CT scan results are in!

May 17, 2017 at 11:36 am (Breast Cancer, Faith)

I got some great news yesterday. Most all of the tumors I have in my lungs, kidneys, adrenal gland and liver have shrunk to almost half their size! My lymph nodes have also shrunk and several of the tumors have disappeared completely. The lesions on my bones have not shrunk at all but this is normal and the good news is that no more popped up. I’m having a lot of pain in my lower back and hip where the cancer has metastasized and will be discussing radiation with my oncologist next week. Hopefully that’ll bring some relief.

It’s crazy when I look at the report and I see that I still have 3 tumors in my right lung, 2 in my left, 1 on my adrenal gland, 1 on each of my kidneys and 3 in my liver and then the ones in my bones. You’d think I’d feel or look a lot worse. God is really showing me favor during this season and I am so grateful. Don’t get me wrong, I have days where I’m so tired and I have to take a lot of naps, which is hard for me! I’ve never taken them in my life but there are times I can’t keep my eyes open. The fatigue is the biggest side effect I’m dealing with and praise the Lord the neuropathy in my fingers and fingernails are better.

The nurse told me yesterday that my oncologist will probably keep me on chemo for while longer so that was disappointing. It is working so I just need to suck it up and keep going. I’ve had 13 treatments already so what’s a few more.

I’m feeling so much better after starting the antidepressants and I’m not so weepy all the time. I’m also not feeling so overwhelmed although it’s still a struggle. That’s probably one of the most difficult things to deal with because normally I can juggle so many things and keep track of everything but my brain is just not working like it used to. I’m learning to accept my new normal and the new me and that’s ok. I wish I had more mental and physical energy so I could see my friends more or make it to church but that’s where I get overwhelmed. I’m so grateful for all the prayers and texts and notes, they are so encouraging to me. I know I would not be able to get through this without them and each of you and especially my family. I am a blessed woman indeed.

 

 

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3 days post first chemo

February 17, 2017 at 4:48 pm (Breast Cancer, Faith, My ramblings)

k1Amazingly enough, the last 3 days since chemo haven’t been as bad as I thought it was going to be. Oh, don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty of other things that I’d rather have been doing but compared to my first round of chemo 2 1/2 years ago, this was much easier. I think there are a few more side effects that are yet to come but nothing I can’t handle (I hope). The first night I had a horrible migraine and I had forgotten how miserable they were. I was pretty nauseous most of the day and didn’t make the best food and drink decisions, like trying to drink coffee on an empty stomach. Imagine my utter shock when my beloved brown nectar from the Gods betrayed me.  Inconceivable!

I spent most of the last two days resting and napping and snuggling with Kiku. I think she knows the cancer is back because she won’t let me out of her sight. It’s a little adorable and yet obnoxious at the same time. Ken found a company online and made her my official ESA (emotional support animal) and she’ll get her little vest in the mail soon. There are many companies that offer it. just google it. Once I get a letter from my doctor, she’ll be able to fly free with me.

So, now that the niceties are out of the way, how am I doing? I am beyond overwhelmed. It’s like someone flicked a little switch in my head and I can barely form a thought or carry on a conversation. I’m numb. I’m scared. I’m confused. I don’t know how I’m supposed to feel or act or what I’m supposed to say so I can’t really say anything. I still have so many questions for my oncologist and I have to do lots of research. I haven’t been posting as much or openly as I’d like, not to be deceitful but I still don’t have all the facts and I haven’t been able to speak with each person in my family yet. I could really use your prayers as I talk to each one and help them to not live in fear and to understand that God is just and faithful and has a perfect plan for my life. My life is in His hands and I don’t doubt for a minute that He has my best.

Thank you so much for your texts, phone calls, cards, emails and yes, more Shari’s Berries (thanks Julie). I am so grateful for each and every one of you and grateful that you’re in my life. I’ve had several people ask for practical ways to help me and the best way to bless me right now is to pray for me and my family. I’m also asking that you continue to give me space and time as I process this next season with my family. I’m just not ready to have visitors or talk yet and I don’t have much information other than my current treatment plan. As I get more information, I’ll share it. Another way to help would be to email me instead of texting or fb im texts so I have a record of it to keep and also so my phone doesn’t constantly ring. I love knowing I have so many people who care about me and each time my phone goes off, it’s a reminder of your love but it can be very overwhelming. My email address is rachelbowers9560@gmail.com.

One last thing I have to share and my intention is not to embarrass or shame anyone but I am kindly asking you to refrain from sharing with me your wisdom, or doctor, or magic jelly beans or eye of newt juice or whatever you may think might heal me. I’ve read the Truth about Cancer, I know Kris Carr, I’ve researched many healing modalities and I absolutely believe in spontaneous healing and that certain things heal certain people. I am overwhelmed and do not have the energy to discuss/argue why your treatment plan or product will work for me. I know it sounds kind of humorous but it’s really not. There is no cure for cancer or it would not exist. Please respect my decision to fully trust my oncologist and integrative doctors who are working diligently to treat me to have the best possible outcome.

I know the ultimate Healer and believe me, I’ve asked Him to heal me and I’ll continue to. I’m choosing to rejoice in all things and at all times. Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice.

 

 

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Got my port today!

February 13, 2017 at 11:15 pm (Breast Cancer, Christianity, Faith, My ramblings)

yWhat a long day! I got my port today which I am so excited about because it means no more needles in my veins! I love this little thing and since I’m having chemo every week, I’ll also have to have blood tests and probably a few IV’s along the way.

I also had a liver biopsy to find out if the breast cancer that came back is the same type as I was originally diagnosed with in 2014. I was HER2+ and ER/PR negative. Her2  is a protein that promotes the growth of cancer cells. In about 1 of every 5 breast cancers, the cancer cells have a gene mutation that makes an excess of the HER2 protein. ER/PR is hormone driven breast cancer which I was negative in.

I actually watched the doctor do the liver biopsy because the medicine they gave me didn’t knock me out, it just made me quite happy. They also used a lot of lidocaine. They had a sheet covering my head so I lifted it up and peeked out just as he was sticking the gianormous needle in my liver. I think I said cool or something because he yelled at me and said I was supposed to be sleeping and not watching. I told him I was a medical assistant (it’s been awhile though) and I love watching medical stuff. I actually watch all the ER and Trauma shows while I’m eating 🙂

So I got some good news… I’ll be getting a dense dose of the chemo drug Taxol (it’s usually given every 3 weeks but they will divide that dose into 3 weekly ones, basically 1/3 amount every week) then every 3 weeks I’ll have it along with 2 targeted therapies, Herceptin and Perjeta (which I had before) that go Chuck Norris on the HER2+ cells. I’ll also get Zometa for my bones once a month. The good news is the side effects are supposedly much easier and fewer. Praise the Lord!  Another thing I’m so grateful for is I won’t have to take massive doses of steroids!! There is one other possible awesome thing that could happen but I need to research it a little bit more before I announce it to the world.

Thank you so much for your prayers, texts, emails, comments on fb and ig and my blog. I feel loved and supported! Please continue to pray for my amazing husband Ken, who is the BEST hubby ever!! Also pray for my first treatment tomorrow that starts at 8 am. I’ll be there for about 6 hours and have a couple friends stopping and of course I have Netflix and Hulu and my Bible and a book and sudoku and snacks! I’m all set 🙂

I’ll say good night and close out with this song that’s ministering to my heart right now. Not my will, but Yours Lord, always…

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Update: New Cancer Journey

February 10, 2017 at 8:19 pm (Breast Cancer, Faith, My ramblings)

This is the email I sent out about this new journey I’m getting ready to take.
I wanted to give a more detailed update about what’s going on with my health issues. I’ve been battling a chronic cough for about a month now and have had a lot of pain in my back, ribs, chest and stomach. I went to the doctor 2 weeks ago to get cough medicine and they did an xray to rule out pneumonia. The xray showed several lesions in both of my lungs so they wanted me to follow up with a catscan. I immediately called my oncologist who ordered a petscan and catscan, which I had Wednesday.
I met with my oncologist today and the results of my scans showed my breast cancer has metastasized and spread to both of my lungs, both kidneys, one of my adrenal glands, my liver and a few bones. I am now considered to be in stage 4. My treatment plan will consist of me getting a port put in on Monday then I’ll start chemo on Tuesday morning and will continue to have it every week indefinitely.
Obviously this news is very disappointing and the last thing I want to do is to go through chemo for a second time. I just got used to having hair!
Please keep me and Ken and our families in your prayers. I’m still trying to process it all and I’m feeling very overwhelmed. Please know that if I don’t respond back to your texts, phone calls or emails, I am grateful for you and reading each one.
I was praying this morning and actually laughing with the Lord about this new journey I’m about to start. Some may say I’ve been through enough already but how much is enough really? I don’t have to hang on a cross and die for the entire world’s sins and feel betrayed, humiliated, forsaken or abandoned. I am loved and have the most amazing friends and family and an even larger family in the body of Christ. I don’t have to be fearful of the future or worry about dying because I know without a doubt where I am going. I just don’t want to go there right now !
Thank you so much for your love, support and prayers. I am very grateful. Romans 12:12 is still my life verse: Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful to prayer

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Almost finished!

August 4, 2015 at 6:21 pm (Africa, Breast Cancer, Faith, My ramblings)

A year ago this week, I was getting my second chemo infusion and it amazes me that I am almost finished with my treatment. Next Monday I will have my last Herceptin infusion. I’ve had 18 rounds of it along with 6 rounds of 2 chemo cocktails and 6 rounds of Perjeta infusions. I am scheduled for another reconstructive surgery on August 28 and I will also get my port taken out then. I am so excited to be so close to finishing my treatments. I am grateful that I am cancer free and grateful that the Lord revealed Himself to me in such powerful ways during this past year. I am grateful that I chose to trust and believe Him instead of being angry or mad at Him. That thought never even crossed my mind. How could I abandon the one who will never abandon me? How could I love God in the easy seasons of life and not trust Him in the hard seasons? He is a good God and has only loving thoughts towards me.

I am also getting ready to go back to my beloved Swaziland, Africa with Children’s Cup next week and I can hardly contain myself. I was supposed to go last year at this time but was unable to since I had to start treatment immediately for my breast cancer. It broke my heart that I couldn’t go but I had no choice. I can’t wait to see the kids that I sponsor and all the people there who sent me cards and video prayers during my treatment. I was so incredibly blessed by it.

This summer has been a busy one and I can’t believe how healthy I am feeling. I joined a gym and take water aerobics several times a week and I absolutely love it. I am feeling stronger by the day and have more energy than I’ve ever had. I am eating about a 70% raw diet with lots of fruits and vegetables and whole grains and trying to stay away from chemicals and added preservatives. No sugar, processed white flour or sweets or any junk food. I have the occasional Starbucks and I’m working on eliminating that too, I’m just not ready yet! I feel healthier than I did before I went through cancer treatment and my fibromyalgia rarely flares up. I’ve had only 1 migraine in months and that is huge for me since I used to get several a month as well as many headaches.

This post is a little choppy but I just wanted to write a quick update and also ask for prayers. I leave for Africa on Aug 12 and will be back Aug 22. Please pray for me because it’s a 17 1/2 hour flight there and last time I went, I came home with a blood clot in my leg. I’m wearing compression stockings during the flight and started taking baby aspirin a few days ago so hopefully I won’t come back with another one. Pray for physical and emotional strength as well and for my entire team. We want to represent Christ and spread His love and be His hands and feet. Also, pray for my upcoming surgery on August 28. I am praying it will be my last one because I just want to be done already.

I am overwhelmed by the outpouring of love I have received during this past year and I am incredibly blessed to be part of an awesome church and have such an amazing family and friends. Words could never adequately describe how grateful I am for each and every one of you.

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One Year Ago Today

July 3, 2015 at 4:39 pm (Breast Cancer, Faith)

Exactly one year ago today, I heard the words, you have invasive ductal breast cancer. I can’t believe how fast time went by yet also stood still. I vividly remember the side effects of chemotherapy and those days when I felt so sick I could barely call out God’s name. I remember the way my husband loved and served  me and laid down his life for me. I remember all the texts and emails and meals and teddy bears and blankets I received. I still have my cancer box that’s filled to the brim with cards and letters and other things. I have yet to be able to go through it because every time I try, I am overwhelmed at the love and support that was poured out on me and I can’t stop crying. One day soon, hopefully I will be able to go through it without falling apart.

As scary as it was to not know what the future held, I am grateful that I got cancer. I know I sound like a broken record, but I truly mean it. Cancer changed me in ways I would never have thought it would. It led me to a much deeper relationship with the Lord and it broke me of a pride so strong that it was downright ugly. Don’t get me wrong, I still struggle with pride and probably will until I depart from this life but it’s better than it was.

Cancer made me realize what’s important in life and what’s not. I let go of foolish things and replaced them with important things like better relationships with family and friends. I realized just how selfish I was and became a better wife. God opened up my eyes and gave me a more compassionate heart. He gave me a new ministry, that I get to share with my husband, to care for people who have cancer or are survivors or caregivers.

One year ago today was one of the best days of my life and I will never stop thanking God for it.

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Almost done!

July 1, 2015 at 10:29 am (Breast Cancer, Faith, My ramblings)

 I’m getting ready for my third to the last Herceptin infusion and I can’t believe how fast this ride has  been. Almost a year ago, I heard the words, “you have invasive ductal breast cancer”.  I knew God  would get me through it but I had no idea how much he would use my cancer to minister to others.

My husband and I starting serving in my church’s cancer ministry, Hope Alive, and it’s been exciting to  meet other cancer patients, survivors and caregivers. What a joy it is to be able to share each other’s experiences and help carry each other’s burdens. To have God at the center of the ministry is the best part. My prayer is that God would use this ministry to offer peace and hope and that many people would come to know Jesus Christ.

Every day I wake up and thank God for being alive and healthy and cancer free. I’m astounded that the God of the universe loved me so much that almost 14 years ago, He drew me to Him and I made a commitment to live and serve Him for the rest of my life. To think He could take a horrendous life filled with drugs, alcohol and heinous sins and make me a new creation blows my mind.

The best part is that He’s not finished with me yet. My cancer journey is just another season in my life and I’m looking forward to what’s next.

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Update for reals…

June 15, 2015 at 5:19 pm (Breast Cancer, Christianity, Faith, Jesus, My ramblings)

june 2015 treatmentSo… I still suffer from chemo brain so my last post was supposed to be an update but ended up not being one. I actually kind of enjoy having the excuse of can’t remembering things but I do hope my brain kicks back into full gear soon.

About one year ago, I began my breast cancer journey and I can’t believe how fast this past year has gone by. There were days which I thought would never end, but for the most part, it flew by. July 3, I was diagnosed with invasive ductal breast cancer stage 2 and it was almost 5 cm. July 16 was my first chemotherapy treatment and here it is almost one year later and I am cancer free. I probably said it in my last post and I will continue to say that besides Christ dying for my sins, getting breast cancer has been the best thing that has happened to me. Don’t get me wrong. It was hard at times, painful and lonely. There are no words that could possibly describe the feeling of chemo running through your veins, killing both the good and bad in your body. I am grateful for it but at the same time, hope and pray that I never have to go through that again.

I had my last chemo 7 months ago and I am starting to feel pretty fantastic. I still have 3 more Herceptin treatments, which is not chemo but a targeted therapy for my type of breast cancer (HER2+). My hair was straight when it fell out and I prayed for it to grow back curly and it most certainly is curly now. I have been getting my health back on track and taking lots of supplements and drinking green smoothies, which I assure you are delicious! I haven’t been able to juice much because it still hurts my stomach but I’ve been taking Juice Plus capsules and will probably end up selling them. They make me feel so good. I was working out at home and overdid it (me overdo it?!) so I had to take a month off to help my lower back pain subside. I joined the gym today and will start taking water aerobic classes for a few months since I just had my last surgery about 3 and 1/2 weeks ago and I don’t want to hurt anything. I will most likely have another surgery at of end of August or beginning of September to do more fat grafting.

All in all, I am in an awesome place and starting to get my life back. Cancer is not fun but what got me through it was to keep my eyes constantly on the Lord. I cannot even begin to think about going through this without Jesus. My husband, family and friends were by my side as well, but there is no one who can take the place that only Jesus can. He was my refuge and strong tower. He strengthened and sustained me. He walked with me through the valley. His mercies were new to me every morning. He did more for me than I could’ve ever imagined. My relationship with Him grew to a deeper level and although I have been a Christian for almost 14 years, it took cancer for me to truly have an intimacy with God that I never thought possible. I could never thank Him enough for having mercy on me and for dying for me and my heinous sins so that I could live life and live it abundantly.

I am also super excited because I am going back to my beloved Africa in August. I couldn’t go last year because of treatment but my doctors cleared me and I am so happy! I will be part of a business skills training team and I hope my mad skills (nunchuck, bow-hunting, computer hacking) will help the team. If not, I’ll just be comic relief!

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Latest Update

May 13, 2015 at 1:25 pm (Africa, Breast Cancer, Faith)

I can’t believe how long it’s been since I posted an update! It’s been about 6 months since my last chemo and I am feeling great. I still have about 6 more treatments for Herceptin every 3 weeks so hopefully by the end of August I will be FINISHED with my breast cancer treatment!

This journey has been amazing and I fell more in love with the Lord and realized how very much God loves me. It wasn’t the most fun thing to have to go through but it did grow my faith and trust in ways I would’ve never imagined. God has given me a ministry to be able to share my experiences and faith in Christ and I am grateful each and every day for that. I’m joining the cancer support group at my church and I am excited about what the Lord is going to do in and through me. Click here in you are interested in it.

I am having my tissue expander/implant exchange surgery next Wednesday, May 20, and I would love all the prayers I can get. They have to do significant fat grafting (they liposuction fat from your belly and use that around the implant) and I told my plastic surgeon to take all the fat he wants! I am hopeful that other than having my chemo port removed, this will be my last surgery for breast cancer.

I am also going back to my beloved Africa in August with Children’s Cup. I was supposed to go last year but had to cancel it because I had to start treatment. I absolutely love sharing the Gospel and especially have a heart for Swaziland, Africa. I get to see my sponsored children as well and that always makes me happy. Please pray for spiritual preparation, financial support, safety, unity of the team, good health, and that hearts and doors would be open for us to share the love of Christ. If you would like to support me financially, please click here.

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Happy New Year!

January 1, 2015 at 6:13 pm (Breast Cancer, Faith, My ramblings)

New Year’s is always an exciting time for me as I think of goals and areas of my life I want to focus on. I don’t really make resolutions but I try to make good lifestyle changes.  This year, I’m going to make a vision board so I can see it every day and pray over it every day.

Last year was a great year for me even if I did get diagnosed with breast cancer. I got to spend a lot of time with family and my gbabies, I volunteered for several organizations and my faith in Christ grew deeper. I learned a lot about how much God loves me, how important I am to Him and that everything in my life, no matter how big or small matter to Him. I spent time praying in such a different way than I used to. I used to do most of the talking (big surprise, huh) but I have now learned to sit still and be quiet and just wait for His soft whispers of love. Sometimes, He would have to get a little loud with me when I wasn’t being obedient but other than that, I was in awe of the time we spent together.

My verse for my season of cancer was from Romans 12:12, “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction and faithful in prayer.” That verse got me through some of the toughest times, especially after chemotherapy. As I was reading and praying this morning for a new verse for the new year, I recalled Isaiah 43:18-19, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”  I am so excited to see what the Lord would have me do and I can’t wait to see how my season of cancer is going to allow me to minister to people who are still fighting for their lives. I know that even though I’m cancer free now, that may not be the case forever. I do know that whatever happens in the future, I’ll never be alone because God will always be with me.

It’s been 3 weeks since my bilateral mastectomy and they’ve started the reconstruction process so I am hopeful that it will be complete in about 4 months. The pain is getting much more manageable and I can’t wait to start going to church again. I miss seeing my friends and all the people who have prayed and supported me through this tough season. I have a large box with cards and letters and I am going to use them to make a book about my cancer journey. It’s been an amazing journey and there are times that I am so awestruck at the grace given to me from the Lord. There has not been one day that I wasn’t grateful and I know it’s because God was working out His perfect plan for me.

On a funnier note, Ken has kept a record of things and when I saw it, I couldn’t believe it. Here are a few things he recorded I’ve had or been through:

  • 65 doctor appointments
  • 6 rounds of chemo
  • 11 IV’s
  • 2 blood transfusions
  • 5 ultrasounds
  • 3 MRI’s
  • 3 mammogram’s
  • 1 biopsy
  • 2 echocardiograms
  • 1 endoscopy
  • 3 scalp infections
  • 1 thrush infection
  • 23 blood draws
  • 37 prescriptions
  • 43, 896 hairs on my head lost
  • 42 eyelashes lost
  • 37 eyebrows lost

The most amazing thing about this crazy list is my husband drove me to every appointment, chemo and test. I am constantly reminded of how much he loves me and serves me, it’s almost mind boggling. I knew he had a servant’s heart but to take care of me day in and day out without grumbling or complaining is amazing. God could not have chosen a better husband for me and I am so grateful to be married to him.

I’m looking forward to this new year and praying that we continue to follow Christ and His plan for our lives.  The picture we are holding up is from our gbabies who made it for us. It says, We love you to the moon and back.

cmas

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The Storms of Life

December 6, 2014 at 10:55 am (Breast Cancer, Faith, My ramblings)

Since being diagnosed with stage 2 invasive breast cancer 6 months ago, my life has been a whirlwind of doctor’s appointments, chemotherapy infusions, MRI’s, mammograms, blood transfusions and more. Looking back I can’t help but be grateful that my faith in Christ has carried me through this most challenging season of my life. I’m not sure how I would’ve gotten through this without it and I’ll be forever thankful for that day on July 14, 2001 that I finally surrendered my life to Christ. Faith isn’t something you pull out when you face a challenge or trial, it’s the driving force of all your decisions, thoughts and prayers. My absolute trust in God and in His will has given me much comfort and knowing how much He loves me and cherishes me, has enabled me to be overflowing with joy.

 

This morning I was reading about Jesus sending out the disciples in the boat ahead of Him after He had spent the entire day ministering to people. In Matthew 14:22 we read, “Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of Him to the other side, while He dismissed the people.” Jesus then goes up to the mountainside to pray alone. While He was praying, a terrible storm hit and the disciples were scared. Jesus then walked on the water towards them and the part I have always focused on was when Peter walked on the water, saw the wind, got scared and started to sink. This morning, however, I thought about Jesus sending them out by themselves knowing that a terrible storm was coming. He did not go with them but allowed them to go through the storm alone. He waited to show them who He was until their fear was at an all time high. He then walked out on the water towards them and after the “Peter incident”, climbed into the boat and the wind stopped. Finally, the disciples got it and said, “Truly you are the Son of God.”  I can’t even begin to compare myself to the disciples but I can say from the depths of my heart that Jesus is who He says He is. He has revealed Himself to me over and over again; sometimes in the middle of a storm and sometimes after I’ve gone through it but always in His perfect timing. Knowing this has enabled me to be content in whatever the future holds for me in my journey. As crazy as it may sound, I am grateful for my cancer. It has allowed my faith to grow in ways that I could never imagine. It has also revealed to me that life is precious and to make each moment count and stop fretting over things that have absolutely no eternal significance.

I am having a bilateral mastectomy and will begin the reconstruction process next week on Wednesday, December 10th. It’s hard to imagine but I’m hopeful that afterwards, I will be cancer free. I can’t wait to start the next year working on gaining my health back and detoxing from all the chemicals that have been pumped through me. I am excited because next year is going to be awesome and God will prepare me for whatever He’s calling me to next.

Please keep me in prayer for the surgery and I will try to post updates as soon as I am able. I am really hoping they will let me go into surgery with my lion hat on, bahahaha.

tiger hat

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Surgery Scheduled

November 18, 2014 at 12:19 pm (Breast Cancer, Faith, My ramblings)

I went to my specialist yesterday and we went over my mammogram results. My tumor has responded well to the chemotherapy and has shrunk considerably. I’ll be having a double mastectomy on December 10 and will probably only be in the hospital for one night since my surgery will be at 7:30 am. I’m looking forward to this next step because it’s one more step closer to being cancer free. I can’t wait until I’m no longer a fighter but will be able to say I’m a survivor. Having cancer is exhausting not just physically but emotionally as well.

I have had tons of doctor appointments since I was diagnosed in June and it feels like I’ve been in a whirlwind ever since. It’s strange that in some ways it feels like time has stood still and other times it has flown by. I can’t wait until spring because I should be done with all the surgeries and everything and I can get back to either working or volunteering and of course going on a cruise! I miss church so much too and can’t wait to go back. I’m a little nervous about going now because I’m working on strengthening my immune system and I don’t want to get the flu or anything. I just got over a sinus infection that knocked me out for almost 2 weeks. I’m feeling much better after the blood transfusion last week and although I’m still fatigued from the chemo, I’m a lot better than I was. Several of my fingernails are lifting off and I think my toenails are doing weird things too. I feel like I look like Gollum sometimes with my bald head and gross nails, lol. I can’t wait until my hair grows back but it’s been nice to not have to deal with it. I think between me not driving the Pink Ninja and not using hair products, I’ve saved a ton of money!

One again, I’ll end with my thanks and gratitude to everyone who has sent me cards, emails, texts and care packages. Thank you also for your prayers. What an amazing feeling to know I have so many people praying for me and I know that this has sustained me during this season. My husband is the most amazing person I know and has cared for me and laid down his life for me and served me in ways that blow my mind. And of course, I’m most thankful for my relationship with the Lord and I am astonished at how much He loves me. My faith has never been stronger and I’ve never been more aware of His presence than I am right now. I’ll end with the lyrics to the song, Only Your Love from Kari Jobe.

Your love is strong and mighty, Its jealousy unyielding
It burns for me like a fire untamed, Your love is all consuming
You never stop pursuing, Nothing I could face could take it away

Your love is like no other, Nothing else satisfies
It flows through the deepest parts, It rests on the mountain high
Your love is overwhelming, Brought me to life again
Your love, it lasts forever, In You there’ll be no end

Oh, oh, only Your love, Oh, oh, only Your love

Nothing can separate us, Many trials can’t hide Your love
No sorrow can wash it away

Your love is like no other, Nothing else satisfies
It flows through the deepest parts, It rests on the mountains high
Your love is overwhelming, Brought me to life again
Your love, it lasts forever, In You there’ll be no end

Oh, oh, only Your love, Oh, oh, only Your love

How deep, How wide, How long, How high

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Wait on the Lord

November 6, 2014 at 1:09 pm (Breast Cancer, Christianity, Faith)

I was reading this morning and found myself pondering Isaiah 40:31:

But they who wait for 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.

I love this verse and have read it so many times and have always focused on the mounting up like eagles part and not being weary but today I found myself focusing on the waiting part. I know that so many times in the past, I’ve not waited on the Lord and have just forged ahead with my own ideas or plans. Since being diagnosed with breast cancer, I realize that I have no option but to wait on the Lord and there is no place I’d rather be.  I almost can’t believe how peaceful, joyful and grateful I’ve been while going through the horrendous treatment. I truly believe that it is solely because I have not gone full steam ahead with my own plans but have sat still (if you know me, you know how hard that is!) and found that sweet, quiet spot where I can go and meet with my Lord so that He can fill me with His spirit. My body may be weak and tired but I have never been closer to the Lord or had such utter contentment in my life.

13 Years ago, when I got sober (woot! woot!) and became a born again Christian (bigger woot! woot!), I had no idea what waiting on the Lord meant. I thought I had to do certain things to be close to God. I read my Bible for hours every day, I served in so many ministries, I went on mission trips all over the world, I worked for my church, I evangelized like crazy and so many other things. While these are all good things, they don’t necessarily mean you are close to God. Over the years, I’ve realized that God wants me and my  heart, not me doing a thousand things for Him while thinking He will somehow love me more or I could earn His love. I’ve also learned that if I am always running around and on the move, He will just sit back and wait for me to stop spinning my wheels. Cancer will definitely make you stop spinning your wheels. It will make you realize what’s important and what is not. What’s important for me right now is to stay in that quiet place of waiting and if I do my part, the Lord will do His. He always does what He says He’s gonna do and has never let me down. He will renew my strength so that I can mount up with wings like an eagle, I will be able to run and not be weary and walk and not faint (which will be awesome since I can barely walk with feeling like I’m gonna faint!).

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My Last Chemo

October 29, 2014 at 6:01 pm (Breast Cancer, Faith, My ramblings)

 

Last chemoI can’t believe I had my last chemo today! At times it seemed like it would never end and other times it felt like it flew by. As tough as it was to go through it, I am grateful for these powerful chemo cocktails that will hopefully have killed all the cancer cells. I will still have to go the cancer center every 3 weeks for another 9 months to receive one medication called Herceptin. The type of breast cancer I have is Invasive Ductal Carcinoma and it’s HER 2+ which means I produce abnormally high amounts of a protein called human epidermal growth factor receptor 2. Only one in four women have this type of breast cancer. The Herceptin targets this protein and stops it from growing. The tumor itself has shrunk a lot and I will have an MRI and ultrasound in 2 weeks to determine the size of it. I will then meet with my specialist to discuss the results and type of surgery I will have. I don’t have the surgery date yet but it will be in December sometime.

My red blood cell counts have dropped really low again and I can tell because I have started to feel the fatigue again the last few days and my legs burn if I stand too long or walk up a flight of stairs. That’s been one of the worst of the side effects because I do not like feeling like I can’t be Wonder Woman! I see the oncologist next week and will have more blood tests but will most likely need another blood transfusion. I was scared to have it a few weeks ago but after a few days of getting it, I felt amazing. I had so much energy that I actually went through and cleaned out all my kitchen cabinets and was able to go shopping with my mom for several hours.

I am grateful once again for all the meals (yummy!) and the cards, texts, emails and most of all, for your prayers during this season. (I know I repeat myself a lot and my excuse is chemo brain, it’s real, Google it, lol). I honestly don’t think that I would have been able to do this without each and every one you. I know I still have several surgeries coming up but I feel like the worst is behind me. I am so glad that I know the One who holds the future and He has promised to never leave me or forsake me. This knowledge is what brings me great comfort and is the reason I have no fear. God has revealed Himself to me in so many ways and through so many people. I can’t help but brag about my husband who continually lays down his life for me to serve me, to pray with me and for me, who runs all over town when I have weird food cravings, and who shows me unconditional love. When I got diagnosed with breast cancer, he could have shook his fist at God or become angry since he lost his first wife to a rare form of cancer but he did not. He remained steadfast and faithful and turned to the Lord, his “mighty men” and his men’s group at church for support. I was looking at our wedding pictures the other day and I had no idea what was to come just 5 years later. I wouldn’t want to share my life with anyone else and I am grateful that God knew exactly what I needed and in His perfect timing, he sent me Ken.

I’ll end my ramblings with my cancer verses that kept me going. Romans 12:12:

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18:

Rejoice always, pray continually,  give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

 

 

 

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Fear Not

October 27, 2014 at 10:09 am (Breast Cancer, Christianity, Faith)

I’ve been reading through the book of Joshua again and meditating on the Israelites and the fear that paralyzed them and kept them in the desert wandering for 40 years. God had showed them miraculous signs in Egypt; the 10 plagues, the Passover, parting the Red Sea and leading them with a fire by night and a cloud by day and many others. He tells them to go take possession of the Promised land but they were scared so they sent in 12 spies, one from each tribe. They go into the land to scope it out and when they returned only Joshua and Caleb gave good reports. The other 10 spies saw how big and strong the people were and how large the cities were and their hearts melted with fear.

In Deuteronomy 1:29-31, God told them, “Do not be terrified, do not be afraid of them. The Lord God who is going before you, will fight for you as He did for you in Egypt, with your very eyes and in the wilderness.”

All they had to do was go take possession of the land but they were unwilling to do so. Their fears stopped them from entering and living an abundant life and enjoying all the things that God had planned for them. Remember, these were God’s chosen people! But, because of their disobedience, God tells them that no one from that generation would see the Promised Land, only Joshua and Caleb and all the youngins.

The thing that caught my attention was the Israelites’ fear that kept them from fulfilling God’s plan for their lives. How many times have we let our fears stop us from doing things and very likely something extraordinary for God? God tells us over and over in Scripture to not be afraid. In Isaiah 41:10 He says, “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.” Notice how God says I am with you, I will strengthen you, I will uphold you?  We aren’t relying on God’s power, we are trying to overcome our fears by ourselves. We read books on fear, we listen to sermons on fear and while those are good, I really believe we need to understand that God is who He says He is and He will do what He says He will do. We need to stop relying on our own power and read the Word and memorize verses so that when the time comes and we have a “fear fit” we can recall the scripture hidden in our hearts and walk in faith instead of fear.

I made a choice a long time ago that I would not waste any more of my life living in fear of anything. Even in this season of fighting for my life against breast cancer. I will not lose precious time living in fear of tests or doctors or anything. I will walk in God’s magnificent grace that He has poured out on me. Faith is so much more fun than fear anyways. I love to see what God is going to do through me everyday. Some days I get the opportunity to share Christ with someone who has stage 4 cancer and feels hopeless, some days all I can do is smile. I am excited with each step of my treatment and know without a doubt that God wants to use it to further His kingdom. We aren’t promised an easy life but when I compare my life to the Apostle Paul’s, I can’t help but think God did give me an easy one.

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Grateful for Cancer

October 17, 2014 at 9:03 am (Breast Cancer, Faith, My ramblings)

I know it sounds crazy but I am grateful for getting breast cancer. It has given me a new outlook on life and now that my head is clear after my last chemo, I am starting to make new plans for the future. It’s exciting to think that we can actually set new goals at the very young age of 49. Yes, 49 years old, I can’t believe I am that young!

Before I got the cancer, I was feeling a little lost about what I should be doing. I am blessed that I don’t have to work and I love doing volunteer work. I feel like that’s where God has called me to serve but I am praying for clarity so that I can do one or two things with excellence instead of being all over the place. It’s hard for me to pick only a few things to devote my time to because I am passionate about so many things. I know God will show me where He wants me and I am excited for the next leg of my race.

Last week’s chemo has been much easier since I got the blood transfusion. I feel almost normal except for a few side effects but I’ll take it. The round before the last one almost took me out, not literally, of course, but it was the worst. I have only 1 round of chemo left (can I get a hallelujah!) then it’s off to meet with the plastic surgeon and specialist and talk about surgery. Due to the aggressiveness of my type of breast cancer, I’m leaning toward double mastectomy, which will require more than 1 surgery, which I’m definitely not looking forward to. Hopefully in a couple of months, I will be cancer free (woohoo) and will no longer be a fighter but a survivor! My hair will start growing back, with a little help from Rogaine, and I can start planning on what the next leg of my race will be.

Once again, I am humbled at God’s grace on me as I have been running this race. He has used so many people to care for me, encourage me, pray for me and love me. All the cards, texts, emails, calls, meals, drop by’s and care packages have meant more to me than you could possibly ever know. God has used everyone of you to bless me and I am forever grateful.  My husband, Ken, definitely gets the best husband award as he lays down his life for me daily and serves me relentlessly. His love me astounds me and makes me realize that I finally got my fairy tale and Prince Charming.

 “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.”  1 Corinthians 2:9

 

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4th Chemo

September 17, 2014 at 4:19 pm (Breast Cancer, Christianity, Faith)

I am sitting here at my cancer center getting my 4th round of chemo and I am so excited that after today, I will only have 2 more left! I will still have to go in to get 1 infusion for a year but it’s not like chemo and without most of the side effects. The most difficult side effect I have now is that not only is my vision blurred, my depth perception is way off. I’ve only been able to drive for very short distances because I feel like everyone is gonna crash into me! I feel like I’m looking through a tunnel and I think this is why I’ve been having a lot more headaches and migraines.

Yesterday I had an endoscopy (all results are good!) and I keep thinking about a conversation I had yesterday with one of the nurses. We were talking about my breast cancer and I told her that I wouldn’t be able to handle it without my relationship with the Lord. She told me she was a woman of faith as well and prayed often especially on tough days. I was trying to explain to her the sovereignty of God, even in tough situations. I told her that my only job while I’m here on earth is to draw people to Christ and glorify Him and anything above that is icing on the cake. God did not put us here to live nice, comfy, trouble free lives and tells us clearly in the Bible in John 16:33 (and other places) that we will have many trials and sorrows but we don’t have to worry because He has overcome the world. He doesn’t want to see His children suffering but because we are fallen and this world is fallen, we will have them. He also uses our suffering to draw us to Him and I can say with all honesty that when I’m in a tough season, I am way more dependent on God.

I’ve been reading Unstoppable by Christine Caine and the tag line is, running the race you were born to win. It’s really helping me immensely and challenging me as well. Just because I have cancer doesn’t mean I don’t have a race to run and I know without a doubt that God’s plan will prevail.

I was listening to Kari Jobi this morning and this song really spoke to my heart. Take a listen and I guarantee your heart will be moved as well. The words are below and are awesome even without the song, but listen to it anyway!

I Am Not Alone

When I walk through deep waters
I know that You will be with me
When I’m standing in the fire
I will not be overcome
Through the valley of the shadow
I will not fear

I am not alone
I am not alone
You will go before me
You will never leave me

In the midst of deep sorrow
I see Your light is breaking through
The dark of night will not overtake me
I am pressing into You
Lord, You fight my every battle
And I will not fear

You amaze me
Redeem me
You call me as Your own

You’re my strength
You’re my defender
You’re my refuge in the storm
Through these trials
You’ve always been faithful
You bring healing to my soul

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Grateful for Church

August 10, 2014 at 8:44 am (Breast Cancer, Faith)

Yesterday was an awesome day because I was able to go to the house of the Lord and worship God in song and praise. I’ve missed the last several weeks due to the chemo and vacation and I’m grateful that I went because the message was on encouragement. I saw many friends who told me they have been praying for me and I was definitely encouraged! There were so may good points in the message and you can read about them here, http://bible.us/e/1Yxw

In Samuel 30:6, it reads, “But David found strength in the Lord his God”.  I love this verse in the Bible because it reminds us that although we need other people to encourage us, we have the ability to encourage ourselves in the Lord. I am so grateful to have the living, breathing Word of God to read and study while I’m on this journey. There are days when I can feel the fullness of the Holy Spirit filling me up to the depths of my soul and I am overwhelmed by my constant need for it.

Today is day 4 after my second treatment and although my spirit is well my body is starting to feel the effects of the chemotherapy. Next week will be tough and I will need lots of prayers so if you are reading this, please pray for me. I know I’ve said this before and I have to say it again, I have no idea how anyone could endure going through cancer or any other illness without knowing the Lord. If I couldn’t cry out to God and know without a doubt that He cares for me, that His love for me is everlasting and that His plans for me are to give me hope and a future, I would surely not be able to deal with this. My prayer is that God would open my eyes so that I can see the hurting and the hopeless and be able to share the love of Christ with them. I want to be remembered as the lady who wore the crazy wigs to chemo and shined the light of Christ in darkness and who was filled with a peace that surpasses all understanding.

For now, I’ll end with one of my verses for this season, 2 Corinthians 4:18,

“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

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I survived my first chemo (barely)

July 23, 2014 at 11:22 am (Breast Cancer, Faith)

Well it’s been 8 days since my first chemo treatment and I keep waking up each morning and praying and hoping to feel better. This is by far the worst thing I have ever had to endure and I have had to endure a lot in my life. I know God is good all the time but I sure wish this cup would pass from me. I’m trying to not think of having to go through 5 more treatments with each one getting cumulatively worse. There aren’t adequate words to describe how awful I feel. I’ll feel good and have energy for 5 minutes then have to lay down and rest for a half hour. I know the best days are coming soon, I just need to get through this one.

I have an appointment this afternoon with the oncologist to check my white blood cells and I am almost too tired to go. I am so grateful for my husband who is willing to just be with me when I feel this bad. Grateful he can work from home and take me to all my appointments. He represents Christ in our marriage and lays down his life for me every day.

Please pray for me as I have a long season to endure. I want to run the race well. I want to represent Christ well. I want to share my hope that I have in Christ. I am clinging to this verse today, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

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My First Chemo Treatment

July 16, 2014 at 5:56 am (Breast Cancer, Faith, My ramblings)

I’ll admit I was a little nervous about my first treatment. I had an idea of what to expect because the cancer center gives you so much information so you are prepared. I brought snacks (splurged and bought nilla wafers!) a book, magazines, Ipad, and warm fuzzy socks. They gave me a blanket and a pillow as well. They hooked up the medicine (4 different cocktails) to my port so I had to sit there for about 5 hours and if you know me you know that it was very hard to do! I could roll my IV poll to the bathroom but basically sat there. The good news is they had free wifi so I watched Netflix the whole time and it really went by fast.

I met a lady who was ending her treatment and it was nice of her to come sit next to me because she heard me tell the nurse that this was my first time. She shared her experience with me and told me the side effects for her were minimal, some were weird though like she lost all of her toenails. (She was checking out my polka dotted toes). The main side effect she had was from the Neulasta, which is used to treat neutropenia, a lack of certain white blood cells caused by the chemo. I have to get this the day after each chemo treatment. About 2 days after receiving it, there is severe pain in your bones and lower back because the medicine goes into the bone marrow to work it’s magic.  Despite the side effects, it’s amazing that someone invented it because it will boost my immune system and help me be able to go out and not worry too much about catching infections, etc. They do blood tests every week and will let me know if  my counts are way down or if I need a blood transfusion.

I am so blessed to be under the care of an excellent specialist at Johns Hopkins and an oncologist who is at the new Aquilino Cancer Center next to Shady Grove Hospital. I am also doubly blessed because they chose me to do a case study on so my specialist, oncologist and radiologist meet on a regular basis to discuss my case and make sure I am receiving the best care. My specialist called me yesterday after they met and let me know that they have been studying my films and besides Kobu (the 4.6 cm lump), I also have several calcification’s that will most likely not shrink with chemo. What that means for me is I’ll probably have to have a mastectomy instead of a lumpectomy. The good news about having the mastectomy is no radiation, the bad news is, it’s usually involves several surgeries.

Whatever the outcome, I am confident that the Lord will go before me, stand behind me or carry me when needed. I am so grateful that I have a personal relationship with Christ because I’m not sure I could go through this without Him. I am joyful, peaceful and hopeful  because I am “pressing on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”  James 1:2-4 says,

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” 

I want to be a mature Christian and I want everything the Lord has for me. Hopefully I will pass this test and bring honor and glory to Christ and my biggest prayer is that I will meet many women throughout my treatment that I can share my hope and faith in Christ with. Thank you again for all your emails, texts and phone calls. Please continue to pray for me, especially for the next several days when the side effects kick in. They told me that days 1-2 are good, 3-7 are the hardest then the rest of the days until the next treatment should be good. With each treatment though, the fatigue and side effects may get worse.

Quick shout out to my hubby, Ken. I am absolutely amazed at his faith and trust in God going through this with me. His relationship with the Lord has never been stronger and knowing that he can lead us through this without fear but with strength allows me to just relax. I am so proud of him for his attitude and trust in God. He could shake his fist or be angry at the Lord for having to go through this again but instead is choosing to trust God completely. If you are reading this and don’t know him, his first wife lost her battle with cancer but praise God, she is in heaven now rejoicing. I am so proud of him and and also his kids for sticking by my side and praying us both through this. We have so much to be grateful for and are especially grateful for all the care we are receiving from you.

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Happy Birthday to Me

July 13, 2014 at 7:26 pm (Breast Cancer, Faith, My ramblings)

I can’t believe it’s been 13 years since I made the best decision of my life. July 14, 2001 was a day my life changed, not only in the physical world but the eternal as well. I got sober and made the decision to follow Jesus Christ. It’s been an amazing journey and one thing I’ve learned is that God will never let me down. His love for me is everlasting and so blatantly outrageous it boggles my mind. He loves me when I’m unlovable and He’s always near to me when I call.
I’m usually on a mission trip this time of year and have spent many birthdays on foreign soil. Today, however, I will be spending it the hospital getting a mediport put into my chest so it will be easier to receive my chemo medications. Although I’m saddened that I won’t be able to go back to my beloved Africa, I’m grateful that someone invented the port so I don’t have to worry about my tiny veins collapsing. I’m also grateful that I haven’t had a drink in 13 years and if there was ever a time I would’ve thought I needed one it would be now. Thankfully for me, I learned very early on in my walk with Christ that He is truly all I will ever need.
One of my favorite portions of scriptures Psalm 73:25-26,

Whom have in heaven but You? And earth has nothing I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

This is going to be a very busy week for me so I could use some extra prayers. I get my port today then Tuesday I’m attending a chemo education class and having an EKG then Wednesday is chemo day and Thursday I go back for an injection that will boost my white blood cells. The chemo will take about 5-6 hours and I’m grateful I only have to do it 6 times, every 3 weeks. Sitting still for me is going to be difficult and I’m glad they put a lot of Benedryl in the chemo cocktail so that will be make me sleepy.
I wanted to end by saying thanks to all of you who are praying, texting, calling and emailing me. My heart has been so encouraged and I’m truly blessed.

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Oncologist Meeting

July 11, 2014 at 12:21 pm (Breast Cancer, Faith, My ramblings) (, )

I just back from meeting with the oncologist and I’m feeling very overwhelmed. I really wanted to wait until I got back from my family vacation In August to start chemo but the oncologist wants me to start asap. The tumor grew 1 cm in 2 weeks so she is afraid that if I wait, it could spread into my lymph nodes. Although my lymph nodes came back clear, one of them is “chunky.”
I will be having a port put in to my chest on Monday, then a chemo education class on Tuesday, chemo on Wednesday and then on Thursday I go in for an injection that will boost my white blood cells. I will have 6 rounds of chemo, once every 3 weeks. Halfway though treatments, I’ll have an MRI or ultrasound to see if it shrunk then discuss surgery options and radiation.
I have HER2+ breast cancer, which means I test positive for a protein called human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2), which promotes the growth of cancer cells. HER2-positive breast cancers tend to be more aggressive than other types of breast cancer. The chemo combination is called TCHP or Taxotere, Carboplatin, Herceptin and Perjeta.
Please continue to pray for me and Ken as the reality is really setting in. It’s hard to think that I have this horrible disease growing inside of me because I don’t look or feel sick. I’m trying to keep a positive attitude and know without a doubt that the Lord will get us through this. I’m sure it will hit me the most when my hair starts to fall out and I think that’s when it will be the hardest for me.
Again, I am so grateful that we have such a strong support group and godly people in our lives and it’s your prayers that are carrying us through this season.

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Gratitude

April 12, 2013 at 7:33 pm (Faith, My ramblings)

I am utterly amazed when God gives me opportunities to share everything that He has done with me to the hurting world around me. To think that God can use my horrendous past and what the enemy meant for evil and turn that into His call for my life astounds me. I was reminded today that only 12 short years ago, I woke up a depressed, hopeless alcoholic who didn’t care whether or not I lived or died. I was reminded of my brokenness and my intense longing and desire to be loved and accepted. I was reminded of how guilty I felt all the time and my constant battle with shame.

Today I was also reminded that I am a new creation in Christ. I am so grateful that I have been sober for 12 years. I am so grateful that His love for me is as high as the heavens and He remembers my sins no more. I am so grateful that He rejoices over me with His singing and He quiets me with His love. I am so grateful that even before the creation of the world, He chose me. I am so grateful that I am fearfully and wonderfully made and that all my days were written in His book. I am so grateful for my fibromyalgia that draws me closer to God and reminds me that He loves me and counts me worthy enough to carry this cross. I am so grateful that God loves me so much that He would sacrifice His very own son for me. Me, a former Leper, former Mary Magdalene, former Samaritan woman at the well, former Pharisee and so many other things. Now, a new creation in Christ, clothed in His righteousness and proof that God makes beauty out of ashes.

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Praying through…

March 18, 2013 at 6:47 pm (Faith, My ramblings)

prayingI was reading ahead in the devotional book, Streams in the desert and wanted to post one of the devotionals. It really stuck with me and I loved what it had to say on the subject of praying through something. It starts with the verse from Matthew 9:29, “According to your faith will it be done to you.”

 

 

“Praying through” something might be defined as follows: “Praying your way into full faith; coming to the point of assurance, while still praying, that your prayer has been accepted and heard; and in advance of the event, with confident anticipation, actually becoming aware of having received what you ask.”

Let us remember that no earthly circumstance can hinder the fulfillment of God’s Word. We must look steadfastly at His immutable Word and not at the uncertainty of this ever-changing world. God desires for us to believe his Word without other evidence, and then He is ready to do for us “according to our faith.”  Robert Anderson

I wish I could take credit for such a wonderful devotional about praying through something, but I can’t! This is one of the best descriptions I have read about it and I just wanted to share it!

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Putting on Love

February 19, 2013 at 5:12 pm (Faith, My ramblings)

I recently finished up my medial assistant program and started my internship at a small primary care practice a few weeks ago. I have learned a lot and really enjoy talking with the patients.  I woke up a few days ago and was praying that God would use me and I also prayed for the doctor I work for because I don’t think she is believer. A few times, she has lost her patience not only with our small staff but also with patients.

My prayers generally tend to focus on me or my needs and I prayed that God would give her patience and kindness towards everyone and I immediately felt convicted. The Lord had to remind me that I am the child of God so I’m the one who is supposed to be patient and kind. As soon as I repented, I started praying differently and have continued to pray for God to help me to love her. It’s amazing how the Lord answers prayers that align with His will. I know I have been able to be patient, loving and kind to her because He has been all those and more to me.

It’s so easy for us to pray for God to change the other person or the circumstances in which He puts us but we need to remind ourselves that we are here to fulfill His purposes for our lives, not our own. I wrote down the verses below on an index card and I keep it in my pocket at work and pray it for myself every day. I’m so grateful that God has given us every thing that we need for godliness!

Colossians 3: 12-14 “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”

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One thing I ask…

February 7, 2013 at 10:29 pm (Faith, My ramblings)

I woke up this morning with Psalm 73:25 in my heart, “Whom have I heaven but You? and earth has nothing I desire besides You.” I started thinking about what that would look like and it was difficult to imagine. How different would my life be if the only thing I desired was God? If all my motives, dreams and longings were filled with simply desiring God. Even now, as I type, I’m almost speechless thinking about it.

Whenever I read this verse, it makes me think of Psalm 27:4, “One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek Him in His temple.” I can’t imagine what I would want if I had to ask the Lord for just one thing and He would grant it to me. Would it be wealth? or health? or peace? or to end world hunger? I honestly don’t know because I’ve never thought about it.

I’m trying to picture being in the house of the Lord, gazing upon His beauty and the only thing that pops in my head is Isaiah 6. Isaiah saw the Lord sitting on His throne, high and exalted and seraphs were flying around calling to one another, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is filled with His glory!” At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke. Isaiah cried out, “woe to me, I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.” I think that’s exactly how I would feel. My first instinct would be to fall to the ground with my head bowed low ashamed to be in the presence of God because I am the worst of sinners. Unworthy to stand in the presence of God, blemished and filthy. I can’t imagine what Isaiah thought when he saw one of the seraphs bring a burning coal to touch his lips to take away the guilt and atone for his sins. Did he feel the same way I felt when I found out that Christ died for me so that my guilt would be taken away and my sins atoned for? Did he feel clean and all bright and shiny like I did when I learned that I was now a new creation in Christ, that the old Rachel was dead and gone and the new one was here? Did he feel loved and adored like me when he finally found what he was desperately searching for his whole life? I think he did because when we get near the end of his book in chapter 61:10, he writes, “I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For He has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.”

I am so grateful that I can feel clean and forgiven of all my sins; past, present and future sins. No longer can the heinous sins of my past haunt me because Jesus came to set the captives free. He came to lift me out of the slimy pit, the mud and mire and set my feet upon a rock; no ordinary rock but The Rock. He redeemed my life from the pit and crowns me with love and compassion. He loves me with an everlasting love. God’s love and kindness towards me is mind boggling.

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Something from nothing

July 22, 2011 at 6:03 am (Faith, My ramblings)

I was reading Matthew 15:32-38 this morning and thinking about what this portion of Scripture means to me and I wanted to share a few thoughts. This is the second story of Jesus feeding the masses of people as He was teaching them. In the first account, He fed 5,000 men (plus women and children) with 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish and everyone ate and was satisfied and they had 12 basket of leftovers. Sounds crazy but we are talking about the Lord here! In this second account, “Jesus called His disciples to Him and said, ‘I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, or they may collapse on the way.’ His disciples answered, ‘Where could we get enough bread in this remote place to feed such a crowd?’ ‘How many loaves do you have?’ Jesus asked. ‘Seven,’ they replied, ‘and a few small fish.’ He told the crowd to sit down on the ground. Then He took the seven loaves and the fish, and when He had given thanks, He broke them and gave them to the disciples, and they in turn to the people. They all ate and were satisfied. Afterward the disciples picked up seven basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. The number of those who ate was four thousand men, besides women and children.” First of all, I love how Jesus’ motivation here is compassion. He knows the people must be hungry because they had been with Him for 3 days and have had nothing to eat. It makes me realize that Jesus cares about the needs in our lives no matter how big or small. He knows we have needs and He tells us in Matthew 6:31 to not worry about what we will eat or drink or wear because God knows we need them. As I was meditating on these verses, I thought about how we can sometimes pray for something that we may already have. If you are anything like me, you may be tempted to pray for more-more money, more time, more talent, more, more, more! I’m sure the disciples were probably thinking, ‘we have 7 loaves of bread and a few fish and Jesus wants us to feed at least 4,000 people with it?!” It doesn’t make sense and this is what I love so much about the Lord. He takes what little we have (or should I say what little we think we have) and He multiplies it. Not only did everyone eat that day until they were full, they also had 7 basketfuls leftover! I would’ve loved to be sitting there watching all this as it unfolded. I can imagine the disciples picking up the leftover baskets of food thinking to themselves, “didn’t we just do this with 5,000 other people?” At least this time, they didn’t just tell Jesus to send them away to go find food, they asked Him where they could find it. I think many times the Lord wants to use what little we have to do mighty things to show His glory. He chose to use a few loaves of bread and a few fish to feed all these people. He didn’t look up to the heavens and pray for more food. He didn’t call Domino’s pizza and tell them to send enough food for 4,000 people. He used what was available and I think sometimes that’s what He wants to do in our lives as well. Whenever I read these verses, it reminds me of the times in my life when I didn’t know how I would make it financially. The first several years for me a Christian were spent on repaying a lot of credit card debt that I accrued living a worldy life. I had 10 credit cards and a few months before giving my life to Christ, I almost filed for bankruptcy. I ended up not doing it and after living on a very meager salary, I ended up paying it all back. It was one of the hardest things I ever had to do, especially as I had nothing to show for it. During this repayment phase, I was also able to tithe and that blew me away because every single month, it looked like I wouldn’t make it. If you looked at my finances on paper, it would not make sense and many times, I would balance my checkbook and think to myself, “how could I have made it through another month?” I love how the Lord met all my needs, always. Like the verses above, He can take something from nothing and make it everything. I will close with Matthew 19:26, “…All things are possible with God.”

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Happy 10 Year Sober Anniversary!

July 14, 2011 at 7:12 am (Faith, My ramblings)

I can’t believe that today, July 14, I have been sober for 10 years! What an amazing journey this has been and I am so grateful that I didn’t have to do it alone. Not only is it my sobriety birthday, it’s also my Christian birthday which makes it extra special. I gave my heart and life to Christ on July 14, 2001 and my life has not been the same since. If you want to read my whole testimony, click here.

Looking back on the last 10 years brings tears of happiness to my eyes because I can’t believe how very much God loves me. Sometimes I feel like I can grasp the depth and breadth of it, then other times I know I don’t even close to comprehending it. I only have to look back over my entire life to see how He had a plan and purpose for me all along. Through all my addictions and heinous sins, He loved me anyways. Not once I got cleaned up, but during it all. Amazing.

Who knew 10 years ago my life would turn out the way it did. Not only am I loved by God, but I’m married to the most wonderful husband in the world. I thought I was going to stay single and be a missionary in Africa, God had other plans. It’s funny how He works everything out according to His plans, not mine. Who knew that my mother would become one of my best friends after years of animosity and that our relationship would be restored beyond what I could ever imagine. Who knew that I would go to Bible college and earn my bachelor of theology degree (the first one in my family to graduate from college). Who knew that 10 years ago, I would wake up hungover and hating myself and my life and go to bed a new creation in Christ, loved and forgiven, redeemed and set free from a life of addictions. Jesus Christ, lover of my soul, that’s who. The One who gave up His life for me as a ransom. My debt is paid in full. Pardoned, redeemed, exonerated, absolved. It’s almost incomprehensible to think that a life was given freely for mine. Especially someone who was perfect and did absolutely nothing wrong. But because of His incredulous love for me, He laid down His life for me so that I could be forgiven and live an life in abundance.

Thank you Jesus for loving me enough when no one else did. Thank you for taking my horrendous sins and paying the price that should have been mine to pay. Thank you Jesus that it’s only by your grace that I am saved, that nothing I could have done would have been enough. Thank you Jesus that I have the honor and privilege to serve you for the rest of my life. Thank you Lord that you love me anyways. This song sums up how I feel.

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Why Am I So Unhappy?

July 13, 2011 at 8:07 am (Faith, My ramblings)

I have been reading the book The Greener Grass Conspiracy and the title of the first chapter is Why am I so unhappy? The author talks about playing the “what if” game and the way to play it is to think about what would make you happy. Really, freakishly happy. We play it by inserting “what if” in front of things like, “if only I could get married then I would be happy” or “if only I could get that job promotion, then I would be satisfied” or “if only my budget wasn’t so tight, then I’d have peace, joy, contentment, and some sleep at night.” He goes on to say once you’ve identified your “if only” dream, invest all your hopes in that dream and spend hours thinking and praying about it. Put all your hopes for life and happiness into that dream. Imagine how happy you’ll finally be when that dream is fulfilled. Most people are good at playing the “what if” game. The only problem is, you never win.

If you struggle with discontentment, ask yourself this question, “am I always waiting for that next event/person/place/thing to happen so that it will fulfill the deepest desires of my heart?” If so, you will never, ever be content. Why? The Bible explains it best in Mark 7:21-23, “For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly.  All these evils come from inside and defile a person.”  It’s so easy to blame everything else for our circumstances but ultimately, it’s our fault. The raging, covetous, discontented desires come from within and they won’t be satisfied when circumstances change.

The author then goes on to talk about our constant desire to make an image for God. Our hearts are idol factories and we are constantly creating new idols to worship. Not golden calves, mind you, but idols nonetheless. Ultimately, the problem is stated best in James 4:1-3, “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?  You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God.  When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”  When we don’t get what we want, we throw a temper tantrum and if we’re not careful, we can become angry with God and discontent with life. We grumble and complain and happiness appears to be out of reach. So what’s the hope if we are discontent? What do we do? Paul writes in Philippians 4:11-12, “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” I think if the Apostle Paul can be content in whatever circumstances (beatings, stonings, shipwrecks, starvation, assassination attempts, snakebites, riots, etc) then we can also learn to be content.

This post is not meant to bring condemnation but conviction. As I am reading this book, my eyes are being opened to my own sin. Is is painful? Yes. Is it necessary? Yes. Does it bring me closer to the Lord? Absolutely. And ultimately, that’s what I want. I want to love the Lord with all my heart, soul, mind and strength and I am grateful for the Bible and for godly people who write godly books to help me along the way.

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Made for One Purpose

July 9, 2011 at 6:37 am (Faith, My ramblings)

I have been reading a book titled The Greener Grass Conspiracy by Stephen Altrogge. He is a pastor at one of our sister Sovereign Grace churches in Pa. The book is a very easy read and it’s packed with personal stories, which I enjoy. I wanted to share some of what he wrote in chapter 2 because it really hit home with me. He begins by quoting Isaiah 43:6-7 and here is portion of it, “everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.” He goes on to say:

We were created for God’s glory. In other words, God put you and me on this planet to bring Him glory. I exist to display His worth to the world and to show how great God really is. God is at the center of all things and we exist for Him. Not the other way around. Life is not about my ultimate happiness and self-fulfillment. Does God love me? Yes, absolutely, but He doesn’t exist for me. Everything exists by God and for God. The universe orbits around God.

Discontentment begins when I start trying to be God.  Discontentment happens when I attempt to displace God from His rightful place at the center of the universe. When I think that everything should run according to my plans instead of God’s plans. When I forget that God is God and that He allowed to do with me whatever He wants, whatever will bring Him glory. Discontentment results from a big view of myself and a very little view of God. Contentment is created in the shadow of the majesty of God. I become content when I see and treasure embrace the glory of God. I find contentment when I grasp the fact that life is not primarily about me and my comfort and my happiness. My soul is satisfied when I stop trying to elbow my way to the center of the universe and instead rejoice in and worship the God who really is the center of all things.

I couldn’t have said it better. Discontentment is an awful thing. I looked up the meaning in a dictionary and it’s defined as a restless desire or craving for something one does not have. What do you crave? What are the deepest desires of your heart that only the Lord knows about? Do you have the greener grass syndrome? Are you always thinking that other people have everything they want and you are the only person in life who doesn’t? Are you more focused on pleasing yourself rather then rejoicing in and worshiping God? When we realize that God created us with a plan and a purpose and ultimately He is in charge, we will live in a state of contentment. Whenever I start feeling a spirit of discontentment come over me, I quote Philippians 4:8, “…whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”

I will actually ask myself questions based on this verse like, is what I’m thinking or feeling right now true? Is it noble? Is it right? Is it pure? Is it lovely? Is it admirable? Is it excellent or praiseworthy? If it’s not, then I am most likely struggling with the sin of discontentment. As soon as I confess my sin to the Lord and take my thoughts captive, I am once again filled with His peace.  His wonderful peace that surpasses all understanding. I am so grateful that the Lord did not leave me here alone but that I have the Holy Spirit to help me.

 

 

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Real Freedom

July 4, 2011 at 7:39 am (Faith, My ramblings)

I am grateful for our country and like most people, I love picnics and fireworks. It seems like this is what July 4th is all about. We have many freedoms simply because we are American and many people paid dearly with their lives to give us this freedom. We celebrate them and their heroic valor towards us and our country. We are grateful to them. I don’t find anything wrong about celebrating but today I would like to talk about a different freedom. A freedom that only Christ can bring. Galatians 5:1 states, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Christ has ultimately set us free. Freedom from the law, sin, death and eternal separation from God. That’s the freedom I want to celebrate. I love what Martin Luther writes in his commentary about this verse,

“Our conscience is free and quiet because it no longer has to fear the wrath of God. This is real liberty, compared with which every other kind of liberty is not worth mentioning. Who can adequately express the boon that comes to a person when he has the heart-assurance that God will nevermore be angry with him, but will forever be merciful to him for Christ’s sake? This is indeed a marvelous liberty, to have the sovereign God for our Friend and Father who will defend, maintain, and save us in this life and in the life to come.”

On July 14, 2001, I was set free. Set free from a life filled with self hatred, guilt, shame, drugs, alcohol and all the debauchery you can imagine. I woke up with one of the worst hangovers I have ever had and I was in my bed covered in my own vomit. I wanted to die. I had tried to take my own life 6 times and twice ended up on life support. Doctors didn’t think I would live. I was anorexic and my body started to feed off of my own organs to survive. I had a horrible heart murmur yet smoked 2 packs of cigarettes a day. I didn’t care. I hated my life. I had no purpose. Until that fateful day almost 10 years ago. I woke up and thought to myself, “I just can’t do this anymore. I remember asking God if He was real and if He was, He had to help me.” It was the strangest thing because within a few minutes, I felt a calm and peace I have never felt before. That began my new life in Christ and my new freedom in Christ. Click here if you want to read my entire testimony. My 10 year Christian anniversary will be in just 10 days. I can’t believe that I have also been sober for 10 years.

My life is so different than it was 10 years ago. It hasn’t been without trials or temptations but the Lord got me through them. I am amazed how much the Lord has changed me and continues to change me to be more like Him. I fail everyday and everyday I get right back up and choose to walk in His grace and mercy. The kindness of God boggles my mind and many times I wonder, why me? Then I think of the portion of scripture in 2 Corinthians 1:3-4, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” This is why I share my testimony with everyone who will listen. I have received much comfort and want other people to receive it as well. I want people who are struggling with addictions and shame and all that goes with it to see that God is real and is who He says He is and will do what His Word says He will do. If God can take a grievous sinner like me and use it to bring glory to Him, then I will continue to boast in Him.

Happy 4th of July and don’t forget to thank the giver of real freedom, Jesus Christ.

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How we conduct ourselves

June 26, 2011 at 6:24 am (Faith, My ramblings)

I was reading Philippians chapter 1 and something made me stop and meditate on the first part of verse 27. “Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Christ.” I started to think about all the times that I failed to do this and wondered how many other people thought about this. As I was thinking about it, I remembered a funny story from a friend of mine about this exact thing. She was waiting in line on the day before Thanksgiving at a honey baked ham store and needless to say, the line went out the door and the place was crazy. She was getting frustrated by the minute and was about to say something she was going to regret when she looked down and realized she was wearing a jacket that had the name of our church on it. If that wasn’t enough, she was actually on staff at our church and was picking up the ham for a church event!

On a more serious note, it’s funny how different we act when we know people are watching us. Why is this? We are representatives of Christ and 2 Corinthians 5:20 calls us ambassadors. Everywhere we go, everything we do and “whatever happens,” we should be conducting ourselves in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Christ. I think this goes well beyond the way we act but it’s also living everyday life with an attitude of looking for the lost and people who are hurting. I met a police officer years ago who told me a story that represents this perfectly.

He told me that he carries his gun 24/7, even when he’s not working. He said no matter what he does or where he goes, he is always aware of what’s going on around him. He was running errands on his day off last week and actually witnessed a robbery! He was able to catch the robber and everything worked out and no one was hurt.
This man is an officer of the law. It’s bred into him that he is to serve and protect. He is cop 100 % of the time. Not from 9-5, Monday thru Friday. That’s because it is who he is. He doesn’t flip a switch after work then he doesn’t care about protecting people anymore. I thought of how this compares to us Christians and I was honestly convicted of my attitude. Can you imagine if all Christians all the time went about life looking for the hurting, the lost, the sad, the broken and we were always aware of the pain around us? Can you imagine what we could accomplish?! If we were like the police officer always looking to see how we could be available and actually looking to bless someone? It blows my mind to think of the impact we could have.
I pray that today, I would be aware. Aware of anyone who needs the life-saving message of Christ. Aware of anyone who may just need a smile or a hug. I pray that I may represent Christ well and whatever happens today, I will conduct myself in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Christ.

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What are you expecting?

June 4, 2011 at 8:21 am (Faith, My ramblings)

In Acts 3:1-5, Peter and John were going up to the temple to pray. There was a man who was crippled from birth who was put at the temple gate every morning to beg from those entering the temple.  Could you imagine doing the same thing over and over each and every day? And begging at that. Anyways, He saw Peter and John about to enter the temple and he begged them for money. It’s interesting that Peter looked straight at him and and said, “look at us!” That tells me that the crippled man was probably not even looking at them but out of habit, just begged from everyone. It’s almost like he wasn’t expecting anything from Peter and John and was very non-nonchalant about it. In verse 5 it says that the man then gave them his attention expecting to get something from them. When we expect something, we are waiting for it to happen. Think about when we order something online, for me it’s always Amazon.com. If you’re like me, I know about when it’s coming so I check my front porch every day looking for the box. When I finally see the package, my heart flutters a little because I am so excited it’s finally here.

That really challenged me and got me thinking about how we can go through our own lives praying nonchalantly and not really expecting God to answer us.   We come to the Lord every day or every week and we don’t give Him our undivided attention. We ask for things like more faith, less fear and anxiety, a godly spouse, yet we are not really focused on God. Like the beggar sitting at the temple gate, day in and day out, asking for money yet not really believing he was going to get any. I think God is telling us, “Look at me! Stop checking your emails, looking at Facebook, answering texts and look at me!”  He wants and deserves our total focus and undivided attention. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to come to the Lord halfheartedly. I want to come to Him with great expectation. I want to have that feeling when I’m waiting on Him, like waiting for the package to come. I truly believe that when our focus is on Him, it changes what’s going on in our hearts.

I love the song, “While I’m Waiting” and I think it describes how I feel. Here is the video and lyrics:

I’m waiting
I’m waiting on You, Lord
And I am hopeful
I’m waiting on You, Lord
Though it is painful
But patiently, I will wait

I will move ahead, bold and confident
Taking every step in obedience
While I’m waiting
I will serve You
While I’m waiting
I will worship
While I’m waiting
I will not faint
I’ll be running the race
Even while I wait

I’m waiting
I’m waiting on You, Lord
And I am peaceful
I’m waiting on You, Lord
Though it’s not easy
But faithfully, I will wait
Yes, I will wait
I will serve You while I’m waiting
I will worship while I’m waiting
I will serve You while I’m waiting
I will worship while I’m waiting
I will serve you while I’m waiting
I will worship while I’m waiting on You, Lord

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Happy Birthday to me!

October 12, 2010 at 8:04 am (Faith, My ramblings)

I can’t believe that I reached my 45th birthday. I can’t imagine how before the creation of the world, God knew this day would come.  He knew I would be sober, married to a great man and living my life to the absolute full.  He knew that on July 14, 2001, He would make me into a new creation. Forgiven, loved, adored and clothed in righteousness.  Made in the image of Christ. He lifted me out of the pit of despair, hopelessness and alcoholism and set my feet on the Rock and put a new song in my mouth.  He is my deliverer and lover of my soul. Thank you Jesus for loving me when I was at my absolute worst.  When I felt most alone and scared, hating myself for what I had become, you called me to yourself because of your great love for me.  You forgave and continue to forgive me as far as the east is from the west.  You make beauty from ashes.  You make all things new.  You have a plan and purpose for my life.  Thank You Lord for giving me 45 years on this earth thus far.

On a less than spiritual note, here is my birthday present from my wonderful hubby!

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While I was a sinner…

September 30, 2010 at 10:11 am (Faith, My ramblings)

It never ceases to amaze me how much God loves me.  Perfectly.  Unconditionally.  Without judgment.  Without constraint.  With all my flaws and all the sins of my past, present and future.   Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: WHILE we were STILL sinners, Christ died for us.” While I was a sinner?  While I was His enemy and at war with Him?  While I was an alcoholic?  While I was doing so many horrible things?  Yes, because it’s not about me and what I did.  It’s about Him and what He and He alone can do.  He sacrificed His most beloved possession for me.  He let His very own Son get mocked, ridiculed, flogged and spit upon for me so that I wouldn’t have to bear these things.  He put my shame, my pain, my hurt and all the things I have ever done and would ever do and nailed them to His hands and feet.  He paid the ultimate price so that I wouldn’t have to.  Not once I got clean or sober or got my act together.  Not because I went to church every week or because I was obedient or good or kind to people.  It was simply because He chose me before the creation of the earth to be His.  It’s because all my days were ordained for me before one of them came to be.  It’s because He fearfully and wonderfully made me.  It’s because when I was made in the secret place, His eyes saw my unformed body. It’s because  He takes great delight in me and rejoices over me with singing.  True love, God’s redeeming love.

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Paul and Silas

September 29, 2010 at 5:43 am (Faith, My ramblings)

I was reading in Acts 16 and for some reason, I can’t get it off my mind. Paul and Silas has just been severely flogged and thrown into a prison in Philippi and there they were, praying and singing hymns to God. Every time I read that, I am dumbfounded. If I had just been beaten and severely at that, I think I would be whining and complaining because they really did nothing wrong. Yet, here were these 2 godly men, with their feet in stocks in the inner cell singing their hearts out to God.  It’s interesting that we are told the other prisoners were listening to them because, whether we want to believe it or not, people are always watching us. They want to see if we walk our talk, especially in tough times.

The story goes on to say that suddenly there was a violent earthquake and all the prison doors flew open. When the prison guard saw this, he drew his sword to kill himself because he thought all the prisoners had escaped but Paul yells, “don’t harm yourself, we are all here.” The next statement the guard is asking them, “what must he do to be saved?” Unbelievable! As I was thinking about this yesterday and today, it struck me that this guard asked them about salvation, not the other way around.  Could you imagine if our lives reflected Jesus and our love for God so much that people would stop us and ask us, “what must I do to be saved?”  I imagine the guard probably thought Paul and Silas were crazy. They has just been severely beaten and they were singing to God!! I can hear them singing, Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me... Wow. I continued to read the rest of the chapter and not only did the prison guards entire family come to know the Lord, but Paul and Silas actually went to their friend Lydia’s house once they got out. It says they met with the brothers and encouraged them. The last thing I think I would want to do after I had been beaten and up all night was go to someone’s house to encourage them! I was really challenged by this but also encouraged. When I am at my weakest point, it’s good to know that God will give me the same spiritual strength that He gave these 2 men. He always gives us what we need to do what He has called us to do, not what we want to do but what He has called us to do.

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A New Day

September 27, 2010 at 11:01 am (Faith, My ramblings)

Yesterday was a tough day. Today is a new day. I am a new creation. God is the Creator and makes everything beautiful. I love it. It’s pouring rain outside and I have the windows open so I can listen to it. It’s like God is playing a melodious tune with the raindrops and putting on a show just for me. The leaves are starting to turn a little and the birds and squirrels are eating the seeds in the bird feeder’s as they prepare for the winter. Beautiful yellow, black and silver finches, Robin’s and cardinals and blue jays oh my…

It still amazes me that God created everything and gives life and breath to everything. Every day I wake up and thank God for my new life. I am so grateful that I have been sober for 9 years. I am so grateful that He gave me eyes to see and legs to walk. I am so thankful for my husband, step-kids, grandbabies and puppy. I am so grateful for my fibromyalgia that draws me closer to God and reminds me that He loves me and counts me worthy enough to carry this cross. I am so grateful that His yoke is easy and His burden is light. I am thankful that as far as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His love for me. I am so thankful that when I confess my sins, He forgives me and cleanses me with His righteousness. I am so grateful that God loves me so much that He would sacrifice His very own son for me. Me, a former Leper, former Mary Magdalene, former Samaritan woman at the well, former Pharisee and so many other things. Now, a new creation in Christ, clothed in His righteousness and proof that God makes beauty out of ashes.

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Psalm 37

September 18, 2010 at 8:02 am (Faith, My ramblings)

I was reading Psalm 37:1-8 and and didn’t realize how many action words were in these 8 verses. It clearly reveals what we are to do and what God will do. I am in no way suggesting that we need to do works in order to gain anything from God but there are things that He commands us to do. When I read my Bible, I often will make 2 lists and write out my part and God’s part. It helps me to see that I am not on the throne (as if I ever was) and that God is in absolute control, always. I found it interesting that it tells us to not fret 3 times and to trust in the Lord 2 times. I think it’s safe to say that we often get stuck in the fretting part (worry and anxiety) which is basically not trusting God. It’s hard to think about not trusting Him completely but seriously, could you imagine what our lives would be like if we truly believed every single word in the Bible and acted like we did?! We would change the world! This is not to condemn but to challenge and encourage us that God will do what He says He will do, we just need to believe it.  I’m not going to write out the whole portion of Scripture but click on this link to read it in its entirety.

Our Part:

  • Not fret, verse 1
  • Trust in the Lord, verse 3
  • Do good, verse 3
  • Dwell in the land, verse 3
  • Enjoy safe pasture, verse 3
  • Delight in the Lord, verse 4
  • Commit your way to the Lord, verse 5
  • Trust in Him, verse 5
  • Be still, verse 7
  • Wait patiently, verse 7
  • Do not fret, verse 7
  • Refrain from anger, verse 8
  • Turn from wrath, verse 8
  • Do not fret, verse 8
  • Hope in the Lord, verse 9

God’s Part:

  • He will give you the desires of your heart, verse 4
  • He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, verse 6
  • We will inherit the Land, verse 9

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Hopefully back to blogging!

September 14, 2010 at 6:43 pm (Faith, Fibromyalgia, My ramblings)

I can’t believe how long it’s been since I blogged. I miss writing so much. What a long year and a half it’s been. I got married which, other than God forgiving and loving me, was the best thing that has happened to me. I got diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, which I didn’t believe until February of this year. Unfortunately, I was one of those people who thought FM (fibromyalgia) was in your head. I decided to go on some medication for it 6 months ago and it nearly made me lose my mind. I was on several different medications to help with all the horrible side effects and I am so thankful that I am off all but one of them. I am weaning off it and will hopefully be done with it in a few weeks. I went to an FM specialist who takes a more natural approach and a Chinese “medicine man” and spent 3 hours with them. I have such a clearer understanding of what has been going on in my brain and body all these years.

All my years of drug abuse, emotional trauma, eating disorders, alcoholism (9 years sober!!) and taking so many different medications has made my brain go haywire. I read a great description of what’s going on with my brain which helped me to explain it to people, because it seems that many people, like I, can’t fathom what FM is or the effects it can have on people. It’s like a circuit breaker that has been overloaded and shut down but mine, due to the above mentioned, won’t reset. You can’t just flip the switch back.  My brain is basically offline! The medication I was taking made it go into hyper overdrive and I felt like I was wonder woman. This gave me a false sense of energy and many days I would do way too much and then the next day I would have such severe muscle spasms, migraines and my neck hurt constantly.  It seemed like I couldn’t even talk to more than one person at a time because it was just too much stimuli for me. I couldn’t listen to music, be in the sun or go near crowds.  It’s been almost 4 weeks since I have been off the meds and I finally feel like I can think, pray, read my Bible and listen to worship music again.

I am so grateful that I cried out to the Lord when I did because I know this is His plan for me right now. I am still fighting bouts of fatigue and my muscles are still in knots and the spasms only come in the evening. I haven’t had a migraine in 2 days and that is huge! When I stopped the meds I had a migraine for almost 3 weeks and horrible vertigo, vomiting and ringing in my ears. Next week I go back to the doctor to get all my blood work back and I am interested to see what else has been going on in my body. The Chinese medicine man is mixing me up a batch of herbal supplements that I have to drink in tea and it supposedly tastes like old tires. I am so excited to be getting my life back that old tires seems pretty tasty to me right now.

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James Bible Study

October 9, 2009 at 12:35 pm (Faith, My ramblings)

I really miss blogging and so many of my friends have challenged me to start again so here goes…

I started a new Bible study on the book of James written by Warren Wiersbe. This morning I read through verses 1-12 in chapter 1 and a few things really stuck out to me. I think many of us are familiar with the beginning verses that challenge us to consider it pure joy when we face trials of many kinds. We quote it all the time and we especially love to “encourage” other people in this when they are struggling with their faith.  What really got my attention were verses 5-8. The NIV says, 5″If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. 6But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; 8he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.”

Verse 5 tells us that when we ask God for wisdom, He gives it to us generously and without finding fault. That is an incredible statement made by the Creator of the universe.  He is not just eeking out little bits of wisdom randomly, He is giving it to us GENEROUSLY! But this is the part that got me. Verse 6 says if we doubt Him, we are just like the waves of the sea that gets tossed by the wind. Think of a very strong wind blowing around a small boat in the sea. The boat has no choice where it goes, it basically goes where the wind blows it. I don’t know about you, but there is no way I am going to let my faith be dictated by the wind no matter what I may be feeling or what my cirmucstances or struggles may be.  I have to make a choice to believe that God is good and His Word is true or I will be like the boat. It doesn’t stop there but continues to say in verse 7 that if we doubt, we may as well not even think we will receive anything from the Lord and verse 8 says we are double minded and unstable. I don’t know about you but I want to believe that if I ask God for wisdom, He is going to give it to me generously and my prayer is that I don’t doubt Him because I surely do not want to be remembered as a woman who was double minded and unstable.  I want to be known as a woman who fears the Lord and has the kind of faith that moves mountains. I think it dishonors God when we doubt Him and it also places the emphasis on us and not on Him. I love how Ephesians 3:20-21 puts it, 20″Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen!”

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Restoration

November 18, 2008 at 10:41 am (Faith, My ramblings)

c-falls21I can’t believe it’s been months since I have written! I miss it so much but it just seems that time gets away from me. I am hoping to reduce my hours at work a little so hopefully I can write again.

God has been so good to me and one of the reasons I have been a little busy is because after waiting my whole life, I have found my true love! He is so amazing and God is continuing to knit our hearts together. I don’t want this post to be all about him though as fun as he is to write about. I couldn’t resist posting his picture again though. 🙂

I have been reading in Kings alot lately about Elijah and Elisha and it was been incredible. As I was reading yesterday in 2 Kings 8, The Lord reminded me of a word He gave me back in January of this year. It started with this Scripture in Isaiah 43:19, See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.

I remember walking around work for several months at the beginning of this year and saying out loud, “this is going to be my year!”  I really felt that and only yesterday was reminded of this. (It’s only 5 am so I am going to try to make sense as I write this post!) In 2 Kings chapter 8, the Shunammite woman (the same woman who Elisha raised from the dead in chapter 4) returns home after being gone during the 7 year famine. She has lost everything; her land, her house, all of it. She goes to appeal to the king and guess who just happens to be hanging out with him. Gehazi, Elisha’s servant, just happened to be bragging about Elisha and what he did for this woman and here is the king’s response to her request for her property back. “Restore all that was hers, together with all the produce of the fields from the day she has left her land until now.”

WOW! Restore everything and then some! This made me think about Joel 2:25, “The Lord will restore what the locusts have eaten,” and then I thought about something else really cool. I have been saved by God’s amazing grace for 7 years! The number 7 is very significant in the Bible and it represents perfection.  Not that in any way this has been a perfect year, but the Lord picked this incredible year to bless me with a new job and the love of my life! He chose this year from the beginning of time to make me more like Him. This has been a year of looking to the Lord like never before and being challenged on some issues of pride and selfishness. One of the areas He was really challening me on is in the area of my mouth. I wrote back in January that one of my goals was to try to control my tongue and I think I have grown in this area by memorizing several scriptures pertaining to this.

God has been and continues to be so faithful to me and once again, I am in awe of what He has been doing in my life.

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The Rebelution

July 27, 2008 at 7:15 am (Faith, My ramblings) (, , )

Yesterday I went to the Rebelution, Do Hard Things conference at church and I wanted to jot down a few notes that I wrote in my journal.  The 2 young men who started this, Alex and Brett Harris, are amazing and they are changing the world. The basis for the Rebelution is “a teenage rebellion against low expectations.” I love that! These young men are not accepting the labels and limitations put on teenagers today but are changing the world and to the glory of God. Wow, what a concept! I knew the Lord would speak to me although I am way beyond my teenage years and He did. Everything these young men talked about can be applied to everyone’s life, no matter what the age.

Here are some of the notes I wrote down as they were talking:

  • Are my expectations of myself and other people to low?
  • Whose expectations am I living by? Our culture? Other people? My family?
  • Our ceiling [of expectations] is where the floor should be
  • Don’t let other people put you in their mold
  • We are susceptible to low expectations
  • Our culture expects only the minimal from us
  • Am I stuck in my own comfort zone?
  • Am I too satisfied that I am complacent?
  • We will become who we strive to become. Am I striving to become more like Christ?

They also gave 7 “Do Hard Things” that we need to do in order to have a Do Hard Things mentality:

  1. Fight sin in your life.
  2. Battle discouragement and complacency.
  3. Do more than is required [expected] – Rebel against low expectations.
  4. Get over your fear of failure: Fail while doing it greatly. Failure is never wasted and it’s ok to fail at the “hard things.”
  5. Looks different for each person: we are all gifted by God with unique gifts designed specifically for His purposes.
  6. Do small things: For the glory of God and not recognition of man.
  7. Live your best life – not the easiest or most comfortable.

During one of the sessions, their father shared on a very important portion of Scripture that God used in my life several years ago. Although at the moment of my salvation, I was broken, I really didn’t realize what complete brokenness was until God used Ezekiel 36:25-27 to speak to me. I will write a separate post on that soon. But their dad spoke about how there are so many people who look like Christians, speak like Christians and who know how they are supposed  to “act” like Christians. He challenged the teens and asked if they were done pretending and if they were ready to have a heart change and accept the Lord into their hearts and lives. (That was my paraphrase by the way). He asked them to stand up if they are ready and although it took a little while, one by one, people stood up. The presence of God was moving through the church and we were praying and doing some serious warfare. He then called them to come up front and as the minutes passed by, people kept going up there. He also called them up if they waned to recommit to following the Lord and soon there were several hundred teens up there. I was sitting pretty close to the front and as they were returning to their seats, I watched some of their faces. I saw true repentance and brokenness and I felt such an incredible feeling in my heart and soul as I knew their lives would never be the same. I watched fathers walking back with their sons and saw the tears of joy. I can’t help but to think back to my salvation at times like this. How merciful God was and continues to be. We then sang Amazing Grace and I couldn’t even sing for most of the song. The words are so beautiful and being a former wretch, I can truly appreciate what the Cross means. Without it, there is nothing. With it, there is everything.

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God is Sovereign

June 23, 2008 at 7:09 pm (Faith, My ramblings, Testimonies)

Today was an incredible day because I woke up loved, forgiven and adored by my Creator. Even when I am an idiot, God loves me. I went to the dentist today and after the dentist filled in a few cavities, the assistant came in and was showing me the proper way to floss my teeth. (That should be an entire blog on its own!) Anyways, that was my 3rd trip to this dentist, who by the way, was my childhood dentist, and everytime I am there, I sense an immense sadness in this woman. I don’t get to talk to her too much because the dentist’s hands are usually in my mouth along with some other weird stuff that I am glad I can’t see! Anyways, everytime I pay and make my next appointment, she starts talking to me and I just want to get out of there and go home. Today was no different. I was hungry, tired, emotionally drained and I was going to hit rush hour traffic! So, after she teaches me how to floss, she breaks out a toothbrush and I am thinking to myself, “are you kidding me?” She touches the brush to my teeth and told me to avoid the gumline so I wouldn’t ruin my gums any more than I have already done. I told her that the problem was that I used to be a drug addict and an alcoholic so that’s what the problem was. She looked up at me with those sad eyes and said, “are you kidding me? You have your act together now, what happened?” I was so torn, half of me wanted to go home and the other half was telling me this girl needs hope. I had a copy of my testimony in the car, which was parked pretty far away and I really did not feel like walking out to get it for her. I rationalized that I would see her in a few weeks and I would bring it in then but the Lord would not relent. I feel ashamed to write that but all I wanted was some time for myself and to get home. After all, I earned it right??? Wrong! I immediately thought of Jesus trying to get alone and get some space and people still followed Him. He didn’t tell them to go home because He was tired and He needed a break. He was moved by compassion and out of love for people, He helped them.

Anyways, I told her that I had been sober for 7 years and she told me she had been sober for 21 years but was struggling with depression.  I told her that I was not only sober, I was a Christian and because of that, I have a joy that comes only from knowing Christ. She had tears in her eyes and told me she didn’t know about the whole Christian thing so I shared some of my testimony with her. I told her how I used to struggle with depression, suicide and despair and the tears kept streaming down her face. This woman has no idea that she was created in the image of God and that He loves her so much. I was praying the whole time I was talking to her because sometimes I get so fired up and want to tell her everything about the Lord and the Bible but once again, God shut my mouth. I told her I had a CD of what God did in my life in the car for her and went out and got it. I gave it to her with my card and phone number and told her to call me after she listened to it. I have no idea if she will but I will pray like crazy for her. Her name is Donna so if you are reading this, please pray for her too.

I write this not out of condemnation for myself but out of a realization of my desperate need for God. Left to myself, I will think only of myself. To think that I would allow a 28 second walk interfere with Gods’ plan of salvation in this woman’s life is something I don’t want to repeat. On my way home, the song I blogged about the other day came on the radio and I knew that Donna needed to here it so I need to take it to her. I was listening to these words and I saw her as Christ sees her, hurting and feeling like she is alone, but she is not alone…and I am going to tell her.

You’re not alone
for I am here
let me wipe away your every fear
My love, I’ve never left your side
I have seen you through your darkest nights
Your darkest nights
And I’m the one that’s loved you all your life
All of your life

 

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God is involved in everything

February 12, 2008 at 6:43 am (Faith, My ramblings)

It never ceases to amaze me how everything we do or don’t do is an act of our will.  We make choices, many choices, each and every day. Will I go here or there? Will I do this or that?  Will I eat this or that?  Will I call so and so or am I too busy? Yada, yada, yada and on it goes. I posted a few days ago about how the choices we make today will affect our future.

I was doing my  Bible study this morning and one of the questions asked was, describe a time when you cooperated with God by denying your will and following His. Well, that’s easy for me because most times I feel like I am following my own will so when I do listen to the Lord, things happen and I remember! I have been looking to change careers for awhile now and about 6 or 7 months ago I was interviewing with a large company I used to work at before.  I worked there for 15 years and knew that I could go back and make a lot more money.  The downside was that I would be working longer hours, nights, weekends and all holidays.  The upside would be more money and no debt.  We’re talking about a lot more money.  Anyone who knows me knows that money is not a motivator for me at all, I know it sounds weird but it’s true.  However, I am a missions addict and you can’t travel the world without it!  Long story short, I knew the Lord did not want me to go back to this company and after arguing with Him, I relented. (He always wins!) 

Well, shortly thereafter my name came up at another company I used to work for and they contacted me asking if I was still looking for a new job.  It is so amazing that this offer is right up my alley.  I will be able to use my administrative gifts and my gift of gab (yes, it is a gift) and be able to be more of a witness to the outside world. I am so excited about this opportunity and had I jumped at the first offer, I would not have received this one.

Waiting on the Lord can seem so hard sometimes, believe me I know. It seems like most of my life is spent waiting on something or for something. I find that if I wait patiently, He will give me the desires of my heart.  I trust Him to do what He says He will do and I know that He desires to reward those who earnestly seek Him.  It’s not about the reward though, it’s about seeking Him and His will and drawing near to Him.  I love my Lord so much and can’t believe how much He loves me. 

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The Spirit Filled Life

April 11, 2007 at 10:37 am (Faith, My ramblings)

I am reading the Best of AW Tozer and it is an awesome book. An excerpt from his book Divine Conquest has a chapter about being filled with the Spirit. I must admit that when I first came to know Christ personally, this wigged me out a little. I was confused and my knowledge of being “filled” with the Spirit brought images to my mind of people laughing uncontrollably , rolling around on the floor or being “slayed” in the Spirit. I have since learned that being “filled” with the Spirit is something we should all desire. I will share what AZ Tozer has to say about this because he very eloquently states it better than I.
He asks several great questions:
Are you sure you want to be filled with a Spirit, who will demand to be Lord of your life?
Are you willing to let your personality be taken over by another, even if that other be the Spirit of God Himself?
If the Spirit takes charge of your life He will expect unquestioning obedience in everything. He will not tolerate in you the self-sins even though they are permitted and excused by most Christians. By self-sins, I mean self-love, self-pity, self-seeking, self-confidence, self-righteousness, etc.

He goes on to write, before we can be filled the Spirit the desire to be filled must be all-consuming. We have as much of God as we actually want. One great hindrance is the theology of complacency… Religious contentment is the enemy of the spiritual life. Reminds me of James 4:2-3, “You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”

He continues with, The filling with the Spirit requires that we give up our all, that we undergo an inward death, that we rid our hearts of Adamic trash and open all rooms to the heavenly Guest. The Holy Spirit is a living Person, we should never think of Him as a blind energy or impersonal force. He hears and sees and feels as any person does. He speaks and hears us speak. We can please Him or grieve Him or silence Him. The Spirit’s present work is to honor Him and everything He does has this for its ultimate purpose. We must make our thoughts a clean sanctuary for His holy habitation.

I could on and on but I have to go to work! (go buy the book!) The bottom line for me is this, I want everything that God has for me.

Ephesians 5:18, …be filled with the Spirit.

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God can do what He says He can do

March 28, 2007 at 10:52 am (Faith, My ramblings)

I have been praying for increased faith lately and God is answering that prayer! It seems like a no brainer to pray for faith but I think many people never think about it. I always think about the man who brought his son, who had an evil spirit, to the Apostles. They could not heal him! It’s in Mark 9:14-26. Verse 23 says, “everything is possible for him who believes.” EVERYTHING! I can’t even begin to comprehend what everything is! But I say, Lord, bring it on! I want everything!
The man responds, “I do believe! Help me overcome my unbelief.” What do you suppose Jesus did? He healed the little boy. We can ask God to help us to overcome the areas of doubt in our lives. He is waiting patiently for us to do exactly this! I picture Him looking at me and twiddling His thumbs and thinking to Himself, “I have such awesome, incredible plans for Rachel, if only she would believe!” Today, I commit to believe that EVERYTHING is possible for him who believes. I will not box God into my small understanding of Him but will wholeheartedly believe that He can do what He says He can do.

Jeremiah 29:11
“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.”

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Today’s Teens

March 22, 2007 at 1:28 am (Faith, Missions, My ramblings)

I am going to a Teen Mania Mission Leadership Training Seminar this weekend so I was checking out the Teen Mania webpage. I was flabbergasted at the statistics and naturally had to blog about it!
Ron Luce, president and founder of Teen Mania, came to my church and spoke about it last year and I can’t believe I had fogotten so many of the things he said.

StaggeringStatistics about Teens:
1 out of 11 attempt suicide each year.
1 out of 10 fifteen year olds and younger have gone through family divorce in their life-time.
58% have been involved in objectionable content on the web.
40% have experimented with self-injury (are “cutters”).
Use of prescription drugs (Ritalin, anti-depressants etc.) by children/teens has increased.
By the time the average child graduates from high school, he/she will have watched 19,000 hours of TV including about 200,000 sexual acts and 1 million acts of violence.
1 in 10 high school females have reported being raped at some point in their life.
Fear of violence in schools is now the leading “worry” of public school teens.
48% of high school seniors are sexually active (had sexual intercourse in past 3 months).
91% say there is NO ABSOLUTE TRUTH.
75% of teens in America believe the central message of the Bible is, “God helps those who help themselves”.
53% believe Jesus committed sin (40% of born again teens believe Jesus committed sin).

We need to wake up! What a challenge to us. This is our future generation. If we don’t get out there and start making a difference and changing the world, what will become of it? Evil is so prevalent in our society today. Do you know a young person? Read those statistics again and put that person’s name in where the statistic goes and it will make it more real. This is life and death we are talking about here!

Take them to Acquire the Fire! Click here for more information on BattleCry. It’s coming to Baltimore in May. Do something today! If you are not already praying for them, pray! Pray like never before.

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Just give me Jesus!

March 21, 2007 at 8:25 pm (Faith, My ramblings)

He guards the young
He seeks the stray
He finds the lost
He guides the faithful
He rights the wronged
He avenges the abused
He defends the weak
He comforts the oppressed
He welcomes the prodigal
He heals the sick
He cleanses the dirty
He beautifies the barren
He restores the failure
He mends the broken
He blesses the poor
He fills the empty
He clothes the naked
He satisfies the hungry
He elevates the humble
He forgives the sinner
He raises the dead!

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Overcoming Doubt

March 21, 2007 at 1:30 am (Faith)

I will be speaking again at the Single’s ministry at church soon and am going to be sharing about overcoming doubt. What perfect timing that I am in a Beth Moore Bible study entitled Believing God! My faith has increased so much since I started it and I am already getting so much positive feedback from the ladies in the group. For the last class, I am going to ask them to share some testomonies of what the Lord did in their life through this study and I will post them here.
The last week our focus has been on Hebrews 11, the good old Hall of Faith chapter. It is so amazing to study each one of these great people one by one and see the result of their faith. I will probably incorporate some of things I have learned in class in my message and I am looking forward to it! I love to talk about how we can all grow in faith.
Have any ideas? Suggestions? I would love to hear from you. If there is an area of doubt that you perhaps struggle with and want addressed, post a comment here.

Hebrews 11:1
Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we cannot see.

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Believing God

February 25, 2007 at 7:53 pm (Faith, My ramblings)

I am so blessed to have the privilege of leading a Beth Moore Bible study at church. It’s called Believing God and although the group has met only twice, I can see the Lord’s hand in it. To know that He chose these 25 women and put us all together for such a time as this, is incredible. I believe He is going to do amazing things in each one of our lives through this Bible study.

As I reflected on last weeks lesson, I was truly encouraged and wanted to blog some of the things we went over. We know what we are ‘supposed’ to do but when it comes down to it, I think we all need to be reminded.
Here is what the first week’s lesson encompassed:

How to Believe God

  1. Faith is a quality of the fruit of the Spirit. Galatians 5:33.
  2. Faith comes from hearing the Word of God. Romans 10:17.
  3. We can ask Christ to increase our faith. Luke 17:1-6
  4. Confess our unbelief to Christ and ask His help to overcome it. Mark 9:14-25
  5. We can grow in faith. Romans 4:20

This is the five pledge statement of faith we are all memorizing and believing God to do!

  • God is who He says He is.
  • God can do what He says He can do
  • I am who God says I am
  • I can do all things through Christ
  • God’s Word is alive and active in me

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The Lord’s Plans

February 19, 2007 at 11:23 am (Faith)

I was reading Proverbs 19 yesterday and was meditating on verse 21, “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” In Psalm 33:11 it says, “But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of His heart through all generations.”

I am a natural planner, I like things organized and I want them to fall into their rightful, structured place. I realize that try as I may to make my own plans, the Lord has seen every one of my days and already has a plan for each of them. With or without me, His plans and His purposes will always prevail, granted He likes it when I follow along with Him.
Last week in our staff devotion time, one of my coworkers and friend shared a Scripture from Esther that drives this point as well. I have read the book of Esther several times and I have never focused on what my friend shared so I thought I would add it to this since it falls along the same lines.
If you know the story in Esther (or watched the movie) you realize that the fate of Esther and all Jews were in her hands. Since she is the Queen, it would appear that she should just go talk to her husband, the king, and explain the situation. But, to approach the king without being summoned could lead to her death. Here is where the story picks up:
Esther 4:12-17, “When Esther’s words were reported to Mordecai, he sent back this answer: “Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?” Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: “Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my maids will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.” So Mordecai went away and carried out all of Esther’s instructions.”
If you are like me, you were focused on the infamous line, “who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this…”
What my friend shared about was Mordecai’s response that even if Esther remained silent, deliverance of the Jews would come from another place. Mordecai’s trust was in God and God alone. He knew the Word of God and he knew that God had promised deliverance of the Jews. He knew that with or without Esther-God’s plans that He ordained before one of them came to be-would come to fruition.
I don’t know about you, but I feel like a huge burden has been lifted from my shoulders today. Maybe tomorrow, I will once again attempt to control and plan my life but for today, I will let Jesus lead me and I will follow. Who better to follow than the lover of my soul?

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Snow

February 17, 2007 at 1:40 pm (Faith, My ramblings)

I was driving to work yesterday and I drive by several farms and fields and I was amazed at how beautiful the snow looked. It was so pristine and pure. It reminded me of how the Lord takes us and makes us pure again.
In Isaiah 1:18 it says, “Come now let us reason together, says the Lord, though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow…” In Psalm 51:7 it says, “Wash me with hyssop and I will be clean; wash me and I will be whiter than snow.”
I looked at the snow at the side of the road, brown and dingy and dirty and that represented me amd my past sins. I could almost picture the scarlet red creeping over the pure snow, standing out for all the world to see. One glance at the snow in the fields and everything was clean and untouched. This is how the Lord sees me now, pure and untouched. It’s almost too much to comprehend. To think that I am once again clean, that I have been cleansed by the very blood of Christ; healer of the sick, raiser of the dead and Savior of the world. I am the luckiest girl in the world!

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Baptism Celebration Week

January 25, 2007 at 2:58 am (Faith, My ramblings)

What an incredible week at my church. A few weeks ago, my pastor made an announcement that we would be having a Baptism Celebration. He challenged all the believers in our church to follow Jesus’ example of water baptism. 704 people took the challenge and over the next 4 days, we will be baptizing everyone. We got some serious revival going on in Gaithersburg, Maryland!!
We only have one baptistry so we had to rent 3 addtional ones. It was so awesome tonight. We had about 180 registered for tonight and it went much faster than I thought it would. The presence of God permeated every inch of our church and you couldn’t help but feel the excitement in the air. I had people who I have never met hug me and thank me and tell me how blessed they were by this celebration. I did not get to watch it because I was handing out the certificates and I can’t wait to find out how many people raised their hand for the altar call to accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Baptisms are an awesome time for non-believers to come and watch their friends or family get baptized so we usually have a lot of salvations.
It was hard to come home. I felt like I wanted everyone to hang out and break bread together like they did in the Old Testament. How cool would that have been!
I hope it doesn’t end after this weekend. I hope that everyone will continue in their obedience to the Lord and that they have a deeper hunger to want to know Christ more and more.
I can’t wait to hear all the incredible testimonies that will happen because of this.
We would never have been able to pull this off without our awesome volunteers who gave of their time and talents. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

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Achan and Ai

December 28, 2006 at 5:30 pm (Faith, My ramblings)

I have been making my way through the Bible again and I started reading Joshua this morning. Where are the single, godly men like him and Caleb hiding? I want to be with a man like that, so much faith and what a great leader. I am degressing, let me get back to a man I don’t want to end up with, Achan. Poor dude.
Anyways I was reading about how the Israelites attacked the men of Ai and it should have been an easy win for them but because of the sin of one man, they were defeated by the Amorites. When Joshua inquired of the Lord, He told him that one man had stolen some objects that were supposed to be set apart for the Lord. Joshua gathered all the tribes together and the Lord showed him that Achan was the man. The Lord then told the Israelites to take Achan, his sons and daughters, cattle, donkeys, sheeps, goats, tent and everything he owned to the Valley of Achor where they burned everything. At first glance, this seems kind of harsh but the Lord always has a purpose for what He tells us to do. This man’s sin affected everyone, not only the Israeltites but his entire family. When we sin, we think we are the only one who is affected but the Lord knows the long term effects of sin, especially hidden sins. They affect every area of our lives and the people closest to us. It also has a profound effect on non believers. They are watching and waiting too see how and if we are different. Do we walk our talk?

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Still counting my blessings…

December 27, 2006 at 10:39 pm (Faith, Missions, My ramblings)

I finished reading Deuteronomy today and I had forgotten how much of it focuses on God’s blessings for obedience. I know we don’t obey so we can be blessed but how incredible is the promise of blessings for simply being obedient. Not that it is any way simple to be obedient. Sometimes it’s just plain difficult but I would rather listen to God than have Him curse me. Yikes, perish the thought.
Anyways, here it is almost the end of another year and the beginnings of a new one. I am working on my goals for next year, not resolutions but real goals I would like to accomplish. And no, I am not going to publish them here for all the world to see!
I have been taking this recuperation time from knee surgery to pray and seek the Lord and try to figure out some things. I really want to be involved in missions but I am not sure to what extent that will look like. I would love to work for an organization that mobilizes missionaries and short term mission teams overseas. That way I may not have to live overseas all the time but I would get to lead several trips a year. I am not sure. I was researching jobs with organizations and I realized that I will have to continue in school. Almost everyone wants a Bachelor’s degree so my little Associate’s degree ain’t gonna cut it. I prayed most of today (and on and off for the last 6 months) about whether or not to continue in Bible college and I am pretty sure I am going to continue. It will be difficult and I will be taking 2-3 classes each semester. Studying takes up so much time and is a huge commitment. I am going to try to balance it this year though because last year I studied way too much.
I am waiting for my school counselor to call me back with my classes. I know I need to take some hard ones like Apologetics and Systematic Theology, oh goodie!!!

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Counting my Blessings-Part 1

December 23, 2006 at 1:48 pm (Faith, My ramblings, Testimonies)

I can’t believe that another year is almost over. What a year it has been. I am so grateful to the Lord for what He has done in my life this past year. Since I have been home recuperating from my knee surgery, I have had lots of time to think. I was thinking back to my life before Christ and how different it was compared to now. Not only because I am drug and alcohol free but because I truly have found out the meaning of joy and contentment. Is my life perfect? Not by any means but I am learning to be content in all things.
My life BC (before Christ) was a life full of despair and sadness. I struggled with depression for over 20 years and it amazes me that the Lord healed me from this affliction. It wasn’t a quick, painless healing. It was one that took several years of working my recovery program and going back to the broken areas of my heart and allowing Jesus to help me to sort through and process it all. It was difficult to have to go back and remember and feel the pain but that is the only way to deal with them and be free of the bondage of past hurts.
There are many things I am thankful for as this year ends. Over the next few days, I will write about them.

I am so grateful for my family. I have a beautiful mother and God has restored our relationship in ways that I would never have imagined. There was a time when my mom did not even know if I was alive or dead or where I lived. There were years of us not talking at all. Finally, we have an awesome relationship. I am thankful for all my brothers as well. I really put them through alot and I am grateful that we have a great relationship too. I am also thankful for my 2 nephews and 2 nieces. They are the most gorgeous children and the highlight of my life. My brother and sister in law are great parents and it shows in their kids.

What a blessing it was for me to be able to be in Bible college. This past year I took so many courses and learned so much about the Lord and His word. I also learned a lot about myself. I love learning and knowledge and I can’t believe that after almost failing high school (due to all the partying and skipping my classes) that I am Summa Cum Laude. I am amazed that everything I did in my past has not killed all my brain cells and the Lord redeemed and restored them.
I am grateful that I was allowed to lead my first mission trip to Peru this past summer as well. What an awesome experience. God did amazing things in each and every person on the trip and grew our faith and opened our eyes. We were able to be Jesus’ hands and feet and share His love and blessings with many people.
I am also grateful for having insurance and being able to have 2 knee surgeries this past year. I am hopeful that this partial knee replacement will bring about total healing and freedom from the pain I have plagued with for the last several years. I can’t wait to go hiking again and join the gym and work out pain free. I can’t wait to be able to just walk through a mall or walk around the block.
I am grateful for my friends. Friends who care about and love me and are there for me. Friends who encouraged me, wiped me my tears for me, hugged me and accepted me for who and what I am. They challenge me in my faith, call me out and question me when I make bad decisions (especially Tina 🙂 and genuinely care about y well being.
I am grateful for another year of sexual purity. It amazes me how the Lord blesses obedience in this area. Before meeting Jesus, I did not understand why sex outside of marriage was wrong but now I totally understand why the Lord commands that we remain pure. I now realize my worth as well and know that I am worth waiting for! I want to be cherished, loved and respected and the first way to have someone do that for you, is to cherish and love and respect yourself.

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Kingdom of the Cults Continued…

December 18, 2006 at 12:08 am (Faith, School)

I am finishing up my last course so I can graduate from Bible college, woohoo! The course is based on Walter Martin’s book entitled Kingdom of the Cults. If you are reading this and you are a believer in Christ, you should really read this book. I am utterly amazed and almost speechless by the cults that are there and it saddens me so much to see so many people led astray by these horrific cults.
I was reading the chapter on the Church of Scientology and I can’t believe what I read. I am not going to rant on this blog about it so you need to go buy the book. We, as Christians and preachers of the Word, need to be equipped with the knowledge of these cults so we can help lead people into truth. One of the most common denominators is the way these cults abuse the Bible and take the Scriptures out of context. I feel that much more compelled to read and study and pray for God’s wisdom and Spirit to help my memorize and understand the Word.
It should not surprise us that Satan and all his demons would try to tempt us and twist our thinking but we have the Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God. When Jesus was tempted by Satan in the wilderness, did He not quote the Scriptures 3 times, refuting Satan? Yes, He did. If Jesus, Savior of the world, Messiah, King of Kings, etc, etc, uses Scripture, than how much more do we need to use it! We can’t use what we do not know.
Hebrews 4:12
For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

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2 Weeks Post Knee Replacement Surgery

December 4, 2006 at 10:18 pm (Faith, My ramblings)

It’s hard to imagine that just 2 weeks ago, I got a few new pieces put into my knee. I went to the doctor’s today and they took the staples out and am I happy about that! They were starting to itch and get on my nerves.
He was very pleased with my progress and couldn’t believe how well I was doing and that I was walking and bending my knee at almost 90 degress so quickly. I can thank my Creator for the way He put me together and the fact that He is the Great Physician.
The nurse that came to out to see me told me that the entire back of my leg would bruise and amazingly, I didn’t get one bruise there! I know that it was also everyone’s prayers that have worked miracles in my healing.
I will admit that after having 3 scopes to that knee already, I thought the pain level would be the same but it wasn’t. It hurt! it still hurts if I try to walk around too much. Now I realize why they say about 6 weeks off work. Even going to the doctor and the store today totally drained me. I am getting my energy back but I have to keep reminding myself, this was major surgery and it has only been 2 weeks.
I feel like soon, I will have my life back. I have been thinking about the bondage I have been in with all the knee pain for the last several years. Even areas of serving in ministry have been dictated by my pain so I am looking forward to a new knee and a new year.
I am so excited to see what the Lord is going to do in my life next year.
Each year, I look back and am amazed at what the Lord has done in my life. I woke up this morning just thanking my Abba Daddy for loving me so much. It’ s so incredible to be loved and adored in the perfect way that only He knows how to do. I actually got the warm fuzzies!

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To send or not to send…

October 29, 2006 at 12:44 am (Faith, Missions, My ramblings, School)

I am taking a missions class in school and this week’s homework is a forum. It’s a discussion based on the paragraph below. I wanted to get feedback from people about what they thought about the subject. Don’t worry, I am not trying to get you to do my homework, I already turned mine in. 🙂
Our country is in dismay spiritually. Every time you watch the news or read the news paper, another school shooting has occurred, another city has developed a larger population of homosexuality, or another symbol of Christ has been removed from the publics view because it may offend someone. The television shows and music in our society are driven by placing sexual themes in them to lure people to watch or listen. Why should we as a “Christian Nation” send missionaries to other countries when we choose to not be missionaries in our own country? Should we be more focused on being missionaries in the United States, or abroad? Discuss your standpoint on this topic and support your views with scripture references.

Any thoughts? Insights? Speculations? Post your comments…

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Hungry?

October 21, 2006 at 1:09 pm (Faith, My ramblings)

I have been pondering what my pastor said in church at Wednesday night’s service. His message was on Nehemiah and he was focusing on building spiritual walls. One of the points was, cultivating the right appetite. What are we hungry for? Truly hungry for? We need to be hungry for many things. Three things my pastor shared are these:

1. The Word
2. The presence of God
3. The people of God

We could list hundreds of things but I think these really sum it up. Here is another point that my pastor shared and I think this would have to go down as one of my biggest passions too:

“The focus of our hunger determines the direction or our pursuit.”

Now read it again, slowly. The question again is, what are you hungry for? Where is your focus? If you are having trouble figuring it, here an excercise you can do that will tell you where your focus is:
1. Look in your checkbook (where is your money going)
2. Look at where and how you spend your time (watching TV, shopping, talking on the phone, working out, primping)

Now look at the following:
1. Time you spend reading the Bible
2. Time you spend in prayer
3. Time you spend in God’s house
4. Time you spend serving people

I think I can pretty much say that the first list for most of us drastically outweighs the second list. This isn’t meant to condemn, it is simply a way to look at what our focus is and to challenge us to purpose to change the direction of our focus.

Matthew 5:6, Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they will be filled.
I don’t know about you, but I need all the filling I can get.

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