“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!

Praise God for Rock Bottom!!

So who in the world can be so joyful about hitting rock bottom? Me. That’s who. And perhaps people like me, who have overcome (with the help of Jesus Christ) depression, suicidal thoughts, and addiction. Nobody wants to hit rock bottom. Most work hard to try to avoid it. The problem is that most try under their own power and strength. It’s a losing battle. I know. I spent decades fighting that battle all by myself. I didn’t want anybody’s help. Especially a God I didn’t know. Satan loves it when we insist on fighting the battle on our own. He knows we grow weary and give up. Some of us choose suicide. Some of us choose the bottle or some other sort of chemical addiction.

Satan loves to use these destructive things in our lives to give us temporary peace. It’s the only way he can keep us captive. He loosens the chains just enough to allow us to think we’ve got everything under control, and when we are getting a little too comfortable, he yanks us down into the pit deeper and deeper.

Well, I never thought I’d be able to say that I am thankful that I was hitting rock bottom in 2010. Had I not hit rock bottom, I would have never discovered the power of THE Rock at the bottom. Yes, my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. My chains are gone. Thank You, Jesus! I love Luke 4:18-19 where Jesus read from the scroll of the prophet Isaiah: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

Is anybody out there ready to let Jesus set you free? What are you waiting for??!! I am grateful that I finally chose to let the light of Jesus shine in my darkest places! I have never been so alive.

Lord God Almighty, I pray for others out there who are trying to avoid rock bottom. I pray something significant happens so that they’ll stop battling. I pray they reach You like I did because it seems to be the only way we finally see that we need to surrender ALL to You so You can set the captive free. Thank You that You are there waiting for them to come to You at this very moment. Thank You that You meet us right where we are. Lord, when they come to You, I believe beyond a shadow of a doubt that You will begin an amazing work in them and their life will be changed forever. Show us Your glory Lord, we want to see Your glory. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen. ♥

“The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:5)

The Light Shines in the Darkness

I have chosen to never walk in darkness again and I am GRATEFUL!

Good Friday and Easter Sunday–Doesn’t mean anything to an empty heart.

Sad but true. At least that was my story. It was really difficult to take part in something that I never heard much about or understood when I was young. When I became a young adult, my heart was dead and empty inside and I spent decades living with that heart. I chose a life of destruction that was killing me slowly. I am grateful to say this is no longer true, the Lord has changed everything about me. But there are so many others who still don’t know about Jesus and what He did because they have never heard. My heart breaks because I know it breaks the Lord’s heart too. We modern day disciples of Christ have much work to do!

As I was preparing my lesson to share with my sisters for this coming Tuesday night’s Bible study, I felt very overwhelmed by the Lord on this Good Friday and the thought that Sunday is coming! I feel the Lord wanting me to share that as a young girl, I didn’t know much about Jesus and never once heard (until much later as an adult) that I needed to ask Him to come into my heart. I had heard a little about sin, but I never knew how bad it really was and how it separates us from God. Separation from Him was all I knew. However, at that time because I hadn’t learned much about the Lord, I didn’t even know I was separated from Him. Never heard that it was important to have a relationship with Him. Never heard how one even goes about doing that. As you can see, I didn’t know much of anything. All I knew was how to try to survive a difficult life and I wasn’t very good at it because I was barely surviving it.

I am embarrassed to admit that for many years I didn’t know the true meaning of Good Friday and Easter Sunday. I was in my late twenties when I finally realized what Jesus had done for me. But because I didn’t know Him yet, I still didn’t get it. I felt nothing. My heart was broken and empty from the life I had chosen to live. My eyes, ears, and heart were completely closed.

It took another 14-15 years for me to be walking in the darkness until like Saul, I was knocked down by Jesus. I find the comparison interesting…Saul was knocked off his feet on the road to Damascus. I was knocked off my feet (landed in a hospital) on the road to a slow and painful death (I was drinking myself to death). Saul was blinded for a few days by the Lord’s incredible Light. I was given the eyes to see, the ears to hear, and the heart to want to become a disciple of Christ to serve Him and to suffer for Him until that great day when I get to see Him face to face. It’s interesting to think about now, how my conversion is a powerful one like Saul’s. Of course Saul’s story is an extremely powerful one and I’m not claiming that mine is anything like his, but in today’s world, I think what I have shared about what God has done in my life in previous posts is pretty powerful. I’m so in awe of the story of how Saul was completely transformed by the Lord and became one of the greatest Apostles. If anyone reading this is not familiar with Saul’s story, you can find it in the book of Acts Chapter 9 in the New Testament. If you’re new to the Bible, I want to encourage you to start with the gospel of John to learn more about Jesus first. After that, the entire book of Acts is pretty awesome too. Okay, enough of that for now.

As I was doing some online research, I stumbled upon a note from a pastor’s sermon. I am sorry that I don’t remember his name, but I think what he wrote is worth sharing and perfect timing (it seems he possibly used it from an author by the name of Paul Hovey):

“The simplest meaning of Easter is that we are living in a world in which God has the last word. On Friday night it appeared as if evil were the master of life. The holiest and most lovable One who had ever lived was dead and in His tomb, crucified by the order of a tyrant without either scruples or regrets. He who had raised the highest hopes among men had died by the most shameful means. A cross, three nails, a jeering mob of debauched souls, and a quick thrust of a spear had ended it all.

Those hours when His voice was stilled and His hands were quiet were the blackest through which the human race has ever lived. If Caesar could put an end to Jesus, then no man could ever dare aspire or hope again. Hope, in such a world, could be nothing better than a mockery.

Then came Easter morning and the glorious word: ‘He is risen!’ And evil’s triumph was at an end. Since that hour when Mary in the garden first discovered the staggering fact of victory, no man whose heart was pure and whose labors were honest has ever had a reason to fear or despair if he believed in the Resurrection.”   

In John 11:25-27 we read that Jesus said to Martha, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even though they die, and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” We read that Martha responded with “Yes, Lord. I believe…”

I am so grateful that I have answered the Lord with “Yes, Lord, I believe!” It took many years for it to happen, but I will never regret the decision. The Lord Jesus paid my ransom on that Good Friday. He laid down His life for me so that I can live forever with Him…I believe Jesus is the Resurrection AND the Life and I am eternally grateful! ♥

One more quote to share that just came to mind from Beth Moore: “God’s specialty is raising dead things to life and making impossible things possible.” I love these words, they are so true for my own life and many others around me.

Oh Lord Jesus, I pray that many more will hear and come to understand what You did for them AND believe…

A Lost Alcoholic Woman’s Quiet Way to Die

I read a heart wrenching story this past December and I have been holding on to it all this time waiting for the right words and the right time to share about it. I guess it’s time. The Lord has been stirring my heart on this extremely difficult and painful subject so here I go again…

This article entitled “A quiet way to die” was about a fairly young woman, who three years earlier at the age of 39, died a horrible and lonely death. Her name was Julie Kroll. A documentary was made featuring her story and four women in the documentary share their shame, hoping they might help another alcoholic woman deal with hers. The name of the film is “Lipstick & Liquor, Secrets in the Suburbs.” In this article, the filmmaker states it’s a pretty film with pretty people. She explains that’s deliberate. Her film shows attractive, successful middle-class women who also had a problem. The article said: “The villain in the film isn’t Kroll, it is alcoholism and the damage the disease does, Kroll is just the haunting example…”

I have not seen the documentary yet, but I am glad it was made. People need to hear these stories. There are a lot of women out there who seem to have it all together. Most people would never be able to guess that they have a problem. I was one of them. I think that is why this article touched my heart the way it did. This article and documentary are focused on how harshly society judges addicted women. But to me, addiction is addiction. It doesn’t discriminate. So my heart goes out to all men and women who suffer any type of addiction.

Julie’s story truly broke my heart. The article stated that she went to pick up her 8 year-old daughter after school in Virginia. Apparently, she had been drinking and lost her way. After a minor crash, she left her daughter behind and stumbled away into the dusk with no coat, purse or phone. She vanished. She had a prior arrest on the suspicion of drinking and driving and the police viewed her as a fugitive. A friend of hers stated that the police didn’t think Julie was worth looking for. They thought she was on the run or hanging out in a bar somewhere. There was a blizzard that made search parties unsuccessful. Her husband pressured the police to help. Tragically, thirteen days later when the police finally searched for her, her body was found in a ravine just 300 yards from her car. The article stated that death came from alcohol, blunt-force trauma and exposure.

Every time I think of what Julie’s friend said about how the police didn’t think Julie was worth looking for, I break down and cry. How heartbreaking that must be to God. I understand how the world works—some people are just considered not worth spending any time on.  But that’s not how I feel. I believe every single lost soul is worth finding. And I know without a doubt, that so does the Lord.

Many people do not reach out for help and I pray that they start sooner than later. Nobody should die like Julie did. I pray someone out there will be motivated to take that very difficult step and ask for help and get into a recovery program. But even more important than that, I pray that something in Julie’s story, the documentary, or even something shared from my own heart will get someone to reach out to the Lord like they’ve never reached out to Him before. Recovery programs are great. Sponsors and friends who understand this problem and help us to stay on track are a blessing.  But I believe with all my heart that getting sober and staying sober is impossible without the Lord’s help.

When I was reaching bottom, I hadn’t fully surrendered to the Lord yet. Not all areas of my life, anyway. I am realizing more and more now, that the Lord started to reach me before I fully surrendered. He had to have been doing something in my heart because when I look back, I remember talking to Jesus every week even though I didn’t really know Him. I would say, “Okay Lord, I will not buy the alcohol this week. I will not stop at the store on my way home from work. I promise.” Yeah right. When I was just a weekend drinker, I would tell myself that I wasn’t going to buy booze for the weekend. But it never failed. I broke my promise every week. At the end of the work week, what was I doing? Yep, I was buying my supply for the weekend, which was quite the supply for one person. Life was hard and I drank hard so I could forget about it for a while.

I know now that I was foolish to ever think I was actually in control and that I could stop when I wanted to. Oh, how wrong I was…almost dead wrong. God changed everything and I am grateful. In just two days, I will be 47 years old and because of God’s wonderful miracles in my life, life has barely begun for me. In just three days I am celebrating three years of sobriety and there is no way that would be possible without the Lord’s power in my life. I encourage anybody struggling out there to reach out to God and get into a recovery program. I highly recommend one that keeps Christ in the center of it.

Someone out there needs to hear this message. If you know someone who is struggling, will you please share it?  No matter who you are or what you have done, don’t believe the lies. GOD SAYS YOU ARE WORTH SAVING. Call out to Him and He will meet you right where you are and your life will be changed forever. Coming from someone who not too long ago was looking for a quiet way to die because I was believing the lies, I pray my testimony will help you find hope and that you will believe that you are worth it and believe through God ALL things are possible.  God loves you so much.

Thank you and may God bless you all. ♥

If my plans for suicide were successful, I would have missed out on the most amazing love of my life…

I have said this before and I will keep saying it…there is nothing greater than the love of the Lord God Almighty. It’s a love I have never known before. People can search in others and in things of the earth all they want, and they will never be able to find it because only God can give it. I pray more people will finally catch on to that truth so they can start to really discover His love like I have. It’s a wonderful discovery!

To think of all the years I had missed out on knowing God’s love, I am so grateful that those days are over. As another year comes to an end, I am looking back in such awe of what God has done in this past year alone. It has been a year filled with growing pains, but also a year filled with the most incredible blessings that I didn’t know could be possible. I believe I was tested like never before and I also believe I passed the test with flying colors. This testing has made my relationship and connection with the Lord, as well as my faith, stronger than ever. The blessings always outweigh the tough times. My hope and dreams for the future continue to build. God has given me the dreams and I know that none of them will be possible without Him. What an amazing thing that is to realize. I know that I am nothing without Him in my life. I am nothing without His power working in and through me. It is so awesome to actually be a witness of what all He can do with a willing heart. A willing heart…that’s all we need! I have learned to trust Him with everything on this journey and He is making everything fall into place. I am truly looking forward to whatever He has for me in the near future and in the coming years. I know this New Year is going to be another tough one, probably more so than this last one, but I am ready for it. The Lord has been preparing me for it over the last few years. Boy, has He been preparing me for it!  I truly love my life. I love it because it is SO not about me. I learned that the hard way, but it has been one of the greatest lessons of my life.

Imagine that just a few years ago, the pain I lived with for so many years from walking around with an empty and broken heart almost killed me. I almost completely gave up on life. This precious life that is such a wonderful gift from God that should never be taken for granted. But I was hurting more than anyone who has never been there can ever imagine. When we hurt that badly and we do not know the Lord’s love, there’s really only one way we can think of stopping the pain. Some of us weren’t able to hang in there and that breaks my heart for them and for their loved ones. Only God knows why I am still here. I have learned to accept that it’s not for me to know. That helps me to move forward.

I always think that if I would have just had one person share about Jesus and His love with me back then, maybe I would not have become so severly depressed. Maybe I would not have turned to alcohol to numb the pain. (That is why I am writing this. I want to share His love with others, I want to share what I went through and where I am today. Maybe someone will find hope.) I was just remembering that I started mixing dangerous medication with it because I was hoping that I would just die in my sleep one night. I thought that would be the most peaceful way to go. I am so very thankful that my plan to die didn’t work. Even though this journey with God is tough and there’s still pain that comes with it, it’s a different kind of pain when you’re always walking in the Light of Jesus. It’s a pain worth enduring because everything I do is all for His glory. And for me to say today that I love my life, considering where I was not too long ago, well that’s just another amazing miracle that I am eternally grateful for.

There are so many broken hearts around me. I can’t possibly know who you all are, but I can feel your pain. I’ve been trying to write a new blog post for about a month, but was having a hard time with it. Now I know why. God wanted me to write these words that you’re reading now instead. I’m glad that I’m learning to listen to Him, even though it might take some time for me to catch on. I am thankful for the gift that the Lord has given me to be able to share my heart the way I do. Writing this today has made me cry. I have tears from remembering the pain I lived with for so long and for knowing that pain that people are going through right now. But thankfully the tears turned into tears of Joy from the Lord because I know how great He is and I am so grateful for what He has done with my broken heart. I am grateful for my sobriety.

God is pouring His love through me to reach broken hearts. I know your pain and I know you want it to stop. I pray you will turn your eyes upon Jesus. He is just a whisper…a prayer away. I admit that there are times that I struggle to feel His presence. When that happens I start talking to Him whenever and wherever I am. I’ll just say something simple like “Jesus, make me aware of you” or “Jesus, I need you…” and I start to feel His love, presence and amazing peace inside of me. He helps me through every single day because I open my heart to Him and ask Him to guide me through it. He will do the same for anybody who asks.

The Lord heals the broken hearted. He brings full restoration. I am only one example of many. I pray that you will reach up to Him today. I know He’s waiting for you. He will save you. I am so glad I didn’t give up and that I didn’t let the enemy win. The enemy seeks to steal, kill and destroy. Don’t let him. In Luke 19:10 Jesus said “For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.” Thank You, Jesus.

I’m still a young Christian. I have learned many things in a short period of time, but I know I will be learning until my last breath on this earth. I have much to learn. What I do know for sure though, is that Jesus loves us so much that He laid down His life for me and for you and there is no greater love than that, dear friends. Will you accept His love and forgiveness and start living your life for Him and Him alone, today? I pray you will. If you do, you are in for a challenging, but exciting and rewarding journey as you travel with Him on this incredible highway to Heaven.  May God bless you richly. ♥