Every Rose Has Thorns

Recently, my husband bought me beautiful red roses. As I was trimming and arranging them, I kept getting stuck by thorns, but God began to show me a wonderful truth in this situation. The roses are symbolic of human beings. … Continue reading

“Someone Like Me”

Recently, I was watching an episode of Three’s Company, and I saw something I had never seen before. Keep in mind, I’ve watched this episode MANY times (it’s one of my favorites), but the other night was the first time I noticed what I’m about to share.

It was the episode titled “Strangers in the Night”. Jack was dating a “Southern Belle” who, in my opinion, was no gentile lady. She was needy, demanding, jealous and incredibly conceited. Basically, she was ridiculous, and it was obvious to me, Jack was with her for no other reason than the outward package that her true self was wrapped in. Jack could do nothing right in this woman’s eyes. When they got to the Regal Beagle (the pub they frequented on the show), he led her to a table, and he sat down. She remained standing until he realized she wanted him to pull out her chair for her. The “bar maid” comes to the table with menus, and Jack begins to order first. He glances up at his date, and she’s giving him a look of disgust. He realizes she’s upset, because he didn’t let her order first. The lady takes their order, and this woman proceeds to lay into Jack saying she saw how he was looking at the other woman, and maybe he’d rather be with her instead. Ugh..gag me. Don’t get me wrong, I am all about a gentleman pulling out a chair  and opening doors for a lady; my husband does it for me. I’m all about a man standing up when a woman comes to or leaves a table. But what I’m NOT about, is a woman who brow beats a man for not doing these things.

Believe it or not, this is not what I noticed about this episode, but it needed to be said to lay the groundwork for where I’m going. Later in this same scene, Jack’s date excuses herself to go use the phone (again, she gets upset, because Jack didn’t stand up as she was leaving the table). While she’s gone, the bar maid, Lily was her name, I believe, comes back to the table to chat with Jack for a minute. She tells him she’s tired, and when he suggests she take a break, she plops her happy self into his lap. I’m sure you can guess what happened next. You got it..Miss Congeniality comes back to the table, gets mad and storms out of the pub.

Upon returning home, he tells Janet, Terri and Larry what happened. To win her back, they suggest doing something romantic that would appeal to her old fashioned side. They decide on him serenading her under the window of her apartment. He would then climb to her balcony, and give her a hand-written invitation to a homemade, gourmet dinner.

So, the time comes to carry out the plan. Jack and Larry serenade the song “You are so Beautiful to Me” (actually, Larry did the singing; Jack lip-synced). Jack then climbs the drain pipe to the second floor, and in true Three’s Company style, he starts to fall as the pipe becomes detached from the building. As he’s heading for the ground, he heaves the invitation through the open window. Unfortunately, he doesn’t stick around to see if she received it or not.

Fast forward to date night. Jack opens the door to find a heavy-set, but very sweet lady named Bernice standing where the Southern Belle should be. As she starts telling Jack how much she loved the invitation, how beautiful his voice was and it’s her favorite song, he is beginning to realize exactly what happened.

Here is the part I’ve been building up to. Bernice, bless her sweet little heart, makes a statement that hit me like a ton of bricks. She looks at Jack and says, “I just could never imagine something that wonderful would ever happen to somebody like me.” And that is where it hit me.

Outwardly, Bernice is obviously nothing like Jack’s blonde, curvy southern woman who is tall, thin and by society’s standards, very pretty. Bernice is on the heavier side with brown, curly hair. But the differences don’t end there. Bernice is a beautiful woman on the inside, where it matters, and absolutely adorable on the outside, with her bubbly personality, sweet disposition and innocence. She’s also very endearing, funny and passionate. In other words, she is leaps and bounds more beautiful than ol’ what’s-her-name (and to be honest, I truly don’t remember the name of her character)!

Bernice said she could never imagine something so wonderful happening to her. Why not? Her weight? Her looks, or how SHE thought everyone else saw her? I know this is just a TV show, but this is a reality for so many people. We are so afraid there won’t be anyone willing to look past the outward to get to know who we truly are. There are many, myself included, who look at themselves and don’t see what those who love us see. There are those of us who struggle with self image, because we aren’t what society or the media says we should be; we don’t look like they think we should or what they consider beautiful. The truth is, it doesn’t matter how everyone else sees us. We shouldn’t be looking through their eyes, anyway. We need to see ourselves as God sees us:

Psalm 139:14a (New Living) –Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.

Psalm 139:17-18 (New Living) – 17 “How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! 18 I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me!”

Zephaniah 3:17 (New Living) – “For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”

Song of Solomon 2:4 (Amplified) – “He has brought me to his banqueting place, And his banner over me is love [waving overhead to protect and comfort me].”

Jeremiah 1:5a (New Living) – “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb.

Bernice, like so many others, truly believed she didn’t deserve anything good because of how she looked. She saw imperfections that, in her mind, disqualified her from being loved, wanted or desired. But what we need to realize is, our worth is not in what we see on the outside. Our true beauty is in WHO we are. God doesn’t look on our outward appearance; He looks at our heart. To Him, that is where the beauty lies.

I Samuel 16:7 (New Living) – But the Lord said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

And when we have Jesus as our Savior, He sees Jesus in us. He sees us as redeemed and forgiven. He sees us a new creation:

II Corinthians 5:17 (Amplified) – 17 “Therefore if anyone is in Christ [that is, grafted in, joined to Him by faith in Him as Savior], he is a new creature [reborn and renewed by the Holy Spirit]; the old things [the previous moral and spiritual condition] have passed away. Behold, new things have come [because spiritual awakening brings a new life].”

You are a masterpiece created in the image of God:

Ephesians 2:10 (New Living) – 10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.

GOD DOES NOT MAKE MISTAKES! YOU ARE NOT A MISTAKE! YOU ARE NOT AN ACCIDENT! 

Even if no one else wants you, God wants you, and you are here, because HE wants you here.

Psalm 27:10 (Amplified) –  Although my father and my mother have abandoned me, yet the Lord will take me up [adopt me as His child].”

Never lose hope. Whether you know it or not, you have a heavenly Father, a Daddy, Who loves you with an everlasting love. He loved you before you were even a thought in the mind and heart of your parents. He loves you in spite of the mistakes you’ve made (or will ever make). He is for you, even if everyone else is against you.

Romans 8:31-19 (Amplified) – 31 What then shall we say to all these things? If God is for us, who can be [successful] against us? 32 He who did not spare [even] His own Son, but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against God’s elect (His chosen ones)? It is God who justifies us [declaring us blameless and putting us in a right relationship with Himself]. 34 Who is the one who condemns us? Christ Jesus is the One who died [to pay our penalty], and more than that, who was raised [from the dead], and who is at the right hand of God interceding [with the Father] for us. 35 Who shall ever separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 Just as it is written and forever remains written, For Your sake we are put to death all day long; We are regarded as sheep for the slaughter.”

37 “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors and gain an overwhelming victory through Him who loved us [so much that He died for us]. 38 For I am convinced [and continue to be convinced—beyond any doubt] that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present and threatening, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the [unlimited] love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

One of my favorite scriptures is Jeremiah 29:11-13 (Amplified) – 11 “For I know the plans and thoughts that I have for you,” says the Lord, “plans for peace and well-being and not for disaster to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call on Me and you will come and pray to Me, and I will hear [your voice] and I will listen to you. 13 Then [with a deep longing] you will seek Me and require Me [as a vital necessity] and [you will] find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.”

I love this one, as well. The Amplified is the absolute best for this scripture. Here’s what I mean:

Hebrews 13:5-6: 5 “Let your character [your moral essence, your inner nature] be free from the love of money [shun greed—be financially ethical], being content with what you have; for He has said, “I will never [under any circumstances] desert you [nor give you up nor leave you without support, nor will I in any degree leave you helpless], nor will I forsake or let you down or relax My hold on you [assuredly not]!” 6 “So we take comfort and are encouraged and confidently say, The Lord is my Helper [in time of need], I will not be afraid. What will man do to me?”

Nothing and no one will EVER change how much God loves and adores you. EVER.

 

The Ever Faithful One

On August 1st, I felt Holy Spirit drop an idea into my mind. “Have a weight loss challenge at work”, He whispered. I had been praying for the Lord’s help in once-and-for-all losing weight. For good! I’m one of these people who needs accountability. If I don’t have someone or something keeping me accountable, I don’t finish what I start. What can I say? I’m a work in progress. Thankfully, God isn’t one of those people. He never quits. He’s One Who means what He says and says what He means, and He won’t stop until the work He started in me is done. Praise God for His faithfulness. 

Philippians 1:6 (Amplified) “I am convinced and confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will [continue to] perfect and complete it until the day of Christ Jesus [the time of His return].” 

As I said, Holy Spirit gave me the idea, so I made a flyer and put out a sign-up sheet for anyone who wanted to join me in a weight loss challenge from August 1st to December 1st. Nine of us have signed up, and I’m so thankful for these precious coworkers of mine who agreed to the challenge. We each put in $5 for the one who loses the most weight/inches. I want so much to win this, but for me, it’s not about the money or beating anyone else. For me, winning means that I’ve lost a significant amount of weight, and that is prize enough for me. I’m competitive (remember, work in progress), but in this case, it’s not about competition. It’s about God giving me a way to be held accountable to create and keep good eating/lifestyle habits, and nothing says accountability like organizing a weight loss challenge! Let me be clear: this is NOT a diet. I said a long time ago, I never want to be involved in anything with the word “die” in it. This, for me, is a complete lifestyle change; one that I will continue until I go home, or He comes back to get me.

What I have felt the Lord leading me to do is, cut out sugar, soda, coffee, etc., up my intake of water, and basically eat clean. Oh, and making it a priority to do that whole exercise thing, which has been the bane of my existence for a very long time. I used to say, “I like to exercise, I just don’t want to do it by myself.” Yeah, SO not true. It’s amazing what you find out about yourself when you’re put in situations that cause you to take an honest look inward. In a perfect world, I would love to exercise, and I would do it every day with vigor and enthusiasm. How many of you know, we are not in a perfect world? BUT, God is working on that, too, Praise His name!

In a previous post, I spoke about being addicted (OK, ADDICTED) to sugar. The Lord knows for me to succeed, I will have to have some alternatives to said sugar, so He has sent numerous healthy, good for me, desserts across my computer screen. There are several websites I follow that give me just that. Pinterest is a big one, as well as Facebook. I have tried numerous ones, and there are many that I haven’t liked. However, I have found a few that are fab-tasteic (I totally just made that up. True story).

So, since August 1st, I have only had sugar maybe once or twice, and it was a minimal amount. God is teaching me how to eat His way, because it’s the right way. He’s giving me the grace I need to pick healthy options in over 90% of places Jason and I have gone to eat. My flesh totally wants to get whatever (and I do mean whatever), looks good on the menu. I used to go for whatever made me drool the most, but since starting this journey (again for the 211,516,565,865th and LAST time), He has patiently guided me to things that are better selections and will allow me to stay on track. For example, Jason and I, along with my in-laws, went for a 6 mile walk yesterday (Sunday). When we were done, J and I were famished, so we went to Labowski’s in Robins to grab a bite. From the name, I’m sure you can deduce this was not a health food restaurant, but because God is so faithful, I immediately started looking for the salad section of the menu. I settled on a very healthy grilled chicken salad with balsamic vinaigrette dressing. Things continued in my favor, because I drank a lot of water before the meal got to the table, causing me to eat a lot less (this was a big salad). I ate less than half, and I was full. These are the types of things God is doing for me, because He loves me beyond human comprehension. I also keep the following scriptures in the forefront of my mind a lot:

I Corinthians 6:12, 19-20 (Amplified): 12 “Everything is permissible for me, but not all things are beneficial. Everything is permissible for me, but I will not be enslaved by anything [and brought under its power, allowing it to control me]. 13 Food is for the stomach and the stomach for food, but God will do away with both of them.”

19 “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is within you, whom you have [received as a gift] from God, and that you are not your own [property]? 20 You were bought with a price [you were actually purchased with the precious blood of Jesus and made His own]. So then, honor and glorify God with your body.”

Time is so short, and if I’m going to do what He’s called me to do, I need first answer His call to be the healthy, energetic woman He’s created me to be. I need to honor Him in all things, and food/eating habits are one way I am doing that. He’s been so faithful to me, and I’m honored, so honored, to be called His daughter. Remember, obedience is better than sacrifice, and He’s made it clear how He feels about the way we treat our bodies. My obedience is far better than giving in to any sugar cravings, because I know when I’m healthy, it means I’ve done what He said to do.

I Samuel 15:22 (New Living Translation): 2 “But Samuel replied, “What is more pleasing to the Lordyour burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams.”

He knows when we are obedient to His voice and what He tells us to do, it will be for our benefit, and we will reap the rewards. He can see the bigger picture, and His ways are always better than our ways.

Thank You, Lord, for your Love and Faithfulness. Thank You, that I am precious in Your sight, no matter what choices I make. Thank You for loving me so incredibly much.

Hello, My Name is April, and I’m…

Addicted to sugar. That’s me. I’m not talking about your run-of-the-mill addicted to sugar. I’m talking all or nothing, no hold’s barred kind of addicted to sugar. I don’t just eat sweets. I EAT sweets. In my world, there is no such thing as “I just want a small piece,” or “I’ll just eat one.” Nope, not in my world. I’m also a closet eater. I wouldn’t dare eat this way in front of people. I hide. Unfortunately, my body tells on me with every pound gained and with every ache and pain. Sugar causes my body pain, and you would think that would be motivation enough to quit. My body is the temple of the Holy Spirit: Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is within you, whom you have [received as a gift] from God, and that you are not your own [property]? 20 You were bought with a price [you were actually purchased with the precious blood of Jesus and made His own]. So then, honor and glorify God with your body.” I Corinthians 6:19-20 (Amplified). For a lot of people, this scripture alone would be enough to stop. Unfortunately, I am not one of those people.

A few months ago, I had been praying and asking God for help with this awful addiction. It was getting out of control, to the point of absurdity. I’d eat handfuls of candy (I’m not exaggerating), and I would eat them often. If I were able to go back and count the amounts, calories, grams of sugar, etc., I’m sure I’d faint. I began to realize things were spiraling into an abyss of gluttony, and if something didn’t change, I was going to die. Maybe not that day or that year, but I knew I was in a dire situation, and the only thing I could do, was look up. One day, following a particularly binge-filled day, I heard the Lord challenge me. He said “Go 7 days without eating sugar. Try just 7 days.” So, the very next day, I began the challenge. I’d like to say I met it with ferocity and ardor and with the utmost success, but alas, I did not. By noon, I was going over to my coworker’s desk (where a buffet of candy was kept), and I grabbed a container that had two different sides to the lid. One side was like a shaker with little holes in it, and the other was a larger opening that allowed the sugary goodness to flow into whomever’s hand happened to be waiting to catch it. I knew I was about to disqualify myself from God’s request, but in my life, sugar usually wins out every time. But, as Sophia Petrillo would say, “I digress.” I marched over to her desk with every intention of digging in, all the while justifying my actions with every step. As I was talking to her, I grabbed the container, and without looking at it, I opened it and began to shake the candy into my hand. As I’m talking, I realize nothing is happening. I looked down, and lo and behold, I had opened the shaker side (God is funny that way, isn’t He?). I looked at her, and when I showed her what happened, she said “You shouldn’t be eating that anyway, since you’re giving it up for the next 7 days.” I said “You are absolutely right,” and I put it down and walked away. When my 7 days were up, I was feeling amazing. I was in no pain, and my energy level was through the roof. A month later, I was still going strong, and I had dropped about a size and a half in inches. It was amazing!

Here is where I’d love to tell you I kept right on trucking with this God-given challenge, but I didn’t. I made the mistake one day of letting my sugar get too low, and I was shaking. I walked over to the candy buffet, and mowed through it like nobody’s business. And guess what? No one was around. I was pouring candy into my hands as fast as I could, and I got back to my desk and hid it even faster. *sigh* This is truly embarrassing, but it has to be said. I believe with all my heart, in that month, God had delivered me from my bondage to sugar. But, as the scripture says, when a house (body) is swept clean, if you don’t fill it with the Word of God, what you were delivered from will come back even worse than when it left: “When a corrupting spirit is expelled from someone, it drifts along through the desert looking for an oasis, some unsuspecting soul it can bedevil. When it doesn’t find anyone, it says, ‘I’ll go back to my old haunt.’ On return, it finds the person swept and dusted, but vacant. It then runs out and rounds up seven other spirits dirtier than itself and they all move in, whooping it up. That person ends up far worse than if he’d never gotten cleaned up in the first place.” Luke 11:24-26 (The Message). Now, I’m not saying I was possessed, but I was oppressed. Oppression to me is like having to carry a very heavy weight on your back or on your shoulders. It’s a burden. In other words, these spirits were weighing so heavily on me (ironic, isn’t it?), but when I got my deliverance, I wasn’t able to keep it, because I didn’t get into God’s Word and stay there. I didn’t fill my spirit up with His Word and with His presence. Now, I’m back where I started and worse.

But, God is faithful, and He has been with me through all of this. He sees my struggles, and He hears my cries. He knows my desperation, and He knows right where I am. It has been the absolute grace and mercy of God that I haven’t died before now. He has kept me from having a heart attack, stroke or whatever else might be lurking in the shadows as a result of my gluttonous life. His Love has sustained me. All things considered, I’m relatively healthy, other than sleep apnea (weight-related), asthma (also weight-related) and several aches and pains (yep, weight-related). The way I have treated my body and my spirit is abysmal. Once again, it goes to show how much He Loves me. The devil has been trying to kill me since birth (literally. I almost died at birth, because the chord was around my neck and I was breach). He has made SEVERAL attempts since then, some of which were obvious. Others, not so much, but the attempt was there, nonetheless. In each circumstance, God has intervened, and I have no doubt when I stand before Him and see my life played out, I will see MANY, MANY more instances of His Divine Intervention that I was never aware of. Being addicted to food is as much of an attack on my life as the day of my birth; it’s just more subtle. I have absolutely no doubt, God has shown me that’s exactly what the devil is up to. If he can’t kill me with accidents or illness, he’s going to try to do it through food. And if I don’t let God do what He wants/needs to do with me, he will succeed. God has told me through His Word, through other people’s prophetic words for me and through dreams He’s given me, He has a plan for me. He has something big He needs me to do, and I believe that, because why else would the devil go through such great lengths to try to make sure that doesn’t happen? I love what Lisa Bevere said: “The devil isn’t afraid of who you were or who you have been in the past. He’s afraid of who you will become.” And it’s so true! He’s terrified of what we will become. His time is short; shorter than it ever has been, and he’s desperate.

Something needs to change. I need to change, and I need to allow God to do it now. I need to be obedient and do exactly what He tells me to do. This blog is supposed to be about my weight loss journey in the Grace and Wisdom of God. Up to now, it hasn’t really been. I’ve been hearing Him whisper to me that it’s time. I’ve heard this whisper before, but up til now, I haven’t truly responded with “Yes, Lord.” I’ve allowed my flesh to have its way. I’ve put the desire of my flesh before the will of the Lord. Galatians 5:16-25: 16 “So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. 17 The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. 18 But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses. 19 When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, 21 envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God. 22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. 25 Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.”

It’s now or never. It’s not go big or go home. It’s go big BEFORE you go home. I don’t want to get to Heaven by the skin of my teeth. I don’t want to get there and see my life played out and feel regret. I have wasted enough time in my 41 years on this earth. I want to get to Heaven having done all He’s called me to do. I want to finish my race. And, in Christ’s strength, Wisdom and Grace, I will. Thank You, God, for Your forgiveness. Thank You, for not giving up on us.

Thank You, for Jesus.

Count the Rainbows

After recently going through my fifth miscarriage, God sent me a very special message. Three days after I miscarried, I went to the doctor for what would have been an appointment to hear our baby’s heartbeat; an appointment I was to share with my mother. But, instead, I found myself in the oh-so-familiar situation of a miscarriage follow-up with my OB/GYN. I went alone, but I wasn’t alone. My Jesus was right there with me. As I sat in the waiting room, I was struggling to understand why I miscarried what we thought was a perfectly healthy baby. I sat in the children’s play area – a place I have never sat – looking out the window (it happened to be empty that day). My eyes caught sight of a picture that had been drawn by a child who will probably never know the message written in crayon would be for a heartbroken woman longing to have a baby of her own. A child who will probably never know God Himself whispered those words in their ear, because it was something I so desperately needed to hear. The Heaven-sent message was “Count the Rainbows, not the Thunders.” Now, I am someone who loves stormy weather, but when it comes to the storms of life, not so much. Who does? But one thing I’ve learned, especially through the last two miscarriages is, God is with me. In those moments of having to give our babies back to Him, I’ve felt His presence so tangibly. I have cried out to Him in pain and anguish, and immediately, His Love and peace came. The pain didn’t go away, but He was there, and I knew it; He made sure I knew it. He was there when the miscarriages were in full swing. He was there with me, as I sat alone in that waiting room. He was in the loving hug I received from a nurse who took my blood for tests. She held me while I cried and made no effort to let me go, because she saw my pain and wanted to do what she could to make it better. Her arms were God’s arms embracing me in my brokenness. He was there in the moments my precious husband did everything he could to comfort and love me through it all. And He was there in that message drawn by someone’s child, who heard the voice of the Father. My Father. My Father, Who gave up His only Son to get me. My Father, Who loves me, and you, that much.

Don’t count the thunders. It’s sometimes hard not to, when it seems they are all you can hear. But, as I watched my husband try so hard to love me through this, I began to count the rainbows. Jason is one of my many, many rainbows. Even though this baby was not meant to be, and I don’t understand why right now, God has given me rainbows. I have a Savior Who gave everything He had for me; a Savior Who would have done it all had I been the only one He’d gain from it. I have a husband who loves me beyond my human comprehension. I have a home, food on the table and clothes in my closet. I have a purpose. I have a destiny. I have a hope and a future. My favorite scripture is Jeremiah 29:11-13 (AMP): 11 “For I know the plans and thoughts that I have for you,” says the Lord, “plans for peace and well-being and not for disaster to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call on Me and you will come and pray to Me, and I will hear [your voice] and I will listen to you. 13 Then [with a deep longing] you will seek Me and require Me [as a vital necessity] and [you will] find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.” What an amazing promise.

There will be thunders, because in life there are storms. I don’t always understand why they come, but I know not to count them, because beyond the thunders are my rainbows; with Jesus, there will ALWAYS be rainbows. I will keep my focus on Him. He’s always with me, and He’s always waiting with rainbows.

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The Ups. The Downs. And Everything in Between..

I really should be blogging/journaling every day, but I either forget or just don’t want to. Procrastination is an ugly thing. But, I digress. 

The past several months have been a rollercoaster of ups and downs; not to mention a few loops. That being said, I have some things I need to get out of my head and heart, so here goes…

July 22nd, my husband’s birthday, I found out I was pregnant for the 3rd time since we got married in 2012. I had had three previous miscarriages (the first during my first marriage in 2003) and two in 2013, so I was cautious but elated. I found out while at work, and between tears and laughter, I let everyone there know we were finally going to have a baby. Jason started his buying spree again, which consisted of all things 49er baby. Onesies, outfits, accessories, you name it, he was buying it. I jokingly told him our children will only have 49er outfits if no one else buys clothes for them. As the packages poured in, I began to think it wasn’t a joke anymore. 

We discussed who to tell and not tell. I wanted to let everyone and their grandma know, but he wanted to wait. He did allow me to tell some people (all of work knew), so I told my closest friends and very few family. The weeks went by, and I was feeling pregnant, but not as much as I thought I would. I was ok with that, considering I had been praying that it would be an easy, complication-free, miscarriage-free pregnancy. I had my first ultrasound around week 6 – or what I thought was week 6. The ultrasound showed the sac, but no baby. The doctor (who is amazing) said I probably ovulated later than normal and to not worry (this is exactly what happened with my last miscarriage). I prayed and believed God that all was well. She had me come in the following week, and lo and behold, there was our little Peanut with a heartbeat! I’d never had an ultrasound where I saw a baby, let alone a heartbeat. It was game on, and I wanted to tell everyone. Again, Jason, in God’s Wisdom, said to wait. 

I had my big reveal for my mom and stepdad all planned out. I asked them to come visit me in early September. I was going to take them to the doctor with me for my appointment to hear the baby’s heartbeat. We made arrangements for them to visit, and they had no idea why. I was so excited. The doctor scheduled me for another ultrasound in 10 days, and it seemed to take forever to arrive. In the back of my mind, even tho I and several others were praying fervently for a healthy baby, I had a feeling something was wrong. I continued to have cramps that felt like I was going to start, but I was told this is normal. I went in for the ultrasound, and there was no progress in the baby’s growth or heartbeat. I was still measuring 6 weeks, and I should have been measuring around 7 or 8. I was devastated, but I refused to give up. I was called back to another room to wait for the doctor to come in and talk to me about the ultrasound results. I began to cry as I prayed to my Heavenly Father. I was alone, and I just said out loud, “Father, no matter what happens, no matter what she comes in here to tell me, I trust You. I’m choosing to trust You, even though I don’t understand. And I refuse to fear.” Dr. Olson came in, and she basically confirmed what I already knew. I was more than likely headed for my fourth miscarriage. She handed me a pair of latex gloves and a small cup to put the pieces of my pregnancy into for testing. I was numb as I reached for them, but in my mind, I remember thinking, “God is bigger. We have a heartbeat. God is bigger. We have a heartbeat.”

I left her office in tears, and I called my friend Tonni. I told her what the doctor said, again, in tears. But, we had a heartbeat. That was something! She immediately got a prayer chain going. I went home, and the spotting began. I called my husband, and he came home, too. That was a Thursday, I believe. In spite of it all, I kept telling God I trusted Him. A peace like I’ve never known came over me, and even tho I was heartbroken, I was ok, and I was ready to face the inevitable. The next day, I stayed home from work, because I was still spotting. I wanted to rest and a small part of me was holding onto the hope that God would give us a miracle. Jason came home at 11 or so, and it got worse. I knew then, I was in the throes of labor, but not to give birth to our beautiful baby. I was in labor to give birth to a baby that wouldn’t live on this earth, but who was heading back home to the Father to wait for us. A baby that I wouldn’t hold in my arms here, but Jesus would hold in His arms there.  

I opted to stay home instead of going to the hospital, because I didn’t think it would be very painful, as I wasn’t very far along. I was wrong. As the day progressed, so did the pain. I knew I was getting close to passing the big pieces, because the pain was intensifying and becoming more frequent. In the past three miscarriages, I have never had to scoop the remnants of my pregnancy out of the toilet. That was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. I was in so much pain, it was making me physically sick. By the time I realized how bad it was getting, it was too late to go to the hospital, because there was so much blood. I spent more time in the bathroom, because I was bleeding so profusely. Jason kept asking me what he could do, and I know he felt so helpless, because I wouldn’t let him come near the bathroom. I didn’t want him to see all the blood. I couldn’t protect him from another baby lost, but I could protect him from seeing it happen. 

Later in the day, the pain was almost unbearable. I asked him if he thought his mother would bring me something she had for pain. Since a bullet was out of the question, I opted for something else. He left to go to their house, and I didn’t want him to leave me. But, I knew if I wanted relief, he’d have to go. While he was gone, I got mad. Not at him, but at the pain; the situation. I began to speak to the pain, and I told it to leave. It had to leave. I am a child of the Most High God, and I didn’t have to take this pain; I wasn’t going to take this pain. The more I prayed, the more it began to subside. By the time Jason came home, I didn’t need the medication. They are still sitting on my counter. Thank You, Jesus!

I had such a hard time facing all of the people I told about the pregnancy. The person I had the hardest time facing was Jason. I felt like such a failure, and I felt like I had let him down, again. What could I have done differently? What should I have done? I didn’t eat healthy enough. I was overweight from the beginning, so I was sure it was my fault. The doctor assured me it wasn’t. She said sometimes, there are issues with attachment, or something could have been wrong with our little one. 

People kept telling me I was brave, but I don’t see it as bravery, because I had no choice. I couldn’t choose between a miscarriage or having our baby. All I can say is, it was the absolute grace and mercy of God that I got thru it all. I felt His presence with me thru the entire ordeal, and even tho I, to this day, don’t understand, I trust Him. And Jason! My goodness! He was so amazing and so loving thru everything. He was so tender, understanding and patient. I thank God for him, and I thank God he was there.

A few weeks ago, a very dear friend of mine messaged me regarding her sister’s pregnancy. She was two to three weeks from delivery when they discovered the baby had no heartbeat. This put me over the edge. I told my friend Tonni, I have seen so much death when it comes to pregnancy. Not only my babies but others who have suffered like me and my friend’s sister. I told her it just doesn’t seem worth it anymore, and I don’t even want to try to get pregnant. In fact, I felt it wouldn’t bother me if I never did again. I remember a time when it seemed no one I knew was having an issue, and people were having babies like there was no tomorrow. I just don’t get it. But, again, I trust Him. I don’t and won’t always understand, but I trust. I may be angry, hurt, confused and a host of other emotions, but I trust. He is a good God. He is a great God. I rest in that.

My doctor and I wanted to run tests to find out why this keeps happening. Once my HCG levels were back to zero, we took blood. A lot of blood, but I would have offered all of it to find out why I keep miscarrying our babies. Turns out, I have something called Factor V (5, not the letter V), which means my blood coagulates. There are two types: one gene and two gene. It is genetic, and I have the one gene, which means one of my parents has it. This is the better of the two, because those with one gene Factor V are far less likely to have a blood clot. The percentage is 3% – 8%, whereas those with the two gene type are highly likely (and usually do) have blood clots, pulmonary embolisms, etc. She told me to take 81 mg of aspirin every day, and she gave me a prescription for progesterone, which I started last night. I’m very encouraged, because now we have answers. I have prayed so hard that God will not allow me to get pregnant again unless it is a perfect pregnancy and a perfectly healthy baby (or babies. I’m believing for twins). I’ve laid this at His feet, and that is where it will stay. 

I had and have often thought before that day and after, why even let me get pregnant if it was just going to end in miscarriage? Why? But, I trust Him. Still. His Love for me never fails. His presence is forever with me. His peace is mine for the taking. He did not cause this, and someday, maybe not on this side of Heaven, I will know the answers to my whys. 

I don’t know what the future holds, but no matter what comes, the Father holds me. If He can hold the whole world in His hands, there is room for me there, too. I rest in His Love. I rest in His grace. I rest in His peace. I rest in His mercy. I rest in Him. I will be still and know He is God. Psalm 46:10 (Amplified): “Be still and know (recognize, understand) that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations! I will be exalted in the earth.”

I pray you have a beautiful, wonderful and thankful Thanksgiving holiday. 

Remember, the Father is in Love with you!

Blessings,

April

 

 

Leave the Past Behind

About an hour or so ago, I was reading through my previous posts. *sigh* I started this blog a year and a half ago, and I have done nothing and accomplished nothing that I set out to do. In fact, I weigh more now than I did when I began. My sugar addiction is at an all-time high, and my exercising is nil. Through a friend, I recently found a wonderful new friend who is a personal trainer. She does classes twice a week as well as offers advice and recipes. I went to her class last Tuesday, and I loved it. The group is great and everyone was so encouraging and funny. It didn’t take me long to feel at home. I planned to go back (the cost is minimal), but money right now is really tight.

I struggle more with knowing I haven’t followed thru with all the grandiose commitments I made in past blogs. I meant them, and I planned to do what I said. Unfortunately, I didn’t. I can’t focus on the first thought that floated through my head after reading these posts: “Where would I be right now, had I done what I said I would do?” God’s mercies are new every morning. Lamentations 3:22-23 (Amplified): “It is because of the Lord’s lovingkindnesses that we are not consumed, 23 Because His [tender] compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; Great and beyond measure is Your faithfulness.”

Again, it’s about choices. It’s about choosing to do what I know is right and healthy to do. Not just healthy physically, but healthy spiritually. My body needs physical food, but more than anything, it needs the spiritual food of the Word of God. “He humbled you and allowed you to be hungry and fed you with manna, [a substance] which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, so that He might make you understand [by personal experience] that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord.” Deuteronomy 8:3. For a few weeks, I was getting up early and having wonderful times with the Lord. But, like everything else, I quit doing it. I’m so frustrated with myself right now, because I still choose to keep my flesh a priority above the things I know my spirit needs. I NEED HIM. My flesh needs to have its way. I just heard the scripture “If it is unacceptable in your sight to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you live; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15. In my case, my gods are food, T.V. and my flesh. “For where your treasure is, there your heart [your wishes, your desires; that on which your life centers] will be also.” Matthew 6:21 (underline mine)

Where is my heart? It is in my choices. I thank God that He doesn’t see my faults, sins and shortcomings when He looks at me. He sees Jesus. He sees the Blood of my Savior that was shed on that cross. He sees me, as the Mercy Me song says, as flawless. I need to repeat this. I need to learn this. And I need to remember I’m forgiven. I need to forgive myself for messing up. And just like past blogs have said, I need to put my focus on Jesus. I need to leave the past in the past. That’s where it belongs. Yes, I haven’t followed through, but tomorrow is a new day. And when I wake up, He will be there.

And, He’s still waking me up in the morning. He’s still longing to fellowship with me. It’s His heart’s desire, and it needs to be mine. He loves me as much as He loves Jesus. As Jesus prayed in the garden before His death, He prayed these words in  John 17:20-23: 20 “I do not pray for these (the disciples) alone [it is not for their sake only that I make this request], but also for [all] those who [will ever] believe and trust in Me through their message, 21 that they all may be one; just as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be one in Us, so that the world may believe [without any doubt] that You sent Me. I have given to them the glory and honor which You have given Me, that they may be one, just as We are one; 23 I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected and completed into one, so that the world may know [without any doubt] that You sent Me, and [that You] have loved them, just as You have loved Me.” (comment about the disciples and underline was my addition).

Each day, I have to make that choice. It has to be one or the other. I will either live by the Spirit or I will live by my flesh. One leads to life, the other, certain death. When will enough be enough?

In Rememberance….

As I have watched/read the news in the past several days, I’m astounded at the evil that is rampant in this country and the world. My heart is heavy for the four Marines killed. My heart is heavy for their families and friends who won’t see them again on this side of Heaven. My heart aches for the children they will never see grow up, graduate and marry. Sons, daughters and wives who will never again hear “I love you.” I can’t wrap my mind or my heart around this type of loss, sadness and pain. I cannot fathom the evil that entangled this kid in its clutches and enabled him to take the lives of these brave men.

It’s times like this, I long for Jesus to return. I long for Him to step out of Heaven and say those words I’ve been yearning to hear: “Come up here.” I know that’s selfish, because there are so many lost ones in this world who need Jesus. There are so many who don’t know His Love, and there are so many who haven’t accepted His precious gift of salvation. The selfish part of me wants to go home. However, my spirit longs to take as many as I can to Heaven with me. My spirit longs to save them all.

I still struggle with getting up in the mornings to spend time with my Father. I know the time of His return is close. So close, in fact, I’m feeling it stronger and stronger with each passing day. And the time we have left to minister to as many as we can, is short. I’m ready to go, but there are so many who aren’t; so many who need Him. Or should I say too many. In the past, I have often said I don’t know how God doesn’t just wipe us all out and be done with it. But praise His name, He doesn’t. No matter what a person does, God loves them. He loves them but hates their sin. I need to see everyone through His eyes. I have a hard time looking beyond the evil people do, to the lost soul buried beneath. Every person has a story, and only God can know a person’s heart. He is the only Judge. We just have to pray, love and follow His lead and example. Jesus said He didn’t come for those who were well. He came for the sick; He came for the lost. “And when Jesus heard it, He said to them, ‘Those who are strong and well have no need of a physician, but those who are weak and sick; I came not to call the righteous ones to repentance, but sinners (the erring ones and all those not free from sin).'” Mark 2:17. I see so many people every day, and I find myself wondering, “Do they know Jesus? Do they REALLY know Him?” I wonder, “Are they saved?”

So often, I have allowed fear to keep me from telling everyone I meet about the Love of Jesus. People who know me, know I’m a Christian. But those who don’t couldn’t possibly know, because we’ve met in passing or in a grocery line. I am asking God for open doors to tell of His Love and forgiveness. I am asking Him to open doors to talk about my Jesus and the courage to do so. No fear. No fear. NO FEAR!!! It comes back around to Love again. I John 4:18 says, “There is no fear in love [dread does not exist], but full-grown (complete, perfect) love turns fear out of doors and expels every trace of terror! For fear brings with it the thought of punishment, and [so] he who is afraid has not reached the full maturity of love [is not yet grown into love’s complete perfection].” There you go…where God’s perfect Love is, fear cannot be.

 

My Heavenly Eavesdropper

I love it when God eavesdrops on my life and my conversations. In this case, He was eavesdropping on my journal entry last night. By eavesdropping, I mean if I’m talking to someone about something either going on in my life, or when I’m having a conversation about Him, if there is a question I need answered or struggle I’m having, He hears. And without fail, He answers. Most of the time, He will answer through a teaching I’m watching or listening to. Other times, it’s the still small voice of Holy Spirit and of course, His Word.

Today was no exception. I planned to listen to Pandora all day, but I felt I needed to go to KCM.org. I LOVE the Copelands. Brother Kenneth and Mrs. Gloria have blessed my life in so many ways, and many times when I’ve needed a Word from Heaven, I’ve gotten it from their teaching. This week, Miss Billye Brim is the guest on BVOV, and so many of the things I’ve struggled with in the past, I don’t know, 15 years, were answered. I exaggerate, but it has been a long struggle. I say God was eavesdropping, because two things I had talked about in my post yesterday were mentioned today: Love and the Word. She talked about putting the Word of God first, because you can’t renew your mind without it: “Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you].” Romans 12:2. You can’t live a life of faith without it. You can’t please God without it: “But without faith it is impossible to please and be satisfactory to Him. For whoever would come near to God must [necessarily] believe that God exists and that He is the rewarder of those who earnestly and diligently seek Him [out].” Hebrews 11:6. She also mentioned a young man who struggled with alcoholism. He got saved, but he could not seem to break the hold alcohol had on him. As I do in my struggles with food and T.V. addictions, he felt like an utter failure, and he even questioned his salvation. So many times I have done that very thing. I felt I couldn’t possibly be saved, because I was continually giving into my flesh, which is carnal: “[That is] because the mind of the flesh [with its carnal thoughts and purposes] is hostile to God, for it does not submit itself to God’s Law; indeed it cannot.” Romans 8:7. But she said the reason his struggle was so great, was because he hadn’t renewed his mind. He hadn’t strengthened his spirit with the Word of God, and he couldn’t overcome. Just like me, his spirit was starving for God’s food – the Word. She explained that it’s not enough to just read it. Meditate on it; DO what it says: 22 But be doers of the Word [obey the message], and not merely listeners to it, betraying yourselves [into deception by reasoning contrary to the Truth]. 23 “For if anyone only listens to the Word without obeying it and being a doer of it, he is like a man who looks carefully at his [own] natural face in a mirror; 24 For he thoughtfully observes himself, and then goes off and promptly forgets what he was like. 25 But he who looks carefully into the faultless law, the [law] of liberty, and is faithful to it and perseveres in looking into it, being not a heedless listener who forgets but an active doer [who obeys], he shall be blessed in his doing (his life of obedience).” James 1:22-25. I also love Joshua 1:8 that says, “This Book of the Law shall not depart out of your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, that you may observe and do according to all that is written in it. For then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall deal wisely and have good success.” For many years, I have heard how important the Word is, but I’ve never really taken it to heart. I don’t know why, but it’s never been a reality to me. But the Bible clearly says that Jesus is the Word: “In the beginning [before all time] was the Word (Christ), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God Himself.” John 1:1. He is alive and the Word is alive: “For the Word that God speaks is alive and full of power [making it active, operative, energizing, and effective]; it is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating to the dividing line of the breath of life (soul) and [the immortal] spirit, and of joints and marrow [of the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and sifting and analyzing and judging the very thoughts and purposes of the heart.” The Word. The Word. The Word. I will not change as long as my Bible stays closed on my coffee table. It will not be allowed to change me, if I don’t put it first in my life. Again – CHOICES. Again, I will always make time for what’s important to me. *sigh*

She also talked about walking in Love, which is huge for me. She said “When God finds faith in a person’s heart – faith working through Love – then God will do anything he or she asks.” It goes back to the Word, because Romans 10:17 says, “So faith comes by hearing [what is told], and what is heard comes by the preaching [of the message that came from the lips] of Christ (the Messiah Himself).” It’s the lesson God is determined I am to learn. I don’t want to keep circling this mountain. I’ve been doing it for so long, I feel like I’m a participant in the Caucus race from “Alice in Wonderland”, except I don’t win. I just run around in no particular direction, and I will continue to do so until I learn said lesson. This is not the best life God has and wants for me. I am going to be listening to this again, because it was so good, I want to glean all I can from it. She will be there next week as well, and I am looking forward to that.

We are in the last of the last days. Jesus is coming very, very soon, and I don’t want to get to Heaven by the skin of my teeth. I want to get there and run straight into the arms of Jesus. The Bible says that when we stand before Him, Jesus will either say, “Well done My good and faithful servant” or “depart from Me.” I ask myself often, “could Jesus truly say to me, ‘well done’?” I want nothing more than for that to be so. I want to fall in His arms and hear Him whisper “I love you, My daughter. Welcome Home.”

PROcrastination

I’m a firm believer in what you say is what you get. That being said, I obviously need to start repeating daily “I’m NOT a procrastinator”. In my first post since January, I committed to try to post every day, starting Saturday morning (yesterday). It’s now 7:05 on Sunday evening, and I’m just now doing it. I wasn’t too busy. I did what I have done really well for several years: I put it off. I reasoned with myself that I would absolutely get to it later. Turns out, I should have been more specific on what “later” actually meant. 

My commitment to journal isn’t the extent of my “put-it-off-idness”. I put off doing anything that’s good for me: reading the Word, praying, exercising (both physically and self-control). However, there are two things that I am really good at. Two things I have mastered in the 40 years I’ve walked the earth: eating and watching T.V. Sad, but true. They are idols in my life, because they are what I like to do best. Correction. They are what my FLESH likes to do best. Romans 8:13 says, “For if you live according to [the dictates of] the flesh, you will surely die. But if through the power of the [Holy] Spirit you are [habitually] putting to death (making extinct, deadening) the [evil] deeds prompted by the body, you shall [really and genuinely] live forever.” (All scriptures are Amplified unless otherwise noted). This needs to become a reality. The Word goes on to say in verse 14, “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.”

Matthew 6:33 says, “But seek (aim at and strive after) first of all His kingdom and His righteousness (His way of doing and being right), and then all these things taken together will be given you besides.” It’s all about priorities. I make time for what means the most to me. “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Luke 12:34. Truth be told, there are three idols in my life. I am the third. I have put myself above God and His desires. My actions have told Him day after day, as I go about my business, His desire to spend time with me isn’t important. I have spent so many years feeding my flesh and giving it whatever it wants, I feel almost numb to the things of God. I love Him, but I’m not IN LOVE with Him. There is no relationship or fellowship, but it’s not for lack of effort or desire on His part. I once read something that stated “if you treated your spouse like you treat the Lord, what would happen?” I can tell you. I wouldn’t have a spouse. I can’t imagine if Jason spent all of his time doing other things day in and day out instead of spending time with me. And vice versa. Being virtually ignored most of the day would not go over well at all with anyone, and yet, I take God for granted every. single. day. I think, He’ll forgive me, because He Loves me. Selfishness personified.

A while back, I asked the Lord to show me the root of why I do (and don’t do) things the way I do (and don’t do). His answer was clear. Love. I don’t truly KNOW God loves me. I don’t trust in His Love for me. It’s Agape – unconditional. I can’t earn it. I can’t deserve it, and I don’t have to. I know these things in my head, but my heart hasn’t grasped it. I should be diving into the Word with more tenacity than I dive into T.V. or a bowl of ice cream. I should be looking up scriptures on His Love for me. Understanding how He feels about me – how He sees me – should be the most important journey in my life right now. It boils down to one thing: choice. I CHOOSE to stay in bed every morning (even though I know He’s waking me up ahead of time), instead of getting up and getting my Bible out. I choose to sleep in instead of answering when He whispers for me to come to Him. Most of the time, I have to force myself to go back to sleep! I have NO excuse for not getting up and going to Him. I also choose to turn on the T.V. instead of listening to a sermon or teaching that would feed my spirit. I choose. I choose everything except Him. Things in my life will never change or get better as long as I continue down this path. He wants nothing more than the best life for me, and I find myself thinking there has to be more to life than this. I am overweight, because my spirit is starving. Literally. My choices have put me here. My choices have kept me here.

I am very good at verbally jumping in with both feet. The problem is, both feet usually end up in my mouth, because 9 times out of 10, I don’t follow through. I need to do what I say I will do. Period. When the Lord wakes me up in the morning (it’s usually 4 something), I want to leap out of bed and run to Him. He’s waiting. He’s always waiting. He Loves me. He always has. He created me to spend time with Him. He created me, BECAUSE He Loves me. He chose me. He called me. My goodness….

A very dear lady in my life told me a while back I need to search the Word for scriptures of Love. I have yet to do this. It was months ago. So much could have changed by now, had I done what I knew I should do. I CHOSE not to. I chose to keep putting it off. I tell myself every time I hear the whisper of the Father to come to Him, “I’ll sleep now, but I’ll spend time later. I’ll make sure I make time for Him later today.” Make time for HIM? Really?? How arrogant! How selfish!

Step 1: Find at least 1 Love scripture a week (unless the Lord recommends more). Memorize it. Write it down. Post it throughout the house, in my car, at work. Speak it out loud all day. “Therefore you shall lay up these My words in your [minds and] hearts and in your [entire] being, and bind them for a sign upon your hands and as forehead bands between your eyes.” Deuteronomy 11:18.

As I sit here thinking of all the times I have brushed God aside, the enemy is in my ear “It’s too late. He has given up on you. He doesn’t want you anymore.” I have news for the enemy. IT IS WRITTEN: “Be strong, courageous, and firm; fear not nor be in terror before them, for it is the Lord your God Who goes with you; He will not fail you or forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6. IT IS WRITTEN: “Have not I commanded you? Be strong, vigorous, and very courageous. Be not afraid, neither be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 IT IS WRITTEN (one of my favorites): “for He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you)! [Assuredly not!] So we take comfort and are encouraged and confidently and boldly say, The Lord is my Helper; I will not be seized with alarm [I will not fear or dread or be terrified]. What can man do to me?” Hebrews 13:5b-6.

Father, I ask You now, please forgive me for not making You THE Priority in my life. Forgive me for putting myself and my fleshly desires above You. Thank You for not giving up on me, and I ask You to continue to awaken me each morning. Thank You for Loving me in spite of me. Thank You for Your Word. Most of all, thank You for Jesus; He’s the reason for everything. I receive Your forgiveness now, and I thank You. Holy Spirit, please give me the scriptures You would have me see and know. Thank You that I have ears to hear, eyes to see and a heart that understands. Thank You, Father, for showing me what true Love is. Thank You for walking beside me in my journey of falling in Love with You. Thank You for continuing to speak to my heart, and I look forward to the many conversations to come. In Jesus’ mighty, holy, awesome and wonderful name I pray. AMEN AND AMEN!