Gift of Love

James 1:17 New International Version (NIV)
17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

 

As I sit here this morning, watching the snow fall outside my window, it reminds me of how the Father covers us.  When we come to know Jesus Christ and accept Him as our Lord and Savior, he covers us by the sacrifice of his blood on the cross. And we are made pure in his sight, white as snow.

I’ve always said I don’t like snow and I have to confess I love watching it fall outside my window, I simply don’t care for the cold temperatures associated with falling precipitation.  Earlier, gazing out my window, I saw a muddied yard, with brown, lifeless trees and now I see white all around, and everything appears pristine and fresh.

2 Corinthians 5:17 New Living Translation (NLT)
17 This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

No matter who you were or how your life was before Jesus, you are given a new life, one held together with love, mercy, and grace. Your sins are covered by the blood of the Lamb, similar to how God covers the muddled, messy ground with freshly fallen snow.

There is not one of us that can claim to be Holy or Righteous without the Cross. Jesus bore the sins of the world so we could be reconciled to God. When sin entered the garden, it separated us from God. With Jesus’ death on the cross, it gives us atonement for our sins, once and for all. When we come to Jesus, repent of our sins, and choose to follow Him, we are considered children of God. Jesus is the bridge that brings us back to a Father that sin keeps us from.  Living a life as a Christian isn’t easy.  He died for us so we could live life abundantly.  He didn’t promise there wouldn’t be problems, but in life and in death, he showed us how to live and overcome hate.

love hearts

Live your life with purpose, choose Joy that only God can give. Accept peace and hope as the things we seek and cling to. Live passionately, love extravagantly, Choose life. We are only given one chance to get this right. Choose to love others, help those that need help, pray and expect miracles. Leave a legacy.

May you know how much Jesus loves you~right where you are, right now!

Blessings~Hope Always, Have Faith

Carlene

 

Advertisements

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

 

 

Blessings to You

Thanksgiving2

As we approach Thanksgiving Day here in America, I pray blessings for each and every person that reads this. I pray that you will have a day filled with love, laughter, and joy! However, I do know that for some people, it will be a hard day, as people we love have passed, and this Thanksgiving may be a day that is hard to find something to be thankful for, in your grief, but I ask God to give you peace and comfort that only He can give.

There will be many people that will be settling down around a table filled with delectable and savory dishes that they look forward to every year, traditions that go on and some traditions being started for the first time. There will be laughter as the memories of Thanksgivings’ past evoke, of loved ones that are no longer here and there may be tears of ones we wish were still here to celebrate life with us. And there will also be people that don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, as they have no family or no friends with which to celebrate or who are alone, and for them, it may just be another day.

For me, Thanksgiving isn’t just something we should look forward to in November, on the fourth Thursday of the month. Thanksgiving should be an attitude of our hearts and we should be able to find ONE thing to be thankful for every single day that God gives us life. For many, the Thanksgiving holiday signifies the beginning of the Christmas shopping season by early “Black Friday” sales, that apparently now start on Thanksgiving and go through “Cyber Monday”.  I know all too well about that concept, retiring from retail early last year when all that was taking place. I say a special prayer for those people that have to work and cannot be home with their families and friends because they must be at work to take care of their customers.

I recall simpler times when everything was closed on Thanksgiving day. When families spent time with one another and the only thing open was a few gas stations and convenience stores. Now you can drive around and all businesses are open, trying to boost their bottom line before the end of the fiscal year.  A sign of the times, I suppose.

I try to find something to be thankful for every day. And usually, even in my most trying days, I can always find something. I have always found that if my heart is focused on being grateful and living in gratitude, I can’t grumble at the same time. When it seems like there is nothing to be grateful for, I call out to Jesus and I ask Him to help me get through, to help me see the world through His eyes, I read His Word and I pray.

John 10:10New International Version (NIV)

10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

However you choose to celebrate your Thanksgiving this year, I ask God to bless you so richly, your cup will overflow.  Peace to you and your families. May you know how much Jesus Loves you and He will meet you right where you are. Blessings to all~Carlene

 

 

 

Prayer Is Powerful

Prayer is one of the most powerful tools there is. I can honestly speak from experience.  Yesterday was one of the worst days for me. I was ready to give up AND then my prayer warriors and total strangers prayed for God to invade my body and give me peace.

Today, has been a great day! Pain levels have been considerably lower. Completed work that needed done. Spent the evening out with my husband and friends, enjoying life. I’ve learned not only is it important for me to seek the Lord, when you ask others to pray, miracles happen.

Thank you Jesus for your never ending, ever faithful love and mercy.

May you know Jesus Loves You!

Blessings to you! #HopeAlways#HaveFaithprayer-1308663_640

Hazy Days

Lately, I have had to stop in mid-sentence to try and recall what I was about to say or continually ask the same question, knowing I was given the answer multiple times, but I just can’t recall what it was. I do not like repeating myself and I don’t like asking others to repeat themselves. When this happens, I am tripping over myself apologizing and having to explain that sometimes the “brain fog” of Fibromyalgia is real and not an excuse for not listening.

Hazy Fog

It’s like leaving the room you’re in, to go get something from another room, but you feel like the rooms have moved and you have no idea how to get there from where you are. You think you must be losing your mind because you can’t keep track of simple details. It’s maddening, for me.  Sometimes the “fog” is like a haze. I stumble through my day, writing myself notes and writing everything down because I don’t want to ask again, and then misplacing the notes, only to find out they are right where I put them.

And going to the grocery when the “fibro fog” has settled in for a spell is a whole new thing. I must write everything down I need. If I do not put pencil to paper and notate it, even if it’s only two items, I will not be able to recall it.  I used to be able to remember the smallest of details. My mind was sharp. It’s frustrating because you never know when it will happen.

I play word games with friends and read to keep my mind active. I am working on teaching our grandson letters and numbers that he will need for preschool.  I think the most frustrating part of this “fog” is when I forget something that is really important. There are no do-overs. Apologies can be given, but how many times will that happen before people will stop relying on me?

I have always been able to stay on task and now I start something and don’t finish it because I forget what I started and move onto something else. Then I realize a few days later, I need to finish what I started. As I said, for me it’s maddening. The only solution I have found that truly helps is prayer. When I pray to Jesus and ask for His Peace to help me remain focused, I can sit with Him and just let His Peace wash over me.

Philippians 4:6-7New Living Translation (NLT)

6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

Before I retired, I could work with vendors, keep track of all the details of a delivery, write up reports and take care of details, like a boss. Now, all the details seem to blur together and I have to sift through them to figure out what is important and what is not.

( “I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.”)

 

kindle unlimited image

Join Amazon Kindle Unlimited 30-Day Free Trial

I often wonder if this is how people that suffer from dementia feel. If this is the same type of feelings they go through when they are searching for the right words to communicate their needs.  It is scary to think that a disorder such as Fibromyalgia could affect my brain in this way. Fibromyalgia is full of surprises. It’s kind of like the line from the Forrest Gump Movie,  My momma always said, “Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”[1]See Footnote.

Lifting the Fog of Understanding

Fibromyalgia is a lot like that. You never know what you will get. I can guarantee from my point of view, though, it will not be sweet or delicious, as that chocolate might be. This fog that I live with does lift from time to time and I am very thankful for that.  I can’t imagine being in a haze all the time. It’s like trying to look through the thickest pair of eyeglasses there are (remember the term “coke bottle glasses”), and they are all smeared because you tried to clean them with a tissue that had lotion in it. No matter how much you try to rub the smears away, it just makes matters worse. That’s what the fog is like for me.

As with any symptom I face, I seek out the Lord and rely on his Word to pull me through when the days are tough to manage. When I want to give up and throw in the towel, I remember how much Jesus loves me. I remember that he has a plan for my life and I keep pressing on, knowing that the trials and afflictions I am facing now, prepare me to comfort those and encourage others that are in this silent battle. I am a warrior. I battle daily to live a normal life. I joke with others about old age and memory loss, as a way to cope.

Free-Audible-Audiobooks

Try Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks

If you find that you, too, suffer from this thick, dense “brain fog” due to Fibromyalgia or another illness, know that you are not alone. As a warrior with a chronic, life-long illness, it is easy to have feelings of hopelessness. Remember Jesus is our Hope. Cling to Him. He will bring you through every trial you face. #HopeAlways#HaveFaith

John 14:27New Living Translation (NLT)

27 “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.

Lord Jesus, help all of us that suffer from “brain fog” to remain clear and concise, to discern what is of you Lord and what is not. I ask that you pour out your Peace upon us, the only true Peace there is and help us to stay calm through the storms. In Your Mighty Name, Jesus. Amen.

May you know how much Jesus loves you and may your cup overflow with blessings!

[1]Forrest Gump Movie Quote

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