhaps this will help someone else to remember that this world is not our home and that our pain and our tears will end when we finally make it home to other side of heaven for those who believe and belong to Jesus. In my heart, I have been hearing the words of Jesus from John 16:33. He has given me His perfect peace. He is teaching me and is making me stronger to keep my heart from being troubled and from being afraid. Jesus overcame the world, and because I am His, I am an overcomer too. All of us who belong to Him are. So we need to keep holding on to God and His promises and keep on keeping on. We need to keep seeking Him with our whole heart no matter what.

And as I wait to hear about my Zoe, I do not regret one tear of the many I have shed and I no longer dread the hard stuff that comes my way. I will be grateful for every single blessing, even when they are taken away knowing and trusting that something even better is around the bend. It is wonderful to be able to say this after such a short time after giving my life to Jesus. I am always taking a risk of being mocked for what I share from the heart, but I do not care. God is real. God is the God of hope, restoration, miracles and breakthroughs. My life is proof of that. Jesus saved me from the law of sin and death. And as long as I am still in the world, the world is going to know.

Hold on to Him, hold on to HOPE – HIS promises of things to come. Thanks for listening to my heart. God bless.

You Are Loved

“Hope is a golden cord connecting you to heaven. This cord helps you hold your head up high, even when multiple trials are buffeting you…Hope lifts your perspective from your weary feet to the glorious view you can see from the high road. You are reminded that the road we’re traveling together is ultimately a highway to heaven.”  ~Jesus Calling

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” ~ Romans 15:13