Ringing in the New Year — a New Year’s Resolution & More….

As I watched the ball drop, and heard the countdown, then hearing everyone celebrating in the new year, I had mixed feelings.  With 2012 being a year of ups and downs, several changes – good & bad, spending much time soul searching, being still & waiting upon God, with His help healing in my recovery of codependency, finding myself, and yet not knowing what the future holds, I was glad 2012 was over, but a sense of fear and anxiety went through my mind of the “what if’s” that could happen in 2013.  Then I sat down, journaled my thoughts and feelings, prayed, and realized I was allowing the fear of the unknown to try and take over my life with anxiety.  But once I stopped the chaotic “what ifs”, and let my mind “be still”, and place my hope in our almighty God and His love and promises…

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God” — Philippians 4:6

“You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.”  — Psalm 16:11

“In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord make me dwell in safety.” — Psalm 4:7-8

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope, and a future.” — Jeremiah 29:11

…trusting in Him, not in myself, helped me change my attitude expecting instead many great blessings from above, physical, emotional and financial abundance, & making the choice to live life with hope, peace & joy in my life, having confidence in the one who is in control of everything, the one who has already won the battle, defeated death–loves me and those I love, cares for us, wants what’s best for us, and knows what that is — therefore, I choose to give God myself daily, asking Him to shine His love through me in whatever I do and say, to allow me the privilege to encourage others, pray for others, love others and leave them in good hands of their creator and loving heavenly Father.  After journaling and praying my fears and feelings to our heavenly father, claiming His promises,  and praising Him for His love, watch and care over me and those I love — it was just like Him to comfort me in what I was feeling through these words in the book, “God’s Abundance” (written in blue):

“…We all face challenges every year, yet some years seem more daunting than others.  At those times, the future seems forbidding.  The abundant life seems difficult to reach.  Yet, I recognize now more than ever before, the need to press forward and live.  Live fully.  Live courageously.  And most importantly, live without fear of continued suffering touching my life or the lives of those I love.

I recognize this life is peppered with pain and injustices of every sort–this is the human condition and none are immune from it.  For me to hide myself away and allow part of life’s ills to immobilize me would be the saddest of tragedies.  In truth, it would be the greatest irony of all–for the losses would be ever more compounded if I succumb.

So this year, I choose to put behind me the fears I feel about the unknown.  I consciously decide to embrace the future, facing each circumstance with joyful expectancy and hopeful anticipation rather than with fearful pausing and hesitancy.  I will live my life with the integrity which can only be earned by relinquishing my selfish securities and unattainable control over the mystery of life itself.  I am determined to make this the best year yet!

What fears are you facing?  Let God speak hope to your heart.  He knows His plans for you and they are meant only for helping you grow in abundant living.”

Isn’t our God amazing?  So, for those of you who had similar feelings when the new year rang in, I hope this blog has helped encourage you, and has given you the confidence to move forward in hope, peace & joy through the love of our creator and heavenly Father.  With that I leave you several good quotes from others who opened their hearts and listened to our loving heavenly Father throughout their lives as well.  God bless!

“The secret lies in how we handle today, not yesterday or tomorrow.  Today…that special block of time holding the keys that locks out yesterday’s nightmares and unlocks tomorrow’s dreams.” — Charles Swindoll

“So often we pray and then fret anxiously, waiting for God to hurry up and do something.  All the while God is waiting for us to calm down, so He can do something through us.” — Corrie Ten Boom

“The fierce grip of panic need not immobilize you.  God knows no limitation when it comes to deliverance.  Admit your fear.  Commit it to Him.  Dump the pressure on Him.  He can handle it.” — Charles Swindoll

“Faith is having a positive attitude of what I can do, and not worrying at all about what I can’t do.” — Joyce Meyer

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When Should I Say “No”, and When Should I Say “Yes”? As a Codependent, It’s Not Always As Easy As It Seems…

So we just finished the year 2012, and for me it was a year filled with many blessings, but also things that made me do some deep soul searching and brought healing for myself.  Being a recovering codependent, I have had lots of problems with saying “no” when I should, and even saying “yes” to things when I should.  Recently I read something that helped really clear things up for me, and so I thought I’d share it.  I hope for those who fight this battle of codependency that this will help you as well, and for those who have no problems with these two words, but know someone in your life who does, maybe this will help clear up why they battle it so much.

In my daily meditations for codependents called “The Language of Letting Go” by Melody Beattie, I read the following two daily devotions (one on saying “No”, and one on saying “yes”)  Here goes…

Codependent Daily Devotion:  Saying “NO”

For many of us the most difficult word to say is one of the shortest and easiest in the vocabulary:  No.  Go ahead, say it aloud:  No.

No — simple to pronounce, hard to say.  We’re afraid people won’t like us, or we feel guilty.  We may believe that a “good” employee, child, parent, spouse, or Christian never says no.  The problem is, if we don’t learn to say no, we stop liking ourselves and the people we always try to please.  We may even punish others out of resentment.

When do we say no?  When no is what we really mean.  When we learn to say no, we stop lying.  People can trust us, and we can trust ourselves.  All sorts of good things happen when we start saying what we mean.

If we’re scared to say no, we can buy some time.  We can take a break, rehearse the word, and go back and say no.  We don’t have to offer long explanations for our decisions.  When we can say no, we can say yes to the good.  Our no’s and our yes’s begin to be taken seriously.  We gain control of ourselves.  And we learn a secret: “No” isn’t really that hard to say.

Today, I will say no if that is what I mean.

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Codependent Daily Devotion:  Saying “YES”

Okay, so we just read about learning to say no.  Now, let’s discuss another important word: “Yes“.

We can learn to say yes to things that feel good, to what we want — for ourselves and others.

We can learn to say yes to fun.  Yes to meetings, to calling a friend, asking for help.

We can learn to say yes to healthy relationships, to people and activities that are good for us.

We can learn to say yes to ourselves, what we want and need, our instincts, and the leading of our Higher Power. (to me this is God and His word.)

We can learn to say yes when it feels right to help someone.  We can learn to say yes to our feelings.  We can learn to identify when we need to take a walk, take a nap, have our back rubbed, or buy ourselves flowers.

We can learn to say yes to work that is right for us.

We can learn to say yes to all that will nurture and nourish us.  We can learn to say yes to the best life and love have to offer.

Today, I will say yes to all that feels good and right.

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I hope this has helped encourage other codependents with these issues, and cleared up the crazy mindset we have to others that just don’t get it.

One other thing that I read recently that has helped me when I’m asked to give a yes or no answer is this:  “Whenever I say ‘yes’ to something, that means I’m saying ‘no’ to something else.”  For example — If I say “yes” to teach that course on Tuesday nights, then I’m saying “no” to my family on Tuesday nights.  This has really caused me to stop and consider what I say “yes” to before I do.  Which actually brings me to another issue I’ve dealt with.  I’ve always felt that I had to give an answer immediately.  I’ve realized that I don’t have to.  Actually, it’s better for everyone involved if I don’t.   It’s okay to take time to think about it, pray about it, consider all options and to provide the answer that will work out best for me and those in my world.  That’s being responsible for myself, my family, & the world that I’m a part of.

By realizing the healthy way to say “No” & “Yes”, has allowed me the freedom to enjoy life, and for others to enjoy it with me without the “craziness” I go through in my head always stressing about what to say or do.  Because I’m starting to learn what Jackie wants, feels & likes is one reason I believe I’m now able to understand this more clearly.  I have never allowed myself to stop and consider what I want, felt, liked….so now I’m working through this, getting a little more clarity each day, and it’s a wonderful journey I’m on.

For those who understand this battle I fight and the journey I’m on, I encourage you to do the same.  You don’t have to be a victim by giving up your wants, likes and needs, by giving everyone else what they want, like and need.  By getting a healthy perspective, and taking responsibility for “YOU”, and allowing everyone else to be responsible for themselves, will give you a freedom like you’ve never had, and your relationships with others will be healthier, stronger, better and more enjoyable than ever before.  I wish you the best in your journey through the recovery of codependency.

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A Dedication To My Daddy….Happy Father’s Day

You always hear that saying: “Daddy’s little girl”, and it just fits, doesn’t it?  No matter how grown up I am, I’ve heard that told to me different times over the years “You’re daddy’s little girl”.  The older I get, the more I am proud to be “daddy’s little girl”.

Dad, I know over the years, you’ve had your good and not-so good times, your ups and downs of life, but you know what?  We all have, we’re human.  But to realize the wrongs we’ve done, and to strive each day to do better, that’s what’s important, and dad you have done just that.  With Father’s Day around the corner, I just wanted to dedicate this BLOG to you to let you know how much I love you and how much I appreciate who you are.  I’d like for you to realize what you’ve taught me, the memories I have of you, and the things I see in me, that I see in you.

First I just want to say “thank you” for bringing laughter into my life.  I’ve had a tendency to be too serious in life, but one of your greatest gifts is to help others laugh, and what joy that has brought to my heart and soul.  You have no idea, how this one gift of yours has meant so much to me throughout my life.  Thank you!

Along with the blessings of laughter you’ve brought to my life, you’ve also taught me many great things.  You taught me to work hard, and to know that life isn’t just handed to me.  You taught me to ask for what I want, knowing the worse thing anyone can say is “no” — but if I don’t ask, I probably won’t receive.  You taught me the importance of providing praise and encouragement to others and how important it makes them feel.  One of the many wonderful memories I have are of you doing this, especially to those who have the least and are usually just passed by every day.  For example, I remember as a young adult, we were in the hospital visiting someone, and as we walked down the hallway, we passed the janitor cleaning up a mess, and you stopped and looked him in the eye and said: “Thank you for cleaning up the mess, you are doing a great job!”  You could just see his eyes glowing after you told him that.  Or the young lady at the restaurant, working really hard, running around, and serving others, and when she got to our table you’d say something like: “I’ve been watching you and you’re doing such a great job serving others, thanks for your service.”  You could see that just made herday, and you could see her serving with her shoulders back and head held high.  WOW dad, that alone speaks volumes of what a wonderful man and human being you are.

Other things you’ve shown me is your dedication to your faith, and how you’ve given of yourself over the years to help and encourage others to find a peace that only God can provide.  The gift of faith, encouragement, and enthusiasm of God’s word, along with the power of prayer, has touched more lives than you’ll ever realize.  I am friends on Facebook with some of those who have been touched by you in so many ways over the years, whether it was you bringing forth God’s word to encourage, motivate, inspire or challenge them, or going to the hospitals to pray with and encourage those who were ill, they have written of their appreciation for you and what you’ve given them. 

The dedication to go forth into all of the world as Christ has commanded, going to India two different times to spread God’s word is something I commend you for doing.  The long exhausting flights, the big change in the time zones, giving up the comforts of home for a third world country that is so poverished, where you touched thousands of lives, and made a difference forever, some for eternity.

And how you’ve shown me your courage and willingness to do whatever it takes through your battle since having a stroke in 2010.  You fought back physically, with a positive mental attitude like I’ve never seen, and when things didn’t get back to how you expected them to get, through your discouragement, through your battle of patience with this new life you’ve been dealt, you again have come through with such greatness.  Just like David who God called: “the man after His own heart”, when writing the Psalm, many times over and over, David begged and pleaded to God, he’d cry out to God and say things like: “God have you left me?”, “God, where are you?”….then as he continued writing, he started claiming God’s promises, trusting in Him….and ending his Psalm with glory and praise to our God Almighty — that my dear daddy — is You!!  Just like David in the Psalm, it’s a process we all must go through in our lives through the battles we fight.  We can’t always stay on top, we may feel down and depressed, but going to God’s word for hope, promises and peace, and surrendering it all to Him, will bring us to the end with a peace and joy to glorify and praise our Almighty God.  You have a tendency to be too hard on yourself, wanting to beat yourself up for being down and depressed, but please realize the man of God’s own heart was there many times, the point is, he didn’t stay there, and neither have you.  You’re amazing and I love you for your fight, strength and courage, and your acceptance of where you are in life and offering it to God to use as you trust in Him.

So what are some of the things I see in me, that I see in you?  First, is that I am too hard on myself just like you are, it’s definitely a challenge for me too.  Second, is our challenge to try and stay balanced, always going full force, giving it all we’ve got, not having an off button, but then crashing — but we both do recognize this and are working towards balance a little more each day.    Our minds also tend to run a mile a minute, day and night — I’ve heard this is a sign of great intelligence 🙂  — It can actually be good with many great thoughts and ideas, but it can also have the tendency to go towards anxiety, worry and fear, which we both tend to battle.  Over the years we have chosen to see things with a positive attitude, encouraging one another to surrender our anxiety, worry and fear to God by claiming His promises, such as 2 Timothy 1:7 “For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but the spirit of power, love and a sound mind.”, as well as Psalm 4:8 “In PEACE I will lie down and sleep, for YOU ALONE, O Lord, will keep me safe”.  And we rise each morning claiming Psalm 91, which is known as the Psalm of Safety and also the Soldier’s Psalm, as well as Psalm 118:24 “This is the day the Lord has made, I will REJOICE and be GLAD in it.”  Third, is our love of living in the state of Florida, the bright blue skies, glowing warm sun, the massage on our feet when walking on the sand, and hearing the waves of the ocean, and feeling the breeze blow across our face, and seeing it brush through the palm trees, what a wonderful and beautiful state we have been blessed to live in.   Fourth is our love for knowledge and education, loving to research and learn more all of the time.  Fifth is loving to love others and provide words of encouragement and praise.  Last, and most importantly is our strong faith in a living God, who is the same yesterday, today and forever.  The God who loved us so much, even in our deepest sin, that He sent His one and only son to die on the cross, and to resurrect, alive and well, so that we may be with Him again for eternity.  That makes my heart sing, because one of the other things I see in me, that I see in you, is our love to dance, and one day, in eternity, we will be together forever, no more pain or hurts, no more sorrow or worry, no more anxiety or fear,  and no more sadness or tears — I say it’s going to be the biggest, longest party there ever was — worshiping our loving, almighty God, being reunited with family and friends, dancing and rejoicing, filled with laughter, fun and joy!!!  Oh what an amazing time we will have FOREVER 🙂

So my dear daddy-o, the next time you catch yourself being to hard on yourself, please remember this BLOG, and know that you have given so much to so many, with your words of laughter, hope, encouragement and praise over the years, you’ve not only touched our lives at the moment you gave those things, but they remain in our hearts and become part of our memories and who we are forever.

Also, please realize life is a process, and God’s word has all of the answers.  If we will just surrender everything to our Almighty–Living–All-Wise–All-Powerful–Loving God, who is our firm foundation, we will be able to rejoice and praise Him in all curcumstances of life, trusting in Him as He knows what’s best for us, and will provide that for us, if we will surrender and relax in Him.

I thank God He has given me such a wonderful, loving, courageous father who fills my life with laughter.  Please know you are such an AWESOME gift from God, and I thank Him daily for the relationship we have.  Happy Father’s day dad!

Love,

Jackie,

“daddy’s little girl”

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A Dedication To My Wonderful Mother – Happy Mother’s Day!

Wow, I received a beautiful card in the mail a couple of weeks ago from my mom.

Here’s what it said:       “My Beautiful Daughter, I want you to always know that in good and bad times I will love you, and that no matter what you do or how you think or what you say you can depend on my support, guidance, friendship and love every minute of every day.  I love being your mother.”  She then hand wrote: “We both appreciate the person and daughter that you are.  You are such an encourager and caring person.  Words cannot express our love for you.  Continue to be the christian daughter, mother, grandmother, wife & sister you are.  God bless you and Ron!”

To hear these words from my mother meant more than you’ll ever know.  I think all of us, no matter our age, want to hear words of love, encouragement, and support from others, especially our parents, and this card just filled me with such a great feeling I can’t even explain it.

Since Sunday is Mother’s Day, I thought it appropriate to write this blog and to say “thank you, mom for my card, you don’t know how much that meant to me!”  I’d also like to say “thank you” for giving me the best gift you could ever give me.  Over the years I have grown from being a daughter and sister, to also being a wife, mother and grandmother.  And I remember so many times over those years, how you have apologized for things you had done or said that you felt you shouldn’t have or that might not have come out just right, but as humans we all have the tendency to hurt and fail those we love.  I believe that’s just part of being human.  The important thing is that we recognize it and we work at making those changes for the better.

So, the best gift you have given me was your love and your faith in a God who is alive and well — our Creator, Lord and Savior.  Even though you have apologized over the years for raising Jeff and I in a very legalistic church, where man placed laws and regulations on us, that God never expected us to have, the positive side to it all was that we grew up learning that there was a living God, and that He loved us so much He sent His one and only Son, Jesus Christ to die on the cross and be resurrected for our sins, so that we could be his children and live with Him forever in eternity.  Do you know how powerful that is?  I may have had to seek counseling for a distorted view of the do’s and don’ts that man, not God, put on us over those years, having to work through things like unhealthy guilt and shame, trying to be perfect, never feeling worthy or good enough, but as an adult, seeing those who have never been told about this wonderful God and what He and His son has done for us, makes me appreciate your faith, and appreciate your desire to want me to have this eternal life.

To find the balance from seeing God as a God with a whip ready to correct my errors, to seeing the true God of love and grace has helped me build character and has helped me to be more understanding of those who feel an anger toward God, that I would never have understood had my life been different.

For years after the church split, I couldn’t even read God’s word because I thought it was a bunch of do’s and don’ts, laws and regulations, and I was so tired and exhausted from trying to be perfect, and knowing I kept failing, I couldn’t even stand to open it up.  But after years of christian counseling, 12 step codependency groups, and seeking God’s face, desiring a relationship with Him as a loving God, I have come to a place where God, not man, wants me to be.  He wants me to be “me” – no more or no less.  As His word says in Psalm 139:14 “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;  your works are wonderful,  I know that full well.”  It may have taken me several years to work through all of these issues, but one thing I’ve learned is that our timing is not God’s timing, and going through these trials and tribulations, finding who I truly am, the Jackie God created, and not the distorted view that man placed upon me for the first 22 years of my life, has brought me to a place where I’m patient with others who have a distorted view of God as well, just as He had patience with me for all of those years working through my baggage.  And it’s given me the attitude of appreciation for who He really is and what He really means to me and all of those He created, that I would not have appreciated had I not had to work through all of these things.   Just as a caterpillar has to work hard to get himself out of the cocoon to become a beautiful butterfly and be able to fly freely, so am I.  If we try to help the caterpillar by breaking open the cocoon, instead of allowing it to work hard to open it himself, then we really have done it an injustice, because that work it puts forth, helps build itself up to be strong enough to fly.  So by helping to open the cocoon would cause it to be too weak and unable to fly, not allowing it to become what it was created to be.  And so it is with me mom.  All of the work and effort you’ve seen me put forth over these years, are the efforts for me to get out of my cocoon, and to become the beautiful butterfly to freely fly as God intended.  So, the next time you think you should apologize for this, please stop and remember this blog – for you should be applauded for what you’ve given me, and I can’t thank you enough.  I love you mom!  And as Proverbs 31:28 states: “Her children arise and call her blessed…”.  And as you can see, part of my freedom to fly, is the ability to open God’s word and to be able to read all of the blessings and promises God provides. I can’t get enough of His word, now that man’s distortion is removed, and the clear view of God’s word shines through, I just soak it up.

God bless you mom for who you are and what you’ve given me.  God has blessed me with the most wonderful mother in the world!

Happy Mother’s Day!

Love, your daughter,

Jackie

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Fear or Faith? It’s Our Choice…the end result is up to us!!

So, when things happen in your life and you’re faced to make a decision — do you let fear overwhelm you, or do you choose faith to conquer?  Did you ever think about the consequences of your choices?  You’ve probably heard it said, that if you don’t make a decision, you really are making one.  Well, when we have to make decisions in life we can either allow fear to stagnate us, or faith to move us forward.  So, the end result is truly up to us.  Let’s look at a couple of examples.  The first one shows us what resulted from having faith and the second one shows us what resulted from allowing fear to take over and reign.

First would be when Joshua had to face giants to defeat Jericho.  In short, God told Joshua and his army to march around the city and play the trumpets and shout on the 7th day and the walls would come tumbling down.  Do you think Joshua thought “Wow God, that’s really not how I was thinking we should go in and defeat them, I really don’t see how that’s going to work”.  I know that’s how many of us today would feel.  But Joshua’s faith in God’s wisdom, love and power gave him the willingness to trust and obey God, and by doing so, Joshua defeated Jericho and won the battle!

The second example I’d like for you to consider is when Moses was leading the Israelites to take over the promise land, and he sent 12 spies to check things out.  Only two of the twelve spies had faith and believed they could take this land because they trusted in a Mighty God.  (By the way, one of the two spies was Joshua)  But the other ten, looking at it from a human standpoint, feared those people who looked like giants to them, and gave all the reasons in the world why they shouldn’t take over the promise land.  Because of their lack of faith, God told Moses they would wonder in the wilderness and would never see the promise land.  After I read this I thought, “WOAH!!!!  God, please help me to have faith in you so that what you promise will come true in my life.  I don’t want to be one who just wonders in the wilderness all my life because I was afraid and didn’t have faith in you to trust and obey Your will for me.”

So many times in our lives we have giants we face, whether it’s financial, physical, emotional, or spiritual, Our God is greater than all of these giants we face, if we will just surrender our ways and thoughts and accept His ways which He provides in His word.

For those of you who know me well, know that when I battle the giants in my life, I seek God’s face and I let Him know that I believe He is the Living God who can do the impossible, and is able to do all things.  When satan puts things in my mind, or others try to discourage me and tell me, “look it just doesn’t make sense, there’s no way….”.   I claim that God does things that may not make sense in our human eyes, but He who closed the mouth of the lions for Daniel, saved the three hebrew boys from a fiery furnace (they didn’t even smell like smoke – AMAZING), and the God who helped Joshua win the battle of Jericho, is still the same God I trust in today.

Then I hear, “that was God then, but He doesn’t do those things now.”  Well, I beg to differ with those who say that.  For instance, it’s been said that Psalm 91 is called the Soldiers’ Psalm.  We are told that in World War I, the soldiers of the 91st Brigade recited the 91 Psalm daily.  This brigade engaged in three of the war’s bloodiest battles.  Other units suffered up to 90% casualties, but the 91st Brigade did not suffer a single combat-related death.  AMAZING, and guess what?  This happened in today’s time.  God is still at work if we will surrender ourselves, pray to Him, claim His word and trust and obey Him.

I may not have to face a lions den, or a fiery furnace, or battle to take over Jericho, but I’ve fought the giants of this world.  I’ve battled codependency and perfectionism, fear, anxiety and depression, where I tried doing it my way, telling God to come with me and help me overcome it, but to no avail.  But once I surrendered it all to him on April 13, 2002, I released all of my anger, bitterness, resentment, fear and depression to Him and asked Him to fill me instead with His hope, peace, joy, contentment, mercy, kindness and to let His love ring through me — and He did!!

Not too long ago my husband and I fought a financial giant where the buyers of our home and business in another state defaulted, as we were carrying the papers.  We were facing the possibility of losing everything we had and worked hard for.  But we rebuked fear, and surrendered it to God, trusting and obeying His ways, and He redeemed the house by having the debt forgiven, and resold our business for even more.  I’ve fought physical giants of constant migraines since a young teen, arthritis since I was 16, and was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue in 2002.  Even though I asked God to remove these physical ailments, I surrendered my will to His, and He has chosen to grow me in character through perseverence of these things.  You see before this, I was telling God the plans I had, and asked Him to come with me.  But through these ailments He has taught me to “Be Still, and Know He is God”, and to learn to “Wait upon the Lord”.   I have learned that I must surrender myself daily to Him, letting Him know I’m His and ask Him to use me each day as He sees fit.  What a difference surrendering to Him, and trusting and obeying Him has provided inside of me.  A peace, hope, joy and contentment, I could never get anywhere else.  You see, our God is the same yesterday, today and forever.  He closed the mouths of the lions in biblical days, He protected the soldiers in World War I, and He’s still doing the impossible, if we will just rebuke the fear (caused by us viewing things from a human perspective and trying to do it on our own abilities), and putting our faith in Him, surrendering ourselves and trusting and obeying Him.  As humans we will be hurt and others will fail us, even those who love us dearly.  But I have found in my life that God is the one constant, firm foundation that I can depend on, who never fails me.  And as mighty and powerful as He is, He is so relational, that He desires a personal relationship with each one of us.  I’m so grateful for His love, wisdom, might and power that He provides each one of us every day, if we will just accept His gift of salvation, surrender ourselves to Him and trust and obey Him.  I challenge you, wherever you are, to do this, because you will see great things happen in your life.

Below are scriptures that you can claim for your own, and hold close to your heart.  And below that is a link you can click on, to listen to a powerful song by Chris Tomlin, called “Our God”.  Please feel free to read God’s promises, and enjoy the song.  I’m sure you’ll feel the power of our Almighty God.  May God bless you.

Joshua 1:5-9 “No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life…so I will be with you.  I will never leave you nor forsake you….Be strong and very courageous.  Be careful to obey all the law…do not turn from it to the right or left, that you may be successful wherever you go.  Do not let the book of the law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it.  Then you will be prosperous and successful….Be strong and courageous.  Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

2 Timothy 1:7 “For God has not given you the spirit of fear, but of power, and love, and a sound mind.”

Proverbs 3:5-6Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”

Psalm 91      1 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.  2 I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”  3 Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. 4 He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. 5 You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, 6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. 7 A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. 8 You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked. 9 If you make the Most High your dwelling— even the LORD, who is my refuge- 10 then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent.       11 For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; 12 they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. 13 You will tread upon the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent.       14 “Because he loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. 15 He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. 16 With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation.”

click on this link to listen to “Our God” by Chris Tomlin & Feel the Power — God bless!

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Woman – Relational “To The Core”…

Wow, what an amazing weekend.  It was wonderful to spend last night and today with some wonderful women at our women’s retreat at CCW (Christian Church in the Wildwood)

Terri Wimmer was the guest speaker, and we are privileged to have her right here as a member at CCW.  She helped us realize how important, relational and powerful we truly are as women.

Starting with the Garden of Eden, she helped us realize that before the fall, we as human beings, created in the likeness of God Himself was in harmony with everything.  We were in harmony with God, We were in harmony with each other, we were in harmony with ourselves & we were in harmony with nature.  What a beautiful place that must have been.  Always in the presence of a loving God, receiving gifts, walking and talking with Him daily, providing a hedge of protection, having no sense of hurt, pain, shame or fear.

She also helped us realize that God created women to be relational “to the core”, just as God is.  This threatened satan.  He knew how powerful God created woman to be, and he knew that woman would bear offspring of the “image of God”, and he didn’t want that.  So he decided to go to her and tell her that if they ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they would not die, they would have their eyes open and would be wise and see things as God.  (This made me realize what protection we had under the wings of our heavenly Father, but by having the knowledge of good and evil, caused us to see things on the other side of the Garden we would never have seen had we obeyed.)  Well, Eve, as so many of us women do today, wanted that knowledge, wanted to know more, see it all, and ask why should I just follow God’s word, I need to know it all first, rather than letting God lead and we just trust and obey Him.  As Terri stated, we need to realize that satan always confuses reality, makes evil seem good, and brings doubt about God’s character.

Because of disobeying the one rule God had, He, being a just God, had to keep His word, and so came the consequences.  First the curse caused us to no longer be in harmony.  We were no longer in harmony with God, with each other, with ourselves,or with nature.

Terri helped us to consider how they might have felt after the fall.  Probably dissapointed in themselves for being disobedient and disappointing God.  They immediately realized they were naked (they now had this knowledge of good and evil, that God was protecting them from prior to the fall), and immediately they felt ashamed.  They were possibly afraid, because now they were no longer inside the hedge of protection, and probably had fears of the unknown.  This really helped me realize, that times when I don’t understand God’s direction, and I feel like I want to know the whole reason why before I obey, do I really?  Before the fall, they obeyed, and He provided and protected.  They had no knowledge to even have a sense of fear, anxiety or worry.  But after the fall, now that they had the knowledge of good and evil, it brought forth so much fear, anxiety and shame, rather than just living life with peace, joy, and trust.

I was thinking how wonderful the Garden of Eden would have been, why did Adam and Eve have to mess it up?  But then I think, if they didn’t, someone else would have, it might have been me.  And then I questioned God, “Why did you give us the ability to choose?”  But, in thinking about it, I understand His reasoning, because everything He made besides man, which was made in His image, have no choice.  They do exactly what he created them to do.  But as a creator, who is relational “to the core”, He wanted to make something that would love Him back, because they wanted to, not because He made them to.  When I thought about this, it just made me so thankful, that even though He’s a just God and there were consequences to disobeying, He loved us so much that He made another way for us to get back into a relationship with Him through the blood of His one and only son Jesus Christ.  And because of this, we can get back into the hedge of protection, “fear not” for He is with us, “Be still” and know He is God, and knowing this, causes me to be more willing to get up each day and surrender my life to Him, thankful for His love, and knowing that even if I don’t totally understand why He asks something of me, I know it’s for my best and I will trust and obey.  I’ve gained so much from this retreat, but the one lesson sticking out in my mind is that as much as I love to learn and gain knowledge, I have learned from this lesson to not question God, to not desire the complete knowledge of good and evil, but to read His word, trust in His guidance, and obey Him knowing He’s an all-wise, all-knowing, all-loving God who truly wants what’s best for me.

Terri made two trees.  One was the Tree of Life, and the other was the Tree of the Knowledge of Good & Evil.  She had band aids there, for us to place our hurts and things we battle and asked us to place them on the Tree of the Knowledge of Good & Evil to surrender them to God.  Then she asked us to write scriptures on post it notes that help and encourage us, and to place them on the Tree of Life.  My hurts and battles I surrendered today was codependency, perfectionism, control, fear & anxiety.  The scriptures I posted on the Tree of Life were:

Psalm 46:10  “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

Isaiah 41:10  So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Phillipians 4:4-6 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything,   but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God,   which transcends all understanding,   will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Hebrews 13:8  Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.  (He’s my one constant, he’s the one I can always depend on no matter what, He never changes – Praise God!)

I hope by sharing my hurts and battles, and my scriptures of strength, you are blessed.  This can be very healing to surrender, and very invigorating to claim God’s promises.  So I encourage you, if you’re reading this, to just stop right where you are, get some band aids and write your hurts and battles down and surrender them to God.  Then write down scriptures that help and encourage you and take them with you, place them on your bathroom mirror to see each morning, in your car as you travel, in your purse so you can hold onto them as you go throughout your day.

I want to thank everyone who worked so hard before, during and after this retreat to make it happen.  You all did a wonderful job, and I pray God’s blessings upon your service and willingness to make all of this happen.  I pray God’s blessings upon each woman who took the time to attend this retreat, and hope they were filled with wonderful worship, great times of tears and laughter and building stronger relationships with one another.  And to each of you who will read this, that you will feel God’s love and presence, because He is a relational God “to the core” and desires a personal relationship with each one of us.  He is an AWESOME God!  God bless!

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Be Still! Wait! — Man that can be tough…but worth it…

One of the hardest things I have found for me to do is “be still” & “to wait”, yet I have come to realize, that’s what God is asking me to do so many times in my life, much more than He’s asking me to “do”.  And in doing this I’ve realized a more abundant, simpler, & fuller life!

“Be still and know that I am God…” — Psalm 46:10

When I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in 2002, I asked God to heal me because I had so much to give, and had so much I could do for Him if He would just heal my physical body of these ailments.  But I realize now that His answer was; “Wait,  you have some things to learn, and through these illnesses I am going to teach you great things”.

To help me explain what I’ve learned, recently I was reading a daily passage from the book “God’s Abundance-365 days to a simpler life” Edited by Kathy Collard Miller.  The daily devotion was called “The Simplicity of Service”.  Part of it goes like this,  “…The Voice asked, “Why are you so busy?  What are you doing in your busyness?  What are you living for?”  And her answer was very similar to mine.  “I am helping…..I am busy for You!”  Gently God showed me that my busyness was motivated by me, not God.  I had kept myself busy serving for many years but I had no time for praising, adoring, and listening.  Like Martha of the Bible, I had scurried around doing much for God.  Now I know He didn’t want my work; He wanted my devotion, affection, and love….The still small Voice is the source of abundant life.  Listen!  Make sure you’re not too busy to find peace through the simple, important things of life like relationships and worship. 

I have found this to be so true, and without being put on my back with these illnesses, I would have never realized the peace, joy and contentment I have received by “being still”, and “listening to His still small Voice”.   I’ve realized that in the busyness of life, it’s too noisy to hear His Voice, and life becomes chaotic.  But when we obey and “be still”, and spend time with Him in prayer and His word, surrendering ourselves to Him daily, we can hear His guidance, direction and wisdom, and we will have peace, joy and contentment that is never there in the busyness of life.  As He states in Matthew 11:29 — “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls”.  I am so grateful for a God who knows what’s best for me, and has healed me in so many ways emotionally and mentally through these physical illnesses of mine.

Also, in the book, “The Language of Letting Go–Daily Meditations for Codependents” by Melody Beattie, she writes about “Waiting”:  Wait.  If the time is not right, the way is not clear, the answer or decision not consistent, wait.  We may feel a sense of urgency.  We may want to resolve the issue by doing something–anything now, but that action is not in our best interest.

If the time is not right, wait.  If the way is not clear, do not plunge forward.  If the answer or decision feels muddy, wait.  Waiting is an action — a positive, forceful action.  Often waiting is a God-guided action, one with as much power as a decision, and more power than an urgent, ill-timed decision.

We do not have to pressure ourselves by insisting that we do or know something before it’s time.  When it is time, we will know.  We will move into that time naturally and harmoniously.  We will have peace and consistency.  We will feel empowered in a way we do not feel today.

“Wait on the Lord, be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the Lord!” — Psalm 27:14

“But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” — Isaiah 40:31

“Wait on the Lord, and keep His way, and He shall exalt you to inherit the land; when the wicked are cut off, you shall see it.” — Psalm 37:34

Over the years I have come to trust in a God who is my firm foundation, the one I have been able to depend on, my one constant in life, who is the same yesterday, today and forever.  I have found His words of wisdom to be so true and faithful, and I’m grateful I don’t have to do it all on my own in this big world.  I’ve come to realize that when I feel stressed out, and my life is a chaotic mess, I’ve started “doing” without “being still”, and “waiting on Him”, because when I obey and “be still”, and “wait on Him” I’m filled with a peace and contentment, even in the roughest seas of my life.  As He promises; “His yoke is easy, and His burden is light!” if we will just follow.

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