Tag Archives: God

God Is Still Good…Even When My Heart Hurts

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I’m going to level with you. Right now, things are very difficult. My heart is heavy at times, and it hurts. A couple of friends asked me how I was doing today. My response was simple. I’m a bit sad today. To be honest with everyone, everything going on right now has become very hard for me to wrap my mind around. There are so many variables. There are so many unknowns. When I think of everything, it just makes me sad. When I realize how much we know, which is surrounded by how much we don’t know, I just shake my head at times. When I do even the slightest amount of research, or hear of what some of the possible prognosis might be for my daughter, my heart sinks. This, my friends, is reality.

However, all hope is not gone. Even though much of my thought process above appears negative, it doesn’t rule me. Yes, my heart feels broken at times. But, there is much hope. I want you to know that my faith is not gone. I rest on these things I know as FACTS. God is still God. God is still Good. God IS still in control. We may not have a definitive diagnosis, or even know what’s going on with my daughter, but God – and evidently God alone – does. With that in mind, my complete trust is in Him. Yes, I am believing God for complete healing…for a miracle. I also realize that healing comes in many forms. No matter what the situation at hand looks like, I know with complete certainty that God is in control. He knows the answers, and He knows every aspect of what is needed for her medical care.

I guess the point I am making is this — no matter what the situation, or how much I hurt, I KNOW God is the answer. My faith in a God larger than life is what sustains me right now. I’m physically and mentally exhausted at times, but God’s love poured out (often through His people) is like a breath of fresh air.

Thank you for your continued prayers for my daughter, and for our entire family. They are absolutely needed, as well as greatly appreciated!

(For those curious, we’ll update shortly on more specifics of what’s going on and where we stand with everything. Just taking things one day at a time right now.)

365 Moments Of Gratitude – Thankful For Safe Emergency Landing

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Today I am grateful to God for His angels. This afternoon, I got the following text from our news station:

Plane to make crash landing at Cahokia airport. Eight people are on board a jet trying to land at Parks Airport due to gear problems.

I immediately began to pray, then rallied troops around the world (courtesy of the internet) to pray as well. I posted the following on Facebook – included with a link to the live feed:

Watching now, praying for a miracle. Would you join me in praying for the safe landing of this plane, and all 8 folks on board? Time is now. (Plane is going to make a crash landing due to gear problems…is currently circling the little airport trying to get rid of more fuel before being forced to make a crash landing.) Let’s pray for their safety!

For a short amount of time, all we knew (and saw video of) was that this jet was circling over the Cahokia airport, trying to rid itself of excess fuel before attempting to make a crash landing. I’m not sure what sequence of events happened – but pretty quickly, they decided to make the trip to the St. Louis Lambert airport. Evidently, Lambert had a better idea of how to get the plane landed safely.

After a few minutes of waiting on the plane to arrive at Lambert, the news crew on the ground at the airport reported having witnessed the non-violent emergency landing. This is what I had to say about it on Facebook:

Thanking God – emergency landing took place at Lambert. It was evidently a smooth (as can be) non-violent landing. No collision or sparks. Thanking God for His angels! According to the news crew watching from Lambert, it appeared the landing gear fixed itself. Said the landing gear(nose) had previously been stuck and turned – according to eye witness accounting. They are now saying that it looked vertical and in proper working condition. My goodness…coincidence or not – I say this is God in action.

I firmly believe God’s hand of protection, and His angels were standing (or flying!?) guard around this plane and all who were inside it. Whatever the situation, however the landing gear was fixed – thus allowing a safe landing – I’m grateful to God for His protection.

365 Moments Of Gratitude – Thankful To Have A Story To Tell

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Today at church, our pastor spoke about having a story. Each and every one of us have a story to tell. It is ours, and ours alone. The good, the bad, the beautiful and even the ugly make up who we are and the life we live. Our past, present and future comprise our story. It is this story that people will see whatever we are a witness of.

As Christians, God gives us a story. He doesn’t erase the “bad” parts and keep only the good. No! Instead, He redeems us, and allows every part of our story to share grace, hope and peace with others. The things in my life – the ups and downs, the peaceful moments and struggles alike, will be a living testimony of who Jesus is – through us.

Something I have said before, and that was mentioned today is that we are very well the only Jesus some people will ever see. As I was explaining to my husband, there are many people who do not know Jesus. They don’t attend church, and the Bible is nothing more than “just another book” in their eyes. To that person, I (as a Christian example) may very well be the only church, the only Jesus, and the only witness of who He is that they may ever know.

I want my life to be a witness of who He truly is. The life change and personal transformation I have experienced – and continue to experience every day – is something I want every living breathing human being to come to know. When people experience even a fraction of the love He has for us, life change happens.

I want to live my life in such a way that my story – my experiences in life that brought me from where I was to where I am today – speaks for itself. It is my desire that my story share the same amount of peace, grace, hope and love that was shared in such a real way with me. If anything I have been through in the course of my life (good or bad) can be used to share Him with another human being – to share grace, peace, hope and love — it will have a purpose greater than I could imagine.

I am one person, with one story – and it is with that story that I want to share gratitude and thanks to God for giving me. It’s my story. I am the only one with this story. I am thankful for my story – for all of it – for it is what has made me who I am.

Marriage Is Worth Fighting For, Part 1

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Much of my life was spent on my own. Prior to being married, I was just me. Yes, I have an amazing and loving family. But, I was an adult, now not living under my parents roof, going on about life – on my own. However, in January of 2001, this all changed. In a land far away (we were both stationed overseas on active duty military) I met and fell in love with this man I now call my husband. Yesterday, we celebrated our 12 year wedding anniversary. I will not tell you that our marriage is the strongest it has ever been. It’s true – neither of us are the same people we were 12 years ago when we got married. We have laughed, loved, and for better or worse, grown together. All marriages have their ups and their downs, mine included. It is what you (and I) choose to do with those situations that will either make or break a marriage.

Believe me when I tell you that I know a marriage is not always a bed of roses. It’s not a marriage without ups or downs. There will be times that you may question if your life or your marriage is worth fighting for. There may even be things beyond your control that would justify ending a marriage over. However, I’d like to pose this question – Is it worth it?

Marriage is about two people. It is about open lines of ongoing communication. It is about honesty, and it is about caring. It is about there being two sides, two opinions, two hopes and two dreams to every story. Two very different, or sometimes similar people coming together to form a bond, a lasting union.

One thing that troubles me is how very easy it is to walk away from something that sometimes was a work in progress for many years. People enter into marriage with the idea that if it doesn’t work, there’s always divorce. Let me be one to say that divorce shouldn’t even enter into your brain as a viable option. I will take that thought a step further and say that if you are thinking “if it doesn’t work” then you are not ready to be married. You need to know it’s going to work – for better or worse, to death do you part.

As you can see, I’ve been thinking a great deal on marriage, and what it takes to make it work. It won’t always be easy, but in most cases, it will always be worth it. I do leave the caviat of “most cases” because there are sometimes those things that may happen in a marriage (cheating, abuse, etc) that may provide a reason that divorce is acceptable. Still, even with those things, it is up to the individual involved – so long as both parties are on the same page – to stay in the marriage and fight for marriage restoration. It may take time, effort and energy you might not feel prepared to use or even have, but God can and will provide healing, courage and strength in the midst of what could be very volatile or just plain unsure situations. It will have to be a conscious effort on both parties. A marriage cannot exist and be one sided.

Marriage is something to be taken seriously. It won’t always be easy, but always remember the vows: for better or worse – till death do us part. Friends, please also know I speak what I say here out of personal experience, and also with love. For those of you who are divorced – for whatever reason – please know there is also no condemnation. It is not my place to judge. I assure you, I will not look at you with eyes filled with anything other than love.

If you are struggling with any part of your marriage – or dealing with things you are just not sure how to deal with, I urge you to not give up. Your marriage, and the happiness of you, your spouse and family (if you have children) are worth fighting for. If you would like to talk about it, ask for prayer or just ask questions, you can reply below in comments, or contact me via my “contact me” page.

For the sake of the size of this blog post, I will continue this tomorrow with part 2.

Chris Habermehl – All Things New CD Release Concert – January 6, 2013

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Last night was a phenomenal CD release concert from Chris Habermehl – Skyline Church’s worship pastor. He leads Skyline in worship Sunday mornings. In time, I will be doing separate posts about the songs on Chris’s new CD. Please know I speak the truth when I mention what an amazing heart Chris has – for God and for people. What a blessing it is to be able to hear his heart through music on such a regular basis as well. I know God will use the music from Chris’s new CD to touch and share His love in the lives of countless people.

I’d like to personally say thank you to Chris for following after the heart of God with the passion that you do. It is an honor to call you and your beautiful family my friends and to do life together with you guys. Thank you for making this concert possible, and for sharing the talents God has given you. You are very much a blessing.

Skyline Church – January 6, 2013 – Baptism Service

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Here is a full length video of Skyline Church’s service from January 6, 2013. What a phenomenal, God-centered service. I’m so blessed to call this church home.

365 Moments Of Gratitude – Grateful For New Life In Christ – Water Baptism

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As those who know me know (and those who don’t are about to find out) I grew up in and around church my entire life. As a child, I came to know a faith in Christ. It was real, but not something I held close into adolescence and young adulthood. Truth be told, God was still there – 100% of the time. It was just that I allowed myself to drift further from Him than I’d like to acknowledge. I always had “faith” and always knew God loved me. I never fully turned my back on Him, but neither did I allow Him to have all of me. I took way too much time to do my own things – and follow my own paths. Let me tell you, walking a path alone – without God by your side, gets to be very lonely.

It wasn’t until recently that I made the life-changing decision to give God my all. Not just my Sunday mornings, and not just praying before meals – but all of me. It very quickly became a necessity to get real with myself, with other people, and especially before God. As I have mentioned before, this sort of transforming life-change was made possible for me by a church with a God-centered, people-loving vision. My life was changed from the moment I walked in the doors. I was not completely without God before, but my life lacked much determination, focus, drive, and ultimately purpose. To find those things through the extended hands of love made such a big difference. Getting connected with people, learning to open up and let others in while also reaching back – that is a work in progress, but has made a tremendous difference in my life.

Today was a very special day for me. It signified my decision to take that next step, to make my faith public, and to be baptized in water. This is something I did as a child. Yes, I was old enough and knew what I was doing. However, since I spent so many years walking in varying (non God-centered) directions, I decided that now was the time to make this decision for myself. As an adult, to make the decision and to let my church family join in celebrating with me. What I was not prepared for was what happened internally as this took place. I was slightly nervous prior to it being “my turn” to get baptized. I knew what to expect, but I just wasn’t sure. As little sense as that makes – all I am saying is that I was excited beyond belief to be making that step, but nervous maybe just being in front of the whole church. That said, the instant I walked out there, God’s presence filled me with an overflowing joy – from the inside out.

In my head, this signified so much more than just getting dunked into a tub full of water. It signified a new season in my life. It signified life-change in a beautiful way. I said to myself, and to all watching that this was real. I did/do not care who thinks that what I did was silly, unnecessary or any other negative connotation that may come to mind. This was not their choice. It was mine. I did not do this for anyone else. This was a personal, but public display of my faith and following of a God larger than life. I do not have to seek another persons approval. I am made complete in Him. The same can be true for you, that guy next door, or that random stranger walking down the street. Live your life less for what everyone else expects, and more for His plan and purpose for your life.

No matter what situation happens in my life, no matter what heartbreak I face, and no matter how uncool things appear at certain points, I will not let anyone steal the joy of this day. This day marks a new start. A fresh start. A real faith in a real God.

If you do not know Him, I urge you to just think about the words I have said here. If you have any questions about water baptism, about what I mean by faith in a God larger than life, in what it means to be a Christian, please do not hesitate to post below, or to contact me privately via my “contact me” page. I’m here, and would love to discuss whatever is on your mind. I welcome your thoughts, comments, replies and/or any prayer requests you might have.

Be blessed, friends – and make today a day worth remembering.

365 Moments Of Gratitude – Grateful For The Truth Spoken In Love

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As I was sitting here this morning, I began to think of all the things I am grateful for. There are many, too numerous to put down into a single post. What I would like to mention is the topic of truth.

Truth is vital. The underlying truth is that we don’t always want to hear it. The truth can sometimes hurt. However, life change and situation changes become possible when truth is spoken in love.

I have recently had a conversation or two that hurt in one way, but breathed life in another. There were things that I truly needed to hear – things that (had they not been spoken with the right heart, and in love) I might not have received well otherwise. These same thoughts made me look internally, do some digging deeper, and ultimately come to know peace and joy as a result of an open mind.

Never be afraid to speak the truth. Always attempt to speak the truth in love. It’ll have a much greater impact. What someone wants to hear isn’t what they necessarily NEED to hear. Be the difference.

New Years Eve 2012 AHA Moments (Also Known As “God” Moments)

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I had an amazing few days recently. As this title suggests, I had some “AHA moments” this week. I have had the opportunity to dig a little deeper and seek the heart of God on many topics and areas of my life. I would like to share the personal aspects and thought processes I’ve gone through recently.

One such moment was with regards to serving / volunteering. I had an amusing reaction when I was sent a request to volunteer at church this past week. It wasn’t a bad response, as much as a “really!?” response. My thoughts went along a negative reasoning path. Meaning – I have just been missing out on worshipping lately…and sometimes just feel disconnected in a way.

I should also mention that I’d been having a pretty “not so fun” sort of time surrounding Christmas. To say depressed wouldn’t explain it fully. I had much on my mind, and then the things going on at home – it just wasn’t a good time. There were actually some pretty uncertain thoughts going on in my head. So, I saw the request to serve after having served a couple weeks in a row and at first I was worried. I was concerned that if I didn’t just have time to sit worship Him, that I might somehow drift or disconnect even more.

It was what happened next that rocked my world. Really, as plain as day – I was just mumbling – talking to God and it was as if I heard Him say “Is my arm to short? Do you not believe that I am able to take care of you? You’re my child – and when you serve in any capacity that allows others to come to know me – I can and will take care of you – physically and mentally.” In that moment, He helped me realize that what I tell others every day is true: He IS God, and He IS in control. It was as if He was asking if I even believed my own words.

It was also impressed on my heart to check my attitude – and that many things in life are a direct result of my own choices – mentally, in this case. Yes, there are evidently some chemical imbalances at work as well…but all in all, many things are within my ability to affect the outcome of. For instance, many many times in the past two days or so have popped up challenging my sanity. I have asked God to help me have His heart – to react to people and situations as He would. My children, and my husband alike – that I could have a soft heart, and make conscious decisions to do the right thing – even when it’s not fair, even when it may hurt, and even when I just plain don’t want to. If I aim to resemble and be the hands and feet of Jesus, life won’t always be this virtual bed of roses. However, in the midst of it all, He is – and always will remain – faithful…100% of the time.

I also had some more “aha moments” so to speak. Mostly, with relation to my health – mentally yes, but mostly physically in this case. Much of what’s going on in my body is out of my control. For those things, I put them in God’s hands. He knows exactly how to deal with me. For the things within my control, I have to act. Action is a requirement. To accept the status quo as a way of life, to just not care – that doesn’t end up working out in the end. I cannot eat whatever I want, and expect to look how I’d like. Conversely, I cannot refrain from exercise and expect my body to magically conform to my desires. When something pops up that irritates or hurts me with people I care about, it is my choice to harbor bitterness, or to forgive. Forgiving, however, sets me free – not just them. When I feel a bad mood approaching, or negative thoughts, etc – it is my choice to give them to God, or to try to battle on my own. I also have the ability to CHOOSE to think positively instead of dwelling on the negatives. If my house is a disaster (and I won’t lie – it is) – I can either choose to tackle it, even if that means starting with baby steps. I can do what I know to do, and allow that to make a difference. I can choose to be the wife and mom that God has called me to be…or, I can be self centered, and choose a selfish life of the status quo. I have to be the adult, and not allow things to just fly because I’m too lazy to deal with them. My children need guidance and direction, consequences to actions – and especially, consistency. Again, not going to end well if I’m content with the status quo.

It’s ultimately been a very deep and soul-searching sort of few days in my life. In so doing, I’ve also decided to get real with God, and with myself. I’ve chosen to make much different choices, to take proactive steps instead of sitting by, idle, expecting things to change on their own. And, I have to say, much of this was sparked by a conversation we had last week with someone unafraid to speak the truth, but in love. It made sense, and God touched my heart. It made me realize that I live much of my life for myself. Yes, I care and act on behalf of my friends and family, but I allow my own personal struggles and drama get in the way of doing the things I know need to be done. I’ve also made some changes with what I eat, and how active I am. Again, I can only affect the things within my power to do so – but I CAN affect those things. God gives us free will, but again, it is that free will that will either set us free and help us grow, or smother us and keep us trapped.

I can only pray that God use it to touch others, and help them come to know Him in a more real way – to also know they aren’t alone, etc. Something just happened, that light went on in my head, and some sort of switch flipped…and I see things in very much a different light.

If you find yourself relating to any of these areas of life, please know – you are not alone in your thoughts or struggles. Never give up hope – look to God as your source….knowing that He will not let you down. He created you, and He knows exactly how to take care of you, and every situation you might face.

With God As My GPS

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Last night, I had an enjoyable night out with a group of very special friends. It was an evening of some great food and priceless fellowship. (It’s different when you have no kids present, and to sit and talk with just adults…clearly, I need to get out more!)

After our dinner concluded, we all said our goodbyes. As I went to my car, I sat there momentarily – just trying to get my phone to work (the battery had died at the beginning of dinner) or my GPS to function. Neither was working well.  I find that I should mention that this was a place I’d never been before, and I was not familiar with the area – at all. So, I get my phone temporarily charging long enough to enable maps and get directions. It told me to go north on the street I was on. Great. Head north, then my phone dies again, this time – the charger not even pretending to be going to work.

Thinking I know where I’m going, I go on what became a pretty frustrating (but also amusing) quest just to find the highway again.  I’m glad I wasn’t familiar with the area, or I might have been more concerned to be traveling alone, lost at night.  But, whether you believe in them or not, God’s angels were all around. As I watched police swarming to a blocked up from where I was, I didn’t feel like sticking around to figure out what drama was unfolding.  So, I decided it was time to depart. (This wasn’t the first time I’d pulled over, realizing that I was lost and didn’t need to keep going in random directions…so I’d stop, in hopes of convincing my phone to charge.)

I asked for God’s help. I jokingly (but was serious) told God that if my phone nor GPS were going to work, I needed Him to be my GPS. It was with that, that I felt the strong urge to pull out of where I was parked and leave my current location.  Not only was I supposed to leave, but as I began, I knew I had to do a u-turn just then.  So, I did exactly that. As I did, there were more emergency personnel showing up. I just wonder what has out was going on. But, not curious enough to stick around, I left. With God as my GPS, I felt at peace. I relied on Him, and fairly quickly after that, I found my way, as if is never gotten off track.  I’d already wasted enough time going too far in the wrong direction. I thanked God for keeping me safe, and for leading the way. Our God is faithful -in the big and little things alike.

Just as this situation unfolded and made my evening somewhat unpredictable, this entire experience draws many parallels to life.  How many times have we set out on whatever journey we’re on, heading down the street we believe to be correct, only to find that, in reality, we’re lost – beyond what we can hope to get out of one our own?  As you (collective “you” as I include myself in this) travel down this path, you look around and realize that you’re in unfamiliar (and potentially dangerous) territory.  For you, this “path” might be following a particular dream, goal, job opportunity, etc. – Just sure that you, in your own strength, are capable of getting to your final destination.  Whatever the case may be, you may find that things aren’t turning out as you envision. Sometimes we have very different visions than those that God has for us.  What’s sad is that you could save yourself tears, time and confusion if you’d learn that God is there, forever willing to help. He is faithful in the small and large things alike. He gives us free will though. We can choose to either listen to his directives, or go on about life in our own strength. If, however, we humble ourselves and ask for His direction – to get us back on the proper track – He is, and will remain faithful.

I hope you’ll read the little story of my eventful evening and maybe laugh a little.  More than that, though, I pray you’ll heed my little life lesson. I hope you’ll take away from it how very loved you are, and how much God cares about even the small details of your life. It’s up to you to invite Him in -to be a part of the path you’re on, and to be a part of your life in general.  When He leads, He will not ever steer you wrong.

Have peace today – knowing that it’s never too late to call out to God. He’s listening.