Friday, February 22, 2013

My Road to Recovery Leads to My Testimony ♥

my dark days ended when I chose to surrender and follow the cross to the light

October 3rd, 2012, was the day I recommitted my life to Christ. It was the day I choose the road to recovery and to press forward regardless of my circumstances. It was a warm evening as I ran the neighborhood streets, listening to my favorite praise songs when tears began to roll down my cheeks.  I was filled with heaviness when I said aloud, "Okay, God I surrender to you. Tell me what you want me to do.  Speak to me and I will obey." After speaking those words, that heaviness turned into peace.

A month earlier I committed to a 12-Step Life Recovery Program with a friend. Little did I know that I would be recovering from 39 years of past hurts. 

I accepted Christ in my life when I was in 5th grade.  From that time, until about age 16 I had what I would call, seasons of deep and intense closeness with God. In those seasons, I involved myself in Christian relationships and was heavily engaged in my church youth group.  I was baptized as a freshman in high school, alongside my mother and brother.  I attended several mission trips with our high school group which included a memorable trip to Mexico.  On that trip, in addition to sharing the Word of God, our youth group built a Sunday school classroom for the small village we were visiting.   

Nevertheless, during those years I was challenged with the evils of the world, and was faced with several hardships and considerable losses. I had been trying to cope with the divorce of my parents; experienced my first death (my uncle); was sexually abused by a family member and his friend; was faced with the sudden death of my father shortly after I turned 14; encountered my first sexual experience and then a month was dumped by that boyfriend; experiencing my first heartbreak.  This resulted in a suicide attempt through an overdose of pills. I stole my brothers car, but also was caught doing so by my mother. The outcome of that incident turned into a physical altercation between her and I. That day I moved out and went to live with a high school friend for about a month. My boyfriend (the father of my two sons) was caught jumping out of my bedroom window one night; the following day I left home with him for a week. During those years, I experimented with drugs and alcohol which lead to many more bad decisions (fights with girls, lying, sneaking around, poor grades, and a lot of emotional damage.)  It's apparent how much I hurt those closest to me, but even more so, I hurt myself to the point that the repercussions of  my choices effected me some 20 years later.  

At 17, I became pregnant, having my first son when I was a senior in high school.  I had my second son at 21 and my daughter at 24.  After several failed relationships, the last two being the father of my two sons, and the father of my daughter, I pretty much gave up on love even though that is what I desired most. 

I continued to drink and use drugs which led to a painful promiscuous lifestyle; one filled with pseudo love, emptiness and sadness.  It was a lifestyle I wouldn't wish upon anyone, one that I am not proud of, but I own it and feel it's necessary to share with others because I see so many young girls and women going down that same path seeking love in this way.  It is not the answer.

Sex does not equate to Love.  Love comes from being fulfilled through God.

I never understood this until just recently when I grasped that, only through Jesus Christ can I experience unconditional and authentic love.  This is through the ultimate sacrifice God gave to us.  He gave his Son, Jesus Christ to us, to die on the cross for all of our sins so that we can restore our relationship with him. Because of this, He promises those who believe in him and receive him, eternal life and his unconditional love. Because we are human, and live in a fallen world, no single person can complete what we need to be whole; only through our Lord Jesus Christ can we receive that.

 Being a believer in Christ, doesn't exempt me from the evils, hardships, failures, losses or temptations of this earth. What is does promise is a life full of Love, Grace, Hope, Forgiveness, and Eternal Life.  

I believe that each circumstance in my life has been perfectly designed by God's hand. Often when things go wrong in life, we complain how unfair life is or question what type of God could allow such unpleasant events to occur in our lives. I find it ironic how frequently we blame God when bad things occur in life yet, often we often fail to give him praise when good things happen. God has a plan for your current circumstances and the world may do things to you with the intent of evil, but God will always find a way to use it to bring about good.

Today, when I question or have a hard time understanding the purpose of what is happening in my life, I try to approach it in a new manner.  Instead of asking, "Why Me?" I ask, "What can I learn from this and what is God's agenda in this specific experience?"  By doing so, the unbearable becomes bearable.

It's pretty clear that even though I accepted Christ at a young age, most of my life, I didn't live according to how Christians would be expected to.  I was neither an example to my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ or to those who didn't believe in Christ. Throghout my twenties and thirties, I lived a very sinful life, full of lies, self-deception, alcohol consumption, drug use, sexual promiscuity, pride and envy.  I was extremely self-centered.  I put a smile on each day, but deep down inside I was drowning in sadness.  Don't get me wrong, my whole life wasn't miserable, but it was filled with a lot of confusion, poor choices and dissatisfaction, when really all I longed for, all any of us long for is to be loved.  Unfortunately, I did whatever I could to attain it, even at the expense of my children, family, friends, and my relationship with Christ.

In reading the book by Chip Ingram, titled, "Sex, Love and Lasting Relationships"  he describes two prescriptions for love.  The first is the "Hollywood Formula" and the second is "God's Prescription."  All of my relationships have been that of the "Hollywood Formula."  To be completely honest, following God's prescription is far less painful and is how we should strive to love another human being. And in doing so, you grow closer to God and allow him to work in and through you. As this book is written in the context of relationships between men and women, I've found that I can relate a lot of it's content to all my relationships. 

My walk back to Christ has been in the works for some time.  Almost 3 years ago, God removed me from an extremely toxic and co-dependent relationship. Part of my 12 Step Life Recovery Program is healing from this relationship, along with my other past hurts.  The choice's I've made over the last decade and earlier in life, have caused more heartache than happiness which have created long-term emotional damage that has been very difficult to overcome.  
Other than my inability to trust (mainly men), my two biggest obstacles in this journey to Life Recovery have been the struggles I encounter with allowing myself to feel worthy and loved.  I find that funny since love is what I desire so deeply.

Reflecting on my life before recommitting my life to Christ it's a good reminder of what it's like to do life on your own, apart from Him. It's definielty not a life I'd like to relive. Thinking back, here is the best descriptive illustration I can give:

I'm aimlessly walking in a desert, looking around in every direction but never finding a clear path to take. The endless space I was surrounded by represents the emptiness in my life.  Always feeling a constant sense of being overwhelmed, as if I was drowning in my emotions and feelings; defeated without the strength to endure any more that life had to offer, like a ship at sea without a compass, I was lost without a clear direction of which way to go.  I found that I would do things, but not have a purpose in why I did them. I gave the false appearance that life was great as each morning I put on my smile and forced myself to function like a robot, but internally I was screaming for the falseness to end. 

In the last year, before God intervened in my life, I had became so depressed I often had thoughts of suicide.  Each night I would sit outside in my car and drink just enough to numb the pain I was feeling.  I convinced myself that I needed to do this, just so that I could deal with whatever and whoever awaited for me inside my home. When I hit rock bottom, consumed with self-pity, I had no where left to look but UP. I am blessed to have a Savior full of grace who heard my cry for help. A God who rescues. 

As I will soon begin Step 6 in my recovery, I accept there will be challenges that will test my faith, but I also know that the path I am taking is lit by the Eternal Light of Jesus Christ. Through the many additional resources God has placed before me, (The books, "The Purpose Driven Life", "Humility", "Spiritual Simplicity") along with the people in my life who will keep me accountable, and the Body of Christ I'm connected to,  I'm more than excited to do God's work.  Obedience is no longer an option for me anymore, it is the way I desire to live life.  

In the book, "The Purpose Drive Life" is states, "God teaches you real joy in the midst of sorrow, when we turn to him."  This quote affirms how I can find joy in each moment in my life and how  that each moment is full of something substantial. It's molded me with the characteristics of who I am today. My misfortunes will allow me to be of service to others who may struggle in the same way as I have.  God may use me to give others hope, and in return I hope to give others the opportunity to know God.

I still find myself battling feelings of mistrust, unworthiness and feeling unlovable.  This is because we live in a fallen world, but through God's grace, love, wisdom, patience, strength and forgiveness, I trust and have faith I will endure whatever is placed in my path.
I would like to end my testimony with a recent experience I encountered a couple months ago.  It was a clearly defined message from God.  He wants nothing but the best for each of us.  This story was without a doubt, a turning point of my complete surrender to Him. 

~ It was a Saturday morning and I was sitting at Starbucks, finishing Step 4 - "We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves." This was probably my hardest step to date, and I procrastinated completing it because it brought up a lot of skeletons and really forced me to take a good look at my life, and be completely honest with myself.  And even though, back in October I surrendered and recommitted my life to Christ, it didn't mean I was absolved of all the temptations of the world. Growth and change is difficult.  

The two and a half year relationship I was in, followed the prescription of the "Hollywood Formula" and I struggled tremendously in it. The biggest battle I found myself with was the living situation between the two of us.  He would sleep over about 3-4 times a week.  Each time he did, I would feel extreme guilt and this was creating mood swings and resentments toward him.  Eventually, I would find reasons to become angry and annoyed. I'm not sure when it occurred but eventually I realized my living situation was hindering my growth in Christ.  I was living a hypocritical lifestyle and if I was to become truly and faithfully obedient to God as I promised, I needed to end the living arrangement I was in.  

As I sat there, surrounded by strangers, tears began to fill my eyes and my heart felt broken. I text my 12 Step partner with the question, "Is it wrong to live together, share the same bed, even though we've made the decision not to have sex with one another?"  Before she could even reply to my text, I came upon the below passage in my workbook as the end of Step 4:

In Psalm 119:29, the writer pleads with God: “Keep me from lying to myself.”  If we never stop to observe and take note of our patterns from the past, and our defective and deficient ways of coping with the present, we cosign ourselves by default to another day of self-deception.  The inventory, when complied with honesty and diligence, is the beginning of facing the truth about our needs to grow in character and maturity.

I quickly turned my bible to the passage and continued reading the verse ~

Psalm 119:25-40


25 I lie in the dust;
    revive me by your word.
26 I told you my plans, and you answered.
    Now teach me your decrees.
27 Help me understand the meaning of your commandments,
    and I will meditate on your wonderful deeds.
28 I weep with sorrow;
    encourage me by your word.
29 Keep me from lying to myself;
    give me the privilege of knowing your instructions.

30 I have chosen to be faithful;
    I have determined to live by your regulations.
31 I cling to your laws.
    Lord, don’t let me be put to shame!
32 I will pursue your commands,
    for you expand my understanding.


33 Teach me your decrees, O Lord;
    I will keep them to the end.
34 Give me understanding and I will obey your instructions;
    I will put them into practice with all my heart.
35 Make me walk along the path of your commands,
    for that is where my happiness is found.
36 Give me an eagerness for your laws
    rather than a love for money!
37 Turn my eyes from worthless things,
    and give me life through your word.
38 Reassure me of your promise,
    made to those who fear you.
39 Help me abandon my shameful ways;
    for your regulations are good.
40 I long to obey your commandments!
    Renew my life with your goodness.

At the same time,  I also had been "googling" questions like, "Is it wrong to live together before you are married according to God, even if you are not having sex." 

Immediately after reading the above verse, I came across the following site by  His message below was undeniably the Word of God, in conjunction with the Psalm verse I had just read.  His article read:

This is the third post in a series on living together before marriage. The first post presented statistics which demonstrate a high correlation between living together before marriage and undesirable outcomes. The second post presented various Scriptures which prohibit living together before marriage.
Many of the Bible verses in the second post assumed that couples who live together are also sexually involved. That is usually a fair assumption, but what about those rarer cases where a couple lives together but is not sexually active? Is it okay for a couple to live together if they don’t have sex? For example, how about the couple that moves in together for financial reasons but chooses to abstain from sex until marriage?
Well, I would applaud the decision to abstain sexually until marriage, but there are still good reasons not to live together before marriage. Let me share with you three.

  1. The first has to do with temptation. Let’s face it: living together, sharing a house, or sharing a bed is not the best way to fight temptation. If you are truly serious about saving sex for marriage, the last thing you should do is move in with the person whom you love and to whom you are sexually attracted. When you live together before marriage, you open yourself up for temptation.
  2. Secondly there is the matter of your testimony. The Bible says we should avoid even the appearance of evil. (Ephesians 5:3; 1 Thessalonians 5:22) How does your decision to live together affect those around you? What kind of an example does it set for younger people who are watching? How will people view your relationship who do not know about your commitment to abstain sexually? Our testimony affects how people view Christ and the church. Many have rejected Christianity because they do not see people living it out. Living together presents a poor testimony for Christ and his church.
  3. And thirdly there is the matter of trivialization. Living together trivializes marriage by taking away from the uniqueness of marriage. Living together pretends to be marriage, but it is not the same thing. It is really a mockery of marriage and therefore dishonors marriage. This goes against Hebrews 13:4 which says: “Let marriage be honored by all.” I think it’s sad when a couple who lives together and finally gets married says, “It’s not that different.” They have lost out on part of the joy and uniqueness of the marriage relationship which God intended for them.
After reading these posts, someone might ask, "What if we already lived together before marriage?"  Is it too late for us? Is there anything we can do to make it right?” That will be the subject of the next and final post in the series.

The day I came across these verses, read this article and completed Step 4 was when I knew I would not walk this journey alone.  God would be with me - ALWAYS. This was a true testament of God's power and how He speaks to us when we cry out for clarity and wisdom. 

These are what I call "God's Little Miracles." If I allow Him , He will direct me in the path He has chosen for me He will provide the "authentic" love I look for in my partner, but I must commit to do his work and take daily steps of faith.

Each day I begin my day with surrendering to God because I will struggle with issues of insecurity, pride, fear, co-dependency, and many more, but with God as the focal point in my life, with my desire to become like Christ and allowing the Holy Spirit to fill me with the goodness of all of God's gifts and blessings, I stand firm in my willingness to serve Him, according to His will, not mine.  My journey in this life, prepares me for my eternal life in His Kingdom. 

What about you?  Do you believe that no matter what is placed in your path, with Jesus Christ in your life you will never be alone?  He loves you no matter what your past looks like, it does not define you. If you want a life filled with unconditional love, grace, forgiveness and the blessings God has in store for you, all you have to do is believe it and receive it.  If you want this then say this prayer:

"Dear Jesus, I am a sinner.  Please forgive me for all I have done.  I ask that you come into my life and help me live according to your ways.  Lord, because of your grace, and the faith I have in who you are and what you did for me, I ask that this day forward you guide me to live according to your truth. I pray this in your name, Amen." 

My Road to Recovery Leads to My Testimony ♥  Tyza


Thursday, February 14, 2013

Romans 12 ..... Goal Oriented

Happy Love Day The Best Gift to Give Myself!

When I first started attending Venture Christian Church in Los Gatos during the later part of 2012, I continuously heard Pastor Chip and Pastor Tim talk about becoming R12 Christians.

I was confused, thinking what is that?  I didn't really look into what it meant at the time, and until I heard a sermon online did I understand what they were referring to.

Let me skip ahead to the present.........

I've been on a 40 day reading plan with the book, The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren.  In the book it states, "If you don't have any Bible verses memorized, you've got no bullets in your gun. I challenge you to memorize one verse a week for the rest of your life." (I set my goal to begin with 365 Days) The chapter I had been reading was referencing temptation, Day 27 of the book - Defeating Temptation.  I realized that I knew nothing by memorization, and needed to arm myself with God's Word against Satan and the evils of this world so when I'm tempted I will be able to do as Jesus did, counter by quoting Scripture.

Days after reading that, I had made a trip to the local CVS store to pick up a wire bound index card book to write down the verses I choose to memorize to begin this journey.  This was no accident.

Currently, I am attending a Bible College Class.  I had missed the previous week and wasn't aware of a homework assignment that was due until a classmate mentioned "homework."  The assignment was to (1) choose an attainable goal and (2) list secondary goals to help attain the original goal. God's timing was PERFECT!  

Now back to becoming an R12 Christian - Below is what I am striving to become outlined from my church's web site and with this assignment of "goals" and the commitment to memorize a bible verse a week for the next 365 days, why not memorize the Book of Romans first!

What is an “r12″ Christian?
Being a genuine disciple of Christ flows out of a relationship with Him. It’s about experiencing God’s grace, not earning His love through performance. A real relationship with Jesus Christ will produce a follower whose life looks progressively more like His life. Romans 12 provides a relational profile of an authentic disciple: someone who is surrendered to God, separate from the world’s values, sober in self-assessment, serving in love and supernaturally responds to evil with good. Christians who live out this kind of lifestyle are what we call r12 Christians. God is willing to go deeper and grow you into a real disciple… are you ready?

Romans 12

A Living Sacrifice

1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Humble Service in the Body of Christ

3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. 4For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function,5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; 7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.

Love in Action

9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 On the contrary:
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”

21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

So for the next 52 weeks I've committed to myself and GOD to memorize His Word beginning with the Book of Romans 12.  I'm certain this journey will turn into a lifetime goal because I will always need the power of God's Word in my life. 
In faith I walk and ask God for the gift of a strong memory as I begin my first week of memorizing Romans 12. I'm excited to see God's work in and through me!   

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

With God Leading.......

As I continue in life, more than anything I want to be love; express it, show it, give it, become it. Every day I must work at it, practice it. When I'm hurt, offended, put in difficult situations or tested to trust God I have to remind myself that he places all of these before me, and trust he knows what is "best" for me.  

As I grow in Christ, my personal relationships are faced with new challenges as well.  Recently I shared what I desire my partner (spouse to be) to possessnot only my requirements, but God's.


♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥ 

I will wait until God places this person in my life. In doing so we both will be serving and honoring a merciful and loving God. Together we will build a strong and genuine relationship as it was meant to be - in REAL AUTHENTIC love, not FALSE love.

  • A man who loves God above all. In putting God first and allowing him to be enough to suffice his every need, desire and want he will be fulfilled and know that no matter what is placed in his life, is a gift from God.

  • A man of integrity. A man who goes against the pull of outside elements. A man who asks Jesus Christ for guidance. A man who is willing to live by values and ethics. A man who isn't ashamed to share the truth of who Jesus Christ is.

  • A man who will love my family as his own. A man who will do what a father would for his own child with complete and unconditional love.

  • A man who is authentic, honest and truthful. A man who will communicate in the most difficult times and a man who will listen with an open heart and a non-judgmental view.

  • A man who will lead me, love me, help me, protect me, defend me, adore me, support me and provide for me and my children according to the ways of the truth; Gods truth.

  • A man who builds a strong and loving Christ based home with everyone within it as Christ being the focus and foundation.

  • A man who will take the initiative in things of importance and relevance in a loving, respectful and caring manner.

  • A man who will seek answers from outside sources (church, bible, pastor, etc.) if he can not find the answers to something or he can't find a solution to.

  • A man who is willing to understand that everything can't be fixed. That GOD is controls what happens in our lives and our household.
  • A man who will promise that when we unite as one it WILL be as God intended it to be❤

And when I look at this man I will KNOW that he is a man of God through his actions and his lips. He will display his love for God before anything else and he will not be ashamed of what he stands for in Christ.

Love and focused attention ~

 Look at me when I talk to you!


Look at me when I talk to you.

Our interpretation of this statement is our choice.

I recall a time when my parents, a teacher, counselor, sibling or partner have said those words to me.  I also remember how I've said those words to others. I'm sure at the time it was said I was in trouble, seemed like I didn't care much of what was being said or it may have been a time I needed to correct my children or really needed to convey something of importance to another person.

We typically view those words as the other person trying to "control" the situation, and on the flip side I'm sure the person I was speaking to felt like I was trying to control them. What we must remember is that "How you say it is as important as what you say."

Could it be that what we really are asking for in that moment, is undivided attention - focused attention?

In my journey into discovering what LOVE is all about, I've learned a humbling thing.  I must learn to give "FOCUSED" attention to those when they speak to me, especially when conflict or correction are involved. Is it hard?  YES!  Do we become defensive? ABSOLUTELY! Can it be done? YOU BET!

Giving focused attention, we do as God does, which is LOVE!

When we give focused attention we show love. When we give that attention so deeply to where we no longer think about ourselves, but the other person, that is love. Focused attention toward another tells them, they are important, what is being said is important and more importantly that you are listening to them.  You don't need to agree with what is being said, but with focused attention you show compassion, understanding and grace; you are becoming more like Christ. When you focus on another, giving them what they need, you are focusing on God!

Focused attention means to giving your undivided attention to the that person, and in doing so you become love.

Put away the cell phone, stop looking around the room, turn the TV off, put the paper down, close your book, put your pen down, stop typing on the computer - Look the person in the eye. Squat down to look at your child.  How many times have our children said, "But your not listening!" when all they want to do is share something with us, but we are are too preoccupied with trying to watch the football game, work, texting or watching our favorite TV show?

If children desire to feel loved by our focused attention, don't you think others do as well?  Give them the time, because it shows love. Time is something we will never get back, so when we sacrifice it, it speaks loudly. It says, "I love you enough to sacrifice a part of me for you."

"Love means giving up - yielding your preferences, comfort, or time for the benefit for someone else. We can give without loving, but we can not LOVE without giving." ~ Rick Warren

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

It begins with a desire..........

My current “12 Step Life Recovery Program” and readings from “The Purpose Driven Life” ignited my desire to grow closer, obedient and Christ-like.  The last three years I began aligning myself with Jesus by removing things that created distance.  In October progressing in my 12 step I struggled with the subject of living together. To have this answered truthfully, stewed inside me.  

I dream of an authentic relationship with Christ. I prayed for clarity about the topic.  Continuing my 12 step and reading about my purpose in life, guilt would engulf me each time my boyfriend slept over. So, “Why would God provide answers now?” I was reminded of his grace and love from a friend, helping me maintain focus.
One evening while running, listening to praise music, I said, “God, I surrender to you. Speak to me and I will obey." I signed the deed.  As tears flowed from my eyes, a burden lifted and I was filled with peace.  Assuming God would give me the words to immediately tell my boyfriend my intentions not to live together, the opposite occurred. I struggled with how to share my decision, and for weeks God was silent.  The deeper into my 12 Step, the more difficulties I faced. Feeling abandoned and angry, I battled old habits and temptations. But as David did, I continuously encouraged myself through the Lord with scripture, prayer and fellowship.  Satan continuously attacked, causing self-doubt. It felt like my desire to be obedient would never come to pass. I couldn’t find the courage to make a stand and speak up.  I felt defeated.

One afternoon, reading and praying for clarity to my question, “Is it a sin to live together?” I came upon Psalm 119:27-30 and the below passage: 

Cause me to understand the way of your precepts,
 that I may meditate on your wonderful deeds.
My soul is weary with sorrow;
 strengthen me according to your word.
Keep me from deceitful ways;
 be gracious to me and teach me your law.
I have chosen the way of faithfulness;
 I have set my heart on your laws.

“There is the matter of your testimony. The Bible says we should avoid even the appearance of evil. (Ephesians 5:3; 1 Thessalonians 5:22) How does your decision to live together affect those around you? Our testimony affects how people view Christ and the church. Living together presents a poor testimony for Christ and his church.”

God undeniably spoke. He granted strength, courage and words to share with my boyfriend the end to sin and a beginning to a Godly relationship.

Currently, I have an unshakable desire to work with youth’s. I desire to share God’s work through me. It’s never too late to obey his commands.  I dream of speaking to children and loving them as Christ would. When I question my capabilities, maturity or knowledge in the truth, I’m reminded though scripture and others that I am enriched and knowledgeable through God.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Even when God Looks away He is Love ♥ ~

If you want to know how much you matter to God, look at Christ with his arms outstretched on the cross, saying, "I love you this much! I'd rather die than live without you."

Unfortunately, we forget the cruel details of the agonizing sacrifice God made on our behalf.  Familiarity breeds complacency.  Even before his crucifixion, the Son of God was stripped naked, beaten until almost unrecognizable, whipped, scorned and mocked, crowned with thorns, and spit on contemptuously.  Abused and ridiculed by heartless men, he was treated worse than an animal.

Then, nearly unconscious from blood loss, he was forced to drag a cumbersome cross up a hill, was nailed to it , and left to die the slow, excruciating torture of death by crucifixion.  While his lifeblood drained out, hecklers stood by and shouted insults, making fun of his pain and challenging his claim to be God.

Next, as Jesus took all of mankinds' sin and guilt on himself, God looked away from that ugly sight, and Jesus cried out in total desperation, "My God, my God why have you forsaken me?" Jesus could have saved himself-but then he could not have saved you.

Words cannot describe the darkness of that moment.  Why did God allow and endure such ghastly, evil mistreatment? Why?  So you could be spared from eternity in hell, and so you could share in his glory forever!

Jesus gave up everything so you could have everything.  He died so you could live forever.  That alone is worthy of your continual thanks and praise. Never again should you wonder what you have to be thankful for. ~ The Purpose Driven Life, By Rick Warren

Glorious Day (Living He Loved Me)

Sometimes when you take the time to listen to a song, the lyrics that were carefully chosen to create that song share a story so perfectly clear, you can mentally visualize it.

Over the last few months I've been filling myself with the truth of God's Word. So yesterday morning, as I was driving to work, everything I've been reading, listening to and the personal journey I've been embarking on over these last months hit me at once, like a ton of bricks as I listened to the song "Glorious Day" by Casting Crowns.

I was reminded of the amazing LOVE and GRACE  Jesus has for us.  As the song reached the chorus, my eyes well up with tears and my heart fluttered as it was touched with something I have never experienced before - The Affirmation of Real Love - Genuine Love ♥

In that moment, I clearly understood the depth of what God sacrificed for me, so that I could live for eternity.  I've never felt a more "Authentic Love" than I did at that moment.

I give thanks and praise to such a loving, graceful and merciful God.  Thank you for sacrificing your Son so that I could share the joys of eternity with you and for making me part of your family. I humbly admit I need you. I ask that you fill me with the Holy Spirit each day so I can continue to trust whatever you place before me, remain faithful to your plans for my life and to surrender my life to you daily. The day of your return, will indeed be a "Glorious Day!"

One day when Heaven was filled with His praises
One day when sin was as black as could be
Jesus came forth to be born of a Virgin
Dwelt among men, my example is He

Word became flesh and the light shined among us
His glory revealed

Living He loved me, dying He saved me
And buried He carried my sins far away
Rising He justified freely forever
One day He's coming, oh, glorious day, oh, glorious day

One day they led Him up Calvary's mountain
One day they nailed Him to die on a tree
Suffering anguish, despised and rejected
Bearing our sins, my Redeemer is He

Hands that healed nations, stretched out on a tree
And took the nails for me

'Cause living He loved me, dying He saved me
And buried He carried my sins far away
Rising He justified freely forever
One day He's coming, oh, glorious day, oh, glorious day
One day the grave could conceal Him no longer
One day the stone rolled away from the door
Then He arose, over death He had conquered
Now He's ascended, my Lord evermore

Death could not hold Him
The grave could not keep Him from rising again

Living He loved me, dying He saved me
And buried He carried my sins far away
Rising He justified freely forever
One day He's coming, oh, glorious day, oh, glorious day
Glorious day

One day the trumpet will sound for His coming
One day the skies with His glories will shine
Wonderful day, my beloved one bringing
My Savior Jesus is mine

Living He loved me, dying He saved me
And buried He carried my sins far away
Rising He justified freely forever
One day He's coming, oh, glorious day, oh, glorious day
Glorious day, oh, glorious day

Friday, February 1, 2013

Time is a Gift ~

I had one prayer request, for my Tia to experience peace and to hear the truth about God's grace, love and promise of eternal life ♥ 

In texts and phone calls with my mother, she shared with me the following:
 ~ Just before I left, I asked Tia if she would like to accept the Lord as her Personal Savior and in her heart.  She had the oxygen connected to her, over her mouth and she nodded her head 'yes.'  When I asked her if she believed that Jesus Christ died on the cross for all sinners including her, she agreed, and nodded her head 'yes.' I held her hand and prayed, "Because you have accepted him, he promises you eternal life forever."  You will see mom and dad in heaven. It was beautiful. ~

 My prayer was answered.

God  granted me the gift of "time" Wednesday afternoon when I visited her, for it would be only hours before God would call her home. During my visit he offered me a sign that one day, her and I would be reunited.

When God speaks, He speaks LOUDLY ~ I had purchased my Tia flowers, and when I picked them up, all the buds were closed. When I arrived at her bedside I had placed the flowers on the back counter of the room.  Halfway through my visit I moved them to the window sill next to her bed. Tia slept my entire visit.  And although her breathing appeared labored, she looked peaceful in my eyes.  I believe this is how God intended me to see her.

I treasured my time with her as I sat on her bed, holding her hand, sharing stories about Tia with Matt and my Mom.  And during the entire stay, I kept praying to the Lord, in my mind and with my heart. As it came time to leave,  my eyes glanced at the flowers and I had noticed that one of the buds had opened.   I smiled and said, "It opened."  I don't think Matt or Mom knew what I meant or even if they heard, but I believe that this was God telling me, "Go in peace.  This life on earth is temporary.  Your Tia will have a new life, an eternal life, where no sickness will touch her body. She will be at my side."

I kissed her cheek softly and said goodbye.  I had wished to hear her call me "Cheena" one last time, but I reminded myself to be thankful for what God granted me thus far.  Amazingly my gracious God was not finished!  I did get to hear my Tia speak,  through my mom. The last few visits mom had with Tia she shared how Tia would ask her, "Where's my Cheena?" Each time mom repeats those words in the tone and manner in which my Tia speaks, I can hear her. She sounds exactly like her.  Although that night the Lord took his child home, my heart is filled with joy, knowing that we have such a loving Heavenly Father who died for each one of us and that if we believe and receive him, we will have eternal life when we leave this temporary home. 

My day transpired perfectly, because it was exactly how God planned it.  He fulfilled my prayer, my desire to see Tia one last time and comforted me when I learned she was no longer with us.

I must confess, that I almost didn't visit Tia that day because I thought work needed me more than I needed to be with her.  I thought I'd have time to see her over the weekend.  It took me to learn of another family's loss to put things in perspective and to remind myself of the following passage from the book, "The Purpose Driven Life" by Rick Warren:

"We need to show love by giving our time.  Because when we give someone our time, you are giving them a portion of your life that you'll never get back.  Your time is your life.  That is the greatest gift you can give someone.  Why is now the best time to express love? Because you don't know how long you will have the opportunity.  Circumstances change. People die. Children grow up. You have no guarantee of tomorrow. If you want to express love, you had better do it now."

I love you Tia Andy ~ I will always be your "Cheena" ~