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Life is a journey

Birth is a beginning and death a destination

And life is a journey

From childhood to maturity

And youth to age,

From innocence to awareness

And ignorance to knowing,

From foolishness to discretion

And then, perhaps to wisdom,

From weakness to strength

Or strength to weakness,

And often back again.

From health to sickness

And back, we pray, to health again

From offense to forgiveness

From loneliness to love

From joy to gratitude

From pain to compassion

And grief to understanding

From fear to faith

From defeat to defeat to defeat

Until, looking backward or ahead

We see that victory lies not at some high place along the way

But in having made the journey, stage by stage, a sacred pilgrimage

Birth is a beginning

Death a destination

But life is a journey

From birth to death to life everlasting

Author unknown, from the prayer book of the Shiva of my friend.

Baruch, my friends, Baruch

(Blessing, my friends, blessings)

SB

Featured

Who are you and what breaks your heart?

The answer to the question is an important one and is different for every person. Within the answer to this question lies the desires of your heart, and where you can begin to find your purpose.

Who are you and what breaks your heart?

Who are you and what breaks your heart? I first heard this question a few years ago as a challenge from our youth pastor. Along with the other adult sponsors of our youth, I searched deep within myself to answer the question.  The answer to the question is an important one and is different for every person.  Within the answer to this question lies the desires of your heart, and where you can begin to find your purpose.   It took me several days to fully craft my response.  Over the next several years, I returned to the question as well as my answer, sometimes tweaking the verbiage, but never the message.

I am a musician, an engineer, a mentor; my desire is to leave things better than I found them; I am a sister, daughter, wife, mother, aunt, friend.

Suicide breaks my heart; cancer breaks my heart; human trafficking breaks my heart; seeing people make bad life decisions breaks my heart.

I am thankful for the One True and Living God who saved me from myself and, through His Son Jesus Christ, has saved me from my sins.

I am confidently persistent, boldly creative and passionately determined that I may inspire others to live a life that ultimately matters.

I am a believer in Jesus Christ and a firm believer that God has a plan for every one of our lives.   In my young life, I struggled to find that purpose.  Once I found it, I developed a passion to help others find their purpose in life as well.

This blog is a collection of life experiences, probably some past and some present, designed to connect with you on your life journey, to help you ultimately live a life that matters.  My sincerest prayer is that through my words, you are drawn into a deeper relationship with the One who can fulfill your purpose in life.

Blessings,

SB

 

Living Sacrifice

A Living Sacrifice

Romans 12:1 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. 2 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.

Beginning my day in conversation with God has become a habit in my year of PRAY. I look forward to that time each morning, and have been using Mission 119 ap to do a bible study with Pastor Stoper of the Christian & Missionary Alliance church.

We’ve been reading the book of Numbers, which honestly is hard to read, however, it has taught me much about Faithfulness of God in spite of the faithlessness of His people.

God loves us so much that even when we mess up, we can return to Him to make our lives right again. In fact, the lost matter so much to God that He will go to great lengths to bring them back home. I’ve seen this in my own life as well as the lives of others around me.

The historic events of the book of Numbers show how, soon after Gods people saw Him part the waters of the Red Sea so they could cross on dry land, a work so miraculous one might think they could ever forget, they began to grumble about their circumstances, even wishing they were back in captivity. Less than a month after this amazing miracle, they had forgotten how God showed them that He could make a way where there seemed to not be. They returned to the way they were before the miracle.

How much are we a slave to our past? We have a life changing encounter with the God of the Universe, and before long, return to our old ways.

Romans 12 encourages us to be a LIVING sacrifice…. to daily present ourselves to God and allow Him to transform our lives… when we do this, transformation in our hearts and minds occurs, and we can then become the person He’s called us to be. We need to remind ourselves daily of the sacrifice He made for us so that we never become complacent and go back to our old ways.

We are no longer slaves to our past, but as we continue to remind ourselves what He’s done for us, both as a people and as individuals, we are transformed from our past. I do this by studying His Word, and praying every day. How do you do it?

Be blessed today, my friends!

SB

How to dream when (you’re told) you’re going to die

I mentioned in Release and surrender that I talked with one of Rob’s friends, Steve, a few weeks ago. I sensed he was a believer, and, after having lunch with him, confirmed that suspicion. His wife is also battling cancer, and they have a ten year old boy. Shortly after our lunch, he sent me a message and said he and his wife were talking about our friend, Rob and me, and remembered a book they read that helped them tremendously to come to terms with her diagnosis. He said he wanted to get the book in my hands as soon as possible.

The book is called, How to dream when you’re told you going to die. He said not to be alarmed by the title. It’s written by Diego Mesa, a pastor who was diagnosed with stage 4 kidney cancer. The book is about weathering any storm really, though for Diego, it was his diagnosis.

Steve asked me to pass it on to someone else who might benefit from it after I’m done.

I am about halfway through it right now. I’ve underlined many good thoughts throughout the book. Tonight’s profound thought is this….

were it not for suffering, would we have faith at all? Would we grow at all? Would we have a testimony to share?”

I’ve shared my testimony many times, and, as it continues to unfold, I will continue to share my story to anyone willing to hear it… for only one reason… to glorify my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I AM a life that’s been changed by His grace and mercy, and I want others to know what He’s done for me… and will do for them too. I have been through many trials in the past 6 months, and they continue to refine my faith. Rocked at times, yes, but as I’ve seen God answer prayer, I continue to grow deeper and deeper faith.

God is so amazing. I have been blessed. Be blessed today, my friends!

SB

Prayer…

Ironic, as my word of the year is ‘Pray’, my pastor’s sermon yesterday was on the very topic. Prayer is a conversation with the Father we love… our best friend. He asked us to imagine having a best friend we never talk to. How long would they remain your best friend?

He also talked about the Holy Spirit, who dwells in each of us and intercedes for us when we don’t know what to pray for.

“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.”

Romans 8:26-28a | ESV

Today, I know what to pray for.

Lord, I thanks You for all of the miracles unfolding in my life and the lives of those around me. It is so clear to me that Your hand is upon me, bringing good about through all circumstances. I praise You for touching Rob’s mind and allowing him to return, feeling strong. I trust Your as Your draw him close to You. You have spoken and said ‘I will take care of his cancer if he takes care of the other things in his life’ Lord, as he takes care of those things, I pray You would remove his tumors in the Name of Jesus, that all who see will know that it is Your power alone, that they would be saved.

Let my faith remain steadfast as challenges come along. Let others see You through that faith, not that I get any credit, but You alone.

In Your name I pray,

Amen

Unconditional Love

Happy Valentines Day, my friends! I know, for those who are single, this day is dumb… right?

In the past year or so, I have learned incredible things about love… things I never knew or even thought about. Traveling this crazy road with my friend Rob has taught me so much about loving someone unconditionally…. that almost, perhaps just maybe, I have a small glimpse of the way in which God loves us.

I can’t really explain unconditional love. Most of our relationships, even spousal relationships, are tied to conditions, whether we realize it or not. When someone doesn’t treat us like we’d expect them to, or doesn’t say the things we think they should, we get hurt and it sometimes affects the way we think of them.

Unconditional love seems to be made up of compassion and deep understanding, a true desire to see growth and ultimate success, encouragement, forgiveness and reconciliation, combined with a genuine enjoyment of one another’s company, laughter, tears, open honesty without fear of criticism. Unconditional love is just that…. you can love the person even when they don’t make the best choice, and you are there beside them to guide them to better choices. You can love the person when they seem unlovable, when the rest of the world has turned their back on them, and love them back to safety. They know their deepest darkest secrets are as safe with you as yours are with them.

God, our Father, loves us this way…. and it doesn’t matter what we’ve done, or how many times we’ve screwed it up, He loves us back to safety. He loves us so much, in fact, that He sent His only Son to literally die in order to provide a way to reconcile our relationship with Him… the relationship that was broken by our sin.

Admittedly, this is a love that I do not fully understand. I’m not sure I ever will on this side of eternity, but I can say that, having this small piece of understanding has helped me to love others with a genuineness that can only come from God.

Be blessed today, my friends, and whether you have a personal valentine or not, know that our Heavenly Father loves you like crazy.

SB

Postmarked Miracles… reblog

I’ve re-blogged this before, but since it’s President’s Day and the post office is closed, I thought of this event that happened a few years ago (although it happened over MLK day).  I was reminded of this “small” but powerful miracle that God unfolded before my eyes a few years ago…    I KNEW at the time, He was showing me that He could be a “waymaker” in something seemlingly insigifcant so that I would trust Him to be a “waymaker” in the more significant events in my life.   I am so very grateful for the eyes that He gave me to “see” that event and KNOW that HE is GOD! 

What I didn’t realize was the amazing way He would, in fact, bring about huge miracles in my life. 

Please take a minute to read it, and know that God is preparing you for something… every lesson you learn, every pain you feel, every miracle you see, is, if you allow it, helping you to trust Him for everything!

Postmarked miracle

Be blessed today, my friends!

SB

 

 

I am the storm

“The devil whispered in my ear, ‘you are not strong enough to withstand the storm!’

Today, I whispered in the devil’s ear, “I am a child of God… a warrior of Christ… I am the storm.”

The power of the Holy Spirit is more powerful than our battles. When we understand that Power, that flows in us when we accept Jesus as our Savior, we begin to truly become what God wants us to be.

“Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.” Romans 8:26-27

“And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.” Acts 4:31.

God has a purpose for us. Do not allow the devil to make you believe you are too weak to withstand his attacks. Call upon the power of the Holy Spirit, in the name of Jesus, to fight your battles.

Be blessed today, my friends.

SB

God’s timing

I remember clearly the day I first came to my current church, completely overwhelmed by life, but knowing I needed healing. God spoke to me that day, and said, “Come back… I have something in store for you.”

I had come to the church looking for healing, and healing I found. Within a short period of time, I got to know their pianist, a wonderful man named Jim, who was also a fellow engineer. He and I hit it off well, and he became like a father figure to me. He was a phenomenal pianist, and we enjoyed playing music together. When he retired and moved south, he left his console keyboard to me. It now sits in our studio, used to teach others how to play the piano.

Jim and I remained close over the years, and, as he was getting up in years, I prayed for his health. He and his wife are truly a blessing, and they have raised a wonderfully loving family.

Over the past year, as plans were unfolding for what is now our studio, I had, in the back of my mind, a feeling that I should reach out to him and tell him my whole story. Few people really know my whole story, and honestly, I think if people were to hear it, they might either not believe it or think that I’m certifiable. I ignored the feeling for a while… but felt it strongly last November. I messaged his wife, Pat, and said I had something I wanted to share with them and asked her to confirm their email address. Jim replied with their email address. It took me until January 13 to work up the courage to reply… even though I felt they would understand my story.

On Mon, Jan 13, 2020 at 1:00 PM SB wrote:
Hi, Jim. I’m so sorry for the delay in filling you in on what’s been going on, but somehow I’ve got to trust Gods timing is perfect.
My story is really quite long and convoluted to be honest, but in my prayer time over the past few months I have felt a gentle nudge to share it with you specifically. I’m not entirely sure why, but trust God enough to know I need to follow that nudging.
I’d like to start by sending you a book. The book was written in 2009 but sat on my hard drive until 2017 when, during a long solo drive in my car, God asked me if I was willing to share my story. I said, “yes, of course I am, Lord, but what story?”…. then I remembered the realistic fiction book I wrote years before…. next thing I knew I was publishing (under a pen name, of course).
In all honesty, the book is a bit dark, and chronicles a woman’s journey through depression and/or spiritual oppression. Although fiction, when you read it, you may recognize pieces of reality of a life similar to mine.
I don’t have your mailing address with me.. can you please send it?
After you read the book, I will explain further.
I’d like you to keep this confidential until I have a chance to finish telling you the story to date.

SB

Jim replied right away that he’d be honored to read the book, Masquerade , and I sent it to him right away. On January 29, Pat sent me an email…

S,
We finished the book–very different difficult subject, There is a whole world out there about which we only know a very little bit. As mentioned in the book most everyone knows someone who has tried and/or succeeded in committing suicide, and we are among them–both in the family and out. The book was an eye opener about the topic of suicide and depression. 
If we are doing God’s will there will be satanic attacks making us doubt, etc. but we must resist–stand firm and believe what we know to be true. The Lord is with us and cares about us.
Jim has several procedures and a surgery coming up next and the following. He is not doing very well right now. In fact I read the book aloud because he is having trouble reading. How about if I let you know in a couple of weeks or so when he should be doing better and we can discuss the book then?
Thanks for sharing this. The title was very apt–we all play a masquerade at times.
Pat

I saw the email on my phone on Wednesday night, but Rob had just gotten discharged from the hospital and I went to check on him so I didn’t reply and then it slipped my mind.

On Monday evening, February 3, I replied,

Yes indeed! I am praying for Jim’s upcoming procedures and surgery and praying for you as caregiver.  
The book was only the beginning of the wild road the Lord has taken me in the past couple of years. I have been working on a timeline to share the highlights of this wild ride and will be prepared by the next time we talk.  
I am trying to stand strong against Satans attacks and believe wholeheartedly that I am doing what God has called me to do
I felt strongly He wanted me to share with you and will keep you both in my prayers in the meantime

Blessings, SB

On Tuesday morning, I got an email from our church’s prayer chain saying that Jim has passed away the evening before. His funeral service was held at our church yesterday. When Pat saw me in the receiving line, her first words were, “how ironic the timing! But God is good. Keep trusting Him.” His service was a blessing to me, and I’ll be sharing more about it soon so you can be blessed, too!

I cannot begin to understand God’s timing, but I know that, for some reason, He is continuing to use me and prepare me to keep doing His work. I am blessed to be His.

Be blessed today, my friends.

SB