Moving Forward

Revelation 21:4 
‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

I look forward to the day when Jesus returns as He promises in His Word. I eagerly anticipate when there will be no more pain, no more tears of sorrow and mourning will be ended once and for all. 

Earlier this week, a dark cloud appeared in our lives and reminded us that life is but a fleeting moment here on earth. That just as there is a time for being born, there is also a time to die. It was with great sadness, my father-in-law drew his last breath. While we know, he is in Heaven with The Father, it does not make it any easier for the family members that are left behind. While we can rejoice in knowing, we will see him again, the ache that hangs onto your heart and the tears that are near the surface of spilling out, that is a sorrow that will take years to get over. 

When I was younger, I always heard that”time heals all wounds”.  I know, now as an adult, that it isn’t the case, exactly. I know that one of the reasons grief is so hard and messy is that when you grieve the loss of someone that you love and care deeply for, there is no time frame for when that grief stops. I lost my own father three years ago and he is always on my mind. I know that when it was time for him to leave our presence and go to the presence of Jesus, he no longer suffered or struggled with his pain and labored breathing, and in that essence, he was in a much better place.  And I also know that no amount of preparing yourself for the inevitability of a loved one’s time is drawing near, cannot prepare your heart for the sorrow it holds when their time has come. 

Each and every person deals and handles grief differently. There is no right or wrong way to grieve.  Today, as I surveyed the space within the room where a time of hugs, laughter, and tears were erupting, I realized how short life is. Every person on this earth touches the hearts of others, in many ways.  Some experiences are pure joy, while others are hard lessons to learn and some are sad. I have learned that no matter how much time you have to live your life, living it to the fullest means not leaving this earth with regrets. Or living in the “I wish I had done________” or “What if?”.

Cherish your family, make amends if needed, love deeply. At the end that is all that matters. Loving each other for the time we are given on this earth. Regrets don’t have to be if we choose to live in the abundance of love. Forgive others, hold dear the memories and treasures of the time you have with those that make up your tribe. Be thankful and grateful that you were blessed to be part of their life. Don’t be afraid to speak their name or share a memory or story of why they were so special in your life. 

I have found, in my experience with loss, as you share what you loved about the person you’ve lost, not only does that piece of your heart that feels like it will never be the same again, start to fill with love because you had them in your life, the sorrow does become easier to live with. It’s always there, but in order to continue living your life, some days you have to tuck it away in a special place in your soul and some days you allow it to run freely because you just need to do that. That’s okay.  Every one of us grieves and processes things differently.

Saying goodbye is never easy. Tomorrow we will say our final farewell to a man that meant so much to so many. And I will cherish all the memories that we shared over the past 24 years. I will share those moments with our children and grandchildren so our family history will continue with each generation. 

We love you, dad. We will miss you. We are happy that you are home with mom now and we look forward to when we will see you again. Thanks for being a part of our lives. 

Dad & Mom Wooddell

In loving memory of Donald K. “Woody” Wooddell. First breath taken on 10/26/31 and last breath drawn on 11/12/18.

May you know how much Jesus loves you~right now~in this moment. Jesus can turn any mess into a message and any test into a testimony. #HopeAlwaysHave Faith

Blessings until next time~Carlene

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Living with an Invisible Illness

Psalm 28:7 New International Version (NIV)
7 The Lord is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.
My heart leaps for joy,
and with my song I praise him.

 

I am so thankful Jesus is with me daily. His Holy Spirit resides within me. He keeps me focused when the pain is too much. When the bed seems like the best place to spend my days, he reminds me that whilst I can spend an unlimited amount of time with Him lying in my bed, it’s more difficult to share His love for others from that position.

A little over a year ago, I was in a different place, physically. I was feeling pretty good, my fibromyalgia was held at bay with amazing supplements I was using to heal my body from the inside out.  I truly had forgotten, although I can’t imagine how I could ever forget, the all-encompassing pain that runs through your body when you live with Fibromyalgia. I was walking and moving a lot faster than a snail’s crawl which is how I feel now. It was my hope back then when the pain wasn’t as noticeable, fatigue was held at bay and I felt like a normal person, that I would never endure this painful condition again. I wasn’t afraid to go places and try new things for fear of a flare-up and intense pain that might last for days and weeks.

fibro3

I’ve thought long and hard about posting any of this because I truly believed I didn’t have to deal with it anymore. It was a thing of the past. Unfortunately, I know in my mind, as well as my body, that if I am not consistent in using the supplements, eventually my body would go back to what it was and the supplements alone were not enough for the change to take place. I was eating healthier and getting some exercise. As much as I knew this was inevitable, I had hoped and prayed the muscle aches, the pain, the fatigue/insomnia would not come back. Instead of having the sheer exhausted feeling of fatigue, now I am plagued with insomnia. It’s crazy!

But, I push through. I will not quit or give up. That’s not me. I’m not wired that way. Thank you, Lord, that I am not. Thank you Lord Jesus for giving me the strength and determination I need to keep putting one foot in front of the other, no matter how difficult or slow I may be. And watching people much older than me zoom by me in the grocery store or in a parking lot, makes me realize how slow I am moving. However, I AM moving. So very thankful that is the case and I am not in need of a wheelchair.

And because I guess my hand/wrist felt left out of the pain equation, the carpal tunnel is back with a vengeance. I’m back to using a night splint and sometime’s using the night splint during the daytime so I can function again. I never did learn how to use my non-dominant hand to write with. I wonder if that is even possible at my age? OR if I am too set in my ways to take the time to learn?

My internal temperature gauge is stuck in cold mode. I am rarely warm, no matter how many layers of clothing I wear. This totally sucks. I tried to think of a better way to say it that didn’t sound rude or unbecoming, but it sucks. Plain and simple. That’s why I always try to get my hubby to drive everywhere; his vehicle has heated seats.

I guess the hardest part of living with Fibromyalgia is you never know from one day to the next how you are going to feel. Knock wood, the osteoarthritis in my knees and hips are manageable at this time. The degenerative disc disease in my lumbar spine is worse. And the spill I had a few weeks ago, trying not to fall mind you, hasn’t helped.

Because of respiratory problems I live with, I cannot take pain medications to help with my pain. This causes problems with my breathing. Slows it down too much. So I rely on Jesus to carry me through the pain. I spend a lot of time sitting, with my legs propped up as much as possible and I long for the times when I was able to be an active participant in the lives of my family and grandchildren. I have four amazing grandchildren, one lives with us and I am blessed to see him grow and bloom before my eyes. The other three are several years older, involved in extracurricular activities and I haven’t been able to attend any of their outdoor events this year.  It makes me very sad. I love them so much and as much as I know they try to understand, I feel as if I am cheating them somehow and I HATE this part of this disorder/disease.

The other three have known for years that I can’t run and play with them the way their grandfather does. But I have always been able to go before. Now the cool weather is just too much for my body to handle. But I am so very proud of them for everything they do and someday when they are much older, I hope they will know without a doubt that if I could I would have been to every single thing they were involved in.

I push myself many days to get up and get dressed. Put on my “happy” face and “fake” it. I know living with me when I am in pain, is not a walk in the park. I become irritable and grumpy and short with others. I do my best not to let this side of me come out from behind closed doors, but it is so difficult because some days just getting dressed wears me out. The thought of running to the store to grab a few things is exhausting just thinking about it. It’s great if the store you go to has electric carts for customer use, that actually work and will last for the entire time you are in the store, but many are used so much they never have a chance to fully charge and the only thing worse than not having them available is using them to shop and the battery dying in the middle of your  shopping trip and then it’s like being stranded on an island in the middle of nowhere. Now you have a full basket of goods, but no cart in sight to transfer them to.

The single most agonizing part of the widespread pain returning is the muscle spasms that come, out of nowhere. I turned my head earlier to look at something, not quickly, but as I turned my head, a sharp muscle pain and I just had to wait for it to pass. And I get these spasms throughout the day, everywhere. Many you cannot just walk out. Most of the time you just have to wait until your muscles relax. It may be myofascial pain. I’ve been reading about it. This is something I will have to ask my physician the next time I see her.

I have many friends that live with Fibromyalgia and as much as we can be there to support one another, all of us live with it and have varying symptoms to varying degrees. Many of my fibro friends, can’t stand the hot weather or warm temperatures, drains them and all their energy. For me, I am completely the opposite. I love the heat. The hotter the better. Cold weather sucks the life right out of me. There isn’t a coat or blanket warm enough to keep me comfortable. And of course, I live in a state that is known for unpredictable weather.  One day it’s 80, the next it’s 40. It’s no wonder I feel so cold, right?

2 Corinthians 1:3-5   New International Version (NIV)

3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 5 For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.

I am thankful that I have Fibromyalgia because then I know how to extend comfort to those who deal with it too. I know that God allows us to go through many things in life as a way to be a testimony to others that put their hope in Him. I can still be a light to others by encouraging them, no matter the type of physical pain they experience because our earthly bodies are temporary. This is not our home. We are citizens of Heaven. But I also know that He does not expect us to suffer alone in silence. We are all made for relationship. Relationship with friends and family. All of us have a need to be part of a community, that is loving and supportive. And while all of us can be less than loving and supportive at times in our lives, that is where grace comes in. God gives us grace because He loves us, not because of anything we can do to deserve it. We all fall short in that area. All of us.

Be kind to others. Love them. No one, except for Jesus, knows the internal struggles and battles each and every one of us faces daily. And for each of us, no matter the battles, they can be debilitating if we forget to lean on The One who gives us life. The most important relationship you will ever have in this life is the one you have with Jesus. In my opinion.

Psalm 100:5 New International Version (NIV)
5 For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.

May you know how much Jesus Loves You~right now~here in this moment and always! Jesus can turn any mess into a message and any test into a testimony! #HopeAlwaysHaveFaith

Blessings friends~Carlene

 

 

If You Could Do Anything, What would it Be?

The other night in a women’s Bible Study group, the question was posed ” If you could do anything you wanted, financially there was no limit and God had paved the way and gone before you, what would you do??

Serve only the Lord your God and fear him alone. Obey his commands, listen to his voice, and cling to him.- Deuteronomy 13:4 NLT

There were a lot of great answers and I selfishly said, I would want to go away and take a break! And at that moment, I meant it.

But I have been giving that question a lot of thought since that night because we all have hopes and dreams, things that we think are way too big or too impossible and I realize that with God, NOTHING is impossible.

27 And Jesus, looking upon them, said, “With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible.” – Mark 10:27 21st Century King James Version (KJ21)

I believe that sometime’s we get so caught up in the day to day busyness of our lives, no matter what that busyness looks like and we store away our hopes and dreams for ‘when the time is right’ or ‘when I have enough money’ or ‘when our kids are grown’ or ‘once I get that promotion’ and I know that is not how God intended for us to live.  Always thinking that we have to wait until everything is perfect before we try something new, fulfill a lifelong dream, reach for an unreachable desire in our hearts.

I love ministering to others by sharing my story, here, and in person of how my life has been touched by Jesus Christ. I love encouraging others and sharing what it is like to walk by faith and not by sight. My heart is full when friends ask me to pray for them or a situation or share the Word with them.

Follow Your Heart

God will use anyone how He chooses.  The fact is we have to be willing and we have to be obedient to His call. Many people hear from the Lord in a number of ways, and those ways are just as different as there are people to hear Him. I feel a nudge in my spirit to share a message or word He gives. And sometime’s I understand what I am to do and I don’t always obey because fear sets in.  Fear is a tool of the enemy.  The devil will use any tool in his power to stop me in my tracks. Doubt may creep in and I worry more about how I will look, and what people will think, more than caring about The One that nudges me to go and do His work. Sometimes it doesn’t have to make any sense to me.  But I still need to do it.  Walking in obedience to the Lord should be the easiest thing for any of us to do, but many times the chaos of our lives shuts out His voice.  Until we think we need Him and then we wonder why we can’t hear Him. He is always with us and always waiting to connect with us through every part of our lives and always listening.

I still don’t have a solid answer for what would I do if money was no object and God had blessed my vision for what my lifelong dream would be, so I will be still in the waiting and seek his guidance. I do have thoughts, but nothing concrete. I can say, without a doubt it would be geared toward people that have special needs due to a medical/disability diagnosis, but exactly what they type of ministry would it be, I don’t have all the details yet, just a burning fire within me to help these groups of people and it really isn’t any wonder since I love and care for someone that is very special to me and has very special needs.

I would like to encourage you to pursue your dreams. Find something you love and go do it! Because God will give you all the tools you need to fulfill your wildest and crazy dreams; He places those desires in your heart.  It will take grit, determination, and perseverance and there may be times you think you got it all wrong, but this is where your faith comes in.  Faith is believing even when you can’t see!

I do know from my own point of view, I’ve had a tugging at my heart to do something for Special Needs Individuals, that isn’t out there yet-I just have no idea what it is at the moment. And more than just the little guy in our lives that requires so much.

I learned a long time ago, that if you are doing what you love, you will excel at it; if you are working just to earn a paycheck and you hate it; it’s not where you are supposed to land forever.  It may just be a stopping point along your path, to help you grow in an area that needs growth.  God doesn’t have us anywhere to waste our time.  There is always a purpose. And when the time is right, God will have you move and go.  Don’t fear the going. Trust in your Creator.  He knows everything about you.  Everything.

Ministry-serving others can happen anywhere. In our homes, the grocery store, a foreign land, in our day to day with others. We are called to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ and His story.

May you know how much Jesus Loves You ~ right where you are ~ in every moment of your lives! #HopeAlwaysHaveFaith

Blessings ~ Carlene

Answer the Call

Are you living into the purpose God has called you to do?  I think I am, but how can we really be sure?  I always assumed that “the call” would be something grandiose and bigger than life, but what if it isn’t? What if the call God places on your life is what you would consider everyday mundane tasks?  And what I am becoming to understand and believe is that everything I do should give God glory and Honor.

pexels-photo.jpg

When I was working full-time, I didn’t consider working for a retail giant big box store my call, but I did do my very best to let other’s see Jesus in my actions and words. Seasoning my conversations with salt and grace. Being humble in spirit; no gossip; caring for others more than myself.  Extending grace when that was the last thing I would have done had Jesus not been with me.

God places the desires in our hearts. We have to be willing to pursue those desires.  We have to be willing to be interrupted to take the steps necessary to follow His lead. In this day and age, people will say, ‘I’ll do it when I have more time or I will do it when I have more money to fund it, or five hundred other excuses as to why NOW is not the right time.” And I know for one, I let doubt creep in and say, “you’re not good enough or you don’t have experience in this area or what will people think??” And the reality should be, “who cares?”  If God calls us to do something, big or small, we should jump at the chance, because it’s HIS Will for our lives.  We all forget, myself included, it’s not about us. It’s ALL about Him.

So, while I may or may not be a bestselling author one day, I know that right now the call on my life is to be a voice/advocate for our grandson, Tyson. Advocating for awareness for Autism Spectrum Disorder, Epilepsy, Sensory Processing Disorder and Language Disorder. I know it is my call to lift others up and to encourage them in spoken and written word and action.  I know God is working with me now to teach me who HE is and who I am in Him. Maybe someday, that will turn into a book to share with others, but it is not in my comfort zone to admit that I don’t have it all together and I don’t know everything I need to know and that I still have very much to learn about life, but He gently nudges me and He leads me by the hand, much as my earthly parents used to.  Sometimes he gives me a swift kick to get up and get going, when I would much rather stay in the comfort of my own world.

The past 4 weeks, our series at church as been called Church Interrupted.  God is calling the church, you and me, to do His work.  In your office, at your schools, at the deli where you get your meat, everywhere we go, He is calling us to remember our purpose here on earth.  To advance the Kingdom of God.  To lead others to Jesus.  For those of us that have accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, with a repentant heart, we are to seek forgiveness, show forgiveness and accept the gift of salvation to live eternally with the Father.  And the only way to the Father is through Jesus. The only way to Heaven, is through Jesus Christ. He paid the price, on the cross. He bled and died for All of us and All our sins. There is nothing else you can do to get into Heaven no matter how good of a person you are. But while you are here, you are to do the Will of the Father.

Allow the Holy Spirit to lead you. When you pray, and can’t find the words, do not fret, because the Holy Spirit will provide the words needed as they waft up to the Father. Trust your instincts. Become in tune with Him. God lives and dwells in the hearts and souls of believers and therefore knows our desires. He knows what He wants to accomplish in our lives and there will be many times of refining and purifying, tests and trials, we will walk through. Storms that will cross our paths, but do not fear for He is always with us. God is bigger than any fear that tries to squelch those dreams and desires.

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.”- Zechariah 13:9

Trust that what God is calling you into or out of, that He will equip you with everything you need to accomplish the task. Do not be afraid. Do not grow weary. Do not give up. Let you Faith in the Lord guide you when your eyes cannot see the outcome. Be a blessing to others as the Lord blesses you.

May you know that Jesus Loves You~at all times and in all seasons of your life. #HopeAlwaysHaveFaith

Blessings to each of you ~ thanks for stopping by!

“Go Away!”

Go Away is a phrase we hear all the time when Tyson doesn’t want to do something.  It’s easy for him to get his point across, instead of trying to put the words in an entire sentence.  My husband and I heard those words this morning, as we were working on getting his coat on for school.

Tyson has been sick for over a week, not with the flu, thank goodness, just a nasty cold that didn’t want to leave. So, for him, having a structured routine that had become anything but structured the last week, he was used to staying at home and sleeping much later in the day.

His vocabulary is getting bigger every day. For that, we are so thankful and praise the Lord daily for opening up his mind to be able to put his thoughts into words, even when he shouts and kicks and struggles to get away and says, “go away!”

Two years ago, he only had two words. Two. Ma & Da. And the only person he has ever called ‘da’ is his papaw.  Now, he addresses his mother as Meem, I have no idea how that came about, except he has always called me Maw (for mamaw) and there were times he would say mom, to his mother, but then one day, wanting to get her attention, he shouted “Meem,” and it stuck! His style of communicating is music to our ears, even though they are in short one-three word sentences. And the hardest part is understanding him because he struggles with middle and ending sounds of words. But, I have no doubt, as we continue to work with him, through his Prompt trained SLP (Speech-Language Pathologist), his wonderful Play Project Developmental Specialist and at home, those sounds will come, eventually. We still use PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System=Visual Supports) and occasionally sign language, along with his voice.

He was amicable to getting dressed and even eating breakfast, which is usually a struggle this early in the day. but when it came time to put his coat and hat on, the battle ensued. Most people can’t imagine it would take two grown adults, one holding onto him for dear life, while the other works to get the coat on and keep it on, long enough to get it zipped and snapped  He was determined he was not going to school. As he slid off my lap, onto the floor and Mike trying to keep his arms in his jacket, asked Tyson, “don’t you want to go to school and see your friends?” He replies, “no friends, home.” Five minutes before the bus came, he was in his coat and hat, but still saying, “go away.”

As he begrudgingly took da’s hand and walked out to board the bus, I realized it’s like starting all over again. When his routine is disrupted, it usually takes a week or two to get back in the habit of everything and how hard that must be. It’s almost like an adult that gets to go on vacation or take time off from work, getting back into the swing of things isn’t always pleasant when you would much rather stay curled up under the covers.  I am thankful that he is feeling well enough to go to school so he can get back into the game of learning, but so we can have a short break. TYSON BUS

We love this little guy, but we didn’t plan on having a small child to care for at this stage in our lives, so even a short 3-hour respite is welcome!

Every child is a gift from God. Every child is a blessing. Tyson has many struggles that at times can seem insurmountable, but we get through it because we love him. 

Until autism became part of our lives, I never fully understood the impact it can have on a family unit. It changes your perspective on so many things, but the one thing that it has done for me is to remind myself that everyone on this earth has struggles and challenges. Many are unseen.  I can’t see the sensory processing difficulties he has until he starts jumping off of furniture and climbing all over the place, I don’t realize he is missing something until he wants to be tickled and then laughs and gasps for air, says “go away,” and in the same breath, says “more tick”. He is overcoming his tactile challenges with PlayDoh and sand, and will even eat pasta as long as it doesn’t have cheese on it. I thought every child loved mac-n-cheese!  He loves cheese and he loves elbow macaroni, but not together. 

I can’t wait to talk to him about his day. I do most of the talking. Asking yes or no questions to find out what he did in class. And I am sure his first day back, those questions will have to wait until he wakes up. I know when he gets home, he will be asleep on the bus and we will carry him in and lay him down and enjoy just watching him sleep. It is peaceful in these moments. But once he is awake, then the fun will begin. Jumping, climbing, dumping his toy bins, creating what seems like a danger zone to walk through, but he loves having all his toys surround him. I think it makes him feel more connected.  If you are a parent or caregiver of someone with Special Needs, take a break when you need it, don’t give up hope, celebrate every single accomplishment they make and know you are not alone in this. All of us need one another to make it through this thing called life.

Heavens Very Special Child 2

 

Romans 5:4-5 The Message (MSG)
3-5 There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience, in turn, forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!

 

May you know how much Jesus Loves You~right where you are in this moment!

Blessings~Carlene

 

Let The Children Come

jesus and children

Matthew 19:14  New Living Translation (NLT)
14 But Jesus said, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.”

 

This morning when I awoke to the chaos of our home, with a toddler that has his own agenda, I wanted to pull the covers back over my head and go back to sleep.  It would have been so simple, but then I would have missed out on the blessing Jesus had in store for me today.

I have always been mindful that the Peace I carry in my soul comes from God and I also know that the enemy of our souls will do anything to destroy that Peace. The devil can’t stand it when we choose to live out our Faith in our everyday lives because when we choose to trust the Lord and everything He has for us, the devil loses. And one thing that satan is really good at is making ‘mountains out of molehills’ and replacing our joy, with fear and doubt. Stealing our peace and creating chaos and he will do whatever he can to tear down our walls of Faith and Hope and crush our spirits if we don’t keep our eyes on Jesus. If we take our focus off of Jesus and all the promises of blessed assurance that He is and He will forever be for us and never against us, it’s easy to get into the wrong mindset.

So back to my story…when I awoke, I wasn’t feeling my very best. I was feeling a little poorly. A headache. And a toddler into everything and not wanting to listen to simple instructions. This toddler does have autism, but I also knew he did understand what no meant in the context it was being used and I was already thinking, we just won’t go to church today. I’ll watch the live feed of the sermon and that will just be easier. That’s what the enemy wanted me to think and I almost fell for it. Almost.

This toddler is my grandson and he LOVES going to church. On days when we drive by the church, he wants to go in, even if it’s clothed in darkness. He is so pure and innocent, and for all I know, maybe HE does understand all about Jesus, but can’t express it. Whatever the reason, he has, to want to be there, I should never squash that because I am not “feeling it” or wanting to deal with the struggle of taking him (he’s a runner and very strong).  As I waffled back and forth, deciding whether to go or stay, since my husband was out of town and that meant me taking him alone, and thinking of all the ways it could go, he kept tugging at my sweater, asking “chuch?” and I thought about promising him the night before that we would be going to church today. After a few more tugs and simple one-word questions, we got our coats on, held his hand tightly, loaded him into our vehicle and off we went….to church.  And please, understand, I also love going to church and being there, worshipping and adoring Jesus, sensing the closeness I feel of His presence, but the struggle with our grandson, sometime’s I give up because I am weary of the struggles.

As we rounded the corner, and the building came into view, he squealed with delight! I knew bringing him was the right decision, but I had no idea how right of a decision it was.

Once he was checked in to the children’s ministry area, I headed to the sanctuary, stopping to chat with other members and grabbing a cup of coffee to sip and enjoy the peace that I always find when I sit and wait for the service to start. Midway, during the Worship Set, as we sang songs to Jesus, the tears started spilling from my eyes, and I couldn’t stop them, and in that moment, I knew Jesus was there, holding me and reminding me of the verse above.  The image of letting the children come, do not stop them and in a profound moment, do not let satan stop you from coming to spend time with me. Here or anywhere else.

God knew that I needed to be amongst fellow believers and He knew that I needed to be right there, at that precise moment, when I could let my guard down. That I could sit and weep in His presence and He would hold me tight and let me know that no matter what I face in my daily life He is with me. He gives all of us The Holy Spirit to guide us, and help us in this thing we call life.

For several weeks, I’ve been battling to keep that at the forefront of my life and I am ashamed to say that for the first time in my life, ever, my unshakeable faith was a little shaky.  Not shaky in the sense that God was with me, but that I was doubting what He had placed upon my heart to do with my life.

I have always believed and known that the gifts he has blessed me with ~ encouraging others, lifting them up and sharing His Word and stories of how He has brought me to where I am, have been part of my Purpose. But in the last six months, I have felt a tug to do several other things in my life, living into His purpose for my life,  and I have been scared. Scared I would fail and fall flat on my face. That in, not fulfilling His plans for my life, I would let Him down and in living with that fear, I have been irritable, a little bit grumpier and “short” with others.  Today, though, I was reminded through the eyes of a toddler that God loves me and God will never give me desires without already going before me and giving me everything I need to accomplish them.

God does not give us a spirit of fear or timidity (shyness, being timid). He expects us to BE BOLD. To pursue those dreams and desires with a boldness only He can give. So, I am going to do my best to remember that the desires He has placed upon my heart are there to fulfill His purposes. I may not know or understand them fully, but I am to Trust Him and walk in obedience. And I am His child. I can approach the Throne and know that without a doubt, no matter whether I do something that stretches me beyond what is comfortable to me, HE WILL give me everything I need to accomplish the task. He will never set me up to fail.

And I realized as I was leaving the church building today, that I don’t have to go to a building to experience Jesus. He is with me when I am on my knees, cleaning the bathroom, or doing laundry. He walks right beside me when I am at the store picking up shopping items on a list. He is with me when a toddler is on what seems like “my last nerve” saying, it’s okay. You’re going to be okay because I’ve got you. I am not going anywhere. I will never leave you, never abandon you. No matter how small or big your need is to feel love and accepted, I am here. ALWAYS. Even til the end of the ages. I AM.

I pray that this will encourage you when satan tries to defeat you and steal your peace and joy. Peace and Joy from God is a gift. Embrace it. Live it. Don’t run from it. Be assured that whatever you are going through in this moment, He is right there with you, holding you and loving you. You are His child. At the end of the day, it isn’t about anything or anyone, except Jesus. He truly is enough.

May you know how much Jesus Loves You~right where you are. Blessings to all~Carlene

 

 

 

Sharing Hope

Today was such a great day for me, because not only did I get to share my love of Jesus with a good friend, but I also was able to offer hope and encouragement, which is the one thing I know God has called me to do. It’s as much a part me as breathing is to other people. Faithhopelove

And God will use whatever tools are at His disposable to get His message out about forgiveness, grace, loving others and being a light in this dark world we live in. And, when I need to be reminded of the blessings I have in my life, which sometime’s, I take for granted He gently reminds me to look at the big picture-His picture.

I had plans to meet an old friend for lunch, to catch up with one another and to ultimately answer her questions about these amazing plant-based supplements that I had been taking and was seeing such powerful, amazing results from.

I did get to share with her how the chronic pain and fatigue that I have experienced for the better part of the last 10 years, was gone. Is gone. I did get to share with her how I don’t experience joint pain anymore. I was elated to tell her that not only had I dropped a size in my pants and was slimming down and had this unimaginable sustained energy all day long, but for the first time in years, I could focus and concentrate and my thinking was sharper.  And I owed it all to God for orchestrating the amazing gift of health and healing through the use of these supplements.

As I shared all this with her, I realized that the same hope that my friend shared with me, I was sharing with her. Being able to offer someone hope, when they are feeling so poorly and can’t imagine that there is anything that can make them feel alive again, alive in the sense that you don’t have to be bedridden or live on your couch or do the very bare minimum in your life, that’s huge. I know, because I was there. And that really isn’t living. You merely exist. You cry behind closed doors. You put a smile on your face and you “fake” it. Until you can’t fake it anymore.  You seek help from your doctor, specialists, diets, alternative therapies, you name it-you try it and then one day, you decide enough is enough. It is what it is. I just have to learn to live with it. Until there is a cure or a proven treatment, I’m done. Done being a guinea pig.  You modify the way you do everything. And every single day, you pray. You ask God, “Why?” and sometime’s you don’t know why, but you love God and you Trust Him. Because you know His Plan is always better. And that is where I was six months ago. I was done. I would live with what was going on in my body and I would trust God for the outcome.

Now, remember, His Plans are always best. When my friend suggested that I try these supplements, I must admit, I rolled my eyes and I laughed inwardly.  Why in the world, would “vitamins” help me when nothing else had? But, and here’s the big thing, I knew that God played role in me trying them. I knew that my friend wouldn’t just suggest something if she didn’t wholeheartedly believe that was what God was telling her to share with me. And I prayed about it. And there was peace. Peace only He can give.  So, I said, ok, let’s try them.  And not only did I try them, I started seeing results within the first three weeks (this isn’t the case for everyone-but God knew I needed the reassurance that I was on the right path) and by eight weeks, I was pinching myself to make sure I wasn’t dreaming and by 12 weeks, I was feeling the best I had felt in 10 years (520 weeks)!

And then I started thinking about all the things I was able to do that would seem simple to other people. For instance, going out to lunch to meet a friend. I wouldn’t have even considered that 6 months ago. By the time I would have woken up, showered, dressed and made it downstairs, my energy would have been gone. And I would have had to cancel or realistically, I wouldn’t have even set up a date for lunch for fear I would have had to cancel once again.  And if I was having a good day, back then, and I actually made it to our meeting place, sitting for over 3 hours, laughing, talking, sharing our faith with one another, the pain of sitting for that long would have definitely been something I paid for with flare-ups and agony for weeks to come.

So, yes, I am very thankful that I chose to try these supplements and I will never be without them. I am so very thankful that my friend was obedient in sharing them with me and listening to the Lord. plexus journey

I share my story because I know there are other people, much like my friend today, that have struggled with many health issues that nothing seems to help and like me, she is sick and tired of being sick and tired. I shared my story with her and offered her hope and healing her body from the inside out. We all have root issues that need to be addressed, instead of putting “band-aids” on the problem. And getting to the root of the issues is what these amazing plant-based supplements do. They focus on gut health and once your gut is healed and your body is balanced, other things fall into place. Is it a “magic pill”, nope. Everyone’s story is different. Everyone’s journey is different. It isn’t a quick fix. But they do work. And I will continue to share my story with anyone and everyone because that’s what God is leading me to do.

And in the midst of our super long lunch date, we talked about our faith and how God stretches us and grows us and pulls us out of our nice, cozy comfort zones. First thing, is we have to be willing. It’s easy to say, I am a follower of Jesus Christ. It’s another thing to truly follow Him and His leading. After walking with Him, for over 40 years now, I still falter more times than I care to admit; I struggle with some things that I know He wants me to do and yes, I even argue with Him. I never win. It usually just prolongs things to where I have to ask for His forgiveness and go and do it. Do it scared sometimes. But the blessings that I get, the amazing love that I witness, because I chose to listen to our Heavenly Father far outweighs the fear. Love casts out fear.

I was reminded today, that the enemy will do whatever he thinks is necessary to spur doubt in our minds and hearts. He definitely does not like it when believers gather and profess the love of Jesus and His unfailing mercy and grace. Light always penetrates the darkness. And as long as I have breath, I will share Jesus’ story of redemption, hope, and grace.

May you know how much Jesus Christ loves you ~ right where you are, right now. He is always available to you.

Many blessings~Carlene