Yesterday’s tomorrow is finally here.
Tomorrow’s tomorrow is nothing to fear
Put aside your fears of dread
Go inspire someone instead
Every year in April, our church hosts the annual Blessing of the Bikes. It’s an event that started when 4 bikers from the church approached the pastor with an idea to bring their friends to church. The first year, there were 162 bikes, and our town wondered what in the world was going on as they all rolled through. Over the years, that event has blossomed and is very well-known in the area. Our town actually sends the Mayor and emergency workers now, and even shuts down traffic for a while, to allow the event to be held. It’s a completely free event, because, in the words of our pastor, “so is a gift of salvation”. This year, on the 20th anniversary, we estimated approximately 15,000 bikes piled in – to our parking lot, and the adjacent streets, and the parking lots along the highway. Figuring many bikes had 2 riders, we’d say there were A LOT of people who turned out for the event. For the past 13 years, I have had the privilege of participating in the music for the service. This year, our good friend Dave Smith, sang a song called “Jack Daniels & Jesus”. I’m pretty sure there wasn’t another church in the country that sang that song on Sunday.
(By the way, I think there’s a message in here somewhere about starting a “movement” – it doesn’t take something BIG to make something BIG – it just requires someone to dream it and make it reality).
I am watching life unfold for several young adults – some of them are making some very good life decisions, and some of them are making some incredibly bad life decisions, some of them very, very public, and some of them very private. My heart breaks. In almost all of the cases, I say to myself, (and I’ve heard their parents say), “but they were raised differently than that” and then I remember the words, “somewhere between Jack Daniels and Jesus” and remembered that we’re really ALL somewhere on that journey. I haven’t had Jack Daniels in over 30 years. One REALLY BAD experience with it all those years ago, and I can’t even smell the stuff to this day…. And I was raised differently than that…. Still, I made some poor life choices along the way – hopefully, ones that I have learned from, and that have made me stronger. By the grace of God alone, He brought me through those poor choices and gave me a second chance, or maybe a third and fourth. And, by the grace of God, He will bring those folks through their choices as well, allowing U-turns to correct their course. Pray for them, will ya?
At 13 she gave her life to Christ, determined to live a life to honor God for her whole life. At 23 she met the man of her dreams and married him. He, too, loved Jesus. Within the first five years of their marriage she suffered three miscarriages. At 28 she and her husband adopted a beautiful baby boy and named him David. When David was three years old there was a terrible fire at their home. She was burned over 80% of her body trying to smother the flames the engulfed her beloved son. He did not survive. She spent six weeks in the hospital, refusing the morphine offered her because she didn’t like the way it made her feel. Doctors visited from all over to observe her healing, amazed that she had survived. They told her she was a “miracle'”. She knew that God was with her. Her faith unwavering, her inner resolve and refused to allow her to succumb to her injuries.
Four months after losing their son, they adopted a beautiful baby girl with big brown eyes. Almost two years later, they adopted another baby girl, and it seemed as if life was normalizing, as much as it does after the death of a child.
Three years after adopting their second daughter, her husband was diagnosed with cancer. Unwavering faith, the two of them remained strong in their relationship with one another as well as with God.
After five years in remission, her husbands’ cancer returned with a vengeance, this time taking his life and leaving her to raise two small children.
Undaunted on the outside, the inner strength of this woman taught her daughters that belonging to Jesus does not shield us from bad things happening. Instead, she couldn’t imagine going through these battles without Jesus.
It would have been easy for her to become a victim of any one of the difficult life circumstances, let alone all of them. Undoubtedly there were moments of doubt along the way, but her obligation to her children – to instill in them the faith she clung to – motivated her to show strength.
In some ways, people would argue God didn’t hear her prayers, but she knows that He did. He answered them in ways that He knew would ultimately be best for His purpose.
Copyright Journey-For-Life. 2017. All rights reserved.
Isaiah 54 (the living translation)
Future Glory for Jerusalem
1″Sing, O childless woman,
you who have never given birth!
Break into loud and joyful song, O Jerusalem,
you who have never been in labor.
For the desolate woman now has more children
than the woman who lives with her husband,”
says the LORD.
2″Enlarge your house; build an addition.
Spread out your home, and spare no expense!
3For you will soon be bursting at the seams.
Your descendants will occupy other nations
and resettle the ruined cities.
4″Fear not; you will no longer live in shame.
Don’t be afraid; there is no more disgrace for you.
You will no longer remember the shame of your youth
and the sorrows of widowhood.
5For your Creator will be your husband;
the LORD of Heaven’s Armies is his name!
He is your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel,
the God of all the earth.
6For the LORD has called you back from your grief–
as though you were a young wife abandoned by her husband,”
says your God.
7″For a brief moment I abandoned you,
but with great compassion I will take you back.
8In a burst of anger I turned my face away for a little while.
But with everlasting love I will have compassion on you,”
says the LORD, your Redeemer.
9″Just as I swore in the time of Noah
that I would never again let a flood cover the earth,
so now I swear
that I will never again be angry and punish you.
10For the mountains may move
and the hills disappear,
but even then my faithful love for you will remain.
My covenant of blessing will never be broken,”
says the LORD, who has mercy on you.
11″O storm-battered city,
troubled and desolate!
I will rebuild you with precious jewels
and make your foundations from lapis lazuli.
12I will make your towers of sparkling rubies,
your gates of shining gems,
and your walls of precious stones.
13I will teach all your children,
and they will enjoy great peace.
14You will be secure under a government that is just and fair.
Your enemies will stay far away.
You will live in peace,
and terror will not come near.
15If any nation comes to fight you,
it is not because I sent them.
Whoever attacks you will go down in defeat.
16″I have created the blacksmith
who fans the coals beneath the forge
and makes the weapons of destruction.
And I have created the armies that destroy.
17But in that coming day
no weapon turned against you will succeed.
You will silence every voice
raised up to accuse you.
These benefits are enjoyed by the servants of the LORD;
their vindication will come from me.
I, the LORD, have spoken!
I’d like to say a big “THANK YOU” TO lostgirl17site (hopefully I did the links right – I’m still new at this!) https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/73413001 for nominating me for the Liebster award! I am beyond grateful for the nomination. I love reading her blog because she captures emotions incredibly well. Her raw honesty reminds me of my teenage self, except that she is much stronger than I was then.
My favorite blogger is beautybeyondbones.com (https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/36990166)
Her writing is so incredibly open and honest, it makes me feel like I’m talking with a friend. Her story is an “out of the ashes” one. Though I have not personally experienced anorexia, I love the fact that she is a role model to those who have. To everyone else, she is an amazing writer who relates on so many levels the experiences she is going through. Her perspective is ever-changing, and she’s full of introspection, a trait that I believe all good communicators possess.
Questions from Lostgirl17site.
1) why did you start blogging? The “official” reason I started my blog in October because I’m in the process of publishing my first book and the publisher recommended I begin blogging to develop an online presence to connect with readers. The reality is, however, that I’ve been “blogging” on a small scale through email with a small group of people supporting me on a life journey to a healthier life. Through a weekly newsletter, I “blogged” on a variety of topics and was told I should do it more often. As I started blogging on WordPress, I was impressed by the sense of community and encouragement that everyone provides to everyone else – what a wonderful way to foster creativity!
2) last time you cried? why? Over the weekend. Over the past month or so, various people with whom I am acquainted (some closer than others) have been impacted by very sudden and unexpected loss of lives of people close to them. Over this past weekend, in our community, a 12-year-old girl in our middle school collapsed of a cardiac arrest at our school’s last home football game of the season. She is currently in a coma at Children’s Hospital. My heart is devastated for her family.
3) why do you write? Or what made you start writing? I actually started writing many years ago as a means to communicate my sadness. I thought no one else would understand me, so I wrote to myself and shared with no one. I recently discovered my early journals, and realized that there are many bloggers who are going through what I went through – some have emerged stronger and are sharing their victory stories with others, and others are still reaching out through their passionate words. I continue to write to share with those who have not yet discovered that there IS hope; they CAN emerge stronger than they ever thought they were.
4) who is the most important person in your life? Jesus is the most important person in my life. I hit a point in my life where I knew I was nothing without Him. In addition to Jesus, my husband, three children, mother, and many other friends and family are incredibly important to me.
5) what are your views on body shaming? Body shaming, or, quite honestly any other type of shaming of another human being is cruel and heartless. Very often, however, I find that hurting people hurt people. I dare say that those who engage in berating other human beings are, in some way, trying to feel better about themselves, and believe that, by putting someone else down, they are in some way elevating themselves. I wish, for all the world, that I could heal the hurt caused by someone else in this way. In the same way, I wish that, for the offender, that I could remove the hurt and shame in their life that caused them to lash out to hurt someone else. I believe that we are, indeed, created in God’s image, and, as such, should never participate in putting others down for any reason.
6) if you could have one superpower what would it be? My superpower would be teleporting so I could travel all over this beautiful earth.
7) what qualities do you look for in your life partner? Compassion and understanding, quiet strength, and, above all else, someone who “gets” me.
8) what is love to you? Have you ever been in love? Love is an idyllic state – true love is not a feeling, but a deep commitment we have for one another that transcends superficial infatuation. True love is hard to find, but if you’re lucky enough to find it, never let it go. John 15:!3 “greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”
9) whats your favorite song? Why? Don’t Stop Believing (Journey) – fun to play, fun to sing, crowds love it
Q10) your favorite blogger? Why? There are so many to choose from, it’s hard to pick just one. If I had to pick just one, I would probably say beautybeyondbones.com because of her raw honesty as she, too, journeys through life.
Ten Random Facts about me:
. So, my fellow bloggers, Here are the rules for accepting the Liebster award:
MY QUESTIONS ARE:
1) What is your purpose in writing
2) Who is your biggest inspiration?
3) What breaks your heart?
4) What would you consider your defining moment in life?
5) If you could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, who would it be and why?
6) Name one trait that you believe is important in a significant other
7) Where do you turn when you feel helpless?
8) Have you ever had someone pray for you? If so, for what? If not, what would you want to be prayed for?
Q9) What are your future writing plans?
Q10) Your favorite blogger? Why?
Over the past few weeks, as I’m working through the process of publishing my first book (which, by the way, I’m hoping to be released by Christmas time), I find myself asking “how do I hear God’s voice above all the other voices telling me what to do?” One friend sent me a link to a series by Andy Womack, which I thought was fantastic. However, what happened yesterday was unmistakably the hand of God. We had a guest speaker in our Church today, and guess what his message was about? You guessed it! HOW TO HEAR GOD’s VOICE.
His message was simple yet deep. I want to share some highlights. These are not my words, but words that moved me deeply that I want to pass on so others may be moved as well
1. confess your sins. The sin we have in our lives becomes a barrier between us and God.
2 pursue intimacy with God You can’t hear his voice if you don’t spend time with him.
3 practice hearing Him. If you think you might have heard something through a feeling or an impression, write it down and check it against scripture. He will never be inconsistent.
4. Obey Him. When you hear his unmistakable voice obey Him.
As I thought about his words I recalled one time in particular, sitting on a bench watching my daughter play at the playground. A woman was talking on her cell phone, visibly shaken and upset, talking to what seemed to be a friend about her husband. I wasn’t particularly listening to the conversation, but i could tell by the way the woman acted that she was terribly upset. I felt this “voice” inside me say something to the effect of, “tell her about me”. I remember thinking that it was awkward; that she would think I had been eavesdropping and think I was crazy. So I did nothing but sat there for a moment thinking about it. Just then her phone rang again and she answered and walked away. I had missed the opportunity because I didn’t seize the moment and I didn’t obey Gods voice. I vowed never again to knowingly miss an opportunity to share the gospel, no matter how “strange” the opportunity seems.
Practice listening. Just like anything else, practice makes perfect. I pray you hear His voice today.
Copyright 2017 – Journey For Life. All Rights Reserved
Our obstacles are different – it could be a physical obstacle, an emotional obstacle ; an educational obstacle like a test or something; but we all have them.
Ever face an obstacle in life that you just didn’t want to go through? Where you felt absolutely paralyzed to move in any direction, let alone forward? I had one of those days this week. So what did I do to escape? I hopped on a bike at the gym and just rode miles. And miles… and miles (kind of like Forrest Gump!) There was a time when biking wouldn’t necessarily have been my first choice…. And there are still many of things that I do to escape… like just crawling into myself and just playing the piano, or working on some sort of Craigs’ List project – or something that I don’t have to put actual thought into, but can do relatively mindlessly while I wallow in self-pity. It is good to have ways to escape. But the reality is that sometimes we JUST HAVE TO MOVE FORWARD. As much as we’d like to just sit down and pretend the world around us is not happening. But how do we do that?
What do I do when I really just don’t want to face it?
When I left for the gym that day after a whirlwind sort of morning dropped some things in my lap that I honestly just didn’t want to face, I had an overwhelming sense that I just needed to hear the voice of God. It was a craving for His voice to comfort me and tell me everything was going to be ok. I can remember when I was a young teenager, home on summer break. My mom set the expectation that I was to call her every morning when I woke up (because, of course, she left before I woke up). I remember that the sound of her voice answer the phone was comforting. Years later, after I was married, I recall feeling that sense of comfort when I called mom and just heard her voice. Somehow on that morning, I craved the comfort that only my Heavenly father could give. I have a Bible app on my phone that I use regularly to read scripture… but I just wanted to HEAR scripture today. I’m not sure why I hadn’t done this before, but I downloaded the BIBLE onto Audible. I really wanted to listen to Psalms, but the app downloaded the Bible in many “parts” (not by book or chapter), so I couldn’t necessarily tell which “part” was psalm, and they were still in process of downloading all 83 hours and 13 minutes of the complete New International Version of the Audio Bible. So Joshua 19 it was. The good news is that the narrator has an English accent, so it was kind of cool hearing him read scripture. Somehow I think God orchestrates far more in our lives than we ever realize, and I believe this event was no exception. Although the specific text of Joshua I was hearing was actually pretty dry (it was on the division of the land to the Israelites), my mind began to wander to the verse in Jeremiah (29:11) that is my life-verse. This is a verse that I heard explicitly in my early 20’s from a close family friend who is a pastor: “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” It goes on to say, “then you will call on me and come to pray to me, and I will listen to you”. It was a reassurance to me that, even though I may face obstacles I don’t necessary want to, God has an ultimate plan for my life.
That evening, I dug out a few verses that I thought were appropriate for when we are facing unpleasant things. As I thought about it, and started searching for scripture that might give me an answer, I realized this was exactly what Jesus felt like when preparing to go to the cross. In the garden of Gethsemane, when He said (Luke 22:42-44, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done. An angel from Heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground”. I bolded a sentence above – one that I had never even noticed before today. Even Jesus needed support – and the angel was there to strengthen him. And the angel was right there to support Him! The interesting thing about this passage is that Jesus felt exactly like I did on that day – He had to face something he really didn’t want to have to do – and He even asked God to take it on so that He didn’t have to do it. We all know how that ended, right? He DID have to go through that which he didn’t want to… and so do we sometimes.
Our obstacles are different – it could be a physical obstacle; or an emotional obstacle; an educational obstacle like a test or something, or to have to break bad news to someone; but we all have them. In those “obstacle moments”, I relish in the fact that I know I have a God that has a plan for my life – and know that He will strengthen me just when I need it. I am so thankful for the encouragement that you all have given to me along my journey – and I pray that I can be encouragement back to you to keep going when you don’t feel like it.
Out of the pit of despair, I begin the slow ascension toward the light. I realize now I cannot do it on my own. No, I’ve tried that already. Tried and failed. Over and over again. In the past, I thought the best way to demonstrate my courage was to boldly climb, hoping that others would follow. On my own, I was able to overcome obstacles and actually climbed quite high at times, only to find myself falling down, back in the pit of despair. No, I cannot make it on my own. I need someone to guide me, to encourage me when I’m tired and feel like I cannot climb anymore. On this climb, I realize I need God, and his words ring true: from Psalm 40: 1 I waited patiently for the Lord;he turned to me and heard my cry.2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit,out of the mud and mire;he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.3 He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.
Psalms 40:1-3 NIV
No, I think I can only ascend on the wings of God, for it is through Him alone that I find the strength to continue the climb.
This poem was written when i was about 15-16 years old, and exemplifies the struggle I had between wanting to help people and needing to be helped myself.
I walked alone in darkness,
along a dark pathway.
I walked along in silence,
had nothing left to say.
Ahead I saw a figure –
could not make out its form
Its state in total agony –
a hopeless soul, forlorn.
Sitting there on the edge of despair
I wanted to help, to show that I cared
I heard strange noise escaping,
deep from its inner self
like the sounds of souls who lament
within the depths of Hell
Each cry came out more feeble,
more desperate than the last;
And still each cry, unanswered,
went off into the past.
I reached out my hand,
my friendship to bestow;
And as I reached I realized
what I had not yet known.
This poor soul who was sitting
and crying all alone
Turned out to be the same soul –
none other than my own.
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? 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.