Posted in Devotional, Family

“In Sickness”

When you said your wedding vows did you ever really think about the promises you were making to someone?

All these milestone anniversary celebrations I’ve been seeing on social media, along with hubby being ill and in the hospital, has me thinking about life and the responsibilities we take on.

Like me, many of you were probably young when you got married and 20 plus years later find yourselves quite a bit different than you were back then. I think we all change, mature, focus on different aspects of life, figure out what matters and what simply does not.

…to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part…”

Most of us said those “for better or for worse” vows and not once gave it a second thought. We never imagined that we would be anything other than happy, blissfully in love, and old and gray enjoying our grandchildren well into our 80s or even 90s. It never crossed our minds that we would go through bad times, hard times, worse times, or that one of us would have failing health and sickness.

I know on my beautiful wedding day, almost 28 years ago, the thought of dealing with “for worse” or “in sickness” didn’t enter my mind. I was marrying someone I loved, and we would live “happily ever after.” First, we would buy a house, then have kids, and it would be a perfect little life forever and ever.

That’s what I wanted to believe because every girl wants the fairy tale. Right?

But, in reality I had tucked any of those “for worse” thoughts way in the back of my mind, buried as fear that I hoped would never be truth. Problems wouldn’t plague us, we would always love each other the exact same, nothing would change, and we would stay in that fairy tale forever.

So I hoped.

Isn’t that just being young and naïve?

The thing is we really don’t know what we are in for when we take those vows. We cannot see what path life will take us down, nor the complications we will encounter. The choices we make, the chances we take, and the laws we live by will all have some sort of impact on us and our relationships.

But, when we are standing at the altar, staring in the eyes of the one we are about to say “I do” with, none of that stands in our way. We think we are prepared “for better, for worse, in sickness and in health.”

But, I promise no one is ever prepared for that. Not really.

We cherish the happy times and believe the better will outweigh the worse, but in reality life is hard and “for worse” is inevitable at some point. They say all’s well that ends well, but that’s not always the case either. We just have to believe God has a plan for us, and trust our life happens the way He intends it.

Just as everyday life seems to have no normalcy for society these days, my life has been on that course for awhile. I have been learning to live in the path God has designed for us and my “for better or for worse” vows are something I remind myself of often.

We all are guilty at some point or another thinking we have it so bad, until we really do. But, the truth of the matter is someone out there always has it worse. On some days, I feel I am the friend who has it worse, but in reality I know that belongs to someone else.

In spite of all the sickness, the pain, the heartbreak, the tears, the worry, the inevitable….In spite of all of that, I am blessed and grateful for my own health, my children, my family, my memories and all the “for betters” I have in my life. There are so many happy memories, so many good times, so many blessings, so, so many. And, I am grateful for each of them.

When you are feeling down, think about your own “for betters,” your health, your riches, your love, and everything you cherish. They far outweigh anything you can imagine. Don’t lose sight of them, don’t take them for granted.

You made those promises, but you were never promised which ones life would give back. xoxo

Posted in Cancer, Devotional

Helpless

Do you ever feel helpless?

I find myself feeling helpless often these days. The unknowns, the whys, the hurdles. All of it just keeps mounding.

With every page we turn, we encounter another issue. Every phase presents us with another obstacle.

I guess I always believe if we can get through one hindrance the situation will get better. In reality, each barrier just introduces an unfamiliar stumbling block, and we start over in a different direction.

The sadness to all the realities we face is one day the barrier will deal us an impediment we can’t get around, and we will run out of new directions.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all.”

Psalm 34:18-19

I know all my prayer warrior friends are disappointed in my weakness, but life got a little more real for us this week and sometimes the thought of that is just too much. Those serious heart to hearts on the two-hour drive home from the Cancer Center prove to leave me with a lump in my throat, an ache in the bottom of my stomach and an ocean of uncried tears.

I’m sorry, but if you haven’t walked in my shoes please don’t judge me. Don’t tell me how to feel, or tell me to pray harder or give me that wise piece of advice. Just for a selfish minute let me wallow in my own self pity.

Let me feel bad for myself. Let me be negative. Let me question God. Just for a minute let me be.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

Isaiah 55:8-9

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

Hebrews 4:16

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”

Philippians 2:12-13

Posted in Devotional, Family

Thankful

Are you thankful for the time you have with your family or do you take it for granted?

Sometimes it’s hard to see what’s right in front of us. We get so busy focusing on what makes us unhappy we abandon all the good staring us in the face.

It has been a demanding 96 hours. Each day I have hoped for sunshine, but there is forever a storm lurking. That black cloud constantly seems to be chasing me, and I always seem to be running.

It’s an arduous journey with me continuously looking over my shoulder, waiting for the other shoe to drop. But sadly, that is the way of my life.

Today, I had a long chat with a dear friend, who I can always trust to be honest with me, spare me the sugar-coating and admit the hard truth to me. I appreciate her, the knowledge she has of my situation, the compassion she expresses and even the words she needs to say despite they are hard for me to hear at times.

I value our friendship because I realize, no matter what, I can depend on her to be real with me. The medical advice and knowledge she shares, the personal trauma she has experienced and how she can relate to what my children are going through. Everything I get from her comes in the form of a blessing.

She is sort of a soul sister to me, one I feel a connection with that I cannot explain. She gets me, and sometimes shares her thoughts and feelings that are already entertaining my mind.

And, on the days I feel like constantly crying, her honesty, her genuine heart is just what I need to make me feel better and acknowledge I have so much to be thankful for.

Today, it was no different.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

Isaiah 55:8-9

She gave up some of her precious family time this afternoon to console me. That’s a true friend. And, she made me realize, portions of my storm are blessings I will one day look back on and appreciate.

We are in the midst of the country being shut down, social distancing with limited interaction between people and staying home to avoid exposure.

On top of all that is the chemo treatments, the complications, the fevers, the fear of going to the hospital, the traveling, the worrying, the stress, the sick puppy, having to put my child on a plane…this week has been emotional and stressful and too much at times.

It’s a challenge, and I’m feeling weak even though I force a cheery smile. But, I’ve been thinking about it, and in the back of my mind and with a sweet reminder, I know this is a blessing in disguise.

Having my children home, eating dinner as a family every night, no rushing out the door to get somewhere, no worrying about leaving a child or a dog home alone while we are at the cancer center. Quality time with my children before they go off to college in the fall, sharing memories of the past and making new ones for the future.

All blessings.

in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

1 Thessalonians 5:18

It’s true how sad of a time it is for my senior and all the other seniors who don’t get the traditional graduation, but in hindsight we will appreciate all the memories we were able to make with just our family. All the quality time we shared and the togetherness we had.

Those are the times we will remember.

And, what if we never have another opportunity like this again? What if there’s not another season we are all together?

What if these memories are all we have?

Sometimes it’s hard to see the picture when you are in it. But, like my friend reminded me…what a blessing this quarantine is for us.

Another silver lining in the most unexpected place. No matter how hard life is count your blessings. In spite of everything, they are all around us.

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

Romans 8:28
Posted in Devotional, Self Help

Wonder Why

Ever wonder about the reasoning behind why things happen or why we choose to focus on the thoughts we do?

Lately, I’ve been catching myself asking the why in everything. Not that it’s necessarily bothering me, but rather providing me a sort of peace of why some things just have to happen.

Today, after reading my devotion I started to wonder why all the situations happening in my life are a surprise to me. A flood of questions filled my mind, but I know there’s only one that holds the answers.

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. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.”

James 1:5-6

Of course in these times, when so much is going on around us, I can’t help but include cancer in the equation. And, I cannot help but think perhaps somehow this is all connected. One thing always leads to another.

Lives are intertwined, I do believe that, and only God could produce such a complex masterpiece.

Even in these uncertain days, we have enjoyed the togetherness. Still, that is transparent because deep down I know, in the middle of all of this, there is something else.

I would like to imagine our family meals, hours spent with each other and slower pace of life comes without strings attached; however, in the back of my mind I know that cannot be true.

As the calendar turns the page, it reveals a new treatment timetable, billing cycle and appointment schedule. Time doesn’t stop and neither does life, nor the roles it holds.

For every thankful moment we have, another one is taken from us, and there are some we simply cannot get back.

Weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, funerals, proms and graduations. Those days will come and go and be lost forever. However, time lost in some situations is time gained in another. No matter what the scenario, we will never regret what we acquired with those we love.

And, I am reminded these days will be made into memories my children will cherish as a period spent with their dad which otherwise they may not have had.

The treatments will continue, the bills will pile up, the monthly appointments rescheduled, the occasions lost, but the impressions will always remain.

Call it a catch-22 or call it a blessing, but for my children I will call it a silver lining.

My heart breaks for all the lost events and celebrations, the unfairness of it, the selfishness, the choices that have cost so much.

Every family is going through their own uncharted waters, manuevering our way the best we can, leaving a sort of emptiness behind. In a sense it is unsettling, but I am careful not to overlook the blessings before me. There are two sides to every coin.

Don’t be naïve and ignore the grace of God. We have it in our life every single day. In every bad situation, we can all find a silver lining if we just look for it.

16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

Hebrews 4:16

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”

Proverbs 3:5-6
Posted in Devotional, Self Help

Keep Moving

It’s a beautiful day outside, but I’m not feeling like the weather. I guess I should have spent more time outdoors today instead of working inside.

Why is life such a rollercoaster right now?

Everytime I get on track to having good days, I stumble and regress. I’m tired of this mindset, but I know I am the only one who can fix it. I just feel like I’m running around in circles.

Today, I read it is possible this could last until August, with people staying home and businesses closed. My heart sank, the pit of my stomach ached and in all truthfulness I wanted to cry.

August?

Really?

That’s the whole summer. That would mean no graduation, no vacations, no beach days, no July 4th celebrations, no family visits, no chance at a rebounding economy and no relief in sight. I ALMOST want to say no hope, but I won’t.

I know that’s what the devil wants me to do, but I won’t. No matter how tired I get, I will never lose hope. I’m going to keep telling myself that because it’s all I’ve got.

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit,which is the word of God.18  And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassadorin chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.”

Ephesians 6:10-20

Keep moving forward.

Someone I knew during my childhood actually died last week after contracting the virus. Look around, I know you all know or know of someone who has been affected. It’s a devastating realization, but it’s inevitable.

And, depressing. Sad. It steals our joy. We are the only ones who can hold onto it, but yet, it is a challenging task at hand.

How do we not lose our joy?

7 Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life; you stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and your right hand delivers me. 8 The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.

Psalm 138:7-8

Keep moving forward.

When we were at the Cancer Center last week the nurse told me perfectly healthy people are dying from this virus. She said for her that is the scariest thing about it. The fact that scares her, terrifies me.

We are living in some dark and uncertain times, and it just goes to show how vulnerable we really are. I know we are living under God’s plan, but I still can’t help but feel some sort of uneasiness.

I know there are more dark days ahead until we get through the peak of this. I know our lives are probably forever changed, but I pray the Lord will get us through and bring some light.

Keep moving forward.

I have been reminding myself all week that it’s Holy week. I have had some wonderful souls tell me to trust in God to get me through all this and that he will carry me. They have reminded me of what Jesus endured during this week and how I am stronger with the Lord by my side.

I know I am stronger, and I know we can get through this. Stay hopeful and keep moving forward. Today, I pray for strength for all of us and wish everyone a Happy Easter. xo

Posted in Devotional

Holy Week

Did anyone ever dream we would be in the middle of a pandemic during Holy Week, or ever for that matter?

24 But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel. And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.” And they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb they told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. 10 Now it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told these things to the apostles, 11 but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. 12 But Peter rose and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; and he went home marveling at what had happened.”

Luke 24:1-12

My dad said he never thought he would see times like this, and I imagine many people thought the same.

I never thought I would be in the midst of my husband battling cancer at my age either. I never thought it would get to this point. I never thought it would get worse. I never thought after he was diagnosed that we would face many more hurdles along the road.

I think many times when life is going down a rough path we tell ourselves, “things can’t get any worse.” When we think we’ve hit rock bottom sometimes we realize we were simply on a cliff, and we fall even lower.

I’ve learned to NEVER say things can’t get any worse. Trust me, they can and most likely will before they get better.

I’ve also learned to find hope, pray harder and seek peace when you’re scared and worried.

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.

Isaiah 41:10

And, I am worried. I was uneasy about life before all these virus concerns came up. I constantly fret about someone being exposed or getting sick. Going out in public.

Even more, I am undoubtedly concerned with the effect it has on everyone’s mental state. I know for me it has been a fight within myself not to fall into a depressed state, panic, feel lonely, or lost.

When all you have is time to think, it can be a war within your mind.

I’ve had a sort of resistance going on for awhile now. Things were just starting to settle down to a new normal in our household. I was cautiously beginning to relax a little, get used to how it was going and then, panic hit.

I have heard many people say they are going crazy staying home, feeling depressed, and having a hard time adjusting to an unfamiliar routine. It’s tough to adapt to a new way of life and not exercise your freedom.

We have had plenty of other unfamiliar adapting to do in our house in recent months. But, I do think it is essential to abide by the rules in order to not overwhelm the system. And, I want it to stop. If we don’t stop giving it something to feed on, I fear it never will.

I can’t help but wonder why all this craziness is happening in the world. Is it a sign of the times, an economic attack, a prediction from the Bible?

As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.

Matthew 24:3-8

No social gatherings, no church services, no lunch with friends, no school, no baseball games, no sleepovers, no restaurant dining, no shopping, and the list of NOs goes on.

It sounds bad, but it could be so much worse. And sadly, for some people it is.

On top of all of what’s obvious, some of us have other obstacles. Some have lost their jobs, gotten laid off, have to spend time away from family members, have no savings to fall back on, live alone, can’t stay home because of their job, are lonely, fighting an illness, have a bad marriage, battling an addicition or who knows what else. Everyone is grappling with something.

EVERYONE.

One thing we still do have is each other, our community, our nation. We can still pray at home, FaceTime family and friends, get takeout and shop online (if we can afford to).

We can all find something in our life to be thankful for no matter how bad it seems.

Holy Week and Easter both offer a time of new hope, new beginnings. Let’s use it to pray for our community and our country.

A time to be thankful for the things in life we have, the people who are important, the family time we share, the people we have fighting for us and working to keep us safe and healthy and all the simple blessings we overlook and take for granted each day.

We are all blessed! xo

Posted in Devotional

Fear or Faith?

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

John 1:1-5

I have always been a christian, just at times a better one than others. We have all faltered in our life in one area or another, right?

I will spare everyone my lifetime of church and worshiping; however, in my younger days church and God was a big part of my life. Then later, there was a time I was very angry at God. I was angy at several things, several people. I guess for awhile I didn’t realize how angry.

In the last several years, my life, like many moms, has transformed into something I hadn’t prepared for early on. My children were growing up. I had wanted to go back to work, fulfill my ambitions, and put some accomplishments under my own belt. I found myself wondering why I hadn’t started already. Why I didn’t go back to school and get another degree? I had talked about several avenues, but I hadn’t started down any of the paths.

But, maybe I didn’t because it wasn’t the time. I know that now.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:  a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot,  a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build,  a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,  a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,

Ecclesiastes 3:1-5

After my husband was diagnosed with cancer I struggled for awhile. The anger, the uncertainty, my children, our family, my plans. It was all too much to digest and think about.

For a long time it took great effort to get off the couch everyday. My world was just a very unfamiliar, dark and lonely place I didn’t want to be in. I worried about everything, stressed over anything, and was so unsettled about all things. It was overwhelming, affected my health in a number of ways, and made me a mental mess. My heart was broken, suffering for my children, and honestly it still is.

But, if I have realized anything about this pain stricken journey it is one thing…you can never lose hope. When tragedy strikes you have to have something to hold on to.

I have faced an abundance of fear, most often without a say, but I have learned over time to do it with grace, love and a great deal of prayer. With the help of a few supportive people who have become so close to my heart, I have learned I cannot get through these obstacles without God.

Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”

Isaiah 41:10

Trust those who love and support you and trust in the Lord. It is all we can hope for, and without it we will live with a fear that will adversely affect how we live our lives.

I have heard so often, in many situations lately, that we cannot have both fear and faith. It is the truth! We must choose one. Either we trust in the Lord and choose faith, or we worry and have fear in everything.

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

Hebrews 11:1

When I stopped being mad at God I found my faith again. My mind was less confused, my heart was less burdened, and my overall health started to improve. I stopped worrying so much, I didn’t stress as often, and I found myself at peace more often than not.

Fear brings worry and stress and pain and uncertainty in everything happening in our lives. It steals our joy, robs us of our peace and makes us question everything by living in an apprehensive state. Fear is a denial that God will take care of everything.

Faith is a gift from God. If we trust in Him, study His word and use it in prayer, our faith will grow. It’s not an achievement or something we find in ourselves, but rather something we are gifted when we put our belief in the Lord.

The only thing we should fear in our life is God Himself.

Whoever fears the Lord has a secure fortress, and for their children it will be a refuge.

Proverbs 14:26

Just as we grow in trust in our relationships with our fellow man, we must also grow in our relationship with God. The more we pray, the more we use scripture in our prayers, and the more we trust the closer we become to Him. Fear comes from the trials we face, but trusting in God during these times makes our faith stronger and in turn makes us closer to Him.

The devil may chase you, he may knock on your door, he may challenge you, but use God’s word and trust in Him to help you defeat the evil that surrounds you.

I pray for strength every day. I read my devotions and I read scripture. Throughout my journey I know God has saved me. My life is better because I have trusted in Him, and I have handed over the reins to the problems I cannot control. It’s a daily chore for me, and I sometimes waver.

Often, I lose sight of my surroundings and begin a fall into a downward sprial I struggle to get out of. It happens more often than I want to admit. I lose my bearings on what my heart has taught me, and I question my own thinking. It is a battle within my own self. Paranoia sets in, I fight for my self worth, and I question who to trust.

Lately, I have been struggling and feeling like every step I take presents another stumbling block. It’s overwhelming, and I feel the darkness surrounding me. These are the times I normally pray for strength, but lately I grapple with getting in the right mindset.

But, it is an unnecessary wrestling within my mind, a rhetorical question.

Fear or Faith?

I read a devotion today that spoke to me in such a way that I knew the Lord was addressing me. With so many uncertainties in my life at the moment, I relish the moments this happens to me and I especially take note of the circumstances.

I felt God’s light shining on me. The Prince of Peace was speaking to me, and I know it is a serious moment when I have these strong feelings. It is a time I have reason to worry, but yet a time I know I need to hand it over, trust and let Him lead me.

For all of those who struggle with your beliefs, waver in your thoughts about God and the spiritual world I would like you think about this. My life consists of living in the midst of storm after storm. The darkest storms that are so strong I cannot survive them alone.

I am not speaking of “alone” as in a physical state, but rather a lonely darkness that I live with while surrounded by many people. Do not confuse it with something you necessarily know. It is a loneliness you can never imagine unless you have actually lived in it.

For me, there is only one path to take in order to survive and that is not with fear. Fear would consume me just as a tornado consumes everything in its path. Hope and prayer and faith are the only solutions to help me escape.

I will always choose faith. I may fall and I may falter, but the light of God will shine down on me and guide me into the way of peace. xo

Because of and through the heart of tender and mercy and loving-kindness of our God, a Light from on high will dawn upon us and visit [us] to shine upon and give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to direct and guide our feet in a straight line into the way of peace.”

Luke 1:78-79
Posted in Devotional, Self Help

Uphill

There are so many situations in my world that I can’t fix or repair right now. So many times I want to flip a switch and make everything OK.

But, I know I can’t. That’s not the way life works is it?

It’s crazy how all the blessings we take for granted in life, and what has to happen in order for us to realize we can never let one second of joy escape us.
Life is hard enough without having to dwell on situations we can’t relinquish.
So many times I talk about forgiveness and putting things in the past, yet it’s difficult to achieve. We all know forgiveness is sometimes hard and forgetting is most of the time impossible. Our heart just can’t entirely let go.

What if we could go back and change all the situations we have messed up?

What if we had a big life eraser to blot out the mistakes?

I think we all have regrets in living. That’s an easy one to agree on, but can we forget the regrets we have and move on?

Getting over a painful experience is much like crossing monkey bars. You have to let go at some point in order to move forward.”

C.S. Lewis

Can we live with the mistakes we make? And how can we save ourselves the pain and not make them in the first place?

I don’t know if it’s harder to forgive and forget other’s choices or our own. They say we only have to live with our own decisions, but is that really true?

Sometimes I believe we live with the choices of others, but maybe that’s because we choose to. Let’s face it relationships should be, but aren’t always, 50/50. We would be lying to ourselves if we thought one person doesn’t give more than the other. The best thing we can hope for is we aren’t always the only one giving.

I guess the only truth worse than living with a wounded relationship is worrying about someone you love living in one. We all want to be happy, and we want that for our loved ones as well. It’s hard to watch someone we care so much about struggle, and it’s even worse realizing we can’t nor we should try to fix it.

So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”

Matthew 7:12

People generally have a valid reason for feeling the way they do. Not that it’s always accurate, but you can’t constantly help how you feel.

We can all be selfish at times, downright stubborn, or we can be forgiving and empathetic. Either way it doesn’t make it a given that you are going to be on the positive side. Relationships take work and until both parties are ready to meet in the middle and compromise it’s never going to get resolved. 

I was having a conversation with my daughter today regarding something she was upset about. She said it wasn’t fair. I thought to myself…we are going to talk about life being fair?

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.”

John 14:27

I didn’t want to go down that road with her because ultimately what I consider “unfair” in life affects her as well. If we want to have that conversation I can pretty much spend hours building my case. Fact of the matter is life is NOT fair. I will just go ahead and get that out of the way. If you think you are owed anything, then step off your high and mighty and have a seat.

I proceeded to tell my daughter that if she thinks life is going to EVER be easy, then she needs to change her attitude. Go ahead and count on life being hard. An uphill road. A constant struggle. Disappointment. Sadness. Pain. Heartbreak. Depend on life being a battle and count your blessings when something good happens or works out in your favor.

I say this because life is an uphill road with a mirage of twists and turns. Don’t expect anything more and you won’t be disappointed.

We are all fighting to stay afloat. We have all been violated or mistreated or dealt a difficult hand. We are all struggling with something going on in our life. Don’t play the victim, don’t hold a grudge, don’t let people take advantage of you, but do be the better person in the situation.

Maybe we can’t always take the higher road, but just remember life is hardly ever fair. And, we were never promised it would be.

Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.

Psalm 62:8

I pray for peace in all of our hearts, that we can find joy somewhere. Remember our struggles are to make us stronger in our faith and prepare us for what’s to come. With each tribulation I wonder what suffering will transpire, but it is not my story to write, nor my worry.

It is hard to trust in what we cannot see, but we aren’t suppose to lean on our own understanding. Dig deep, grasp your faith, pray, trust not in your own understanding. Affliction builds strength, but we must not walk alone. Build faith, learn to trust, study God’s word, and work against negative forces.

I’ve realized this walk will take years, perhaps a lifetime. But, I have my road map. I just have to study it, and trust it’s meant to get me where I’m going.

Posted in Devotional, Self Help

Find Joy

Do you ever feel like the past won’t let go of you?

I know we aren’t suppose to dwell on what’s over and done with, but just because something is in the past doesn’t make it finished. Sometimes we feel the need to finish it ourselves.

Often, I say I dislike social media. I guess that’s not totally true since there are obvious perks to using it, but I guess I mean to say I dislike what social media does to people.

Whoever belittles his neighbor lacks sense, but a man of understanding remains silent.

Proverbs 11:12

Sometimes people use social media as a platform to portray this make believe life. Why do people paint this perfect little life that doesn’t exist?

I don’t understand why someone would make a comment on social media they would never say to someone’s face.

I was talking to a friend a few weeks ago, and she said she doesn’t do social media because it makes her feel bad. She said she feels like people display this flawless life and it just makes her feel depressed about her own problems. Then, she feels she’s the only one struggling to get through the week.

I didn’t tell her I’m kind of envious of her for not succumbing to the social media pressures. However, I like it gives me the excuse to talk on the phone with her to catch up and engage in real conversation. I miss the days of talking on the phone and hearing the comfort of someone’s voice rather than getting a dry text message with a quick hello.

Our conversation made me start thinking about what she said and sadly, she’s right. I’ve actually had the same feelings myself. I’m probably one of the few people who has only been on social media in the last five years, and honestly I was just as happy before, maybe even happier.

No, not maybe. I was happier.

Lately, I have tried to limit my time, mainly just using it to post an occasional picture of my children to show how much I miss them all being together, to know I’m thinking about them, and for sharing my blog or inspirational quotes.

Many people only share the part of their life on social media they want people to know about. Then, there’s the other side who scours every nook and cranny to debate, argue and call people out.

And, let’s not forget the dreadful realization kid’s use it to bully other kids. Or worse, the parents bully.

The mouth of the righteous brings forth wisdom, but the perverse tongue will be cut off. The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable, but the mouth of the wicked, what is perverse.

Provers 10:31-32

Don’t get me wrong, social media is beneficial in a variety ways, and offers an easy avenue for promoting and getting the word out. We know society as a whole is curious. It’s our human nature, and most of us are guilty of being curious.

However, social media isn’t the real problem. Just like in most cases it’s not how it’s used, it’s how it’s abused. We, as in people, are the problem.

I have never been one to overshare my personal life. I like to be a private person, only sharing with those I’m closest. In the past I have shared my feelings, my struggles and my life with some acquaintances, mistaken for friends, but I learned the hard way not to do that anymore.

Not in that way. Now, I share my story for many reasons, but not necessarily my personal life. Some ways are obvious, and some would spark too many questions I am not obligated to answer. Regardless, I want you all to know you are not alone in your battles.

Many times, I have felt out of place, out of my comfort zone, and honestly, alone.

I realized I can be surrounded by a million people and feel like the only one in the room. I’ve been there more than once. Who am I kidding, I’ve been there more often than not.

Recently, my husband and I were talking about several years ago when the boys played sports and we traveled around. I loved it for the kids, but I hated it for myself. I never felt part of the group, never felt I had a place and looking back don’t think it was necessarily a happy experience for any of us. Perhaps, it was an eye-opening, learning experience.

During those days I wanted so desperately to have a group of friends, have a squad, have support. I had none of that. I don’t really see or talk to those people anymore, and honestly that’s fine. I know many of them are probably battling their own hidden demons, and I am here battling mine in the open.

I’m at peace. I have what I need. And, for once in my life I am fine with that, and I don’t really care what other people think. Not at all. If I did, I wouldn’t be writing this.

I think it takes a life changing event, or a come to Jesus moment in order to get to this point, this comfort zone. Or maybe, it just comes with age, a dose of reality and trusting in God.

So much pain that no one even knows about. So many inner struggles. So much brokenness. So much heartbreak people cannot begin to understand.

But, that is for another day when I am ready to talk about it.

It is so easy to sit back and judge others’ struggles. Empathetic hearts break because of your pain while apathetic ones judge and relish. Or maybe, in a sense, they are just broken, too.

Don’t try others when you have no concept of the storm they are in. Some people are so oblivious to their surroundings, but then again maybe that’s because they choose to be. I have shut so many people out of my life for that very reason, but they have no seat around my table.

I have my inner cirlce, and I have an outer circle. And, the two never touch.

No one has a perfect life. Look around at all the people who seem to have everything money can buy.

Happiness isn’t something you can achieve through social media or social status for that matter. It’s not something money can buy. It’s not a level you can get through in life and hold onto forever.

It doesn’t get you the golden ticket for sure. Not to heaven anyway.

Life is hard. We are all struggling and God never promised you it would be easy.

Happiness doesn’t come from things, or even people. Happiness comes from within yourself. It is a mood, an emotion.

Joy comes from God when we trust in Him. Seek God and your life will be an abundance of joy.

Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.

John 16:24

Don’t look at social media or at others for your joy. Look at your faith.

Everyone around you isn’t really without struggles even though some days it seems that way. I promise you’re never going to see a post about all the worries or insecurities in someone’s heart. It’s easier to conceal our pain within ourselves than to admit to the world that it’s real.

I have realized if I can help someone else, then I should help them. It may be painful, but within that pain I have found my JOY. xo

Posted in Devotional, Self Help

Forgiveness

Did you know purple hyacinths are an emblem of forgiveness?

Do you think about forgiveness?

Lately, I have been thinking about it constantly.

I feel like when you’re going through life changing hurdles it makes your mind think about those kinds of things.

There’s so many situations in my life right now I wish I could change even though it’s obvious most of them I cannot. I decided life’s too short not to make some alterations if I can. Often, we get so wrapped up in the pain that someone or their actions caused us, we don’t think about what we are letting it do to ourselves.

Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.

Luke 6:37

We may not be able to change the action or situation, but we can change how we react to it. Life is hard whether we want to say it out loud or not.

It’s not fair. It’s not equal. It’s not promised. Don’t count on it being easy.

I told my daughter last week I wanted her to find forgiveness. I wasn’t suggesting she do it for the person that hurt her, but rather for herself. It broke my heart to see her hurting because of something she can’t control so I reminded her that God would want her to show forgiveness.

I didn’t want to tell her how she should feel, but I wanted her to think about it.

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Matthew 6:14-15

There have been many situations in my life I can’t change, ones that affected me so deeply I’ve had a hard time of letting go. I can’t help the way I feel, and I realized there are many feelings I can’t stop. But, I can forgive.

And, forgiving is letting go.

Too often, I think we struggle with forgiveness because we don’t want to let someone off the hook so easily. We don’t want them to believe what they did is OK or they can get away with it. We want them to feel our pain, show some remorse or have some sort of empathy towards us. We may want them to suffer dire consequences so they don’t do it again. We may want them to just realize how it feels.

In reality, maybe we are the ones who need to realize forgiving someone is not letting them off the hook but rather setting ourselves free from the situation. If we carrry it around and hold on too tightly it will only continue to control our feelings.

Showing forgiveness and letting go doesn’t make a wrong right. It doesn’t show trust or worthiness to anyone but yourself. It shows you have enough self respect and care for yourself and God. No where does it say to forgive and forget. Forgive and be wary but do not hate.

Sometimes people just continue to hurt you, and there’s no explanation why or it’s something much deeper. Sometimes it’s not about you at all. Sometimes it’s just who they are with no explanation.

I’m the person who analyzes everything. I always want to figure out the why, but in reality I can’t invariably know why.

And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.

Mark 11:25

If someone hurts you, take care of yourself first, then help others with what you have left. Forgive them, but do it for yourself. You’re not admitting you were in the wrong, you’re just choosing to let it not control you anymore.

In this life the only person we are responsible for at the end of our time on Earth is ourselves. We can help others, we can guide them, mentor them and support them, but we can’t save them. The only actions you are going to answer for is your own.

Choose peace and choose salvation. Be kind and be the bigger person. Your mental health deserves it. And, at the end of the day that’s all you can do.