Faith Journey

What I am and Why God Version

What I am and Why God Version

What I am and Why God Version

It is so easy to accept and own a person’s free-will version of themselves.  The bad stuff is always easier to believe.  What is difficult for most people is the Truth, as believers as to what the Lord says about us in His Word.  So, after yesterday, here is the Truth about What I am and Why God Version.

I believe I am going to do these verses in the Message.  Now, that is not my favorite version BUT it does say things in plain English and you certainly don’t question the meaning.  Other versions can be harder to understand (for me).  This list was compiled by Ben Malcolmson.

Beloved

“met God out looking for them!” God told them, “I’ve never quit loving you and never will. Expect love, love, and more love!” Jeremiah 31:3

A Child of God

“What marvelous love the Father has extended to us! Just look at it – we’re called children of God! That’s who we really are. But that’s also why the world doesn’t recognize us or take us seriously, because it has no idea who he is or what he’s up to.” 1 John 3:1

Delighted In

“Your God is present among you, a strong Warrior there to save you. Happy to have you back, he’ll calm you with his love and delight you with his songs.” Zephaniah 3:17

Forgiven

“He used his servant body to carry our sins to the Cross so we could be rid of sin, free to live the right way. His wounds became your healing.” 1 Peter 2:24

Washed Clean

“Come. Sit down. Let’s argue this out.” This is God’s Message: “If your sins are blood-red, they’ll be snow-white. If they’re red like crimson, they’ll be like wool.”  Isaiah 1:18

Free

“Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you.”  Galatians 5:1

A Temple of the Holy Spirit

“Or didn’t you realize that your body is a sacred place, the place of the Holy Spirit? Don’t you see that you can’t live however you please, squandering what God paid such a high price for? The physical part of you is not some piece of property belonging to the spiritual part of you.” 1 Corinthians 6:19

Adopted into God’s Family

“This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?” Romans 8:15

Co-Heir with Christ

“And we know we are going to get what’s coming to us – an unbelievable inheritance! We go through exactly what Christ goes through. If we go through the hard times with him, then we’re certainly going to go through the good times with him!” Romans 8:17

Righteous

“How? you say. In Christ. God put the wrong on him who never did anything wrong, so we could be put right with God.” 2 Corinthians 5:21

New

“Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons! Look at it!”  2 Corinthians 5:17

A Saint

” A number of you know from experience what I’m talking about, for not so long ago you were on that list. Since then, you’ve been cleaned up and given a fresh start by Jesus, our Master, our Messiah, and by our God present in us, the Spirit. 1 Corinthians 6:11

Set Apart

“But you are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God’s instruments to do his work and speak out for him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you -” 1 Peter 2:9

An Ambassador of Christ

“We’re Christ’s representatives. God uses us to persuade men and women to drop their differences and enter into God’s work of making things right between them. We’re speaking for Christ himself now: Become friends with God; he’s already a friend with you.”  2 Corinthians 5:20

A Co-Laborer

“What makes them worth doing is the God we are serving. You happen to be God’s field in which we are working.” 1 Corinthians 3:9

A Sweet Aroma

“Because of Christ, we give off a sweet scent rising to God, which is recognized by those on the way of salvation – an aroma redolent with life.”  2 Corinthians 2:15

Never Alone

“God is striding ahead of you. He’s right there with you. He won’t let you down; he won’t leave you. Don’t be intimidated. Don’t worry.” Deuteronomy 31:8

A Masterpiece

“No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing.”  Ephesians 2:10

Wonderfully Made

“thank you, High God – you’re breathtaking! Body and soul, I am marvelously made! I worship in adoration – what a creation!” Psalm 139:14

Bold

“With that kind of hope to excite us, nothing holds us back.” 2 Corinthians 3:12

Having Guaranteed Victory

“You protect me with salvation-armor; you hold me up with a firm hand, caress me with your gentle ways.”  Psalm 18:35

Holding a Secure Future

“I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out – plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.”  Jeremiah 29:11

Whole in Christ

“When you come to him, that fullness comes together for you, too. His power extends over everything.”  Colossians 2:10

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Faith Journey

Through the Fire

Through the Fire

I heard this song, Through the Fire, at church for the first time.  Oh, my word…this speaks to me on so many levels, I cannot even articulate.  Our sermon, Sunday, was on John 9:1-7.  I have read this a thousand and forty-five times.  From this perspective, however, I have never heard it.

It is about the man, born blind, and the disciples ask what sin he did (in utero) or his parents did to cause his blindness.  God allowed his blindness.  In verse 3 He says “Jesus answered, neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him.”

Wow

That is a verse that may be tattooed on my person.  It struck me in a way that gave me a sense of peace about Hunter.  Did he sin in utero?  Well, we are born sinners, but I don’t think that is what caused his condition.  Did his parents sin?  That’d be a giant heck yes.  Yet, we have to think that the sins of the father come down on the children in the Old Testament, not the New.  Again, different.

Maybe, Just Maybe

I should lean back on that verse and think that he has this condition because God allowed it so that the “works of God” could be revealed in him.  I think that is what I will cling to right now because A) I can.  B) I want to C) who is going to tell me different?

Through the Fire Lyrics

So many times I’ve questioned certain circumstances
Or things I could not understand
Many times in trials, weakness blurs my vision
And my frustration gets so out of hand

I am Reminded

Its then I am reminded I’ve never been forsaken
I’ve never had to stand the test alone
As I look at all the victories
The spirit rises up in me
And its through the fire my weakness is made strong

He Never Promised

He never promised that the cross would not get heavy
And the hill would not be hard to climb
He never offered our victories without fighting

What He Did Say

But He said help would always come in time
Just remember when your standing in the valley of decision
And the adversary says give in
Just hold on, our Lord will show up
And He will take you through the fire again

Within Myself

I know within myself that I would surely perish
But if I trust the hand of God, He’ll shield the flames again, again
He never promised that the cross would not get heavy
And the hill would not be hard to climb
He never offered our victories without fighting
But He said help would always come in time
Just remember when your standing in the valley of decision
And the adversary says give in
Just hold on, our Lord will show up
And He will take you through the fire again
Gerald Crabb. © 1999 Lehsem Songs

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Whatever it Takes, Do It

Whatever it Takes, Do It

Whatever it Takes, Do It

 

Whatever it takes to keep your peace intact…do that.  I am serious.  As hard as it can be Whatever it Takes, Do It.  Peace, according to Webster’s Dictionary means “a state of tranquility or quiet or freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions.”

These two things walk hand in hand for me.  A state of tranquility and freedom from oppressive thoughts or emotions.  The last SEVERAL years have been riddled with chaos, pain, confusion, sadness, and intense oppressive thoughts and emotions.

Scripture

My Scripture reading, for today, was in Philippians 4:8 and it states “And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”

Whatever it takes, do it.  Whatever it takes to fix your thoughts on what is true. The definition is “freedom from oppressive thoughts or emotions.”  When our thoughts are on the things of this Earth, they can easily become oppressive.  Yet, God wants us to have freedom in our thoughts.

You can have freedom from your thoughts by capturing those negative emotions and casting them aside and realizing what is truth.  Truth according to the Lord.  This can be hard to do, but it can be done.

Honorable

What is honorable.  So, whatever it takes to be honorable, do it.  Be a person that is that city on a hill, be the salt and light of the world.  When you are in that spot of depression that yields a lack of peace, it consumes all of you.

I almost feel like I am in a barrel and there are times when I cannot even see a pinpoint of light.  The last 2 years have been horrible.  I have no peace.  Well, I am getting it back, but it was gone, like the wind.  I did not do whatever it takes for peace.  It’s almost like I succumbed to the chaos around me.

There was no honor in anything I did because all I did was put down myself and live in self-pity.  There was no self-care, self-acceptance, or self-love.  I let the actions of others dictate how I looked at myself.

What is Right and Pure

Nothing I did was right or pure.  It was derogatory towards myself and my circumstances.  I let a few people control my mind.  Satan used “friends” to destroy my self-confidence.  I’m so thankful the Lord allowed my vision to clear up.

By Him doing that, it allowed me to see people for who they really are.  These are the people that I had to step away from, for my own sanity.  I could not have done what I did without the encouragement of my husband.

He sees me, daily, and he sees through me.  He sees my pain and offers love, support, and occasionally a thought that would lead me to fix the problem.  I am blessed with him, my mom, and my sisters.  Without support, I may not be working towards healing.

Whatever it Takes, Do It

I had to do the unthinkable to begin my peace journey.  There were minor things that I changed, like being off of Facebook.  Facebook is toxic.  It can be a pleasurable space to keep up with family if you can change some settings.

I shut everything down.  There was no one, outside of my friend’s list, that had access to anything.  I deleted all my albums and began a new email address to keep those unsavory wolves in sheep’s clothing away from me.

That is minor compared to the other things I have had to do and am currently doing.  My goal is to achieve peace and retain what joy I have left.  It can be done though it has been the hardest thing of my life.

In The End

Be done.

Not mad, not bothered.

Be done.

Protect your peace at all cost.

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Day 3 of Retesting Hunter

Day 3 of Retesting Hunter

Day 3 of Retesting Hunter

Here is a recap of Day 3 of Retesting Hunter.  As you might remember from yesterday’s post, lots of stuff happened. So many delays, a co-vid scare, and a tick on his penis are the highlights.  Mix in being hungry, exhausted, and frustrated and there you have our first (and only) 2-day stay at the hospital.  Let’s talk OMS, shall we?

Opsoclonus Myoclonus Syndrome (OMS) is difficult to diagnose.  It is easier when a child has a paraneoplastic type or a neuroblastoma.  Yet, being idiopathic is just a shot in the dark.  Sadly, Vanderbilt has not really done us well, in our opinion.

Is it God Speaking?

The 1-day screw-up or the 2-day delay…was that God saying “stay home?”  Nah, God hasn’t spoken to me in a while (in my opinion, not His).  I press on, determined to get an answer with one of my many phone calls or messages.

We get there and most goes smoothly.  Get to our room and things start falling into place.  Nurses come in and do their thing.  We get the IV going, tests begin running, questions being asked.  You know, all the things.  The co-vid test was a NIGHTMARE, but we got it done.

Is He Speaking Louder?

At 5 am, the neuro walks in to inform me that Hunter tested positive for co-vid.  I told her that it had to be wrong because we have been nowhere.  He has no symptoms.  She said that it was positive and that we were being transferred to the co-vid unit.

Excellent.

They decided to retest him at 530 am.  Fun, I know.  Regardless of the outcome of that test, the aliens came in and whisked him down to the “red-headed stepchild” ward.  I kid you not, that’s what people call it.

My mom called and said, “Brandi, can’t you just go home?”  I told her no because we need these tests.  That was my third warning and our second positive test.

In the Meantime

My family, back at home, are getting tested right and left.  It’s a lot of people to get tested.  Yet, once it was all said and done, everyone tested negative.  It wasn’t surprising and I still questioned whether or not that the test was accurate.

Yet, we had an attentive resident who seemed to “see” me.  We had a wonderful nurse who put Hunter at ease in every aspect.  I decided that I would ignore all the warnings and second-guessing myself and we pressed on again.

Final Say

Well, He didn’t just give me signs, feelings, phone calls, and such.  This time, He just said, “leave.”  The powers that be came in and said that there was nothing that they could do for 20 days.  We should just go on home and come back.

That was loud and clear.

On Our Way Home

As I turned down the road to home, it began to pour down rain.  My boy woke from a nap, it began to storm and the rays of the sun were shining down.  I prayed for the Lord to give me a sign that all will be okay.  I looked in my mirror and saw a HUGE double rainbow.  It was glorious.

I had Hunter turn around and I told him the story of Noah and the ark.  Hunter informed me that he knew all about the ark and the flood.  We talked of salvation, the Holy Spirit, God’s promises, and such.

We turned on some praise and worship.  Hunter was raising his hands and singing so loudly to each song. It warms my heart to know that he has been through so much and he still praises Jesus.  I felt peace and warmth blow through my body.

BTW:  Hunter and I tested on the 3rd and we are CO-VID FREE!

Maybe, God is moving.

Day 3 of Retesting Hunter Day 3 of Retesting Hunter

Day 3 of Retesting Hunter

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Letting Yourself Be Seen

Letting Yourself Be Seen

Letting Yourself Be Seen

Today, I am going to let myself be seen. Today, I am going to declare that I am enough. For so long, I have struggled with conformity friendships. I desire to conform but when I do, it is not me. I lose myself in that moment and I realize that I am doing this to fit in.

Sisters, you are not created to fit in. You are created to be salt and light. You are created to be a city on a hill and not a face in the crowd. I was not only a face in the crowd, I had customized masks to wear for each crowd I was in.

God Speaking

I learned at a very young age, that I was not like other people. I thought differently, acted differently, and believed differently then my schoolmates, roommates, boyfriends, siblings, and parents.

At the age of 10, I remember standing in the driveway of my grandparents house declaring that, one day, I would adopt from Ethiopia. How I even knew where that place was is still a mystery. I wanted to adopt and I wanted to adopt an older Ethiopian boy because that is the child that no one wanted.

Storing Up His Promises

I kept that stored in my heart, never releasing it because my family struggled with racism. I was informed, at one point, that I could either choose my black children or choose my father. I thanked my father for the love and protection he had given me, kissed him in the cheek, and then I told him I would choose my children.

Do you have any idea how hard that was for me? People pleasing me.

Judgement of Others

The people that no one want to be around are the people I am drawn too. I have been told to be careful who I associate with because it could call my faith and salvation into question. I have also been told because I’m loud that I cannot be submissive to my husband. I have been told that I am not worthy to stand in front of people because no one wants to hear what I have to say because my hair is pink and I have tattoos. I have been judged on my children acting like children and had horrible things said to me in regards to them. Things have been said that I still struggle to forgive the words and the people who said it.

My Lady

My best friend was 79 when we met. She was my Lady. That’s what I called her. It started out as mentor, then moved to friendship, next, it moved to me being her caregiver, then a closeness that I cannot explain, and then I had to give her to Jesus. One of the hardest things I’ve ever done. My Lady saw me. She saw through the masks and the facades I tried to put on. She loved me without abandon and she treasured my family, though we are all different. She was my person.

That is What Everyone Needs

They need a Lady, a friend, a confidante who sees you and you see them.  It was beautiful, but short lived as she passed away.  I miss her.  Her telling me that my tattoos are stupid but she always wanted to look at them and touch them.  She would ring my neck if she knew her name was on my body.  I took Faith(ie), Hope, and Love to a whole nother level.  There is a cross (love), with a semi colon, doves (hope), and Faith(ie) because her name was Faithie.

I challenge you all to be you.  Love you.  Embrace your weirdness and never ever do you have to explain yourself.  Ever.  Let your yes mean yes and your no mean no and zero explanations.

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The Crimson Thread in Your Tapestry

The Crimson Thread in Your Tapestry

The Crimson Thread in Your Tapestry

The Crimson Thread in Your Tapestry

Over the course of the last several years, there has been a crimson thread that has interwoven into the beautiful tapestry that God has created for my life. That crimson thread has been the works of the evil one, who is so desperate to destroy my walk, my countenance, and to steal my joy. 1 Peter 5:8

A wise man told me in Sunday school, that HAPPINESS is based on circumstances but true JOY comes from the Lord and according to Psalm 30:5b….weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.

#WorldRocked

That statement rocked my little world. It is common practice for me to doodle in class or in church. It is not because I do not listen or I am bored. Quite the contrary. It is because I have to have something to do with my hands. I concentrate better when I’m moving my pen along a notebook. Weird, I know.

I’ve made quite the masterpieces in Sunday school and church. I was doodling, this particular morning and I will never forget when Mr. Benny Watkins said that statement. I stopped doodling, I sort of had a perplexed look on my face. I do not remember anything else about that lesson or about the sermon.

Happiness vs. Joy

I never understood happiness vs. Joy.

That statement made the answer crystal clear. We may not have happiness in this crimson thread but we are children of an amazing God and we CAN have joy in those crimson times.

“The Lord keeps you from all harm and watches over your life. The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go both now and forever.” Psalm 121:7-8

Even when you are at the darkes on that thread…He is watching over you, loving you, and protecting you. At that moment, it may seem like He has left you…He never moves….turn your head and there, you will find Him with open arms.

Jesus Spoke to Me

Jesus has been speaking to me about taking back what satan has stolen from me. He has stolen a lot and has tried to ruin my tapestry.  He has done this simply because he enjoys it.  Yet, with one drop of the Blood of Jesus, I can reclaim what was taken. I reclaimed so many things. I told Him that if he wanted me to write, I would write with no fear. If he wanted me to speak, I would speak with no fear. 

Here I am

Writing for the world to see, yet no one reads 🙂

My days have not been rainbows and sunshine. The crimson thread has nearly taken over my tapestry. 2015 brought about the continuation of a porn addiction that nearly broke up my marriage, the sudden death of a family member, the stroke of my best friend, and gaining custody of our 21 mth old great-nephew.

In 2016, my dad had a stroke and my Lady was still recovering. I was alternating my time between my family, my Lady, and my dad. Oh, and our continued fight for custody of our great-nephew.

My oldest daughter’s fiancé broke off their engagement and soon after she was let go from her job, our 3rd child’s volatile behavior hit its peak, and my niece was captured and placed in jail. So, one could say that those 2 years, alone, have pretty much-sucked pond water.

Depression

I felt alone, abandoned, hopeless, and depressed, very far from God and just numb. It has been difficult….I mean gut-wrenchingly difficult. My theme verse for this season of my life was Romans 4:18-21 (I am paraphrasing): Even when there was no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping—believing. And Abraham’s faith did not weaken. Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this, he brought glory to God. He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever he promises.

So, in my own private time and life………without uttering this theme to anyone, I held onto hope that, one day, I would have a rainbow. I know that my rainbow will come because the Lord says in Job 38:11 I said, ‘This far and no farther will you come. Here your proud waves must stop!”

Let the Oddities Begin

Then, in December of 2016, the strangest thing happened. The red thread had begun to overtake my tapestry.  We were in a transition of trying to find the right church for our family and we had been visiting one for a few months. We were at church and we were getting ready to worship. We knew the pastor and his wife, as well as, a few families. We really didn’t know anyone else. We had not been going very long, but it was definitely different than what we were used too.

Before service started, there was a welcome and then our pastor called up a man because he had a “word” to give some people in the congregation. We have learned that this is somewhat normal, but still very abnormal to our family…we simply were not used to that. So, we sat and we watched this man pace back and forth in front of the congregation.

People Watcher/Reader

I am a people watcher/reader and the thing that caught my eye was the fact that he never opened his eyes when he was pacing or talking. He kept touching the insides of his hands and you could tell that he was uncomfortable but being obedient.

He said that he had had this word from the Lord and he wanted to make sure that it was, indeed, from Him and not from this man’s flesh. He realized through his sleepless nights that this was from the Lord and he had to be obedient.

A Word from the Lord

He said that he had a word for someone in the congregation and so we sat, listened, and watched him pace. He made his way down the aisle that we were sitting on and he stopped in front of Big Daddy. I felt like all the oxygen had been sucked out of the room and my mind was whirling. He asked Big Daddy to stand up.

I looked up to the altar, where our pastor was standing, and he gave me a look, a nod, and a smile that it was okay. This man, whom we had never seen or met, told Big Daddy to hold onto his hand. Now, Big Daddy is not a tiny man and his hands are ginormous, so when he stands, he is noticed.

Hold On

This man said that the Lord was telling him to “Hold on. Hold on tight to the rope and do not let go. To trust and just hold on tight.” I felt an energy move through me and tears flowed freely, which I don’t usually cry or get swept up in my emotions, so this was strange to me. The moment was fleeting but the air was thick and I knew, in my soul, we were in for a ride.

We are Still Holding On

Come the beginning of 2017…..so many things happened. My daddy had quadruple bypass surgery, my niece (my youngest son’s mom) was sentenced to 10 yrs in prison, my nephew was close behind her, my daughter went to military school due to behavior, we were trying to get custody of another great-nephew.

My oldest daughter called off her engagement and was downsized at work, fighting with insurance companies for my son’s surgery that he needed, then my Lady got sick, again, I had surgery, my 6th son had surgery, stitches were had by kids…..then the straw that broke the camel’s back happened. Needless to say, we were reminded to “hold on” a lot over the course of the first 6 mths of 2017.

Custody

During the custody battle over my other great-nephew…Big Daddy and I were trying hard to win that case and it was simply out of our hands. We knew what we could do to help the situation…we were willing…but it was not our call. As I spoke to a friend of mine, asking for prayers, she said that the Lord revealed to her what I need to know. She said I needed to “hold onto hope.” She also said that the Hebrew meaning of “hope” is “rope”, so hold onto the rope.

I caught my breath and I texted her back and asked her who had told her that. She said no one and that it was a word from the Lord to me. I asked her if she knew the man that had said the same thing back in December and she did not know him. That is twice, the Lord has said to “hold on.” We lost custody of this little boy and I thought our ride was over…..we had held on but now our trials were over….now we could retreat and heal from the past couple of years.

Then the call came

My sister called me on Tuesday, June 6, 2017. Now, she rarely calls me on a Tuesday…we talk on Monday. I asked her if everything was okay and she said that she woke up to an odd text. She said it was from a friend, a former neighbor, that she used to walk with. That friend said that the Lord placed my name on her heart and that she was praying for me.

I have never met, spoken to, or even seen a picture of this woman. She simply knows me from what my sister had said and I’m sure I wasn’t the topic of every conversation…although I am awesome like that. I told my sister I did not like that and that meant that something was fixing to happen. My sister told me to take it as a blessing, but I was unsettled.

On June 6, 2017

I knew the meaning and the prophecy behind my theme verse and behind these people telling me to hold on tight to hope. I knew what was to come was going to rock our family to its core….and it did just that. I had spent the previous night in the hospital with my Lady…..the Drs had told me her time is near.

Preparing for the death of your mentor, your best friend, your Lady……there are no words for that. When I got home on the 7th, my son was acting strangely, crying, shaking, everything upset him, so we were really excited for naptime (or at least I was excited). He slept well and my oldest son got him up.

Typical Routine

We hugged and snuggled and then I put him on the floor and told him to go about 5 steps to the potty. He went 3 steps and fell….he began shaking violently and said his legs hurt. I picked him up, thinking his legs were asleep, so I held him even more and I rubbed his legs. I put him back down to go to the potty and he fell again.

I knew, then, something was wrong. I called my sister (his grandmother) and said meet me at the ER, the baby can’t walk. From there, we went to Vandy with no results…we got back home and I immediately packed and headed to Kosair’s.

Running on No Sleep

I had not slept since the 5th because I had been at the hospital around the clock with my Lady. Bart stayed home with the other children. Things progressed quickly. He had lost his ability to stand, talk, feed himself, sit up, walk…..all he did was shake from the top of his head down. His eyes were constantly moving, as well.

After a 2-week hospital stay, spinal, EKGs, and so many more tests….we got the diagnosis of Opsoclonus Myoclonus Syndrome. He has either had cancer and his body has so aggressively attacked cancer that now it is attacking his brain OR he will get cancer within the next 3 years and this is just a precursor. During this time, I had to learn to yield control. I had to graciously accept help and ask for help. It was just me and him up there most of the time.

Blessings of Others

I had strangers bringing me meals. I had family come up and sit with me. My sister *always* had her phone by her so I could sit and just cry. Friends and strangers fed my family at home, people gave us money for gas, we were on multiple prayer lists. I am still humbled by being on the receiving end instead of the giving end. Our journey is far from over. Since, we have done chemo, heavy steroids, and many doses of immunotherapy. He still struggles….every day is a different symptom. He has good days and bad days.

Hold On, God is Fixing to Start a New Color

Looking back in what I was seeing as hopeless….God was still telling me to hold onto hope….hold onto that rope of hope. Looking back, my husband was delivered and our marriage was saved, my best friend who had a stroke and was so sick finally went to see her Jesus, and she was restored, we adopted our 7th child right before Christmas in 2016, my father recovered from his stroke and his quadruple bypass, my niece is sober and safe in prison, our daughter who left due to her volatile behavior is figuring out life again, my oldest daughter is happily employed married, and with a baby, we won the insurance battle, and my 6th child will be able to hear (out of both ears) by Christmas, stitches were removed, surgeries healed from, and my baby, well, he is not in remission, but he is doing okay and we are learning how to navigate our new normal. God is good……….He is good all the time and all the time He is good. Job sums it up pretty well In chapter 42:5 I had only heard about you before, but now I have seen you with my eyes.

Eventually, I will write about 2018-2021…the roller coast has not ended but my tapestry will be beautiful when it is done.

He Knows

In Isaiah 30:19b it states that “He will be very gracious to you at the sound of your cry; when He hears it, He will answer you.”

He knows your heart, He hears your cries and as His children, He will answer you…but it may not be the answer that we want because we see a fraction of the picture…He sees from beginning to end.

Be comforted in knowing that “He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from the beginning to end.” Eccl. 3:11 He has written your story…He has it all in the palm of His mighty hands. Trust and obey every step of the way.

The Crimson Thread in Your Tapestry

We are STILL holding onto hope cause 2021 has been a rough one.

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Get Over It Speech by My Lady

Get Over It Speech by My Lady

Get Over It

I have struggled with depression my whole life. There are short seasons, there are long seasons, then there are *really* long seasons. There have been a couple of times that I am missing a year because I simply cannot remember due to my depression. There are seasons that are circumstantial and once those circumstances have been dealt with, my sad cloud leaves. The other seasons are just plain ole crappy.

I withdraw. I sleep. I do not get out of my house. I do not change my clothes. I do not get out of bed. It takes too much effort. My husband does not know what to do with me. In our early years, he was oblivious because I was great at placing my mask. In our middle years, he recognized and then tried to fix the problems. Depression cannot be fixed by well-meaning spouses.

In Later Years

In the later years, he just sits and he loves on me. He lets me be me and he loves me through the valleys. We have come a very long way. I have learned to take off my masks and ask for help through lots of prayers, Jesus, therapy, and medication. He has learned to stop trying to fix me and to stop trying to understand the darkness that can consume me.

In 2015, I was struggling with a hard season of depression. There were days when I struggled in getting out of bed, getting dressed, brushing my hair, etc. I did the best I could, but at the end of the day, depression won. I would sit in my bed, sobbing about being a failure as a believer, wife, mom, daughter, sister, and human being. Deep down, I knew my worth in Christ but, sadly, I listened to what the evil one was whispering in my ear instead of the Truths of my Jesus.

In Walks My Lady

On a Wednesday night, my family and I went to church for dinner and our classes. We got there, got our food, and sat down to eat. The side door opened and my Lady walked through the doors. She is an amazing lady and she has taught me so much and I knew, regardless, that I was loved by her.

I got up, from my seat, and I went to give her a hug while my son ran and grabbed her some dinner. She has this ability to, not only, look at me but she can look THROUGH me.

That night, she looked through me and she asked me what was wrong. Tears welled up in my eyes and I just said “I don’t know, I’m really really sad and I can’t shake it.” My Lady looked at me and firmly said “well, get over it. You have a life to live, a husband who needs you, children who need you…now get over it.”

Absolutely Shocked

I think you could have knocked me over from the shock of that statement. There has never been a person, over my long history with depression, that has ever said anything like that to me. I almost let it hurt my feelings.  I almost listened to the evil one saying “she does not love you, she does not care, that was mean.”

Instead, Jesus took me and shook me, that night. With Jesus by my side, He flicked satan out of my ear and He said “I sent her to you. She is my gift. This is your kick in the pants from Me through her. Now, get over it!” I walked around in a bit of a daze, that night.

Purposing to Follow-Through

The next day, I got up and I purposed to do a few things to better myself. I am well aware of my deficiencies in the “follow-through” department. There is also the thought of wanting to succeed at something and if I set my goal too high, then I will not follow through and I will fail. I set the bar VERY low.

My first set of 30-day goals were incredibly simple. The first thing was to brush my teeth every day. The second was to put a bra on every day (you laugh…girls….but you know what I’m talking about…especially being a home school mom).

Next Up

I also purposed to read 1 chapter of Psalm and 1 chapter of Proverbs, daily. I did this by starting on whatever day of the month it was. It made it easier for me to remember. I had just received a great study bible, a new journal, highlighters, and pens for Christmas. I was set. In my journal, I listed 5 blessings first. Next, I listed prayer requests. Then, I would read my chapters, highlight the verses that meant something to me and I would write them in my journal.

I made it through that first month! I was so proud of myself and the Lord revealed SO much through His Word. I also maintained my two tiny goals of brushing my teeth and wearing a bra.

Month 2

The next two goals were pretty simple. The first was to take my medicine regularly (always take your meds as prescribed by your doctor) and to not wear my husband’s clothes, but to wear my own. Again, you people might be mocking me, but hey, my husband is a big man and I feel really skinny when I wear his clothes. I like to feel skinny!

I had powered through Proverbs and I still had a ways to go with Psalm, so I thought I would add in a short book of the bible to make myself, again, feel good about accomplishing something. I still kept my journal, but I was on a new journal because I had filled the first one up!

Getting Wild Up in Here

This time around, with my prayer request, I got wild and mixed things up! I went back through my prayer request and I highlighted the answered prayers and I dated them and wrote how they were answered. In my dark times, I was able to flip through my journal and I could physically see the answers and that God still moves even when I feel He is not moving.

I also began branching out with my prayers. When I felt myself closing up and moving inward with my sadness, I forced myself to look to someone else. I texted people in my contacts how I could pray for them. The replies, to my texts, were humbling.

My friends would say “How did you know? What do you know? Who told you? I was just praying about that and I feel like I have confirmation. In my darkest, you reached out.” Oh my goodness. This was such a source of light and comfort for me. The Lord was using my depression to further His Kingdom!

My Prayer Journal

My journal filled up REAL quick and I had to upgrade to a notebook. For each person that I asked how I could pray for them, I gave them their own page and added any requests on that page. I would follow up with their requests to see if the Lord had answered them and when they were answered, I highlighted and dated that request.

Eventually, I branched out even further and I extended prayer to my friends on Facebook. The responses were overwhelming. I was and still am humbled to stand in the gap, with prayer, for people. My notebook got full and I have since moved to a binder! I love my binder. It is never far from me and I have my pens and highlighter ready to go.

What I Learned in my Season of Depression

In this season of depression, I not only learned how to pray, but I also ended up reading through the entire bible in about a year and a half. There were the dreaded books of the bible that came to life because I was reading it through a new set of eyes. The Lord revealed so much, I started sending out lessons I had learned along the journey. My season lifted because one person spoke what I needed to hear. “Get over it!”’

Ending the Stigma of Mental Illness

Depression is real and it is not talked about in society. Please, I am urging whoever is reading this, seek counsel. If counseling does not help, go to your doctor and look to getting on medication. There is no shame in that. I have been on medication, on and off, for several years.

There are seasons of your life when “get over it” does not cut it and you need more help. My hope is that the stigma of depression and other mental illnesses is eradicated and that we can talk freely, get support, and become free from this disease.

If you, or someone you know, is suffering from any type of mental illness, and you are afraid that they may do the unthinkable, the Suicide Hotline is 1-800-273-8255. They are there 24 hours a day. Never be ashamed. Never think you are alone. Never not know your options. Reach out! Live! Teach others! Through your ashes, beauty will be found.

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The One that *Sees* You

The One that *Sees* You

The One that *Sees* You

Have you ever felt invisible?  That no one really sees the pain that you carry around on a daily basis?  Has your pain ever been so intense and you have stuffed it so far, that you are numb to emotions?  Have you ever been called emotionally stagnant or unable to feel things as they happen?  Well, that’s me in a nutshell.

Trauma

Childhood trauma, young adult trauma, adult trauma, PTSD, whatever it is that you may face.  It’s a bitch.  In the moment, I feel nothing.  I’m always on mode go go go go go and then once I’ve gone, I relax.  Then, I cry and feel all the feelings.  It’s horrible.  I’m working on processing the traumas, whether big or small, past, present or what I foresee.

Have you ever taken the ACE test?  The Adverse Childhood Experience study?  My score is 6.  This means that “People with an ACE score of 6 or higher are at risk of their lifespan being shortened by 20 years. ACEs are responsible for a big chunk of workplace absenteeism, and for costs in health care, emergency response, mental health, and criminal justice.”

Drug Allergy Testing

So, this past week, I had to take Hunter back to the allergist at Vanderbilt.  This time, not for seasonal allergies but for a Decadron Challenge.  Doing this definitively tells me whether or not he has an allergy to this specific drug.

Luckily, we had the same nurse as last time and the dr that we met via telehealth the first time.  These ladies are so very nice.  They explained things to Hunter and me very well.  We had to leave a bit early and I got so turned around that we were almost lost.

This place is in a shopping mall.  I kind you not.  We had to go to a mall to go to the doctor.  It is so weird.  Add that to the fact we have to go up one escalator, down a thousand hallways, and up an elevator to get to where we were going.  I was tired, he was getting anxious, we all know the drill.

10 Minutes Late

We got there, just in the knick of time.  The nurse called us back and said how she remembered us from the last time.  She did all the things and got us to our room.  Hunter was behind me, twirling his shirt and hopping.  I sat down, feeling defeated but stoic.  Ready for this next test, next doctor, next hospital, next next next.

The nurse came over and asked to hold Hunter’s hands.  She looked at him and told him exactly what we were going to do.  That nothing, today, would hurt him.  She comforted him and asked him if he was okay.  He said he was scared and she softly assured him that there was nothing to fear.  That touched my heart of stone.

Then, It Happened

She got him settled with the promise of Teddy Grahams and power aid.  Next, she rolled back to her computer and started typing something, asking me the normal round of questions.  Then, she quickly turned her chair around and looked me dead in the eye.

She said, “are you okay?”  This was done with such sincerity that it threw me off.  I was speechless.  Then, I felt it coming.  Tears welled up in my eyes and I gently said “no.”  She rolled over to me and patted me on the leg and said that it was going to be okay and that I was going to be okay.

I Felt Seen

At that moment, I felt as if she could see directly into my soul.  That she saw everything that had been stuffed down and she wanted to assure me that it is okay.  I am okay.  This is all going to be okay.  I felt such comfort and calmness.  A peace fell over me and I could physically feel my body relaxing.

On cue, Hunter must have felt something too because he did his thing.  Ever since he got sick, we have listened to Ms. Debbie.  She has recorded us about 8 songs.  He knows them all by heart and asks to listen to her because it calms him.  He turned around and said, “can we please listen to Ms. Debbie?”

We both listened and praised God together.  I am learning, listening, and trying to trust in the process.  It is coming up on 4 yrs and we are both just tired.  God, give us rest and heal his weary body.

Side note:  he is NOT allergic to Decadron 🙂

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Get Your Fight Back

Get Your Fight Back

Get Your Fight Back

Get Your Fight Back is one of the first videos I saw on TikTok.  This, well, it gave me chills.  Every time I hear/read it, I have the same experience.  Sarah Jakes Robert is amazingly delivered this sermon.

“Get Your Fight Back” by Sarah Jakes Robert

It is titled “Get your fight back.”

Girl, get your power back.

~Girl, start acting like you are a king’s daughter, and that there has always been a crown attached to your head.

Even when I was sick I was still His. Even when I was dead, I was still His.

Do you know who I am?

I am a child of the highest God.

He has kept me alive so that I can be a testimony to everyone attached to me.

Get Up: There is No Hold on You

Girl, you can get up again.

And Girl addiction can’t have you.

Girl divorce gotta let you go.

Get up girl, Girl get up, Girl get up, Girl get up, Girl get up again.

Girl Depression gotta let you go.

And Girl anxiety has to lose its hold.

I’m pleading for you to get up.

My daughter needs to see you get up.

And My sister needs to you get up.

Get up, Get up.

I gotta get up, I gotta get up again,  I gotta get up again.

Get Your Prophecy

God’s you just sent a word, And now I know I need to get up again.

Something died on the inside of me, but I feel my spirit coming back.

I feel my power coming back and my ideas.

And I feel these dry bones shaken and coming back to life.

I’m getting up, I’m getting up.

I’m getting in position.

And I’m tired of crying about it.

I’m tired of fighting about it.

So I’m getting in the position.

Girl, You gotta get up.

I’m getting up for my daughter, I’m getting up for my sister, I’m getting up for my kids, I don’t even have them yet, but I was getting up for them too.

And I’m getting up for my community and marriage.

Gotta get up, I gotta get up, I gotta get up, I gotta get up.

Jesus, you’ve been chasing me too long.

I’m here and I surrender.

I gotta get up, I gotta get up.

The bitterness you got to Let me go.

Death, You can’t have me.

I gotta get up.

Honestly, I gotta find my joy.

I’ve got to find my peace.

I Gotta find my spirit again.

My friend made me who I am, my spirit got me into this.

And My spirit is gonna get me out, My spirit is going to get me out of it.

I got my Spirit back.

God touch me, God overflow.

I need your spirit, I’m hungry for it, I’m desperate for it.

God help me up.

Who You Need to Let Know

Let Hell hear you.

And Let the Depression hear you.

Let the enemy know.

And Let death know.

Spirit

The spirit is coming back to me.

This spirit, what spirit?

The Holy Spirit, the Name that is above all Names.

Yes. When we call on that Name things happen.

That’s what I’m calling on.

What I need

Your Spirit.

Jesus, I need your power.

Your healing.

Get Who You Are Back

The King of kings.

Lord of lords.

You are the way maker.

My healer.

What I Call You

Excellent.

Wonderful.

Magnificent.

Jehovah Jairus.

Jehovah

What I Say

You can have control.

I surrender.

Make a way.

Nothing is off limits

I say God touch me as only you can do.

God give me power.

Help me forgive.

I say God Cleanse me from bitterness.

Sermon Video and Full Transcript of Sarah Jakes Robert

Girl Get Up

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Forgiveness is Hard The Hurt Mattered

Forgiveness is Hard The Hurt Mattered

Forgiveness is Hard The Hurt Mattered

Forgiveness is Hard The Hurt Mattered.  It took me a really long time to understand what forgiveness actually was.  I was under the misunderstanding that forgiveness meant that you were giving someone PERMISSION to do whatever that person did to you.

That is not correct.

What Forgiveness Actually Means

According to Webster’s Dictionary, forgiveness means “to grant forgiveness.”  “To Grant” is extending forgiveness to someone.  This doesn’t mean you have to let them back in your life.  Also, this doesn’t mean that you have to trust them.  What it means is that you no longer depend on them to right the wrong.  You are releasing them from owning you.

Powerful

That is a powerful statement.  I am actively releasing them from owning me!  When I harbor those feelings of resentment, anger, hate, disdain, irritation, etc I am allowing them to own me.  They own my thoughts, my feelings, my actions, and my reactions.  I am indebted to them.

Honestly, half the time most people do not even realize they did anything.  On the other hand, sometimes they do remember and they try to avoid at all costs having a run-in.  Earlier this year, I took the bull by the balls.

What Did I Do With Those Balls?

I cut those suckers OFF.  My mental health is not great.  I am big enough to admit that.  There are things occurring in my life that I cannot control.  Then, there are things that I can control.  Yet, Christ says we are not in control.  He is and I need to yield to Him because He fights my battles, I just need to be silent (Exodus 14:14).

Being silent is not one of my strong suits.  Yet, I have been very silent over the last year.  I have sat back and taken the words, actions, abuse, and dirty looks.  Those things have been met with silence.  Also, depression, uncertainty, fear, and so many other things.

I digress, Back to the Balls

There are several people that have avoided me like the plague.  I mean, they have literally dropped off the face of the planet.  These people will not return calls, emails, texts, FB messages, anything.  I thought I had done/said something to hurt them.  The thought of that tears at my soul because I try to be very mindful of my words.  Your tongue is a double-edged sword according to Jesus.

I decided to give it one last-ditch effort and send one more message.  Then, I was going to let it go.  I was not going to let the uncertainty cause physical ramifications on my body, soul, and mind anymore.  Forgiveness is what I asked for because I just felt like I needed to do that.

To My Surprise

These ladies answered me back.  We had great conversations.  I asked questions, they answered.  They asked questions, I answered.  This all happened like the 40+-year-old people we are (hello FB middle school, I see you.)

One lady misinterpreted a conversation that was had almost 3 years ago.  She apologized and acknowledged my hurt at her disappearing during a very difficult season in my life.  I apologized for not being clear in what I said.  Guess what?

We forgave each other.  Have we really sat down, face to face, to talk?  No.  Co-vid and all.  I hope to soon.  Will our friendship be the same as it was?  I don’t know.  Time will tell.  I would love to see that happen, but I have to acknowledge my hurt because it did (and does) matter.  I just can’t live there.

The Other Lady

Well, she did respond and it went well.  I had done nothing wrong and she explained herself and her choices.  She asked for forgiveness and I happily granted it.  Again, I expressed my hurt to her.  Yet, I chose not to sit in it because she seemed so sincere.

Sadly, I was wrong.  Again, she has gone to the nth degree to believe something about me.  I’m not sure what it is this time.  Honestly, as I was talking to my husband today, I want to say I don’t care.  It’s not like I see this person every day.

Then again, I do care and I want to know why.  I opened up, again, as I did with the other lady and I tried to believe, extend forgiveness, and trust her.  This time, I will choose to forgive her but she will never be close to me again.  She no longer owns me.

The Last Lady

Wow. This one is a doozy.  Out of the blue, she “friended” me on Facebook.  I was appalled.  This lady I knew but I didn’t personally know.  Weird, I know.  Completely offended and fired off a stern message.

We exchanged several messages.  I expressed in great detail my complete disdain for her because of circumstances that she (and another member of my family) created.  She danced around it and she did apologize.

I sat in it for a very long time.  A very very long time.  In fact, I told her I may never forgive her, and I will certainly never forget what she did.  She was told to never contact me or my family again.  Livid isn’t even a word to do my feelings justice.

Today

It was my last straw today.  The straw that broke the camel’s back.  “Friend #2” again unfriended me and blocked me.  Honestly, have not spoken to her since that one day.  As I was talking to Bart, he told me to just delete FB.  It is “from the devil.”

He is right.  The last time I tried to do this, I redownloaded it.  It is an obsession, even if you don’t realize it. I took the time to respond to messages that had been sitting in my message spot.  Then, I reread some messages that were important to feel those feelings again.

I got to that woman.

That Woman

As I was reading our messages, I didn’t feel the heat of anger or hate.  Honestly, I felt pity.  What a sad life this woman has led.  She has been tied to this “what if” thought in her brain for over 50 years.

My hurt did matter.  She altered my life and the lives of those I love.  This woman-owned me.  She controlled my emotions and dictated how I felt.  Today, I simply wrote, “I forgive you.” She answered me back quickly.  I deleted all the messages.

Today, as I hit the button to end my relationship with FB and this “friend” and another woman, I felt empowered.  Validated.  At peace.  Today, no one owns me but Christ.  I was purchased for a price.

Today, I am free.

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