Tag: God

A worthless soul changed into one worth dying for — Why I dare to believe…

Just a little more than five years ago, I believed I was worthless and would be better off dead (I wrote about some of that in my last post). I battled suicidal thoughts. Although they were tormenting, they were just thoughts. Other than isolating and drinking my life away, I hadn’t reached the point of doing something drastic just yet. I felt it was getting close, but thankfully it didn’t get that far. A sincere cry out to God changed everything and He sobered me up and showed me love I have never known.

Today, I believe that I am worth something. I have an ongoing miracle sobriety of five years now and I am no longer suicidal. Many more miracles that have taken place in my life have caused me to dare to believe in God, in myself, and that I really am worth dying for. And for those reading this who are battling like I used to, I dare to believe that YOU are worth dying for too. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you might have done that you think is so bad that there’s no way out, I still dare to believe.

It has taken much effort over the last five years to learn to fight against the devil — the liar who had me convinced otherwise for over half of my life. I admit that he still finds small openings to sneak in and bombard me with his evil lies on occasion. I continue to get knocked down pretty good at times, but God ALWAYS helps me to pick myself up and dust myself off and learn from it. When the Lord made Himself real to me and kept me from entering the gates of death, He gave me such a passion and desire to completely give up my life and spend the rest of it learning from Him and the great teachers He has placed in my life who lead me by example. I truly have never known so much love before I started this journey with God – both directly from Him and through the people He’s blessed my life with. Amazing love. There is no greater…

Today’s Bible Gateway Verse of the day is 1 John 3:16 — “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.”

God’s message of love is all over the Bible. He reaches my heart in different ways reminding me over and over that I am worth dying for. I choose to believe no matter how many times I get knocked down. No matter how many tears I cry. No matter how many times I mess up. No matter how many trials come my way. He gets me through every single one. Even after all this time of great things in my life, I still have moments of feeling unlovable and unworthy. But even so, I still dare to believe. God is SO real. He rescued me from the pit of hell. He showed me that His grace is sufficient — He is more than enough for me. My heart hurts when God gets blamed for the bad stuff that happens in people’s lives.They believe that He doesn’t care or He is not All Powerful. They doubt that He really exists or that He can really do what He says He can do. That used to be me in the dark days. I thank God for showing me differently. He wants to rescue EVERYONE…ah, if only they would believe.

I think about how I lived all of those years being separated from God. It was painful. It was pure hell on earth. A soul can’t get any darker than that. My soul was absolutely dead and my body was getting close to it. Yesterday morning, I celebrated a wonderful Easter / Resurrection Sunday with my church family and when I think of what Jesus did — the One who had no sin but God made to be sin for us — He willingly sacrificed His life and died that excruciating death on the cross so that I would have a chance to choose to believe and live forever with Him. I can’t even truly imagine what His separation from the Father was like. Every time I think about it, my heart becomes so heavy that I feel like I am going to suffocate from just the thought of what He went through. He took on the sin of the WORLD. Not just yours…not just mine, but the whole world. Wow. I can’t even come close to wrapping my limited mind around what that must have been like for Him. So why don’t more of us see that as being more than enough for us? He conquered death so we may live, why don’t more of us surrender ALL to Him? Why do we search for more? Why do we think we deserve more? I believe it’s because we are spiritually blind. At least, that was the case for me. I am so thankful that God opened my eyes and heart to see and I want to help others activate God’s hand to give them their sight too. It allows us to see the invisible and that is a must in this broken world. This is why I make the choice to be vulnerable and share my heart (His heart) to the world. Only God can make something like that happen and I am grateful to be a part of it!

My spiritual eyesight allows me to see and believe that His grace IS enough. He doesn’t owe me a thing. I don’t deserve anything. No matter what happens to me while I am here, I have the blessed assurance of salvation – the Hope of Heaven. I am going to live forever, because I dare to believe that Jesus’ finished work on that beautiful terrible cross guarantees it. How can that NOT be more than enough for any of us? I am amazed that I can now say that I am willing to lay my life down for others. Was that possible more than five years ago? No way. But I know now that the end of my story here will be the beginning of an even more incredible one – one that will never end. For that, I am so thankful that I am willing to lay down my life. Thank You, Jesus.

So that is why I will always dare to believe. And as long as I have breath, my mission in life is to tell as many as I possibly can about what Jesus has done for me with the hope that they too may be encouraged to make the choice to believe. It’s a life-changing…no, a lifeSAVING decision. Have you hesitated in allowing yourself to believe? If so, I just want to say:

There’s no guarantee of tomorrow, so stop hesitating and choose to believe today. I DARE YOU…

“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul…” Hebrews 6:19 (New Century Version)

HOPE IN JESUS

**This photo reminds me of the darkness I was drowning in, but I found the kind of hope that only Jesus can give and He pulled me out of the darkness into the light — from death to life. I pray this will happen for so many more!

I hope God makes you cry (too)…

Those words are heartfelt, even though they may come across as cruel. That isn’t my intention. If God makes you cry the way He makes me cry, then you are beyond blessed and I wish that I could sit with you and hear your story of God in your life. If you’re someone who has not yet experienced the awesomeness of God’s power in your life, maybe you’re even wondering if He is real (like I used to wonder), then I wish I could sit with you as well and perhaps convince you to allow me to share God’s amazing testimony in my life with you. Maybe, just maybe, you’d find some hope through it. Maybe you’d feel His powerful Presence through me—I seem to glow pretty darn bright when given a chance to share the great things of God. I can feel the glow every time I write or speak about Him. But since we can’t sit together in person, that’s why this blog was created. Not to tell my story, but to tell HIS story. I hope you will take a look at some of the previous posts, they are all true stories from the heart. Amazing stories of God’s miracles in my life. It’s hard to tell if this blog will continue, I still don’t get to write as much as I wish but I continue to follow my heart and keep taking chances with posts hoping that the Lord blesses a soul or two along the way. From what I can tell, He is moving through it a bit and I am grateful for that.

So, God makes me cry…A LOT. Much of it has been from growing pains in recovery. I knew I was broken, but I had no idea how much. The year 2013 brought everything to the surface and wow has it been some healing process. Many, many, MANY tears. I’ve been thinking of all the tears I have shed over the last few years since I became sober and made a decision to give my heart and entire life to Jesus. Well, first I gave my heart to Jesus, then about five years after that I gave my entire life to Jesus, THEN I became sober after a couple of decades of alcoholism and rock bottom cry for help. Only God has the power to do that. I believe and know it in my heart. Stories I’ve heard more than once have convinced me of it as well. I’ve heard where people who had been sober for 10 plus or even 20 plus years relapsed. When they fell, they fell hard. They lost EVERYTHING. Each time, the person admitted that they had turned away from God. We get strong and then some of us get foolish. We try taking control again believing that we can do it on our own. It may work for a while, but we WILL fall. It’s just a matter of when. Some of us may take longer than others. I don’t want to be that person. So over and over again, I surrender to God asking Him to help me because I CANNOT keep my sobriety on my own. I thank God that I know that. I had to make some major changes in my life and I see some people not ready to do that yet. I keep praying for them. I pray the Lord will give them the strength and desire to do whatever it takes to get well.

In my church and Bible study at Hope Center of Christ, we are currently studying The Sermon on the Mount, starting of course with The Beatitudes. I love the first one: “Blessed are the poor in spirit…”  I like how The Message puts it: “You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope…” and God’s Word Translation says it this way: “Blessed are those who recognize they are spiritually helpless…” the meaning of Matthew 5:3 doesn’t get any clearer than that. The moment I became “poor in spirit” admitting that I am helpless and powerless without God and asking Jesus to help me was when His amazing power took hold of me and stopped me from succeeding in drinking myself to death.

It is January 20, 2014. If you look to the right of this blog page you will see a milestone tracker counting down to my celebration date for 4 years of sobriety—February 26, 2014. It says “1 month to go”. I’m down to counting the actual days and it’s 37!!! Praise God! My sobriety is a 100% miracle from God after crying out to Him from a hospital room. I will never forget it, I will never regret it. That was February 26, 2010, the morning after my 44th birthday. I reluctantly started a 12 step program at Celebrate Recovery in January 2013. I swore I didn’t really need to do it, but that was a lie. I, of course, was in denial. Well, it’s a little over a year later and I am about two months away from graduating. I almost quit in the middle of it when it got too hard, but God kept me strong and He has blessed me with amazing people who encouraged me to never quit. I don’t think I could have made it this far without them, especially my pastor. After I graduate, it seems I will have a chance to start co-leading a small group in the near future. If it’s God’s will, I will become the small group leader and then who knows what He’s got for me next. I can’t think that far ahead, it gets too overwhelming. I do pray though, that God will bring someone in my life that I can walk alongside and minister to and encourage to never give up and to keep God first. I think I will make a good sponsor, I have learned so much in the last few years and I want to give away that knowledge. I want people to experience God like I have.

I’ve come a long way in the healing process. I’ve made it through the most difficult parts which have really prepared me quite well to deal with future challenges. But God still makes me cry. I cry when I feel His overwhelming love pouring into my heart. I cry when I pray for others because He’s given me a heart that feels the pain of the broken hearted. After all, my heart is broken because His heart is broken too. I cry when I see the amazing stars on a clear night. I cry when I see a breathtaking sunrise or sunset. I cry when I hear the beautiful songs of the birds singing to God in the morning. I cry when I get to sing beautiful worship songs with an amazing praise team in church on Sundays. I cry because I know I am loved and I am worth dying for. I cry because I am a daughter of a King. I cry because I am alive and Jesus has set me free. I cry because I have a reason to keep living–to serve God and help other hurting hearts. I cry because God did not allow me to die in the pit of hell that I was captive in for my entire adult life. I cry because I have seen miracle after miracle. I cry because I am beyond blessed and grateful to God for everything. All this crying is from an overflowing grateful heart. Those are the best kind of tears to cry. And when God is finished with me on this earth I will die. But it will not be the end. It will be the beginning of something unimaginably AWESOME. Man, that makes me cry even more. 🙂

So for anybody reading this…I hope God makes you cry too. There will be some tears of pain, but I pray most of your tears will be from pure joy that comes from the Lord. And when the tears start to wear you down a bit, don’t get discouraged. Be encouraged. If I can do all of this and remain steadfast, so can any of you. Remember, it’s His power not your own that will keep you standing strong. Think about this: You have a reason to live too. Someone else’s life is depending on it and God’s testimony that He’s waiting to write into your life is going to help save a life or two. How awesome is that?! In the meantime, here’s a Bible verse for you to remember about your tears: “Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy.” (Psalm 126:5) Amen. I can certainly testify to that.

Thank you for reading my post. Please share it with someone who may need some encouragement. Ask the Lord for help in whatever your struggle is, have a teachable spirit, and NEVER EVER give up. God loves you more than you can ever know. I’ll be praying…

“God places lonely people in families.” Psalm 68:6 (GW)

Family

I read that Psalm recently and it gave me peace and an extra boost of hope. Then I found this photo. There’s something about it that makes me smile, gives me more hope, makes me feel a tiny bit lonely, and maybe a little bit sad all at the same time. I’ve written about loneliness before. It’s not an easy subject for me to write about. I don’t like to admit to people that I get lonely. But I am human. Unfortunately, I made choices in life that led me to my late forties without a family of my own. And…well, it can bring me down once in a while.  It also makes me dream what seems to be an impossible dream. Is there anybody else out there who finds that they too are dreaming impossible dreams and perhaps wanting to give up on them? Sometimes I honestly do want to give up. I don’t know about you, but impossible dreams can really make my heart ache. However, I am grateful to know that without a doubt, that what is impossible for me is very possible for God. Knowing that keeps me holding on and hoping in Christ, one day at a time.

I like a true story. Especially when I can relate to it. Here’s one that someone out there might relate to. At least I hope there is, it would be nice to know that I’m not alone. There was a young woman who was so excited to be expecting her first child. So many friends and relatives had started their own families and although she was very happy for them, she felt empty and out of place because she was one of the very few left who was still single and childless. Finally, it was her turn and she had never felt this kind of joy before. Being a mom was something she had been longing for, although she never told anybody about it. It didn’t bother her that she wasn’t married. She had convinced herself that she never wanted to get married so it wasn’t even a thought. The excitement was building. She could hardly wait for the baby shower. She saw herself opening all kinds of wonderful gifts for her baby. For the longest time, she had watched others do it. Now it was her turn—a dream come true. There was so much planning to do. It was the best moment of her entire life. You see, for years she had walked around discouraged from being abandoned by one of her parents. She became depressed, and even suicidal. She felt she was worthless and that her life really wasn’t worth living anymore. That is, until this moment came and she said to herself: “Finally, someone to love of my own. Someone to take care of. I will never stop loving or abandon this child. This is a wonderful reason to be alive.”

Then something happened… she woke up. Yes! It was only a dream! The feeling of disappointment and the complete emptiness and brokenness immediately came back, but much worse than before. The hole in her heart got even deeper and she would spend many more nights crying herself to sleep while wondering “When will the pain ever end?”

I’ve shared a lot of stories from the heart on this blog. Most of them turned out to be about me. Well, let’s add this one to the list. That dreamer was me. It was before the depression became severe and before I became a true alcoholic. Today at the age of 47, the desires of my heart have changed quite a bit. I am very thankful for that. I consider myself too old to start a family now anyway. I know it would not be a good idea for me to try to have a baby of my own and be a single mom. It’s just not something I could realistically do at this point in my life.

The desire that I do have in my heart today I consider an impossible dream. I’ve gone from wanting to have children to wanting to just be a grandmother. May sound funny, but it’s true. Actually, the whole dream is to have a family that loves the Lord as much as I do and wants to serve Him together as much as I do. That would be an amazing dream come true. I always think of the scripture verse, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Right now, I can only say “As for me and…me.” 🙂 I’m really glad I can smile as I write this now. I’ve had some recent breakthroughs with pain I was still carrying. I’m grateful to be doing much better (the Lord always comes to my rescue). Not too long ago, I was in tears thinking about how I got myself here. Anyway, if becoming a grandmother is not an impossible dream, I don’t know what is! I don’t have a husband, I don’t have kids…grandkids are an impossible dream. For a long while now, I have asked for the Lord to take this desire away if it is not of Him. So far nothing has happened either way. When I mentioned that I’ve asked God to take the desire away and He hasn’t to my pastor, she told me that since He hasn’t taken it away that I could start praying for Him to fulfill it! She told me that God is never late and He never teases. She told me to believe. Thank you pastor, I do believe! I’ve got a great pastor. She always has great words of encouragement for me. After a long time of the desire not going away, it didn’t occur to me to pray for God to fulfill the desire. I was honestly too busy seeing the impossible.  How can I forget that God always makes the impossible possible when it is something that He needs to happen to accomplish His plan. He’s proven that so many times already!

I spent years in depression, trying to drink the pain away. It is a major blessing to me now, that I wasn’t married and that I didn’t have kids while I spent all that time in that condition. I would have messed up too many lives that way. Now that I’m sober and serving the Lord with my heart, who knows what He will do. He’ll either fulfill the desire or He will take it completely away. It’s a win-win to me. I just have to wait on Him. I have a very blessed life today. When the loneliness does hit, which thankfully is not as often as it used to be, I have learned to keep reaching out to the Lord so I can get even closer to Him. He always fills that void when I keep seeking Him. He truly is enough for me. Another favorite verse of mine is Lamentations 3:25 “The Lord is good to those whose hope is in Him, to the one who seeks Him.” So true, He is SO good to me.

I don’t know why I felt inclined to write this post. I was trying to avoid it, but I kept getting the “God nudge”. It’s taken me weeks to make sense of it and to write in a way that makes sense, I don’t even know if I am really making sense at all right now. All I can say is that this is all coming from my heart and I believe the Lord is giving me the words. I pray there’s something here that helps someone in some way. Perhaps it is someone who is feeling quite lonely—maybe someone like me who doesn’t have a spouse and/or kids. I just want to encourage you to reach for Jesus first no matter what. You will find that He is enough for you. If you’re single and have a desire to be married with kids someday and it just doesn’t seem like it’s going to happen, pray first asking the Lord to take the desire away if it is not of Him. If it doesn’t go away, then start praying for Him to fulfill it and trust that He will. It will be in His perfect timing. This goes for any desire. In the meantime, let Him fill you with His love and peace and He will take away the loneliness. I can testify to that!

Jesus says to you, “I am with you always…” Friend, He is. He really, really is. I pray that you will open your heart and feel His presence like I do.  Thanks to all who listen to my ramblings about such personal matters of the heart. It’s been good therapy for me and I find that sharing my heart and being transparent, although not easy,  really does bring wonderful blessings to my life.

May God bless you all and grant you every desire of your heart. ♥

 

“If You Build It, He Will Come”

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

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

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

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

To God be the glory. Amen? AMEN!

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

They will come to worship Him!