Friday, June 29, 2018

Hardest Thing I've Ever Written...

Friends and family, I have debated as to whether or not to share this and I’ve decided that knowing you are all praying for me can only give me more strength to face the battle I’ve just been thrown into against my will. I learned today that I have breast cancer. I can’t believe I just typed those words. This can’t be true. This can’t be me. But it is. I have cried until I think I can’t possibly have any tears left, but I endless supply it seems. I used to think tears were a sign of weakness, but now I think it’s good to let them out, to let them run their course. Holding them in feels worse. I am thankful that it seems to have been caught early and angry that it wasn’t caught back in March when I told them something was weird, had a mammogram and was assured everything was fine. Obviously, it was not. If you are ever unsure about what your Dr. tells you, I urge you to get another opinion. I have the most common type, with all the good characteristics at this point, as if cancer can be good. I will be having an MRI next week hopefully, please be praying they don’t find anything else to complicate matters, and a genetic test to see if I have the gene for breast cancer. I will also have several appointments. Surgeon, Oncologist, Radiologist, etc. in the next few weeks. If my MRI shows nothing else and my genetic test is negative, I will have a lumpectomy & lymph node biopsy very soon, possibly chemo (they’re not sure yet), several weeks of radiation and 5 years of tamoxifen. I am floating in a haze of anxiety and tears right now but in a few days, I intend to be in full warrior mode.
I need your prayers and I believe in praying specifically so here are some specifics you can pray for:
  1. Nothing else on MRI (hopefully scheduled for next week)
  2. Breast cancer gene negative (going in Monday for this, it’s just a cheek swab)
  3. Surgery scheduled soon for Lumpectomy with clean margins and no lymph node involvement
  4. Strength for me and for my family
  5. Pray that we’re able to handle all this financially. I actually took out a cancer policy two years ago. I hope it helps.
  6. And last for me to be able to stay on top of the panic attacks that seem endless. They are out of my control and that fact causes even more anxiety. 
My friends, I am blessed to know you. You have made a difference in my life or you wouldn’t be on my Friend’s list. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your prayers on my behalf. They are powerful and they are heard by our Almighty God. I’m trusting in Him.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

A Heart's Condition...

It’s Valentine’s week and I find myself thinking about love...about how I love my husband, children, family & friends and about the immeasurable love God has for us...and also, what a heart devoid of God’s love can become.

A heart, lacking the all-encompassing, unconditional, never-ending love that comes from a relationship with Christ, is left exposed and vulnerable and ripe for the filling of that void inside with the most heinous evil imaginable. It can harm every unprotected heart it touches and spread its blackness like a plague causing death and destruction of lives in its path. As dark and horrible and grotesque as that evil may seem, Christ can vanquish it. We’ve only to call upon His name. That doesn’t mean that once we’ve given our lives over to Him, that all our problems will cease to be. Actions beget consequences. But it does mean that from that point forward, whatever we face, we will not face it alone, and when we leave this sin-filled Earth, we will be with Him in Heaven, where there is no evil, no sickness, no pain, no tears, and no goodbyes. I’d rather spend my whole life believing and trusting in God and His promises than spend one day believing there is no hope of anything after this life is over. I’d rather spend my whole life believing in God’s love for me and loving people the way Jesus loves them than spend one day without knowing that kind of love.

My prayer for anyone reading this at this moment is that you would fill up your heart with God’s love. That you would surrender your heart to His keeping. There is no one who loves you more.

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16

“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” ~ 1 Peter 5

“Therefore, put on every piece of God's armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle, you will still be standing firm.” ~ Ephesians 6:13

Amy 💗

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

This is me....and you might not like it....but that's OK!

There are so many ridiculous things going on in this world these days. Things that even ten years ago I would have said would never happen. Grown men and women actually hissing during a President’s speech. Are you serious? How juvenile and disrespectful can you possibly be? I don’t care who the president is disgusting behavior. With all that’s going on, I have some things I’d like to say so look out world because this educated, professional, middle-aged, middle-class, wife & mom of 3, would like to speak. The opinions in this post are mine. You don’t have to agree! I won’t hate if you if don’t. :) But I do not believe for one instant that a bunch of politicians (on either side) or the elite Hollywood celebs who don’t live in the real world speak for me or for most of America. **Warning...this might offend you. If it does, do what most people do when they don’t like something….stop reading and walk away. Thank you.
  1. Women wearing “twat” hats and carrying disgustingly crude signs do NOT speak for me. This is not who I want any young women I know to emulate...ever. They’ve taken a woman’s body and made it disgusting and crude. This is not how you gain respect.
  2. I believe all women should be treated respectfully by men. I believe that anyone making unwanted advances needs to be told NO in no uncertain terms and if it happens again then they should be reported. But don’t tease and flirt if you don’t want the attention. That’s just as bad and should not be tolerated.
  3. If you made a bad decision years ago and now regret it, that doesn’t mean you were sexually abused. It means you made a bad decision. Learn from it. Pretending to be a victim hurts those who have truly been abused and makes people less likely to believe those who have truly been hurt.
  4. I am paid the exact same amount as the men who do the same job as me. I always have been.
  5. I am just as respected as the men at my workplace.
  6. I am a strong, independent, intelligent, professional, woman. I am not a victim.
  7. I am NOT a feminist. Feminist means man-hater these days and I do not want to be associated with any group whose message is hate. I have three wonderful sons and a loving husband. I love and respect them and great many more men in my life. Men are not the enemy.
  8. There are things I can do that men can’t. There are things men can do that I can’t and I am ok with that! We are NOT the same! Being different is good!
  9. My skin is white. My heritage is Irish, English, German….and more. My ancestors immigrated to America as did the ancestors of nearly every single person living here today. I didn’t choose my heritage. I didn’t choose to be born white. I will not apologize for being born white. No one should have to apologize for the color of their skin, no matter what color they are. We are all part of the human race and come in a myriad of beautiful colors. We all bleed the same red blood.
  10. I believe if you come to America, you need to do it legally, period. I believe that if you are not an American citizen, then you do not have the right to vote in our elections. What other country lets non-citizens vote?! Common sense is dead!
  11. I believe the public assistance system needs to be reformed and before you say anything, Yes my children and I were once on WIC! Guess what? I got a JOB and did my part to get us off of public assistance. I did not sit around letting the government support me. It’s hard work, something a lot of people seem to be afraid of these days. (I sound like an old person but it's true...young whippersnappers!)
  12. Just because we disagree on some things, it doesn’t mean I hate you. It means I disagree with you. We are different people. We cannot always agree, but we can at least try to understand the other person’s point of view, and in the end, if we cannot understand then we will just have to agree to disagree. Simple. You don’t need to organize a polarizing protest and yell angry expletives at those who disagree with you. Stand respectfully for what you believe in, but don’t turn to angry, hurtful, crude behavior. Have some self-respect.
  13. Christians have been given a bad rap in recent years. I read things like “Right-wing, Conservative, Christian, gun-toting, racists and many people think that’s what Christians actually are? Apparently, a lot of the younger generation actually believe this stuff, getting most of their information from celebrities and social media where half-truths and outright lies run rampant, and because of the number of shares become truth in their minds. Don’t believe anything you read on social media! It is a tactic used to sway social opinion and is frequently used by the media to spread a rumor as a truth and then later “retract” after the damage has been done. Let me repeat cannot trust social media! Instead, do some research, listen to both side of an argument and make your decisions based on your beliefs, not someone else's.
  14. I believe in the 2nd amendment but, I do not believe anyone needs to own an assault rifle and this needs to be changed immediately. Again….common sense is dead.
  15. As a middle-aged, Christian, fairly conservative, non-partisan, American, Mom & Wife, I believe in a loving God who created us in His image, each one different, yet equal in worth. I believe in equal rights, equal pay, immigration reform, and term limits. I am pro-life because I cannot fathom ripping a defenseless, tiny, human from its mother’s womb and throwing its tiny body parts in the trash. I believe in loving my neighbor as myself, no matter their color, lifestyle or belief system. I believe in treating other humans with respect, even when they choose differently, and even though I believe in that...I fail miserably at times. I believe that I am imperfect and capable of making horrible mistakes and so are you. I believe in forgiveness, given to me by God because I asked Him to be Lord of my life and to help me live the kind of life that glorifies Him and in kind, I believe in forgiving others. If God can forgive me, who am I not to forgive others? That doesn't mean it's easy.
  16. I believe that it is completely your choice whether or not to believe in God. Does it break my heart to see so many refuse Him? It does. But that doesn’t mean I hate you. It doesn’t mean I am going to make fun of you or say hurtful things about you or thump my Bible and tell you you’re going to Hell in a handbasket. You can read the Bible and decide for yourself what you believe. It is my job to live a life that is pleasing to God and to share His unconditional love with anyone who will listen. You don’t have to listen. It is not my job to save you. It is my job to treat you with loving kindness and respect, even when you do not do the same for me. Again, this is not easy.
  17. Not everyone who says they are Christian are actually Christian. Perhaps you’re familiar with this verse from the Bible? I like this modern translation of Matthew 7:15-20: “Be wary of false preachers/teachers who smile a lot, dripping with practiced sincerity. Chances are they are out to rip you off some way or other. Don’t be impressed with charisma; look for character. Who they are is the main thing, not what they say. A genuine leader will never exploit your emotions or your pocketbook. These diseased trees with their bad apples are going to be chopped down and burned. Basically….actions speak louder than words folks! 
  18. Being a good sport goes both ways. Being a good loser is just as important as being a good winner. It is poor sportsmanship to flaunt your win in your opponent's face. It is equally poor to have an angry temper tantrum when you lose. The fact is, life isn’t fair. It never will be fair. If you haven’t learned that, you’re in for a rude awakening when you enter the real world. You will not always be the winner. Life doesn't give participation trophies. Sometimes, you lose hard. Sometimes, you fall on your face. Sometimes, someone less deserving than you will win. Sometimes, people will disagree with you. Sometimes, life will be very, very hard. The sooner you learn to deal with loss & disappointment in as positive a way as possible, the better off you’ll be. And, if by some chance you end up winning most of the humble. In other words don’t be haughty or arrogant. Those are traits no one values and will not win you any friends.  

If you read all of this then you know me pretty well at this point. This is who I am. You might not like it all and that’s ok. I want this to live as a legacy to who I was and what I stood for. One day my great, great grandchildren might read this and, if they do, I want them to know that I have on this day, Jan. 31, 2018, prayed for them to be strong, independent, compassionate, honest, kind-hearted faithful men and women of God. The world they will be born into will look very different from the one I live in now. It may be better, or it may be worse, but the most important thing is that they live a life completely surrendered to our Lord and Savior because there is nothing more important in any life, in any time, than that.


Isaiah 43: 1-5
"...Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you.
    I’ve called your name. You’re mine.
When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you.
    When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down.
When you’re between a rock and a hard place,
    it won’t be a dead end—
Because I am God, your personal God,
    The Holy of Israel, your Savior.
I paid a huge price for you:
    all of Egypt, with rich Cush and Seba thrown in!
That’s how much you mean to me!
    That’s how much I love you!
I’d sell off the whole world to get you back,
    trade the creation just for you.
5-7 “So don’t be afraid: I’m with you..."

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Forget's bigger than that...

Forget Religion…it's bigger than that...

Forget everything you’ve ever believed or been taught about religion for just a moment. I’m not saying being “religious” is a bad thing...but so many people have given it a bad name that for many it conjures up judgemental, hateful, holier-than-thou type behavior. So, put it down for a minute...walk away from it and come with me to a time before anything else existed. Scientists say that our universe began with a big bang millions of years ago. Science also says that something cannot be created from nothing. You can’t one day have nothing and then it suddenly become something. That is not possible.
Look at the words on this page, even just these few you’ve read so far, and tell me...can they suddenly, accidentally, from out of nowhere, come together out of nothing and arrange themselves onto this page, in the correct order to make these exact sentences, every letter, every space, every punctuation mark, every word...and create this blog post out of nothing with no computer, no program, no keyboard, no mouse, no internet connection, no intelligent force to bring them forth? Of course not! That’s impossible, even for just these very few words on this page thus far.
Here’s another example I heard once. Gather together all the parts that make up a clock. Ever looked inside a clock? There are hundreds of tiny pieces, gears, springs, levers, etc. Take those hundreds of tiny pieces and put them in a brown paper bag. Now, stand there and shake that bag until all those parts come together and create that perfect, working clock. What? You can’t? The chances of that actually being possible are zero. Not gonna happen unless some intelligent person takes all those parts and puts them together in just the right way to make that clockwork. It cannot happen by itself.
So, I am supposed to believe that all those tiny particles that first of all, didn’t exist, exploded into something and gave birth to our universe out of nothing. That a planet like Earth that is the perfect distance from the sun and moon to sustain life, in a solar system with just the right amount of planets to keep it in the perfect orbit just happened by accident. That this planet that contains plant life perfectly made to sustain life just sprang up and created itself. That all the animals and humans came from some slimy bug that crawled out of the water. Water which is by the way the perfect substance to sustain that life. That these living things, whose DNA is so complicated that if all the DNA in all your cells was stretched out and laid end to end would encircle the solar system TWICE just accidentally came into being and arranged themselves into the perfect order to form each, unique living thing. Did you know that according to a Harvard study, one gram of DNA can store 700 terabytes of data. That’s 14,000 50-gigabyte Blu-ray discs… in a droplet of DNA that would fit on the tip of your pinky and I’m supposed to believe that there was no intelligent design behind that. I’m supposed to believe that it all just evolved on it’s own….and you think believing in an intelligent, creator God is crazy??
Listen, what you’ve learned about religion from the secular world, even from people who claim to believe in God, who claim to be Christians, is not what this is all about. I told you, put it down and walk away for a minute. The only thing you need to know is this. The God who created the universe and everything in it, wants a relationship with you, and it’s your choice. You’ve been given free will. You know as well as I do that you cannot force someone to care about you. You can’t demand it and it be true. There is nothing more wonderful than knowing someone else loves you. Whether it’s your children, your spouse, your parents, your friends...when someone loves you of their own free fills you up! God loves you that way and He desires that kind of relationship with you too. And even though He could force you, He doesn’t. He leaves it up to you to choose. You can choose to ignore Him, insist He doesn’t exist. You can even choose to hate Him, but that won’t change His love for you.
Why should you love Him you ask? He created the universe. He created the Earth and every good thing on the Earth, including us. Even though we turned against Him and became sinful, He still loved us. He loved us so much that He gave up His only son, whom He loved. His son, Jesus, took on all the sin of the world that ever was and would ever be, and He paid the price for it so we wouldn’t have to. He was completely innocent, sinless, and yet He was crucified for you.
Even if you’re a really good person, you still cannot say with any honesty that you’ve never done anything wrong. You cannot claim to be perfect. You cannot be good enough. It’s not humanly possible to be perfect. We deserved the punishment of death and hell. But God loves us and so we were given a way out. Jesus would take our punishment and we’d walk away free from the consequences. The only thing required of us is to believe that God is who the Bible says He is. Believe that Jesus, the son of God, stood in our place and took our punishment, receive that gift of salvation that He offers so that when we leave this Earth our souls will be pure before God and we can enter into the Kingdom of Heaven, and live forever as His children. Children of the King of the Universe.
I know a lot of people who believe there is an afterlife. What I want to ask you is...what do you believe happens to you when you die? If you believe that you just die and that’s the end, then I hope for your sake you’re right. Eternity is obviously forever...I’m not telling you something you don’t know. The mere thought of being separated from anything good in a place where there is absolutely no hope, where there is constant pain, is terrifying to me. The truth of the matter is that hell is the complete absence of God. The complete absence of anything good. It would be terrifying for anyone to consider.
If when I die I am just dead and my consciousness no longer exists, then it really doesn’t matter I suppose but...but...what if...what if the bible is true? What if God really does exist and He created this universe, this world, and He loves me and He really did send Jesus who was horrifically crucified to save me? How then can I turn my back on that kind of love? How can I take a chance on my eternity?
Now, I have many, many reasons why I know that I know that I know that God exists. That Jesus is real and that He loves me and cares about what happens in my life. That He listens to and answers my prayers, even when those answers are not the ones I wanted, because I have a lifetime of experiences with Him.  But for you, if you don’t believe, what else can I say to you? I know a man who claims he’s an atheist. He says, “There is no God! If God existed my mother wouldn’t have died an agonizing death! If God existed there would be no evil in this world! If God is loving why did He create hell? If He is real then why does He allow bad things to happen?” My answer is this...Evil is the absence of all Good. God is pure goodness, there is no evil in Him. When you take God completely out of something, there is nothing left but evil. We were created with a free will. We are free to either do what is right, or choose what is wrong. We have free will to follow God, or follow our own path.  This world is full of sin and as a consequence of living in a sinful world, we suffer the effects of that sin. God never promised us that bad things would never happen to us. He does promise He will be there with us through it all.
Your body is not made to last an eternity, but your soul is. That essence inside of you, that makes you who you are is very real. When you leave this body behind where will you go? Hell is the total, utter, complete absence of God and it is a choice. Your choice. If you wind up in hell, it is because you chose not to believe what God said in the Bible and rejected His son’s sacrificial gift of salvation. If I’m wrong and there is nothing after this life, I’ve lost nothing...but if I’m right, I’ve gained eternity with God in a place so wonderful, so beautiful it cannot be adequately described.
Look, You owe it to yourself and to the ones you love to study about this, to read what the bible has to say (all of it, not just the parts you like) ask questions, make certain you understand it, and make a decision. This is not about being religious. It’s about having a genuine relationship with God and being a follower of Jesus. What if, because you chose not to believe, you end up separated from God for all eternity and what if because you chose not to believe you caused your loved ones, the people you cherish, your wife, your husband, your children, your grandchildren to suffer the same fate...eternal, hopeless, separation from anything good. That my friends, would truly be hell.

*I simply want to make you think...make you really study the subject and make a decision. I truly hope you will choose to believe. You can choose to respectfully disagree with anything in this post. You can choose to not believe anything written in the bible and you can choose not to believe in God. You have free will after all. This is not a debate forum and so if you have questions about this subject I encourage you to seek out someone you trust, perhaps a pastor or friend who is a Christian and ask them to speak with you about it in person. I have found that the best way to communicate and learn is in person and not a faceless internet connection.  I have prayed for each person that reads this post and I truly wish each one of you happiness, joy, peace and most of all love.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Wisdom from the "Top of the Hill"....

Today is my 50th birthday. The big 5-0. The "top of the hill". I've heard it said it's all downhill from here...well, I disagree. It is at this time in your life when you begin to realize that what you always thought was important is not really that important after all. As the saying goes, The most important things in life are not things. At this point in my life I have learned quite a few important lessons. I can look back on a lot of things I've said and done and experienced and use those things to make better decisions from this point on. Truth is, I probably won't always take my own advice. I do, on occasion, do things the hard way and worry over things that aren't really that important in the long run, for no apparent reason. But I like to think I have acquired at least a modicum of wisdom that I can share with those younger than me. So here are some things I feel are important to remember. You can decide for yourself.

Be Kind - it rubs off on other people and makes people happy to see you. You never know when one kind word could even save a person's life. "Treat everyone with kindness and respect, even those who are rude to you, not because they are nice, but because YOU are."

Be Patient - the world will not end if you are late, nor will it end if you have to wait in a line, or in traffic or wait your turn. Pay attention when you have to stop and wait. It may be God trying to get your attention. Perhaps the person in line next to you needs a kind word, or just a smile. Perhaps God is protecting you from something, or placing you in just the right place at just the right time. Think of this interruption to your schedule as an opportunity to be kind, to be the hands of Christ. I promise it will change your whole perspective.

Be Brave -
Thirteen years ago I faced a giant. I had two mini-strokes within three days after taking some newly prescribed medication. I was 37 years old. I was told that 90% of people who have a mini-stroke will have a massive stroke within one year. I'm happy to say I've beat those odds. The after-effects of the mini-strokes lasted about a year. I had seizures, short term memory loss and depression. I still have problems remembering dates. I did not feel brave. I felt weak and terrified. The only thing that got me out of that terrible hole I was in, were the promises of God. He promised to never leave me, nor forsake me. He tells us in the bible 365 times to "Fear Not". That's a fear not for every single day of the year my friends. It is something I often struggle with and it is also the inspiration for the tattoo I got on my wrist for my 50th birthday. It reminds me every single day to be brave. He's got my back.

Use the Talents God Gave You -
It bugs me when people let a God-given talent or gift go to waste. He gave it to you for a reason and it wasn't to ignore it. 1 Peter 4:10 says, As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace... It wasn't meant to be hidden away or ignored. You are to use it to serve one another, whether that be teaching, speaking, singing, playing an instrument, cooking, sewing, encouraging, writing, visiting, cleaning....whatever it is that you do very well...use it to serve one another. Stop making excuses and use it for His glory!

Be Passionate about Life -
You've only got one life to live and it's not that long! Fifty years has flown by! I doubt I live another fifty. What can I do in the years I have left to leave an impact for Christ on this world? What are the things I always wanted to do that I've not done? I want to write a book. I have no idea what it will be about but I really want to do it. I want to go back to school, but I'm struggling with what I want to be when I "grow up". I want to be a Grandma and hold that little piece of my heart in my arms. I want to be passionate about being the best me God created me to be, using every last bit of gifts and talents He gave me to show the world how much He loves them. I want to be passionate about sharing the undeserved, unconditional, FREE gift of salvation through Jesus Christ. Because one day I will leave this Earth and my friends, I know, that I know, that I know, that I will be ushered into the  presence of Almighty God. I will walk into my Savior's arms and step into heaven for all eternity. There is more than this life. This one is so short, but the next is for all eternity. Why would anyone gamble with that? Do you know?

Make Sure to say I Love You -
I promise you, telling the ones you love that you love them will never be something you regret. None of us, no matter our age, are promised tomorrow. Make certain they know you love them and that God's love for them in unconditional and everlasting. It's important.

You Can't Always Have it Your Way - 
In other words. Suck it up buttercup. Life's not fair. You aren't always going to get a participation trophy. Sometimes you lose. Sometimes you fall down. Sometimes you fail. Sometimes bad things happen. Sometimes things don't make sense. You don't need a "safe space". You need a little bit of backbone and a whole lot of Jesus. Get back up, dust yourself off, take hold of Jesus and keep on showing and sharing the kindness, the patience, the boldness, the gifts, the passion, the love and the perseverance that God has given you. Let you light shine and leave no doubt when you leave this Earth whom you did it all for. Matthew 5:16 - Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works , and glorify your Father in heaven. 

1 Corinthians 13:1-8

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Another Living Christmas Tree is done...

Well, another Living Christmas Tree has come and gone. The last few months have been a bit crazy. We learned the house we’d been renting for the last 5 years was going up for sale. After careful consideration, we decided we did not want to purchase it and began looking for alternate living arrangements. After a long and insanely stressful process we finally closed on our new house and moved a few days before Thanksgiving. We spent the next few days frantically getting the kitchen and main rooms of the house presentable so we could have everyone over for Thanksgiving! In the middle of all this, we were trying to prepare for the Living Christmas Tree. Finalizing music, the script, the cast, countless rehearsals, edits to the script, last minute changes to music….it was completely overwhelming at times. But I want you to know that, even though this has been one of the most stressful times of our lives, it has also been one of the best. We’ve been surrounded by the love of our choir, our congregation & friends and lifted up in prayer constantly. I was not always certain our housing arrangements would work out in a good way. I have been reminded once again that trusting in God’s provision is easier said than done. Boy did God come through in a big way for us. We have been beyond blessed. It was obviously a lesson we needed to be reminded of and at the same time, it put things into perspective for both of us. So we knew if God could do the nearly impossible and find us the perfect house in time for Thanksgiving and Christmas, then He could surely get us through another Living Christmas Tree in one piece. We have come out the other side of three of the most stressful months in a long while and we are happier than ever before. We might have become impatient here and there, but we never got angry. We might have disagreed on a detail here and there, but we worked it out together and came to an amicable solution. We’re a team, in every way and I am blessed beyond measure to have Scott York as my soul mate. We want to say thank you to everyone who was involved in any way with the Living Christmas Tree! It is because of YOU that it was a success! Thank you for your hard work and dedication! I’ve already got an idea for next year! Can we start next week?? I’m kidding of course, well...for you anyway. I do have to get busy writing very soon. I hope that each of you has a very Merry Christmas and that the new year brings wonderful things but most of all “I ask him to strengthen you by his Spirit—not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength—that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in. And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God. God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.”
~ Ephesians 3:14-21 (The Message)


Amy :)

Thursday, April 28, 2016

There is no one outside the bounds of God's grace...

“There is no one outside the bounds of God’s grace.”

Think about that for just a moment. It has been bouncing around in my brain all week after I heard it during our Sunday Morning Class. We’re doing a study by Andy Stanley called Why in the World and when he said this, I had to write it down. I’ve not been able to stop thinking about it and so, here it is written down so that I, and I hope you, can understand how significant it really is.

There IS no one outside the bounds of God’s grace.
Right now, at this very minute, no matter where you are or what you’re doing or what you’ve done, you ARE NOT outside the bounds of God’s grace. His grace reaches to the depths of the universe.

There is NO ONE outside the bounds of God’s grace.
NO ONE is too far gone. That’s huge! No one...not the worst of the worst. Think about the worst thing a person could ever do. Even though they may be hopeless and unforgivable in our eyes, that person is not hopeless or unforgivable in God’s eyes. Romans 8:1 says “There is, therefore, no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Therefore, ANYONE that chooses can be forgiven and saved.

There is no one OUTSIDE the bounds of God’s grace.
Romans 10:9 says “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and you believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”  This should give you hope! No matter what it is you’ve done, it is not unforgivable! You do not fall outside of God’s grace! We as humans may find it impossible to forgive something horrendous, but the God who made each of us and loves each of us as His children, can and will forgive anything. It doesn’t mean we won’t have to face the consequences of our sin here on earth, but He will forgive it and remember it no more.

There is no one outside the BOUNDS of God’s grace.
We tend to put boundaries on God. We think that in order for God to love us we have to already be good. If we’re kind and compassionate and follow the rules, etc. We’ve all got a set of rules in our heads that must be followed, in our opinions, to be worthy of receiving God’s love, forgiveness, and grace. We put God in our little box and think that if someone won’t fit within our little box of rules then it cannot be worthy of God’s love, forgiveness or grace. The fact of the matter is, God’s love, forgiveness, and grace are BOUNDLESS! It has no limits!! Psalm 86:5 says, “O Lord, you are so good, so ready to forgive, so full of unfailing love for ALL who ask for your help.” It doesn't say for “some”. It doesn’t say for a “few”. It doesn’t say if you’re “good” or “sinless” or “perfect” or “white, black, blue, green, purple, male, female, young or old.” It says ALL. That means...EVERY. SINGLE. PERSON.

There is no one outside the bounds of GOD’s grace.
If we had to depend on the grace of our fellow man, we’d be in serious trouble. There are some things we find beyond forgiveness. Isaiah 1:8 says, “Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the Lord.”Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they are red as crimson they shall be white as wool.” Psalm 103:12 says, “As far as the East is from the West, so far has He removed our transgressions from us” We may not get forgiveness from our fellow man, although that would be nice in this lifetime, the only forgiveness that truly matters is the eternal forgiveness of our creator God.

There is no one outside the bounds of God’s GRACE.
Grace is the free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings. It is something good that is given but is not deserved. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works so that no one may boast.” His grace has brought us salvation. We didn’t deserve it. We didn’t earn it. We are given it as a gift because of His boundless love for each one of us. He offers it to Every. Single. Person. No matter our past or our present, we are each precious to our creator. We are his precious children whom He loves beyond all measure. Whether you consider yourself the worst of the worst or think you’re doing alright, God wants a relationship with you. One day this earthly life will be over for you and you will enter into eternity. Your soul will go somewhere. Either you will spend eternity in hell, hopelessly separated from the love of God, or you will spend your eternity in paradise surrounded by the love of God. I don’t know about you, but that’s a no-brainer for me.

You may be someone who doesn’t believe in intelligent design, a creator, a God of the universe. You may believe that we evolved from some slime in a primordial lake. You may believe that once your life is over, that’s it, you’re dead and gone forever. In order to have this opinion you have to believe that this whole thing started by accident, that every living thing adapted perfectly to its environment by accident, that our intricate bodies are knit together in our mother’s womb by accident, that the moon is the perfect distance from earth to provide tides to keep our oceans from going stagnant and killing everything in them is by accident, that the sun is the perfect distance away to give us survivable seasons is by accident, that all of nature is stunningly beautiful and complex and depends on millions of things happening in synchrony in order to live is all by accident. I’m sorry, but that is more far-fetched than believing in a loving, intelligent God who created us and everything in our universe. I don’t care who you are or what you’ve done, God loves you, even if you refuse to believe in Him. My prayer is if you’ve gotten this far, that you will sit down and read the Bible, and do your best to prove to yourself one way or another the truth about God. I’d rather live believing there is a God who loves me than to die without Him and find out He does exist after all. It is worth your eternity to find out!  

Ephesians 3:14-21

“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”

Sunday, March 20, 2016

How About We Love Like Jesus?

There was a time when our Creator looked down at His beloved people and realized that they were all full of sin. He loved them so much, and wanted to be able to spend all eternity with each of them, but He knew they were too full of sin to be able to enter His kingdom. So, God decided that the only solution was to send His only Son down to Earth to show them the true meaning of unconditional love. His son would preach and teach, showing the people how to love each other and then He would take the blame for all the sin of every person living and yet to be born so that they would each be blameless before God and be able to enter His Kingdom. But, God wouldn't force people to believe Him. They needed to use their own free will to choose to accept this gift of unconditional love and forgiveness. So Jesus came as a helpless baby. He grew up and He taught and preached and modeled unconditional love for the people and many believed. But sin was still alive and well in the world and some men became so resentful of Jesus that they unknowingly fulfilled the will of God the Father.  They accused Jesus of blasphemy, they arrested Him, tried and convicted Him, and sentenced Him to death. He was beaten and scourged until the flesh hung from His body. They shoved a crown of thorns into his skull, then forced him to carry the cross He would be hung on up to Golgatha...the place of the skull. He had been beaten so severely He collapsed and couldn't carry His cross all the way, so they grabbed a man along the road and had him carry it for Jesus the rest of the way.  They stretched Him out on that cross, and they nailed His hands and feet to it and hung Him there to die, just as the Creator had willed it. Then, the blame for all the sins of all the world, every disgusting, depraved, horrendous sin, was placed on Jesus. In that moment His Father turned His back and let Him die so that we could be saved. But...the story doesn't end there because you see Jesus had already told the people that He would be raised on the third day and then He would go back to His Father to prepare a place for them in Heaven. Three days later, inside a tomb that had been sealed with a massive stone and guarded by Roman guards, Jesus arose! The stone rolled away and He came out! The tough Roman soldiers fainted. Jesus made no less than ten appearances to His followers that are recorded in scripture. He instructed His disciples and other followers periodically for 40 days and then ascended from Mount Olive, near Jerusalem while the apostles watched. This is not a fairytale. You can read this for yourself in the Bible. I dare you to read it. So many people out there say it's just a book of fables that can't possibly be true, but if you take any time at all to study it, you see that it can't possibly be false.  The universe we live in is a miracle. There is as much chance of it all happening by accident as there is you placing all the parts to a watch in a bag, shaking it up and a perfect watch coming out. It is statistically impossible. He is evident in every part of this universe and every part of the Earth. The Earth itself is exactly the perfect size. If it were smaller, it couldn't hold an atmosphere. If it were larger, the atmosphere would be toxic.  It is also the perfect distance from the sun. Any further away and we'd all freeze...any closer and we'd all burn up. The moon is the perfect size and distance from earth to create the tides so our oceans don't stagnate, but remain without their boundaries so the whole earth doesn't flood.  The water on earth is perfect for our bodies and the bodies of every living plant and animal. Without it, everything would die. It is so perfectly constructed that is can carry the various required chemicals, minerals and nutrients throughout our bodies into the tiniest of blood vessels. It makes this planet's survival possible. I'll say one last thing, even though we could go on and on. Scientists agree that our universe came into being because of one enormous explosion of energy and light, which we now call The Big Bang Theory, the singular start to everything that exists, the stars, the planets, and the beginning of every living thing and yet, they cannot tell you what caused it to happen. Why was there a colossal explosion that filled the universe with light? I can tell you. It's in the first chapter of the first book in the bible. Genesis 1:3 says "And God said, Let there be light, and there was light. And God saw that the light was good, and God divided the light from the darkness." And in Genesis 1:16 it says, "And God made two great lights, the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night, He made the stars also." There's your Big Bang. God said, "Let there be light," and it was so.

I am going to tell you something you might already know. Some people who claim to be Christians are mean, hurtful and judgemental. You may have been hurt by someone like that. You may have been condemned by "church people".  But that is not the kind of love that Jesus taught and many churches have forgotten that. To be a Christian is to be a disciple of Christ...a follower of His teachings. Today it has taken on a derogatory meaning in many people's minds and represents someone who is hypocritical, hateful and judgemental, much like the Pharisees who are described in the bible, they cannot see the forest for the trees. They're so worried about everyone following the rules, they have forgotten that Jesus told us to love each other above all else. I can love you and not agree with your life choices. I can talk to you about the love of Jesus and the way He wants us to live and not say hateful, mean things about you. I can disagree with your belief in something, and still be your friend and show you kindness and love. These days the word tolerance comes up a lot. I think it's used in the wrong context most of the time. To tolerate something is to allow the existence, occurrence or practice of something that one doesn't necessarily like or agree with, without interference.  If we were all practicing tolerance all the time then we'd be allowing murders and abuse and theft and a million other things that we don't agree with to go on without interference. It's a horrible word to use the way it's used today. Forget about loving your neighbor as about love people the way Jesus loves about love people regardless of their sins. My friend, you may be doing things that the bible says are a sin. In fact, I'm certain you are. So am I. So is everyone still alive on this planet. That's not the point. The point is that you have this one life on Earth, this one chance to accept the unconditional love and gift of Jesus Christ so that when you die and leave this Earth you can live for all eternity in the fathomless splendor of Heaven. There are no second chances once you die. Jesus is not uncomfortable with who you are. He will meet you right where you are, just as you are...all you have to do is believe Him. He's calling you to something better, to lay down your sins at His feet and let Him help you. Easter Sunday is coming. What a glorious day to begin a new life with Him! Think about it! 

And now my dear friends... "I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God." Ephesians 3:16-19

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Matters of the Heart...for Valentine's Day

     I have been married to Scott now for 28 years and 1 month.  I'd love to tell you that every one of those years has been wonderful and happy, but I can't.  Some of those years were wonderful, some of them were horrible, and many of them were somewhere in between, but they have ALL been blessed. How, you ask, can I say that the horrible times were blessed?  I mean, it makes sense to say the good times were a blessing, but the bad times, the in-between times, how have those been blessed?  It's simple really.  Because God, the One who loves us unconditionally, has never left us and it was in the tough times that we grew even closer to each other.  We learned to depend on each other. We learned that we could disagree and the world wouldn't come to an end. We learned that we are two different people who sometimes have different opinions and that's ok. We learned to rely on each other's differing strengths all while putting our trust in God.  He has never failed us.
     Right now, I can honestly say that I am more in love with my husband than I have ever been.  I thought I loved him more than anything the day I married him.  I thought I could never love him more the day we had our first child, and our second, and our third.  I thought I could never love him more when I was so sick after having some serious health issues and he took such good care of me.  The truth is, every single day my love for him grows deeper.  Now, don't roll your eyes.  Everyone wants to have a love like that.  You know it's true.  I mean, 90% of songs on the radio are about love in some form or another, and how many movies out there are love stories?  We all long to be loved.        So, what's the secret to being madly, deeply, completely in love?  Hold on to your seat for this amazing's a CHOICE.  Yep, you read that correctly.  You can choose to concentrate on all the things your mate does that annoy you, or you can choose to concentrate on the good things. You can choose to have a bad attitude and gripe and complain, or you can choose to be positive and encouraging. You can choose to be sarcastic and snarky or you can choose to be kind and loving.  In other words, set out to purposefully treat your spouse the way you yourself would want to be treated. Be kind, listen, encourage, compliment, and be patient with them.  Make time for them and make certain they know you've made them a priority in your life.  Even if your spouse isn't doing these things, at first, they will take notice of the changes in you and it will change their attitude too.
     You'll have to be patient, though, especially if you've had a difficult relationship for a while now. But isn't it worth it?  To be madly, deeply in love with your mate again?  It's a bit like that book, The Love Dare. If I could give you one piece of advice from someone who has been married longer than the average couple, aside from putting God first in your marriage, it would be to treat each other with kindness, gentleness, respect and a sense of humor. Our marriage may not always be perfect, but we've never been happier and I wish the same for you.

p.s. - I love you Scott! 

Tuesday, November 24, 2015



I was standing on stage at church today, as we had mic checks and rehearsed for the Worship Service, looking around at my family and feeling incredibly blessed.  You see, all three of my sons were up there with me.  Jarod on drums, Alex on guitar, Taylor on bass and singing, my daughter-in-law’s mom and fellow alto, Ann, who is one of my closest friends and, of course, my sweet husband Scott leading the music.  How many people get to do that?  I mean really, when my boys were little, I always hoped that one day this would be a reality, and here we are all these years later together on stage leading worship.  I am wonderfully and incredibly blessed, and not just in that sense.  Whether it’s Taylor serving in ESL, Youth & Music Ministry, or Alex serving with the Youth, Music and Graphic Design, or Jarod serving in the Youth and Music Ministry, all three have grown into strong, Christian, men.  I have a beautiful, talented daughter-in-law who just graduated from OSU with her Master’s in Music and her Dad, Mark, is a kind-hearted, Godly man and a great friend.  My husband is one of the kindest, most humble people I have ever known. He is my mate, the other half of my soul.   We are blessed.  Of course, I wouldn’t be here at this point in my life if it wasn’t for the rest my family.  My upbringing was, to me anyway, quite wonderful.  I struggle to describe it because there are so many components that played a huge part in who I am.  It wasn’t always easy.  It wasn’t always joyous, but it was always filled with love.  I grew up playing outside, going camping and fishing, walking in the woods, building forts in the trees, catching lightning bugs, swimming in the lake, staying outside playing until the street lights came on, and surrounded by mountain music as my family members played and sang about cowboys, sweethearts and God’s unfailing love.  I’ve been taught how to be loving, kind, patient, compassionate, strong, creative, stubborn, joyful, thankful, optimistic, adventurous, determined, tough, persistent, honest, loyal, moral and faithful, and I’ve been taught those things by grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, teachers, friends, my younger brother, my husband and most of all my parents.  I am who I am because they are who they are.  The people who have influenced and taught me, and the circumstances I have faced, both good and bad, have made me into the person I am today, and that in turn has shaped my own children.  I don’t live a charmed life.  I’ve experienced heartache, sickness, pain, loss and fear, but I am so thankful for the life I’ve been given. Because, even though it’s not perfect, it is full of God’s unchanging love for me and for my family, and for that I am truly thankful.

*It’s funny that I wrote this Sunday after church, and then came home to see that my mother had written a similar note about the things for which she is thankful.  We share a love of writing, among other things, so all I can say is “Great minds think alike!”  J  Amy

And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. 

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Soapbox Moment - Definition of a Christian

I'm having a "soapbox" moment:

     I am so tired of anyone claiming to be a Christian being instantly labeled as a judgmental, hateful, racist, bigot, homophobe who wants to kick out all the immigrants and carry my automatic weapons down the street.  If you know someone who fits all these descriptions they are not a disciple of Jesus Christ and if they think they are, they are very, very mixed up.  Please don't put all who call themselves Christian in the same box. 
     The definition of Christian is: a person who exemplifies in his or her life, the teachings of Christ.  Now, in order to "exemplify the teachings of Christ" you have to actually KNOW what those teachings are.  His teachings are of love and forgiveness.  He is not in the condemning business.  He wants to restore even the most broken and wicked people.  His passion is to see the broken, sick and weak become strong, healthy and whole in His Kingdom.  He spent very little of His time on earth telling people why they were wrong and condemning them, but instead spent His time practically loving them and extending grace to the worst of them.  I'm afraid there are too many who call themselves Christian who operate on the assumption that it is their job to point fingers, and tell everyone else what is wrong with their lives.  We are ALL sinners.  Just because I am a follower of Christ doesn't mean that I am miraculously able to never sin again.  It means that, by the amazing and undeserving, unconditional, grace of Christ, I am forgiven.  That forgiveness is for ME, for my own peace, my own hope, my own eternal future, and has nothing to do with whether anyone else believes me worthy of it.  Jesus deemed me worthy.  He also deems YOU worthy.  He draws no lines as to who is worthy of that gift.  It is a gift He gave for every single person on earth....young or old, good or bad, every color and creed, because we all have that empty place in our hearts that longs for the One who created it.  We try to fill it up with all kinds of things...wealth, love, material things, work, drugs, alcohol. The list could go on forever.  The problem we all face is, there is only one thing that will fill up that void in our lives no matter how hard we try to fill it up with other things, and that is Christ.
     If you claim to be a Christian, I encourage you to be a follower of Christ...not the definition the world has given us, because it's completely wrong.   Loving people the way Christ wants you to doesn't mean you have to agree with their lifestyle or their choices.  We are to show His LOVE to the world, to be a lighthouse in the darkest, stormiest seas....helping, listening, having compassion and understanding for our fellow man so that they will see Christ in us and be drawn to His unconditional and eternal love.  

  • I have not come to condemn the world, but to save it.” John 3:17 ESV
  • “Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.”- John 8:11 ESV
  • “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven..." - Luke 6:37 ESV
  • “If anyone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen." - 1 John 4:20 ESV

Sunday, May 17, 2015

"Doubt Truth be a Liar, but Never Doubt I Love." What's the Secret to a Happy Marriage?

This post is dedicated to my soul mate, the love of my life, my gift from God, my husband.  

     I've had people ask me, "You've been married a long time.  So what's the secret to a happy marriage?"  That usually makes me laugh.  Not because mine isn't happy, because it usually is, but because I cannot fathom why someone would think I know!  I do realize that being married, and staying that way, is a bit out of the ordinary these day.  Let me begin by saying that I've had wonderful examples in my life.  My parents, grandparents & great grandparents all stayed together and they were happily married.  I never thought about divorce when I was growing up.  It was never an option in my mind when I got married.  Now, I will stop there to say that IF I had married someone who was abusive, that would have been a deal breaker.  So don't think for one second I am telling you that kind of behavior is OK to live with, because it's not.  I have been blessed with a very gentle man....often stubborn, yes....but gentle.  I'm very stubborn myself, so if we ever have issues it usually stems from that character trait.  If I had to say who is more stubborn...well I have to confess, it's probably me.  I have known my sweet husband since 1987 when he became Choir Director at my little church in Chattanooga, TN.  After knowing each other for about a year, we started dating, and 2 months later we were engaged. We were married 6 months after our first date and moved to Fort Worth, Texas for him to complete his Master's at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.  The rest, as they say, is history.  Twenty-seven plus years later, here we are.  Through those years we have raised 3 boys, lived in 5 different states, served at 7 (I think) different churches, and somehow managed not to kill each other!  Truly, we have had some very difficult times.  Things that, if not for the grace of God and our mutual trust in Him, could have driven us apart.  You have to come to terms with the fact that you are both imperfect.  Now I'll tell you a little secret.  I love my husband beyond measure, truly.  When I think about how much I love him, it makes my heart overflow.  To think of my life without him brings me physical pain.  Truly he can exasperate me sometimes, especially when he's being grouchy or impatient.  But I have learned that if he is being grouchy then I need to try to encourage him in some way.  If he is very impatient, I need to help him refocus and try to understand the situation...smooth the ruffled feathers so to speak.  You see, I am his polar opposite in many ways.  I don't always get it right.  Sometimes I snap back.  Sometimes I sulk.  Sometimes I grouch right back.  But these days, I do try to stop, take a deep breath and think about how I can smooth things out for him.  I'm a pretty relaxed person.  I take most things in stride. He's a bit more high strung, tends to panic and get worked up over things.  He's is a musician after all, haha!  I have a pretty positive outlook on life and like to dream.  He's more realistic and in the moment.  We are both pretty reserved, although I tend to be a little more outgoing once I get to know you.  We both require some "me" time each day to recharge our batteries.  I can get so overdrawn in the "me" time department that I simply cannot deal with social interaction on occasion.  When that happens and I start to shut down, he seems to know instinctively, whether consciously or not, and lets me stay home to regroup.  We compliment each other in so many ways.  I have found that when we are at odds it is because one or usually both of us are being selfish.  In marriage the two separate people become one.  You wouldn't slap your right hand because it got the cookie before your left one would you? (If so may I suggest professional help)  You wouldn't stomp your right foot because the left one got ahead would you?  Well...not on purpose! What do you do when you cut your left finger?  You use your other hand to sooth it, bandage it, help it heal.  Your mate is your other half.  Your mate is the right to your left.  You are one.  When my mate is upset or unhappy, so am I and I want to do what I can to sooth him, ease the hurt, and help him feel better.  That way we will both be happy.  All that said, the most important equation in all of this is our personal relationship with God.  If you're relationship with God is not at the center of your relationship with your spouse, you are missing the key to happiness.  We've had seasons where we were at peace, and we've had seasons where we were hanging on by a prayer.  Without a loving God to show us how to love each other, how to care for each other, how to forgive each other, we'd have lost the battle long ago.  So, what's the secret to a happy marriage?  I'm still learning, even after all these years, and I will still be learning on the day God calls me home.  But this one thing I do know, it would not be possible without God at the center of it all.  

Genesis 2:22-23
Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.  For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.  The man said, "This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman for she was taken out of man."

Proverbs 31:10
A wife of noble character, who can find?  She is worth more than rubies.

Ephesians 5:28
So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies.  He that loves his wife, loves himself.

Proverbs 15:15
A miserable heart means a miserable life; a cheerful heart fills the day with song.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

What's Your Story?

   What’s your story?  We all have one.  Some of them are happy stories, some of them sad, some of them simply miraculous, some of them very dark.  No matter what kind of story you have, one thing is certain; your story, your history, has influenced who you are today.  Our stories are powerful.  I don’t think a lot of people understand just how powerful they can be.  However, our story, our past, cannot be allowed to define all that we are today.  Some people who have a very sad or dark past allow that to define who they are, and use it to justify all sorts of bad behavior.  In short, they use it as an excuse.  That is not what God intended your life story to be.  It’s not an excuse for drug abuse or self-harm.  It’s not an excuse for bitterness.  It’s not an excuse for holding grudges.  It’s not an excuse for being difficult to get along with, prideful or overly sensitive. Your life story can be used to inspire others who have had the same experiences.  Your life story can be used to draw others to God’s unconditional love and acceptance.  Your life story could save someone’s life…..someone’s eternity!

   What are you using your story for?  Are you using it as a crutch?  Do you use it to justify the way you react to those around you?  I want more than anything for you to understand that no matter how horrible you think your story to be, God loves you without condition.  He is waiting to take that burden from you.  All you have to do is lay it at His feet.  You may already be a disciple of Jesus and you may have been for a very long time, but you never laid that burden down.  You never gave it to Him because you thought it was too dirty, too shameful or you had gotten so used to it being a part of you that you were afraid there would be nothing left when it was gone.  It’s not true.  Those are satan’s lies trying to rob you of joy; trying to keep you from ever using it to point someone else to Jesus.  God loves you.  Do you understand the significance of that?  THE one who hung every star in the sky, THE one who knows every one of those stars by name, knows YOUR name and loves YOU beyond measure.  He has seen it ALL.  He knows it ALL.  He wants you lay it down at His feet.....let go of it.....RELEASE it.  I challenge you today if this is you, to lay those hurts down at His feet once and for all.  Allow God to use your story to point others to HIM.  If you've never known a relationship with God, it’s quite simple.  Confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, believe in it your heart, and you will be saved!  Once you've done that, there is absolutely nothing in your past, present or future that will ever separate you from His love!  

2 Corinthians 1:4
"He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us."