In Deep

John 10:10New Living Translation (NLT)

10 The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.

hopealways

 

 

 

I’ve been sitting her this morning, thinking about all the things going on around me, in my little world. We all have our own ways of coping and dealing with life and everything life throws at us, even if we didn’t ask to be part of something. And I’ve come to realize that I can choose to turn a blind eye to things that bother me or I can seek the Lord and His guidance.

I love and I love deeply. That’s the only way for me to do it. It’s not about what the rest of the world thinks, it’s about what my heart feels. I weep for the homeless and for the many people in my area that die from heroin overdoses every day. I weep because I don’t know how to fix it. I’ve been fortunate, not to have lost anyone close to me, but I have many friends and their families that have been affected by this drug. Just this morning, I read a news headline that 10 people lost their lives to heroin overdose in the last 24 hours. Losing 1 is too much, but 10 is a horrific thought. I didn’t know any of these people, but I weep for their families, friends and for them. I don’t understand what changed in their lives that they thought the heroin or any other drug for that matter could make it all better.

All of us need love. It’s part of our DNA. That’s how God created us. Every time I think about all the evils in this world, I think about this song What the World Needs Now is love. Unconditional love. Period. It isn’t easy loving someone without conditions, but if we want to be like Jesus Christ, that is exactly what we need to do, what we must do.

I live within miles of the number one ranked city (Dayton, OH) in the nation for Heroin addiction overdose and death. The only thing I know to do is to love on people. Meet them in their pain and slowly build relationships with them so they know that even when they shoot up, you still love them. We are all broken, we all have demons we face in our lives, I feel so strongly about this, but I still don’t have any answers. The only answer I keep hearing is we must love one another, deeply. We must look past our faults, our weakness. We must be willing to step out of our cozy comfort zones and reach out to the hurting, the dying and the lost. We must continue to pray for our world. Our small little worlds make up the big world we live in. Each of us must put on Jesus every day when we awaken and reach out in any way we can to stop this evil and that’s what it is, plain and simple, evil.

According to the Montgomery County Coroner’s office, via a news release on WDTN Channel 2, Dayton, Ohio (01/31/2017), 355 overdose deaths in 2016; the majority being white and in their 30’s. The actual amount of deaths was 349 according to this report from the Montgomery County Coroner’s office. As I read the reports and look at those numbers, just for the area I live in, I am astounded. This says nothing of the national problem we have. And I weep.

The hardest drug I have ever tried and lived to tell about was Nicotine from smoking cigarettes. It too is habitual and it too kills, but slowly. I’ve heard if you have just one “hit” of heroin or any other drug, depending on its chemical makeup and strength, it can kill. For some people who feel the need to do drugs, doing it just once might be their last time.

Here in our area, there is an organization that is slowly making a difference in the lives of families and addicts, with resources to help them succeed in life. Kudos to FOA Families of Addicts.

There is hope. There is always hope. Hope Over Heroin is a ministry collaborative born out of a need to do something to save lives, to educate others and to give hope in the darkest of situations. They are a National organization that is available with resources to guide you.

If you or someone you love is addicted,  please know there is help. Reach out.  You may contact the 24 Hour Heroin Addiction Hotline, call 1-888-966-8404 and chat with a live agent anonymously. If you have lost someone you love to a drug overdose, please accept my sincerest condolences, I weep with you.

Jesus can turn any mess into a message of Hope. #HopeAlways#HaveFaith

Blessings to you.

Addition to post edited on 4/22/2107

When I orginially wrote this I did not know anyone that had succumbed to a heroin overdose. Sadly, earlier this evening I received news that a friend’s son has passed away as a result of a heroin overdose. Rest in Peace James Williford.

 

 

Coat of Love

1 Corinthians 13:4-7New Living Translation (NLT)

4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

How many times have you read this passage in the Holy Bible? How many times have you heard this portion in marriage ceremonies? I have heard it, and read it hundreds of times. It is one part of 1 Corinthians 13 that I really like. It helps me remember how I should be toward others. Do you love like this? Do you love like God does? Continue reading

New Eyes

Ephesians 4:30New International Version (NIV)

30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

How many times a day do I grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with my words and actions? Jesus died nailed to a cross for me; for you. He took upon Himself the sins of the world, and He did this because His Love is greater than our earthly eyes can even begin to imagine or grasp.

Every time I argue or disagree with someone, do I stop to think that maybe, just maybe they are in their own battle and instead of being loving and kind toward them, I am only increasing their pain. I don’t ever set out on my journey for the day wondering who I can hurt, but I know I have, and words can pierce through your hearts in ways that aren’t easy to fix.

Just as God is my Heavenly Father and Creator, I as a parent have been grieved by actions of my children. As a parent, I am to protect them, teach them and love them, whilst allowing them to make mistakes, just as I have made, so they too can learn from them.  It really hurts my heart, when I can’t fix them or fix the world for them.

Our daughter faced bullying at a young age, and the reality is because she hasn’t accepted the Lord as her personal Savior, she has no room in her heart for forgiveness. She holds onto the hurt and spews it from her mouth when she feels there is no way out. She puts up walls and those walls become impenetrable to break through. Every disagreement, argument or hurt that she feels comes out in anger toward whoever is in her presence when she explodes. In moments such as these, I want to scoop her up in my arms and hold her tight and protect her from the hatefulness the world has to offer. That is not an option. She is in her 20’s now and has informed me more than once that she is not a baby. Wrongs become grudges that never go away. They have such a stronghold on her that the only thing I can do as her mother is to pray that God will continue to work with me and others in her life to show her the way.

So, the point I am trying to make by sharing this little glimpse of my life, is if she grieves my spirit, how much more do I grieve God’s and how do I fix that? I do pray and ask for forgiveness; I walk with Jesus daily and allow His Holy Spirit to guide my actions. There are many times throughout my day that the Holy Spirit will nudge me to go one way and convict my spirit that I need to do something, even if it’s painful for me to do.

JesusChrist

How many times does Jesus have to tell us that there is nothing we can do to earn His love and salvation?  Once we accept Jesus, we are to love like He does. See the world thru His eyes. Every day He works on me to be a better person. Forgiveness is the key. Showing grace and mercy even when we don’t want to. Being willing to admit that being right all the time isn’t’ worth it, if it hurts the people you love the most.

James 3:5-9New International Version (NIV)

5 Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. 6 The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.

7 All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

9 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness.

All of us must remember that our words can build up or tear down. Be kind. Think before you speak. Love wholeheartedly. Trust in the Lord and follow his lead!

Blessings to you and yours!#HopeAlways#HaveFaith

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Let’s Be Real

Hello, dear friends! I’ve been away for a while now. I would love to say that I have just been so busy that I didn’t have the time to write. That would not be accurate or honest; anyone that knows me knows how much I value honesty.

So, I am coming clean with you. I’ve been suffering from some mild depression for a while now and instead of taking my own advice and seeking the counsel of others and pressing into the Lord, I’ve just been trying to cope with it any way I knew how. Food has become a comfort to me in such a way that I have managed to gain a significant amount of weight and have some tough decisions to make.

There are some medical reasons for the weight gain, but I can’t say it’s all due to hypothyroidism. I could infer it is because of my quitting smoking, and that’s the reason for the excessive weight gain. The truth is that since I no longer work, and I am home all the time now, food is always accessible. And food choices aren’t always the best.

I’ve always battled my weight, ever since adolescence. I have never been this heavy in my life and in order to be at a healthy weight, I need to lose over 250 pounds. It really is overwhelming and depressing and this is the mindset I need to get rid of. 1398614719289

I know that I can work to eat healthier and slowly lose the weight or I can have surgery that my doctors have recommended. Either way, it will be a slow process and I am not entirely sold on the weight loss surgery.  Since I am considered to be Morbidly Obese with a BMI of over 61, I am a high-risk surgery patient already.

Hearing the words morbidly obese puts it all into perspective. Morbid meaning unhealthy and could lead to death. Truly a scary thought! I am not ready to die because I weigh too much. I need to start moving and doing. I can give anyone a pep talk, but giving myself pep talks never seem to have much of an effect.

I am blessed to have a friend that is nutritionally wise and has agreed to help me formulate a plan for me. She has offered several times over the past couple of years, and I know now is the time to take her up on the offer. And I also am aware that I need to be “all in” or “nothing”.

Addictions are hard to beat. It took me 30+ years to quit smoking. And I have to remind myself daily that I do feel better now that I don’t light up. That doesn’t mean that I don’t crave a cigarette from time to time or when I smell smoke from a passerby that I don’t want to inhale it; because that would be a lie. But I know for a fact that if I was still smoking, I would need more than weight loss surgery to make me healthier.

I never thought of food being addictive until now. The truth is I love to eat. And now that I don’t smoke, so many foods taste really good and I love flavors. Now I have to learn to eat healthy for life. Not a diet, but a lifestyle change.

I have felt spiritually attacked on many levels in my life also. Satan knows when we are down and he knows exactly what will get to us and uses that to bring us down and become discouraged. And if we don’t recognize that, we can spiral out of control. It can be a slippery slope for sure.

In John 10:10 the Bible tells us that the enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy, but Jesus came so we could have life abundantly. In

In 1Peter 5:8, we are told to be self-controlled and alert because the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

I have always been able to hold onto the Joy in my heart placed there by the Savior. I don’t know what happened or how it happened so fast; I realized that I was running on empty and needed serious refueling. My love languages are quality time and touch. I love spending time with people and giving and getting hugs.  Being in the confines of the four walls of our home, not being around others, was truly having a depressive effect on me; even though I have always been the type of person that has no desire to go “out”. I would much rather stay home with a good book.

I have heard versions of the Serenity Prayer but never seen this one until recently.
Serenity Prayer
– Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971)

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
enjoying one moment at a time;
accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
forever in the next.
Amen.

Read more at BeliefNet

So, in accordance with that prayer, I need to change what needs changing to help me live a longer and fuller life, accept what I cannot change and be wise to know the difference. I need to remember to live one day at a time, enjoying each moment I am given and realize that the hardships that I go through help grow me and teach me to rely on the peace of the Father. I need to surrender to the Lord. I am blessed.

In Proverbs 3:5 the Bible tells me that I am not to lean on my own understanding but to trust in the Lord and he will take care of me and make a straight path for me.

In John 14:27 the Bible tells me that Jesus leaves me peace, that only He can give. I am not to let my heart become troubled or afraid.

I know that every single day I must trust in the Lord, for EVERYTHING. He gave me life and he came to earth as a man so he could die for me and I could live forever with Him in eternity. While I am here in my temporary home, I need to honor the Lord with my temple. This temple needs a good shaking and cleaning. I’ve let it go for way too long!

May I encourage you today that whatever you are in the midst of, know Jesus is there with you. He is your mighty King and creator. He loves you. Trust in Him.

Blessings to all~Carlene

Community=Doing Life

Matthew 18:20New International Version (NIV)

20 For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”

A community is one of the best parts of being the church. You don’t have to be in a building to be in church. The body of believers in Christ Jesus are the church. You can have church anywhere. And if you are like me, you are more aptly to stay in the Word and focus on the Lord and His plans for you when you are held accountable. Accountability is a much-needed tool for the church. When we join together in community (i.e. small groups), we have others that are there to pray with us and for us and to lift one another up and encourage each other. Community works best when you meet with the same group of people of a certain time period or consecutive weeks. I do not think that you can just meet once or twice and be established. There are some small groups, that have been meeting for years and lifelong friendships have been established. Encourage

We have the Holy Spirit living within us. He actually dwells within us. He is our guide and shows us grace when we make poor choices, He convicts our hearts and we know that whatever choice we made, it wasn’t the best one. The Holy Spirit knows we will make mistakes, it’s part of living in the flesh. He doesn’t condemn us because of our sins. He offers gentle correction and gives us influences in our lives that will help to guide us in Godly ways.

The Life Group I am part of meets once a week for a few hours. We share with one another what is happening in our lives and how we have seen God working in them. We study the Bible and glean the meanings of the teachings within the borders of the binding and we help one another with prayers and support. And I can’t imagine doing life without this group. It’s not a requirement to attend and you don’t get demerits if you don’t show up; however, it is the fuel the fills my tank to get me through my week. And if we have struggles before the next meeting we have the opportunity to reach out to one another and be there for one another.

I am very blessed to be part of a community of women that have moved and inspired me in every aspect of my life. God knew what he was doing when he prompted me to attend this Life Group over two years ago. I cannot imagine my life without any of the women I have become so blessed to know, personally.

2 Corinthians 9:8 NIV

God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

If you are not part of a small community group; I highly recommend you seek one out or create your own. God did not create us to be alone.

Jesus Loves You! Blessings-Carlene

Ademoneo

Ademoneo, Greek Transliterated word  New Testament Greek Lexicon

pronunciation: ad-ay-mon-eh’-o

Definition: To be troubled, great distress or anguish, depressed.

There are three instances that this word has been used in the New Testament You can find those instances in Matthew 26:37/Mark 14:33/Philippians 2:26

depressed


I have lived with depression for years. But not my depression. Until recently, I didn’t have this problem, personally. But I have lived with the disorder for many years because I love people who live and suffer from clinical depression. Depression that from what I know and have seen, they battle daily to keep their lives going on an even keel.  Depression, if left to run its course ends up ruining many things in their lives; including them.

This depression wasn’t just because something happened that made them sad or downtrodden, but a melancholy that settled in their soul and no amount of encouragement or laughter could bring about change. Sometimes medications help, sometimes they didn’t. People suggest that you see a psychiatrist or psychologist and talk out the reasons that have led to your depression and they can teach you ways to cope with it and live with it.

What I have found, though, is that it isn’t just one thing that causes it and what works great for one person suffering, doesn’t even begin to work for someone else with the same diagnosis. The mind is like a minefield. What might set one person off, another person it wouldn’t even faze.

This depression that I have been feeling lately, has been coming on for months. I have fought long and hard to keep it at bay. I have done my best to dive into the Word and pray to the Father seeking His guidance. I have started Bible Journaling as a way to express myself, while still reflecting on scripture and God’s promises to never leave us or forsake us. I know I am one of the luckiest people in the world because I have the spirit of God living within me. The Holy Spirit. And he guides me and convicts me when I stray from the teachings of Jesus. I have always been able to show mercy and grace under pressure and continue to live in a joyful state of existence with God’s joy in my heart. It’s not always happy times or moments, but I’ve always had God’s joy there and His peace that only he can give.

Lately, I’ve been pondering how do I get back to where I was or maybe I should be asking where are you leading me Lord and how much longer will I be in this dark valley?

I am a people person. I always have been. I never meet a stranger, ever. I love to talk and read and learn. I love to be an encourager to others and help people. I do have a caregiver mentality. The only problem with having that mentality, is sometimes I forget to care for myself.

Zechariah 13:9New Living Translation (NLT)

9 I will bring that group through the fire
and make them pure.
I will refine them like silver
and purify them like gold.
They will call on my name,
and I will answer them.
I will say, ‘These are my people,’
and they will say, ‘The Lord is our God.’”

I know that God allows us to go through painful circumstances when necessary to refine us for what His purpose is for our lives. I know that in those moments, I need to lean into him and pursue Him for my needs. He will supply them all.

Before I retired early, even though I was in great physical pain, I was around others and now I am around the same people daily. Please don’t get me wrong, I am very blessed to have my family, but honestly spending every waking minute together is maddening when you are a person that seeks to be around people and not feeling isolated all the time. Unfortunately, with the loss of income (over 50%), the itinerary for the week changes to accommodate budget needs.  And many other changes occur because we can’t eat out as much as we would want or buy things on a whim because the funds aren’t available. And event though the physical pain isn’t as strong as it was when you were working full-time, it’s still present. The difference is now you can sit and rest when you need to. That’s really the only difference.

When I worked 40 hours a week outside of the home, I still had obligations here that had to be taken care of and everything came together, one way or another. Now I feel isolated, lonely. I feel like all I am to people is someone who cooks and cleans and does laundry and keeps a two-year-old occupied all day.  I love being a grandmother. But I don’t want to be the grandmother that can’t have fun with her grandchild and then take a break. I will if that’s what it takes. But I miss being able to do fun things for me. With my friends.

I miss being able to splurge and go to a fast food restaurant and grab a sandwich because I don’t feel like making a lunchmeat sandwich at home. I miss working and earning an income.

So let God work his will in you. Yell a loud no to the Devil and watch him scamper. Say a quiet yes to God and he’ll be there in no time. Quit dabbling in sin. Purify your inner life. Quit playing the field. Hit bottom, and cry your eyes out. The fun and games are over. Get serious, really serious. Get down on your knees before the Master; it’s the only way you’ll get on your feet.
James 4:10 MSG

And the worst part is every little critique that anyone has for me, I take offense to. Even if they are correct. I have always been a firm believer that constructive criticism is good. Lately, I haven’t felt any of the criticism I have received is constructive. I take things too personally and inwardly, I cry. I think of all kinds of ways I could respond, but I know that is not what Jesus would want me to do because as soon as I allow those thoughts to flash across my mind, I am convicted in my spirit, that is not who I am.

I get depressed because I can’t even go to the store by myself. Even though I am a people person and anyone that knows me would agree; sometimes I just want to be alone. I know this is healthy thinking. I just can’t convince anyone else of that without hurting their feelings and that’s the last thing I want to do.

I used to read 3-4 books a month and now I am lucky if I read 3-4 books in 6 months. I miss reading. When I read, I can visualize the story in my mind and I can escape my life for a few hours and just dive into the story. Page turners I can read within a day or two. Now my books are on shelves, gathering dust because I don’t have time to do that anymore.

My depression is in part my fault as I have never been good at setting boundaries and keeping them. I know that until I learn to stick to my boundaries and keep them in place, I will continue to be walked on and I will continue to resent certain people. That is not healthy and I have no desire to walk that road.

The depression I have observed in the last 20 years has caused true medical ailments because the festering of problems being pushed down farther and farther until there is nowhere to push them and they come out in ways that create havoc on the body. I’ve seen it. I know it’s real. It causes underlying medical problems such as hypertension, heart problems, stomach problems. and probably too many to mention here. If your depression is truly bad, and you do not have coping skills in place for when you start to spiral out of control, I’ve seen it come out in waves of sadness and anger. And even though many things said in the throes of an argument or disagreement that are spiteful and hurtful aren’t meant; once you’ve said them you can’t take them back. Words hurt.

Proverbs 12:18New Living Translation (NLT)

18 Some people make cutting remarks,
but the words of the wise bring healing.

I know that I must talk about it. I must talk to anyone that will listen that you can’t hold everything in and at some point not explode or just give up. We all need one another. We all have problems. We need to start loving each other not for what we have or don’t have, but simply because loving one another is so much better than the effort it takes to be hurtful to one another. And because that is what we are called to do.

Matthew 22:37-40 New Living Translation (NLT)

37 Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’[e] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[f] 40 The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”

Heavenly Father,

Help me to see that I am not alone. Help me to realize that you are with me, always. Help me to reach out to others and lean on others. Lord help me to grow in the ways you want and need me to grow and keep me on the correct path for my life. In Jesus’ name. Amen

Blessings to you; may you always know Jesus Loves You.

Jesus Can Turn any Mess into a Message of Hope

#HopeAlways#HaveFaith