Tuesday, August 30, 2016

"Love Sorrow" I've discovered a new poet, Mary Oliver. I love her work.

I came across this poem by Mary Oliver and it struck a chord with me.
The past 18 months have been excruciatingly difficult. No words can express the deep hollowness that is within. Coming to grips with my humanity - sorrow and grief - has been a lesson that I never knew I needed to learn. Really, we never know what we need to know until we finally come to know it...epiphany - I guess that's what “they” call it.
I've accepted my frailness. I've accepted the fact that I am broken. Yet, rather than discount and shut my eyes to Grief and Sorrow I've decided to acknowledge them and to walk hand-in-hand with them for as long as needed.
It may sound weird or unnatural, nevertheless I am resolved to take care of Sorrow. I nurture her because she has been give to me. I bring her in close and press her into my bosom. When she trembles, I tremble; when she sobs, I sob. I hold her hand in mine and we raise them together in praise to God.
I walk, talk, and spend a great amount of quiet time with Grief because if I do not, at some point, he will demand my attention. He will not let me rest until he is heard - until I have have acknowledged him. Grief becomes difficult, and even angry, when he is ignored. So, I sleep with him quietly. I speak with him tenderly and sometimes with angry passion; our conversations are deep and concerning. I will pray with him fervently. I invite Grief with me and welcome him to join me in my intimate times with my Savior because He, too, is well acquainted with Grief.
Every day I deny myself the temporary comfort, and even pleasure, of self-pity. I take care of this fragile Sorrow for when she grows up she will become a mighty Joy. And because I have held Sorrow so closely to my heart, Joy will fill the part of my soul that she once shook.
I walk and spend time with Grief and Mourning in the presence of my King knowing that very soon our walk before Him shall become a dance - the most beautiful dance I've ever danced. What an amazing sight we shall be! My deepest hope is that that my Lord will be well pleased.
Sorrow, Joy
Grief, Gladness
Without one, there is no other
I choose and accept both
You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, To the end that my glory may sing praise to You and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever. ~ Ps 30:11,12
Love Sorrow
Love sorrow. She is yours now, and you must take care of what has been given. Brush her hair, help her into her little coat, hold her hand, especially when crossing a street. For, think,
what if you should lose her? Then you would be sorrow yourself; her drawn face, her sleeplessness would be yours. Take care, touch her forehead that she feel herself not so
utterly alone. And smile, that she does not altogether forget the world before the lesson. Have patience in abundance. And do not ever lie or ever leave her even for a moment
by herself, which is to say, possibly, again, abandoned. She is strange, mute, difficult, sometimes unmanageable but, remember, she is a child. And amazing things can happen. And you may see,
as the two of you go walking together in the morning light, how little by little she relaxes; she looks about her; she begins to grow.
~Mary Oliver

Sunday, May 03, 2015

Not an Athlete

Not an athlete

Several colleagues and friends have congratulated me on becoming a "triathlete".  "It's not something that many people can or will do", they say.  Well, forget "tri" I don't even consider myself an athlete, never have, most likely never will.  My "finish line photo" proves my point.

What I am is a strong woman whose endurance has been tried time and time again -- and continues being tried on a daily basis.  A woman who has learned to hold on, hang in, and push through spiritually, mentally, and physically until her breakthrough comes.  

Determined.  I will not let go until He blesses me.  

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

God Changes the Entire Universe for Me

Originally posted as a FB note on March 10, 2011

God changes the entire universe for me

March 10, 2011 at 9:08pm
I remember one time when I was a little girl, I couldn't have been more than five or six, driving with my mother on some unfamiliar road, in an unfamiliar town.  I was riding in the front seat, trying to hold a conversation while she was extremely disinterested and preoccupied.  She finally became extremely impatient with me and told me to be quite, she was trying to figure out where we were because we were lost.  I so vividly remember the panic that gripped my heart, the fear of being lost in a strange place, the look of frustration on my mother's face didn't help the situation.  Just then, a sudden solution hit me, "mom, I'm going to pray that we're not lost".  My mother, in her fashion, looked at me as if the horns she swore cursed my head of curls just grew several inches right before her eyes.  "No really mom, I'm going to pray and I know God will make us not lost".  Again, her faithless, irritated eyes darted at me in a look that said "just shut up Becky".

I quietly bowed my head and prayed to God that we not be lost.  I recall thinking to myself, "but what if we ARE lost?"  and my reply "well, if we are lost then God will move the streets around and we won't be lost anymore!  He will make our car be exactly where it is supposed to be."  We came out of that trip, exactly where we were supposed to be.  When my mother declared we were not lost anymore, I rejoiced in the fact that God heard my prayers.  I marveled that God would rearrange an entire city just because I prayed it so.  Of course, it was pointless to speak to my mother about my miracle, but from that point on I truly believed that God in his loving mercy would rearrange the universe for me if I so desperately need it.

Last week was a tough week.  I was reminded of God's miraculous provision in my life through my youngest child.  I saw the same faith, assurance and confidence in him that I believed so long ago.  In a sense, he prayed that God do some major rearranging in our lives in order to bring peace and comfort to our family and guess what?  God did.

I often think about the sting of my mother's look, the faithless gaze and the painful words.  But I look at my son and I speak life into his heart.  I speak encouragement.  Faith.  Hope.  I let him know this week that I share his faith and his prayers were answered.  Not only do we both believe that God will change the universe for us if we absolutely need it, we know He's done it a few times already!

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

I Am a Curse Breaker

Originally posted as a FB note on April 8, 2012

I am a curse breaker

27 years ago today my world was shattered.  27 years ago today my mother died after many years of being sick, she was 42.  I've lived the past 27 years haunted.  Haunted, not so much by her death but by her life.  The life of hurt, turmoil, pain and sickness that she led; the hard life of a hard woman.

For years I've lived with a torment that my strong personality would end up beaten up, disgraced and wasted with disease just as hers was.  For years I've been tortured with the thought of a horrible and early death, leaving my children helpless and without my guidance for the rest of their lives.

I’m not the only one who deals with fears like this.  I know that just as everyone of us has unspoken dreams that remain silent because we've been taught to keep them inside or they won’t come true, we also have fears that we don’t speak of because they WILL come true.  We all have deep dark secrets that we keep bottled up inside.  We don’t speak them to anyone, our closest friend or even our spouse.  We don’t even dare tell our Creator.  But He already knows our innermost fears and wants us to trust Him with them.  Oh how truly backwards we are.

Yet, here I am.  I have waited until this day to speak my fear publicly because of this superstition, this unwritten code.  I've waited to speak my fear until I was sure that I crossed the “safe” marker.  But I thank God that I was able to speak this fear to him because it’s through His strength and wisdom that I found the words to speak today.

I've worked hard this past year to break the fear, the torment, and the accusatory voices in the back of my head that tell me my future is cursed and is destined to mirror that of my mother.  I've learned to conquer the fear that haunts me.  The fear that reminds me at every turn that I must tell my boys everything I deem important while I have the chance because I’m cursed to be sick.  I am working hard to better myself with an education. I am stifling the voice that torments and says:  “You will never be successful because you are nothing but an uneducated Chicana cursed to a life of poverty and want”.  I have broken the curse of sickness that my life was once destined to live and have taken charge of my own destiny – to follow the path that God has for me.

It’s not an easy road I've walked, nor is the road ahead easy.  There are scars, blisters, calluses, heart aches, loneliness and a sea of tears so deep I could swim for miles and miles without seeing a speck of promised land.  But there is no more fear or torment.  I don’t listen to the accusations anymore and bitterness is nowhere to be found.  I have joy and peace.  I can say with true conviction that I am working on becoming a better me and the future that lies ahead of me is amazing.  I am positioning myself to receive good things – not just waiting for good things to happen.

27 years ago today my mother died after many years of being sick, she was 42.

I am 42.  I am alive. I am a curse breaker.  I am delivered.  I am set free. I have a future.

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Just Beyond that Mountain

Originally posted as a FB note on August 4, 2012

Just beyond that mountain

August 4, 2012 at 10:46pm
Hiking in the dark today made me realize that traveling in darkness or with a hindered view isn't always a bad thing. The darkness helps to shield how far I have to go. It hides the steep inclines that I have yet to face. Throughout my life I've often asked God to reveal the entire path that I still have to take and I get frustrated when I don't or can't see the end result. But He knows that because of my nature, if I see how far I have left to go, I just might give up or be content with the now.

It's only when we come out of the darkness and see how far we've gotten that we appreciate how far we have left to go. We then continue our journey with great anticipation and appreciation. "We've come too far to turn back now." How many of us would have gotten this far if we could have seen how much further there was to travel?

My life has been a difficult journey. Honestly, if I had known how hard it would be I would have given up a long time ago. But God keeps me walking on the path with a light shining right in front of me. Through the mountains surrounding me, I get glimpses of beautiful scenery and splashes of color in the sky ahead. I stand still, look around and see the long difficult path I have just traveled. Just beyond the bend of the mountain in front of me I see my goal in sight.

I thank God that he is all knowing and He will never give us more than we can handle.

Sunday, April 05, 2015

Father Forgive Them

Originally posted as a FB note on November 22, 2011

Father, forgive them

November 22, 2011 at 9:20am
“Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”  As Jesus hung on the cross he uttered these words.  I believe these words to be the most powerful, the most educating and the greatest words to live by that have ever been uttered.  You don’t have to be someone who believes in Jesus as savior, personal friend, or prophet to realize what a powerful statement this is, for this matter he can be just another man who lived on this earth.

He was an innocent man, an honest man a man who cared for humanity as if each and every one was his own child, his brother or sister.  Jesus was a man who fed the poor, healed the sick, sat and ate with the dregs of society, the outcasts.  He loved the unloved, the lonely and paid attention to them.

By choice he was a vagabond himself with no place to lay his head.  He chose to be right in the middle of those who needed him most.  People would flock to him for whatever they needed.  Many would push and shove to receive healing, never to return to give thanks.  Families would sit around en masse waiting not just to hear what this man had to say but to see what they could receive from him or what he would be serving for lunch that day.

I can imagine how used Jesus felt.  But he loved these people.

And he hung there after being unjustly accused and inhumanely beaten, hanging next to thieves who mocked him.  All of his friends - those whom he loved and spent the last three years of his life sharing his most profound teachings, sharing thoughts and letting them see the person he truly was –scattered about nowhere to be seen.  He hung there, with his mother looking up at his naked, disfigured, unrecognizable and broken body.

“Father, forgive them for they know not what they do”.

Forgiveness at its purest form.  He could have left it at “forgive them” but he chose to add “for they know not what they do.”

If it were me, I would have said “Father, forgive them because they've beaten me and are killing me.  Father, forgive them for making my mother watch this horrific suffering that no mother should ever have to see.  Father forgive my friends because they've left me at the very point where I needed them most even after all we've shared, all I've done for them.  Father forgive these thieves for mocking me, I don’t deserve to be here and die next to them.  Father forgive the multitudes that sat back and let this happen, I shouldn't be here.  Father forgive them because I’m innocent all I wanted to do was help them!”

But Jesus in all his wisdom says “Forgive them for they know not what they do.”

We like to blend forgiveness with accusations or accusations with forgiveness.  But it doesn't work that way.  “He hurt me.  She knows better. They did this. My children are hurting ME!”  When the harsh reality is that most people who hurt us either don’t realize what they've done or have no idea to what extent that hurt has affected us.  We think they should know better but really, they don’t know what they are doing.

Forgiveness without accusations.  If anyone had the right to bring the list of accusations before God it would be Jesus.  But he didn’t.  He just forgave. These are thoughts that just came to me this morning, I must forgive like Jesus forgave, it makes ME a better person.

Saturday, April 04, 2015

From Friday to Sunday; From the Cross to the Empty Tomb; From Hopelessness to Hope

Good Friday.

Oh this day!  It grips my heart and brings me to a place of complete humility before God.  My life has been all too familiar with grief and loss, yet I have always had hope. 

I try to imagine what it would have been like in that space between the cross and the empty tomb.  Three days of utter hopelessness.  Wishing. Hoping. Gut wrenching cries of loss and mourning.  The fatigue that comes with grief, headaches, nausea, and muscle aches.  The haunting memories of what your loved one suffered. Images flashing through the mind like scenes from a horror movie.  Most of all the guilt. The guilt of not being there, of not doing enough. Guilt of not fighting hard enough, "there must have been something else I could have done".  The pain of the reality that we were not enough to protect or save our loved one is unbearable.  What we wouldn't do now to trade places.

I'm sure the Disciples and those close to the Savior faced these, and greater feelings.

That place between the cross and the empty tomb is a place where many of us live.  We live in grief, sadness, hopelessness...utter darkness.  When we reach the point where we feel we can finally find some sort of comfort we come to find out that that ONE thing we sought after is gone. 

Seeing that the body of Jesus was gone, Mary begged the angels to return Him.  It was the one thing she looked forward to that would bring her comfort and it was gone.  She was so desperate and broken that she didn't recognize her Savior speaking to her.  Then He speaks her name and the miracle is revealed....hope breaks through!  A resurrected Savior once again tangible, the breath of life, speaking the name of a friend.

We have desperate nights and heavy days. We seek after things which cannot comfort us, but there is an end to our hopelessness, our darkness.  When we follow the cross to the empty tomb we will find our Savior waiting for us and ready to call out our name. An impossible dream come true.  Life. Hope. Light. Peace and joy.  

While seeking comfort in my time of sheer panic, grief, darkness and hopelessness, I've heard Him call my name and witnessed the light of Hope break through.  If you just listen, you will hear yours too.

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Washed Away and Transformed

Originally posted as a FB note on August 16, 2012

Washed Away and Transformed

August 16, 2012 at 9:53pm
Our lives are formed and transformed like the coastal cliffs. Shaped, shifted, and sieved by the elements that beat and batter us. The winds come and loosen up the sandy facade, the rains come and drain that which is unstable into the ocean and the waves batter and wash away everything that has been affected by the rest. What's left is pieces of what used to be. What's left is rock, granite that is solid and unmovable.

We go through this process and notice that everything is different, that our lives don't resemble what it used to be. Pieces of us gone, chunks of us washed away without a trace to be found anywhere and we are not the same. We mourn the loss of what was, but we never really take the time to look at what is.

God forms the landscape into what He chooses it to be and the landscape is ever changing. A work of art constantly in progress, yet consistently beautiful and awe-inspiring. Always amazing and breathtaking because God's handiwork is nothing less. Separations occur. Cliffs become separated into islands. Islands get cut through by the waves to create caverns...and life grows. Each island is a sanctuary, each cavern a hiding place from predators.

Take a moment to grieve and morn what has fallen into the sea of your life. But make your life a constant reminder of what God has transformed and is transforming you to be. Ever changing. Ever shaping, but always beautiful. Battered. Worn. Weathered. Weakened. Even at a point of collapse in some vulnerable spots, but always a beauty to behold. A wonder to look upon because God is doing this shaping and it is ever perfect.

I am changing daily. Pieces of me fall into that great ocean of life and I am shaped into what God wants me to be.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

What Happened to my Destiny?

Originally posted as a FB note on February 25, 2013

What happened to my destiny?

February 25, 2013 at 10:12pm
I woke up one day a couple of years ago and thought "What happened to my destiny? My life wasn't supposed to be like this, it isn't supposed to be like this."

Then I decided to do something. I decided to walk into my destiny. I decided to change the things that I could change in my life and to accept, with grace, things that I couldn't change. I'm not all the way there yet, but I can actually see a clear path to my destiny - something I haven't been able to see in many, many years.

God. It's God. He has a plan for my life. He has a plan for your life. No matter how dark. How bleak. How hopeless your situation may feel...it's never hopeless. Look up. There is a God who cares. There is One who loves when it seems there is no love left in this world, in your life.

If you wake up one day and think to yourself "what happened to my life? It wasn't supposed to turn out like this." Ask God to show you where to take your next step and begin to walk into your destiny. The life he has called you to and promised for you is beyond comprehension. It won't always be easy, but it will most certainly be worth it. A life of fulfillment and peace when there is emptiness and turmoil all around, that's what happens when you walk into your destiny.

I have peace.

Friday, March 27, 2015

If you only knew

Drafted on 10/17/05
Made public on 3/27/15
I wish I knew what thoughts were running through my head at that time.  They were most-likely no different than the ones I have now....

If you only knew what was going on inside my head you'd be surprised. I think you'd be overwhelmed by the sense of calm within myself.

If you only knew what I was going through right now and listened to my thoughts you'd be shocked to see me standing where I am.

If you only knew what has been said to me, you'd wonder how I can keep a straight face and not burst into tears every second of the day.

If you only knew what I need, and what I have you'd thank God you have what you do.

If you only knew how increadably selfish I feel, and how much I just want to kick and scream and throw a tantrum because of the things are happening, I think I'd be excused, for a moment at least. Yet, I refuse to throw a tantrum.

If you knew in your heart like I know, that God is in control of all things, you'd be able to stand in the midst of the storms of your life, resisting the urge to scream and cry, keeping your head held high, with peace instead of panic.

If you only knew

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Hill

Originally posted as a FB note on March 26, 2013

The Hill

March 26, 2013 at 11:31pm
I attended an awesome church service early this morning then tackled Harder Hill before work.

As I was huffing and puffing up the hill I couldn't help but think about Galgotha and the trek that Jesus made.

Battered, beaten, and bruised he walked up with the weight of the cross upon his shoulders all the while seeing his place of his execution.

Ridiculed, humiliated, scorned, betrayed and abandoned by the very people he loved, fed, helped and healed. Then to face the most devastating moment of his life - to be separated from His father and be utterly and completely alone.

Because of what Jesus did I don't ever have to be separated from God. I will never be alone. Because I accept what he has done for me, I can live a life without fear - even fear of death. He died so that I might live and his resurrection assures my freedom in this life.

I am alive and free because he chose to walk up that hill with the weight of the cross - my sins and my life upon him.

It is so very personal to me...this is my hope, my faith, my strength, my joy. This is why I am who I am. This is how I get through my incredibly difficult life. I am alive and free because of Jesus.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Truth and Reality: God delights in me and He makes me happy

Originally posted as a FB note August 24, 2013

Reality and Truth -- God Delights in me and He makes me happy

August 24, 2013 at 11:38pm
Some days I'm spent. I'm exhausted, over worked, over stressed, tired, burdened and feeling low. Then I do something really stupid and silly when I'm all by myself and I feel as though God is right next to me witnessing the whole thing and laughing His butt off, just as my closest friends would do. He makes me smile. He makes me happy.

God is ever present and sees all we go through. He delights in us and wants us to know He is right there for us. Thinking about this makes me smile and makes me happy no matter what circumstances I'm faces with.

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.” (Zephaniah 3:17 NLT)

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The most difficult I have ever done in my life

Hearing the news that my brother had died broke me.  Shattered me into a thousand little pieces.  Performing his funeral was the most difficult thing I've ever done in my life.  Walking up to that podium was the longest walk of my life. Standing there looking out at the audience to preach this message was almost paralyzing.

I never type out my sermons word for word; I usually have just an outline, but I wasn't sure if I could think that night, so I wrote most of it out. Here are the notes of what I spoke that night.

Hear our cries, O God; attend unto our every prayer. From the end of the earth will We cry unto thee, when our heart is overwhelmed: lead us to the rock that is higher than our own selves  (Psalms 61:1, 2 KJV) 

We are all flawed

We live in a "Facebook" world.  Where the majority put up a front and live by the pretense that everything is perfect.  Our posts reflect only the image we want others to see, creating a false sense of reality.  

I'm here to be real today.  Real, because we are hurting, confused, sad and real is what we need right now. Shoving reality aside and hiding from it only creates inevitable problems for our future.

As most of you know, Tony was my brother. My only brother.  We shared our lives together. Joys, pains. Sadness and sorrow.  A lot of which was created by choices he made...most of which were choices he couldn't control in his own strength.

To say that "we all have our flaws", is in fact a gross understatement.  We are all, in fact FLAWED.  The molds we are born from are broken.  We all share that same broken piece, and is a crucial connector in our lives.

We are flawed.

The problem is that as we go through life, our flaw leads to more flaws. Some of us become so flawed that it seems impossible to to ever lead any sort of normal life.  Normal??  What is normal, after all?

We are all flawed.

My dad was born and raised in Mexico.  As a young child he had to go out to work help support his family.  An education wasn't attainable for him.  Searching for a better life for his family, he came to the United States.  He met our mother, a young woman with two small children, and fell in love. He cared for us and loved us as his own...That's not normal.  We would take trips every couple of years and drive to Mexico to visit our dad's family.  We were not a rich family, but my dad had more than he ever wanted and was proud of his children.  Proud to feed and clothe us. Proud to have his children in school not having to toil in fields to help our family.  

One year, as Tony was making that terrible transition from "tween to teen" we went to Mexico. We would drive for a couple of days to get to our destination.  One day as we stopped to get gas at a Petrol station we all got out of the car to use the restroom. As we are pulling out my brother comments on how the attends kept staring weirdly at him.  My dad then began to tell him the conversation that he had with the attendant.  You see, my brother was towards the end of that transition from nerdy, enthusiastic GATE student to becoming the cool cholo'd out "Big Bopper".  He had on plain white tee shirt and baggy pants (that seemed too big, like we couldn't afford to get him pants that fit) he wore this one glove on his hand, with the fingers cut off and a piece of pantyhose on his head (his pompadour was "in training").  

Dad said that the guy asked him what was wrong with his son. My dad wasn't sure what he meant so the guy points to Tony's hand and then to his head with the stocking on it.  Without skipping a beat my dad says "pues solamente tiene un guante porque esta muy quemado en la mano, tanto que se vea la carne todo machacado.  Y en la cabeza, pues tiene piojos y aci es como los matamos en el Norte."  which translates to: "well he only wears a glove on one hand because he's severely burned and the flesh is all messed up. And see, he wears that thing on his head because he has lice, and that's how we kill lice up North."

My brother was so embarrassed that we didn't see the glove or the nylon on his head for the rest of the trip.  He couldn't believe my dad said that!

You see, Sometimes our loved ones are not exactly what we want them to be, they are not what WE expect them to be.  We see them going deeper and deeper into a path that we know isn't right for them...but it's a choice, until the flaws pile and a life becomes broken and they have no idea how to live a normal life.  What is normal?  We're ashamed. We make excuses as to why they do the things they do.  Reality is we can't do anything about it. We can't change each other.  We can't change them. We can't make them live up to our expectations....that then builds up and becomes ONE of OUR flaws --building on top of the other flaw.  

We are all flawed.

At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” (John 8:2-11 NIV)

Finding a recent memory of Tony (within the last 30 years) that isn't tainted or shadowed with a negative is a little difficult.  There are not many to choose from. My mind got clouded. 

I stood as Tony's judge so many years ago. He was caught in the act and I thought I had a right to condemn him.  But then The Lord dealt with me.  I wasn't without my own sin...so I dropped the rock and walked away.  It's not until we are alone with the Savior to deal with the flaw within us that we can truly be set free. “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” (John 8:2-11 NIV)

We are all flawed.  But we must forgive one another.


I walked away.  I wasn't being mean or cold hearted, but to stay would have killed us both and our families.  I was thinking the other day about our relationship and why I had to be so drastic in my dealing with him.  The thing is Tony was an AMAZING talker. He was captivating. He had a way with words and a charm that would draw you in and have you hinging on every word.  I have two sons just like that and it scares the mess out of me!  He could talk me into letting him stay with us after I refused. Shoot he could talk others into talking me into letting him stay with me....got my husband several times :).  The next thing you know, he's living with me and then, all my stuff is gone!  Oh I got stories! 

I used to be riddled with bad memories.  I couldn't tear the good apart from the bad. I can stand here today and tell the stories, good and bad, and it doesn't tear me up inside.  I can speak without hurt, without bitterness.  I was thinking about these stories and actually sharing some the other day. We laughed and laughed.  Then I stopped and realized I was laughing. Realized I had been able to laugh about this for several years now.  Not cry. Nor be angry. Or bitter.  I dropped my stone and walked away years ago. I forgave him.  I forgive him.

We all have choices in this life.  The choice to do the right thing AND we have to choose how we react to those who have not made the same choices we have made.  We can't change others but through Jesus we can change ourselves.  We need to drop the rock and walk away.  Forgive.  

Sometimes, and especially for addicts, the most difficult thing to do is forgive yourself.  I believe Jesus addressed this in the story we just read when he said:“Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” (John 8:2-11 NIV).  The one person, the Perfect savior of the world, who could condemn us, tells us that he doesn't condemn us, to go and sin no more.  

Hope- there is hope 

The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; (Psalm 103:8-13 NIV) 

The woman was left all by herself with Jesus. There comes a time in our life when we will find ourselves alone. The only one who was there defending her was Jesus. But that's all we need.  He is all we need.  Go and leave your life of sin.  A fresh start. A new beginning. That's what Christ offers to us all.  

If you have an addiction that tears at you.
If you hold unforgiveness in your heart 
If you are hurting 

To support this family, to have victory in your life...forgive.

Whether Tony's life directly affected you or if you have a "Tony" in your life.  Maybe you were like me, ready to judge and condemn - go for it...IF you're free from sin yourself.  Maybe you're like Tony, if you are, then ask the Lord for forgiveness and then forgive yourself .

Jesus is here
Speaking to your accusers
They are gone
He speaks to us 
He has forgiven you
forgive yourself and leave your life of sin

All of us...We are All flawed.  

The church was packed with those who loved Tony.  It was a blessing to see he impacted so many.

July, 2013 - Tony and Sandy came to hear me preach at The Vine.  This was the last time I saw him, but I know that the Word of God touched his life.  I know he was proud of me.
Easter Sunday, somewhere around '73-'74

The good 'ole days, when innocence was everything. 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Truth and Reality: I just want to sleep and eat

Originally posted as a FB note on August 15, 2013

Reality and Truth - I just want to sleep and eat

August 25, 2013 at 9:18pm
Reality: I didn't want to run today. I came home from church and went to bed. I wanted to stay curled up and if I had to get up, all I wanted to do was eat. I wanted to eat something really really bad and lots and lots of it. Instead, I got out of bed, got dressed and went to the Marina with two of my boys.

I ran. I ran because I didn't want to. I ran because my mind and body fought so hard to keep me in bed. I ran because all I wanted to do was sleep and eat.

I sobbed while I ran. I sobbed because I didn't want to run. I sobbed because sometimes I just don't want to move forward. I want to sit, lie still and lifeless and hope that things will just go on without my attention. I sobbed and ran and prayed and told God that I didn't want to move another step, but my feet kept shuffling along pulling my aching body and troubled mind forward.

I refuse to give up. I can't stop. Life is so overwhelming and difficult, but I have no other option but to move forward. I didn't enjoy my run. I was embarrassed of my tear stained face and snot covered T-shirt, but I was strengthened by time spent with my God. He ran with me. He heard me. He helped me. He caught my tears, and I'm convinced that He is creating a lake just for me in heaven and one day I will swim in the tears that I have shed.

Truth: We all have inner struggles that we go through. We all have voices that speak to us, one encouraging and one that is beating us down making us want to give up. Sometimes the abusive voice is overwhelming and overpowering. The Spirit of God is the voice that brings hope and encouragement. Our flesh and the negativity of this world, past experiences and the enemy of our soul is the abusive voice. That voice wanted me to stay in bed stressed and depressed. It wanted me to give up all that I have worked so hard at, my healing and health and gorge on food that would cause me to get sick. I recognized that voice and decided to beat it. It's not easy, but it's worth it. Fight on and press on even if your sobbing while doing it.

Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. (Matthew 26:41 KJV)

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. (Philippians 4:13 KJV)

Friday, March 06, 2015

In the thick of it, but I know morning is on the way

Originally posted as a FB note on March 5, 2013

In the thick of it...but I know morning is on the the way

March 5, 2013 at 11:54pm
Months from now I'll wonder how I did it. I'll wonder where the strength came from and I'll stand amazed at the Glory of God. For now, there is no time to turn to either side and check out where I am. There is no time for distractions, amazement or disbelief. I just press forward to the goals that are set before me.
As I push forward thoughts go through my head - thoughts that I shouldn't be here. Thoughts of the years gone by and the beatings, pressings and breaking I've already gone through. The moments where I almost gave up flash through my mind. Dark moments. Desperate. Helpless and hopeless moments. Moments of indescribable hurt and pain. Yet, I look up and see light. I see hope. I see a future. Amazing.
No time for distractions. No time for celebrating, yet. But when the time does come, I will weep. I will weep for what I've been through. I will weep for what I have come out of and I will weep for what is to come. Then the morning will shine ever so brightly upon my life and Joy...Joy will overwhelm me and I will cry sweet, not bitter, tears. Oh, sweet release - I feel you ever so near!
Be my Strength Lord. Continue to be my strength.