Chaos

1 Corinthians 14:33

For God is not a God of confusion but of peace. As in all the churches of the saints,

John 14:27

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

1 Corinthians 14:40

But all things should be done decently and in order.

I don’t watch the news!  Or do internet searches to see what all the hype is about.  And rarely do I share my thoughts on social media.  I just don’t!  It’s enough just to make it through a day, love the people in my life and trust in my Lord for tomorrow without bringing bias opinions into my world.   I catch what I need from my trusted sources, I form my thoughts on the subject and if action steps are needed from me, I take them.

This world we live in is full of chaos.  Sometimes that chaos distorts the truth.  Most of the time it distorts God’s truth.   I don’t want to be ignorant about the issues that are MOST important but I also don’t want them to steer me away from what’s MOST important.  And that is my trust that God has this handled.  Whatever THIS is!

There is a lot of bad in this world, people making decisions for other people, all you have to do is open up social media, listen to the radio, read the news papers or ask your neighbor, it’s everywhere.  We can easily jump on that bad wagon and spread that bad.  Yes, we do sometimes need to be proactive and use our voices to make change but there are ways in which we should do that.  The bible lays those ways out clearly for us.

Chaos is going to happen, we live in a broken world but if we are leaning on God with all trust that His plan will prevail, then there isn’t a band wagon around that will bring about unruly anger, gnashing of teeth and lashing out with our voice.  Use that voice to bring TRUTH to this world.

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.

 

Lord, help me keep my mouth closed when necessary and speak of your love boldly always.  Amen!

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Love: For the Sake of Family

1 John 4:19

We love because he first loved us.

Family……

We all have one.  Some are small, some are large, some know God and some do not.  Some financially prosper and some are scrapping by.  Some live on this side of the tracks and some on the other.   Some are very doting over each other and some barely realize you’re in the room.  But the one thing that we all have in our families is baggage.  Baggage that has been carried for generations.  Some have learned how to unpack their baggage and some are carrying a full load and continue to stuff more in.

I have been on a several year journey of unpacking.    My load has become lighter.  My blessing have become greater.  DSCN0010

Ephesians 4:2

With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love,

This has not been an easy process.  Many tears have been shed both by me and others.   I would love to say that it was always done with a humble and gentle spirit and with much patience but I can’t.

The thing about baggage, is that it’s been shoved in that space for a long time, seeping, stewing and sometimes resulting in great sin.  So when  you’re unpacking it what do you do with all of it.  I had to give it to HIM.  A great God, who covers all the sin (baggage) with his blood and forgives with an overabundance of grace.  He is my example of how to unpack my baggage.

Luke 6:37

“Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven;

The most recent “stuff” being unpacked was the reunion of a father, who had been absent for almost 50 years.  I have been unpacking this particular stuff for a little over a year but this was not only my baggage it was also the baggage of generations before me.  I refused to let it pile on baggage to the next generation.  Everyone doesn’t unpack as quickly as others, some unpack neatly, with gentleness and understanding, and some unpack with flailing arms, judgement, anger and resentment.  We all have to have “our time” of unpacking.   But at the end of the unpacking process, we should all come with the same mind as in Luke 6:37.

This weekend I witnessed the unpacking of much baggage.  The dad and mom, who raised me and the dad, who gave me life along with his wife gathered with my family to celebrate the 6th birthday of my granddaughter.  Baggage being unpacked little by little.  Anger, judgement, resentment being released and smiles replacing it.  No more tears only joy.

Isaiah 44:22

I have blotted out your transgressions like a cloud and your sins like mist; return to me, for I have redeemed you.

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So some baggage was all laid out for God to cover over with grace and love.  Redeeming generations and giving a lighter load to carry.  From my right is my dad, the man who gave me life and his wife, my step mom. On my left is my mom and my dad, who cared for my needs.  The rest of that crazy looking bunch is my husband and kids.  Can’t get much more blessed than that on this earth.

So there will still be some unpacking to do, I’m sure.  But we each have seen how God can replace the old with the new and release us from our pasts.  To the future with joy, peace and love.  I encourage you to do some unpacking of your own but put as much love back in as possible.

Lord, I become more grateful as the days go by.  Amen!

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Routine

#fmf 

Definition of routine

a regular course of procedure
habitual or mechanical performance

 

To a very structured, very organized person, like myself, a routine is one thing that I stand firm on.  Give me a procedure to go by, tell me what steps needs to be taken and I will carry that out with great precision.  I have my routine, I get up at 5:40, get on the computer for 20 min, shower, computer, dress, make up, do my hair and I’m off to whatever that days routine calls for.  I don’t have stacks of mail sitting on my counter because I go through it as soon as it comes out of the mail box, trash or file cabinet.  That’s just me. Very routine oriented.  It simplifies my life by being on a routine and organized.  Not much craziness going on here.  But, a routine that is drawn with a very dark, deep line, not flexible is not a good thing.  Our routine must include space, space for others.

Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.

Romans 12:10

Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.

If my routine is so set in stone, what happens when the phone rings and a friend needs a listening ear?  What happens when things break, that gift you ordered don’t arrive on time, a child gets sick and you can’t go to that gathering you looked forward to and that can go on and on.  Because we live in a world with people.  Do we leave space in our routine for others.

And then, Yes, there is GOD!

Isaiah 6:8

And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.”

2 Timothy 4:2

Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.

Am I so focused on what I  need to get accomplished that I don’t hear him?  Hear His calling me.  Feel the Holy Spirit tugging at my arm, pushing me.  Am I aware that He is wanting to use me?  And am I going to be available?

So a routine is good, great in fact, to streamline and simplify our lives but don’t miss out on life around you as you live your routine.

Lord, help me be focused but flexible! Love you and I’m grateful to you! Amen!

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But I trust YOU

IMG_3385Tamara Barron:  Known to me as “Tami”.  I’m so proud of her!  I met her the 1st night she came to Celebrate Recovery and oh, what a difference from then to now.  The smile on her face today can light up a room but there was no smile then.  We have had lunch, talked life and walked (figuratively) a long path of healing together and I can’t say enough about her.  She’s energetic and creative, determined and confident but most of all she now understands how much God loves her and that is making her path more joyful.  Excited to see where HE takes her.

I was born on December the 29th, 1970 in Lexington, KY.  My mother was a house wife and my father was an architect for a large firm.  At six years old, I started having petit mal seizures, and at nine years old, I was diagnosed with scoliosis, and started having severe anxiety.     Junior high and high school were kind of a blur to me.  I tested into the first advanced placement program in Lexington, but did not fit in very well with the other students.  By the time I was in ninth grade, I had alienated myself so bad from everyone that I became depressed and saw no joy in life at all.  I was 15 when I first contemplated suicide.

In high school, I began learning about the occult, Satanism, and witchcraft.  I felt powerful over my situations by scaring people, and became obsessed with vampirism, and horror movies.      I was a promising classical pianist, and an artist, but wasted a lot of time experimenting with witchcraft, drugs, and alcohol. 1 Peter 5:8 says, “Be alert and of sober mind.  Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”  Deep down inside, I knew that the way I had been living was wrong, but my fascination with the occult began to control my life.  I became scared to even leave my room, and I was committed to a psychiatric ward when I was 18.  I dedicated my life to God during this time and began to attend church.

I met my first true love shortly after leaving the psychiatric ward.  He seemed like a very nice guy, but I quickly put my relationship with him before God.  After only a few months into our relationship, however, he was arrested and sent away.  I fell into a deep depression, and when it came time to start college, I couldn’t do it.

I did eventually go to college, graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology and became a lab manager despite being formerly diagnosed with temporal lobe epilepsy in 1996.  During this time period, I met and married my first husband.  He was my dream guy; a hard rock guitar player who was witty, fun, and very handy with power tools.  Our relationship was tumultuous, however, and maintaining a relationship with God become impossible.  I gave God up to make my atheist husband happy.  This was the beginning of my codependency.

In the fall of 2001, we purchased a Queen Anne Victorian house built in 1898.  We worked every weekend for several years trying to restore our dream home.  In 2006, tired and weary from struggling to make ends meet, we started drinking every night to “take the edge off”.  It wasn’t long before the alcohol started causing many nights of yelling at one another like children.  But, I told myself everything was fine.

In 2009, my mother was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer.  My drinking got worse during this time, and it was a common occurrence for me to drink ¾’s of a bottle of wine before bed. My boss and my husband were both verbally abusive, and I felt powerless in my situation.  If God loved me, why did he make me suffer?  So I decided He didn’t exist, and embraced atheism.

I finally left my job of 13 years in the spring of 2010 to help care for my mother, and my husband and I fought nonstop about it.  With her death in 2011, I was just defeated.  I drank until I passed out every night. I tried to be the best house wife I knew how, taking all the responsibilities around the house.  I began writing my first novel, and also created many original works of art which I sold in local art fairs.  I was trying, but it wasn’t enough for my husband.  I was lonely, sad, and felt unloved.  In fact, I really didn’t know what being loved felt like.

My husband grew more distant over time.  One night in late 2014, I confronted him about it.  We broke out into an alcohol-induced argument.  After that night, he started going to bars at random, telling me I had to stay at home.  Finally, after a month of this, he said he was done with our marriage.  I went to my sister’s house to calm down, and when I returned the following morning he was gone.

I sank to floor, and it finally hit me that my whole life as I knew it, was over.  My job had failed, my husband had left, and without income, I would lose the house I worked so hard to fix up.  I shook uncontrollably.  The divorce papers came in the mail, and I was being force to sell the house and split the money with him.  I was in such shock that I couldn’t eat, sleep, or move and all I did was sit in a chair all day and drink and cry.  I attempted to go back to work, but soon realized I couldn’t maintain a job and drink what I needed to drink to keep from shaking. I wanted to die.  I would sit in the dark with my wine glass, and contemplate suicide.

One morning, I staggered into CVS to purchase some more wine, and when I took it to the counter, I broke down crying and told the lady that I didn’t want to drink anymore but I didn’t know how to stop.  She asked if she could pray with me.   So there we were, in public, a nice lady and very broken down, atheist woman, praying to God for healing.  She then told me about Celebrate Recovery, a faith based twelve step program.       IMG_0805

I continued drinking for a year, but in the Fall of 2015, I was at rock bottom. I made an appointment to detox, and found out that I was one month form cirrhosis.  Without the alcohol, the pain that I had numbed for so long hit me hard.  I knew I could not do this alone, and decided to go to Celebrate Recovery.

The first night I went in, I couldn’t believe all of the people there that were just like me.  Then I heard the first step for the first time.  Step one states, “We admitted we were powerless over our addictions and compulsive behaviors and that our lives have become unmanageable.”  At 92 pounds, 2 packs of cigarettes, and two bottles of wine a day, it was a miracle I was sitting there.  But that word powerless… All I wanted was power to control my situations, to only come in here and hear that I was powerless?  But then I heard step 2 which reads, “We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.”

The one thing I learned about recovery is that it hurt, it wasn’t easy.  I suffered with horrible anxiety and a hole in my heart left from my ex.  But the more I went to the meetings, the better I felt.  I joined a step study, and I admit, the first time I opened my bible, I cried so hard the pages were wet.  My pride was hurt.  But Jesus had the patience to wait while I swallowed my pride, and slowly allowed him to fill that painful hole in my heart.  He started by first whispering in my ear John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes unto the father except through me.”  I realized that I had to let my past go and accept Christ back into my life.

I began listening to contemporary Christian music.  It calmed me, and the dark, sad songs in my head were replaced with songs of inspiration, and undying love that Jesus showed us on the cross.  I read several devotionals a day, and repeat the serenity prayer when things get tough.  My sponsor, accountability partners, and step study leaders and sisters have been a true blessing to me.  When I feel down, I reach out. God put a new Christian man in my life, and we were married on June 3, 2017.  I have learned that life is about choices. I choose to remain sober.  God cannot make me do it, but he can help me make a daily commitment to turn my will over to Him.    I still struggle with anxiety, but when it hits, I remind myself of Mathew 6:34 which states: “Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own.  Live one day at a time.”

I thought I was hopeless, and now I am a leader at Celebrate Recovery.  The changes I have made in my life are possible for anyone who turns their life over to Christ.  I know that there is no depth of sorrow or darkness that Jesus Christ cannot reach.  Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.”  I have found in all my feelings of powerlessness that the true power comes in just saying, “Lord, I don’t know where I am going or how to get there, but I trust You.” by: Tami

 

Lord…………You are so good.  I’m grateful for the people that you put in my life who encourage me to keep going just by the way they live their lives.  Amen

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PROVIDE

#fmf

The truth is God made all things, owns all things and loves His children.  Me and You!

Philippians 4:19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.

Psalm 23:1 The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.

We can not simply sit and watch life happen to us.  There may be times when we are without ability from sickness or other outside influences and the Lord will provide as He sees necessary.  But there are things that are required from us for those provisions.

Seeking

1 Chronicles 16:11  Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.

Lamentations 3:25 The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him;

Obediance

Luke 5:4-6  When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”   Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”  When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break

Faith

2 Kings 4:1-6 The Widow’s Olive Oil

Mark 6:34-44  Feeding of the Five Thousand

Ask

Matthew 7:7  “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.

Thankfulness/Gratitude

Psalm 68:19  Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior,  who daily bears our burdens.

1 Thessalonians 5:18  give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Colossians 3:17  And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Hebrews 12:28  Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken,let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe,

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2 Corinthians 2:14  But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere.

It’s not ever His intent to withhold anything from us.

He created so that He could provide.

Take the steps necessary to reap the full benefit of what God provides.

Lord, I do not say it enough.  I take for granted each day that You will provide all I need.  I know that I should verbalize it more but I pray Lord that You will listen to my heart and know that I am Grateful!  I pray Lord that I will share that gratefulness with others so they too will understand.  Amen!

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25 Years and Counting

25 Years and Counting: If we’d been in high school and named in one of those year book type contest, you know the ones……. “Voted the best/least …………………..”, the vote would have gone something like this, “Least likely to make it.”

Boy, am I glad that God is in control and not man!

Here is where it started…… continue scrolling to see more…….

 

 

 

wedding41

God works even if you aren’t asking Him to.  Tom was introduced to me by one of my coworkers.  He was told some pretty grandiose stories and quickly figured out that it wasn’t so grandiose.  But he hung around anyway.  I was a mess and didn’t realize it.  He wasn’t where he needed to be and didn’t realize it.   It started out stormy with literally the “Storm of the Century” for the Carolina’s. Our original date was 3/13 but ended up on the 14th of March.  God knew exactly what he was doing.

Together we were a volcano awaiting eruption.   Lots of baggage being unpacked little by little and cobwebs being swept away.  It was hard but it was so worth it.

Both of us ready to give up on each other many times, but something, someone, God, kept us together.  Working on us individually so we could see past our self and see our spouse.  God placed many people in our lives that gave sweet words of wisdom that would stop us in our tracks and keep us hanging on for dear life.

God created marriage, designed for life…..

Genesis 2:24

Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

Man is who has changed that design…….

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

God put a stubborn streak in each of us and thankfully we were able to use that stubborn streak to hold on tight.  But it takes 2……

Ephesians 5:22-33

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.

Ephesians 5:25-33

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, …

We did a lot of things wrong but God is the redeemer of those that love Him and He redeemed this marriage and this family, 10 fold.  And I am grateful!

So, we get up each new day and keep holding on because this marriage was designed until Death do you Part.

Psalm 85:10

Steadfast love and faithfulness meet; righteousness and peace kiss each other.

Thank  you Lord!

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Changing and Loving it!

This tree, which once stood grand and proper, shaded and protected those who admired it.  Year after year, seasons come and go, storms beat away at it’s body and drought withered it’s roots.  Through the seasons, storms and droughts it stood firm until the day it shaded no more.  But yet it still stands,  stump of beautiful artwork from God.  To be admired for it’s resilience.

A change in the beautiful creation of God took place, what once stood firm, shading and protecting, changed and is still beautiful.

The same is, will be and can still be for you and me.

2 Corinthians 3:18

And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. biblegateway-com-logo_orig

Much change has taken place within this soul of mine.  I’ve sought, I’ve learned and I’ve loved deeply even more.

I’ve suffered much and I’ve miss understood the meaning of love.  There’s been times when I was done.  Or at least I thought I was.  I’ve seen that God was not done with me.

Over the years I have read many books, other than the bible, that would make huge changes in my mind and soul.  They each came into my focus at certain times, times that God had laid out for me, times that only He knew I was ready for.  The first book came to me, I’m not even sure through who, called “Are you there God, it’s me Margaret”, as a child this was my first remembrance of the seed being place in my mind of a God who is always there for me.  That seed lingered for many many years before it started taking root.  But it was all in God’s timing as he worked on me.  Then in 1991, during a very soul searching time in my life, my relationship with Christ started blooming, the seed began to sprout.  That sprout grew slowly but continued and change began, I began allowing Him to use me.  Trials, storms, pain, drought, hit and hit hard many times. And around 2006, “Boundaries- When to say Yes and when to say No” came to me.  Change started happening quick and the seed started blooming.  Now for a little fertilizing to strengthen the roots with “Celebration of Disciplines”.  This was a time of deep dependence on Christ, on his faithfulness, on his grace, on his forgiveness, on his strength, on his resilience and on his love for me. This was a game changer for me.  I knew that he was calling me to MORE.  And I was ready to say  Yes.  I have read many books since then, “1000 Gifts” by Ann Voskamp,  “The Longing in me” by Sheila Walsh, “Uninvited” by Lysa TerKeurst just to name a few.  But I recently read the book “Braving the Wilderness” and currently reading to “If you wan to walk on water, then you must get out of the boat” by John Orteberg, see the information below on Resilient People. See links below to some of these.  This book pointed out to me just how much I have changed and how much I still have to learn.

Resilient People:

  1. Refuse to be the Victim
  2. Refuse to betray their values
  3. Have a deep dependence on God

3 Qualities of Resilient People:

  1. Exercise control rather than passive acceptance.  With God we are never helpless.
  2. Remain Committed to their values – when tempted to compromise. Loyalty to values is powerful even if it leads to suffering.
  3. Find meaning and purpose in their storm. Storms have a way of teaching like nothing else can.

John Orteberg says, “You’re heart is revealed and your character forged when life doesn’t turn out the way you planned”.

I’m excited about the growing, changing that He is placing in front of me.    I pray that you will change with me.  I pray growth and a deeper dependence on God for your life.  I pray that you too will be resilient.

Thank you Lord for your Son and thank you for loving me before I even knew You. Amen!

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ref:

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/are-you-there-god-its-me-margaret-judy-blume/1100171660#/

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/boundaries-henry-cloud/1100007927?ean=9780310247456#/

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/celebration-of-discipline-the-rev-ed-richard-j-foster/1128006821?ean=9780060628390#/

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/braving-the-wilderness-brene-brown/1125897045?ean=9780812995848#/

 

 

 

 

 

 

TIRED

#fmf

SICK and TIRED

What makes you most sick and tired?  There is a number of reasons I could say I’m Tired.

I’m most Tired of being Sick and Tired!

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Psalm 83:18

That they may know that you alone, whose name is the Lord, are the Most High over all the earth.

Of our………..

Whinging instead of Rejoicing    Philippians 4:4-9

Judgement instead of Loving     Hebrews 13:1

Bitterness instead of Kindness   Colossians 3:12

Leading instead of Seeking    Matthew 6:33

Neediness instead of Abundance   Psalm 65:11

But instead of Sick and Tired, God has……..

In a surge of anger I hid my face from you for a moment, but with everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you,” says the Lord your Redeemer.
Ephesians 2:8-9 

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.

But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God; I trust in God’s unfailing love for ever and ever.
Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies.
Thank you Lord!!!!!!!!

 

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Regret

Philippians 3:13-15

Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you.

Isaiah 43:18-19

“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.

Shadows of Regret can take over our thoughts, over shadowing any miracles happening in our lives.   We will not see or feel the blessings that our God has promised us if we are continually looking to the past to find our future.  Our future begins when we begin trusting Him fully, not allowing Satan to use our past to feed our regret.

I have had my share.  I still have a few. But I’m learned that God does not want me to live in them.  Some regrets were by my doing and some not but they are all in the past, done, not to be relived again and again.

2 Corinthians 7:10

For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.

My regrets are washed clean by Jesus’s blood.  Hopefully I have learned by the lessons I have overcome, hopefully I will not repeat them again.  I’m sure that I will stumble, I am human. But He will pick me up and wash me clean again.

Lord, Thank You for my life and my hope.  Amen

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