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 Coat of Love

Advertisements

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

Visualize Your Dreams

I recently received my iBloom Planner for 2017. This planner makes my life so much easier and it helps me be intentional and focused on what I need to accomplish. Not only does it help me keep track of appointments and important dates for the year, there are also many other sections of the planner that ask specific questions to help you have a plan in place for the year.  Imagine that, a planner that actually helps you write a plan for your life and/or your business. Best investment ever.

One of the sections in the planner, ask what is your Theme for the year. The planner is designed with Christian women in mind who are in Business but want to have a satisfying life to love as well.

So along with the many things in this planner, there is also scripture and reminders to seek out the Lord and to pray.  I absolutely love it!

The problem I have been having is I just don’t have one theme word for the year. I have multiple themes that I believe intertwined together would be children of a parent theme. I just haven’t decided what that parent theme should be. My children themes are Declutter, Organize, Love, Laugh, Give.  I am thinking the one word to pull it all together might just be, Simplify,  maybe.

This verse from the Book of Psalm 51, Verse 10 has been popping up all over the place in my readings lately, so I am pretty sure God is trying to tell me something.

Psalm 51:10King James Version (KJV)

10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.

I realize that this verse is speaking about having a pure heart and the Lord’s spirit upon my life and my body so that I can share the gospel of salvation with sinners and they will return to the Lord.  This verse may not be talking about decluttering or organizing a space, but I know sometimes it is easy for our hearts and minds to become cluttered with a bunch of information that is not only NOT useful but sometimes can be damaging and toxic to the soul.

There are many verses in the Holy Bible on Love. I believe verses 34 and 35 from the Book of John, Chapter 13, sum up how we should show love to others.

John 13:34-35 NLT

So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”

 

Each day when I wake up, I pray and ask the Lord to give me His eyes so I can see others as he does. I want to love others as he did. I want people to know how much I love Jesus and how he has changed me into the person I am, from where I was before. There are days I struggle to be loving like Jesus; thank goodness, he is willing to give me a second chance and offers grace.

The Lord forgives our sins and they are forgotten forever. Never to be brought up again. Never to be hung over your head and thrown in your face when you get something wrong or don’t quite measure up to people and their expectations. His grace and mercy are showered upon us daily; shouldn’t’ we do the same?

Luke 6:37-38 NIV

37 “Do not judge, and you will not be judged.  Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

 

I want to be able to give to others in need as they have given to me when I have needed it, no strings attached. I want to give with a loving heart not because I should or because it’s the right thing to do, but because I want to show them the love of Jesus in a practical way. And most importantly, I do not want to condemn anyone, regardless of their actions. I have no idea what kind of battle other people face and I have enough “battles” of my own, I certainly don’t need to be picking more.  I can tell you about the good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over because that has been poured into my lap and my family many times. The Lord provided. What an amazing awesome God I serve!

As I learn to declutter my home, my life, and my heart, I pray God will show me areas that I need to organize or set apart more or less than they are now. I know that I need to invest more time in certain relationships and I need to let others go. I need to remember to laugh thru the struggles and love even when I don’t feel like being loving. I need to give with a cheerful heart because that is the only way you truly give of yourself, your time or your talents. If you are not happy in the giving, then you must step back and examine your heart and your motives.

2 Corinthians 9:7NLT

7 You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.

 

I  am excited to see where 2017 takes me and I am also excited to see if at the end of the year, I lived out my theme or were they merely words jotted down in a pretty planner.

dreamvision

Having a vision for your life, helps you to stay on task and stay focused. Visions may change as you grown, but don’t sell yourself short. God allows desires in your heart for a reason, trust Him to get you through them.

Blessings to you. Jesus loves you, right where you are!

~Carlene

 

 

Life

heartguard

Each time that I am faced with a dilemma of sorts, I am reminded that each reaction I have or how I respond comes directly from my heart. Is my heart full of grace, mercy and love or hate, anger and resentment?

I was discussing with some friends a few weeks ago, that our Spiritual Heart functions much like our physical hearts. If our Spiritual Heart isn’t guarded and taken care of, it can become diseased much like our physical hearts. I believe that is why there is much importance placed on our hearts as it being the wellspring of life.

If our physical heart becomes damaged and/or diseased, it may “misfire” and or stop functioning and keep us alive. I believe that if our spiritual heart becomes damaged or diseased, we may go down a darkened road we had not planned, thus causing death in our spiritual life.

God wires each of our hearts differently, but there is one thing we all can share and experience together. Love.

If the love banks in our hearts become empty, what do you think happens to us? If we are not filled daily with the food that fuels our hearts, how will we guard our hearts and pour into one another? For me, my love bank is filled when people spend quality time with me when they give me a hug or a good foot massage. Caring for others, encouraging them; sharing Jesus-all of these fill my love bank.

We must guard our hearts, so they do not become bitter. If we allow bitter root to take hold and resentment to dwell there – our hearts become hardened and have no room for compassion and kindness. Our hearts were not designed to hate, but to love.

Every word that is said in anger, can never be forgotten or returned from whence it came. Every hurtful, hateful lie that comes from our lips cause pain and grief and sadness. Evil causes evil. Good never causes evil. We must watch our tongues and use the words wisely. Healing can come from the tongue, but so can devastation.

treeoflife

Imagine if all you hear on a constant basis, are hurtful words that crush your spirit. Do you rise above these words or do you embody them? And if you have been emotionally abused by words, do they not affect your heart and how you perceive yourself to be?

Living in a world where words are thrown around like daggers we must guard our hearts and minds. We must take care when speaking. We must speak life into others. We must remember that no matter what we face or how large the storm seems, we serve a God that is bigger than anything we will ever face! In the Word, we are told not to fear, because God goes before us and prepares a way. (Deuteronomy 31:8)

The devil comes to steal, kill and destroy, but Jesus came so we could have life and have it abundantly. Having a life that is overflowing with abundance means we must guard our hearts, we must watch what we speak and we must trust in the Lord for everything. And most importantly, we must thank the One who gives it freely.

Lord Jesus,

Thank you for the many blessings you have given to us. Thank you, Father, for the gift of your Son on the cross. Thank you for always showing grace and mercy, even when we do not deserve such a gift. Thank you, Jesus, for being the Light in our darkness and for never leaving us or forsaking us. In Jesus name. Amen

 

Jesus Loves you! Blessings to you today!

~Carlene

Four Days

In four days from today, my father, Robert will have been gone a year. It doesn’t seem like it has been a year already. He is in his Heavenly home and someday we will meet again.

I sense his presence in my home. Maybe it’s wishful thinking that he is here; maybe not. I have never been good at keeping indoor plants thriving. I have two special plants in my kitchen window. The smaller plant was gifted to our daughter on the birth of her son by my parents.  We transplanted it into a pot when we got home and it has taken off and continues to amaze me at its growth. The larger pot holds a plant from my father’s memorial service. Tall green leaves, flowing up out of the plant with white blooms. Did it have the blooms a year ago? I really can’t recall. I have never seen any blooms on it, until today. Knowing nothing about either plant, except they hold special memories in my heart, I can’ quite grasp if the flowering blooms are part of the plant and they only bloom once a year or if maybe it is a signal from my father that life goes on.

And our lives have gone on. Do we have days when we struggle and wonder why he had to leave us so early? Most certainly. Did he leave us a legacy of love and loving others? You bet he did. My father could be a very stubborn man, but he loved everyone. Not just some people, but everyone. And I think back on my life with him and how many ups and downs we had, but never once did I doubt his love for me.Ever.

He was in poor health near the end of his life here on earth. He lived as he wanted and did things his way, always. So frustrating at times, but I seem to be falling into his footsteps when it comes to the way I live my life. I am not always healthy in my eating or how I treat myself. I have smoked for many years and now, it is hindering my life. I am in the process of quitting for good because I still have too many things I hope to accomplish for Jesus; and that’s quite hard to do if I am not around. The addiction is so overwhelming, but I know that in the Bible, Philippians 4:13 it says “I can do all things through Jesus Christ, he strengthens me.”

If I confess that Jesus is Lord and believe it with my entire mind, soul and heart, than I know that Jesus will help me beat this addiction. I have quit various times in the last 30 years that I have had this disgusting habit. Yes it disgusts me. I don’t like how I smell, how my clothes smell and how it has affected my health. I know that food tastes better and I feel better when I don’t smoke. And the enemy knows that too.

Each time I was pregnant (3x), I stopped smoking immediately. I wanted to give my unborn child every advantage and make sure that I wasn’t the cause of anything wrong with them. I eventually would restart this nasty habit, because I could rationalize away how good it made me feel. Or when the price goes up, I will quit, I would tell myself. But the addiction to the nicotine is so darn strong, eventually my willpower was not enough.

My longest period of stopping smoking (cigarettes only) was in 2012. After 26 years, I was ready to stop. With the help of a cessation program and nicotine patches, I was smoke free in 5 1/2 weeks. For three years I felt great. I didn’t cough and sound like I was literally going to cough up a lung. I could breathe and when I walked, I didn’t have to stop and catch my breath.

As my father’s health deteriorated in 2015, I became stressed and worried. Instead of turning to friends for support, I lit up again and it’s been ongoing since then. I now smoke more than I ever have in my life and it is slowly killing me. For the last week, I have been miserable. I have developed COPD, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease; much of which can be attributed to the many years of smoking cigarettes and other respiratory infections I have no control over. But I do have control whether I light up or not.

As the lightbulb went off in my head, I realized that I can’t do anything in my own strength. To seriously think that I can, I am fooling myself. But with Jesus I can do anything, because He is my strength. His power is made perfect in my weaknesses. This is the biggest stronghold the enemy has over me and it stops today.

I have decided I am worth more than a pack of cigarettes. I know it won’t be easy. Anything worth having, never is. But I know it will be worth it.  I pray that my breathing difficulties will improve, my blood pressure will be lowered and a ton of other health problems I have may just get better since I am not inhaling over 7000+ toxic chemicals, each time I decide to take a puff. It took me reflecting on how my father struggled those last months, how his breathing was. He quit smoking years ago, but it still affected him in the end. He struggled to walk and breath at the same time. His problems came from his heart failing, but surely as I sit here and know how long he lit up in his life, I know I am headed for the same kind of life ending disease. I hope I am not too late to finally turn it over to Jesus and get on with living.no-more-smokes

No matter what you are facing in your life, whether it’s an addiction to alcohol, drugs, tobacco products, food, wrong friendships and relationships–Jesus can help you with all of them. You just have to get your head screwed on straight and your heart right with the Lord. Seek him out, trust that HE is enough for anything you need. And remember this also, You are created in the image of God. He loves you! You are his child and HE wants only the very best for your life.

To find help for the addiction of Cigarette Smoking, check out Quitting Smoking and good luck! You can do it and so can I. Aren’t we worth it?

If you would like to find a Christ centered recovery program in your area, go to Celebrate Recovery website to find more information of programs in your area.

May you be blessed and know how much Jesus Loves You!

~Carlene

 

You’re Never too Old

Learning  a new task  or skill comes easy to many people, but for other’s it can be a challenge.

At 51, I had thought I had learned everything I would ever need to know to make it in life. I was wrong. I am now learning about Autism Spectrum Disorder. I am learning that there are many different aspects of ASD and that what one person struggles with on the spectrum, may look totally different for another.  Learning about ASD requires patience, finding resources that are reputable and are knowledgable about what they are teaching, as well as learning how to advocate for the person that has this disorder.

I have immersed myself into learning about how someone with Autism is affected my Sensory Processing Disorders/Sensory Overloads and when you are out in public, what may appear like a parent not taking control of their child, because the child is literally having a meltdown, it makes me stop and think now, before passing judgement. It could just be that the child really is having a tantrum (something they do when they don’t get what they want); when a child that has a neurological disorder succumbs to meltdown status (they have no control over how they respond, even though they wish they did).

As a person that has never relied on structure or any type of routine, I have learned how very important it is to have structure and routine, to be able to prepare our grandson, who is affected by ASD what will happen next. Learning about strategies in Autism is not just something caregivers should just glance over, it needs to become as much a part of you, as Autism is to your loved one. Because our grandson is non verbal, at the precarious age of two, I have had to learn what PECS means. I have had to learn about reinforcing behaviors and try to get into his world, at his level-instead of him in mine. And that’s okay, it’s just hard for me to get on the floor and play with him like I need to, but one way or another, we figure it out.autism

The PECS system is awesome. PECS stands for Picture Exchange Communication System. I am looking forward to getting some PECS from a friend later this week as her child has outgrown some of them.  When he Autistic person needs or wants something, if they do not talk or sign, that’s where the pictures come in. They have the ability to look on their PECS board or in a binder and find what they want to tell you. When they hand you the picture, you can reinforce that is what they are asking for and take care of the request. Then the next step is to thank them and praise them for a job well done.

We also do a lot of motor skills play, learning to stack things and put objects in their correct location, working on cognitive functions as well as five million other things that neurotypical people (those without Autism or Developmental Delays) do automatically.

When our grandson was first diagnosed, it was overwhelming. More than I can even describe because I don’t know how to pour out those emotions on paper. I knew one thing for sure, though, I would do whatever was necessary to aid in his learning what he needed to learn to succeed in life.

So, the next time you are faced with learning a new task or skill, don’t be afraid to jump in with both feet. Even if you don’t get it right the first time, keep trying. Many successes that people have achieved have happened as a result of failures and lessons learned.

May you be blessed and remember Jesus Loves you!

 

 

 

Memory Loss

When did I become so reliant on this device that I lost my mind? I wish I could give you an answer, but I actually have no idea when that happened. What is really amazing to me is that I can still recall the phone number that I had growing up, but I can’t remember the number I called yesterday to make a doctor’s appointment. my phone

I bring all this up because this love of my life, who is smarter than I ever
imagined can operate a smart phone, better than I can. He’s 2. He loves to watch kids videos on my phone and play educational games I have loaded on the device for him. He also thinks it’s quite cool to send text messages to many people at once. Mind you, you would have to know his toddler language to read the messages, they appear to be encrypted in some type of secret code. And he knows how to find my favorites in my contact list and make random calls and as soon as someone answers, he hangs up the phone!

Listening to him watch videos on the phone, little did I know that he had also opened my contact list and in a matter of seconds had deleted all but 6 contacts out of my phone! YIKES! I was in panic mode. I didn’t have those numbers saved anywhere else, or so I thought. Even numbers of family members, except for my mother and immediate family, had vanished!

After searching through emails and online accounts and reaching out to friends and family on social media, I was able to retrieve over 250+ numbers. And I learned how to use the backup software on my phone to make sure I am prepared if this should ever happen again.

What amazes me the most is how much I rely on my little handheld computer to keep me connected to people who matter in my life; that I stopped using my brain to store the information and started relying on a device to do it for me.  If I have taken for granted that I would always have a strong mind, than what makes me think something else couldn’t be so devastating?

I also learned there are apps to protect the apps on your phone so something like this never happens again. I had no idea. I know my phone is smarter than me on some days and, it appears so is my 2-year-old grandson.

Memory loss of any kind can set you into panic mode. I’ve seen it in myself and family members. Losing cognitive functions can be just as disturbing. You know that you used to be able to remember names and faces, places you visited, a skill you learned and your mind falters. You chalk it up to old age-everyone has forgetful moments, but what happens when your mind starts playing tricks on you?

alz

Watching our loved one go through the debilitating disease of Alzheimer’s puts into perspective losing all my contacts. At the time it happened, I was in panic mode, but I knew how to get them back, it would just be time-consuming. To think that someone who has Alzheimer’s can’t get their memory back or make sense of something as simple as realizing milk goes on cereal but orange juice does not; that’s scary.  Or hallucinating, thinking people are in your home, when you are the only one there. Paranoid to the point of thinking someone is out to get you and hurt you. This is what is truly sad.

I continue to pray a cure will be found for this mind altering disease. I pray for those that are suffering and for those that have to sit by and watch and feeling so helpless there is nothing they can do, but continue to love their family member or friend with an unconditional love.

1 Corinthians 13:7 Amplified Bible (AMP)

7 Love bears all things [regardless of what comes], believes all things [looking for the best in each one], hopes all things [remaining steadfast during difficult times], endures all things [without weakening].

Blessings to all, 

Carlene