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About me…..

I’m an author, artist, photographer, and creator of things fun, bright and full of hope. I love God’s word. He’s perfecting me day by day, hour by hour and minute by minute, and dare I say, moment by moment.

Days can be hard, and fun, all at the same time. It’s finding the balance that peace reigns. Hope shines so God gets the glory.

Welcome to DL Designs

Photos By Design, is my photography and artwork, which is displayed in this blog and my PBD website. http://www.dbpbd.com and my art store

Oiled by Design, is Young Living products, which I sell, and absolutely believe have changed my life for the good http://www.youngliving.org/rudd717

Vida Designs are artwork of mine, (and other artists) created onto clothing and household items. https://shopvida.com/collections/donna-rudd

For times like this

So, today is a monumental day. For many reasons.

I am going to take a little different writing approach, as I share today. 

Broken into Beautiful. 
From Mourning and Sadness into JOY. 

 

Just two weeks ago, we celebrated Easter; 

Our biggest celebration of LIFE – everlasting life because of what Jesus did for us. 
(if you are unaware of those details, PM me, and I’d be glad to share, otherwise, I do believe most know what Salvation is, and what Christ came to do for the WORLD). 

In my studying this morning, I was reading about Saul / Paul. A Jew that persecuted those who followed Jesus, was blinded for a few days. The Lord sent Ananias (who very well may have been afraid to confront Saul because of his distaste for the Lord and his followers, and was willingly ready to kill them). But God in his amazing and most wonderful might, power and knowledge, knew Saul would turn from his wicked ways and serve Christ with ZEAL as he was filled with the Holy Spirit. 

Paul suffered much; the scourging and persecution once he became vocal as he shared who Jesus was. 
God showed him what to do, what would happen, all for the sake of sharing HIS story with US today, through the Bible. Paul was a great example for us. 

The shadow of life bring darkness, but behind it all, there is LIGHT. Be the Light in a dark world

Imagine, scales fell off of Paul’s eyes after being blinded. A representation of the old turned to new. Scales like a fish skin, is what I imagine it to be like. maybe even similar to an eye that the cataract has gone bad. Take the old lens off, to put a new lens on. (Acts 9). 

Saul’s(Paul’s) conversion was huge when he left his worldly view point to serve the Living Christ. HUGE. The terrible things he did – murder, aggression, he was educated to the max, too smart for school, if you will.  
He was a fool. He admits to being a fool. He was simply bad to the bone. 

Yet, let’s take a moment to define foolish thinking in the worlds view, vs. being a fool for the Lord. (Yes, the Bible talks about bein’ a fool – quite a few times). Paul talks about his own life in Philippians 3:1-9, and 1 Tim. 1:12-17. When we place our trust and faith in our education to get us through life, or our spouse, family members, friends, or our job, type of home we live in, the brand of car and clothing we utilize – we loose. 

——> We are lost. The stuff we accomplished becomes prideful and boastful to ourselves to say ‘LOOK WHAT I HAVE DONE. look what I HAVE ACCOMPLISHED’… me me me mememememmemeemmemememememmemeME!!!!!! (insert shaking head). 

When we (and yes, it is OK to get a degree, have a nice house and things, as long as they are not our PURPOSE to define us, it is a fine line!); loosen those ‘things’ from your soul, and simply use them as a tool, too trust God with ALL our being, it is THEN faith grows. 

When we LIVE in God, his direction, are guided by HIS word, His love, and allow the Holy Spirit to guide us, then we GAIN the world. Because it does NOT have a hold on us. 
Because when we can loose our stuff to not hold us down, we become vulnerable. 

Let’s be honest, WHO LIKES being vulnerable? N.o.b.o.d.y.!!!!!!!

Paul began to BOAST in his weaknesses; guys and girls, WE ALLLLLLL HAVE WEAKNESSES!!!!!!!!!!! Yes we do.  
But, God! He tells us in the Scriptures, that through suffering, through trials, through the junk we live through, IF WE LET God HELP IS, we can boast of what HE DID IN us and through us. 
When we live through tough stuff, and we run into the wisdom and care of our Father, through Jesus and being guided by the Holy Spirit, we win. We become fools for Christ because the WORLD lives in an economy of achievement and goals. In spite of the shipwreck, stoning etc, Paul’s faith did not waiver. 
Get that —— HE DID NOT WAIVER – he boasted with ZEAL of all God did for him. It is not what we do, but what God does in and through us, God GETS THE GLORY for OTHERS TO SEE! 

In spite of the bad God turns the junk to GOOD! 

Praise God!!!!!!!!!!!

Folks, I come to you today, on this 23rd anniversary of the sudden death of my husband who was only 38 when he died from the affects of a drunk driver. 

The month of April is still a solemn one, yet a joyful one. yes, it can be both. It is both. 

It’s a time of reflection. Hope. Tears. Smiles. Happiness and remembrances of how God in his mercy did the same for me, as he did for SAUL-PAUL. 

Just like LIFE. 

Life has GOOD AND BAD. Ups and downs. Joy and sorrow. Difficulties and easiness. 

We are living in this time of Coronna virus. A new thing that happened – supposedly quickly to our whole world. 

Lots of speculations and weariness happening to people.

I see tons of anger, denial, frustration, despair, worry, depression, confusion etc, as we live in a lock down which has been forced upon the healthy so as not to get sick. 

The world economy has stopped by maybe, 75% ish. People want to work. People want to be with family and do their thing. 

But it is an awakening. A shifting if you will.

The why questions are many. One big question I hear often is why would a good God let this happen to us? 

Why? 

Why did Jesus get scourged, beat, spit on, screamed at, accused, etc – HE WAS THE INNOCENT LAMB !!!!!! Why did HE HAVE TO feel the pain he did for YOU ?????? WHY? 

What did I do that He would love ME so much he would die for me? 
#perspective

I say all of this to come to these points: 

This situation we are in today, is a time to pull away, take the free time you have and pray. Seek God. Ask forgiveness so you have salvation, and the opportunity to become whole. A time to learn the Bible and what it says for your life. 
Change is needed. 

let me say that again. C.h.a.n.g.e is NEEDED within each of us. Including me. Yes, in you too! We all are weak, but by God’s grace, we can live like Paul with zeal for Christ. 

Guys and Gals: here is the bottom line: 

As I “celebrate” my husbands HOME GOING anniversary, I miss him, as I do my Liz, and others who have left this earth. I do NOT want them to come back to earth. This earth has NOTHING for us. they enjoy heaven and ALL it’s glory vs the ugliness in this world. 

This life, guess what: It is TEMPORARY.

Put it in your mind, one day we ALL die. 

Whether it be from a virus, disease, drunk driver, cancer or __________. 

You and I will die one day. 

Grief is real. 
When you love much you grieve much. 

Grief never goes away, it just simply shifts your life as you (hopefully) will appreciate and rejoice in the good things you shared with the loved ones. You can reflect and talk about memories, and even shed tears. It’s all OK! 

So, wherever you are today, in your pride, accomplishment’s or in your humble spirit, every day, I, you, all of us, have to wake up, as God to forgive us of our yesterday’s junk in the trunk. May the bad be washed and cleansed as we begin today, whole, forgiven, living in peace with NO fear of any virus, government, lack or any other thing. God is with us, whom shall we fear? No one. 

Let the zeal of the Lord live in each of us, even on days like today, where we think of loved ones who have gone before us. 

#AuntGeri #Brian #Liz #Loren #Doris #Cindy #Mom #Dad and all others ….. they rest in His care. Praise you Jesus. 

May we live strong, wise and bold for Christ. Amen!

Life like a tree

Each branch has it’s own style and personality. The bark, like dry skin, has had a life of wind blown, snow driven, ice and rain whipped inside each crease. Yet, it stands the test of time. Winter strips the green life from it, much like death. But spring comes, with singing birds and blue skies as leaves grow with HOPE again.

Created by DLDesigns
© ~ Sweet Inspirations via Photos by Design ~

Midewin Trail

What to do when locked inside

“What a world, what a world”, said the wicked witch as she melted to her invisible self.

We are demanded to stay in unless it’s necessary. Covid19 has taken over the world like the Wicked Witch in the Wizard of Oz tried to do.

The world has been rocked by this virus. Fear is crept into many who are afraid. Those who are now feeling isolated, I hope and pray they can reroute the mind and find the beauty and peace of this situation. In spite of the virus. Let us spend more time with family, take time to rest and reorganize.

Create the shift that will bring new things into your life. Work on your dreams, crafts, writing, things you don’t get to often hone in on.

Lean into the cross….. Pray. Find what this new season of life will bring into your heart, mind and soul. It’s gonna be a good thing when we seek the positive FROM the negative.

There were quite a few times that I felt that anxiety overtake my mind and heart while I wrote FOREVER HOPE. Being alone while writing a book is necessary. I do enjoy writing – a LOT!!!!! But day after day, weeks turning into months of aloneness can wreak havoc on the mind. But when I reviewed the book during the editing process, I began to see the fruit growing from what I wrote. ( I see the correlation of today’s confinement to the writing process).

It was NO accident that God planned for this book on HOPE to be in print for THIS time and place – during the COVID19 era.

It comes down to HOPE and FAITH and what we will DO with what God has given to us to DO.

I like to create. Words, painting, mixed media, photography, all bring me such peace. It also blesses others when I create something for someone as a gift, or sell products for others to give as a gift. You can do the same. Do you bake, write notes, garden, teach? Utilize and share what you do best with others, especially now, will lift someone’s spirit.

When I put words together it encourages people; writing words on paper AND with the computer brings joy to my heart and mind. So, when someone reads something I wrote and they say, thank you – your words have helped me ~ the moments of anxiety and seclusion I felt at some point in time, all wash away.

We don’t always see or know how effective our “work” is – until someone commends us for what we have done. The gratification may come over weeks, months or years later. But the promise of outcome is for God to open the doors at the right time.

Trusting He will help us to do the work we need to do TODAY, while in seclusion, we need to ALLOW him to do a work within us, to purify our heart, mind and soul, so we can help someone else. We have to let HIM lift our spirits. Sometimes he will whisper to our heart, bring a note into our mailbox, a voicemail on the phone or a comment on social media. As we simply obey God’s word, he will lift us up in due time. To encourage us when we need it most.

Be strong today. Be encouraged that God is doing a great thing in you while at home. Listen and pray for his guidance on who to help with the gift of love and caring. You will be blessed in return for being a good servant of the Lord.

Jesus, thank you for protecting me and my family, friends, job, neighborhood and those I know. Bless the people who are diligently working during this time of Covid19. Keep people safe from this virus. Heal those who are sick, hurting and alone. Revive our nation, help the haters find peace and love. Bring revival to our land ~~~~ today. We need you Lord, more than ever! I pray for peace – that only YOU can give. Bring salvation to those who do not know you, Lord. I love you Jesus. Help us now in this time of uncertainty. Meet the needs in a supernatural way. Amen.

You can find hope in my new book “Forever Hope”. Simply order at this Amazon link. I’d love to hear how it impacts your life. Come back and let me know once you’ve read the book.

Hope for today

God comforts us, and he binds the brokenness within our minds and hearts; it is by his GRACE that he fills us up, redeems us and offers a HOPE that nothing nor nobody can offer.

We are in precedented times, that we have not seen before, and some things that have gotten worse over time.

We have the threat of a virus that is killing people. But this is nothing new under the sun. Viruses and sickness became part of life when Adam and Eve disobeyed. People die every day. Why are so many people going into the depths of despair, as if we have never seen dying as a part of life? But we can’t avoid LIVING before we die. People die at all ages any more. There is NO guarantee for tomorrow. Life is a journey to the path of death and grieving. BUT WE LIVE like there is no tomorrow.

Please hear me, we need to LIVE – even when we are limited to what we can do by rules implemented upon us. It’s OKAY~ let’s LIVE, breath and have our being. I want JOY in abundance.

Mind you, I am in no way making light of this. But to shut down the economy is an astronomical situation. We are finally coming out of a recession, to very possibly plummet into something deeper – will businesses have to end up closing because of lack of sales? The food and medical industry will survive. We will always need food and doctors. Bigger than those, we NEED Jesus.

Jesus is the ONLY HOPE we can rely on.

God’s promises are YES and AMEN. we must be in the Word. the Bible is our best guide. Prayers to heaven, and then to listen and hear what God is saying to us is key.

Let’s release fear!

Gain peace.

Rise up in HOPE

Let the issues in this world happen as they may, we cannot stop the things that happen, but we have the power to pray and ask God to redeem the situations happening, which will let the world see HIS GOODNESS in the land of the living!!!

Let’s kick the devil back to hell where he belongs. He has NO power over you and I. rebuke his ploys and sickness, worry and dismay. Those are all enemies to our soul.

Here are some scriptures for you to write in your journal today, be assured of HIS hope which is in you when you rely on HIM.

Job 5:11

Job 6:11

Job 14:7

Psalm 31:24

1 Chronicles 29: 10-20

Job 21 – is Job’s discourse to the wicked,

God is doing something big and powerful in this day and time. We are not living in havoc. We are living in the power of God though Jesus Christ. God has set us apart as Christians. We are being secluded to pray and be prepared for such a time as this, like in the days of Noah.

Luke 9:27, we will see the kingdom of God draw near, right here on Earth. (read the story of Noahs Arc).

Be OPEN and READY for now. Ask God what he wants YOU to do in this time.

Let’s pray: I call to this issue of sickness, viruses, hate, discontent and all concerns we have with jobs, income, the political arena, hatred and anything against God to be cast down and rebuked and diminished. in Jesus name.

Lord, YOU are in control. I am blessed to be a blessing. I have no lack, no sickness and I am victorious by the BLOOD of Jesus

Heal us, heal our land we are strong and courageous. Let us all share in the HOPE of YOUR love God. Amen

Perilous times…….

What does the Bible say about times that seem to be out of control?

Letting go of what we cannot control, and simply trusting God in all things

Doesn’t this Corona virus seem to be out of this world type of crazy?

People are to stay in their homes, wear masks and gloves if they have to go out. We are being told how to wash our hands and how to sneeze (into a tissue or our elbow), as if we are ignorant to this simple tasks. We forget. We take life for granted. Now we have to find a NEW awakening to a (?new?) normal.

2 Timothy and the 3rd and 4th chapters are very real words written to us for this day and age. (click on the link to read the whole chapter(s).

Let’s take the time to have a cup of coffee or tea, and think about these words. People are living for their own selves. Seeking money, boasting, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, the law, government …. slandering, haughty, brutal, haters of good, unholy, trailers, deceivers and deniers of Gods power, and the list goes on.

Let’s not be gullible, and think this has become the way of life, or normal. Nothing about the list just written is normal, it’s not good, it’s quite bad. we have to check our hearts, and run to God, seeking his forgiveness. I need to do this every day, even a few times a day. I don’t want to go to bed with shame, guilt or ugliness on my hands, nor in my heart or mind. Jesus forgive me/us.

We have to manifest FAITH. Faith leads to HOPE. Hope leads to love, grace and mercy.

The peaceful knowing that God is always in charge of everything.

Let us become a people that will help others. May we teach our children the goodness of God. Good things. Not slander and ungodly attitudes.

When we are persecuted, and we will be, let us endure and not retaliate. Let us be Jesus to this dying world. That is worth repeating. Let us be Jesus to this dying world.

Why? Because if we are CHRISTians, we are like Christ. Christ endured the path to the cross, dying for us. Being there for us as a way to salvation into ETERNITY. The long term affect is life in hell or heaven. Let’s remember that.

we are to preach the WORD of God. The Kingdom is at hand. Let is be a beacon of LIGHT today to this world – they need US NOW!

Be ready to tell of His love in season and out of season. When it’s convenient and non convenient. We are to convince, rebuke, exhort with long suffering and teasing. there will be a time they will not endure sound doctrine (sound familiar?). People are led by their own desires and not listen to sound teaching. Wow. That is from ch. 4, verses 2-5.

Listen.

Pay attention.

God’s Word is real. It is relevant. The lost in this world need to know TRUTH, and sometimes it needs to be convicting, with love and care.

Let us be the Light today. Do not wait. Share the Bible and its FULL instruction, not just part of it.

What NOT to say to someone grieving

The cemetery is a place of rest to those who are dead on this earth, but alive in Christ. Death is a celebration of LIFE in Christ. Photo by: Photos by Design www.dbpbd.com

Seems like many people are afraid of death.

Death is guaranteed to us on the day we are born. Some get to live a full long life. Other times babies die, children, teens or young adults. We live in a world that has numerous diseases, accidents, suicides and such. It’s sad when people die much too young. We feel robbed, especially if the person was someone we cared about.

Being a widow, and granddaughter, sister, aunt, friend, and mother, I have experienced death in many situations. Each death was very unique. The fingerprint of life was different when my Grandparents passed. They were like parents to me. When my sister-friend died, that rocked my world and still does. When we buried two still born babies, it crumbled this momma’s heart. My husband died from an accident that lead to his sudden death at thirty-eight. Way too young he was. I was too young to be called a “widow”, and my children were too young to be fatherless.

Life is not fair.

But God is good. He is in full control of our lives and he knows every detail and what we need. With that said, I have always felt like I needed to help people understand how to react to death. We as a culture never talk much about death and dying. Yet we should. It’s not as difficult as we assume it to be. One kind gesture, a hug, a card, flowers, dinner, phone call can make a world of difference to someone who is walking the path of grief. (and not just the week of the death and funeral, the gestures should go forth for years)!

With that said, some incredibly hurtful (unintentionally spoken) comments are often made. Let me point out a few of them.

“You’ll be fine”, to the person who’s heart is ACHING; their world has just be turned upside down, this comment would NOT be a kind gesture. They are NOT fine. They may not be fine for months and years to come.

“God is in control”, We know that He is. But this comment is not comforting to someone who has just buried a loved one. We know the day we are born, we WILL die. We know that God has each day numbered, it is no surprise to Him when we pass on. As well meant as it is, it’s painful. Please just simply hold the persons hand, or give them a hug. Saying this can simply pierce their heart – even to the best Christian who walks a fine line.

(*to a widow) “You can get married again“. UGGGGGGH…!!!!! WHY would a person say this to someone who has just buried their spouse?????? This so incredibly disrespectful to the couple, and to the deceased and to the widow. The person that died is IRREPLACEABLE! No!!! marriage is NOT something a widow wants to think about as he or she is grieving the spouse that passed on. It devalues their relationship, it’s borderline rude and thoughtless! You can say how much you will miss the person who died. Or offer a compliment at what a wonderful couple they were. Offer support by calling the person, or asking what you can do to help over the course of the next few MONTHS and YEARS. Oy vey, please do NOT suggest the person can remarry again. Let the person decide that much later, after the process of grief is lessoned.

(to someone who has miscarried, had a stillborn, or cannot GET pregnant): do not suggest they get pregnant again. DO NOT suggest they can adopt or foster, or this must be God’s plan for them to be childless. And NEVER assume it was some sin that made the baby die (or even to those who have a hard time getting pregnant). Don’t assume you know what God is doing. This too is heartless and a borderline mean thing to say to someone and devalues the parents, making the grief deeper.

The key is, allow the person to GRIEVE. The minimum time is a year to walk through each holiday, birthday, anniversary and holiday without the person who died. Each persons grief is like a fingerprint, unique, different and depends on the relationship, and how long the relationship has lasted.

The deeper we love, the deeper the grief.

Each person has to WALK the path of grief, which looks different for everybody. NEVER assume you know what is best for that person. Ask first. Communicate. Open the lines of heart felt talking – this is worth its weight in gold. Sometimes the simple gesture is to just be quiet and sit with the person. (now, THAT is a test of our strength, to be still, be quiet, and know that God is with us during these times).

This is one of the most important subjects we NEED to talk about in life. It IS a part of life, whether we like it or not. It’s tough. It’s exhausting at times. It’s sad. We don’t like seeing people crying and in distress. But tears do need to flow. Joy comes in the morning. Jesus IS with us when we lean on him.

I hope this small list helps to make the undaunting task of what to say (or not to say) helpful. It’s so important to BE there for the living. Respect the deceased, keep their memory alive, and watch for ques on what to say to the family that is alive and trying to find their new normal.

Christ in me, my HOPE

Living in Christ daily allows him to awaken inside me what is hidden, broken, distraught and disheveled. The inner place where my soul is unleashed, allows God’s word to grow within me, faith is developed for my future; it lays ahead of me. Breath life into my soul, Lord. May I see your humanity, as it relates to my personal struggles. May change happen, letting go of what does not benefit me, as I lean into your direction and wisdom. This is my prayer.

The simplicity and beauty of nature.

I must be willing to say Yes Lord. Heal me. Help me. I bow my head in total adoration, with a heart overflowing with love for the One who came to earth, to relate to me, just as I am.

Jesus. Born in a manger. Lowly. Dirty. Next to sheep, cows, chickens and dirt. Set in a cow trough on hay.

God’s power displayed though Jesus, by using a humble and obedient servant, Mary – and her beloved Joseph.

God knows what I need. What WE need. Each of us have a unique perspective, lifestyle, pains, hurts, discouragement, failures….. shall I go on? You get where I am going. Life. It’s real. It’s good, and it is tough. But HOPE with God’s GLORY, is what we can rely on. Always. Forever. Until eternity comes we choose to live on our own strengths and wisdom, or ask the One who knows what we should do. What a wonderful PARENT God is.

He is in Heaven…. in his holy thrown. Surrounded by what he made as perfect. But this world is not perfect. The Devil, Adam and Eve erred. Hence, we all now suffer at their choices. They chose the fruit. Now we need Jesus to redeem us/me.

Think about it, Jesus is Immanuel. God with us. Jesus understands me, and you. He helps our weakness (when we ALLOW him to). He shares in our joy, pain, ache, happy times – through it all. He is with us. How comforting.

God is with every single person. The Buddhist, The Methodist, the tax collector, the rich, sick, poor, the drug induced, alcoholic, healthy, happy, sad and the lost….. he is with all people. He made each and every living creature.

Stop for a minute. Think of the worst person and the best person you know. God is with both. He loves both. He wants relationship with e.v.e.r.y single human being. As some reject God’s goodness, others run towards His love….. we all have a choice. We can seek Him, or reject Him. He waits patiently until we come to the place of unwavering desire to live in the goodness of His love and parental guidance. It’s a choice. Satan choose to go his own way. Eve chose to try the apple, out of curiosity.

Until the end of the age. Immanuel, he is with us. He is a good good Father. He is Faithful. He is with us.

Jesus understand everything about you. Each weakness, (and yes we all have a set of them), the joy we have, the pains, concerns and circumstances. Oh, how he is with us giving peace, when we allow him to take us to that sweet quiet and soothing creek of his protection. Just as a parent soothes a child as he cries. Jesus does the same for us.

He is with us until the end of time. No matter what happens in the world. The worst things – he is totally aware of. Trusting Him during those times is pivotal so we don’t lean into worrying nor fear. He is God. Master of the whole Universe. Nothing gets past Him.

His voice leads us. Imagine this: The Messiah ~ on a chariot, descending on a fiery cloud. He emerges. He came to this world as a baby, out of the womb of Mary. Laid into a bed of straw in a manger. Humble. Sweet. Loved. Powerful. Yet he lessened himself so we can relate to him. What a powerful thought. THAT, my friend, is pure love.

Simple

Plain

Ordinary

Jesus! What a gift from God.

Not one person is beyond the reach of His hand. He is our helper. Our Guide, the One, the Only purified Son of the Living God. He is the everlasting One.

God gives us favor as he did to Joseph and Mary, because they were faithful. In obedience, even in the unknown, risking shame and scorn from “people”, they said YES Lord. We will go, That is pure love. Because they went, they gave birth to Jesus, in the flesh, the One Son of God, Child of Mary to save the world.

There are no limits nor boundaries, God’s mighty hand reaches from Bangladesh to Texas ~ from Pekin to Peoria and beyond. He is with us always and everywhere we go.

Simple

Profound

Timeless

Boundless

Jesus relates to you and I. He offers hope. What an extraordinary love.

Will you trust Him today? In the midst of any crisis, virus, need, sickness, confusion, lack…. no matter the situation….. lean into Christ. He knows. He has been there. He wants to lead you. He leads me, even when I wander like the one sheep that walks away from the group. He calls your name. His peace is beyond anything this world can offer.

Father, we come before you today, trusting you in all your glory. You have the power to stop any bad or negative thing that comes our way. You are the Author and Finisher of my Faith, I want to lean into you, casting all my cares into your hands. Take them, fix them, fix me, help my heart and mind to line up to you every moment of every day. I love you Jesus. Amen.

You don’t know me….. or do you?

What a great visit to LW Christian Church in New Lenox today. The sermon started with this song by Ray Charles….(you don’t know me), a good song, but kinda sad… right? Which is a thought provoking topic to really think about as we ponder such a topic. I’m going to indulge and share even more of my thoughts with what the pastor shared today. It’s kinda important stuff this relationship thing!!!!

The crowd – does anyone really know me?

Ponder it. Do you know me? Do you know your “friends”, “acquaintances”, “family/relatives”, “neighbors”, etc? Probably not as much as you think. We usually just know the surface things. Stay with me here… I’ll dig a bit deeper……..

Most of us who have been around for awhile get it. We know that there’s no perfect relationship. We misunderstand, love, like, mistreat, take for granted, get snarky and so on. (We won’t dive into the real ugly ~ for the sake of not going down a negative bunny trail!). What I will add here, is that we must keep in mind, that once sin came into the world, we needed a Redeemer. Adam and Eve broke the perfect plan by eating the apple. So…. we know all people are fallen, sinful and live in the flesh. With that said, we know that some are just nicer folks than others. This brings to a head, grace, mercy and honesty to all. Communication (appropriately executed) is key to keeping relationships running as smooth as possible. We “soulfully join our spirit with others”.

Relationships are work. This is something we really need to emphasis to our children when they are young and formative. It’ll save a lot of hurt and pain later down the road, learning how to build relationships.

If at best, we might have one or two super close people in our life. But we can work on improving such associations and live as peacefully as we can, because we need each other more than we need technology. God made us for relationships. (I will add, there are some times that we need to remove ourselves from volatile people who refuse to work at communications and developing themselves and with others. Another topic for another day).

We usually show most of our colors of the rainbow as we spend time with people. Those we work with, the family we live with; they know our idiosyncrasies, the outline of our lives, what we eat, our families etc. That’s a pretty close relationship over all. But even closer is that of our spouse, children and parents. BUT, sometimes those closest to us don’t see or like when we stretch out into new waters. New goals, new things we do to improve and grow, make others nervous, jealous and so forth. So, communication is key, being open and honest).

I tell the story in my new book “Forever Hope”, how God brought me to this little podunk town back in 1970, as a young girl, to meet my best friend. We became soul sisters. I never imagined the depth of care, concern, love, fun, and joy in having someone that never condemned, no jealousy, and never had an argument. We had fun together, we laughed, we cried, and grew in each season of life together. In all my relationships in life, no one matched the level she and I had. We could sit quietly with no words for long periods of time. We could talk, fix people, fix each other ( or try to at least, lol). We often talked how rare it was to have a long lasting relationship with no boats rocked – never! We loved each other for who we were. And we were opposite in many ways.

But the bigger point in this story, is twofold. Without God, we cannot love others.

Matthew 22:36-40 
“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. … then to love others as you love yourself.

We cannot love others when we struggle with our own issues. We need to be whole and not the master of our own destiny. God planned our lives out before we were born! The only way to work that out in this world is to break the cycles. Be honest with yourself and the shortcomings. It is a work in progress for our WHOLE life. Cuz once we conquer one issue, we gotta get to and through the next. Take care of you by running to the Father. Asking for forgiveness through the blood of Jesus.

This chapter explains it perfectly. Stop and reflect as you read it. Know that the power of God is in you, on you and with you. Reach into HIS heart and let him enter into your heart……

Psalm 139

You know me Lord

You have searched me, Lord,
and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.

Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.

For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
How precious to me are your thoughts, God!
How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand—
when I awake, I am still with you.

If only you, God, would slay the wicked!
Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty!
They speak of you with evil intent;
your adversaries misuse your name.
Do I not hate those who hate you, Lord,
and abhor those who are in rebellion against you?
I have nothing but hatred for them;
I count them my enemies.
Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.

Footnotes:

  1. Psalm 139:17 Or How amazing are your thoughts concerning me

God is with us each moment of each day. He is ever present, and knows everything in our mind and heart before we even act on it. Reaching for eternity is key. The promise is the most important relationship we have. God first, others then ourselves. But we need to be sure to wake up each day, seeking forgiveness when we fall short, make mistakes, say things we should not have, loose the temper etc etc etc. God loves us. He loves YOU. He is personal and generational. he loves the young, and the old and the in-between! His promises are for all of us. No matter where you go, no matter what you do. No matter the struggle. Seek God. Talk to him like you’d talk to your soul mate. If you don’t have a soul mate, you know how to imagine that relationship. God is that and a bag of chips! 🙂

May we be kind to ourselves, which in turn will turn into kindness to others. May our lives be a double fold blessing to everyone we meet. Even if they don’t want to accept the gift of joy, love and happiness.. those are the ones who are lacking love most. Pray for them.

People need to know you care. People need the Lord. You are showing HIS love in a tangible way when taking the time to say a hello, get to know someone on a deeper level. Spend time together. Make a difference today! Don’t let people be faceless and alone. Let’s promise to dig deep with the help of our Savior, who will show us how to build each relationship in its unique way. God is faithful to help us.

Catch the truth of God and ALL he has for you in this day and time. Be sure to read the Bible every day. Pray every day… even if it’s on the way to work. you can speak outloud or quietly in your mind. God hears your heart.

Prayer: Lord God, I need you, every hour every day. You know me well. And I admit I need you more than breath itself. Help me today within my own life. Heal my body, my mind and my heart. I need to release some things so I can be whole. you are the one who can do that. Forgive me for being short tempered, judgmental, and hurtful in words and actions. Help me to do better each day. Quicken in my soul when I am about to go to a dark bunny hole of sin. I repent. My heart wants to be joyful, live in peace, love and have mercy and grace that abounds from your heart, through mine. Thank you Jesus for all you’ve done for me. The Great I Am. God of all creation. I love you. Amen

If you are in the Lincoln Way area in Illinois, please check out LW Christian Church. they have two services each Sunday at 9 and 10:30. They have a wonderful children program, and it’s very family oriented. There’s lots of space, they are community minded and love Jesus.

Also, if you have lost hope and need some encouragement, whether it’s a prodigal family member, struggles with parents, unsaved loved ones, or you are grieving the death of a child or spouse, or friend, please grab my book on Amazon. Forever Hope, it offers encouragement and hope in spite of the struggles we have in life.

More than a conqueror

More than a conqueror
Never give up. Hold onto Jesus

How many times have you heard the scripture reference, found in Romans 8:31-39  that tells us we ARE more than conquerors – IF WE ONLY BELIEVE!!!!  

How shall we respond, is how the chapter begins.

How
Shall
We
Respond??

Do you ask God sometimes: “REALLY God, am I ? Life is nothing but a struggle. Struggle seems to be opposite of conquering something – anything! And you want me to say that I am MORE than a conqueror? Come on God…. let’s get real.”

How now shall we live? (grabbing that phrase from a titled book from Chuck Colson, it’s a big read, but got some meaty stuff in it).

God is truly merciful, even when I am not. Trouble is before me night and day. People can be like sandpaper burning the heart raw. Persecution from haters (which seem to be more abounding these days). Life in general can be rough. Exhausting. the desire to quit and just give up and veg on the couch sometimes seems so tempting.

I have walked a long dry valley the past many years – sometimes even crawling through the rough terrain. So many situations of  loss, death and lack kept climbing over me like bugs in a trash can. Ick and gross, right? It wouldn’t go away. Discouragement hit me more often than I wanted. Like a bad boxing match.

Yet, I know I have to listen and heed God’s still small voice and not harden my heart when those times come upon me.  Oh, how my flesh wants to harden itself; it’s a protection of sorts. We all have within us a barrier that we put around us, especially once we’ve been ‘burnt’ to many times by things that happen to us, even sometimes things that we do by choice.

We must be cautious not to let the flesh take over our thoughts. What a fine line  that can be. We have to rely on the Word and promises of God. It is sharper than a two edged sword. 

Taking the mind and the swaying thoughts of negativity and strife, the struggle and PROCLAIM God’s promises.

Always. Do. This.

It is amazing that when we speak the Bible out-loud, the enemy has to flee! Do this for a few minutes, paying attention to the relaxing sense of peace that enters the atmosphere! God is mighty. God is true. Our flesh fails us. Our mind wanders to distant damaging places. Run to the Father…. that’s what I am gonna do right now.

Don’t let the enemy take over your life. The devil must flee at they sound of Jesus name. End of that story! Rejoice, praise and sing hallelujah!

Father, God I love you. I know you are faithful. When these taxing, trying negative things in life come to try to override me, I seek you. I run to you. Hold me with your strong right arm. I speak your promises into my life and my family. I love you Jesus. I praise you. Peace I seek for my life. I surrender all. I desire your will. My flesh bow down to what you want me to do. Amen. 

Genesis… the beginning

While writing Forever Hope, (released February 13, 2020 on Amazon), it was evident God wanted me to share my story. It’s raw, real, simple and to the point.

I will admit, there was a bit of arguing with God while writing the manuscript over those twelve months. I didn’t mind sharing the facts, but the details were a bit daunting, and I wasn’t certain I needed to share them. I’d get through a few pages, and be in tears. The emotions, the memories all came rushing up to the surface. There is something about writing our memoirs that bring to life what we are conveying. God was so merciful during those experiences. The healing THROUGH each event was absolute. Yet, there is a special bond between pen and paper that connects those who read the story. That’s why I continued writing, seeing it too its’ completion.

I will admit it was not an easy task. But the assurance of knowing that someone, or many, would be touched by the story made it all worth the effort. I prayed, talked and questioned – ‘why was it that I was chosen to live this life, with this story for this generation?’. God knows. I don’t. But in the spirit of listening to my Daddy, who knows what He is doing, I wrote. I conquered, and found a love for writing that was deeper than anticipated.

As the chapters unfolded on the computer, the assignment to offer each chapter a title that was intriguing, simple and to the point. The first chapter was the most challenging to commit to. Deciding to name it Genesis, (not after the musical group, lol), but the Genesis from the Bible. Beginnings. The start of something. That is where I began. Not as a baby, but the transitioning of my early childhood memories, a monumental move from Chicago to suburbia, which left me struggling as a child.

My mom wasn’t a great communicator. She did the best she knew how. But it was simply tough for me to move from the friends made, then to move mid way through the first semester made it more challenging. Like a huge pimple on the middle of a forehead, or sticking out like a sore thumb, is how I felt — for years. It’s awkward, those early years. Pre-Pubescent. Insecure. Uncertain of what laid ahead. But God had plans.

It was a plan He made. Two families moved to the same area only a short time before our family did. They were the ones who adopted me into their lives, as a surrogate daughter. They were the ones who introduced me to Christ. I had no idea what that meant, or how I would live that life out. But it was a preparation for my adult life. God was my safety net through tough times that would happen long before I experienced the situations.

The beginning.

When is the end? I do not know. But I trust a God that knows. He prepared my first half of my life, andif I get to live to 100ish, I get to share his grace with my faith.. My story is deep. It’s wide. And every step I took, was a step of assurance that he is with me always.

You can grab your book at Amazon for the full scope of this eventful life shared for all to be encouraged by. Live by faith. Do not doubt. The everlasting Father is amazing and trustworthy!

Hope is forever when you live in the freedom of Christ.

Prayer: Father God, thank you for your guidance, even when we do not understand what is happening. May we live in full trust of your plans. When we make decisions, let us ask you first how to follow through in each event. thank you for hope, love and your amazing grace. Without you, I can do nothing. In Jesus name. Amen .

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