I’m Dying

This past week I’ve really tried to ignore it, or hoping it would go away. But the stark reality is if I want to continue to press on in my relationship with Jesus, I must die…to self.
Someone really blasted me this past week, it was really directed towards my husband, Jeff, but I got the first blow. Pent up frustration that had unrealistic expectations finally erupted… all over me!
If you are anything like me, someone can “dis” me, but “dis” my husband, my kids or grandkids—well, that’s a different story. As a wife and mom I am pretty protective of my family. Yeah, I know the bible verses about not taking up an offense for someone else; so don’t send me any emails telling me what I need to do! That is the whole point of trying to work this all out this past week. I KNOW what I’m supposed to do.
I have a right to be offended, to have a “how dare they” opinion. I can sulk, be depressed and have a bad attitude. I have feelings too. Right? I say, Right? Especially, where there has been no apology for their actions and attitudes.
This is where the dying to self-part comes in.
Truth be told, no I don’t have the right to be offended, have a bad attitude and hold this against another. The Bible in 1Corinthians chapter 13 talks all about that. In fact I have that verse hanging on my living room wall (thanks to a dear friend). I normally enjoy looking at the sign. It really is quite lovely. However, this past week, I try ignoring that sign every time I walked into the living room. It was like that verse was haunting me, “hey, read me; this is what you’re suppose to be doing.”
One morning as I was reading in my quiet time. Yeah, try that with all these attitudes, feelings and thoughts going on in the heart and brain! I began to have this conversation with the Lord that went something like this: “Lord, I don’t know how you stood before your accusers and said nothing. I’m not like you Lord, I just can’t forgive like you.”
I have Henry Blackaby’s Experiencing God Devotional and wouldn’t you know it the devotional for that day was….drumroll—Forgiveness! Yup, it was. Oh my! Think the Lord was answering me? Yes, He was. I sat and pondered what I had read and what I know to be true. I’ve taught, spoken on being in a prison of unforgiveness, wrong attitudes, etc., etc.! I did not want to be held hostage to my own selfish self.
Jeff, my husband, has been preparing for Palm Sunday and Resurrection Sunday services. He says to me, “ hey, I want to watch this video and tell me what you think.” The video is entitled, The Sounds of the Cross. As I sat there and watched with tears streaming down my face, unable to speak when Jeff asks me, “what do you think—should I show it?” The reality of what Christ did for ME, how he forgave ME, how he went to the cross for ME; could I do any less?
I was also reminded of the parable Jesus taught in the book of Matthew chapter 18. Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?” “No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven! Then Jesus tells a story about a man who had been forgiven a huge debt. Then the king called in the man he had forgiven and said, ‘you evil servant! I forgave you that tremendous debt because you pleaded with me. Shouldn’t you have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?’ Then the angry king sent the man to prison to be tortured until he had paid his entire debt. Jesus said, “That’s what my heavenly Father will do to you if you refuse to forgive your brothers and sisters from your heart.”
I have chosen to forgive this person, even without any apology. Not my responsibility if they don’t see how hurt or offended I was or the need to apologize. I have to let it go and allow the Lord to deal with it all.
Dying to self… that’s what I’ve done this past week. This is good news and bad news. Why? Because I know it won’t be the last time I will have to die to self. The Apostle Paul says, we are to die to self daily. Some days are easier than others! It is a choice that has to be made daily.
Thanks for letting me share my heart, be real and authentic here. The struggles are real. It is how we handle them that count. I have learned that My God is bigger than any struggle I may have. He will help me and He loves me enough not to let me stay in any prison. He has the keys to let me out.
He loves you too! If you are having the same kind of struggle, take it from me as hard as it seems to die to our own selfish ways, just look to the cross. Hear the sounds of the cross? The agony Jesus bore as he was being beaten; the pounding of the nails in his hands and feet. His crying out to God… IT IS FINISHED.
He did that for you and me, my sweet friend. Since Jesus died for us, surely, we can die to ourselves and live for HIM as He intended us to live.

Living In The Dash

Went to a funeral this week and have another one this weekend. As a Christian we like to call them “A Celebration of Life.” And it is. When we have lived our life in Christ, for Christ, it is a life well lived. Like Billy Graham use to say, “ I’m not going to be dead, I will have just changed my address.”  That is true for one who dies in Christ. Romans 6:8 says, “if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him.”

On the headstone or grave marker there is the name with date of birth — date of death. There is a dash between them. Unless it is the death of a baby or someone young there is much that happens between birth and death. 
We call it life.
Even as a Christian death is bittersweet. We rejoice that our loved one or friend is in heaven with Christ, perhaps no longer in pain or suffering, but we who are still here grieve the loss. Our heart hurts. We have memories. We miss the physical touch of the hugs and kisses, hearing the laughter and even the cries. We chuckle at stories we remember.
Why… because we remember the — (dash) the life of our loved one or friend.
For me, in my early years I thought I was living life. It wasn’t happy at times, even chaotic and very dysfunctional most all of the time.  Circumstances happen, bad situations take place and adjustments are made. But I thought this was how life was led. You go through the motions, do what you think you’re supposed to do and keep on going, doing the best you can do until the end!
It wasn’t until I became a Christian that I began to live life. Accepting Christ and turning my life over to Him was the best decision I have ever made. I realized that I was now truly living.
At this celebration of life, we heard of a life lived for Christ. A man who left a legacy of faithfulness to his wife, an example to his children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, extended family members and friends. He enjoyed life; even when there were difficult times he understood real living came from Christ. Living in the ability to choose to love, forgive often; hold no wrong accounts towards another, being salt and light as the Word of God tells us we are to be. He received wisdom and counsel on how to live life from the One who gave us life–JESUS.
When it comes time to have a celebration of my life, I want people to be full of joy knowing that I lived life to the fullest. I want to leave a legacy to my children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, other family and friends of a life lived in Christ and for Christ. I want them to be able to say they saw Christ in me, our hope of our glory as Colossians 1:27 says.
While going through cancer I decided then that I was not going to live in the land of regret—no matter the outcome. I packed up and moved from that neighborhood! I don’t want to come to the end of this life, as we know it and be regretful that I didn’t do (or did do) something I should have.  
I want to be salt and light wherever I go to others. I want people to see Jesus in me. Yes, that is hard to do sometimes—sometimes I want to lay hands on somebody suddenly… you know what I’m talkin’about!  But, that only means I get to choose how I will respond, how I will live my life. The Bible says there is LIFE and death in the tongue. Another words, what we say WILL impact not only our life, but also those around us.
Let’s choose to live life!
Tell those around us we love them, often. Compliment others when we see something worth complimenting.  Smile at one who needs a smile. Hold our tongue when we want to give a harsh word. Help someone when you can be of assistance.
So I want to leave you with this thought today… are you really living life or just merely existing?
We don’t know how long we have that choice to fully live life. Our days here on this earth are not known to us; each day is a gift. Because you are reading this, you have been given another day, my friend…
choose to live in between the —(dash)!
Blessings to you,

A simple question

How may I pray for you? It is a simple question and yet can be so complex. Sometimes when we ask to pray for someone, we can a myriad of answers. One person may so, “oh well, just pray for my friend, she really needs prayer.” Or how about the statement, ” I’m ok, really. I’ll get by.” And I love the answer of ” Oh, I don’t need prayer, I’m ok, everything is fine.”  Really?  I often think when I get that answer, hmmmm she must have been in that pageant Queen of Denial and won the crown!  Life could be going fine in the sense of nothing earth-shattering, no one died. But in all honesty we all can use prayer. None of us have “arrived” to the place where we are perfect. If that were the case, I pretty sure they call that death and now living in heaven, where yes, we are made perfect! Until that time… we are all gonna need some prayer! 
I have found that for some it is difficult to ask for prayer or even admit they need prayer.
Why is that? I have a couple reasons that I have been pondering this week and just want to share them with you in hopes that if you are on the asking end you may understand the response you may get and dig a little deeper. OR if you are on the receiving end of that question that you will allow prayers to be said on your behave. 
I think perhaps one reason is people are afraid to be vulnerable. Let’s face it, when we say we need prayer, we are sharing the “stuff” that is going on in our lives. Being vulnerable takes stepping out of our comfort zone and actually being REAL with someone else. 
We are afraid of being judged. Not that any of us have ever done that before! We don’t really want people to know what we are going through or dealing with because we are afraid we will be thought of as “less than Christ-like” because we are struggling.
I have found that after talking with someone who needs prayer and responds to the answer I spoke of previously these two reasons seem to be the most prevalent. 
We don’t want to be hurt by being vulnerable and we certainly don’t want to be judged. 
I’m not saying we just share everything with everyone. We need people in our lives who we can trust and who can pray for us. 
There is a community of believers that truly do care for one another and truly do prayer for each other.  I pray for you weekly. I may not know each of your struggles, but God does. 
This has just really been on my heart this week. There are so many who struggle in secret. That does not have to be. That is such a lie from the pit of hell…”don’t tell anyone you are struggling. What will they think of you?”  The enemy of our soul does not want us to walk in the freedom that Christ has for each one of us. 
Today, my prayer is that the next time you are asked “how may I pray for you?” you will answer with “thank you, today I need prayer for…” and fill in the blank.
On the flip side of this there are many times I ask someone how I may pray for them and they truly do share what is going on. Why? Because they know I will pray for them, right there on the spot, in that moment. And here is one of the biggest reasons. They know they can trust me. I’m not going to use this as a “prayer request” to others and then begin to gossip about the situation. Yes, that does happen. 
So here’s the challenge for you this week! Ask someone how you may pray for them. Then DO IT!  Be sincere, be trustworthy. Then follow up with them and see how they are doing.
And if you get asked how someone may pray for you. Tell them! If it is someone who you may not know real well, give them something “simple” to pray for and test the waters, if you will.  I know that many of us who have been a christian for any length of time have been burned by being vulnerable and being judged and not being able to trust. I get it, believe me, I get it! Been there, done that. I have people often whom I don’t know well enough (especially when I was going through cancer) say to me “how can I pray for you?” I found a truthful answer by saying, “pray I keep my eyes focused on Jesus.”  Now that is a prayer every one of us can use! If our eyes are on Jesus, we will have all that we need and  because Jesus will give us the peace, wisdom, discernment  to handle the “stuff” that we are dealing with. 
So…. my question to you today is, how may I pray for you?  I’d love to hear from you. 
Blessings my friend. 

Time is Fleeting

Be Anxious for Nothing

Last week I had some lab work done and a CAT scan. My blood pressure was…well, lets just say it was very high. So high, the nurse took it again using my other arm! so much for being anxious for nothing!

The Art of Waiting

Steadfast. That’s the word the Lord gave to me at the beginning of the year 2016. “What an odd word,” I thought. I couldn’t help but wonder if something would soon shake my world or test my faith, requiring me to be steadfast. I felt unnerved.

My suspicions were right. Not long after receiving my word, I was diagnosed with stage three non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. The diagnosis came as quite a shock; I lived a holistic, healthy lifestyle, and cancer doesn’t run in our family. Cancer is no respecter of persons. It can hit anyone.

The Lord knew that chemotherapy and its challenging side effects would require me to practice steadfastness. Each day I had to cling resolutely to what I knew to be true in my heart despite what I felt in my body.
What did I know to be true?

Don’t Give Up


2 Corinthians 4:17-18 (MSG)

So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.

During my fight against cancer, I had a meltdown.

Read more…

Blessings in the Valley

Recently, God spoke to my heart through Psalm 118:17-18: “I will not die, but live. And I will tell what the Lord has done. The Lord has taught me a hard lesson, but he did not let me die.”
That made me think of Psalm 23:4: “Even when I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, (some translations say darkest valley), I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me.”