Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Love

The title of today's post seems fitting because it is Valentine's Day. This wasn't going to be what I was thinking about writing about, but when I was praying over what to write this was actually what God put on my queue for my music it's called Worth It by Francesca Battistelli



Love, is not easy, and if it wasn't for love, I honestly don't know if I would be here today writing this. When I was 20 years old in 1993, I married a man who I thought I would spend my life with, little did I know that was not what God had planned for me. In March of 1995 we were blessed with the birth of our daughter Ashley. Ashley was our miracle, it was a difficult delivery and we ended up having to have an emergent c-section, as the placenta had separated from the uterine wall, and I was bleeding internally. After Ashley was born, the doctor told us that if we had waited an hour longer to come in Ashley would not have survived, if we had waited until the next day, I would not have survived either. Just think of that, 60 minutes was the difference between life and death. What do we do daily within 60 minutes? Sometimes without a thought. 

That was where Ashley was our first miracle, little did I know that 8 months after she was born my husband, David would take his own life. That final day, I knew something was wrong with him, because he called in sick to work, and he never did that. David waited until the mail came, because it was payday, then he left. At that time I worked 3 pm - 11 pm. David never came back home before I left for work, I brought our daughter to daycare as planned, but he didn't pick her up like he was supposed to. I had his parents pick Ashley up from daycare and I had everyone I knew out looking for David, but no one could find him. I finished my shift, and went to pick up Ashley from my in-laws house, and then went home. His vehicle was not parked in the driveway, so I decided to check the garage to see if he parked it in the garage. As I got to the garage, I was unable to open the door,, and the side door was padlocked, with Ashley fast asleep in my vehicle, I had to get the key from my key chain to unlock the side door, the scene inside is something that I will never forget, I close my eyes and see it like it was yesterday. The large garage door, was locked from the inside, bungee cords holding it closed, blankets lining the bottom of the door, and David sitting in the driver's side of the vehicle. The vehicle was not running. I opened the driver's door and remember how still he was, like he was sleeping, but he was ice cold, this was November 16, 1995. I remember screaming and running to the house to call 911, then called his parents and then my parents. My house was swarming with people within minutes. I was 22 years old, widowed with an 8 month old daughter. I didn't just lose David that day, I also lost DJ, David's son from his first marriage. DJ was almost 6. Being a step-mother I lost all visitation privileges, I had known DJ since he was 1 1/2 years old. I lost two thirds of my family in one day.  This isn't what I had planned for my life, picking out a casket, flowers, what songs to play, pall bearers, who should be having to do this at 22? I was still trying to figure out who I was, all I had now were titles, single mom, widow, alone. 

This is where Ashley is MY second miracle, during the months that followed, I fell into a very deep and dark depression, I went off the rails. I lost a great amount of weight in a very short time because I didn't eat, and my job was strenuous. I was hospitalized frequently, I had made myself sick. It was in this time that if it wasn't  for Ashley, I don't know that I would be here. I had my parents, my grandma, and extended family for my support system. The hardest part of this whole situation was not when people were around, it was when everyone left, and I was alone, and trust me I felt very much ALONE. I didn't realize it at the time, but God had plans for me. 

May 1996. God brought Mike into my life, even with all my baggage, he loved me, and he made me happy. We moved in together not long after, and soon we had another blessing Quentin, born June 26, 1997. Mike and I married in August of 1999. Love. It will change your life, bless you in many ways, and cut you to the core at the same time. Love's not easy. Love has ups and downs, sometimes more up and sometimes more downs. After 20 years together, Mike and I divorced last year. Although this love story doesn't have a happy ending either, the love and respect I still have for Mike is something that he earned and deserves. He's a man with a big, loving heart that was just hurt one to many times, for that I am sorry. I know that sorry doesn't take away the hurt. I'm sorry that it took me so long to realize what a gift I was given, that I wasted. Although we did things to hurt each other, and we each have our own hurt and brokenness to share, I still have a hard time seeing myself without him, and I still love him with all my heart. 

Like I said in a previous post, my wise mom, told me sometimes you have to lose everything so the only thing left is God.  Since our separation and divorce, I have learned a lot, lets just say that my eyes were opened. In this time, I have been trying to discover who I am as an individual, I haven't been single since I was 18, so I've been trying to separate the "me" from the "we". 

We all know that saying hindsight is 20/20, sometimes I wish I knew then, what I know now. Now I know that all this time it was God, He was with me all this time, He was writing my story, even though I didn't see Him until recently. 



If I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. (1 Corinthians 13:2-8).

It also says that we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us (you, and me), and we ought to lay our lives for our brothers and sisters, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth (1 John 3:16-17). 

Showing love to others is as easy as a smile, handshake, a hello, or how are you today? You never know what that smile, handshake, hello or how are you will mean to the other person. We all struggle, we are all broken, some suffer in silence, and that smile, or hello may be the 60 minutes between life and death. We don't know what that person is dealing with, that one person may have decided to end their life, and your kindness may make them reconsider. We live in a cruel and cold world, choose to be the light in the darkness, let your light shine, pay it forward, one light becomes 2, then 4 then 100 then 1000, let it spread. 

Well, today even if you spent this Valentine's Day alone (like I did), please just know that you are not alone, You are loved, you are stronger than you realize, you are not a failure or worthless. You are loved so much by a Perfect God who created you, you are His beloved. There are people that love you, life is gift even with its sorrows, struggles. Faith will light your path, hope will keep you strong, love will bring you your greatest joys and your friendships will remind you that everyday is a reason to celebrate. 

I'm gonna leave you with one more song it is Love Like That by Hawk Nelson:


Have a great week everyone. Until next time. 





Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Shabar (shaw-bar')

This week I started the online bible study for Ann Voskamp's new book "The Broken Way", in the first video session, she asked a question "why are we afraid of broken things? That question got me thinking, why are we afraid of being broken? What is it about being totally broken, exposed and raw that makes us afraid? Why is it that when something happens to us that we feel that we are alone like we are the only ones that have ever experienced this divorce, loss of job, rejection, anxiety, depression, shame, fear, etc.  Ann uses John 12:24-25 to help us understand:

I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to
the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. 
But, if it dies, it produces many seeds.
The man who loves his life will lose it, 
while the man who hates his life in this world
will keep it for eternal life.

If ya all are like me, you have read that verse many times, but the meaning never really sunk in, this is an awesome picture of the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus. Could it just be that we all have to fall and break in order to be the bearers of much fruit? 

Some of you are probably wondering about the title of this post- after listening to the first video session I looked up the Hebrew word for broken, which is shabar, which literally means to break or break into pieces (http://biblehub.com/hebrew/7665.htm). This word is the definition of ME. I have been broken/am broken into pieces, so many that I never thought I could ever pull them back together. Recently, I found a picture that showed me how important broken things are:


If broken OBJECTS are mended with gold, imagine what God does with us, when HE puts us back together, if we are willing to lean on HIM. It says many times in Psalms that God is close to the brokenhearted, and that he saves those that are crushed in spirit, and that HE will bind up their wounds. When a bone is broken, the place that broke, as it heals becomes the strongest part of the bone, so imagine your broken heart, where it is broken, will heal to scars. Those scars become your battle scars of a war that was fought and won and now becomes stronger. Scars and all we are perfect, beautiful in God's eyes. Perfectly Broken. 

While I am writing these posts, I put my headphones on and listen to music, and as I was writing this last paragraph, the song "Clean" by Natalie Grant came on, it kinda put this whole post into perspective, What negativity I see, or say about myself, God sees something beautiful, we are beautiful to HIM, we are HIS beloved children, created for HIS glory (Isaiah 43:6-7). 



I live in Iowa, and the last two days we have alot of snow, winter is such a mucky, messy mess, I am reminded of Isaiah 1:18:
"Though your sins are like scarlet
they shall be white as snow;
though they are red as crimson, 
they shall be like wool."

All that muck and mess was just covered with a fresh blanket of white snow, it is symbolic, all are sins are covered, and they become white as snow, it is a beautiful picture. As I have said before in one of my posts, I am inspired by music, and this week I have heard many songs that fit into this post, I will try and post all the videos for the ones I feel inspired me this week.

Remember, we are all broken, that is not something to be afraid of, this brokenness will mold and shape us into the people that God has intended us to be, although it will leave many scars, please remember that you are BEAUTIFUL, don't let the enemy, anyone else or mostly yourself tell you anything different. Turn to the ONE who made you, turn to HIS word. 





A last note, I was introduced to a blog this week that is written by a young lady that struggles with the same thing that I do. Anxiety. I have struggled for many years, and the winters are the worst, and when you are alone, those thoughts that run through your head can be crippling, zapping all your energy. Somedays it is a fight just to get out of bed when you just want to throw the covers over your head and forget the rest of the world. In one of my devotions from this month, I read this from Romans 5:3-5:

We rejoice in our sufferings because we know that
suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and 
character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, 
because God has poured out his love into our hearts
by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

So young lady, cling to hope because it never disappoints. Remember that your feelings are indicators, not dictators, just because you feel it, doesn't make it real (Lysa TerKeurst) (Even though they feel real.) Now a song or two just for you, both are from Skillet (they are my favorite) these are more like fight songs for you: Remember you are not alone!!! I know that you have a wonderful support system, which is awesome. My prayers are with you, and I know that you are gonna do great things, because you were created to.



Have a good week all!! Blessings to each and everyone that reads this. You are loved more than you know.

Shawn

Thursday, January 12, 2017

On Fire

Many years ago I saw this piece of framed art that just took my breath away, ever since then I have wanted that picture. This picture by the way is based on historical events.


The bible verse that is on the plaque at the bottom is Psalm 18:2:
The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge.
He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, 
my stronghold.

Here is the YouTube video:



During this Christmas, I came across this picture, and after many years, I bought it for myself. As a Christian I have always known the the Lord is my Savior, and in those years if I had sought after Jesus just as much as I sought after this picture, I would not have spent these last years feeling like the failure I thought I was, and always asking why me? I spent so much time going after earthly things, and the things that I wanted to do that God did take a back seat. I should have turned my eyes to the one who saved me first, instead of doing it my way. 

 In the end, I lost everything. My mother, the wise and wonderful woman that she is said "sometimes God will take everything, so the only thing left is God." I have come to believe that this is true. This Fall I was invited to a bible study "The God I Never Knew" by Robert Morris. Up until this point I have kept myself away from church, and bible studies, but I felt this was something that I needed to do, and I am glad that I did. I had my eyes opened, and there are some parts that I am still trying to wrap my head around, but GOD ignited a fire in me. 

The study is about developing a friendship with the Holy Spirit, now, at least in my life and the churches that I have attended the Holy Spirit is usually only mentioned as part of the Trinity. There is so much more to the Holy Spirit than I has ever been taught before. 

There are so many things that happen that some would call a coincidence, I no longer believe in coincidence to me they are the moments that God, or the Holy Spirit is talking to me, or showing me something. As I am writing this, the song that comes on is My Revival by Lauren Daigle. This speaks to me in many ways, first and foremost I am going through a revival- I have asked the Lord to renew my mind, heart, spirit & my strength, telling Him that I trust Him everyday, and that I need to lean on Him more. The part of the lyrics that really speak to me are: 

I will soar on wings like eagles
Find my rest in your everlasting name
You are my revival
Jesus on you I wait
And I lean on your promise 
You will renew my strength.

The song is based on Isaiah 40:28-31, and I love the commentary in my Bible which is the Life Application Bible NIV version:

Even the strongest people get tired at times, but God's
power and strength never diminish. 
He is never to tired or too busy to help and listen.
His strength is our source of strength.
When you feel all of life crushing you and cannot go another step
remember that you can call upon God to renew your strength!

Isn't it wonderful to know that no matter what you are feeling, tired, exhausted, weak, unloved, rejected, guilty, depression, fear, and many, many others you can just call upon God, and He hears you!!!

Back to the picture for a moment, for so long I felt like I was that man standing in that doorway, and those waves were going to just wash me away, but the more that my eyes have been opened to all the things that the God and Holy Spirit have had to show me, I can now see those wave as God's WINGS of protection, because He is my rock, my fortress in whom I take refuge. 

On a 2nd Note:
Since the study has ended I have been listening to past teachings on our wonderful world wide web, and there is no one that I have listened to that gets me more on fire for God than Beth Moore. This woman has such as passion for God and a love to teach what she studies and knows to women around the world. I have seen her a few times at her live events. The teachings that I have been listening to recently were all recorded in 2016 at live events. She tells you like it is, and makes sure that you understand what she is trying for you to understand, she is a little "stick of dynamite for the Lord." What I love is her love for us, and the LORD. 

I am a student and love to take notes, her 27 minute teaching lesson will take me at least over an hour to listen to because I have to keep stopping the video, and rewinding so I can write down exactly what she said, the way she said it. I'm going to end with a few of her quotes that have struck me.
  1. This is from February 3, 2016 entitled Women of God-Part 1: "Jesus changes the story of every woman He meets' and "You have the greatest story, you just don't know it yet-because Jesus is still writing it." I really liked this last comment because we were all put here for a purpose, and that purpose is our story. You don't have to be stuck in your shame, or your perfect brokenness because we were made broken by a perfect God, you has a plan for each and every one of us.
  2. This one is from Women of God-Part 2 from February 10, 2016, she called it "Identity Declaration: I AM A WOMAN OF GOD, REDEEMED BY JESUS CHRIST, LOVED PURSUED AND CHOSEN, EQUIPPED WITH WORDS OF LIFE, CLOTHED IN STRENGTH AND DIGNITY, COMMISSIONED HERE AND NOW, GIFTED BY THE SPIRIT, FORGIVEN AND UNBOUND. BLESSED IS SHE WHO BELIEVES.
  3. From Women of God-Part 3 from February 17, 2016: "We have so much clutter (that is definitely me), and so much going on, that we treat God as an 'add on'. In this teaching she puts emphasizes on how much we need girlfriends, because a woman's joy is not the same without girlfriends to share it. She continues that we have 1000's of contacts on social media but very few comrades. 

One of the things that would be on my bucket list- just meaning something that I hope I can accomplish sometime in my life would be to meet this beautiful, passionate woman, and as a student I want to understand how she studies. This would be one of most joyous gifts that I could be given, if it is God's will, it will happen. Until/if then I am content listening to her teachings on the web. 

Beth- you have touched my heart with your messages many times, and when I saw you at your live events I felt like you were speaking directly to me, it was a message at the time that I needed to hear, and it was on shame, I'll never forget it. God has blessed all of us women (and some men) with your messages, and I am so thankful to you for what you do. Thank you Lord for putting this beautiful woman in my life. 

I am leaving you today with some Love& The Outcome- He Is With Us




Lord, I ask that you will let all who read this know that you are with them, you know their struggles, hurts and that you know their heart, wrap them in your wings of protection, let them feel your love, and that you are close, and you will never leave them or forsake them. Let them know that they can trust you, for you are their rock, and their fortress, their deliverer. I pray that you will ignite a spark in them and that you will continue to let that spark grow, to make them hunger for you, until it is an all consuming fire. 
This I pray in your beautiful loving name,
AMEN.





Tuesday, January 10, 2017

2017

Welcome to 2017 all!!!

For this post, I am going to do something a little different.

I am asking all that read this blog to comment below, and let me know what some of your struggles are, you don't have to identify yourself. I want to hear from my readers what you are dealing with.

Also, what topics would you like me to address? I have had a few ideas, but want to know what you want to hear about. This would all be from my perspective or my experiences, and it would all be to let you know that you are not alone in your struggles, there is someone listening. I want to listen, and I want to share.

I found a picture this last week that I feel sums up a great deal of how we as human beings treat one another:


This picture is linked to 1 Peter 5:8:
Be self-controlled and alert.
Your enemy the devil prowls around like a
roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 

The commentary for this verse I feel is also extremely important:
Feeling alone, weak, helpless, and cut off from 
others, or other believers, we become so focused
on our troubles that we forget to watch for danger, 
we are especially vulnerable to Satan's attacks.
During times of suffering, seek other Christians for support.


I'm going to leave you today with another song. The first time I heard this song it sent chills up my spine and I had goose bumps all over- it's Zach Willams- Chainbreaker. 



Please comment below, and share your stories with me, if you are more comfortable you may email me. I would like to hear your input. I AM LISTENING!!!!

Have a blessed evening all
With Love,
Shawn

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Heart Broken

This week on December 28th we said goodbye to one of the most beloved members of our family, Snickers. Although this was her official name, she only responded to "Baby Girl" because that is what I called her, she was a calico cat that we got when she was 6 months old. My kids are 21 and 19 and she was with us for a long time, the majority of my kids lives, and then she had become my whole world since my separation and divorce, as it was just me and her. She was my companion, I even talked to her like she was an old friend. As I write this, I am crying my eyes out, because she is so badly missed, she followed me everywhere I went, until she was no longer able. I still come out of my bedroom expecting to see her sitting on the rug outside the door waiting to be fed, or meowing at me to get up.




The wonderful people at the vet, who have cared for Snickers for many years also made clay paw impressions for us. This is wonderful, because Snickers was a unique cat, and her demeanor was not always pleasant, and two of the things that she hated us doing was petting her belly and messing with her paws, so for me this is a very special keepsake. On the other hand, she loved having her neck nuzzled as you can see my daughter is doing in one of the above pictures. I also would just lay my head on her to hear her purr. She also loved plastic bags, boxes and the sunlight.

In going through a few things, I came across a book that I had stuffed away. It's called Good Things Great and Small- a whole lot of reasons to be thankful, I came across one of the quotes that I am thankful for:

"Thank heavens for  wagging tails, 
I love them, the long, the stubby, 
the straight , the curly, the furry...
the happy, crazy, round- the- world wag,
the twirling-in-circles-while-wagging wag.
All of them. Every one. Every time. 
Because no matter what is screwed up
in my world, a wagging tail is always,
unequivocally a very good thing."
Jeannie Hund

I was so anxious and worried about making the decision to euthanize Snickers, that I was making myself crazy, and I didn't want to let her go, for my own selfish reasons. It suddenly occurred to me that with all the anxiety and worry, I took my focus off of God. When I finally did pray and ask if I was making the right decision, I felt a sense of peace. I saw her suffering in pain, and I was worried, 

Those of you that know me, know that I worry about everything, thus I am going to end on this last day of 2016 with my favorite bible verse Philippians 4: 4-7, and the beautiful thing about the title of this chapter in my Bible is "Joy in Giving":

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be
evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything,
by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, 
will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. 

This is my favorite because we all have worry, no matter the source or sources, but if we turn our worries to prayers. This is also the hardest to do, because our enemy wants us to dwell in our worry and anxiety so we do not turn to God. This was my lesson that I learned although in a painful way. 

I want to thank Sharon, Sam and Tiffany for the wonderful care of Snickers through the years, and especially the day we let her go. I am thankful that I was able to be with Snickers through the whole process, and I am comforted that she is no longer in pain or suffering. 

RIP Snickers 2001-2016



HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL 
THANKS FOR READING



Please leave any comments or email me
I will try to all comments or emails.
Please share. 


Thursday, December 22, 2016

Failure

This is such a big and sad word, especially at this time of year. But, honestly, how many of those reading this have or do feel like a failure at something? Or with someone? You just feel that no matter what you do you are stuck between a rock and a hard place, with no where to turn, or run. I know that I can't see the hands that are raised by that question, but I would bet that most of us have felt that way at one time or another. I have, and I still do sometimes.

Before we get to far, the definition of failure as defined by Merriam-Webster:
  1. lack of success
  2. the act of neglecting to do or perform
  3. an instance of not working properly
  4. a loss of the ability to work normally
  5. someone or something that has not succeeded
  6. an instance of falling short

None of these definitions, or even the mashing of some of them together completely describe the feeling that overcomes you, when you feel as though you have failed,or are a failure. Sometimes there are no words for how you feel. For me, when I feel this way, I want to hide, cut off contact from all, but I feel as if my heart has literally broken, not just my heart but my soul hurts, and this causes me once again to question myself, and most of all GOD. Here are a few verses of what God's word says about failure:

Joshua 8:1- Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged- this was said to Joshua during a battle, the points that are made here are (1) to confess your sins when God reveals them to you, (2) when you fail[, refocus on God, deal with the problem and move on. God wants this cycle of sin, repentance, and forgiveness to strengthen us not weaken us. The lessons that we learn from our failures will help us to TRY and not do the same thing again, or if we do we will be able to handle whatever the situation may be.

1 Samuel 10:22- this chapter is about Saul being made king, but when all the tribes of Israel were gathered together,Saul could not be found, because he had hidden himself "among the baggage". When we hide from our important responsibilities, because we are afraid of failure, afraid of what others will think.

Matthew 1:1-17- these passages struck me as interesting because the first chapter is the passport of Jesus, or his genealogy. From Abram to Jesus. Reading the textual notes at the bottom it says that God's work in history is not limited to human failures or sins, he works through ordinary people like you and I.

Luke 22:62- this chapter covers the death and resurrection of Jesus, our Savior, but the section I am referring to is the section where Peter, one of the disciples denied knowing the Lord, which Jesus had predicted 30 verses previously starting with verse 31. When Peter realized  that he had done this it states that he "wept bitterly." Peter was frightened over being associated with Jesus after he was arrested, so he went against the promise  he made. This points out that that we need to be aware of our breaking points, and not become over-confident or self-sufficient.

My point that I am trying to make is that we are not alone in our failures, even the people from Biblical times struggled with failure. Although, they didn't have social media (which in my opinion, only makes our failures more known to more people, intended or not).

Now all of this of course is easier said than done, you are all saying, I am going to list for what I call my failures, after all I did say I wanted to use this blog to help people, and to do that I am gonna bear myself, so here we begin:

  1. The death of my husband David, I should have seen it, and been able to stop it.
  2. Getting pregnant in high school, and having a miscarriage on the night of my Senior prom right after an abortion was scheduled.
  3. I failed to support my Grandma after my Grandpa died, and getting very angry with her when she remarried 6 months after he died. I have been holding on to this for many, many years, and even stated that I would never call him Grandpa. He passed away on November 9th, and I never told him this, but I did unburden myself to my Grandma on December 5, I explained the story and told her I was sorry, and asked for her forgiveness. She of course said that she knew nothing about it, and was surprised. I came to respect my step-grandfather a great deal, and really didn't understand her situation until I was in the same one. 
  4. I failed my son for not being there for him when he needed both of his parents after his dad and I separated. I moved out of the house and wasn't there, I feel that I missed some of the most important years for him.
  5. I failed my family when I failed school, as for me this started my slide down into the pit, where I felt that I kept sliding and sliding, thinking that I would never hit bottom. I lost my job, and flunked out of school all in the same year, and this put incredible strain on our marriage, and put more pressure on my husband. 
  6. I continued to fail my family as I turned to pain pills to help numb the pain, while my depression kept getting worse. During this time I only worked a short time, was more interested in my pain pills.
  7. I failed my family again by not being able to keep our marriage together.
  8. I am a failure because I have been told that I am one repeatedly. 
I am sure that there are many more, and some people would say well what about this failure. 

I have made mistakes, and have hurt people in the process, there are not enough words in the world to express how sorry I am to anyone who feels that I have hurt them. I am working on these things with the help of Jesus. I am not the same person I was 2 years ago, or even 6 months ago, amazing things can happen if you believe. None of us are perfect, we all make mistakes, those mistakes make you into the person you will/can become, you just have to open your heart and believe. 

Start with just a prayer, it doesn't have to be perfect, God knows your heart. If you feel comfortable keep a journal, and enjoy the beauty of God's creation that is all around you everyday, the sunrise the sunset, the strangers that hold the door open for you, your children's smiles, the love you feel for someone-all come from God, just stop and take the time to notice. 

As a previous post has stated, some songs inspire me, and right now I am listening to Big Daddy Weave- Redeemed. I will post song at the end, so you may all enjoy. The song starts out with these lyrics:
Seems like all I could see was the struggle
Haunted by ghosts that lived in my past
Bound up in shackles of all my failures
Wondering how long this is gonna last
Then you look at this prisoner and say to me
"son stop fighting a fight that 's already been won"
I am redeemed, You set me free
So I'll shake off these heavy chains
Wipe away every stain, now I'm not who I used to be

I am here to tell you now that I am shaking off the heavy chains of my failures, no longer will I be bound up in all my failures. And, yes there may be days that those feelings start creeping back in, but knowing what my triggers are, and knowing that Satan will do what he can to make sure that I being held ransom in my feelings and thoughts, I call yell "STOP", and ask the Lord to give me the strngth to get past these dark thought. 

Sorry for the long post, but I also feel I have to share Psalm 91:1-16 with you:

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, "He is my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust."
Surely he will save you from the fowler's snare
and the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
You will not feat the terror of the night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks the darkness,
nor the plaque that destroys at midday.
A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you. 
You will only observe with your eyes
and see the punishment of the wicked.
If you make the Most High your dwelling-
even the Lord, who is my refuge-
then no harm will befall you,
no disaster will come near your tent.
For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways
they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
You will tread upon the lions and the cobra;
you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
"Because he loves me" says the Lord, "I will rescue him;
I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
He will call upon me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble, 
I will deliver him and honor him.
With long life will I satisfy
and show him my salvation."

As promised the video





Goodnight all. God bless you, may you all have a blessed Christmas.
Shawn



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Thursday, December 15, 2016

Grief & Loss

Today I got word that a distant relative of mine passed away suddenly, she was only 61. Although I didn't know her, the loss of a loved one is always hard, especially at this time of year. The hard part of loss is not the time when there are plenty of people around bringing food, just stopping by to visit, the hard part is after the people leave and you are alone. Sometimes in this time alone it is hard to see that you are not alone, you can be so caught up in your grief. You find yourself staring at the favorite places that they used to sit, staring at their side of the bed, lifting their favorite sweater just to smell them. Hanging on to any little pieces of them you can.

We have all experienced grief, and all of us experience it differently, and in our own timing. Grief is noting to be ashamed of , as there can be no recovery without it. There is a common phrase that many of us have heard "Time heals all wounds." I don't believe that this is necessarily true, I believe that we accept it, but it remains a part of us, we just make room for it. Our experiences make us who we are, and our reactions to them however positive or negative help us help the next person deal with it. It also helps us to admit our failures or shortcomings in the dealing of our own situation.

I remember vividly the night my husband died, this has been 21 years, and I remember that more than I can remember some things about him, especially his voice, his laugh, his smell ( I still go through the the grocery store and if I find Brut I open it and take a good long whiff), I know how funny that sounds. 😊😊😊.

Like I said, this grief can also help you deal with your failures or shortcomings that happened from your situation. I was 22 when I became widowed, I was a new mom to an 8 month old. I didn't understand why God would do this to me. Then, I was not as passionate as I am today, or how I wish I knew then what I know now, but this was my road to travel to become who I am. I am not perfect, I have made lots of mistakes, and I freely admit that I carried a lot of those mistakes and baggage into my new relationship with Mike. I also had many great friends from that time in my life, some who we made the Godparents to my daughter. They were our best friends, and that beautiful friendship started with a phone call to the police because the party was just a tad to loud. 😏😏😏.

Sadly, a few years after I lost my husband, she lost her husband in a car accident. I remember that day very well too, she called me at work, and I immediately left work to be with her. Isn't that what any good friend would do? He was a wonderful man, and he loved his family dearly. What I regret from these few years is that I needed to talk, and I talked all the time about me, and gave little thought to what she was going through, or anyone else for that fact. One of the greatest gifts that you can give someone is to help them through the grieving process, the entire process. They helped me a great deal when I needed someone, which was often. Then there was one time when someone said something and 'poof" the friendship was gone. I regret the loss of this relationship, and miss her and her family.

Loss is loss, no matter what form it comes in, from a beloved spouse, a friendship or a furry companion. We all grieve. As I write this I;m listening to Lauren Daigle's album How Can it Be, seems fitting for the topic. All things happen for a reason, and for some reason the road I'm on is not one I expected to be on, but I trust that it is because God has a great plan for me, as it says in Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

In a book called God is in the HARD Stuff by Bruce Bickel and Stan Jantz, I cam across a quote from Michelangelo:
"Lord, on You I call for help
against my blind and senseless torment,
since You alone can renew
inwardly and outwardly my mind,
my will, and my strength, which are weak."

In the same book I also came across "Faith in God involves hope. A Hope in the future. The hope of a better life to come. A hope of spending eternity with our heavenly Father."

For today I am gonna leave you with a verse from Roman 8:38-39:
"For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angles or demons, 
either the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, 
nor anything else in all creation, 
will not be able to separate us from the love of God that is in  Christ Jesus our Lord."






Another song I heard today that I want to share, as it is fitting for today's theme: