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You Are Right Where You Are Supposed To Be~

“And this is my prayer; that your love may abound more, and more in knowledge and depth of insight”  Philippians 1:9

As I drove through my neighborhood gazing in awe of the yellow and red leaves of the tree-lined streets I saw 6 deer on the other side of the mountain standing majestic and still. As I slowed my car down to a halt, the mother deer turned her head slowly and stopped eating to stare at me. My heart melted and I heard God’s inner voice telling me “You asked for this, and it was given.”

You see years before, I had dreamed of the house I have now on a street such as this; with a neighborhood similar to the one I live in now. I had pictures. I had dreams. I had hope. But the road to this place was treacherous and often times more heartbreaking than I want to remember. Yet through it all, I kept praying to a God who I know wholeheartedly loves me.

I see my past and at the time I just barely made it from day-to-day. My dreams were far away, but my sadness I wore like a bandage; every now and then it would peel back and the wound would be raw, hurt,  burn my heart and I felt like it would never heal. Then the next day came and I would try to be happy again. The main thing I kept praying for was to help me move forward. Each day I grew a little stronger, a little braver, a little more confident for tomorrow.

I believe God takes us on a journey of our life and leads us right where we should be if we follow him. It’s hard to accept this if you are suffering through an unbearable time right now in this season of your life. My heart breaks for you if you are in this place, and I pray you have brighter, more hopeful days ahead and that you find joy again.

I drive down my street and think of all the hard times that brought me right here to this place, and as I watched the deer watching me, tears stream down my face and I feel God telling me there’s lot of work to be done in the lives of many people. If I can be any help, I ask Him to use me as an example.

If you are in a wonderful season of your life, can you take the time to help someone else during this holiday season?

If you are having a hard time in your life right now, can you be brave and reach out to someone you love and trust to help comfort you?

In my devotional today Joyce Meyer’s book “Wake up To The Word” she says “If you’ll turn the construction of your life over to God, He’ll build something beautiful.”

I pray He builds something beautiful for you this Christmas season……

 

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Words of Thanksgiving

PASSIONATE

HOPE GIVING

TENDER

RELATABLE

CARING

These were the words given to me by each member of my small group as I stood on stage last week to receive my certificate at the Leverage Conference. We had spent 4 exciting, scary, anxious days in class working on our speaking testimonies to hone our personal skills and gifts so we could go out in the world and spread our message of hope.

The journey I have been on this year has been filled with excitement, fear, joy, tears, patience, and the unknown as I follow with gratefulness in all God has in store for me now and in the coming years.

So as I look forward to this special day of Thanksgiving, I can truly say that I am filled with more happiness and peace because my path is becoming clear. I will spend tomorrow being grateful for all the friends, family and future that God has put in my path. I will take the time to really sit in the presence of all that is good and relax knowing that all I have to do is enjoy today.

I am grateful for the future generation of my family, my sweet baby grandson on his way so the testimony of healing families will continue on. I am eager to see what next year looks like with our expanding family.

I pray that all of you have a day filled with joy, restoration, beauty, fun and laughter as all families should. And as you sit around the table with good food, loving conversation,  and lots of laughter, make sure to remember to spread good words around to each other. They will mean more than you know to the person receiving them, and it will stick like a post it note in the memory of their heart forever.

I am forever grateful to all of you for taking the time to read what’s on my heart week after week, and I look forward to lots more content in the months to come.

Have a beautiful blessed Thanksgiving!

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Age is just a number….

Last night we celebrated my Dad’s 92nd birthday with a quiet dinner of beef stew, laughs, and cute stories. It’s hard to believe my Dad has lived this long. I cherish every moment with him because he wasn’t in my life for most of my childhood. Divorce, secrets, and many other obstacles got in our way and I saw my father about every few months when he could come get us for visitation.

Our story is layered like a chocolate trifle; many different flavors and textures and I will go into more detail when my book is completed (stay posted for more on this!), but for this moment I took a really long look at my Dad last night. The way he moved (a bit slower and more deliberate), how his hands were long and slender but for his pinky finger which was permanently twisted by towards his palm (years of truck driving had his fingers crimped), his beautiful face; a bit weathered but still looking 20 years younger than he actually was. He is sharp as a tack when remembering stories or places and enjoys a good laugh. Oh….and he still loves to see a pretty blonde haired women!! I still shake my head at that one, because he married a dark-haired, dark-eyed Portuguese woman!

In a time when society is so scared of aging and we have every potion and lotion and injection to try to stay young (I will admit I have been subjected to some of these), there is something sweet about the words and heart of someone who has lived a whole varied life and has something to say about it all.

My father was there for me during my rough teen years and while he will tell me “I did the best I could” I remember a dad who loved me fiercely during a time when I was full-blown in rebellion. He showed a comfort I never got from my mom, and he never gave up on me. It’s hard to believe he was abandoned as a baby, and could pour out a love he wasn’t used to.  I think I get my calmness from my father; we can survey a situation and then make a decision. We are even-tempered to a point, but we can  bust out in anger if someone messes  with us or our loved ones. Dad also has a great sense about people; another quality I recently realized I got from him. He can sit a watch a person and analyze them to see if they are honest, and have good intentions.

The next time you are with someone who is older than you, take the time to really listen to their story(s) and learn from their journey. They have important things to say and they have walked before you and can help you make good decisions in your own life. I am so grateful that God has given me this special time with my own father so I can learn as much as I can before that time runs out. He has lots of life to still give to me and I’m soaking it all in!

Who is that special person in your life that you go to for wisdom or advice?

 

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Moving Past your “Past”…

I have encountered recently and talked to a few people who have experienced this same thing.

You see someone from your younger days and they want to reminisce about the past, but it always ends up being about something you did wrong, illegal or that you are ashamed of. They know you are living a better life in Christ now; that you have moved on to the next chapter of your life and yet they want to bring you back to the place of pain and I often wonder why.

Is it because they really loved the “good ol’ days” or that they can’t get past them? Sometimes people who were once young grow up and really haven’t learned to embrace the new chapters in their life, or maybe are still in the same habits and bad behaviors they had as a young adult. We all have funny moments of dumb things we have done, and can laugh about, but when we try to talk about what we are doing now, somehow these people don’t want to hear it. I think it is easier for them to bring you back down to where they are than to try to do a new thing and rise up and be better.

My heart breaks when I see people still stuck in the past, openly making bad decisions and not wanting to change it. But when it becomes a problem is when they go to the friend that IS changing and making better decisions and they are jealous or angry. They don’t want that person to move on and be at top of their game.

I recently talked to a woman who used to be in a street gang. Her story is brutal and she recently turned her life over to Christ and started walking a different path. She is attending college and where she once thought she wasn’t smart enough, she is now at the top of her class! But someone from her past came around and tried to bring her back down. My response to her was this; when the thought come in your mind, “I used to be”…replace it with the words “I now am!”  We are new creations in Christ. It doesn’t mean we don’t have that ugly past, but we don’t have to stay there either.

My testimony when I speak is all about my past, but it is a story of renewal and hope and a second  (or third)  chance at life. I surround myself with people who lift me up and support me now.  People who believe I can be better and give me hope and pray for me in my gifting.  I don’t hang out with people who only want to find fault in everything I do or remind me of what a failure I was or am.

There is a way to visit your past without living in it. Don’t get stuck there! There is a whole different life waiting for you. God makes you new each day. Embrace the future. Ask Him to show you the pathway to it. He has great plans for you.

What kind of friends do you surround yourself with? How can you pray for those friends today to help them in their future?