Give thanks. Because God loves.

“Give thanks to the Lord for He is good. His love endures forever.” I Chronicles 16:34

Be thankful to God. The world has such a distorted view of God. They don’t see how good He is. They don’t see that they are truly loved by Him.  Because He is good. He loves. Unconditionally. 

“And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 36:26

Only after you have given your heart to God will He remove the heart of stone. Till then our heart doesn’t soften easily. It doesn’t see the world that we have been blessed with. The Spirit will then be in us and we will have our eyes opened wide to what can not be seen with this stony heart.

Only then can we truly…Give thanks.

And truly know….He is Good.

And truly know….the hope of living forever.

 

 

In the midst of our chaotic lives Bryan and I managed to get away. We were blessed to find this wonderful cottage. On a horse farm. The wonderful couple who owns it started an organic farm after, Renee, the wife, got breast cancer. They are a wonderful christian couple and I was sorry we didn’t get to meet but hope to someday. They too were off visiting family.

 

 

Chloe and Trigger graced us with their presence each morning. The weather could not have been better. High in the 60’s during the day. I loved just walking around getting pictures of the beauty around us.

So many blessings….

 

    

On Thanksgiving we got to have a meal with our kids around us. Talk about blessed. Bryan and I love to cook. We didn’t have much but made the best of what we could.

    

The sunset on the last night was wonderful to see.

Blessings all around us.

God given blessings. My stony heart has completely been replaced by a new heart that the Spirit has filled and opened my eyes to the blessings on earth – blessings that remind me that someday this will be heaven. And this earth will be full of hope.

Learning How to Love Better

It’s been a heart wrenching few months for me. I don’t even know where to start or end right now. My blogs could be full of so much God is talking to me about right now. But it seems overwhelming some days.

I lost 2 friends. Two people that were so well loved. And others knew how much they were loved by these two people. They left behind a legacy that I want. People knew they loved God completely and loved them completely.

How can I be that? That when I am gone people show up in droves to my funeral because they knew I loved them and they knew I loved God. They knew, that I knew where I was going in life.

A quote I wrote down that I carry with me, “Remember to love on those near to you. Hold tight to those who are always there for you. Move forward in life. People come and go. Treasure those people – hold tight to them.”

I am a person who tends to want everyone to like me. I am not myself with them because I am afraid they won’t like the real me. But I have worked on being the real me in the last several years. I have lost a few people in my life because I tend to be brutally honest.

John Eldredge is one of my favorite authors. He said. “I am a keen observer of people and situations. I have a quick eye for the truth that no one else wants to admit and do not want to hear. Sadly I have said things and people get mad at me for what I said. And no longer want to speak to me.”

He was speaking of his son. His son is one of those who observes and notices everything and is very good at getting to the truth of it all. At first John didn’t like it. He was uncomfortable hearing the straight forward truth but in time he began to appreciate it.

I realized alot of people don’t like how straight forward I can be. And my first thought was, “Too bad, so sad” but is that loving someone??? So when I am being straight forward, am I loving that person??

I now ask myself that constantly. In everything I do. Whatever action – am I loving this person? What would Jesus do? WWJD. Really? Yes. Jesus loved – in everything He did. To the very end.

I will admit it has changed me to the point that I feel uncomfortable sometimes. I am trying to be different and I don’t know what that looks like and I am learning and I am coming across withdrawn but I am wanting to change and it will take time.

“Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.” 2 Corinthians 7:1

First of all, BELOVED. My new favorite word. Because I AM HIS BELOVED. He calls us all who are the kingdom family – Beloved. Second, defilement means to desecrate something.

I realized me, His Beloved, was defiling my heart and spirit, when I was not loving others. And as He changes me He is bringing me closer to His holiness. His completion of me which will come full circle is His time. Heaven. Completion. Praise God for that.

So here is in hopes that I continue to love others more. And be thankful now for others who are loving me. Not after they are gone.

My tribe. These are my people that I love dearly and they love me dearly.

5 Years ago…and now.

Tomorrow. Tomorrow I will celebrate a whole 5 years since I started my chemotherapy for breast cancer. It’s gonna be a day of reflection. A day to see how God has brought me through so much in so little time. I am already contemplating how I need to continue to go forward. You see it is also a day we are laying a very special lady to rest. A lady who I knew was special. A lady who touched so many lives. A lady who did not have it easy but through loving Jesus, loving life, and loving people, she was someone that all of us will miss. And for me a lady who I strive to be like. I will contemplate how; How God can I be more like her? Someone who just wanted to show Jesus to everyone she was with.

I can say I know for a solid fact that she is here in Spirit with us. Happy. In Peace. Not hurting anymore. And looking at us all as lovingly as she always did. I know she is with Jesus. No question about it.

I have lost several friends to cancer over the last 5 years. I have lost family members. Some cancer, some not. Some you wonder where their Spirit is. You aren’t sure. It’s hard not knowing if you will ever see them again. Do you know how hard that is??? To not know. Is that how I want to leave my close friends and family. Wondering. Not sure about me. No it is not.

I want to leave like Kimmie has. Knowing she loved Jesus. Knowing she loved everyone around her. Knowing she loved me. And, most important, knowing she is being loved by Jesus now. She strove to love others and now she is with Jesus — being loved on by HIM!!!

I John 4:11-12

11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.

Proverbs 3:18

“She is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her; those who hold her fast are called blessed.”

Luke 1:45

“And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.”

This last verse….read it. Take it in. She loved. She was called blessed. She was fulfilled. What peace there is in that.

Kimmie you will be missed. But I know you are right now watching all of us grieve and smiling because you know you are loved now. And you are happy. And you want us to know….

Let Go of that Rubbish!

Connection. Suffering well.

God has really been working on me with this the last few months. Last year was a transition period for me. Getting married. Moving. It was a huge transition. With my autistic daughter in tow too. Now I am learning and growing.

Suffering well has been huge. How have I suffered well? How can I do it better? Jesus suffered well. Job suffered well. Moses suffered well. Paul suffered well. So many people in the Bible suffered well. They didn’t have it easier than us. They had alot on their plates too.

It’s a choice. God gave Adam & Eve a choice. They regretted their choice. I don’t want to regret my choices.  I want God to show through in my choices. Because in the end it’s about getting to heaven – together.

Philippians has become my go to book right now. Paul talks through this whole book from jail. FROM JAIL. He has been changed. He has been persecuted. He has chosen to suffer well.

Philippians 3:8  “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ” ESV

Paul saw what he lost because of Christ as ‘rubbish’. Image result for define rubbish

Merriam-Webster dictionary defines rubbish as ‘things that are no longer useful’. Wow.

Moses lost alot. Job lost alot. Paul lost alot. Jesus lost alot.

But it was all rubbish. It was stuff that God knew was not needed. Losing things can be so tough. Losing relationships. Losing pets. Losing possessions. We have all lost something that hurt to let go of. But if you are doing this and you know without a shadow of a doubt that it is the path God wants you on — you need to know that these are things God feels are no longer useful to you.

He wants you to let go. Trust Him.

I have lost friends. Whether I have moved or they have passed away or we have had some relational issues going on. The loss is hard. But look to God and find out if it is something God wants you to let go of. Trust Him. Move forward.

Remember when Moses chose to trust God and moved forward what happened to him-??? And Job. Now Paul and Jesus died. Yes. But they knew where they were going. They knew how to suffer well. Plus they learned this: “ Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. “Philippians 4:11.

They learned to be content even if in the toughest of circumstances. Because they knew the loss was rubbish. It was time to let go and trust God that He had better plans for them.

What rubbish do you have that needs to be let go of?

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He is Powerful. He is Mighty. He is HERE.

Every year in May or June I take this trip. It’s a ‘gotta get away from life’ trip. I know it can sound selfish. I have learned one major thing with having cancer. You take time out of life to appreciate life.

It’s our annual go to the beach and veg time. Now understand I am a mountain and woods kind of girl. My daughter too. But I have learned with the best of them that propping up your umbrella, sitting in your chair with a good book, listening to the sound of the beach is one of the most relaxing things to do. It is very much like being on a mountaintop listening to the wind and just watching all the life below.

What is it about the beach? The ocean? I sat and contemplated one day. The vastness of that ocean is miraculous. How can you deny that something great and mighty and who loves beauty made that?? You can’t! The ocean or a mountain top – it all yells at you – THERE IS A MIGHTY, POWERFUL, LOVING GOD! HE IS HERE!!!

That alone is the most calming thing to know. He is mighty. He is powerful. He is loving. And he is HERE.

Psalm 139:8-10.” If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
    If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
If I take the wings of the morning
    and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 even there your hand shall lead me,
    and your right hand shall hold me.”

It’s crazy how we forget so easily and there are so many who don’t believe. To me sitting on that beach knowing this and really understanding it got me teary eyed and at the same time made me want to shout for joy. He is here.

Remember the footprints in the sand poem. I cross-stitched one when I was younger. That reminder that when we felt alone, He was actually carrying us.

When your Mothers Day is not so happy

I will just flat out say it right here.

My Mothers Day sucked. I mean really sucked. I watched all these wonderful posts on facebook and instagram and how great everyone else’s was… and then there was me. Now I know I am not the only one who had a crappy Mothers Day. I know there are others. We are not alone. I just have no trouble saying it out loud.

No gift. No special time spent together. One card. One. And I am thankful for that one. But am not feeling much love here.

But…my family is lucky I love God more than them. My life is not set on how much they buy for me or how much time they spend with me.

They will know my disappointment. They will know my heartbreak.

But it won’t be my whole purpose in life.

I studied the Proverbs 31 woman recently. Love how God reminds us of our priorities.  Our family matters. The respect for our husband matters. But verse 30 says it all.

“Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
    but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” Proverbs 31:30 NIV

All those things don’t matter if you are not putting God first. The house cleaning. The grocery shopping. The running the kids here and there. The cooking of many meals. The laundry. Piles and piles of laundry.

What are you doing to put God first??

Mornings are my time. My brain is less fuzzy. It’s quiet. Dogs are fed. I can focus on God now. Pray. Listen to what He is telling me. Making sure Satan doesn’t have a hold on my thoughts for the day.

So that in the midst of a crappy Mothers Day — I know what’s important.

 

 

Death means hope – in heaven

So I started something way out of my box. I started video blogging. More for me than anyone else. I had the test results of my ultrasound come back clear but then had a few days of trying to process everything from the last 3 months of waiting and all that happened to me in that 3 months. Feel free to look it up on facebook. Friend me and look for ‘My Health Journey’.

Back when Adam and Eve sinned it brought the results of that sin on us. Death being one of them. The ‘D’ word. No one wants to talk about it our think about it. But God knew we would disobey. Read Genesis 3:14-15.

Genesis 3:14-15English Standard Version (ESV)

14 The Lord God said to the serpent,

“Because you have done this,
    cursed are you above all livestock
    and above all beasts of the field;
on your belly you shall go,
    and dust you shall eat
    all the days of your life.
15 I will put enmity between you and the woman,
    and between your offspring[a] and her offspring;
he shall bruise your head,
    and you shall bruise his heel.”

Verse 15 says Eve’s offspring will ‘bruise your head’. Meaning – will be the destroyer of Satan. Satan will ‘bruise’ our ‘heel’. Meaning- he will cause us pain and wounds but not immortality.

Before God banished them from the Garden He made it obvious that He knew we would disobey and He already had plans on how to defeat Satan. Our sin may have caused eternal wounds and mortal death. But God already had a way to give us eternal life. He made the worst day ever, become the promise of hope!!!

We have hope in heaven. Death is going to happen. But if you know Jesus. I mean really know Him. You have hope in heaven.

My story is not over. My hope in heaven is something I need to pass to you and everyone else around me. Death is inevitable. But hope in heaven is possible. Do you have that hope???

Depression is here, But God is bigger

So I have had a rough few weeks. I have kind of been absent from life. I had started a new exercise journey through a group called LiveStrong. It’s for cancer survivors who are trying to get back to exercising. Problem is surgeries, chemo, radiation, and lots of meds tend to just mess things up tremendously. You are not the same person you were emotionally, spiritually, and physically. I used to be athletic. I used to love Zumba. Not happening anymore. I am almost 5 years out.  I started the class thinking, “I got this.” NOT! I am probably in worse shape than most of them in the class. For 4 years I couldn’t do anything so I didn’t. My muscles are shot. My joints are shot. My body is shot. I was not progressing like I thought I should. I hurt so much. I then went for a mammogram and they found another spot. I spiraled. Into a depression. One that I am fighting to get through still to this day. I have had to come to terms with the fact that my body will never be the same. Due to good advice, I decided I would rather go into exercise and be sore than sit on the couch complaining all day from joint pain and muscle exhaustion. I had to deal with the fact that even though the cancer could come back – MY GOD IS BIGGER. He is bigger than all of this. He is bigger than the pain and the exhaustion and He is bigger than the cancer!!!

The song ‘Even If’ by Mercy Me has a line that says,

“I know You’re able and I know You can
Save through the fire with Your mighty hand
But even if You don’t
My hope is You alone

They say it only takes a little faith
To move a mountain
Well good thing
A little faith is all I have, right now
But God, when You choose
To leave mountains unmovable
Oh give me the strength to be able to sing
It is well with my soul”

IT IS WELL WITH MY SOUL!!!

Matthew 17:20

He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”

I would really go to hell for cussing???

So my husband ran across a blog that a young lady had written stating she really saw nothing in the Bible that said she wouldn’t go to heaven for cussing our any kind of profanity.

I remember those days when I thought that too. I mean what is wrong with it? It’s not like God will keep me from heaven for those things.

Profane is defined as: ‘treat (something sacred) with irreverence or disrespect.’

   It’s disrespectful. To God. 

Now, if you have no respect for God this is the end of the line for you.  But if you choose to love and respect our powerful God then continue reading. This is a choice for you. And it is a life or death choice – in my eyes. So decide carefully.

God deserves our ultimate respect. He has provided something for us no one can. A forever life in eternal joy and peace. Not here on earth living a worldly life. But in relationship with him that provides eternal love and a future in heaven with Him.  He has showed us unconditional love. He takes care of us. He asks only for us to love and respect Him in return. And His love and respect for us is always so much more than we ever give Him. But He never backs off.

When we use profanity and are profane in any way we are completely and totally disrespecting God.

It’s that act of being profane that is the problem. When you are in relationship with Him you should want to tell others about Him and show what it’s like to be so loved and taken care of by Him. But when you act profane – you are just disrespecting Him. You will not be a witness to what it’s like to truly be a child of God in the midst of it.

You see, I spent years thinking it was ok. As my relationship grew with God and I really saw how He was taking care of me, I then understood the importance of not constantly cussing. I knew out of respect for a God that had done so much for me, I had to stop.

You will not lead people to Jesus in the midst of acting profane. I mean who really sees Jesus in that??!!!

It was not an easy decision. People look at you weird when you don’t follow them. Sometimes it makes them feel uncomfortable. But I promise, the more I chose to cut off those who were not good for me and being the difference for God, I felt the most amazing thing. An undeniable peace and joy and warmth in my heart. And so much courage to stand for Him because I knew what I was doing was right.

James3:8-10″ but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. 10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers,[c] these things ought not to be so”

It can not be done without God. The tongue is the most powerful muscle. Use it wisely. Allow God to use it wisely.

 

LIVE CRUCIFORM-???

Living Cruciform. I have heard this and heard this many times this week.

Live  cruciform. What in the world does that mean? A cruciform is a cross. To be challenged to live cruciform means live the shape of the cross. Look up and stretch out. Live cruciform.

I have not done that like I should in the past. It’s what I realize this world needs. People who are living more cruciform.  Turn off the tv’s and the facebook. Look up and stretch out those arms. Open yourself to all that God is telling you and listen!!! Listen!!! Listen!! Then OBEY!!!!!

Jesus broke His body for us. Our broken hearts were taken and filled with His grace and mercy and we have our heads down. Worrying more about what others think of us than what He thinks of us.

If we don’t look up and open ourselves to Him we become vulnerable to Satan and all the destructive thoughts and temptations he will throw our way. Allow Him to be our ‘sheepgate’. We are His sheep. He is our gate that protects us from Satan. We have to choose to step in and allow Him to fill our brokenness and protect our hearts and our minds.

Romans 12:2a (ESV)                                                                                        “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, ……”

Personally, I will tell you this has become a daily challenge for me. As I struggle through while my husband is having to work tons of hours right now and barely sees me. I could easily go slump myself in a corner. Read facebook and start going off on how awful my life is and my husband is for doing this to me. But I choose to look up and not let those destructive thoughts in my head. Because that is what destroyed my other marriages. God will get us through this tough time. God will take are of us. It is all promised to those of us who are faithful to Him. My husband has a job and one that allows me to stay home. #counthoseblessings.

Remember my last post?

Lets count those blessings:

  1. my husband has a good job
  2. my husband works hard to provide and take care of me
  3. I have a husband who really wants to take care of me this time
  4. my husband loves God more than me(YES THAT IS A BLESSING!)
  5. the weather has been wonderful the past 2 days(had to slip that in)

Now your turn. Don’t let Satan put destructive thoughts in your head. Count those blessings. Allow God to protect your mind. LIVE CRUCIFORM!!!