Pretty is as Pretty Does.

Pretty is as Pretty Does.

It’s hard to write about my mom. I feel like words can’t even begin to describe how much of a good mother she was or how much I loved her. But, here, I will try.

When I was little, I remember my mom used to tell me, “Pretty is as pretty does.” I was so young when she first said this to me, I didn’t quite understand what it meant.

She was born in Illinois in 1921 and was given the name of “Sarah Katherine” but at some point she changed the spelling to “Sara Kathryn.” Back then it was common to be born at home and so my grandmother gave birth to all four of her children at home. My mother, her second child, along with her sister and two brothers, grew up during the depression. She told me that they were so poor that for Christmas all they would get would be an orange and maybe a homemade toy or doll.

Mom with her baby sister and older brother:

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Mom with her younger sister and younger brother and their billy goat:

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They moved to Indiana sometime during her childhood and she graduated from high school in 1938.

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It was there at Cloverdale High School that she met my dad. They fell in love and got married in 1941, three years after they graduated from high school.

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They had six kids, of which I was the 5th!

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Mom and me, Easter 1956 🙂

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Growing up I remember she watched lots and lots of kids; some for weeks at a time. People would come pick their kids up and not even pay her because they didn’t have enough money. I remember one summer she watched 3 or 4 kids from one family for the whole summer and when the dad came to pick them up he only gave my mom $20.

My mom would kneel at her bed at night to pray and get up early in the morning to read her bible.  I remember we lived on Hickory Lane in Indianapolis; she would sit alone in our tiny kitchen nook just off the kitchen. I remember her sitting there in that little room, with the yellow ruffled curtains, and the smell of black coffee. If any of us kids would get up too early she would tell us to go back to bed! I remember one morning in particular I stood there watching her and wanting her attention so I said something mean to try to get it. It worked but not in the way I had wanted. It would be years later until I would understand why she needed that alone time and quiet time with the Lord.

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

My mom worked so hard just taking care of us and the all the kids she babysit. I remember piles of laundry in the basement and wondering how there was so much of it. She’d be exhausted just from looking after us, let alone trying to keep the house clean or keep up with the laundry. If she ever sat down to watch TV she usually fell asleep from exhaustion. She teased and said that her eyelids were attached to her knees and if she sat down and bent her knees her eyelids would close so she’d fall asleep!

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She took pride in making her dollar stretch at the grocery. To save money she’d buy a gallon of whole milk and then mix it with powered milk to make it into two gallons.  She’d also go to several grocery stores each week just to get the best prices. My dad worked at White Castle as an office supervisor, and he’d bring home boxes of slightly outdated frozen White Castle hamburger patties. My mom would make all sorts of different meals out of them; basically anything that called for ground beef. She actually could make something out of almost anything and it always tasted good. All except liver and onions. I’d skip that and settle for something like peanut butter and jelly. Actually one of my favorite snacks is a banana with peanut butter, which was one of my moms favorite snacks too.

My mom was a lot like her mom, my grandma. Some of my favorite memories were of us going to my grandma’s house to spend time with her and for family dinners. My grandma made the best rubarb pie in the world!  My grandma used to tell me that she prayed for me, and I’m so thankful for her and her prayers.  I loved her so much.

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My mom had a natural love for her family but more than that, she had the love of Jesus in her heart. I wasn’t exactly the perfect child but she loved me unconditionally. There wasn’t anything I could do or say to make her not love me. She made a difference in my life and in the lives of so many people she came in contact with. She was always thinking of others first. She’d make sure everyone else’s needs were met before her own. She had compassion and love for hurting people. She’d fix meals for people at church and she’d help strangers in need. I remember her making sandwiches and giving them to poor people.  She treated them with love and respect. She had such a gentle, sweet and giving spirit.

Later in life my mom continued with that same gentle and sweet spirit and continued to help all of her grown children and grandchildren as much as she could. She’d cook big meals and was always looking forward to the next family get-together. She would do anything and everything she could for any one of us.

Mom in her basement on McFarland Rd with five of her grandkids Christmas 1986:

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She lived the last 20 years of her life as a widow and spent most of the last 10 of those years suffering from the effects of early onset Alzheimer’s. I was glad she was able to come and live with and near me for part of those latter years. Even though the disease affected her personality and her memory, I was happy just to just be near her and to spend time with her.

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Here’s some pics from our last couple of family Christmas get-togethers:

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Our last family get-together was in January of 1998 in Vincennes, Indiana. We took photos all together, one right after the next, in hopes of catching her old familiar smile.   But the raveges of Alzheimer’s had taken it’s course and she could no longer smile; nor walk or talk.  She was ready to go home.  See passed from this life on earth to her heavenly home on September 15, 1998 at age 77.  I was able to be there along with my sister and brother to read some bible verses to her, pray and hold her hand as her soul passed into  heaven to be with the Lord.

So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not by sight. We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.                 2 Corinthians 5:6-8

I choose not to post the photos from January of 1998.  Instead I prefer to remember my mom the way she was for the greater part of her life here on earth. My mother was a pretty lady by any standards and even in today’s world where so much emphasis is put on outward appearance, it was her beauty that radiated from within that will be her legacy. My mom lived her life, simply put, with love for God and her family. And even though I didn’t understand it as a child,  I came to learn the meaning of “Pretty is as pretty does.” because of my mom and the way she lived her life.

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People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.
1 Samuel 16:7

The Land That I Will Show You

The Land That I Will Show You

The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land that I will show you.” Genesis 12:1

As far back as I can remember, I was a headstrong and independent child. I wanted to do things my own way and make my own decisions. While some may consider these somewhat positive traits in an adult, they’re not so much in a child, nor are they positive traits in a Christian. Old habits die hard. But God, in His sovereign providence, uses both our positive and negative personality traits in His plan for our lives. He uses bits and pieces of our past, including and especially our problems, in our walk of faith toward Him and with Him. Here is one such time in my life:

In February of 1988, We were almost 8 years into our marriage, with 2 young children, living in my hometown, on the south side of Indianapolis. Life was far from perfect but it was pretty good; I was happy, enjoying living near family (my mom was only a couple of miles from me), I had a great job working for a small airline and I enjoyed attending my childhood church.

Then out of the blue, my husband decided we should move to Florida. His parents had moved there a few years before and we had enjoyed visiting there, but like the saying goes, “It’s a nice place to visit but I don’t want to live there.” I repeat, I didn’t want to live there! Indianapolis was my hometown and I didn’t want to move away. I didn’t want to leave my mom. I didn’t want to leave the life I had grown familiar with. I didn’t want to leave my church. But, long story short, he left the first week in February, 1988, without me and the kids. He moved in with his parents and found a new job right away. I wasn’t upset but I wasn’t too happy about it either. I basically was just hoping he’d change his mind and come back home soon.

Over next few months we both continued hold on to our individual opinions about where we should live. The thought of divorce crept in my mind but I still loved my husband and he still loved me. We were just having a disagreement on where we should live. I didn’t like him not agreeing with me and I wanted him to just come back home. We really were at an impasse.

So I got my bible and I searched for answers. I read in Malachi that God hates divorce. I read in Ephesians that wives should submit to their husbands as to the Lord. And I read in Genesis that God called Abraham, in an act of obedience, to leave his homeland and to move to an unknown and faraway land. Now I read these things but at the same time I was having a conflict with my old nature of being headstrong and independent. I considered life as a single mom, a life of independence, where I called all the shots, but then, I prayed earnestly for clear directions from God about what to do.

“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” James 1:5

Then it finally became clear to me – my husband wasn’t asking me to jump off a cliff, or asking me to break a law, or asking me to do something against God, he was just asking me to move to Florida to be with him.  God gave me a sense of peace about moving and I began to see the situation as an act of obedience towards both my husband and God. This was a big step for me because I think I’d been holding on to my independence ever since childhood, and even into my marriage.  I believe God increased my faith right then and there as I realized I needed to be more obedient to Him and to my husband.

“Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord.”  Ephesians 5:21

Abraham had great faith in God and was obedient to Him. God told Abraham he was going on a journey that would require him to leave his country, his people, and his father’s household. Obedience meant he had to say goodbye to relationships and the things near and dear to him. Separation from the familiar played a part in his development of his strong faith in God. Sometimes God asks us to let go of something we hold dear before He let’s us take a hold of something new. It’s all a part of living by faith; trusting In Him even when we don’t see how all the pieces fit together, and believing that He’ll work everything out.

So with a leap of faith, a step of obedience, and a hopeful heart, I moved to Florida with our two young daughters the 1st day of June in 1988 to be with my husband. In the coming months God blessed me in ways I never imagined and my faith in Him grew in a most unexpected way – which I hope to be the subject of one of my future blogs. 😊

Heaven

Heaven

Shopping at second-hand and antique stores is one of my favorite pastimes. I really don’t have to buy anything; I mostly just enjoy seeing old things that I haven’t seen for awhile and the memories that pop up when I see them.

One day I came across a used book, “Heaven is for Real” and I recalled the movie that came out just a few years ago by the same name, which I never saw. I remembered it was a major motion picture which a lot of Christians talked about seeing it or at least wanting to go see it.

If you’re not familiar with the story, it’s about a young boy, the 4 year-old son of a pastor, who had a near-death experience during an operation and claimed he went to heaven and back during his operation. He describes his visit to heaven with the vivid imagination of a young child.

The reason why I didn’t go see the movie (or buy the book second hand) was simply this – it’s not biblical. Nowhere in the Bible are we told that someone has traveled back and forth between heaven and earth, except Jesus:

No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. John 3:13

So as sincere and well meaning as this young boy and his father may have been, I simply don’t believe their story. In fact, I feel like they and many others who make similar claims, do more harm than good for the cause of Christ. Why would we choose to believe a fantastic or even delusional story about heaven when we have the Bible to refer to? What God has revealed to us in His Word, is the only legitimate place to learn about heaven.
The Bible tells us that heaven is for those who love Him and that it will be beyond our wildest expectations:

But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But, as it is written,”What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him. 1 Corinthians 2:7-9

What I do think about this young boy, and all the others who have made similar claims, is broke down into one of the following two conclusions: Either, one, they simply made up the story, for whatever reason,  or two, they had their experience while in an unconscious or dream state.  I believe the first conclusion because given the right (or wrong!) set of circumstances, I know people are capable of lying about anything, if it suits them. I believe the second conclusion because I had a pretty strange experience myself, when I was around 11 or 12 years old.  Although it wasn’t a “gone to heaven and back” experience; it was rather a strange “out-of-body” experience:

I was sick and alone on the living room couch and I had a fever. I think my mom was at work and everyone else was gone. I remember crying and drifting off to sleep. The next thing I remember I was outside of my body and was floating near the top of the ceiling. I floated from room to room, all the while hovering near the top of the ceiling for what seemed to be several minutes. I don’t really remember much else about this except then I remember I was back on the couch and my mom giving me water, a cold rag for my forehead and some aspirin to bring my fever down. I didn’t go to the doctor and I never mentioned the floating experience to anyone because it was too weird. In retrospect, I know it was simply a dream or hallucinations from a high fever.

Now I do remember it all seemed very real to me so I can see where this little boy may have thought his experience was real also. But again,  I don’t believe he died and went to heaven and back, because it’s just not biblical!

So yes, heaven is a real place and as much as we all may really want to know more about heaven, we shouldn’t trust any other source but the one that was inspired by God Himself, the Bible.

Even more important than knowing about heaven, is knowing Jesus.  All of the knowledge in the world about heaven will not get you there. You need Jesus.

So if you haven’t already done so, put your faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ today. Confess your sins to Him and trust in His finished work on the cross for the forgiveness of your sins. Believe in your heart that He died, was buried three days and that God raised Him up on the third day.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

Jesus tells us there is plenty of room in heaven for all who love Him:

In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. John 14:2

And He tells us that heaven is our home:

But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself. Philippians 3:20-21

Trust Jesus and His Word:

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6

My Nutrisystem Success Story

My Nutrisystem Success Story

Here’s a little history to my story:

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This photo shows me in 2013 holding my youngest grandson, who I love dearly.  I have no idea how much I weighed then; I didn’t dare step on the scale. This photo was taken during a fairly stressful time in my life.  Not that this was the only stressful period in my life, but it was definitely one of them: our youngest daughter became pregnant at age 15 and gave birth out-of-wedlock at age 16. Like a lot of people I tend to overeat during stressful times, and even though I’m a Christian and know that God is in control, I’m still human.  I know that no human being is ever conceived outside God’s will or ever conceived apart from His image. Unplanned pregnancies may surprise us, but God is never surprised.  Ironically, she was actually our surprise baby; she was born when I was 42.  I believe this with all of my heart and I told her that the God who allowed her to be born when I was 42 is the same God who allowed her to give birth at age 16. God is good. He is for us, not against us.

For you formed my inward parts;
    you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
    Wonderful are your works;
    my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
    when I was being made in secret,
    intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
    in your book were written, every one of them,
    the days that were formed for me,

Psalm 139:13-16

This photo was also taken in 2013, on my 59th birthday:

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For the most part, I deleted tons of photos of me during this time in my life just because I didn’t like seeing myself looking heavy.  This one escaped my deleting it because it was taken with my oldest daughter on my birthday and it was actually a good photo of the two of us together.

Fast forward to February 2016, I weighed 173 pounds and was taking a BP medicine and an acid reflux medicine daily. I tried to loose weight on my own but it wasn’t working. I knew I had to do something to change the way I looked and to improve my health:

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I was tired of deleting photos and tired of being overweight; I was ready to take control of my weight.  Up until that time I’d been telling myself that I looked “OK” for my age, (61) and that gaining weight and taking medicine was all part of “getting older.”  But I decided that I didn’t want to just look “Ok for my age.”  I decided I wanted to be the best I can be, both inside and out.  I started using Nutrisystem on February 21, 2016 and started walking 2 or 3 times a week for around 30 – 60 minutes each time.  When I walk, it’s my time to listen to my favorite pastors/biblical teachers on my iPhone. For my shorter walks I’d listen to Greg Laurie, Charles Stanley, Jack Graham, Ravi Zacharias or Alistair Begg. For my longer walks I’d listen to John MacArthur or a combination of the above.  It energizes me to work on both mind and body at the same time.

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:1-2

By end of the first week I’d lost 7 pounds using Nutrisystem and just 2 months later in April I’d lost 21 pounds so I entered Nutrisystem’s Success Story contest.  In August I was asked to be a call-in guest for two QVC/Nutrisystem TV shows. It was a fun experience!

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By September of 2016 I had lost 40 lbs using Nutrisystem and was asked by Nutrisystem to come to Tampa, Florida for a 5-day photo shoot with 14 other people who had also lost weight. It was a great experience! I always wanted to be a model when I was young, and even though I had gotten to do some modeling in my teens and twenties, I’m only 5’6″ so I was never a good candidate for being a model.  In Tampa, I was pampered and treated like a model, with wardrobe,  make-up and hair stylists! I was photographed against a white screen and did some short promotional video monologues on a green screen. It was nothing short of super-fun for this 62 year old mother of 3, grandmother of 10! (5 step)

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Me and my oldest daughter in Tampa after the photo shoot:

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After I returned home from the Tampa photo shoot I found the same dress that Nutrisystem wardrobe had put on me, except in a better size.   The dress that they had put on me was a little big on me and had to be pinned in the back for the photo shoot.  I was a little uneasy wearing it, but this one fits me perfect:

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And I actually have a waist that’s smaller than my hips now!

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And since losing 40 pounds my doctor gave me the OK to stop taking both my blood pressure medicine and acid reflux medicine.  My blood pressure continues to be normal everyday since, without meds. Praise God!  I’m so very thankful for my good health and don’t take it for granted!  Life (on earth) is short; I believe we should live it out being as healthy as we can be, both physically and spiritually.  God has determined our length of days here on earth, and He tells in His Word that we are to take care of our bodies. I feel so much younger and healthier than when I was carrying around all that extra weight and having to take medicine.

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20

I now walk at least 30 minutes EVERYDAY and yes, I still listen to my favorite pastors and biblical teachers.  In fact, I look forward to my walks every day.  Loosing weight, making healthy food choices, drinking water instead of sodas, and exercising every day has really made a difference in my health and in my life.  I switched my Nutrisystem auto-ship program to an A la Carte maintenance program so I still enjoy some of my favorite Nutrisystem foods on a daily basis. My favs are: Cinnamon Raisin Baked Bar,  Double Chocolate Muffin, Chocolate Peanut Butter Bar, the frozen Hamburger, and the Dark Chocolate and Sea Salt Nut Bar!

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I thank God for allowing me to wake up each morning to live another day for Him and for my family, and in good health as long as He allows, and thanks to Nutrisystem for helping me be the best I can be.  I work at maintaining my 40 pound weight loss everyday by exercising and eating a healthy, portion controlled diet. Here I am with our three daughters, Mother’s Day 2017:

Thankful

Thankful

It’s November and the stores are ready for Christmas! But wait, we haven’t had Thanksgiving yet! Ha! I guess we’ve all gotten used to this by now; Thanksgiving being overshadowed by Christmas. Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas; it’s my favorite time of year as I’m sure it’s probably most everyone’s. Thanksgiving is to thankfulness as Christmas is to giving and receiving. So, we should be a very thankful people; we have been blessed and have received so much. 

But here’s a fact of life: it’s human nature to take things for granted; especially when we’re young. Although I don’t think it has as much to do with our chronological maturity as it does with our spiritual maturity. 

For me, my earliest recollection of being thankful was when I was 26. The setting: St Francis Hospital in Beech Grove, Indiana. The date: November 26, 1981. The occasion: two days after the birth of our first daughter. There I was, resting in my hospital bed, and the hospital worker rolled in a large meal cart and gave me my turkey dinner on a hospital serving tray. Michelle, 2 days old, lay asleep in the hospital bassinet right next to my bed. It was just the two of us and I was so happy and thankful to God for allowing me to be a mom to this precious child. I was overwhelmed with the thought that He had blessed me with a baby and was entrusting me to be her mom! I was in love with my newborn and just so very very thankful. I remember praying with tears in my eyes and thanking God with every tear. Here was my first Thanksgiving spent basically alone (Harold was at my mom’s having Thanksgiving dinner) and away from my family but it was really the first Thanksgiving that I recall being aware of God’s blessings and being thankful to Him. Now since that day, I’ve had many many more occasions of overwhelming thankfulness to God, such as the birth my other two daughters, Megan and Mackenzie. I’ve since found a correlation in my increased thankfulness with my increased relationship with God. 

It was while I was pregnant with Michelle that I rekindled my relationship with God. I had watched Billy Graham on TV one evening and a few nights later woke up in the middle of the night thinking about all the sin in my life. I asked for His forgiveness, started reading my bible again and going back to church. I had first come to faith in Him when I was 12 but had drifted away during my teens and early 20’s. Interesting enough, I don’t recall being thankful during those years. I may have been, but I just don’t recall it, so I have concluded that having a relationship with a God and being thankful do go hand-in-hand. 

So again, Christmas time is my favorite time of year. Gifts are fun to receive and fun to give! Emphasis more on the later as we get older! But here’s a truth and a gentle warning: there’s a danger that surrounds the many gifts we receive throughout our lives. The danger lies within our own hearts, that we may desire the gifts instead of or more than the Giver. While it’s true that all gifts are from God, never loose sight of the fact that the Giver is much greater than the gifts He gives us. 

Be ever thankful. 

“Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!”

Psalm 107:1



The Wishing Well

The Wishing Well

Back in the 1980’s, we lived in a small double on the south side of Indianapolis. It was a rental (actually owned by my mom!) and it was our first real home together after living in an apartment for a short while after we got married.  It was pretty plain on the outside with red brick and white siding; the inside was even more plain. But I was so excited to fix it up and to give it my own personality!  I painted, wall papered and spruced it up as best as I could!

Home decorating has always been one of my favorite things to do. It started back when I was in my teens. I loved changing my bedroom room around and redecorating it. I would pick a color and run with it! My first favorite color was orange! Everything was either orange because it came that way or I painted or dyed it! I even painted my TV orange! No kidding!  Then I moved on to blue & green and of course I painted my TV, picture frames, etc. Basically if it could be painted, I did it!  Next, I moved on to green and white. In the early 2000’s my favorites were hunter green, tan and white. Fast forward to today, my favorite decorating colors are deep red, black, gray and white! 😊

So anyway, back to our first home. I got it looking pretty much to my liking, considering what little budget we had and with what I had to work with. But, eventually I found myself spending a lot of time going through catalogs looking for more decorating ideas and wishing I could afford this or that. I would circle and ear-mark my favorite things and then stack up my “wish list” catalogs in a nice pile. The closest thing to it today would probably be surfing online and “Pinterest.” 😊

Around this same time, I found myself daydreaming and wishing things were different in my marriage. The honeymoon was over, so-to-speak, and things weren’t quite the way I had imagined. I found myself both wanting and wishing for nicer stuff and for things to be different in my marriage. I thought of it kind of like a “wishing well” in my heart.

According to Wikipedia, a wishing well is a old term from European folklore to describe wells where it was thought that wishes could be granted by the guardian or god of the well. After uttering a wish, you would drop a coin in the well and that wish would then be based upon how the coin would land at the bottom of the well. If the coin landed heads-up, the guardian of the well would grant the wish, but the wish of a tails-up coin would be ignored. It was thus potentially lucky to throw coins in the well, but it depended on how they landed.

What a silly folklore; all based on chance or luck, and some unknown guardian or god.

One day after a particularly unfulfilling period of time spent looking at catalogs, and daydreaming about how I wished things were, this verse came to mind:

“You have not because you ask not.”
James 4:2

I realized that my wishes and wants, as genuine and real as they were to me, were not going anywhere (but to the bottom of a well) because they were just that – wishes. I had not been praying and asking God about these things. I realized I’d been wishing for things when instead, I could have and should have be praying about them.

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
Matthew 6:33

So I began to pray and it was in my praying, I learned to shift my focus off of my material wants and off my daydreaming, and instead, changed my focus toward God. It was in my prayers and my growing relationship with Him that I found true happiness. I learned that happiness and contentment are not found in what you have, they’re found in Who you know. I learned that God wanted me to pray about everything, especially my wishes, because it was in my prayers that I began to know the heart of God.

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”
Matthew 7:7-11

From all of this I learned that God is a good God and He uses anything and everything to draw us toward Him; material goods or lack thereof, our wishes, our problems, our daydreams, our past, our present, our talents and our treasures, etc.

So today, if you find yourself doing a lot of wishing and wanting, try praying instead. Wishing will get you no farther than the bottom of a well. Praying will eventually get you more than you could have ever imagined. 💭🙏🏻😊

Dancing with the Scars

Dancing with the Scars

None of us escape problems in life. I know I haven’t. I’ve had hardships throughout my life, up to and including now. And while I’d much rather focus on the absence of trouble and the things that make me happy, I write about troubled times, because I know that it’s in and through the dark times in my life that I have been made able to trust God. I have learned to trust in His goodness, even in the bad times. I know He’s allowed my struggles and difficulties to mold and make me into the person He wants me to be, and He’s done it according to His plans; His way. He has an eternal perspective and long-term plans in mind when He allows both the good and the bad circumstances in any of our lives.

“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass…It’s about learning to dance in the rain.” Vivian Green

I’m not sure how old that quote is, or if that’s even the correct author, but I believe it’s still true today. For my purposes I would simply update it, and shorten it to, “Dancing with the Scars.” While scaring is a natural part of the healing process, dancing is good for the soul, regardless of what scars one may have. Life is a gift.

As I mentioned in my first blog, I was sexually abused when I was young, sometime between the ages of 6 – 8. To those who have not gone through this sort of thing, I understand where you might think, “Get over with it already!” But to those who have, I say, “You’re not alone. It is traumatic. It does affect how you think and feel about yourself and how you relate to people. It affects how you relate to God.”

I never told anyone about the abuse when it was happening; I was afraid; I was a child. Then my mind blocked the memories of it until I was an adult. I have forgiven my abusers, and I will go into more about that later. I choose not to go into any details of my sexual abuse but I will share about another traumatic experience that happened when I was around 11 years old:

While babysitting a toddler and a baby, I was held at knife point over a bloody bowl of dead rabbit that was being cut up. I was forcibly held and made to watch for what seemed like eternity; I was basically scared out of my mind. I also was afraid to tell anyone about it at the time. That experience alone was bad enough but it was made even more tragic when I learned that this same person had murdered a woman and cut-up her body and hid her remains under the floor boards of the very same kitchen where he had traumatized me in. Within a few months of what he did to me, he was caught and convicted of murder and put in prison, where he later died. I was told that he was also suspected of murdering two other women in a similar way, but additional charges weren’t brought against him because they had enough evidence to convict him of the one murder. In retrospect I believe without a doubt and with all of my heart, that God placed His hand of protection over me on that day and protected my life; and this was prior to me coming into faith and trust in Jesus. I believe He had plans for me and my life, even before I was born. His sovereignty and his providence are almost too large for me to even begin to comprehend.

“And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”
Romans 5:3-5

Bible verses like these help me know that our hardships have a purpose; they develop our endurance, strengthen our character, they give us hope, and they shape our perspective toward God.

In Genesis 50:20, Joseph told his brothers,

“As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good…”

 

“And we know that in all things

God works for the good of those who love him,

who have been called according to his purpose.” 

Romans 8:28

God uses the troubles, sorrows, heartache and trauma in our lives to shape us and ultimately to make us more like Him. While we may not understand why He allows some things in our lives, we are to trust Him, nonetheless.

As I mentioned earlier, I have long ago forgiven my abusers, all of them – and it’s simply because I asked God to help me forgive them and because God’s word tells me to forgive:

“Be kind and compassionate to one another,

forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” 

Ephesians 4:32

Regardless of what sins were committed against me, there came a time in my own life where I realized that I too was guilty of sin. It was at that point, that my life began to change; and when I came to understand that:

We’re all born with a sin nature.

We’re all hopeless without Christ.

We’re all sinners in need of a Savior.

Jesus took the penalty that we deserve and offers us a new and eternal life in Him, when we come to Him in repentance and faith.

I also believe it’s wrong to see yourself as a victim. While it’s true you may have been a victim, I’m saying it wrong to see yourself in that way. See yourself in the light of God’s word:

“For all have sinned

and fall short of the glory of God,

being justified freely by His grace

through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus”
Romans 3:23-24

“All” includes the most vile person you have ever known – all the way to the sweetest person you have ever known.

“None is righteous, no, not one.”
Romans 3:10

And when you receive God’s free gift of salvation through faith and trust in Christ alone, God sees you and receives you, clothed in the righteousness of Christ. That offer includes you and me, and it includes my abusers.

“For God so loved the world

that He gave His only begotten Son,

that whoever believes in Him

should not perish but have everlasting life.”
John 3:16

So dance, because:

“Dancing is good for the soul, regardless of what scars one may have. Life is a gift.”