Thursday, March 10, 2011

You are my Sunshine.......

I woke up this morning singing, "You are my sunshine, my only sunshine.  You make me happy when skies are grey.............".  I miss my Dad so much.  I wish I could physically feel his warm embrace.  God has been faithful.  And He daily restores my heart.  Losing my Dad was the most difficult thing I have ever been through to date. The comfort I get from hearing God speak to me, through His word, is unexplainable.  God has me right where He wants me to be.

Each morning I pray that He will bless me with the most sunny, beautiful and majestic sky.  Most days I am overwhelmed with how amazing the sky looks.  Today, I am trying hard to see the beauty in this grey, rain filled sky that God hand painted for me.  My Dad always told me, "God doesn't create junk."  So, I suppose someone out there really needed a grey sky today.  The beauty, I am spending a little extra quality time with some of the most important men in my life. And I will be seeking for the beauty God has planned for this day.  I will lift my eyes up toward the heavens. I pray that the Holy Spirit glides me through this wonderful day.

"Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one and calls forth each of them by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength,
not one of them is missing. Why do you complain, Jacob? Why do you say, Israel, “My way is hidden from the LORD; my cause is disregarded by my God”? Do you not know? Have you not heard?  The LORD is the everlasting God,  the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." Isiah 40:26-31

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

God has blessed me with gems! Happy Friend's Day!

So I decided that today would be the perfect day to celebrate my friends.  It doesn't matter if you have been my friend since birth or if you just became a friend this day.  You are all a gift from God.  Proverbs 18:24 "One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother."

Life has been a crazy ride.  And with each new adventure, God has placed some beautiful gems in my path.  I often describe my friends this way.  You see there is this big beautiful boulder in which I am aiming to get to at the end of my journey.  And I have to step on a lot of rocks to get there.  Some of these rocks are smooth and large enough for me to sit for a while and enjoy the majestic sky above me.  But I know I can't stay there forever.  I learn my lesson and move on to the next stepping stone.  Often times I find myself on some slippery and unstable rocks. I do my best to keep my balance and stay focused on that beautiful boulder ahead. As I jump from stone to rock to stone to rock I never know what I will find.  But I do know that God is with me every step of the way.  Throughout my journey He has shown me so many amazing things.  And given me the most precious of pebbles.  Some have captivated me more that others.  Those are the rare precious gems.  I place each one delicately in my pocket forever.  And when I need to see the beauty in my life I pull them out and praise God for His blessing. Don't get me wrong.  I love every one of  those pebbles.  And I carry the lessons and  memory of them in my heart.  However, when and if  they begin to settle in my shoe and prevent me from reaching my destiny, I must lovingly remove it and continue on the path.  Proverbs 12:26 "The righteous choose their friends carefully, but the way of the wicked leads them astray"

I have often been called "the pit bull" by some of my closest of friends.  Once I have let you into my heart, I feel the need to protect you from harsh words or actions. So when I am standing on those slippery rocks I hold on tight to my gems.  Sometimes my knuckles turn white from gripping so hard.  And often there is a little pain involved.  My heart hurts and I just want to see each gem sparkle and shine. I know that it is God who protects protect.  But, He created  "Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends." John 15:13.  And I have to tell you, I praise God for giving me freinds who allow me to stand with them at all times. Good, bad, beautiful and ugly!

Each one of us is a gem in God's eyes. I don't know when I will reach my destination. Or how many more gems I will pick up along the way.  But I do know that each gem has played a part in who I am and what I will be.  I look forward to the day that I can display each one of my gems in a crown upon my head.  You see, I am one of God's princesses.  And, when I finally arrive at that big beautiful boulder, I will cast my crown filled with amazing gems at His most wonderful feet! Because it is all for His glory that I have become who I am.

1John 3:1-3 " See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know Him.  Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears,we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.  All who have this hope in Him purify themselves, just as He is pure."

Happy Friend's Day!!! To all my pebbles, gems and future treasures.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Interviewed by Kate on my faith..........

1.) In the beginning, what made you so close to Jesus and faith itself?
I had a great example of God's love for me. My Dad. But there was a specific time in my life that made me draw even closer to Jesus. I was sick and prayed for courage and strength every day. I realized that the pain of my illness was nothing in comparison to the pain my Lord and Savior took for me and my sins on the cross. And it was at that point in my life that I realized that God loved me so much that He allowed me to feel just a fraction of the pain His Son took for me.

2.) What religion were you raised to practice while growing up? 
I was raised as a "Non-Traditional Roman Catholic". I went to Catholic Schools and for church we mostly attended Roman Catholic services. My Dad wanted us to look outside of tradition and be a berean. So we attended bible studies and went to a multitude of different churches. I even attended Synagogue for a few months while in high school. But we were raised under the traditions of the Roman Catholic Faith.

3.) Were you always headstrong about pushing to follow your religion? Did you ever question your faith?

I don't consider what I have now a "religion". I would say I now have a beaautiful relationship with my God, King and Heavenly Father. There was a time in my life I neglected this relationship. My own agenda seemed so much more important. But He was always faithful. It took a lot for me to realize that my life was empty without Him. So to answer part "A" of your question....No, I wasn't always headstrong. But I have always loved Him.

Hmmmm have I ever questioned my faith? Of course. I am 100% human. LOL. I think there are moments I wonder if this thing I call faith is truth. But then I come back to reality and say to myself. Would I rather exist believing in something greater and in turn be a better person. Or believe in nothing and in turn be a selfish person. I want God to be glorified in the the actions of this woman He created. 

4.) What advice would you give to anyone who is struggling with religion? 
Seek the truth! Get out your bible and ask the Holy Spirit to guide you through God's most precious words. And pray constantly. Even when you aren't sure that you are being heard. PRAY! God will give you the clarification you need. And surround yourself with people who are heading in the right direction. 

5.) Do you think going to church is a must in order to be close with God?

No. I think you need to be in the word more ofter than once or twice a week. It's like this. We all have best friends in our lives. Right? What if the only time we took time for our friend was at 9:45 every Sunday. And when the 90 minutes where up we left and that was it until next week. Pretty shallow relationship. 

I don't go to church every week. But I call upon God every day! Don't get me wrong. We are commanded by God to be in fellowship. This is how we hold each other accountable. As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another ~ Proverbs 27:17 So it is really important that we find a place to fellowship and grow.

6.) When your father was in the hospital for the first time, what was running through your head periodically?
I knew that God was in control. But I was scared. God had been preparing me for this day for a few months. I knew that everything was going to be as it should. My Dad always told me to take every thought and emotion captive. And during those last days he still reminded me of this. My Dad also told each of us that God was in total control of his life. 

7.) What is the biggest miracle you have ever received or seen anyone receive?

Eight years ago my dad almost died. We got eight more years. Now that is a miracle.

I lost three babies between Kathleen Ann and Alyssa. And I almost died with the third. God had a different plan. I was told that I would most likely never be able to have another baby. Well, I have Alyssa and Christian. God is so faithful.

Every day is a miracle!

8.) What kind of prayers did you, your father, and all your other family say while he was on his death bed?

We prayed prayers from the heart. And read scripture to him. We all sang songs of praise and some silly songs from our childhood. I will cherish that time forever. It was such a blessing.

9.) If you’re so strong about your faith, why do you think bad things happen to good people in this world?

Bad things happen because there is sin. And unfortunately we are all in the line of fire. I can't explain why. But, I know that God has always been a strong tower for me in the midst of tragedy.

10.) Can anyone receive a miracle in your opinion?


11.) When it’s your time to go to heaven, what message would to give and what actions would you like to do before it happens (like your father did)?
 I would want to let everyone know that God is in control of my destiny. And that we will all be together again. Life is but a vapor. And eternity is going to be beautiful!

12.) Has this hard experience made you stronger? Closer to god Jesus as well? 

I am so much stronger. "It is by the grace of God that I am what I am" ~1 corinthian 15:10 I praise God for everything. Success or failure. All Glory goes to Him. My life is now forever changed. My heart hurts every day. But it is in this weakness that I turn to my Heavenly Father for comfort and strength.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Break my Heart for What Breaks Yours.......

 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9

The house is quiet. And I decided to sit at my Saviors feet for a while. It was this morning that He whispered, “I am your refuge and your strength. I am your power in your weakness.”

Every morning and every night I pray that He would break my heart for the things that break His. And over the past few months He has given me a small glimpse. And I am overwhelmed.

For each child/adult child of this “family” I have asked God to show me His heart. And this included me. At first I thought this was going to be simple. I thought I can begin to “blend” this family with these new revelations. What was I thinking? What I began to see broke my heart.

Where is the Holy Spirit in my life? It became clear to me that I had quenched the Holy Spirit a long time ago. I took most of the glory. And never once did I think I was breaking my Father’s heart. I neglected to see that everything I did was to be all for His glory. And there were plenty of things of which I was ashamed. I tried to go an entire week without talking about other people in a harsh way. Failed. I tried to keep my cool when faced with controversy. Failed. I tried to keep my thoughts and words holy and pure. And guess what I FAILED. And this failure was all a result of me trying to live in the flesh and forgetting about the gift of the Holy Spirit within me. I quenched Him.

Now that hard part was seeing that even my “family” had followed in my footsteps and they too quenched Him. Here is the difficulty in it all. I saw through each of them how I break the Lords heart.
We know that God is ever present. However, we only give God a few minutes every day at best. We wake up. Gets ready for the day and then block quality time by watching TV instead of praising God for a new day. And God waits patiently for us. And because the Spirit has been quenched we don’t even realize that God’s heart is broken. We are all guilty of neglecting to spend special quality time with God. Just like we neglect to spend quality time with our loved ones on earth. Eventually our neglect causes hurt and later separation. And one day we wake up and realize that it’s all gone. Separation from God is a dark and scary place. And a family missing a member is like missing a limb. Eventually the body learns to go through everyday life. But there are things it will never be able to accomplish without that member. And this breaks hearts.

“When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:20-26
With each day, we find that the world has things to offer too. And there are moments we entertain the world by partaking. And this is a step towards quenching the Spirit. I know it all too well. I am prime example. He planted a seed in our hearts. And gave us each a mission. And sometimes our mission gets fuzzy because of all the noise and distractions around us. Sometimes this mission starts at home. Kindness, gentleness and compassion. When we neglect God’s plan for our lives these three little gifts can’t grow. We point the finger and yell. Then instead of allowing the Holy Spirit to work in and through us. We stomp our feet and run to our rooms. Shutting Him out. And this breaks hearts.

“Keep on loving each other as brothers. Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it. Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.” Hebrews 13: 1-3 
As we grow other things become so much more important. School, Friends and work. And as a result we have forgotten our first love. There are two forces in the beginning of our lives. Our Mom and our Dad. I can only tell you what I know about mine. And that is that mine often love me more than I loved myself. Parents are often our example of how God our father loves us. God desires us to be upright. God tells us that we are to pray and go to our brothers and sisters and discuss how they hurt or caused us anger. Waiting and waiting for hours, weeks, months and even years is sin. If at that point nothing is resolved then go to the elders. We are commanded by God to work it out. We quench the Holy Spirit when we forget that we can do all things through Him who gives us strength. Remember when we are week He is strong. And when we walk away this give the enemy a foothold. And this breaks hearts.

“By the meekness and gentleness of Christ, I appeal to you—I, Paul, who am "timid" when face to face with you, but "bold" when away! I beg you that when I come I may not have to be as bold as I expect to be toward some people who think that we live by the standards of this world. For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10: 1-5
 When I think of my children I see some of the most honest people I know. They often have this tug of war going on inside. They wants to do the right thing but the wrong thing is really appealing. My one daughter often calls herself the “black sheep” of the family. And when things go wrong in this “family” she feels it’s her fault. She is not meek. When God said come here and get your dose of meekness. She ran because she thought He said geekness. And this would be typical for her. She has a really hard time “hearing”. She just wants to be heard. We all at times put on the bully suit. But it’s just a suit. Our hearts have been broken over and over. And this is when the line of thinking, that being hard and not meek is best, sets in. Don’t let anyone in or you’ll get hurt. What if God felt this way? Christ took the ultimate blow. And he was humble. Each of us is guilty of bitterness. We all need to realize that we are but a vapor. Don’t let the enemy grab hold of your heart and cause you to become hardened. Our meekness is a gift from the Holy Spirit. And not accepting this breaks hearts

“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God's law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!” Romans7:15-25 
How can someone be a part of this “family” and not know the Lord? Well it’s simple. And this is where my heart hurts the most. I have often been a poor example. And everyone else in this house has followed my lead. If God is love and we are to become more and more like Him, how is it that we can be so divided. There is lack of unity, respect, kindness, forgiveness (and keeping no record of the wrong). Our example of His love is a very poor one at best. Why would a non believer want to be a part of something so divided. We as a “family” have been , at times, a poor representation of love to the unbelieving world. We need to stop looking at others and look deeper at self. Start pointing in the right direction. And become as selfless and forgiving as our Savior. This is where love grows. And this love is what we need to show the world. A lack of unity breaks hearts.
  “You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. Now we know that God's judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God's judgment? Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness leads you toward repentance? But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God's wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. God "will give to each person according to what he has done." To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For God does not show favoritism.” Romans 1: 1-11