A Three Cord Strand

Ecclesiastes 4:12 New International Version (NIV)

12 Though one may be overpowered,
    two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

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When I read that verse above, it reminds me of my marriage to my husband, Michael. And it reminds me of how far Jesus has brought us from where we once stood. We celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary yesterday; had we never divorced two times prior, we would have celebrated twenty one years this year.

Yes, you read that correctly.  We have been married to each other twice before and both times ended in divorce (for about 1 1/2-2 years in between) because we did not have God as head of our home, our lives or our family.  We tried to make both previous marriages work, but it’s difficult when both of you don’t have the same beliefs and values.  There were illnesses and addictions involved in making the first two marriages crash and burn. It took a lot of soul searching and seeking guidance and prayer to make it to number 3.

Many of our family and friends thought it was ridiculous to marry twice, so sharing with them that we were going to do it for a third and last time seemed too difficult. So we only shared it with one close friend and our children (from our marriage).  Our son was ecstatic, our daughter was wary. She was old enough to remember how the first two times worked out and was skeptical, this time would be any better.

This time was different. Why and how was it different? My husband had always believed in Jesus, but he had never really given his life to Jesus. Totally surrendering all to him. He had proposed several times and I had politely refused, even though my love for him was still very strong, citing past history and the emotional turmoil it created in our lives. I was sure I didn’t want to head down that path again. I shared with him that I had started attending church again and I was alive for the first time in a long time. I had come back to the Lord and would not remarry him if he did not have the same passion about Jesus that I did. That was the one and only time I have ever given him an ultimatum in the 23 years that we have known one another. I knew this was not something that I would feel right about in my heart and God knew that too.

For all intensive purposes, we had a “probationary” dating period of 6 months. Anyone can say that they are a Christian and profess to love Jesus, but I wasn’t taking any chances this third time. I needed to know in my heart of hearts that this was what God wanted for both of us and our families.  He said I’ll try going to church with you, but I’m not too sure about all of this.  As it turns out, he loved going with me and got involved in the Men’s Group and Celebrate Recovery groups and on June 9, 2008 we were married for the final time.

We had planned on telling his two older daughters (from his very first marriage) and the remainder of our families slowly.  Not wanting to cause undue stress on our lives or hear many bitter opinions as why is was not a great idea. Unfortunately, the best laid plans of “man” are not the same plans God has for our lives. Within two months of being remarried, Michael was diagnosed with colon cancer and knowing that it would be up to me to make any decisions if he wasn’t able to, telling all of our family became a priority.

Our parents weren’t really surprised and only wanted what was best for our family. The older daughters were more agitated about not being invited, than not knowing. Our siblings had quite different opinions, but because siblings love you no matter what, everyone dealt with it.

After the diagnosis, we prayed harder, enlisted prayer warriors, cried, worried, and then I said something to the effect, “If the Lord wanted us to be back together, than he will carry us through this and whatever is necessary, we will do together.”  Part of living out your faith in Jesus, is “living” it out, not just saying you have faith and then when something comes along that takes your breath away, sink into a pit of despair and not do anything.

I am pleased to say, my husband is a cancer survivor. He had a major part of his colon removed in 2008, but never required any type of Chemo or Radiation treatments. Praise God!  That moment in time, strengthened his faith in Jesus. He was so overwhelmed that God would answer the prayers for  the surgeons to get it all and he wouldn’t have to have treatments, just yearly checkups.  His first words upon hearing, they had gotten it all and the lymph nodes looked good, was I can’t believe Jesus loves me this much! Tears of joy were shed that day.  Tears of thankfulness to a Faithful Savior that is always there.

In the past 8 years, we have had many tests as husband and wife, but the difference now, versus the previous 2, is that we have God at the center of us. God has taught us what mercy and grace are all about. He has taught us what it means to truly love one another .

Mike, used to get upset with me when I would share our testimony with others, always saying it was in the past and that’s where it needs to stay.  For me, sharing Jesus and what he has done in my life and how far he has brought me, are part of my story.  It took a while for that to be okay with Mike. We have two totally different perspectives. Mine is if I have gone through something and learned from it, healed from it, or grown from it, than when the time is right, I need to share with those that need to see how the Lord works in my life. Mike’s perspective has always been, it’s no one’s business, my life is my life and I like to be private. If people like me, they like me for who I am now, not who I used to be.

It became a major topic for a long time, until he realized that everything he has been through in his life, has made him the person he is today and when he stops and thinks about it, he also realizes that Jesus was and will always be with him.

2 Corinthians 1:4 New Living Translation (NLT)

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

Being married means you have to be able to love and accept all the quirks and flaws you perceive your husband/wife to have. You have to be able to realize that there will be many valleys and mountains to climb, that not all days will be smooth sailing, but that God will direct the sails if you trust him.

We continue to  attend church together  and are involved in the Women’s and Men’s ministries and continue to grow in the Lord. Being married is work, hard work, but well worth it when you finally realize that God has to come first or nothing will work right in your lives.  God has plans for all of our lives.  And he will use any mess, any mistake, anything that is not of him and he will use it for good according to his purpose and his plan.

I look back on the past 23 years of knowing Michael and I can say without a doubt that God has grown both of us and stretched our faith in many challenging times, but in the end grace always wins.

Remember that Jesus Loves You! No matter what you are facing or where you are in your life right now, He is always just a prayer away.

Blessings to you,

Carlene

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Mike and Carlene -Married June 9, 2008

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Life Transformation

The transformation in my heart has taken many years to get to where it is now.  I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior at the young age of 11, that was over 40 years ago.  Learning to be like Christ and stay in step with him has not always been easy.  There are many influences of the world, and temptations that we face, that can test us and those tests help
love-1221444_640to refine us and transform us into the person we were created to be. As a child, I faced the cruelties of the world because I was larger than most kids my own age and I felt awkward and invisible, as if no one cared if I was there or not and I wasn’t a pretty, preppy girl who had it all together.  Those were lies from the devil and for a long time I believed that beauty was all about how pretty your hair was, if your skin was flawless and then I came to learn through parents, teachers and most of all the Word of God that inner beauty , the shape that your heart is in, is more important than the package you present on the outside. I was taught by my parents in the way they modeled love and compassion that true beauty comes from putting others above yourself and your needs.  Helping others in need, by sharing your resources or just giving your time to another, is a beauty that no amount of makeup or stylish clothes can create.

Transformations comes in all forms. For some it may be a transformation in the way they look, eating healthier, exercising more, learning to love themselves so they can reach out and love others.  For others it may be, sharing their knowledge and increasing value in someone’s life.  There are many “fixer upper” shows on television where people take run down, dilapidated houses and transform them into beautiful, beyond words homes. A house is just a building, but a home is where love can grow. A safe haven.

Your heart is like that too.  Your heart can be so full of bitterness, anger, misunderstandings and emotions from sadness to loneliness, but when you decide to follow Jesus, repent of your sins and accept him as your Lord and Savior, there is a tremendous transformation that takes place in your heart. You have this extravagant love that pours over you, you can’t explain it, but it is an all encompassing love and there is nothing you can do to earn it, not one thing. He gives freely. Jesus becomes your guide in all you do.  Study his Word (Holy Bible), speak it, spend time with others that love him as much as you do and pray to God and speak with him daily.

As a person with a chronic illness for which there is no cure, it would be easy for me to sink into a dark hole of depression and say why me? Instead, I choose to focus on how Jesus is changing me daily and I am learning to walk in peace. I don’t have all the answers, but I know he has a plan for me and I choose to trust him.

Every person that goes through a transforming moment in their lives plays a role.  We all have choices we make every day.  Some choices bring rewards and some bring disaster. Part of having the good transformation in our lives, is the willingness to change on some points. If you have always done things the same way and the results are less than what you want, it may be time to change it up a little bit and try new ways of accomplishing what you want.  Just because you think that your way is best, doesn’t necessarily mean it is. Looking at someone else’s point of view, may just be what you need.

Jesus can take any mess-dangerous addictions-bad attitudes-grief filled lives and turn them into messages of hope. He was in the miracle business thousands of years ago and he still is today.  He loves you.  You don’t have to be all cleaned up to seek him. Reach out to him, right where you are and know that you matter, you are his child. He created you and he just wants to have a relationship with you.  He loves sharing in your joys and celebrations, but he also wants to share in your sorrows and times when life seems to be too much to handle. He is always available for you.  There is darkness in the world, but light always penetrates darkness. Let Jesus be your guiding light and you will be so amazed and how he can transform you, your life and everything in it.

Many blessings to all of you!
Transformation
 

 

 

 

Where to start?

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This morning as I strolled down the stairs, into the front room of the house, dimly lit by the streetlamps outside, I was confronted with tiny little legos, scattered amidst magnetic wooden puzzle pieces and books that look like there was an avalanche in the toddler department and I am sure there was. Mr. T. as I will call him. He’s our grandson. He’s an energetic, high-strung two year old.  He loves all of his toys and he carries them from room to room.  And books galore. Every kind of book you can imagine. Board books, musical books, Dr. Seuss (those are out of reach because they have actual pages that he can tear), several Children’s Bible’s, touch books with different textures, the list goes on and on.  He won’t sit still long enough to read him any book, except one, but he loves flipping through the pages and looking at the pictures.  And because all of these things bring him so much joy, I can’t be mad that I stepped on that pointed little lego or almost tripped over the mound of books.  I can only stand in the doorway and think of how blessed I am.

Yesterday, I was quite overwhelmed sitting in my kitchen looking at all the clutter around me.  I am still trying to adjust to not working. If I had retired at retirement age, I might be more settled, had time to ease into this, but retiring early for health reasons, puts a whole new spin on things. What I can’t understand is where did all this stuff come from? When did it appear? Has it always been here and I was so busy and tired from working that I didn’t notice?  Obviously, that is the case. I haven’t seen any strange people coming in dumping their stuff in my home-except for the strange people I live with-my family.

Listen to my prayer, O God. Do not ignore my cry for help! Please listen and answer me, for I am overwhelmed by my troubles. – Psalm 55:1-2 NLT

There are so many things that need to be removed from here…..boxes still sitting in a storage room of the house from when we moved in here, over 5 years ago…and then on top of all the chaos, as I call it, there’s Mr. T.  He tries to be helpful, but his idea of helping and mine, don’t quite line up. He tries to help me fold the laundry, but after I have painstakingly folded nearly 5-6 baskets of clothing, he pulls them out, onto the table and does his own folding and then tosses them in the basket.  (insert long sigh here)

Our dust has dust.  Pet fur seems to follow me everywhere I go in the house, no amount of dusting, sweeping and mopping seems to help.  Dishes are never ending and sometimes I feel like I have traded my full time paid job for a full time job with no pay.

But then the most amazing thing happened to cheer me up. Mr. T. toddled his way over to me, outstretched his arms to be picked up and gave me a hug and a kiss. And that is when I was reminded that stuff is just stuff and dust will always be around, unless you live in a sterile environment.

Jesus used Mr. T. to remind me that life is about being happy and content with where you are at the moment. Loving others. Finding the silver lining in every moment that you feel down and discouraged and overwhelmed to the point you can’t even explain how overwhelmed you are-not to yourself or anyone else for that matter.  When the end comes, you won’t be able to take anything with you, so why fret so much about it now.

It is so easy to get caught up in the world and forget about what is truly important. Loving Jesus and Loving others. Showing mercy and grace. And remembering that I am not Ms. Perfect, nor will I ever be.

 

Yesterday God’s timing was perfect to put my heart back in the right operating mode. If I am to be like Jesus, I have to be willing to extend mercy when I really want to be angry about the messes that keep piling up. I have to be willing to remember that all of us fall short in many areas and we can keep tabs of what people do and say to us or we can show grace and forgive one another.  I am choosing mercy and grace and I know that when I start getting that “overwhelming” feeling again, God will convict me and correct me in the loving manner he always does.

For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness.No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening-it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way. – Hebrews 12:10-11 NLT

©Jesuslovemercyandme.com20160531_211609 (2)Mr. T

Jesus Loves ♥ You! Blessings and thanks for stopping by,

Carlene

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reaching Out

connect-316638_640Connected In order to be connected to anything, you have to reach out to someone at some point. We were not created to be disconnected humans, with no emotions or thoughts. We were created to love one another and be a light in this dark world.

Making connections, whether personally or professionally, takes courage-at times, determination and persistence. If you are a person that never meets a stranger; you are able to strike up a conversation in a line at the local store and can talk with ease with anyone, than it is most likely, easy for you to make connections.  However, if you are introverted or very shy, or you might suffer from social anxiety as my youngest daughter does, than doing simple every day tasks, such as going to your job or school, may be a little daunting.

Trying to make the right connections, is like trying to put a puzzle together, but you aren’t privy enough to have all the pieces.  That’s where connections comes in.  Depending on what you are searching for, connections and getting connected are easier today than they have ever been.  With all the social media and social networking sites, blogs, online articles and search engines, it seems much easier than days gone by of the U.S. Postal Service, now commonly referred to as “snail mail”.  Although, there are times when I delight to find a card or note in the mail from a dear friend, that still values taking the time to pen a letter; that’s truly being connected.

My favorite community of all, where I thrive and truly feel like my pieces fit, is with my church family.  I can be who I am – don’t have to put on airs or pretend to be someone I am not and they accept me with all my faults and flaws. All of us, and I don’t care who you are, need others. Being connected through family, we learn past history. Being part of a bigger group of people, we learn teamwork.

If you have a technical problem, mostly likely you will have to reach out to a support team. They will guide you through the troubleshooting process or repair process and help you fix your problem. If you have a spiritual problem, you only need to reach out to Jesus.  If you are having problems connecting or getting connected, reach out to friends, a school counselor, a doctor, a pastor, but always talk with Jesus first.

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He wants so much for his children to get “connected” to him. He wants you to know that you are loved. He wants you to know that no matter where you are in this journey called life, He is always available. He can turn any mess into a message of hope.

It is my prayer, that all your pieces fit together.  Many blessings!

 

 

 

 

Different Sheepfolds

THE RIVER WALK

Trinity Church edit

I have other sheep, too, that are not in this sheepfold. I must bring them also.
They will listen to my voice, and there will be one flock with one shepherd. (John 10:16)

Read: 2 Kings 19:1-37, 2 Chronicles 32:24-31, Isaiah 37:1-38

Relate: “What religion are you?” I get that question a lot when talking to people. My immediate answer is always, “I’m Christian.” There is nothing more annoying than hearing over and over “I don’t have a religion. I have a relationship.” One of these days I am going to respond to that, “No, you have an identity crisis.” The Bible describes religion as caring for the needy in their distress and keeping oneself from being defiled by the world. Mr Webster defines religion as: 1. the service and worship of God, 2. a personal set of religious attitudes, beliefs and practices, 3. commitment or devotion to religious faith…

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Sorry for the Confusion

UPDATE(06/08/2016)

I have successfully merged both blogs into one blog now.  All my content will now be found @jesuslovemercyandme.com (jesuslovemercyandme.wordpress.com).

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On my other Word Press account (gr8mom65.wordpress.com), My Title Page is Jesus, Love, Mercy & Me-His Grace is enough.

Originally, I had thought about leaving Word Press and trying out other website creator sites that would give me more freedom in designing my layout and such, but after several attempts at other sites, I have determined that Word Press works the best for me.  Now the one thing I haven’t quite figured out yet is how to merge my two accounts into one seamless site.

Such as it is, you will see an Archive box at the bottom of the post for this new page that you are on now (jesuslovemercyandme.wordpress.com) and you will also see blog post links in the bottom right hand corner from Jesus, Love, Mercy  & Me.

Although the Customizer and Editor options are fairly flawless to use, my brain has a difficult time processing some of the information.  As I learn how to do more on this site, I will work on merging the two accounts into one.

I would really like to thank all of you that have followed my blog on gr8mom65 site since 2014 and I look forward to making new friends here as well.

Jesus Loves You! Blessings to you today!

 

 

 

 

Stages

All of us go through various stages in our lives. We start out as babies, move on to toddling, creep into adolescence and teen-dom (also known as the I know everything stage), jump feet first into a new world as an adult and at some point, if we’re lucky, we become empty nesters.

 

Then there are stages of employment: probationary period; part-time or full time employee; clerk; sales associate; customer service representative; manager; executive; administrator; CEO. (And too many more to list).

And the one thing all of these stages have in common is God knows exactly what each of us will face in our various stage of life. He knows what obstacles we will face, what successes we will have, because we are all part of His grand plan.  He promises us in His Word that he has plans for all of us. Plans not to harm us, but to prosper us and give us hope and a future.  (see Jeremiah 29:11)

It becomes a little tricky for us though, if we don’t follow His lead. If we go out on our own, without His protecting and Spirit, we are much like a sandstorm billowing out of control

We need to be in the Word of God daily, pray to Him, seek his guidance and wisdom and the biggest test is we have to trust him.

God will never take you on a journey, without equipping you to face the stages along the way.

Romans 8:31 New International Version (NIV)

31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us,who can be against us?

Jesus Loves You! Blessings to you today!

 

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