Tag Archive: blessings


 I would like to think that we all have good intentions but that’s not necessarily true. Good intentions can turn to bad ones right before your eyes. Sometimes they turn over the course of time. Time is a subtle element of our lives. When I was raising my children time was always of the essence.

My life was a Topsy turvey mess that I was constantly battling to keep upright. Having been born in a completely dysfunctional family my learning curve was trying to stay one step ahead of the punishments that often followed my mistakes. Being a kid I was bound to make mistakes. The swiftness of the reprisal imprinted on me and I would try to be the perfect little everything.  In school I was withdrawn and buried myself in books. Not much to look at, overweight and a tomboy. My parents worked me hard inside the house and doing yard work.

I became a compulsive young adult with small children and eventually an obsessive-compulsive full grown adult. Obsessed with getting everything right, compelled to be perfect. Looking back I realize how much pressure I had on myself and  put upon myself through my own personal demons.

My intentions were to survive with the least amount of bad things happening to my children and myself. Having married and divorced young I hadn’t finished learning how to be a young adult when I had children. My upbringing impacted my life so much that confusion as to choosing the right path and the right people to be with was an everyday question. I was on my own with young lives to care for. I love my children and would do anything to take care of them. Making decisions without any knowledge or forecast of the possible outcomes became a gamble. I said to myself ‘ well, just make A DECISION and live with it, good or bad’. I have to add, some of them were bad. Ignorance was not bliss.

My desire to be part of a family unit, to be loved and wanted overshadowed many decisions. My kids always had plenty of food, were kept clean and dry, were well loved and protected. I did the best I could as a  very naive young female and single parent. Having lousy social skills and poor social judgments didn’t help me.

My intentions were all good but life was very hard for us. Searching for affordable housing while on welfare was a joke. Back then welfare was different for those that were not ‘working the system’. It was harsh, humiliating and degrading. Going to the doctors was awful, they treated recipients different than regular patients.

 Renting a house was difficult. Either the landlord was slumlord, was a shoddy person, or wouldn’t renew leases after one year. That was no excuse according to DSS. One time while renting a shoddy house, it became unsafe for us to live there and it was close to our years term. In order for us to find other housing we had to call the Police as a legal witness, the Fire Department to do a safety inspection and the Board of Health. If Social Services wanted any other inspections we had to get them also. Once that was completed and eviction inevitable we had to call the motel unit after hours to get placed. How humiliating is that? We finally got into a motel unit only by having the landlord evict us with no other place to go. DSS paid over $700/week for us to stay in one room with kitchenette but would not let me rent a house that was not a dump. All of our belongings were squeezed into this room if we couldn’t  find someone to store our stuff for us. Often we lost furniture etc. I became really good at thrift stores and curb alerts.

The money we had to live on was unsuitable for anyone to live on. I had to wash clothes by hand when my children were younger if the house didn’t have a washer and dryer. Everything was extra out of pocket, laundry, taxable items, bus fare, gas, school supplies etc. It was hard and emotionally painful and draining. No wonder people give up.

I never did give up though. No matter what I had to do I did the best I could for my children. They might not have liked the way we lived but we did live. We moved many times. We ate, had shelter, clean clothes, and a car. They had one of the first computers that came out ( courtesy of an ex husband), the first Nintendo game console, stereos etc,. Getting off of DSS was one of the hardest things I did. I had to work two jobs, depend on babysitters (that were unreliable and ultimately unsafe), a car that kept breaking down, no help from family, and a lot of flack from others Life became really hard for us. Bad decisions, good intentions, consequences all around. It was also the 1960’s-70’s lots of controversy happening in the world. As difficult and painful as my life was I don’t regret a thing. Life lessons learned. I became a better person through all the difficulties.

Years later looking back at how we survived, my children are grown, tall, handsome, well built intelligent, thriving adult men.  My intentions were good, my end result  is that my boys are grown into fine men, mission accomplished. I set out to raise my boys the best way I knew how and I did. My story is known through the friends that I had during those times.  

I still struggle with my intentions only now I lay them down at the cross. With all my tears and sorrowful heart. Yes I still cry out for my lost childhood and theirs, the marriages I had hopes and dreams for, the college that I never completed, and the loneliness I still feel.

When you have good intentions you still have to deal with the consequences, no matter how they turn out. I lay them down again and again until I finally give in to my Abba Father and finally let go of all my intentions.

Thank you Jesus for saving me from myself and the world.

Blessings,

Mary

IJUST READ A WONDERFUL BLOG POST AND HAD TO RE BLOG IT FOR OTHERS TO SEE. CAN ANYONE RELATE TO THIS STORY? i KNOW i CAN. WE NEED TO TAKE BETTER CARE OF OUR GIFT FROM ABBA FATHER.

https://wordpress.com/read/post/id/95235255/67

Forgiving the Flesh–In Which I Recount the Ways My Body Has Betrayed Me

Dear Lily June,

As human beings, we live in the flimsy structures of our fleshy bodies. Our hearts, like birds, are protected only by a cage of ribs; our minds, like yolks, sit inside the bony eggs of our skulls. It is a system designed to be fragile and frail. We are not built to last forever.

In my youth, I felt as if my body was invincible and thus, I treated it as if it were invisible. (In fact, your Grandma Raelyn might recall to you someday how I used to hide my body, as a toddler, under my ratty baby blanket, transforming myself into a makeshift ghost and earnestly believing no one could see me when I was under there.)

When my own Grandmother Mary began the comparison game as I hit my early teens, wondering why I couldn’t “try to be beautiful” like my sister–your Aunt Loren–I detached my faith from my body entirely. I thought, in that time, there were two paths a woman could walk: beautifying the palace of the body or retreating into the sanctuary of the mind. I chose the latter, burying my unpainted face in books. For the most part, I never considered how I’d turned my back on my body. Unfortunately, the body will not be ignored forever.

***

It was in my first year in college that my body truly began to break down. It all started when I went to brush my hair and my fingers slipped over a smooth spot. It didn’t register right away what I was feeling–could there be something stuck in my hair, I wondered, making it feel so oily and smooth in one particular area?

What I was feeling, I would learn later, was a bald spot. I was nineteen and in reasonably good health. Nineteen year old girls just don’t go bald, I reasoned. It must be “the big C.” I went into a wet chicken panic, throwing myself around dramatically, sure I had been granted a death sentence by my own hairbrush. I’m glad you didn’t meet that version of your mom, Lily. It would have been a bad time to know me.

Alopecia_areata (2)

It turns out it was my first bout with alopecia areata, an autoimmune disorder where the body attacks its own hair and follicle cells as if they were the cells of a disease. My hair fell out for my first year in school in tufts and patches, though I never did discover, half the time, where it went. (I never felt as if I were leaving behind clumps the size of sewer rats in my shower, and yet, my scalp begged to differ.)

What I should have gotten was that my body was like a puppy–wreaking havoc in a desperate attempt to entreat me to pay it a little attention. Instead, I retreated deeper into my mind, trying to control my environment if I couldn’t control my body within it.

***

It’s around this time I began compulsively making lists (a symptom I would learn later was fairly typical of OCPD). It was a way of organizing the disorder I felt with the stress of college. Poverty kept me from living in dorms after the first year; I took two part time jobs to afford books and incidentals, and I took two buses each day–one to and one from campus–in order to make my three hour round-trip commute to save on living costs.

I was not your typical college kid, drunk on freedom or just, as so many are, freely drunk. One of the first in my family to even go to college, I was saddled with the responsibility of my own future early on, taking out loans I had no earthly business being granted to pursue a field I had no earthly business studying if I ever wanted to pay those loans back: English.

And so I tried to control the breakdown of the body with a buildup of vocabulary. I tried to hide my pain under a mountain of to-do items revolving around work and study. I tried, even with my hair falling out in patches, to again ignore my body. Unfortunately, the body will not be ignored forever.

***

Another hit came the summer I turned twenty: the sudden urge to go to the bathroom more and more frequently. And then pain, leading up to and after the release. And then the pain progressed from a light nagging to a hard knocking at the door of my nerves. And eventually, it couldn’t be ignored any longer, and I assumed, as did my doctors, I had some kind of UTI.

Over and over for months that summer I was put on one after the other course of antibiotics. Urinalyses determined there was no bacteria in my bladder, but the pain and the frequency persisted no matter how much cranberry juice I downed by the gallon. I got up two, three, four, twelve times a night to pee, and the resulting insomnia got me into a bad love affair with caffeine.

I’d drink coffee and tea to stay awake during the day, but it seemed as if that exacerbated the pain, keeping me up more at night. Drink. Pee. Pee. Drink. Rinse. Repeat.

After a series of invasive tests–trans-vaginal ultrasounds that turned me into a human joy-stick, a cystoscopy that slithered a camera snake into my urethra and stung about as much afterwards as if I’d been bitten by it–I had another diagnosis under my belt: interstitial cystitis (sometimes abbreviated IC).

Cystoscope-med-20050425 (2)

Like alopecia, this was another autoimmune disorder. Like alopecia, my body’s immune system was launching an arsenal against healthy cells, this time in the lining of my bladder, causing discomfort, embarrassment, pain, and a feeling of being imprisoned in my own, well, self.

For the second time before I could even legally drink, my body had betrayed me. My hair–called a woman’s crowning jewel–had strands that jumped like a suicidal lemmings from my scalp. My bladder–an organ that I would have been as accurate pinpointing the location of before all this as an American would be pointing out the location of Uzbekistan on a map–was cracking like chapped lips.

I felt as if, in all ways that one can, I was falling to pieces.

***

Things got better, Lily, as they’re apt to do in this life, even if you don’t do anything. The universe can only rain on so many of any one person’s parades before the clouds shift direction.

Fast forward with me for a minute. So successful had my lists been in keeping the chaos neatly arranged that I not only graduated from the University of Pittsburgh summa cum laude, I was my major’s graduation speaker. I got into graduate school, moved to the deep South, met, fell in love with, and married your dad, lived through a tornado (another story for another time), fled back up to the north in fear, and made real a life-long dream: having you.

***

Pregnancy was to be an awesome adventure, and suddenly, I couldn’t ignore my body even if I wanted to. My flesh had become a rental property, and as the landlord, I could suddenly see how worn down the grounds were. It started, for instance, with the progesterone scare that made me question my ability to grow and maintain a healthy placenta. I had to be afraid my bone house might harm you.

After we jumped through that hoop, though, for a while, I was granted a blissful reprieve. In one of nature’s kindly little flukes, my second trimester saw my IC in remission, at least in terms of pain. (As my expanding uterus put pressure on my bladder, nothing could stop the frequency.) Less pain meant better sleep, and a heaping helping of feel good hormones made the laughs come easy.

Lily June, I will never forget the extraordinary flutters of your movements inside of me–the way you would tickle my tummy with your hiccups, your hilarious assault on daddy’s face when he leaned against my womb to hear you and you let out the full-force of your kicks against his cheek. For the extent of the middle part of your stay, you changed my body from a prison I was trapped in into a secret garden I felt privileged to tend.

***

That magic made the harsh snap back to reality that much harder to take when things started to go so wrong so quickly. The preeclampsia, the “failure to progress,” the resulting C-section: now my body was failing you when it was failing me. I spent the first weeks of your life looking down at my flabby flesh and my Cesarean scar and hating the ways it had let us both down, wanting to punish my body for being fallible, frail, the damaged shell of a person. But then, I was the one who had ignored it for so long, even when it was screaming to me that I needed help, that I had to cut back on stress and bad habits, that I had to open my eyes and be a human being.

I think it’s time, Lily, now that I want you to have a different relationship entirely to your physicality, that I (try to) make and keep the peace. And so, without further adieu, I’m going to interrupt your letter, Lily, to talk directly, for a minute, with my Body:

Body, I forgive you.

I forgive you for showing me, so violently, that you needed me to pay more attention to you. I forgive you for attacking healthy cells because you were as scared and confused as my mind during an overworked, overwhelmed time. I forgive you for alopecia. I forgive you for IC.

Body, I forgive for the whole host of problems during the pregnancy. Maybe at the end, you failed to be induced, your cervix failed to open, your contractions failed to progress the labor. But we didn’t fail to live through a very scary surgery together. And I didn’t fail to love my girl the second I heard her first cry as she was wrenched from you, my body. I didn’t fail to dress her in her first outfit, even when my elevated blood pressure gave you the shakes so bad it took me ten minutes to do so. Everything I do with and for Lily is another way we didn’t fail–I didn’t fail you, and you didn’t fail me.

Early on in the pregnancy, we were told Lily probably wouldn’t make it. But shedidn’t fail to survive, that little miracle. You kept her alive. So now, I won’t fail to survive, either. Like daughter, like mother.

Body, I forgive you the flesh and the fat and the stretchmarks and the scar. They were never flaws to begin with, and I’m sorry I saw them that way. Body, I will work on my mind–I will get the counseling I need to pull through the emotional pain I’m still feeling. I’m sorry I am still reeling in so many ways, but seeing how you react to stress, I will make strides. Body, I will get a hydrodistention procedure on the 23rd of this month to see if I can’t help that IC. I’m sorry I waited so long (almost 11 years!) without treatment.

I’m sorry it took me so long to say I’m sorry.

Here’s the secret I will say to you that is really as much for Lily: Body, you are beautiful. You have born Lily, and you have borne me through. You, Body, have done the best you could with what I’ve given you. And like I will with Lily, I’m going to try, from now on, to give you the moon.

I will quit smoking. I will start eating healthy (again). I will exercise more regularly. I will heal us. And I will beg you, in the meantime, to forgive me.

***

Picture Credits:

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It seems we take so much for granted. As we get older we just figure that’s the way it is or it ought to be. I am so thankful when I wake up each morning. And hopeful that the day offers me enough time to continue making myself a better person. Extra time for forgiveness and to be forgiven. Time for healing inside and out. Time to know joy and redemption and time to be a blessing and not a burden to others. I see the beauty in trees, animals, the sky above and this earth we walk on. The bugs, the wind,and all the things that man thinks he has made. In reality God made it all. This is Gods green earth not ours. But I digress.

When I go about my day and  I find that I have a need for something, more food, another pair of shoes, a coat, things around the house or car I stop and talk to God about it. After all He is my Abba Father.

“God I know you know everything from beginning to end, and I know you know all my needs. I’m just reminding you God, my Abba Father because I know how busy you are with  other peoples needs and I’m sure they are much bigger than mine. But God I sure can use …. or ….” .  Whatever I ask for out of a TRUE need I receive. It’s about faith and trust that He will provide ALL my needs. I just have to open my eyes and I’ll see it. Oh, and I also need to accept the way the help or assistance comes.

As an example, I was putting on a pair of shoes that I had owned for about five years. I noticed the increased wear and tear and knew that I was going to need another pair. I usually try to get more than one pair whenever I do buy shoes or sneakers so if the one pair was worsening so were the others I use. Because I alternate their use. I can’t afford high end anything so whenever I get the opportunity I go to Walmart or some inexpensive store and buy a few  pairs because they are cheap, and I really dislike shoe shopping. I was just talking to God about the need for another pair of shoes. I didn’t think anymore about it. I didn’t have the money at the time anyway and like I said previously, I really do not like shoe shopping.

 I had received  a final check for being out on a medical leave. I was almost on empty in my car. After getting gas I had a few extra dollars left. That check I received was not expected, I’m very grateful. I was due to go to work the following week.

 I was driving past a shopping center when I suddenly decided to check out the new Goodwill donation thrift store that had opened up.

It was a snowy post blizzard day so the parking lot was empty. Going into the store and browsing around I noticed the shoe rack. On the shoe rack I found three pairs of well made brand new leather shoes in my size. Two pair were the same style, different colors and the third was a beautiful pair of tasseled leather loafers. I was absolutely amazed. I checked the prices with the clerk and the three pairs of shoes came to less than forty dollars. I had about forty three dollars left. The clerk asked me if I had the senior discount  key tag. “Let me check” I said. Sure enough not only did I get a discount for being a senior but also because of the day of the week I received another discount. Awesomeness!  God heard me He knew I needed shoes for when I returned to work. And He supplied my need. 

Since I am not particularly fussy about brand name, brand new off the shelf items or the latest fad the blessings were more discreet, on the quiet side you might say. At first I hardly noticed them.  God is such a gentleman. it dawned on me that most people would call them wishes or just plain luck. Not me, I know it’s God.

I like thrift stores, antiques, second hand items. To me they have a comfort-ability about them and sometimes it’s a great treasure hunt. Don’t get me wrong I like new things too but I don’t mind receiving used items. I try to take care of the things I own. Some things last me years. One day while going through an old photo album I saw a picture of myself in a shirt that I still owned. It was still in great shape too, no color fade or stretching out. I just cracked up laughing. I had to donate that shirt. It was a Disney shirt, baseball style. So comfortable and soft. Also about 15 years old. It was on clearance at the Disney store at Disney World in Orlando Florida when I went there to meet up with one of my sisters. I’m quite the saver. I remembered one of my good friends commented that she wanted the shirt when I was ready to give it up. So I finally, (big sigh) mailed it to her. She was very happy to receive it.

One night I was going through my pajama draw to get ready for bed. I looked at what I had and was thinking ‘ Geez Louise Mary, you’ve got to do something about your pajamas’. I love tee shirts and fleece or flannel pants and I was out looking in the discount stores to price them so I would have an idea of the cost. Making mental notes to self I just put the thoughts out of my head until I had been paid from my job after I returned to work.

A good friend of mine  often gives me donated items and clothes. She often tells me to take something if I need it for myself. and she often gives me bagfuls to bring with me when I go to the different places that I volunteer for. I usually separate the items into appropriate bags for their destinations.  Going through the bags I found a couple of pairs of pajamas. Very similar to what I was needing. I took them out and added the same amount of items from my own clothes to the bags. I have a personal policy that if I bring something into my home something else leaves. Helps keep clutter down. That’s on top of other things I donate.

So here I was looking at these pajamas and praising God for provision. I also thanked my friend, for her good works. God is an awesome God working through people, places and things.

I’m so glad my eyes are open to see so that upon seeing I am receiving. What a great feeling it is. The blessings are  all around us we just have to open our eyes. The blessing of a beautiful day, a child being born, the smile of a child, a field of flowers, a forest of trees If you need to learn how just call on Jesus, take a long deep breath, open your eyes and breathe out slowly. It’s all right there in front of you, now receive it.

Blessings to all, 

Mary

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These  four little words are so profound. So deep. So thought provoking and even disturbing.

What have I become?

I even have difficulty writing about it. I have been so many things. Child, sister, mother, wife, friend, co worker, neighbor, statistic. I looked up the definitions of  “I, Have and Become” Posted below.

“I”:

I  is the first-person singular nominative case personal pronoun in Modern English. It is used to refer to one’s self and is capitalized, although other pronouns, such as he or she, are not capitalized.

“Have”:

1have verb \ˈhav, (h)əv, v; in “have to” meaning “must” usually ˈhaf\
had hav·ing has

1
a : to hold or maintain as a possession, privilege, or entitlement  <I have my rights>
b : to hold in one’s use, service, regard, or at one’s disposal
c : to hold, include, or contain as a part or whole
2
: to feel obligation in regard to
3
: to stand in a certain relationship to
4
a : to acquire or get possession of : obtain <these shoes are the best to be had>
b : receive <had news>
c : accept; specifically : to accept in marriage,

 

“BECOME”:

be·come verb \bi-ˈkəm, bē-\
: to begin to be or come to be something specified : to begin to have a specified quality

: to look attractive on (someone) : to be flattering to (someone)

1
a : to come into existence
b : to come to be <become sick>
2
: to undergo change or development
: to be suitable to
— become of
: to happen to

 

We get accustomed to using words loosely. We take them for granted the power in words and behind them. There were so many things “I had to have”, “had to become”, and the things I “became”. I struggled and fought for it all. To be, to become like everyone else. I was so ignorant, and wrong, I was fooled into believing I needed to become what others wanted me to become. To become what I thought I should become. Jesus taught me to put away that thinking. To trust the Holy Spirit, not the body, mind or world.

I was all those things mentioned and more. Those were were only the good words, the ones everyone is used to hearing. They say a lot but then again much is left out. When I was a child I did childish immature things, as a sister I was the one to do most of the work because I was the eldest. Taking on the inexperience and lack of love from parents I struggled to love and care for my siblings. As a wife I loved and  tolerated much. As a friend I loved and extended myself outward to others, giving the honest me. As a co worker I loved my jobs even though I didn’t want to. I offered my friendship honestly at work and outside of work. As a neighbor, I tried loving them, mostly if my friendship and outstretched hand was rejected I pulled back. I kept to myself. Always willing to help but hesitating, watching and waiting.I was and I am a statistic. That’s the way the world looks at me. Born, living, dead, tracked though out life, a statistic (that will be another story)

But there’s more:

I was a sinner also. I went my way listening to everything, watching everything, hearing and learning about how I should live in this world. What society expects of me. How I “should” do this or “must ” do that.

My thinking started out pure, clean and open, wanting to learn, to be part of, to do the right thing. Doing what others do, liking what they like, eating and drinking the same foodstuffs.

Geez Louise. “what have I become”? I cry whenever I think about it. I’m older now and so much time has gone by. I think, if only I knew then what I should look for, look up to, live for, believe in, if only I knew.

I was saved almost five years ago. I have been fast tracking as a Christian. I’m so hungry for the Lord. Knowing how much time is behind me and not knowing the time in front of me I want to BECOME more Christ like . Learn my lessons quickly, force Satan out of my life, my memories, my everything. Push onward, be a blessing, give blessings. Make myself conform to the right thing. Yes it’s hard and painful, I still hurt and cry and carry on.

I ask the Lord, “Why did it take so long for me to find you”? He reminds me that I needed all those lessons to BECOME what He wants me to become.

He saved me for the time which is now. I am a Warrior Bride for Christ.

 Thank you Jesus. Praise Him Always.

What have YOU Become?

 

 

 

 

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Lately I have been trying to listen, I mean really listen. What am I hearing? What can I hear? Since looking into mirrors is not something I was ever fond of doing I tried to develop a better sense of hearing.   I can tell a lot more about myself by listening.

Do I stick to positive words? Or do I fall back onto negativity? I don’t even like using that word. To me it pays homage to the devil. I try hard every day to speak good, not just do good. Not just to be a blessing, but to speak a blessing.

Compliments are of a positive uplifting nature. Have you complimented anyone today?  Have you told yourself how special you are to Jesus? I remind myself all the time that I am a child of God. I am Gods kid and He loves me. That is an awesome statement.It speaks life into me, it pushes out of my thoughts anything that Satan is trying to get me to believe.

If I believe in what Satan tells me to believe then I am not believing in Jesus or the Word of God. it means just the opposite. Satan is NOT my idol. He is a LIAR, a THIEF and he is whatever is NOT good, NOT of the Light or Truth or of anything positive.

Everyone at some point has unhappy , cloudy, angry or confused thinking. Remind yourself that those are all negatives.

Picture a traffic light in your mind when that happens. Red means STOP, do not proceed, do not move forward or turn. The color is even harder to look at, it’s a powerful color.

A green light means GO, proceed, move forward, turn if you like. The color is easier on the eyes, more pleasing, restful, graceful.

Perhaps you’re in between not sure yet, still on the brink, like a yellow traffic light. Moving forward but on the verge of stopping. Yellow is a warning light, a prepare to stop light, slow down  proceed with caution light. Not a stop light.

Whatever you need to visualize and retrain your brain  figure out what works for you. If I hear myself, or get feedback from others regarding not speaking Life into myself, or others I try to quickly correct myself. Yes it takes some personal work. It also mean  that I have been listening to the Word, and applying to myself and others. The rewards are everlasting.

How’s your hearing, are you really listening?

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 It’s been a long time since my last post. I have had a lot of changes going on. Good changes, God inspired changes. Sometimes difficult changes. Mostly it’s about giving up self control and realizing I am only fooling myself when I think I can manage on my own without trusting God to take care of all my needs. And that includes friendships.

 Besides holiday cards, I also like to send out a note  to all of my friends. I want them to know how much I appreciate them and am so thankful for their friendships. I also try to keep up via phone calls. I’m not a big fan of texting, it’s so impersonal.  

I always thought getting personal snail mail was important. To be honest I even like getting junk mail. It tells me, “hey the world recognizes you’re alive and  living at this place”. Sometimes I even get a bonus gift or awesome coupon or notice of an upcoming event. It’s part of being more than a microscopic dot in a big atomic pool of life. There is so much going on in this wonderful life of ours everyone wants to be acknowledged for their existence.

I connected again with some friends that have been very busy in their lives. Busy with family and school and work.  And I reconnected with others that have been out of touch with me for awhile. It’s so good and healthy to reach out to one another.

Some have created new things in their lives. God related things. An example of this is my friend Lori. Lori and I have known each other through church and bible study groups and related events. She and I both have a heart for the Lord and for the homeless. I’m presently helping a group in my church here in NY.

Lori tells me she has started a church in Clearwater, Florida. She  also has a homeless ministry  and a dance ministry that she’s deeply involved in. She’s on Facebook if you want to check out her ministries.

The Dance Ministry is called “Hearts on Fire Ministry”, they’re awesome in their Praise and Worship of the Lord Jesus. I took this from her “about” page:

Freedom in Praise and Worship to Glorify God with The Creative Arts
Mission

Extravagant Praise and Worship Expressed in The Creative Arts

Description

Hearts On Fire Ministry is under the covering of Calvary Chapel Worship Center, in New Port Richey, Florida. We are a missions outreach ministry to promote the Gospel of Jesus Christ through the Creative Arts: Expressive Sign Language, Dance, Mime, Music, Drama, ETC…

This is a recent post of Revelation Song it’s really very nicely done. Please view it and share it with others. Good things need to be shared and promoted.
Lori is very dedicated to the Lord and  her ministries and I am so glad and proud to have her as a friend. May blessings follow you and the good work you do. Links can be found within this post or to the right.
Hearts on Fire Dance Ministry comes under the covering of Calvary Chapel Worship Center in New Port Richey Florida. What an awesome place of worship it is.
Stop by there on Thursday nights or Sundays for a fulfilling Holy Spirit worship experience.

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 When I moved to New York I began attending the Church at the Movies (www.churchatthemovies.com  also called Grace Ministries) .

While in church yesterday doing my usual prayers before service  listening to the praise and worship team warm up, I thought ” I do the same thing all the time when I come here I wonder if it makes a difference?”.

When Pastor Roger Blackmore came out after the praise and worship leaders were finished he started again on his”Second Chance Salvation” sermon.

This week it was about Job. Now I heard and read about Job umpteen times but I took notes anyway. Pastor Roger asked the congregation a rhetorical question.

Where are You in God’s Love?  

Pastor Roger went on to discuss the deal the devil made with God, Jobs loss of ALL his children in one day, his boils and sores, his friends, his wife and Jobs lament. Yep, heard it all before, so what was different today?

 Job was a man that praised and worshiped God for everything he had and  lost, what Job missed was his relationship with God. Job longed for his past life, when he had good life and his children were still alive (Job 29:2). He longed for his lost youth (Job 29:4-Oh, for the days when I was in my prime, when God’s intimate friendship blessed my house). But most of all he looked back and noticed he wasn’t as spiritual and faithful as he should have been (Job 29:2-Oh that I were as in months gone by, As in the days when God watched over me; NASB ).

He missed God’s care (Psalm 121:7  -The LORD will keep you from all harm–he will watch over your life; NLT) He missed his relationship with God more than he missed all his wealth, loss of health and children. He must have had an awesome relationship.

I sat there thinking ” I pray, praise and worship quite often. Just how often did Job?  Just where am I in God’s love? I want that kind of relationship with God.

I think I can have it if  I ASK.

 In Job 42:12 God blessed the latter portion of his life. God DOUBLED it. I want that! I want to walk around in Joy and gladness.I need to remind myself that God’s going to work everything out for me.

I need to TELL GOD I really need Him and allow Him to come to me where I am.

God’s a perfect gentleman. He’s not going to force Himself on you or me He will wait to see if you or I sincerely want Him.

 If you really want Him, just ask Him and then wait. Because everything’s in Gods time, not mine or yours.

Thank you Pastor Roger for a great sermon.

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Lately while doing my daily reading of the Word, listening to TV pastors, and also my inner spirit I have been hearing a repetition of encouragements and affirmations.I have been hearing messages of prosperity, wealth, health, restoration and renewal. some examples: Esther 8:2, Genesis 41:41-43,  Dan 2:48, Eccel 2:26, Jeremiah 29:11 (my favorite), Ezekiel 16:53. There are so many Scriptures to back up the blessings offered. I want to be restored, renewed, enjoy increase in my life. I refuse negativity, I embrace the good.

 I  live in a world where being accepted by others is what I once thought  I wanted to be. I thought being and doing what my friends did   was normal. I thought everyone around me was normal. I thought I was not normal so I tried to be “normal” like them . I was in bondage to many things. That’s the right word too, BONDAGE. Thinking I was a free independent person when I was not. Being a slave to money, accepting unacceptable behavior, being a workaholic so that I could attain a certain status or station in my life, being prideful and trying to get by like everyone else was. Doing things I never ever thought I would do. Little by little I was degrading myself, being cut off from what was good and clean and wholesome. I was a wreck, losing my self esteem and self respect. Chipped away little by little. Heavy shoulders, big burdens, ignorant of many things. For all my accomplishments I also kept getting knocked back on my rear. Over and over not knowing why.

I kept thinking God, I’m a good person, why God? Why is this happening? What is it that I’m doing wrong? One thing I did learn through all my trials and tribulations is that God does hear me. I just needed to recognize the answer when it  is presented to me.I had to have my eyes,ears and heart wide open. I had to RECEIVE the answer. It’s like an ah-ha moment. Okay I get it now. It’s not about me. It’s about Him. He’s my father, my Abba, my daddy. Like no father I ever had before. With Him I can do so much more than without Him. 

Thank God that I have been found and saved. Saved from myself, from sin, from Satan. I was a very lost sheep. Faking my way, hoping the next big catastrophic event would not spiral down to the pits of despair, desperation, helplessness and homelessness. I had incredible stress in my life.

It took awhile but  I am so thankful for who, what and where I am in my life. I have had many changes and losses but the  next changes, the good ones, the positive ones, I look forward to.  I have good Christian support systems. I try on a regular basis to do what I’m supposed to do in my  Christian life. Some days are more difficult than others. It’s not easy trying to live as Jesus wants me to live. But through Him all things are possible.

I believe in the messages, the affirmations of wealth, health, prosperity, and restoration. They don’t necessarily mean that I’ll be monetarily rich. I believe they mean that I’ll be a lot better off than I was before, when I was lost.

Blessings, Mary

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My life has gone through many changes. In the past few years, some very dramatic and renewing life changing events. It was when I lost everything that I actually found so much more than what I lost.

I was a hospice nurse. I loved my patients, the families, and my job. For me, I was a  career hospice nurse ,and I loved it. It brought me much satisfaction in my inner self. I learned so much about people, compassion, families, family dynamics, pain and suffering, and most of all Spirituality. I was comfortable in knowing I did my job well. I took good care of my patients. I was committed to making them as comfortable as possible.

I have learned so much from my patients and their families. I am so very grateful for the privilege of caring for them.

When I first began caring for hospice patients I prayed often. For them and their families and also for myself. I asked God to help me be a good nurse and to be what He wanted me to be.

I prayed quietly to myself at the bedside of the dying. I prayed in my car, at home, in church wherever I was. I asked for understanding. When I had questions I prayed for answers. He ALWAYS delivered the answers to me in an “ah ha ” kind of way. I saw the answers right there,  right at that moment. It was always “wow, I can see what you mean”.

Somehow I began losing sight of Him. Oh I went to church, I still prayed, I was still a good nurse but slowly I got caught up in the world. The world of taking care of myself. Of making a living, taking care of my house, truck, pets and yard, paying my credit cards and household bills, the list goes on . I coveted things, I actually  worshiped  idols. The idols of capitalism. Don’t misunderstand me. I enjoyed shopping, hunting down things. Even though it was mainly thrift  and discount stores. Owning second hand items didn’t bother me. But putting work, the house, yard and material items before God is a big no-no. God is a jealous God. Even though they were not golden calves or statues of other gods, I put them first.

I still helped people though. I enjoy helping others. Helping others is a big part of my life. I feel it’s something I’m supposed to do. Not realizing I also needed help.

 Being blindsided. I thought, “I want to be like everyone else, a good citizen, have a good credit score, my own home etc”.

I didn’t realize at the time that it was okay to be me.Where I was in life, it was alright, hard working, dedicated, aspiring, alone but not lonely, always trying to do the right thing. I kept myself busy, not afraid to take little adventures. Go places near and far by myself. I learned not to depend on others for my happiness.

As much as I wanted to be like others I was deep down glad I was not. I never realized how much I was putting on myself. Proud of my INDEPENDENCE. I can fix almost anything. I can work more, I can do this, I can do that. Being independent I thought was a good thing. Actually it alienates people. Others think you never need help with anything so they stop asking you. They get put off by your independence, thinking you can do so much more for yourself you don’t need anyone.

Actually, I find that my  independence came from loss. No help to do things, to help get stuff done, to go places with, no one had time to comfort or console, to bounce ideas off of, or to share with. I became stronger in my resolve that I didn’t need anyone, I can do it. I became more independent. A cycle round and round. All the while praying to God,asking and asking so many questions.  Looking for why me, why not, how come?

Then my life changed. I got hurt at work. Went through all the required rehabs, surgeries, rehab again, insurance and job requirements.  Ultimately due to “economic forecasters” ( my terms) I and 26 other people, mostly nurses and home health aides were laid off.  Oh my gosh what a disaster! My life passed before me at the speed of light. What about my home, my credit, my, my, my. All about me. To make a very long ( 5 year or so) story short, I lost my career, my home, my physical self and wound up with a physical disability from my injuries, and severe arthritis from long years of hard  work. But yet I still wanted to go back and continue what I was doing just as before.

I had to accept my many losses. It was hard to do. I grieved often, prayed often and hoped for answers. I dealt with my grief, yes I grieved. I went through the grief process for each of my losses. I had to change.  I did that with God’s help. He put wonderful people in my path along this very painful journey. I became a born again Christian. I saw that God was always there, I had to get ME out of the way. I prayed the confusion to be cleared and I that I would have wisdom and healing. I have been fast tracking, hungry for the Lord. I realize my thinking before was corrupted by worldly things. I understand now what principalities are. I know I am a warrior bride for Christ. I have purpose and meaning in my life. I am into the Word first thing every morning. I get up earlier to do that. I verbalize my praise and thanks all day long. What I gained is so much more empowering. Life affirming. The veil is lifted.

I am on the biggest adventure yet! I don’t have to just survive or try to be like the other fish in the fishbowl. I trust in God, He will provide for me, He directs my steps. I am not alone, my eyes and heart are open.  I am on an awesome journey. A marvelous adventure! And I just love new adventures!

Blessings, Mary

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SOS Ministries is putting on a Fashion Show November 3, 2012 to raise money for The Helping Hands Ministry of Calvary Chapel Worship Center. SOS Ministries  ministers to abused women, homeless, the poor, and other needs in our community and would greatly appreciate any kind of donation that  you, your company or group would be able to assist us with. This is a large project but if we work together we will see our area definitely change for the better. Please remember your donation is tax deductible. Thank you so much for your participation.

 

Sponsor Levels:

THE EMMY – $500.00 Donation

3 months of FREE advertising in The Campus Connection 

Early Admission

4 FREE Admission Tickets

2 Reserved Front Row Seats

2 Specialty Drinks

Name of Business in Fashion Show Program

RED CARPET- $300.00 donation

1 month FREE advertising in The Campus Connection

Early Admission

2 FREE Admission Tickets

2 Reserved Front Row Seats

2 Specialty Drinks

Name of Business in Fashion Show Program

THE RUNWAY – $100.00 donation

Early Admission

2 FREE Tickets

2 Reserved Front Row Seats

2 Specialty Drinks

Name of Business in Fashion Show Program

THE STARS ARE OUT – $50.00 donation

Early Admission

2 Free Admission Tickets

Name of Business in Fashion Show Program

For Further Information Please Contact:

Pastor Estell at 727-457-9928 or revestell@yahoo.com

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